I’ve spent most of my life among Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga sp.) Although I love other trees and plant communities, Douglas fir forests still speak to me of home. In the Pacific Northwest, they’re ubiquitous from the Cascades to the coast. Douglas fir and other conifers of the region are why I’ve never felt at ease in the deciduous forests of eastern North America (as lovely as they are), where bare branches in winter make me especially homesick….
I feel like a grumpy, old bear this holiday season. I don’t want to put my energy into decking halls. I avoid shopping as much as possible. I have no idea what to get anybody, and the muzak playing everywhere makes me want to poke holes in my ear drums….
Writing experts tell us to never, ever open a story with the weather. And while a brief comment on the weather can sometimes be an ice breaker, extended conversations about it more likely signal that both parties have run out of interesting things to say. That’s all changing now….
During the cold holiday season, I find myself remembering trips to tropical waters and the species I’ve encountered there. I may write about sea turtles, reef sharks, octopus, and triggerfish in the future, but it’s the spinner dolphins (Stenella longirostris) that have been on my mind this past week….
On Thanksgiving, we couldn’t bear to slice and roast this huge homegrown potato face. Nor could we boil and mash it. So we pardoned it. I’d like to claim we did it in the tradition of pardons given for poultry on Thanksgiving, but it was nothing that grand. We just couldn’t bring ourselves to do it in.
A week later, I’m hungry for potatoes but still can’t cut into this one. Perhaps if I set if on a windowsill and let the eyes grow sprouts….
More recent successes in publishing my literary nonfiction: The Raven Chronicles has accepted a condensed and modified chapter from my ethnographic memoir, Sacred Threads, for publication. “Meeting my Future in the Dark” about the first meeting with my Nepali in-laws over twenty years ago should be out in print next spring or summer. After following […]
It was hard to leave our yurt in northeastern Oregon with Western larch (Larix occidentalis) in full copper-yellow glory. But when the flanks of the mountains there blaze with what looks like a procession of candles, it’s time to get ready for a harsh winter or move to lower elevations….
I love how persimmons hang on the tree after the leaves have fallen.
Many persimmons need to be fully ripe before they’re edible. My fuyu persimmons are non-astringent and can be eaten when still crisp. I enjoy them most at that stage. I often grate them and mix them with lime (or lemon), fresh chili pepper, green onion, cilantro and salt for an Asian-inspired salad.
My persimmon tree began as a whip from One Green World and thrives in my temperate Portland garden. They can also be found at my other favorite source for fruit trees: Raintree Nursery. Consult either nursery to learn more about the differences between Asian and American, astringent and non-astringent persimmons.
Growing food this summer in northeast Oregon, I relied on all that I’ve learned over the years from books, conversations, observations, and personal experience. But I probably heard Ama’s voice more than any other….
I’m miles from town, so there will be no trick or treaters for me tonight. Instead, I’ve decided to mark the day by highlighting some posts I’ve written on creatures that tend to be maligned, misunderstood and caricatured on Halloween….
One of the things I loved best about teaching high school social studies was shaking up students’ perceptions of history. And one of my favorite lessons was in Ancient History. I’d bring in a a jar of beans and a potato with so many sprouts it looked like an octopus (the fact that I always found one in my cupboard could have doubled as a cautionary lesson in the domestic arts)….
This time of year, I’m one of many throughout the West enthralled by – and worried about – one of our most striking fall color trees: Quaking Aspen (Populus tremuloides ). Utah and Colorado have acres and acres of aspens. In northeast Oregon, we have smaller groves dotting the more prevalent bunchgrass slopes and ponderosa […]