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Archive for the ‘River’ Category

Frog-monumental Event  

(photo from shopsnohomish.com)

How come I never heard about this before?!

This is too cool. Out Washington (the state) way it seems they use a frog instead of a groundhog to predict the weather:

Snohomish Slew, the Meteorologist Frognosticator extraordinaire and mighty small hero to all the weather weary’ “Gets the Jump” on Punxsutawney Phil and his shadowy claim to fame.”

Bonus points for you if you can work “frognosticator” into a sentence at work tomorrow! Of course, you will want to read about the legend of the frog (which involves Bigfoot, of course).

It is a little known fact, but I have a modest collection of all things froggie (books, figurines, even a frog-shaped purse). Yet, this woman trumps my paltry holdings with over 9,000 collectible (collectible? frog trading cards, perhaps?) frogs.

Want to know what Snohomish Slew predicted? Check his Facebook page – -hey, everyone is on Facebook!- – here.

But the best news is that they no longer release this invasive bullfrog into the wild. Here’s a fun article about that with a great line about how the frog compares to a famous groundhog: “How do we know that Phil doesn’t have a secret frog in his pocket?”

So true!

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But first…a nap!

I just arrived home from a wonderful vacation trip down to visit my father in Vero Beach, Florida. If all goes well, I will have some great photos and stories to share. But the shock of returning to 20 degree weather from 80 degrees is just too much for me right now. (I know, you weep for me, don’t you…).

So, please enjoy these 2 cool webcams in this link to one of the COOLEST places to visit when in Florida:

The Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce

(you will have to scroll down the page a bit)

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Hodgepodge of Photos

Here are a bunch of photos that I was going to write a blog post around but never found the gumption to actually do so. Enjoy the randomness!

July 4th Sunset

July 4th Sunset

It kept changing in intensity.

It kept changing in intensity.

We were up high for a good view.

We were up high for a good view.

Pretty nice view, too.

Pretty nice view, too.

Saw this young starling peeking out in our front yard tree.

Saw this young starling peeking out in our front yard tree.

baby-starling-edited

Time for dinner.

Time for dinner.

We call our resident pigeon Barry White due to his soulfull sound.

We call our resident pigeon Barry White due to his soulfull sound.

My camera doesn't do justice to this isopod.

My camera doesn't do justice to this isopod.

You can't tell in this photo, but the snail was blue with an almost translucent shell.

You can't tell in this photo, but the snail was blue with an almost translucent shell.

 

It's very flat here but it is beautiful in summer....sigh.

It's very flat here but it is beautiful in summer....sigh.

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So, in these troubled economic times, we all have to tighten our belts….dig down deep and make do or do without…which is why, and it all makes perfect sense, we bought a boat.

Not just ANY boat, mind you. A classic wooden boat. It was an offer from a friend that we couldn’t refuse!

OK, that’s a lie. We could have refused. We should have refused. We should have run away screaming, had we had any sense whatsoever. But, we were in love lust from the minute we saw it.

We are such consumers. Sigh.

And that is why we find ourselves (well, mostly my husband but I do help a bit) out in the garage every night working on the damn thing. It is beautiful. And it is a huge, sucking chest wound on our pocketbook!

I can’t wait to get out on a river with it,but I do keep thinking of that Talking Heads line: “And you may say to yourself, ‘My God, what have I done?!'”

7/28/08 Edited to Add: You can see the ongoing boat progress here at my husband’s blog.

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Big Fish

Took a trip to one of my favorite places: The 577 Foundation

Usually, this is something that just the dog and I do every weekend (girl time!), but we were happy to have Greg along with us this time. The dog is bonkers about the geodesic biodome there (maybe all the rich, oxygenated air?), so we went in to feed the fish. There are some real monster koi in there…about 2 feet long! And, boy are they piggy (wait..can a fish be piggy…) eaters.

bear on bridge     One of the staff says that they have a real problem with people touching the koi. They often inadvertently rub off the protective “slime” or mucus from the scales of the fish which leads to infection on the fish (NOT people, silly) and can cause lesions to form. Lesson #1: Don’t Pet the Fish!

In case you needed a koi ID sheet, you can find one here. Selling and maintaining koi is a big business and they even have plastic surgery for fish:

“Fish diagnostics range from a basic exam ($40), blood work ($60) and X-rays ($55) to the advanced: ultrasound ($175), CAT scans ($250). Veterinarians tube-feed fish. They give fish enemas, fix broken bones with plates and screws, remove impacted eggs, treat scoliosis and even do fish plastic surgery — anything from glass-eye implantation to ”surgical pattern improvement,” with scale transplantation, scale tattooing or unsightly-scale removal.”

You should read the full article…it is truly amazing stuff! What I did not know was that koi are also considered nuisance / invasive species:

Koi have been accidentally or deliberately released into the wild in every continent except Antarctica. They greatly increase the turbidity of the water because they are constantly stirring up the substrate. This makes waterways unattractive, reduces the abundance of aquatic plants, and can render the water unsuitable for swimming or drinking even by livestock. In some countries, koi have caused so much damage to waterways that vast amounts of money and effort have been spent trying to eradicate them, largely unsuccessfully. Because of the danger to the environment koi possession is illegal in many parts of America, South America and Australia.

Good thing these are kept inside in a pond. We also went out to the river overlook and even though it was bitter cold we saw this fellow scurrying along:

possum A Virginia opossum! And quite a robust looking one, too. Generally, the ones we see around here have stumpy tails and mangled ears from loosing bits to frostbite. I used to volunteer at a wildlife rehabilitation center and the joke was: “Why did the chicken cross the road? To prove to the opossum that it could be done!” If you see roadkill, chances are that it’s a possum…

Should you feel like becoming a card-carrying member of the National Opossum Society (yes, there is one) you can get a snazzy bumper sticker along the lines of “I Brake for Possums” or this fantastic picture only a mother could love.

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A River Ran Through It, Alright

One of the most dreaded statements you will hear from someone is, “I had the strangest dream last night…”

Because you know that it will be followed by a long, rambling and disjointed tale that you are going to have to pretend to listen to. This is because of The Dream Rule: While we find our own dreams fascinating, amusing, disturbing, etc…we could give a rat’s arse about those of other people (this is directly related to The Driver Rule: The driver in the car in front of me is driving way too slow, while the driver of the car behind me is a speed maniac on my bumper!)

OK, having said all of that, I’m still going to write about this dream I had.

Mainly, because it was a very specific nature dream: I was sitting on the banks of an impossibly blue river watching clouds blow by really fast overhead. I woke up from the dream and I had a name stuck in my mind: “Una”

So, out of curiosity, I looked up the Una River and lo and behold….there is one!

It looked just like what I saw in my dream. The crazy blue water? Due to limestone in suspension. Here is an explanation from PBS’s Land of Falling Lakes (which is in Croatia, not too far away):

“As water travels through the limestone, it dissolves the surrounding stone and bubbles to the surface heavily laden with suspended lime (calcium carbonate). The water then flows through a natural filter of moss and plants that grow in a luxurious carpet along stream banks. Under the right conditions — water and air temperatures play a key role — the suspended lime is deposited on the plants, entombing them in a hard glaze. Eventually, the lime-encrusted plants petrify, and the entire mass turns to a rock that geologists call travertine. Even small animals can become entrapped in the “living” stone. Then, new mosses grow atop the travertine and the process begins again.”

Cool, huh! (Incidentally, I really want that DVD…hint, hint) Here is a map showing the river’s watershed region.

There is a movement to get the Una listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage list, as it supports some unique and rare species and is (currently) relatively unpolluted. Check out this grassroots organization which boasts:

“The Una River is not unique only because of its unrepeatable beauty, but for being the only river in the world that has:

– ecological movement of children Unski smaragdi (Una emeralds), ecological alphabet, ecological identity card, ecological bon ton, ecological parliament of children, ecological town of children – Bihac.

“Ecological bon ton”?! Well, whatever that is, there are lots of good reasons to help preserve this river. It says it is home to the cave dwelling, sightless newt Proteus (which may be a candidate for Garfman to list…)and other unique organisms. (On a side note we’ll just label as “down the rabbit hole,” here is a long but interesting article you might want to read, as it does mention the newt and you can spend hours searching around this site!)

All this from one dream….

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