Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Nature has its own method of editing. Take for instance this winter and spring in the PNW. It was particularly harsh, with the mercury dipping into freezing temperatures more often than typical. As a result, some plants just didn’t over-winter this year. Edit.

We saw a very striking 'edit' of nature the day after I posted the picture of the duck family. While we were standing at the edge of the lake, enjoying the late afternoon vista, the eagle appeared out of nowhere. It was just 50 feet from us and had targeted the female duck and her brood who were swimming far from shore. Amid a panic of quacking, and people along the shore exclaiming ‘OMG’, the eagle swooped once, missed, did a high angle of attack turn, swooped back, and smoothly plucked out one of the ducklings. The eagle with food for its young flew directly back to the nest as the male duck zoomed in to join, but too late to defend, the family. It was quite heart breaking to watch, but again, it was nature’s way. Edit.

As for the eagle family…I have spotted a young one in the nest on occasion. I have attempted to get photos of it or them, but the quality of these photos is as you’d expect, taken almost ½ mile away from the nest. Add to that, the leaves on the tree have blocked much of the nest, so depending on the wind, sometimes the nest is visible and sometimes it isn’t. The glimpses of even the mature eagles while on the nest are brief and infrequent now, but I was able to see an eaglet (beak was visible) where I’ve drawn the arrow in the picture.

In the picture below, you can see the adult eagles to the left and right of what through the telescope looked like an eaglet.

I’ll continue to try and capture shots of the little one/s and keep you posted on their progress.

From the garden next time…TOMATOES!

Saturday, May 24, 2008


An old-time favorite game that children play has new meaning when it comes to bird viewing on the lake.

First, I have to share a picture of the sweet little duck family we’ve spotted cruising the water recently. They are so cute as they swim by and head over to the far bank, where they believe they are invisible to us.

Here’s a second type of duck—wood ducks. It’s not often that we catch a glimpse of them, so being able to get these shots was a real treat.

And now let’s play…





Kidding aside, I’ve finally seen one of the eaglets!! They are all but totally obscured by the mature leaves surrounding the nest, but I snapped some shots of them. I will download those photos and display the results soon.

For now, I’m headed out the door, not to play duck, duck, goose, but just to play in the dirt and connect with the earth.


Friday, May 16, 2008


Interesting occurrences around here since the eaglets have hatched…

I was outside and heard the call of an osprey as it flew towards the eagle’s nest. I noticed one of the eagles was on the nest on high alert, sitting up tall, watching the scene unfold with eagle eyes. The other was nowhere to be seen, when in an incredible burst of speed, it appeared and flew after the osprey that was quickly closing on the nest. In just moments the bald eagle caught up to the osprey and began to fly directly at it, talons extended. After many minutes of aerobatic flying and fighting, the osprey surrendered defeat and flew off to greener pastures.

Another day I noticed the eagle sitting atop a tree, with a bird dive-bombing it and scolding it with non-stop chatter. Pardon the blurriness of these shots, but there was a lot of fast action happening and it was a distance a way.

More stories to tell…more pictures to share…until then…


Saturday, May 10, 2008


The Internet is like having a library to the whole world’s references available. But navigating it can sometimes be time-consuming, treacherous, and faulty. So having good reference books on hand to read are like visiting with tried, true, loyal friends. I thought I’d share some of my good gardening and birding ‘friends’ with you today.

Imagine a book with an image of a different bird colorfully displayed on each page. Then turn those pages, one-by-one each day, to discover and learn the name of a bird you hadn’t seen before. Living in a rural area has been like that. So having excellent birding books, full of wonderful pictures and illustrations, has been invaluable.

Sitting next to the binoculars next to the window are:
National Audubon Society’s ‘The Sibley Guide to Birds’
National Audubon Society’s ‘Field Guide to Birds; Western Region’
‘Birds of the West’
by Ernest S. Booth, PhD

Within reach of my gardening gloves are too many (books) to count, but the most dog-eared include:
Sunset’s ‘Western Garden Book’
‘Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast’ by Pojar and MacKinnon
‘Landscaping for Wildlife in the Pacific Northwest’ by Russell Link
‘The Northwest Gardeners’ Resource Directory’
created by Stephanie Feeney, Debra Prinzing, Editor
and one of these two are indispensable:
The American Horticultural Society's 'A-Z Encyclopedia'
'Flora: The Gardener's Bible,' Chief Consultant, Sean Hogan

Last weekend I got my tomato plants (yay!) at the Master Gardener Plant Sale. Yesterday I went to the Lake Wilderness Arboretum Plant Sale. They had an incredible selection of native plants from which to choose. Although it was difficult, I was able to narrow down my purchases to just a handful. Of course there were a few good plants that needed a home as well that I couldn’t resist. They’ll either join other plants as ‘campers’ or end up in the ground or a nice container within the next month or so.

Signing off, until next time…

Saturday, May 3, 2008


With the growing season ramping up, I’m inspired to get outside, dig in the dirt and channel my creativity onto Mother Nature’s tableau. During the past 5 years living here, there have been hits, and there have been misses in my yard. Regardless of the long-term success of each, I have enjoyed transforming patches of grass (and weeds) into a woodland retreat, and cottage, border, Asian, and vegetable gardens.

Above is a picture of the first garden I put in. Because it is somewhat secluded, and the 'anchor' is the fallen tree log, I decided it should be deemed the 'Woodland garden' retreat.

Hot sun in the summertime nourishes these heat-loving, drought tolerant plants in one of the Border Gardens.

Sadly, after seeing the Asian garden flood with a few inches of water every winter, it was time to let it return to its native state.

When planning any garden, I allow the scenes themselves inspire me, but I also get many ideas from my favorite gardening magazines. If allowed only a handful of them, I would choose the Master Gardener Magazine, Organic Gardening, Garden Gate, and Fine Gardening.

Well, break’s over. Its time for me to head back to the garden and soak in some inspiration!