This tune is going out to the only combination railway steam locomotive engineer/commercial jet pilot that I know. You can always go back to Delivering the Mail in your bi-plane, +Bisbo Nian, and still make enough money to afford to build banjos by hand on the side. Ray says he's "ready, willing, and able" to handle the baggage duties. Although Jackass Mail has a certain cachet, we've even come up with a new company name and a motto for your outfit: Sow Western ~ "When pigs fly..."
I use my cell for rare phone calls. That's it. It's off when I'm not using it. There's an app for that. Read post in Google+
Botanical Wonders I Have Known
Fairy Parasols is the common name for Splachnum rubrum. Those aren't flowers in the photos (a bouquet for +Rajini Rao) but the fruiting bodies of a bryophyte. The photos may actually show two species--the pale, green Sphlachnum luteum and the pomegranate red Splachnum rubrum. However, the former 'usually' grows on moose droppings while the latter grows only on owl pellets. Imagine that. So, it would be odd to have both species in the same microsite.
I don't miss forestry work but I do miss the plants of the boreal forest. I told the guy I subcontracted for, "I know we're supposed to be doing industrial forestry but I'm just here for the flowers." That got a laugh but it was true. I always stopped to smell the Rosa acicularis, as well. Read post in Google+
Marriage--Never a Dull Moment
Picture this. My wife injured her leg yesterday and is on crutches. So, I saw her safely to bed and was heading back upstairs to watch tv when I heard a cry of distress. Back downstairs in a hurry. There was a flying squirrel in our bedroom--brought in by our cat, Emma, no doubt. Now I've got Jenny naked and on crutches, the cat galloping around the room, the squirrel clinging to the back of my wife's bedside table, and Patchy the Australian Shepherd in hot pursuit of Emma the Cat. If this ever happens to you, try following these steps. Improvise as necessary.
1 Get wife out of bedroom and close door. Add dog and repeat. 2 Chase cat out of the bedroom, through the window, and into the adjacent plant room. 3 Open the plant room door to the yard. Chase cat outside through cat door. 4 Get a flashlight and a laundry basket to catch the squirrel with as you pull the night table away from the wall. 5 When the squirrel runs under the bed and toward the open window and you think maybe it got out, check every nook and cranny in the bedroom for said squirrel, just to be safe. This includes behind all of the books, under the bed, in the bed, over the bed. Check under and behind every other piece of furniture (except for your own bedside table) using flashlight. 6 Invite your wife back into the hypothetically squirrel-free bedroom. On crutches, as you'll recall. Bring dog back in--who right away zeroes in on the squirrel clinging to the back of my night table. 7 Exit wife on crutches. Herd dog out of bedroom again and close door. 8 Pull night table away from the wall and try to catch the squirrel with a towel. 9 When that fails, shoo the squirrel in the general direction of the window using the towel. 10 You're almost home free. Squirrel now on windowsill behind the curtain. 11 Give it a poke with your finger so that it will go out the window. 12 Squirrel now in plant room. Close bedroom window to secure perimeter. 13 Now try to herd squirrel in the plantroom from hanging plant to hanging plant toward the open door. Use the branch you just broke off a datura shrub to do this. Try not to get more cactus needles in your shirt and arms than absolutely necessary. 14 Squirrel now on top of the open door. Give it a poke in the butt so that it jumps outside, runs away (like any other squirrel) and up the nearest tree. Flying squirrels don't fly--they jump and glide. 15 No sign of cat. She'll be back. 16 Promise your wife that the squirrel is now outside in the dark, uninjured, and no doubt somewhat smarter about cats due to its adventure. 17 See wife to bed for the third time. Give dog a pat on the head and praise him for finding the squirrel after wife went to bed the second time. 18 Make yourself a Tequila Sunrise. You deserve it.
If I had to choose my favorite flower in the boreal forest, these delicate little orchids known as Calypso bulbosa or Fairyslippers would jump to mind. They're quite small--usually 10-12cm in height and typically found growing in mesic to moist sites forested with spruce. Doing eco-classification of forest sites, it was always a thrill to see the first Calypsos in late spring or early summer, depending on elevation.
According to Plants of Northern British Columbia, "...this beautiful (and deliciously perfumed) little orchid, though widespread, is rapidly being exterminated due to trampling and especially picking. The corms are attached by means of delicate roots that are easily broken even by the lightest touch or tug on the stem. Hence, when the flower is picked, the plant usually dies." Over the years, I dried and pressed quite a few Calypsos because they were growing in areas about to be harvested for timber.
My plant guidebook also notes, the "...corms were peeled and eaten raw by the Lillooet and the Haida [First Nations peoples]. Haida girls ate them raw to enhance their bustline...
Calypso, the goddess daughter of Atlas, was Homer's beautiful nymph hidden in the woods and found by Ulysses when he was wrecked on the island of Ogygia. Calypso's name means concealment, apt for a flower often found in mossy, shady hideaways." Read post in Google+
From the quote by Chinese philosopher Laozi (c 604 bc - c 531 bc) in the Tao Te Ching, chapter 64. ["The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step".] Although this is the popular form of this quotation, another translation from the original Chinese might be "The journey of a thousand miles begins beneath one's feet." Rather than emphasizing the first step, Laozi would have regarded action as something that arises naturally from stillness. Another potential phrasing would be "Even the longest journey must begin where you stand" or "A journey of a thousand miles begins at the spot under one's feet."
Sometimes this quote will also attributed to Laozi's contemporary, the Chinese philosopher Confucius/Kongzi (c 551 bc - c 479 bc), founder of Confucianism.
I'm...shaking my head in disbelief. And then believing. Going from 'sham' pain to champagne.
After a three and a half year fight with the provincial Workers' Compensation Board, I won my appeal. This means a large settlement for wage loss due to work-related injury. And getting reimbursed for the cost of dozens of therapeutic treatments that allowed me to keep working while recovering from an injury. Costs I had to pay out of pocket after being denied treatment for the injury in question. It means receiving the goddamn benefits that I paid a premium for in the first place.
At age 57, I had to end a forestry career I loved and reinvent myself due to those injuries. Now, I work at home on my laptop as a tech writer. I'm not missing forestry. Physically, it was a bit of a shit-kicking. I'm enjoying a gentler life at home. Tonight, we're celebrating. Read post in Google+
Yippee! We're in Google Maps!
If you go to Trout Creek, BC, Canada (Wharf Street) and switch to Street View in Google Maps, that's us launching our boat last summer. We got filmed by the Google Street View van. That's Jenny in the boat. I was probably checking the drain plug at the stern of the boat for the fourth time. Read post in Google+
Thanks to a nudge from +Lahn Jung JuLes, I've started uploading some of my own songs to Soundcloud. Wrote and recorded Apocalypso about 30 years ago using a 4-track in the blue Canadian Rockies and accompanied by the once legendary Bush League Band. As well as a chorus of friends and neighbors in full party mode. Sure wish I still had that Martin D-28.
There are a couple of other songs on the site--Albuquerque Airport, also recorded long ago, and Colette at the Ghost Ranch (Soundtrack for a Spaghetti Western), recently recorded on my synthesizer.
It's been over a year and I'm still not used to not having my old girl, Luna, beside me in life. We spent almost 15 years together including thousands of days working in the forest. She saved my life on one if not two occasions. So long, Luna.
Yesterday, I found a book of poems that I printed up when I was in my mid-20s and the poem below - on the theme of dogs not living long enough - got me missing Luna big time. I also found my passport after a year of wondering where it was.
An old dog --white muzzled and nearly blind-- walking ahead of a man walking behind sniffs the way back home and marks the route again Read post in Google+
So, Google. At last we meet.
Face to face. You'll be pleased to know we're both Chrome users and have Samsung Galaxy Android devices. I had an early GMail account and signed up for G+ way back in the beginning. Yours truly,
a Google fanboy
ps The guy driving the Street View van wasn't exactly sociable.
Sun up early she rolled out of her cave and down a dirt road to the Mermaid Cafe The streets were filling with Eurogeeks-- paperback copies of Zorba the Greek Nikos Kazantzakis would've liked it this way-- civilization's slow decay Way up on the peaks where the gods once walked-- photogenic shepherds and the tourist flocks
She said, Is there a boat? I've got to get out of here Is there a boat? I've got to get away Is there a boat? I've got to get out of here Anything that floats I want to leave today
This song was courtesy of the friend who told me the story about fleeing a Greek boyfriend who wanted to marry her. I just had to rhyme it, more or less, and record it on my very first synthesizer--on which I'm playing everything but the kitchen sink. Took about four hours from story to demo. Read post in Google+
Can you hear me now?
You can order your own brass smartphone amplifier. Too bad it`s mono.
Here are recent visitors to our bird feeders. We've had a pair of the large Clark's Nutcrackers (11") in our yard for a few days but it took them a while to find our suet feeders. First-timers at the feeding station. Also photos of Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers, Pygmy/Whitebreasted/Redbreasted Nuthatches, Mountain Chickadees, and one of our resident flock of Steller's Jays. And for the same low price, two bonus pictures of a Flying Squirrel (OK, they glide...), who stopped by a suet feeder with his shy mate last night. Read post in Google+