Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Helmet Urchins

Matte black looks better on helmet urchins than it does on sports cars.  Thanks to Echinoblog for a great post on these animals. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

2012 projects

Last year saw the completion of a few projects around the house, but this year I am even more ambitious.  I want to (in no particular order): 

1) Build hillside stairs to the house.
2) Upgrade the rainwater harvesting setup with a new pump, filter, and overflow barrel.
3) Put siding on the sauna and shed.
4) Develop a large compost pile.
5) Build a woodshed and greenhouse. 
6) Dump-and-run ten yards of gravel the length of the driveway to maintain a crown on the road.  Plant local saplings of alder, birch, and tamarack, on either side of driveway.  Remove felled tree trunks along driveway. 

Ambitious, and optimistic.  Oh, well, what isn't done this year will be tackled the next.

Friday, December 30, 2011


The sauna benches were finished last week. 
The sauna's solid fuel engine with attached water tank. 
And the fuel - poplar tree trunks. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Perhaps no diving bird is more amazing than an Osprey at the moment its talons pierce the water.  Watch Nature: Moment of Impact: Jungle to see an osprey dive.  (Photo by Michael Wulf. ) I tried my hand at drawing the photo above, which reminds me of this drawing of a griffin, from Bill Peet's "Pinkish Purplish Bluish Egg".

Thursday, October 20, 2011


A woodpecker near our house on 30 September.  I'll have to look up the species sometime. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Denali landscape

Wonder Lake is 4 miles long and 280 feet deep.  Four fish species, including trout, live in the cold waters.  Denali is shrouded in thick clouds in the distance.
This big glacial erratic was probably set down about 10,000 years ago during the last big glacial advance.  The photo was taken from Polychrome Overlook.  (See also this close-up photo by Heather Webber.)  I am sure we will return, a fourth time together, to hike or bike through Denali National Park.

Denali animals

Three of the six bears we saw in Denali.  Though most of their diet is plants, these healthy and numerous apex predators are a sign of a productive environment. 
We saw a lot of dall sheep.  These last two scenes are frames from video I took. 
This is one of two big bull moose we saw.  It was rutting season.  When he turned his head the wide span of his spatulate antlers probably exceeded 60 inches.  A couple not far behind us said they saw 12 wolves cross the road in front of them.  A healthy bull moose is usually safe.