It’s About Time

The days are getting shorter

The equinox passing is reflected in shorter days. The rate of change itself changes. Change in day length is fastest at equinox and slowest at solstice. The day-to-day change at equinox is about 3 minutes a day but only 30 seconds a day at winter solstice. At the end of September, seeds of incense cedar were scattered to the winds and now their cones are raining down. The cones of incense cedar decompose over winter and are gone by spring.  Continue reading 

It’s About Time

September is the month of hiking

September is the month that hikers in western Oregon look forward to more than any month. Rainless days are almost guaranteed, mosquito levels drop off quickly and tourists thin out after Labor Day. This year there are a few qualifications to what is typically our best month for backpacking. Mosquito levels may be slow to disappear in the high country because there haven’t been enough freezing nights. Continue reading 

It’s About Time

The mosquitoes have returned

The mosquito fern that covered the eastside Delta Ponds’ surfaces with dramatic purple the past two winters had nearly disappeared by late spring of this year. The duckweed family overtook the mosquito fern and turned the ponds green, much to the gustatory delight of the waterfowl. Suddenly, in July, the mosquito fern has made a resurgence and may regain dominance; observations to come. Even the green is different. Instead of common duckweed, the green is dominated by the tiny water meal (Wolffia) of the flowering duckweed family. Continue reading 

It’s About Time

Pay attention to your garden as the temperature increases

By July, gardens are burgeoning with flowers and vegetables. They will thrive through the summer only if we pay diligent attention to adequate watering. Digital hose timers are great for extended trips out of town. We also have to deal with combatting weeds and pests. I wrestle with use of poisons. Slug bait offends my organic sensibilities but it seems the only effective way to keep snails away from our hostas and lilies. Continue reading 

It’s About Time – June 2016

Summer solstice is arguably the most significant of all solar events. That the sun shone straight down a well in Syrene, Egypt, every summer solstice day gave Eratosthenes the insight for determining the Earth’s circumference 2,200 years ago. Stone monuments worldwide are aligned to commemorate this longest day of the year. The bronze sighting monument on the summit of Mount Pisgah has slots that line up with sunrise and sunset on the solstice. Continue reading 

It’s About Time – May 2016

The leaves of the cottonwood trees are now all expanded. The crown is full and gradually changing shades from a bright spring green to a tough, dark summer green. The heron nests I have been following seem to be doing well. They are now hard to see in the foliage; careful binocular study was necessary to be absolutely sure the four nests are still in place. The leaf cover doesn’t allow me to see much activity in the nest. I just have to imagine nestlings having their fish dinners delivered on a proper schedule. Continue reading 

It’s About Time – March 2016

As the vernal equinox passes this month, the spring waves of wildflower blooms increase in breadth and vigor. Like the waves crashing on the beach, they are in constant motion yet precisely defined at any instant. Unlike the waves of the ocean, waves of blooming are so slow the human eye cannot detect any motion. Every flower has a slow but steady dance that one must visualize mentally to appreciate its blossoming. This is what makes time-lapse movies of flowers opening so appealing; they give the impression of inexorable actions being speeded up, constantly moving. Continue reading 

It’s About Time – February 2016

Nature is stirring from her winter rest. She begins leisurely with buds slowly expanding and showing light green in the cracks of the bud scales. Indian plum is the first to be noticed because its eye-level buds are so big and flowers burst from them by the middle of February. I keep a sharp eye on the snowberry bushes because their early spring leaves join the Indian plum for the earliest flush of green in the valley forest understory. Snowberry flowers are much later, however, so the spring buds are small. Pussy-willow buds show fuzz soon. Continue reading 

It’s About Time – January 2016

Kind of like in summer, the winter Solstice just slipped by with nary a wink or a nod. The approach is so gradual in both ways that only a calendar watcher (or member of a pagan community) knows for sure what day to celebrate Solstice. The extra rainy December meant that it was cloudy most nights. Night sky changes were hard to follow despite regular bedtime walks. I have seen Orion less than five times since he first returned to the night sky. Continue reading