Showing posts from June, 2015

Musings: Missing Washington

I miss Washington. I didn't move. I still live here in the Evergreen State and always will. Yet I still miss it, but more in the sense that it has left me, rather than me leaving it.

The Washington I'm living in now is very different from the one I grew up with. My familiar Washington had cold winters that brought snow to the mountains, skiers to the slopes, and occasionally treated us kids to a snow day here in the lowlands. We had springs that were green and wet, and actually required one to own a rain jacket. Our summers were mild, hitting 90 degrees was almost unheard of, and "a day without rain" was a rare occurrence.

But this year, August has arrived in June. Rivers are at late-summer levels right now, and on a daily basis hit new record lows for this time of year. Blackberry bushes are blooming and already sporting tiny green berries. Distant Cascade and Olympic mountains are dark and hazy, their slopes bare of brilliant snow. The landscape is so tinder-dry …

World Environment Day 2015

Today is World Environment Day 2015, a day designated by the United Nations for calling attention to, and inspiring action on, the environmental issues affecting our planet and its inhabitants. Previous years have focused on food waste and rising sea levels. This year's theme is a hefty one, dealing with the issue of sustainability and our global society's voracious over-consumption of natural resources:
Seven billion dreams. One planet. Consume with care.
After reading the theme statement above, I had to stop and let it soak in for a few moments. That last line speaks directly to the theme of sustainable living, but those first two lines underline why consuming with care is so important. There are seven billion people on this planet; each a living, breathing person with hopes and dreams and needs. Because we have only one planet to share, it is our responsibility to act with care while realizing that whatever damage we inflict upon the planet, we also inflict upon our neighb…

Deciduous Determinations: Learn to identify these PNW trees

At long last, I've been able to write this follow-up to my Conifer Confusion article, which ended up being the most-read post on my blog to date! Thanks to all for reading, and if you haven't checked it out yet, click the link above and learn how to identify three of the most common coniferous (evergreen) trees found in the Pacific Northwest lowland forests.

Now we'll turn our attention to a few of the most common deciduous trees native to Pacific Northwest forests. The reason I had to wait so long to put this post together is because deciduous trees lose their leaves in the fall, and I had to wait until they were fully leafed out again this spring before I could run out and snap some photos to help with identification. Looking at photos of leafless trees just wouldn't have been as exciting.

Let's get started with perhaps the most easily identifiable deciduous tree species, and one that also happens to be my personal favorite:

Bigleaf (Broadleaf) Maple

When you see…