November 26, 2015
September 19, 2015
I left you hanging at the end of my last chapter in my Forest Project. I finished the ‘Slash Pile Burn‘ part of it earlier this year, and have slowly brought firewood up to the house all summer. I tried to haul 10 wagonloads per day up to the house, but pretty much stopped everything when working in the woods became a fire hazard.
Today I revved up my chain saw & commenced slicing all the longer branches. According to my DNR rep I can use it until 1pm. In the heat of the day with risk of fire too great, I have plenty of other tasks. The photo above is my make-shift holder for little branches where I sawed 4 to 5 at a time. Cute little pile, isn’t it? The previous photo shows a cool tool that holds a branch while sawing, but it only holds one at a time. It’s a bit cumbersome to put the saw down while I reload.
When 1:00 rolls around, I turn off the saw and fill my wagon.
…and split some larger rounds. Yep, I learned how to split wood this summer!
I may not get all these branches finished this year, but will do my best.
There are a couple of logs still lying around that I’ll tackle after I’m more adept at sawing. I’ll have to saw them in place since I can’t even roll, much less lift these up to any tool or make-shift holders!
The best news of the day is my neighbor, inspired by my project cleared HIS property. This makes it possible for me to get a truck down to the bottom of my property! Yay, instead of hauling my little wagon uphill, I’m now hauling it a short distance downhill to the truck. Truck gets loaded & I simply drive out ~ YAY!! Of course, then I have to unload the truck and stack it, but that’s a story for another day.
March 9, 2015
Sunday I headed up to Conboy Lake NWR in Glenwood to help search, count and mark Oregon Spotted Frog egg masses. Here’s why: “Refuge-wide surveys have been conducted on Conboy Lake NWR since 1998. In that time, the population has experienced significant declines. Oregon spotted frogs have declined range-wide as well and are gone from the majority of historic sites. As a result, the species is now federally listed as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act. We continue to monitor the population on the Refuge through egg mass surveys to help us make better management decisions and evaluate efforts we have previously made.”
Plus I like being on the refuge and I like the people I’ve met up there. Here are a couple of Spotted Frogs, one with a reddish cast. Aren’t they cute?!!
It was a beautiful blue-sky day that started with a misty morning over Conboy Lake.
Wearing waders, we headed out into the lake looking for egg masses. What’s that you ask? Let me show you!
They were mostly underwater, jelly-like clear’ish balls with a black dot in the middle of each and clustered together.
Oh look, another! I did not find any, but the other volunteers found many.
The beautiful Mt. Adams always in our line of sight watched over us.
Just like a search and rescue line, we walked a grid, back and forth across the marshy lake.
I learned so much from Lisa, the refuge manager and her crew.
Here are some of the crew consulting. Other refuge managers, biologists, volunteers…and me with my camera.
At each sighting we planted a flag with the number, date and amount then marked it on GPS.
The mist rose, we continued our march and I marveled at all I was learning through my many questions.
The egg masses with a black dot are stage One.
When the black dots change to ovals, they are stage two.
Not versed in all the stages, you know the end – they become FROGS!!
Every once in a while we’d stop to help a mass get back in the water.
If the mass was stuck on grass above the waterline it had to be gently released so the eggs stay in the water and survive.
A couple of times we’d find a mass that had to be moved to a wetter environment.
Then off we’d trudge, looking for the next egg mass.
A few frogs hid under the debris below the water’s surface. See him?
Neither did I, but I saw this one!
This is a mass of Tree Frog eggs, not what we were looking for, but it was MY find!! Having never seen them before, I think they looked farther along than the Spotted Frog egg masses.
Adding to my excitement we even SAW a tree frog!!
Back to work.
Oh no, we found a Bullfrog!
We found a high dry spot and grabbed some lunch under the sun. It’s really hard to sit down when wearing waders. I thought you’d want to know.
After lunch we found more eggs….
…and left more flags behind….
…recorded more information….
…and saw a few more frogs!!
Here’s a better view of this cute fella with a reddish cast.
By afternoon a thick swarm of bugs descended.
I suppose I could Photoshop the bugs out of this otherwise beautiful scene.
Or this one.
Oh look, another egg mass!
Lisa and her crew still seemed peppy as I ran out of steam and headed back towards shore.
Our ride seemed farther away than the distance I wanted my hefty backpack to stay on my body. I took all my lenses, ‘just in case’.
I figured I could find some birds to photograph near the truck while Lisa’s crew continued working.
Alas I trudged too slowly and they caught up with me.
One last Spotted Frog, a baby that we found at our last stop of the day enroute back to refuge headquarters.
Thanks so much Lisa, for letting me come along to document and learn. I had a great time, as usual a very fun day on the refuge!
January 4, 2015
A long-time friend and I decided to take the scenic route into Portland on Friday for our ‘Girls Day Lunch Adventure’ and we were rewarded with a magical winter wonderland.
Our first stop was Horsetail Falls and it was spectacular. The walkway was very icy but worth the risk of slipping to see the sparkly ice up close.
Icicles hung off all the cliffs and each of the big iconic waterfalls along the old highway majestically roared against icy canyon walls.
Our next stop was Multnomah Falls and it was stuffed with photographers. We bundled up and walked up to the bridge but did not hike any of the trails beyond.
It was more of a fun girlfriend day out filled with laughter and memories along with a little awe, rather than a photographer’s holiday. No tripod, no hiking boots, no rain gear just my camera and a semi-steady hand.
Our last stop was Latourell Falls and again we were mesmerized by sparkly white ice, the roar and majesty of these frozen waterfalls.
For scale, the red splash in the lower left corner in the photo above is another photographer who braved the icy trail.
We finished our drive through the Columbia River Gorge and had a lovely lunch in Troutdale, then decided we’ll have to make this outing a regular occurrence!
December 6, 2014
I can’t believe a month has gone by since my last post!
Where has time gone?
Where is my Rocking Chair – will sitting in one make time slow down?
I need more time. More time to just breathe.
Life has been crazy busy and today I am forced into having that extra time to breathe.
And to catch up.
Because for the first time EVER I had to cancel my appearance at an art show.
Even if I COULD carry my heavy boxes of glass across the ice to my car…
If you were planning to shop for holiday gifts from me you can still see my work online.
If you want to see my work in person, go to Columbia Arts in Hood River…
J D Smith Jewelers in The Dalles has a selection of my jewelry….
…and don’t forget the Hood River Holiday Pop Up Gift Store at Gallery 301 in Hood River!
Back at ‘The Ranch”, there is half to one inch of ice covering everything.
That includes my car, trash barrel, mailbox, garden and driveway.
This morning I took my camera out to capture some of it.
In a way it was pretty … and I AM catching up … and even breathing today!
My bird sculptures are pretty in ice (made by Sherm Rouse).
At least I’ll be toasty ‘weather’ I get out or not! Hope you enjoy our winter wonderland and don’t get ‘stuck’ anywhere.
August 9, 2014
I can’t believe it’s been almost 2 months since my last post! This summer is flying by faster than ever and I am barely keeping up. My garden is overrun… with weeds and deer.
My studio is working overtime catching up with orders. I’m having a run on recycled glass wall pocket vases at the moment ~ you can see the finished versions here.
Since the first day of summer I’ve traveled to Conboy National Wildlife Refuge often to find Sand Hill Cranes, Elk, Otters, Waterfowl and any wildlife that presents itself to me…
I’ve learned to use LightRoom for my photo processing and management; celebrated my sweet girl Treasure‘s 7th BirthDay and my BFF’s 60th! I’ve had lunch, dinner, coffee and wine with friends over the last 7 weeks…
…I’ve had brush removed from my property for fire protection by a 6 man crew that knocked it out in three days! We seem to have wildfires near us every summer now. This wildfire is almost out At Rowena Oregon, across the Columbia River From Lyle WA where I watch eagles and osprey.
I went on a very fun multi-generational family vacation across Western Washington exploring only a fraction of what my state has to offer, including a ride up the Space Needle for the first time and a drive on the beach at Long Beach!
I continue to check on several families of Osprey along the Columbia River. The babies have grown up so fast. I was shocked at the rate of growth in the 10 days that I missed while in Alaska.
Yes, I was in Alaska teaching for Half Moon Creek for the 4th time. My 4th visit to Alaska was magical and deserves a post…no, several posts just to show you how beautiful Alaska is and how much fun we had.
I have volunteered for Columbia Arts, managed my way through the relaunch of my sales site, Zibbet…
…and formed new friendships with a new hiking group while traversing Bird Creek Meadows!
In short, I have not been able to make myself sit at the computer while the sun shines and I can play outside! I’ll try to get my Alaska Adventure up soon for you to dream up your own Alaskan Adventure. It’s one of those places that I wish everyone could experience. I am already working on getting back there!
May 10, 2014
Photo montage in honor of strong women who push the next generation forward. Yes, it’s ok to be pushy, bossy, and strong. Happy Mother’s Day to all women who encourage, empower, inspire and lead the way.
My mom was in the navy, became a deputy sheriff and was among the first women working the streets in patrol. She taught self defense for women; oversaw and encouraged incarcerated women learning a trade; and was one of two women and scores of men involved in the raid at Spahn Ranch that ultimately put the ‘Manson family’ behind bars. She later put herself through college and trained at the FBI academy through LASD. She referred to all these accomplishments as “A feather in my cap”.
She taught me independence, honesty and determination among many other things. She showed me how to savor a book and how to clean a house (neither of which I have time for at the moment). When young we played her records over and over, memorizing the tunes that she liked to dance to – Elvis, Marty Robbins, The Platters, Everly Brothers, Chubby Checkers, Sarah Vaughan, Harry Belafonte, Nat King Cole, The Brothers Four … Although she laments she didn’t do enough, what a rich childhood she gave me. I wouldn’t be who I am if she had done anything differently. Thanks Mom. I love you.