Friday, April 30, 2010

Whales or Snow? . . . Whales or Grizzlies?

I saw whales today. I took lots of photos of places in the ocean where whales had been a few seconds earlier, and even a few photos of actual whales. Sometime over the weekend when I have time to play online, I'll show them to you.

For now, please go here and look at where I'll be in a month. It looks very white. Scroll down a bit and look at the cute bear back-scratching and playing in the snow. I can't wait to hug one.


Thursday, April 29, 2010

Best of Greentangle 2009

As I wrote in the 2008 summary, this was the decline of 2009. It was a rough year, described in the posts and demonstrated by the fact that I didn't include anything here written after I left Duluth at the end of September. And a reminder that "Best of" really means personal favorites.

The Domestic Wrecking Crew & their Rogue Primate Masters
Book review and a comparison of animal rights and wilderness preservation

The Mysterious Case of the Moving Bread Yeah, it's silly, but it would be a hit on YouTube

The Abbey Walk If it walks like Ed and talks like Ed . . .

Bookstores and Beyond
Amazon and more

Phase 3 of the blog--still limping along there, I guess

I Came Here for the Waters (and the Wolves)
I wrote a lot of farewell posts in 2009--this is one of them

Oh Deer (Hiking in Duluth IV) Everywhere an ungulate

Peregrine Falcon Banding Up close and personal (with photos)

Bite Back! Rod Coronado

One Missing Falcon
Yep, in 2009, I even lost a falcon

"The wind that talks in trees speaks pine in my ear." David Carroll

Goodbye, Cool World
Another farewell

Let the Water Come and Carry Me Away
Once more with feeling--Goodbye, Lake


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Top 40 Nature Photographs

No, they're obviously not mine!

These came from the International League of Conservation Photographers as a celebration of the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. I have to point out that 10% of them are the work of northern Minnesota resident Jim Brandenburg. I highly recommend the documentary Chased By The Light which details his experience of taking only one photograph a day for 90 days.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Four Choices

Sometimes I point out new additions to the list of blogs I'm following; sometimes not. If the search is working correctly, I've never mentioned Nature Bats Last which is one of my favorites among the collapse sites. I do want to point out the latest post there--What Works, Maybe--which after recapping the reasons to expect collapse takes a look at the options for an individual in the aftermath of societal kerblooey.

1)Transition towns
2)Agricultural anarchy
3)Hunting and gathering

Go read what he has to say about the options and come back and vote for your future in the new poll!

RESULTS: Of 34 votes cast, 25 (73%) were for agricultural anarchy. The preference order of the remaining three was transition towns, hunting and gathering, traveling.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Atlas of Global Conservation

I haven't actually seen this book yet so I'm not sure if it's more than something interesting to look at and put aside, but it is interesting to look at and you can do so at the following sites.

Publisher contents and excerpt

Nature Conservancy interactive maps

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Morning After

Aren't you glad that we got rid of that oilman president and elected a much nicer guy who wants to add nuclear power plants and expand offshore drilling? That burning, sinking rig was quite an Earth Day celebration, wasn't it? I just followed a link to a related article via Yahoo and noticed an interesting policy regarding comments. People can vote on each comment and if there are a lot more nays than yeas the comment gets hidden. In this case, any comments mentioning wacky ideas like solar and wind were hidden.

A long-time reader sent me a link to the Missoula Independent because of the Yellowstone article (making money off research in the park) but I also noticed the long article about Earth Day which includes much interesting info on topics ranging from grizzlies and pine nuts to oil and gas to generations of direct actioners from Mike Roselle to the Northern Rockies Rising Tide. You should definitely give it a read.

I was happy for the reminder about this newspaper. On my old computer in Duluth, I had a folder of Missoula websites because I was very interested in visiting. I think what first drew my attention was the intriguing Environmental Studies Masters program at the university, and the more I looked the more it seemed like a place to check out. So I'm expecting to do that when I leave Yellowstone.

Maybe this is a little more positive, maybe not depending on who you talk to, but Massachusetts, the 3rd most densely populated (by humans, that is) state but also the 8th most forested state, just increased its ban on logging from 13% on one category of state land to 60%, along with increased restrictions on clear-cutting.

Time for the hair of the dog.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Monastery Photos

Made it back to the monastery for a couple hours today.

Stairway to heaven?

In case you haven't noticed yet, I'll always take a turtle photo given the chance. Looking at this one more closely, it appears to me that this turtle is an attack survivor. Would have taken the chance at a muskrat photo today also if the camera had been on when I noticed his wake but he was underwater by the time I was ready.

Cabbage roll

Cabbage creek

Not such a tangled web

If people on the internet can be believed, this is a poison ivy vine

So why do they call it shagbark?

Pretty picture #1

Pretty picture #2

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Go West, Old Man

The bus tickets are purchased, the motel rooms are reserved, and 4 weeks from now I'll be on my way west. The plan is for 5 nights in Duluth, 3 nights in Bozeman, and 123 nights in Yellowstone. The plan has also always been to ship my 9 or so boxes o' stuff to Duluth and put them in storage there to wait for my return. As a friend there wrote, "it's a handy central location for storing stuff, continent wise." I think that should be the city's new slogan!

Of course, there wasn't any guarantee I'd actually wind up back in Duluth in October--I might try for a winter job in the park, I might fall in love with Montana, I might get eaten by a bear (more on that later)--but I wanted the stuff under my control and in a location where I could sell it easily if needed because I'm sure not going to get rich working in Yellowstone for minimum wage with lots of deductions. And trying to coordinate shipping time, my travel time, the weekend, UPS's limited open hours for picking up boxes, and getting them to a storage place were all among the reasons I planned to stay so long in Duluth, along with the good feeling of being home and seeing the Lake. Not to mention the complications of doing all this while not having an address or checking account!

Now it turns out I may just be putting my stuff in storage here in Massachusetts until things become a little simpler and settled. My grandfather's house has just been sold (I've often been missing both him and my time there even though it drove me crazy at the time), so although nothing is certain, I should be able to escape selling plasma, Thoreau, or Abbey for food this fall. Having to come back here at some point to get my stuff doesn't thrill me, but it seems like it will be much easier. It also has the advantage of freeing me from extra things to stress about in the next few weeks, including my time in Duluth. Not being particularly an adventurer or embracer of change, I'll be doing plenty of stressing about the basics.

I know there are going to be some things I'll miss while I'm at Yellowstone. I think the biggest one is going to be a library. Along with the books I review here, I read (or at least look over) a lot of others--mystery, fantasy, literary fiction, nonfiction--and libraries are my means of doing so because they aren't books I want to own. I already know of 9 books coming out during these next few months which I'd normally be getting from a library. So for the next few months I'll just have to hope there will be good free books available through Amazon's Vine program. Incidentally, my review of McKibben's new book has been raking in votes and has pushed me into the top 2500 reviewers for the first time. Not bad considering I've seen people ranked over 6,000,000, but I think I'm going to drop right back down because I'm getting negative votes for not liking a book about Martin Luther King's assassination.

Along with libraries, I expect to be missing a lot of good food. Although vegetarian options are said to be available at all meals, my expectations for what those options are going to be are pretty low. That's one of the reasons I'm spending a few nights in Bozeman--so I can eat what I want when I want. I've made a list of restaurants there, along with a place which sells many varieties of single malt Scotch. I'll be having a Laphroaig to salute the big sky.

I'll be missing my long hair and bushy beard, not only because they present a more accurate picture of who I am, but because at the moment, hidden by my hair, I'm growing what I presume is a new cyst in the same spot in my neck where I had a large one removed 30 years ago. I'm not concerned about it medically--over the years I've had lumps removed from arm, leg, and foot, along with the one from the neck, and have been carrying around at least four more for years. Maybe they're from all the mercury I played with as a kid. Anyway, my bigger concern is whether this small new one is going to keep growing to the point where I'll get self-conscious about it and an employer so concerned with hair length will have a half-Frankenstein on their hands instead of a hairy old guy.

Privacy, yep, forget about that one. I'll have at least one roommate and a bathroom down the hall. And related, but maybe even worse, is solitude. I'm someone who needs alone time to recharge and recover after dealing with people. Not sure how much luck I'll have finding any of that in the area where I'll be which is why a couple other locations I considered better suited for quick get-away walks were higher on my list of where I wanted to work. But there were places lower on my list also.

And finally, I expect to be missing oxygen way up there. Another reason to stay in Bozeman for a few days to start getting used to the altitude. And according to the NPS site, most of the tourist spots in my location don't open until a week after I get there, so I'm hoping for a semi-relaxing week of training and exploration before the crowds arrive.

Of course, I'm hoping to not miss a lot in Yellowstone also, such as bison, elk, cougars, and a variety of bears and canines. And if I do get et, consider this my suicide note and last wishes. Don't kill the critter; I made her/him do it.

Monday, April 19, 2010

All Hail Eyjafjallajokull!

I rather like seeing this natural reminder of where humans really stand in the big picture. You probably could have guessed that. But I'm also starting to really like the name. I look forward to seeing it in a crossword puzzle some day.

Profits and travel are being disrupted. No doubt there's a mad scientist somewhere working on a plan. Lots of international folks didn't make it here to run in today's Boston Marathon--maybe a U.S. resident will win for the first time in a quarter century.

Speaking of the big picture, there are humans standing insignificantly in a few of these.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Best of Greentangle 2008

I haven't looked at 2009's posts yet, but I'm confident 2008 was the peak year for this blog. It was the only full year writing in my home in Duluth, and offers a mix of issues and reflective posts before the decline of 2009. So here goes.

Why does my heart feel so bad? Vegetarianism and the Peaceable Kingdom DVD--by far, my most Googled post

All the World's a Stage... Ranting about human-nature alienation

From Edward Abbey to Zulu War Rituals Plugging a great encyclopedia

No Way Home
Important book on migration

Spring Snow Celebrating my favorite weather (and music)

Squirrels Remembering

Books and Cars A carfree life

Locavores and Vegetarians
Why I don't eat animals

Serving My Country
Miltary madness, ecological wisdom

It's Not the Heat, It's the Stupidity
Ecological madness

Rewriting the Past Stream of consciousness from a long ago cafe

Lists Just what it sounds like

Wolves: Cinematic, Political, Biological, Cultural
Dancing through the years, with photos

To Interfere or Not to Interfere
Managing nature

A Sacred Diet? Plants and animals (and Palin)

Alex & Irene, P & I
Parrot tales, aka I'm sorry...come here

Hiking in Duluth III On the beach

Thar They Blow! Whales or justices?

Rambling Through the Dwindling Days Nearing the End

Dave Foreman and Earth First! Meeting the man, and a little history

The Clock is Ticking Overpopulation--according to the link at the end, there are 65,000,000 more people on the planet than when I wrote the post

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Thoreau Society Annual Gathering Program

I've been thinking about making a trip to Concord this week but haven't had the energy. From where I am now, going to Concord is a long and expensive day--a total of four commuter trains for the round trip and a lot of walking once I get there. Well, it's not as long and expensive as it would be for most of you, but still more than I want to deal with considering how many times I've already been there in the past.

Since I don't think you'll be getting any Concord photos from me, I thought I'd pass on the link to the program for this July's gathering so you can see the mix of talks and hikes which make up the four days. I've always had a good time when I've gone in the past but will be busy elsewhere this year.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Endangered from Sea to Shining Sea

From out in the Atlantic, here is a video of North Atlantic Right Whales.

And near the Pacific, here are some photos at top and bottom of the page of a Condor which has just been treated for lead poisoning for the sixth time. There is also a great photo of a Burrowing Owl burrowed down there.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Best of Greentangle 2007

What do you think of the new look? I switched to it primarily because I wanted to be able to get two small photos next to each other in posts and that wasn't working with the old template. I have noticed that the changes have screwed up the text and paragraph spacing on some old posts, some of which I'm fixing as I find them.

I'm finding them because I'm working on a blog project of which this post is the first example. I'm going to do a post listing my favorite posts for each year, and then I'll be able to simply post links to those few posts in the sidebar rather than a long list. I've also added a list of my favorite book-related posts to the sidebar.

So, here's 2007, a short half year to get started. We'll all find out together if I have the stamina to finish this project.

What's a greentangle? What is this blog going to be about?

Hiking in Duluth
A walk in the urban wilderness

Bye bye, Bubba The life and death of a zoo polar bear

Batting 2nd, HD Thoreau Thoreau and baseball, or baseball and Thoreau

Ecoblog Books and activities for connecting with nature

Sanctuary For farm animals and for me

Developing a Rant
No more buildings

Sea Shepherd: The Whale Warriors
A book review and more

Friday, April 9, 2010

Arnold Arboretum

Yesterday, I visited a couple towns where I used to live. After selling some books in Brookline, I went to Jamaica Plain and had lunch at Centre Street Cafe, scene of many brunches in the old days.

Then I spent a couple hours wandering around Arnold Arboretum.

Wanna take a closer look?

Hemlock Hill used to be my favorite part of the arboretum. But since the arrival of the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid, there is too much sunlight hitting too many stumps. Most of it is too painful to photograph, so I settled for a sign.

And this view of Boston's Back Bay from the top of the hill.

At first glance, I thought this was a very strange mutation.

Eh, too much flora, we need a duck.

Long ago I used to live here, a couple blocks away from the arboretum.

I had the bottom floor with three women upstairs, two of them sisters. After expressing interest in one of the sisters, I realized it was the other sister I liked. I felt weird about the whole thing, so I moved half a block to here

which at the time had the advantage of being on a dirt road. Once the pavement comes, there goes the neighborhood.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Really, the End is Near!

I'm just not sure which is a stronger omen: the fact that Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann are considered leaders, or that it's the first week of April and I'm already walking around with a farmer's tan. They gave away 11,000 free tickets--"Take that, liberals!" To think I used to consider women the superior gender. Well, I'm doing all I can to delay the apocalypse; I rolled up my sleeves to my shoulders while i was out today.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Birds and Boxes

Took a little walk round Stony Brook this morning.

Some of these are quite blurry because I was using the digital zoom without a tripod. I left out the worst even though it cost some critters.

OK, this one's not a bird or a box. Hopefully, it's not so blurry that you were confused about that.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Indulging Myself (You Needn't Follow)

A few evenings ago, as I was walking in the darkest of dusk, beside an area of tall trees the town is eager to "develop" because of its location near an interstate highway exit, never mind the vacancies in the already existing adjacent office building, and actually you might call it two areas of tall trees divided by a stone wall, oaks on one side, white pine on the other, a perfect example for land use history analysis, I say I was walking, rambling perhaps, in the abnormal warmth of the day reduced to the more pleasant abnormal warmth of the evening, evening being my personal favorite portion of the cycle, when near the top of a twisty oak I did see settle in a mighty big bird which in the deepening gloom was just a colorless silhouette slightly darker than the background and I was struck still and stood asking myself or more accurately the bird Who the hell are you, a raptor, no your neck is much much too long, a heron, no your tail isn't a heron tail, and as I'd struck myself a good blow to the temple earlier in the day, I wondered if I might be concussed and hallucinating this big twisty dark bird among the big twisty dark branches of the tall oak against the darkening sky, none of us knowing how soon they/we might all be gone, sold, sold out, sold down the flooded river, sold for a few pieces of impure silver, but for the moment the bird was there, but I later realized out of the places where I'd seen, enjoyed seeing these big black birds by, in, the water, drying outstretched wings, but never roosting, and so out of my historical context cormorant never crossed my mind until I researched later and realized it was the only possibility but sociable bird where was your cohort, killed by the humans for eating their fish?

Today I received confirmation that my future employer has received the reference letter they needed (and a glowing letter it is, based on my volunteering days watching the falcons, which makes me myself glow too and reminds me that I'll miss them [falcons, coworkers paid and free, tourists, homeless, marathoners, even children] mightily this June, and wish that someday before I die someone will pay me a bit for doing what I love instead of for what I hate) and that they will be picking me up in the nearby big city (Population 40,000) on the agreed date and at the agreed time and so I reserved a cheap motel room in the big city for three nights prior, to enjoy my last nights with a room of my own, to begin acclimating to elevation,
to stretch out after too much bus time, to eat my last possibly decent vegetarian food for months (though vegetarian options at every meal are promised in writing, I know I'm not going to see seitan or tempeh and will be surprised if tofu even makes an appearance--I'm expecting to be living on lots of veggie burgers, pasta, salad bars, and sides of vegetables).

The current plan is still to spend a few days in Duluth en route and meet my shipped stuff there and put it in storage. So now I know when I'll be leaving Duluth (May 25); I just need to figure out when I'm getting there!

Friday, April 2, 2010

GHOst in the Pines

The crossing

Penthouse apartment

Waiting at the buffet

Who put that football in the tree?

You'll pretty much have to take my word for it--that's a great horned owl. Further proof that I need a lot more experience with this camera--I watched two flights among the trees and it didn't occur to me until miles later that I could have shot video, and recorded the calls I heard later. Of course, I haven't actually read the manual section on video yet. I'm still trying to learn to crawl by using automatic settings but reviews say the camera takes much better photos if you actually know what you're doing. I hope by the time a griz is charging and roaring, I'll have this all figured out.

At least the owl kept the rodents still.

Adventures in tree climbing for little creatures

There were lots of impossible to photograph turtles.

One of Henry's chairs?

Almost a year ago, I praised Some of the Dead are Still Breathing by Charles Bowden. Last night I got an email announcing that Orion magazine has named it the 2010 Orion Book Award Winner. And in my recent review of Bill McKibben's new book, I mentioned his passing comment about vegetarianism. Orion also has an article by him titled The Only Way to Have a Cow.

Little dog

Mmmm, that was tasty!