Snow Geese and the Last Dandelion


I may have witnessed an event that happens only once in a million years, a dandelion in bloom at the same time the snow geese have arrived in the valley for the winter. On Monday we spotted snow geese for the first time this season. They were out on the flats between Samish Island and Bay View. Ribbons of them were still flying in off of Padilla Bay. The swans will be following them soon.


Speaking of dandelions, they are evidently a hotbed of controversy. Some botanists take the position that there are some 2,000 species of dandelions, while others put their feet down at just 60 species. I can only imagine the heated discussions botanists have arguing their opposing positions. 1,000 species versus 900 species is a quibble not worth a fuss. 2,000 versus 60 species is a row worth sticking your dukes up for.

No doubt friendships have been smashed, voices raised, possibly even fists flung in these taxanomic squabbles.

Oh well, a dandelion is a dandelion is a dandelion, unless it is a cat’s ear, coltsfoot, or hawkweed. Somewhere in the library stacks of a university is a spirited thesis, dripping with scorn and sarcasm, on the subject of dandelion classification a botanist has poured their heart into. It would be a good read by the fireplace on a dark, cold winter night. With the right director and cast, it could be made into an Oscar worthy movie.



The rains have stopped for now. The fall colors are lovely this year. With snow geese in the valley, winter is not far away.

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Autumn is Just as Colorful as Spring


Autumn is just as colorful as spring. The sun was out a few days ago, shining on the last comfrey in bloom. In the spring comfrey blooms against a backdrop of new green. In the fall its purple flowers shine against a backdrop of fiery red leaves.



Arugula and shungiku 春菊 are still in green in the garden. How much longer will they grow?



This is what makes living in the woods worth every day. The spectacle of a maple ablaze in the woods is a welcome sight each time I come home.

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First Frost


It’s not unusual to have the first frost during the second week of October. Today the skies were cloudless all day, from before sunrise and even now with the stars filling the night sky.


The first frost is a warning to hurry up and get all the garlic planted, start new compost piles, pick the last of the pears, and start raking the falling leaves, of which there is no end.


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How Did I Get So Lucky?


How many are able to step out of their kitchen, take a short walk into the woods, and come home with a plate full of fresh shaggy parasol mushrooms for dinner? Not many. How did I get so lucky?


The fall rains have brought a bounty of stinging nettles. Nettle shoots, fresh mushrooms, and homemade miso make for a hearty creamy soup for supper.



The Asian Pears 梨 are big and ripe. They took a few weeks longer than last year to ripen. Next year I will bag them early on the tree so they ripen earlier.

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Who Eats Apples?


Who eats apples? The question is more like who doesn’t eat apples. The Flickers and Stellar Jays joyfully peck at the apples we haven’t picked. I don‘t mind sharing. There are more apples than we can eat.

What I didn’t expect was to find wasps eating apples. The holes the Flickers and Jays make turn into all you can eat buffets for the wasps, though technically, I can’t call it a buffet. The dictionary says a buffet consists of several dishes and here we have a single dish, apple.





More Shaggy Parasols keep popping out of the forest floor. This is quite the season for them this year. We’re not the only ones eating them. I see spots on the larger ones where forest creatures have been nibbling.

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October Sky


After a first of October with the bluest of skies, the stars are out tonight, satellites and shooting stars among them. The nippy mornings are bringing out the fall colors.




The bees and wasps are having their last meals. In about a month frost will put an end to most of their lives. There is a sadness to fall, a sense of loss at seeing the plants succumb to the coming winter, saying good bye to the song birds, watching the leaves fall. Planting garlic and flower bulbs is comforting. I can imagine their strong shoots bursting out of the soft soil as I bury them.



Each day old Sven is still alive is a good day. I’m sure he thinks that getting old is for the birds too.

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Still Alive


This morning I couldn’t resist plucking the Shaggy Parasol from under a cedar in the woods.



It’s a treasure to have such a delicacy pop up on this property. Around it are a number of smaller ones, which should be ready in a few days.

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