Wild Plants

View of Columbia River
View of Columbia River from Catherine Creek

A rare day of sunshine and blue sky lured us out of Portland toward Catherine Creek. After a fabulous wood-fired pizza at Solstice in Bingen, we set off along our…

Winter Gold

It’s so refreshing to find a bit of color in all the grays and browns of winter.  I loved the gold moss on this old cottonwood (at least I’m assuming…

Mossy Forest

A post-Thanksgiving walk through fog, rain, and slushy snow on the edge of the Opal Creek Recreation Area in the Cascade Foothills:

Touches of Color

Out West, in the land of conifers, we don’t have the color spectacle that blesses New England this time of year. But our few wild deciduous shrubs and trees do add some lovely accents to our evergreen forests and browning grasslands (…)

When Life Gives You Weeds...Eat 'Em

With all the rain out over the last few weeks and the challenges of getting the summer garden in, I’ve been grateful for food that sprouts with no effort on…

Domestic Challenges, Wild Beauty

I’m ecstatic to be back on our property in Northeastern Oregon.  There’s lots to do: organizing inside the yurt to make cooking and storage more convenient, building a spring box…

Moss growing behind my ears, moss for brains, hiding under moss….

Our Live Christmas Tree

I used to be the Christmas tree enthusiast in the family. I’d drive around Seattle for hours looking for the perfect tree, set it up, decorate it….

Wild Elderberries

I’m excited to try my new steam juicer on this first crop of wild elderberries.  Mixed with a little honey, the juice disappears pretty fast in our home.  But later…

Images From Zumwalt Prairie

Here’s a small taste of Saturday’s hike on Zumwalt Prairie, the largest Nature Conservancy reserve in Oregon and the last remnant of bluebunch wheatgrass/idaho fescue-dominated prairie in North America. Thanks…


One of the things I like about writing regular posts on various species is that it challenges my own tendency to overlook or take for granted species that are common, mundane, or unpopular. Last week, I had the good fortune to take a brief vacation in the high desert country of Central Oregon. I decided it was time to learn more about a plant I see everywhere throughout the Great Basin but know little about: Artemesia tridentata, or sagebrush.

I craved trilliums yesterday but didn’t have the energy to drive far.   And with 92,000 acres of green space in Portland, Oregon, I didn’t have to.  I drove ten minutes…