I met Tom – Dr. Eastler, when I was a new student in the first day of Environmental Geoscience class at the University of Maine at Farmington. I had recently completed 20 years of service to my nation and it’s Navy, generally knocking around the globe visiting with folks while intermittently pretending I was ready and willing to shoot at and/or be shot at by some of those same folks. Continue reading A rifle, a leather belt, and a pen
As I was reading some stuff about water one morning this week, I was reminded of the water source of my youth – a twenty-foot deep hand-dug well. It sometimes is difficult to believe that we in 2020 are not far separated, measured sometimes by the calendar and sometimes by miles, from having no imagining of conveniences such as computers or water that simply appears at the turn of a knob.
Continue reading Water, water everywhere
Readers of a certain age – which is to say, aging baby boomers – likely will remember a song by Anne Murray in which she pleaded to wake up one morning with “A Little Good News” in the headline news.
“Nobody fired a shot in anger, nobody had to die in vain.”
Continue reading A little good news
We have a dogwood tree in the corner garden, and one of its branches finally grew to within Gray Squirrel jumping range of the roof. That was fine for a fairly long time – until one particularly ambitious fellow decided to launch himself at the bird feeder suction cupped to my studio window.
Continue reading Squirrels ain’t stoopid
“I get lost in the country,” she said.
We hadn’t chatted in years, since I left the town where she still lives, and our conversation the other afternoon had swerved into the country-vs-city path down memory lane.
Continue reading City mouse, country mouse
A group of us old guys meets each Tuesday at nearly noon to drink coffee and tell each other stories, some of which are true. All of which actually happened.
Continue reading TRDB & BSRJ
My camera and I had an interesting experience together this week. We tried to get a decent picture of the comet NeoWISE. Three nights, three efforts, and I finally got one shot I’d not feel badly about showing people.
Continue reading People (and comets) and street lights don’t mix
About 1973, we were heavy into a fossil fuel shortage. Gas lines were nationwide. In some places, the day you could buy gasoline was decided by your license plate – odd numbers on odd days, etc.
Some people said we were on the verge of running out of oil to make gasoline. Continue reading We cannot afford it
I have a favorite spot by a stream, where catbirds flit through the leaves with a call like a kitten mewling up a tree.
The thing about patience is if one sits long enough waiting for the critters to accept ones presence, relaxing is the inevitable result. The critters, not always me.
Continue reading In this together
I’m lucky. Or old. Or both. I don’t need a haircut.
A few weeks ago, a friend asked how things were going at my house, what with the stay-at-home lockdown we had been enduring. At the time, we had not been in it very long and, as regular readers will recall, I was, and am, a believer in the mental medication of getting outdoors to commune with nature.
So I told him after nearly 50 years as a journalist, I was used to working alone. I love wandering along or in a forest or a stream and making friends with the critters who live there. It makes one feel pretty special when those critters start to trust you. Continue reading It’s not the haircut
A friend recently related a conversation in which he mentioned to someone that a certain insecticide has been declared dangerous to humans when used as directed. Roundup has been in the news the past several months, the subject of some court cases involving the cancer- and sometimes death-causing nature of the compound. Continue reading Life on the third rock
Some recent gray rainy days of “look but not too closely” at my fellow walkers have been cutting into my enjoyment of outdoors. I don’t need sunshine every day, but I have a rule I’ve stuck to as long as I can remember being allowed to make rules. Continue reading Wet cold days in quarantine
Several years ago I was lucky enough to be visiting Las Vegas with in-laws who were able to score tickets to the Siegfried and Roy magic show. As though that were not enough, we had seats right up against the stage, as in my left arm could rest upon the stage. The show was as good as its reputation. Maybe even better. Continue reading Siegfried and Roy
I often talk of two-lane roads and roadside creeks. They often can be found together, a good reason for which there is. Streams have been sources of food, pathways for travelers, and the most direct route from the pasture to the barn for millions of cows. Continue reading Silver lining
In some ways, this “stay home” situation has not been terrible. It’s been a couple weeks since I had to buy gas (which is almost a shame with prices so low).
On the other hand, keeping track of time is a bit more difficult. It is weird, for instance, when Friday I think of something I must do Sunday, and when I wake up Saturday morning, I spend the first hour reminding myself it’s not time yet. Continue reading Be social, from a distance
I was standing by the stream when I noticed a wake tracking along the far bank. The head surfaced, and it crossed the creek to the salad bar.
Continue reading Muskrat in the afternoon
The dogwood outside my window is popping like floured corn. Every hour I look at them, the gray-green buds are bigger, pinker four-petaled blooms. I should set up a time-lapse camera. Continue reading Spring has sprang
I think I started noticing trees when I lived in Alaska. I wrote a weekly column which my faithful companion, a Bald Eagle named “J Edgar,” delivered from our home in a hollow log to the editor of the community newspaper. Readers were not surprised “The Ol’ Tundra Stomper” (“Tundra Stomping” being Alaskan for “back country hiking”) had an eagle partner.
Continue reading 50 years, yesterday to an Ent
I was out for a drive and a wander when I happened upon a pair of turkey vultures, perched in a tree, staring down at the road, waiting for dinner to be served.
“Not today,” I said.
Continue reading A-sauntering we should go
Age begins to be an important thought-subject when you start running out of fingers to count the decades. It is easy to look at young folks and say, sometimes in the same breath, they are the future of our existence and they don’t know a darned thing. Continue reading Contemplating kids