Sunday Roast: Cats & Zooey take a day trip

Yesterday, it was such a beautiful day that Cats and I decided to take a spur of the moment day trip.  We made a loop from Eugene, down past Cottage Grove, over to Reedsport, then up to Florence, and back to Eugene.

The scenery was AMAZING, and here are just a few of the things we saw:

Canada Geese having a rest on their journey home.

Canada Geese having a rest on their journey home.

Roosevelt Elk, looking a bit raggedy and having lunch of fresh green grass.

Roosevelt Elk, looking a bit raggedy and having lunch of fresh green grass.

More Roosevelt Elk having a lie down.

More Roosevelt Elk having a lie down.

Stunning pink rhododendrons.

Stunning pink rhododendrons.

Dunes in Florence.

Dunes in Florence.

It was a perfectly lovely day, and, as you might imagine, we discussed all the issues of the day, and solved every single one of them — if only people would listen to us.  ;)

This is our daily open thread — Get on with it!

Sunday Roast: Lichen


Lichens on basalt, Skinner Butter, Eugene, OR

Photo by Zooey

From the Wikipedia:

Lichens occur in some of the most extreme environments on Earth—arctic tundra, hot deserts, rocky coasts, and toxic slag heaps. However, they are also abundant as epiphytes on leaves and branches in rain forests and temperate woodland, on bare rock, including walls and gravestones, and on exposed soil surfaces (e.g., Collema) in otherwise mesic habitats. The roofs of many buildings have lichens growing on them. Lichens are widespread and may be long-lived; however, many are also vulnerable to environmental disturbance, and may be useful to scientists in assessing the effects of air pollution, ozone depletion, and metal contamination. Lichens have also been used in making dyes and perfumes, as well as in traditional medicines. It has been estimated that 6% of Earth’s land surface is covered by lichen.

This is our very, very, very, very late daily open thread — I blame DST!!

Sunday Roast: Gravity Glue

Michael Grab balances rocks into beautiful shapes.  He calls it Gravity Glue.

“…I am referring to meditation, or finding a zero point or silence within yourself. Some balances can apply significant pressure on your mind and your patience. The challenge is overcoming any doubt that may arise.”

I think this would be useful in life, outside of your rock balancing efforts.

This is our daily open thread — Breathe.

The Watering Hole, Monday, July 1st, 2013: Creatures Great and Small

First, a look at some strange underwater life, including such oddities as the “Christmas Tree Worm”, which comes in a wide array of colors.

Assorted Christmas Tree Worms (photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

Assorted Christmas Tree Worms (photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

Next, although the title of the article is “What the Heck Is That? Animals You Didn’t Know Existed”, I believe that most of us nature-lovers will recognize at least some of these unusual animals, such as the Aye-Aye from Madagascar or the Proboscis Monkey.

Aye-Aye foraging at night (photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

Aye-Aye foraging at night (photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

Proboscis Monkey (photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

Proboscis Monkey (photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

Once you finish checking out the “What the Heck Is That?” article, directly below it (under the heading “More on Meerkats and other Baby Animals) is a photo gallery of baby animals, from meerkats (loads of them) to baby rhinos, various primates, tapirs, capybaras, coatis, and tons more.

Baby Brazilian Tapir (photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

Baby Brazilian Tapir (photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

Last, here’s a happy-ending story about an unusual trio of formerly-abused animal friends.

This is our Open Thread. Enjoy Nature’s wonders at The Zoo!

The Watering Hole, Monday, January 28th, 2013: Glory and Wonder

“First light at Daytona brought in heavy fog.” Thank you, houseofroberts, for inadvertently (and somewhat circuitously) inspiring this post. Hopefully you’ll enjoy the respite from the perpetual political perturbations in this refreshing pool of nature’s glory and wonder.

"Sunrise on Flowers" - source

“Sunrise on Flowers” – source

After I read house’s comment yesterday morning, I went to to check our forecast. After finding that it was just a chilly 7 degrees out – brrrrr! – I found my inspiration.

Let’s start with, appropriately, Sunrises. The first photo in the group, “…taken by johndhard at Smith Rock State Park in central Oregon…”, brings to mind the style of artist Maxfield Parrish, i.e.:

"Arizona", Maxfield Parris

“Arizona”, Maxfield Parris

Winter Sunrise", Maxfield Parrish

Winter Sunrise”, Maxfield Parrish

Feeling more human now? Then let’s learn a little about clouds, including, but not limited to “Hole-Punch Clouds”, as seen here:
Hole Punch Cloud (source,

Hole Punch Cloud (source,

This is today’s open thread. Well, that was good for me, how about you?

The Watering Hole, Monday, November 19th, 2012: Tranquility

Pause, take a deep breath. Relax for just a few moments and forget about politics, forget about the upcoming holiday(s) and the zillion things you need to get done. Enjoy a moment of solitude, at one with the ocean and sky.

Beach in Pine Point, Maine

This is our Open Thread – discuss whatever you’d like!

Sunday Roast: Glacial Lake Missoula

Photo by Zooey

I took this photo on my recent trip to Glacier National Park, having taken a detour down to the National Bison Range.  Over 13,000 years ago, this lush farmland was the site of a huge glacial lake; today we refer to it as Lake Missoula.

The lake was the result of an ice dam on the Clark Fork caused by the southern encroachment of a finger of the Cordilleran Ice Sheet into the Idaho Panhandle (at the present day location of Clark Fork, Idaho at the east end of Lake Pend Oreille). The height of the ice dam typically approached 610 metres (2,000 ft), flooding the valleys of western Montana approximately 320 kilometres (200 mi) eastward. It was the largest ice-dammed lake known to have occurred.

Approximately forty times over a 2000 year periodthe glacial ice dam ruptured, and the contents of Lake Missoula went screaming across the Idaho Panhandle, Eastern Washington (creating the Scablands), and the Columbia River Gorge.  You can see that the flood even reached my little corner of the world on the Snake River.

The cumulative effect of the floods was to excavate 210 cubic kilometres (50 cu mi) of loess, sediment and basalt from the channeled scablands of eastern Washington and to transport it downstream. These floods are noteworthy for producing canyons and other large geologic features through cataclysms rather than through more typical gradual processes.

If you drive across Eastern Washington, you’ll see that even today it looks like a virtual wasteland.  Being in the rain shadow of the Cascades has something to do with it, but the main culprit was flood after flood after flood scouring off the land.  It’s really quite fascinating to imagine the raw and determined power of WATER.

This is our daily open thread — Hey, you learned something new today!

Sunday Roast: 11 Sacred and Iconic Trees

National Geographic

A car drives through the so-called Chandelier Tree in California’s Underwood Park in the 1930s. An iconic giant, this 315-foot-tall redwood was tunneled out as a novelty during the early days of gas-powered cars.

I remember driving through this tree with my family when I was 12 or 13.  We had a great big Dodge van at the time, and the door handles barely missed the sides of the tree tunnel.  It was so cool, but I remember thinking that it was too bad that whoever hollowed out that tree had no respect for such a lovely Redwood giant.  Thank goodness the tree managed to stay alive.

Check out the other ten sacred and iconic trees, such as the baobab,  the dance tree, and the Bohdi tree, at National Geographic.

This is our daily open thread — Enjoy the trees!

The Watering Hole: September 21 — Happy Friday!

Timelapse Montage, by Mike Flores

I totally spaced doing my Friday post, and it’s almost midnight, so here’s a cool video!

I’m off to help my dad’s wife with a ginormous yard sale, for which she’s going to owe me a ginormous bottle of wine.  I’ll see ya for music night!

This is our daily open thread — TGIF!!

The Watering Hole: August 24 — Photo Friday

Photo by Zooey

Another picture from my Glacier Park trip, taken from a wide spot on the Going To The Sun Road.

Just imagine the sheer size and weight of the glaciers that carved out this valley and the sides of those mountains.  Absolutely amazing.

This is our daily open thread — TGIF!!

The Watering Hole: June 15 — Planet Earth, Handle With Care

Now and then, I need a reminder that the political ugliness in this world is not the only thing of which we’re made, so I search out the beauty of this planet on the YouTubes.

This video is comprised of clips from the BBC series “Planet Earth,” and it helps restore my perspective, within the greater scheme of things.

My favorite part is…all of it.  In particular, I can’t help but notice the amazing and powerful effects of WATER in etching the wonderful and gorgeous features of our home.

A quote from one of my favorite movies sums it up…

Sayuri: My mother always said my sister, Satsu was like wood. As rooted to the earth as a sakura tree… But she told me I was like water… Water can carve its way through stone. And when trapped, water makes a new path.

I can relate.

This is our Friday open thread — What’s on your mind?

The Watering Hole: February 3 — Totally cool awesomeness!!!

That bit of vegetation, it looks quite odd
But it’s not a plant it’s actually a cephalopod!
It hides away to avoid being seen,
by sharks and divers who can be quite mean
when it is found it squirts its ink
and the confused diver cannot help but think
that the mimic octopus is fucking amazing

~Zoo Jr

The camouflage ability of the octopus is just amazing, isn’t it?  I had to watch the video several times.

What would you do if you could camouflage yourself as well as our octopus friend?

HT:  Zoo Jr

 This is our daily open thread — Happy Friday!!

The Watering Hole: December 27th – Headlines

Some headlines for today:

Hope: The tanks are being withdrawn, relief for the people of Homs.

No Surprise: Vladimir Putin rejects scrutiny into last elections 

Kill the Poor: Britain’s poorest hit by Stealth Tax

Critters and such: Confusing Weather Patterns for Britain’s Wildlife

Nature Victimized and her victims: Rising Seal Levels and Erosion leave landmark crumbling.

Romney: Inevitable? Well…

Not Romney: The Molotov Party

Cute Overdose: Red Panda

This is our daily Open Thread, what’s your news?

Sunday Roast, September 18th, 2011: Finally, Fall!

Jane's Maples

This past week, the temperatures here in the Northeast dropped from 80 degrees on Wednesday to 60 degrees on Thursday, ushering in today’s perfect early-autumn weather. Although only a few leaves have started turning or falling, soon our area’s foliage will be showing off its finest colors.

Abandoned section of Salinger

Trinity Pawling trees

Birch Reflections

All photos by Jane E. Schneider

This is our Open Thread. Please feel free to present your thoughts on any topic that comes to mind.

Guest Blogging: Hummingbirds

I have five 32 oz and one 48 oz hummingbird feeders.  They are refilled at least once a day.   I have many ‘locals’ that live here all year – there are sometimes about sixty hummingbirds at the feeders.  Being on the Pacific flyway, we also have visitors in the fall going to Margartiaville in Baja, and returning around February.  Last year, a couple of Rufous stayed and made my backyard their home.

Photos & text submitted for Guest Blogging by Cryptoclearance.

Birders and Photographers, Start Your Cameras!

To all the Zoo Critters and bird-enthusiast Zoo visitors, a reminder that Audubon Magazine is holding their 2011 Audubon Magazine Photography Awards contest, the Categories being: Birds; and Birds in their habitats. The Divisions are: Professional; Amateur; and Youth.

Now’s the time to show off your great photos. I know that we have some truly excellent nature photographers here, so please, don’t be shy. (We’d love to see what you submit, too, so post your photos in the comments, if possible.)

Go to: to submit your photos. The deadline is September 5th.

Go ahead, birder shutterbugs, do it!

The Watering Hole: June 3, 2011 — Clearcut forests to fight global warming!

Natural Resources Today

Rep Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) thinks it would be a great idea for the U.S. to help countries all over the world clearcut all of their trees, in order to fight global climate change.


Is there some thought being given to subsidizing the clearing of rainforests in order for some countries to eliminate that production of greenhouse gases?” Rohrabacher asked Todd Stern, the Obama administration’s special envoy for climate change. “Or would people be supportive of cutting down older trees in order to plant younger trees as a means to prevent this disaster from happening?

Cutting down all the trees, which absorb tons of CO2 every day, would actually make the problem of global climate change WORSE.  But don’t bother telling Dumbass Rohrabacher, cuz he knows the real cause — nature.

This is our daily open thread — what’s warming your heart & soul today?

The Watering Hole: May 27, 2011 — Timelapse Tornadoes

NOAA put together this timelapse video to illustrate the seemingly unrelenting series of tornadoes this Spring.

The U.S. experienced unprecedented tornado activity throughout the month of April 2011. The NOAA Storm Prediction Center received 875 tornado reports during that month alone; 625 have been confirmed as tornadoes, so far. Many of these storms were concentrated during 7 different major outbreaks, mostly in the Southern U.S. The largest of these outbreaks occurred during April 27-28, leaving over 300 people dead as over 180 storms were reported from Texas to Virginia.

I’ve lived in hurricane country a couple times, and experienced the edge of Hurricane Camille in 1969 while living in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba — which was far worse than any full force hurricane I experienced living in South Central Louisiana in the early 80s; and I’ve lived in earthquake country most of my life, but just missed the big Loma Prieta shaker, having left the Bay Area for Oregon only weeks earlier, via the freeway that collapsed.  Yikes.  You know, stuff happens.  The earth is constantly in motion — the air, the surface, the flora and fawna, and the shifting plates under our feet.

Having said that, the most terrifying thing I can imagine are tornadoes.  They are just so random.  I know, I know, so are earthquakes and hurricanes, but you can gather a certain amount of information about the impending doom.  Tornadoes happen quickly.  Sometimes they’re relatively small, and you can see them; sometimes they’re ginormus and you can’t see them — until they engulf you; my house is fine, but my neighbor’s house is the size of toothpicks.

Okay, tiny panic attack happening right now.  Breathe deeply, you’re in Northern Idaho, you goofy girl — no tornadoes!!  Pretty much…so far…

Anyhoo, the only time I remember being truly scared I was going to end up in Oz, was toward the end of a stint in Urbana, Illinois, during which I was in a hotel room, looking out the window at a storm that would have drowned elephants, and hearing this god-awful siren noise.  Apparently that was a siren warning of impending tornadoes.  Hell, I’ve never heard one in my life, so I’m looking out the window!  I learned later that I should have huddled in the bathtub and prayed to the Flying Spaghetti Monster to spare my life — that’s when the retroactive scaredy cat thing kicked in.  I also learned that standard hospital procedure was to move patients into the hallways, away from the windows.  My poor claustrophobic Mom got to experience the whole thing crammed together with other patients in the hallways, all with varying degrees of hysteria.  Luckily, she was still too cool to be flying off the handle in front of others.  She was awesome that way.  :-)

I don’t know if it’s Global Climate Change causing this or something else, but I know it’s bad.  People in this country have lost EVERYTHING to this series of tornadoes.  EVERYTHING.  You know, we cool kids like to do the minimal possessions thing — not that there’s anything wrong with that — but none of us would want to lose our children’s baby pictures, our important papers, or every stitch of clothing we own.  They’ve lost it all.

Here are a couple places to start finding ways to help in Missouri & Minnesota, and Joplin, MI.  Thanks.

Timelapse video found at MaddowBlog.