January 2022 News and Pictures

Hello Nature-led friends!

A rather informal post this week. I’m preparing to attend a virtual workshop hosted by my city regarding our future. This last November all but one Council Member who was up for re-election had lost their seat. Clearly, I am not the only one frustrated. I expect I’ll be lucky to get very little if any speaking time, so I am planning what I want to say in the most succinct way possible. Until now, Our City has been keeping it’s head in the sand in regard to Climate Change and Disaster Preparedness Planning. Lucky for them, I’ve elected to make it my new year’s resolution to become a big pain in their asses to help them out.

There was some funny business in the way the last guy became Mayor, and no one has forgotten that it would seem. Since then, there has been a complete lack of transparency in city operations and the traffic has become terrible. Political divisiveness has nearly melted away as we become united in our annoyance of trying to figure out what the heck is going on. I’m using these last few days before the workshop to check my attitude because these fresh faces that have boldly (or foolishly) stepped forward do not deserve my ire for what their predecessors were doing, or more likely, not doing. Climate Change (Sustainability), Disaster Preparedness Planning and Transparency will be my key talking points.

I would like to think they’ll offer me a job with a reasonable salary and a retirement plan, but that’s probably a fantasy. I’ll likely have to develop the job I want and make it happen in the form of a nonprofit or for-profit business model. As I forge my own path I’m taking notes so that others can follow or learn from my mistakes. Why waste time making your own mistakes when you can learn from mine?


Dandelion Wine Bottled

I finally got to put my Dandelion wine in a bottle last Monday. I’ll have to wait another year before I can uncork it and tell you if it’s any good or not. If your new or you missed the post about Dandelion Wine, you can read it here: https://nature-led.org/2021/04/22/happy-earth-day-2021-may-hope-persist-like-dandelions/


Last Friday my eyes and spirit were gifted with this gorgeous sunrise after weeks of snow, freezing temperatures, flooding and rain.

Sunrise Jan 14 2022

Later that afternoon as I was taking in the sunshine I nearly fell in a sinkhole in my field. I did some exploratory digging to see if I might reach the other side of the world or a faerie realm, but alas, it was nothing but very sandy loam. This is a wet meadow across from a proper wetland. It was far from the water pipes, utilities and septic drain field. My best guess is that the mole had a hole here and the rain flushed into and worked down like a hydro jet into that extra sandy loamy spot. I have filled it in and will keep an eye on it. I tried to compact the new soil as best as I could by jumping up and down on it. My field is adjacent to a road, so when an old man and his little white dog saw me jumping up and down like a crazy bog witch they decided to turn around and “nope” their way back from which they had come.

Sink hole Jan 14 2022

A sinkhole would be a lot more scary if I lived in central Florida where they have limestone that crumble into giant sinkholes engulfing houses and buildings from time to time. (See brief news link below)

And finally, today I went grocery shopping and met this nice Crow who was very obliging in letting me take a picture to share with you all. Aren’t you a beauty!

Crow and Cart

I can tell you that without a doubt, the crows that live at the UW Bothell Rookery miss popcorn Fridays as much as the kids do at my nearby elementary school since the pandemic began. Somewhere I have a cool video of them swooping in as the cleanup crew as soon as the bell rings and all of the kids have run inside to back up and prepare to leave for the day. Many of these crows fly over my house as they head to the rookery each night.

I always say, “Hello, Crow.” When I meet one and the crows that frequent the end of my neighborhood hop forward in anticipation of my greeting. They cannot follow me home though. I have a Cooper’s Hawk couple that guards my field. (I’ll write a post about this hawk couple one of these days. I’ve known the male hawk for six years. This is his second mate.)


Have a great week everyone!

Links:

A brief news story about sinkholes in Central Florida from 2018: https://youtu.be/39pay3nFric

UW Both Crow Rookery Information: https://www.uwb.edu/about/crows

Crow Intelligence: https://www.thoughtco.com/crows-are-more-intelligent-than-you-think-4156896

Cooper’s Hawk: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Coopers_Hawk/overview

Adaptation & Transition: Climate Change Is Here

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change, that lives within the means available and works co-operatively against common threats.

Charles Darwin

A common theme among Science Fiction novels and the apocalypse genre in general is that few people can rarely survive alone for any great length of time. I plan to expand on this notion in a future post citing some of my favorite novels and how they provide the “burden of proof” in a future blog post. The settings may be fictional and fantastical, but often times, the behaviors of those that walk within the worlds are not.

For decades we have talked about how human-driven climate change was speeding up global warming. That future is here now. I’m tired of seeing articles claiming this or that event is “unprecedented.” It’s time to adapt to radical shifts. You can do it. I believe in you. Anyone can be an agent for positive or negative change in our societies. I’m asking you to fire up your neurons and muscles to be a catalyst. You don’t need permission. We must break out of bystander shock. We, myself included, have been waiting for someone else to be in charge and take the lead because there are so many climate issues. It’s time to pick one and get to work. We can’t wait for “experts” in any given sector to make the changes we need done now. It will take all of us. What legacy do you want to leave behind?

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Somebody should do something.

You should do something.

You are not too old. –  The entrepreneurs over 70 taking the business world by storm | Winning new business | The Guardian

You are not too young. – 6-year-old makes history as Georgia’s youngest farmer – ABC News (go.com)

You are capable of great things. – 12 Disabled Scientists Who Made the World a Better Place | Mental Floss

What you do now matters.Why your ‘personal infrastructure’ decisions actually do affect the cl (fastcompany.com)


This post was originally supposed to be an exciting review about a book I bought called:

Deep Adaptation: Navigating the Realities of Climate Chaos By Jem Bendell & Rupert Read

I tried to plow through it until the end, but eventually gave up. It’s dense reading with a lot of footnotes. When you write a book you have to know who your audience is. I wish the Authors had focused on whether they were writing for a General Audience or people already in the field of Climate Science., otherwise you risk alienating one and offending the other. They would have greatly benefitted by hiring an outside Editor improve the format, organizational structure and style. A good book engages readers. It’s about more than proper spelling and grammar. They clearly have expertise in their field of study, but I don’t have time or patience to be lectured by a book.

The Premise – A Snapshot

We can agree that climate change is already here and that global societies need to stop arguing about its existence and severity and start planning to transition into more adaptive societies. I like the framework of the 4R’s on page 73. That Deep Adaptation requires:

Resilience – “How do we keep what we really want to keep?”

Relinquishment – “What do we need to let go of in order to not make matters worse?”

Restoration – “What can we bring back to help us with the coming difficulties and tragedies?”

Reconciliation – “With what and with whom can we make peace as we face our shared mortality?”

Part of what made this book so hard for me to read is that I couldn’t get in the right headspace for it. I’m preparing to jump into action mode. I’ve been researching climate-related issues since 1997. It’s only recently that I’ve asked myself, when is enough researching, enough? Am I going to keep “researching” until I’m dead? Then it would have all been nothing! I’m ready to move from research phase to action station. I want to start making a bigger impact starting now.


Two good books have recently helped me take the next steps:

Good Work: How to Build a Career that Makes a Difference in the World By Shannon Houde

This book will give you ideas on how to make your current job more sustainability-focused or reassess and rewrite your resume into finding a career within the field of sustainability.

Any job can be a Nature-Led job and any career can take on issues of sustainability and climate action. You don’t have to throw your existing life in a dumpster and start over. Transition and adapt in a way that works for you. Work with the skillset, networks and opportunities you currently have. Pick up new skills as needed. Turtles can be surprisingly fast when they’re in the their element. Don’t burn yourself out trying to be a hare.

My only gripe about this book is its heavy reliance on using LinkedIn as a tool.


Climate Action Challenge: A Proven Plan For Launching Your Eco-Initiative in 90 Days By Joan Gregerson (And Optional Workbook)

This book gives me so many ideas I can hardly write them down fast enough in my eagerness to get to the next chapter. This book will ask you to build a team in order to succeed in your goal. At first I was intimidated by the idea, but then I thought about all the wonderful people I already network with that I would want to join me and that would be willing to join me. Some of them have already helped me branch out into meeting other ideal candidates. I had so many “coffee dates” in September and October I felt like I was peeing straight caffeine. Then the holidays hit and slowed everything down. Now I need to map out my next steps and proceed.

For four years I’ve tried working with my local City government on issues of Sustainability and Disaster Preparedness and Response only to be ignored. I’m done being nice and asking for permission. I’m fed up with the lack of action and transparency. I’m planning to build a nonprofit organization that applies pressure from the outside forcing them to respond. It seems I’m not the only one unhappy with the performance of my local City Council though. We just had an election in November and nearly every incumbent Council Member was voted out. I will address the new Council Members in an effort to work together, but I’m ready and willing to proceed with or without them. I’m planning to document my successes and failures in hopes that they might help others.

Special Note: I‘m not able to visit each and every person’s blog as often as I would like, but please know that I’m inspired by many of you in a variety of ways! Thank you for being you, for being here and for all the big and little things that you do!

Photo by How Far From Home on Pexels.com

Snow Prints and Raven Warnings

Photo by Mimmo Lusito on Pexels.com

Hello Nature-Led Friends, Thank you for being here! I’m still chewing over my thoughts for the post about Deep Adaptation. I’ve started three versions, but none of them feel quite right.

Last week I was visited by what I like to call an “Uncommon” Raven or Great Mountain Raven, but modern Ornithology doesn’t make this distinction among Ravens. It came down from the mountains to perch at my window. We looked at each other and it made sounds like an animated child. “Hello, old friend.” I said. “Are you the Raven I met before? We watched the sunset from the top of Mount Si and then I walked back down in the dark.”

Here at the lower elevations the Common Ravens are as small as the American Crows. One often needs to look at the tail feathers and beak to tell the difference. Ravens have triangular tail feathers and a thick broad beak (as shown), while Crows have square tail feathers and skinny beaks. To see a Raven such as this is an honor and a blessing. The Raven is an important figure in the stories of the Indigenous Peoples of the Pacific Northwest tribes. My favorite is the Tlingit tribe’s story How Raven Stole the Sun.

Cold Temperatures and Snow were already in the forecast, so I took the visit from Raven as a sign to prepare the landscape for my wildlife friends. I piled up a few extra places with sticks and stones and raked a few leaf piles close to the bushes for extra buffers.

Native Plant Douglas Spirea (Spiraea douglasii) with a log stump border in the snow

The Douglas Spiraea (aka Hardhack) creates thick brush for rabbits and other small creatures to hide in. The stump log border around it provides extra protection from wind-driven snow drifts and creates cavities for insects, garter snakes and salamanders.


Teeny Tiny Squirrel prints
“Doug” Eighth of his/her name the Squirrel


Daisy the Dog, loves to snuffle animal tracks in the snow. These are a pair of coyote tracks.

Winter is mating season for coyotes. They hunt in packs and pairs in search of prey. By the end of January coyote pups will be born. There’s a coyote den in the wetland next to us. I’ve watched six generations of coyotes grow up here. Some people are afraid of coyotes or consider them nuisance animals, but they’ve always been here. This coyote family has lived here longer than I have. My human neighbors often refer to them as “Melanie’s coyotes.” Not because I feed them (I never feed wild animals), but because they hang out in my field so much, even while I’m work out there. These generations were born familiar to my scent. I think they and all the other wildlife around here can smell that I don’t eat meat. They also know I hold no prejudices against them. Each deer, coyote, bobcat, Cooper’s hawk, black bear, etcetera in this neighborhood is an individual to me and not just a product of their species.

“Hey Lady, Are you coming outside?” (Zoomed in so the picture is a bit grainy)

In other local news, some idiot at a tree company ruined a perfectly good Douglas Fir tree on the street behind me. I’m all for a good crown cleanup which involves bringing down large broken branches in a controlled manner and removing a few, A FEW branches for trees close to buildings. Large tree branches that have the potential to fall to the ground and kill people are known locally as “Widowmakers.” In the U.S. Navy, “Widowmakers” is the nickname for submarines. Personally, I find it unattractive when more than five branches are cut from the base to “lift” the tree crown.

My favorite Douglas Fir tree and Doug the squirrel’s home tree. I had it’s crown cleaned up about five years ago because its next to my driveway.

A Healthy Douglas Fir tree _Doug’s Tree
An over-sheared Douglas Fir one street over that now looks like a bottle brush.

I predict this over-sheared fir tree will die from stress and disease within five years. Four of its neighboring trees were removed at the time it was sheared (two weeks ago) and about 30 other trees that had created a large, beautiful stand of trees were removed earlier this year to make way for more housing. Climate Change is death by a thousand cuts to the power of 10, by individual property owners, cities, counties, corporations, states/prefectures and countries.


A Hummingbird Feeder in the winter

The only thing I feed in the winter are the Anna’s Hummingbirds who don’t migrate. I have a few plants that bloom in the winter for food, but not enough yet. I put 10-hour hand warmers held with orange knit socks (formerly my knee-high socks from a ‘Velma’ Scooby Doo costume I did a few years ago.) I bring it in at night, so it doesn’t freeze.

How does one top off a snowy winter’s night at home? With a hearty, rustic vegetable soup of course!

And finally,

Don’t Look Up – A movie on Netflix

Sometimes when we don’t know what else to do in a situation, we laugh about it. Don’t Look Up is a movie where a PhD Candidate and her Professor discover that an asteroid is headed for earth. They give the U.S. President months of warning and time to act, but when there is a potential for money to be made, the plan to blow up the asteroid is scrapped in an effort to mine as many resources as possible and then blow it up, but the plan fails.

It’s a dark comedy and not everyone likes a dark comedy with their existential crisis. I think the critics are missing the point. It’s supposed to be outrageous. It’s supposed to be over the top. Its satire based on our societies worst modern qualities. I’m glad people are talking about it, because so often when I think about the problems in the world it often comes down to greed. Greedy people who profit off the environment, who profit off of racial injustices, who profit off of social-economic unbalances. We could have a better world, but will we? I don’t know. I’m willing to fight until the clock runs out.

It can be so frustrating at times! Here’s a story from August that shows how a big environmental impact plan was effectively sabotaged due to greed and mismanagement in Dubai.

From 1 Million Trees to a Tree Graveyard: How Dubai’s conservation Plans went awry – The Guardian


Additional Links:

All About Birds Common Raven and American Crow Comparison: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Common_Raven/species-compare/59858041

A brief collection of Raven Tales from Pacific Northwest tribes: http://native-languages.org/legends-raven.htm

Plant Profile: Douglas Spiraea: http://nativeplantspnw.com/douglas-spiraea-spiraea-douglasii/