Plant Collection

My former plant collection

These are the plants I had on our shelf outside our apartment when we lived upstairs here at Ida Culver. Then we moved downstairs to a ground floor studio apartment and there isn’t an external shelf. I am still trying to work out where to put a plant collection now.

Searching For A Memory

There’s a memory that I have from time to time. Now I want to blog about it…….but it eludes me at present. Grr. Note to self – JOT IT DOWN.

I am nearing the conclusion of a delightful 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle. A mass of flowers. Just the thing for this time of year.

It is a wild and windy day. We even lost power for a short time.

I just can’t seem to call up the memory I want so that I can write an interesting blog.

I guess my blogs have to be spontaneous.


The memory I am searching for is: the wish to do certain sea voyages: as follows: the Castle (?) line from Kenya to Southampton, the Geist Line banana boat from England to St. Lucia, any random cargo ship that took a few passengers, even just America to Europe. This was before I finally realized that such sea-going adventures would not even be on my boy friend/husband’s wish list. of these exciting adventures would be absolutely anathema to him. Interesting how one’s perceptions transition from the casual fun loving dating phase to the more formal/commitment stage, marriage, all starry eyed, gradually one realizes that there are differences, you evolve, one’s spouse evolves, hopefully in mutually acceptable ways. And in my case, with everything else that was happening I forgot about my sea going dreams. When I woke up and recalled those dreams, it was long past the time when my husband would have shared such an adventure. lLife had moved on. Such an adventure would then be on ” his I would never even consider this list.” Never mind, that’s o.k. We’ve had and are still having adventures enough., even in the “Old Folks” Home”. Long may they continue.

Photo from Judy Lystra-Brown


A great collection. Right at our fingertips.

Something Over Tea

It strikes me that if you look at anything close enough and for long enough, a pattern will emerge. Take this cauliflower for example:

I seldom get an opportunity to walk along the beach and when I do, apart from the waves, shells and seabirds, I am mesmerised by the patterns made by ripples in the shallow water:

I admire images of centuries old stone bridges as well as more modern concrete and steel bridges from abroad. Sometimes in this part of the world we have to make do with something more humble, like this flat wooden bridge:

For several years we had an angulate tortoise living in our garden – until he decided the time was right to seek a mate and he wandered off:

I also enjoy patterns seen in weathered rocks:

Lastly, this one may take you by surprise:

It was sent to me by a family…

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Marsquakes! For Science!

Fascinating subject.

Wickersham's Conscience

In principle, at least, the use of seismic – earthquake – waves to understand the interior of a planet is less complicated than it first seems. You’re probably familiar with bats’ use of echolocation to navigate the night skies: they emit high-pitched squeaks, and then use the reflections, the echoes, to navigate and find prey. Seismic reflection is much the same, except the equivalent of the bat “squeak” is a remote earthquake, and the reflections come for the differentiated layers of the planet’s structure.

Geologists and geophysicists have been using seismology to analyze the Earth’s structure for years. The same technique has been applied to Mars.

Stylized Model of Mars’ planetary structure

In February 2019, Mars Insight went on-line, a sophisticated seismometer placed on Elysium Planitia near the Martian equator. Since, Mars Insight has tracked Marsquakes and the pressure and shear waves those quakes generate as they reflect and refract…

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Intermittent Librarian

The City of Seattle is looking to hire an ” Intermittent Librarian” – I would qualify. Should I apply? I have a lot of “Intermittent” experience, and particularly as a Librarian. Tempting. I’ll have a think about it. Should I add that my experience has been far and wide, including in Fiji, Bangladesh, Ghana, and .Ireland.

Europe from Space

Something to Rail About

So interesting.

Wickersham's Conscience

Certainly the most difficult North American family of birds to see, let alone photograph, are the Rails. While there are some 139 species of Ralidae worldwide, WC in this post focuses on the six “true” North American Rails.1 WC has photos of five of them – for a given definition of “photo” – and is highly unlikely (to the point of near certainty) to ever see let alone photograph the sixth. But that’s getting ahead of the tale.

Sora swimming, Centennial Marsh, Idaho

By far the least difficult – WC wouldn’t say “easy” – Rail to photograph is the Sora. Unlike other Rails, it occasionally actually comes out into the open, especially when foraging to feed its young. The big, bright yellow bill and black chin and neck make the species unmistakeable in the field. It’s very widely distributed, found all across the continent and even in parts of…

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Return of Bird of the Week: Great Thrush

All about birds.

Wickersham's Conscience

WC has exhausted his collection of even marginally presentable photos of Trogons, so we will move on to another family of birds, the Thrushes, the taxonomic family Turdidae. There are some 174 species of Thrushes spread across 18 genera. Some will be immediately familiar. Some will surprise you. WC has photographed only a small fraction of this large, widespread family of birds. But we will start with the largest member of that family, the Great Thrush. Spoiler alert: it’s good, but not really great.

Great Thrush Male, Ecuador

The Great Thrush can weigh as much as 175 grams; for comparison, a big American Robin might weigh 77 grams. Some subspecies run to 33 centimeters in length; the America Robin is about 25 centimeters. The dark gray body, orange bill and legs are pretty distinctive; in the males, the orange eye ring is definitive.

This is a montane species, rarely…

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Big Books

While waiting at the doctor’s today, I was reading a short story by Haruki Murakami. It was about reading and doing without sleep. The gist of the story was about the value of reading BIG books. This set me to thinking how I wanted to read a BIG book. So after the minor “surgery” at the doctor’s, I rewarded myself in my usual way with a trip to nearby Barnes & Noble and a search for a BIG book. What about Paul Scott’s The Raj Quartet? Not in stock. J.G. Farrell’s books – not in stock. So I wandered in the “stacks” and bingo – there was Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind. I wasn’t really looking for that one but it certainly was BIG. Phew. About 1000 pages and HEAVY. About the Civil War and the South. Not really what I wanted but it has been more than 60 years since I read it. My sister Nan and I both loved it! So that’s my choice.