Thursday, October 30, 2008

More on Observation

Keeping a nature journal is a good way to learn about your place and keep track of the many natural changes over the seasons. When did those white throated sparrows come through Unison last Fall? With your nature journal, you'll know when. The Murie Center published a book several years back called Field Guide to Journal Writing in Nature , by Matt Daly, that is a good primer.

It's also a good way to record those trips to places you're not used to. We recently had the chance to see the original journal the great field biologist George Schaller kept when he went in 1956 to what is now Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. It was fascinating stuff.

Want to learn more on this? Check out this blog that focuses on nature journaling. The blogger, Pam Johnson Brickell also offers workshops to help you.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Value of Observation

Turns out that Thoreau's helping us with climate change.

Their conclusions are clear. On average, common species are flowering seven days earlier than they did in Thoreau’s day, Richard B. Primack, a conservation biologist at Boston University, and Abraham J. Miller-Rushing, then his graduate student, reported this year in the journal Ecology. Working with Charles C. Davis, an evolutionary biologist at Harvard and two of his graduate students, they determined that 27 percent of the species documented by Thoreau have vanished from Concord and 36 percent are present in such small numbers that they probably will not survive for long. Those findings appear in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Great Outhouse Views

The outhouse stories I could tell...Check out this collection.

We always kept the toilet seat inside Gray Knob, to keep it warm.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A Different Perspective

Beetle on the head of a pin. Photograph by Klaus Bolte/photo courtesy of Nikon Small World

National Geographic has a great set of images up--the Best Microscopic Images of 2008. While not all nature-based, these images give us a whole new perspective on our world. Check them out.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Food For the 21rst Century

Michael Pollen had an excellent article in the New York Times Magazine yesterday.
There are many moving parts to the new food agenda I’m urging you to adopt, but the core idea could not be simpler: we need to wean the American food system off its heavy 20th-century diet of fossil fuel and put it back on a diet of contemporary sunshine. True, this is easier said than done — fossil fuel is deeply implicated in everything about the way we currently grow food and feed ourselves. To put the food system back on sunlight will require policies to change how things work at every link in the food chain: in the farm field, in the way food is processed and sold and even in the American kitchen and at the American dinner table. Yet the sun still shines down on our land every day, and photosynthesis can still work its wonders wherever it does. If any part of the modern economy can be freed from its dependence on oil and successfully resolarized, surely it is food.
Can we finally move into the 21rst century? Pollen has given us a map to a new paradigm.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


What is this thing weekend, anyways?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Monday, October 6, 2008


Bowling corn with pumpkins.

We were driving in rural Maryland yesterday and passed a "Harvest Festival" at a local farm. There must have been five hundred cars there, with tents set up and hayrides cruising the fields. It's that time of year, and these activities are popping up all over, and that's a good thing.

Here's a report from one in Pennsylvania.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Bean the Dog

My friend Pete once peddled across the continent pulling a pooch in a bike trailer. That was one hell of a dog.

Pete's got a new dog, Bean, who he's bringing with him on trips again. Check out the photos. Scroll down to see them.

Make sure you check the ad at the bottom. That is a great Old Town Boat, we paddled it 100 miles with no complaints.

I'm looking forward to getting out on the river with Pete and Bean next spring.