Lodge Life


As someone who’s spent the last 20 years living near the Atlantic Ocean, I sometimes forget that there are other places people go each summer. How amazing is it that Nancy Hoguet and her brother spent their summers at a family hunting lodge in the Austria, wearing drindls and lederhosen no less?! I loved reading her story in the latest issue of Architectural Digest and peeking into the lodge built in the 1870’s by her great-grandfather Baron Albert von Rothschild. Makes most beach houses look like little shacks.

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10 Things I Love Sunday

Hi there.

1. My friend Erin (aka Sunwoven) has just released a collaborative line of pillows. I love them. If you’re looking for patterned pillows, take a peep.

2. Summer is officially here. We’re going on family vacation next week, and I promised my nieces and nephews I would bring ALL my pool floats (and I added this one to the collection). I’m glad someone else appreciates my obsession. Haha.

3. I just bought this dress and it’s my new summer uniform.

4. I love that Anthropologie added an “Ingredient Conscious” category to the beauty section of their website. It’s fun to just browse, and they carry some of my favorite green beauty brands.

5. Obsessed with this woman’s Instagram series with her two daughters. So good!

6. I really like with this unique mirror. Should I get one for our hallway?

7. I have been on a MAJOR health kick this summer. I think I’m going to order this cookbook. Any other healthy cookbooks or blogs or Instagram accounts you recommend?

8. I am totally obsessed with following this renovation.

9. For those of you with baby girls, this is the BEST collaboration ever. I am a huge fan of Merrilee (and of matching—haha). So in love!

10. OK… and last but not least (this is actually the most important thing!) IS ANYONE WATCHING TWIN PEAKS? And, if so, what do you think?

We are big fans and we are watching and really into the new season. We went in with pretty low expectations and have been super impressed.

Also—we now have a Twin Peaks coffee mug and t-shirt!!

Oh and since we recently changed my Pinterest into a biz account for ABM, I have also started a new personal account—feel free to follow (but be warned it’s mostly baby clothing at the moment haha).

ps. I know someone will ask where the poster is from in my photo above… here you go.

I hope you have a great Sunday! Jeremy and I have been real busy lately, so I think we’re going to take the day off and have some quality time.  xx -Elsie

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Blending People

(Picture from here.)

Human beings are biased towards themselves.

We then to think of the world as reflections of ourselves. We project our nature on our pets, our automobiles, our weapons, the landscape and fictional entities. Sometimes I think we are incapable of separating ourselves from the world.

But we force three qualities together that are completely separable because they are bound together in us. These qualities are sentienceconsciousness and intelligence.

Let me define my terms.

Sentience is the ability to feel and experience. It is the capacity to suffer and feel joy. Consciousness is the ability to be aware of ourselves as an entity. While sentience allows us to suffer, it is consciousness that determines that we are suffering as opposed to anyone else.

Which leaves intelligence as the ability to learn, retain knowledge and apply that knowledge. It is the ability to perceive the relationships between things.

In human beings, these are all mixed up. We are thinking, feeling beings that are aware of ourselves. Consequently, we blend these things when we think about things other than human beings. Bacteria, fungi, ants and bees function intelligently. Are they sentient? Are they conscious? Rats are sentient and demonstrably intelligent. Are they conscious?

Working with vertebrates, we start to see a difference between them regarding these qualities. That tetra has some intelligence– intelligence is, in some ways, more easily demonstrable than the other two qualities. We have mechanisms we can use to test it. How can we test consciousness and sentience?

We can create avoidance situations for even lower animals– a grid with an electric shock. The animal is shocked, behaves as if it find the experience is unpleasant, and moves off the grid. If a planaria exhibits the same behavior, is it sentient? Does it suffer?

In vertebrates, we can make an association based on how like us the animal is. Dogs and cats are clearly sentient and conscious. They can apparently model other animals’ behavior and change their own accordingly. It is, therefore, reasonable to presume if they can model other animal behaviors they can model their own– a prerequisite, I think, for consciousness.

Anybody who’s seen a dog suffer knows they’re sentient.

But when we drop down to frogs, are they conscious? The electric shock test still holds so we can intuit they might have sentience. They exhibit some intelligence in their interactions with the world– not much, but some. But are they conscious? Does that green frog over there know who it is? I suspect not.

Do ants and flies? Is suspect that not only are ants and flies not conscious but they maybe non-sentient as well. Ants might flee a noxious substance but do they do it out of pain or is this an avoidance circuit of some sort, devoid of actual feeling?

These are important questions as we start to create truly intelligent systems. I think consciousness derives from the mechanism in the brain that models the behavior of other agents. One way– perhaps the only way earth organisms have created– is to model oneself as interacting with those agents. I suspect here– the modeling of oneself– is the origin of the little homunculus inside that is consciousness.

It is a common trope in SF that systems of sufficient complexity become conscious. Sometimes they become sentient as well. Neither of these propositions is inevitable or even likely. I think consciousness in organisms was selected for just like any other phenotype. Therefore, it derives from an organism’s heritage and has value that is then supported at significant cost. The human brain uses up to 20% of the calories absorbed by the organism. It is unreasonable for that 20% to be preserved if it is merely a parasitical accident.

We must be prepared for artificial intelligences that have no consciousness or sentience. Or AIs that have only consciousness. Or have only sentience. Humans in their design select for intelligent systems. We like smart cars, phones and airplanes.

The Human Brain Project has, as part of its research, the full simulation of human brains in silicon. Other animals will also be modeled. Is a rat modeled in silicon sentient? Does it suffer?

I think that’s likely.

Is a human brain modeled in silicon conscious? I think that’s likely as well.

In 2014, the K supercomputer was used to model 1 second of human brain activity. It took 40 minutes and modeled only 1% of the actual neuron and synapse population. What is 1% of a human being? Is it enough to experience consciousness and sentience? Was that one second an eternity of pain for the equivalent of a severely coginitively impared human being?

Forget our moral obligations to an AI, what are our moral obligations to a simulated human being? A simulated dog?

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The Reluctant Traveler is Still Home

(Warning! Scary pictures not appropriate for entomophobics)

My husband and I think of ourselves as fairly knowledgeable organic gardeners. When considering a topic for this blog, I thought I would write about bugs. However when I browsed through our small library of gardening books, I found a gap. We don’t have even one good book about bugs.

Any recommendations?

I suspect everyone knows about ladybugs, praying mantis, lacewings and nematodes. And adorable little pollinators.

Mason Bee

Yellow Bumble Bee

But I want to write about another group, maybe not so popular with people in general.

Wasps. Spiders. Dragonflies.

Let’s talk about wasps. This is a huge family of insects, my Field Guide to Insects and Spiders in North America tells me. (At least we have this one book). I mean there’s a lot. They belong to the order Hymenoptera (nice name for a character in a fantasy novel, I think—the Wasp Queen). Their relations are ants and bees. The book describes hymentopteran anatomy in great detail, and I won’t do that here, but at one point the book says that, outside of termites who are not in the family, hymenopterans are the “only truly social insects”.

Maybe that’s why my husband and I like them.

From childhood I was taught to not be afraid of “bees”, a name people use for any buzzing, flying insect that looks rather gold or yellow and is not a fly. The credo was, “don’t bother them and they won’t bother you.” Anyone who has been stung by a yellow jacket or a bald-faced hornet, as I have, learns a healthy respect for their personal space.

I learned this one day in our back garden, a chunk of flat land behind our house just south of Seattle, bordering the Duwamish River. We’d planted a small orchard of mostly quince, comice pear, apricots and medlars. One lovely summer day I was in the orchard battling one of our enemy plants—bindweed—when I felt a sharp burn on my wrist above my garden glove. I froze, then saw, hovering roughly 12 inches from my face, floating back and forth, a buzzing flying insect. Then, in the gloom of the quince tree, glued to branches and leaves, the biggest wasp next I had ever seen. The size of a basketball.

 

I obeyed the warnings and left immediately.

No one chased me. It was enough that I had left the vicinity.

The Internet told me these were bald-faced hornets, who are not really hornets and related to yellow jackets. It made me ask what is the difference between a wasp and a hornet? If a yellow jacket is a wasp, then who is a hornet? The New Oxford American Dictionary was not helpful, showing an example of a bald-faced hornet in the definition of hornet. It also told me that a wasp is a social stinging insect.

Back to the Internet.

As you might think, there’s a lot of information on the Internet. YouTube provided a clue: hornets are wasps, but not all wasps are hornets. Hornets are the biggest guys, and this group includes, depending on which expert you listen to, yellow jackets and bald-faced hornets. Their sting is the worst too.

(Caution. Scary picture follows)

And I learned even more, shortly after my encounter with the bald-faced scout. We’d heard from other organic gardening friends that there was this guy who would come to your home and capture the hornets to sell to serum-makers, suppliers of antidotes to insect stings in people with extreme hypersensitivity to wasp stings. I don’t mean these are people super nervous around wasps—a lot of people are—but some people have overwhelming histamine releases to an insect sting, enough to jeopardize their lives.

I finally got him on the phone, and he proceeded to talk me out of destroying the nest.

“Just think what an abundance of insect life you have in your garden, enough to support a giant colony like that. You don’t use pesticides. Everyone benefits!”

He also said he had all the bald-faced hornet venom he needed that year.

So we stayed out of the orchard that summer. As the venom-guy had predicted, the hornets disappeared when cold weather came. As did the yellow jackets living in the ground near our house in one of our driveways (the one we rarely use, fortunately).

I respect the credo of live and let live. The hornets probably came back for a while, always building their mega paper nest in a different location. What saddens me now is that, in the years since that bald-faced scout warned me away, I think the hornets are gone. Seattle is under extreme-growth pressure, and our once rural-ish neighborhood on the Duwamish is slowly disappearing under concrete and massive homes.

And people who spray.

I say, all you hornets and wasps—come on over. The orchard is still here. The quince still grow and we even have peaches now. And we don’t spray. At least, that’s something.

Share

Source: http://ift.tt/1eIlTf1

The Reluctant Traveler is Still Home

(Warning! Scary pictures not appropriate for entomophobics)

My husband and I think of ourselves as fairly knowledgeable organic gardeners. When considering a topic for this blog, I thought I would write about bugs. However when I browsed through our small library of gardening books, I found a gap. We don’t have even one good book about bugs.

Any recommendations?

I suspect everyone knows about ladybugs, praying mantis, lacewings and nematodes. And adorable little pollinators.

Mason Bee

Yellow Bumble Bee

But I want to write about another group, maybe not so popular with people in general.

Wasps. Spiders. Dragonflies.

Let’s talk about wasps. This is a huge family of insects, my Field Guide to Insects and Spiders in North America tells me. (At least we have this one book). I mean there’s a lot. They belong to the order Hymenoptera (nice name for a character in a fantasy novel, I think—the Wasp Queen). Their relations are ants and bees. The book describes hymentopteran anatomy in great detail, and I won’t do that here, but at one point the book says that, outside of termites who are not in the family, hymenopterans are the “only truly social insects”.

Maybe that’s why my husband and I like them.

From childhood I was taught to not be afraid of “bees”, a name people use for any buzzing, flying insect that looks rather gold or yellow and is not a fly. The credo was, “don’t bother them and they won’t bother you.” Anyone who has been stung by a yellow jacket or a bald-faced hornet, as I have, learns a healthy respect for their personal space.

I learned this one day in our back garden, a chunk of flat land behind our house just south of Seattle, bordering the Duwamish River. We’d planted a small orchard of mostly quince, comice pear, apricots and medlars. One lovely summer day I was in the orchard battling one of our enemy plants—bindweed—when I felt a sharp burn on my wrist above my garden glove. I froze, then saw, hovering roughly 12 inches from my face, floating back and forth, a buzzing flying insect. Then, in the gloom of the quince tree, glued to branches and leaves, the biggest wasp next I had ever seen. The size of a basketball.

 

I obeyed the warnings and left immediately.

No one chased me. It was enough that I had left the vicinity.

The Internet told me these were bald-faced hornets, who are not really hornets and related to yellow jackets. It made me ask what is the difference between a wasp and a hornet? If a yellow jacket is a wasp, then who is a hornet? The New Oxford American Dictionary was not helpful, showing an example of a bald-faced hornet in the definition of hornet. It also told me that a wasp is a social stinging insect.

Back to the Internet.

As you might think, there’s a lot of information on the Internet. YouTube provided a clue: hornets are wasps, but not all wasps are hornets. Hornets are the biggest guys, and this group includes, depending on which expert you listen to, yellow jackets and bald-faced hornets. Their sting is the worst too.

(Caution. Scary picture follows)

And I learned even more, shortly after my encounter with the bald-faced scout. We’d heard from other organic gardening friends that there was this guy who would come to your home and capture the hornets to sell to serum-makers, suppliers of antidotes to insect stings in people with extreme hypersensitivity to wasp stings. I don’t mean these are people super nervous around wasps—a lot of people are—but some people have overwhelming histamine releases to an insect sting, enough to jeopardize their lives.

I finally got him on the phone, and he proceeded to talk me out of destroying the nest.

“Just think what an abundance of insect life you have in your garden, enough to support a giant colony like that. You don’t use pesticides. Everyone benefits!”

He also said he had all the bald-faced hornet venom he needed that year.

So we stayed out of the orchard that summer. As the venom-guy had predicted, the hornets disappeared when cold weather came. As did the yellow jackets living in the ground near our house in one of our driveways (the one we rarely use, fortunately).

I respect the credo of live and let live. The hornets probably came back for a while, always building their mega paper nest in a different location. What saddens me now is that, in the years since that bald-faced scout warned me away, I think the hornets are gone. Seattle is under extreme-growth pressure, and our once rural-ish neighborhood on the Duwamish is slowly disappearing under concrete and massive homes.

And people who spray.

I say, all you hornets and wasps—come on over. The orchard is still here. The quince still grow and we even have peaches now. And we don’t spray. At least, that’s something.

Share

Source: http://ift.tt/1eIlTf1

The Reluctant Traveler is Still Home

(Warning! Scary pictures not appropriate for entomophobics)

My husband and I think of ourselves as fairly knowledgeable organic gardeners. When considering a topic for this blog, I thought I would write about bugs. However when I browsed through our small library of gardening books, I found a gap. We don’t have even one good book about bugs.

Any recommendations?

I suspect everyone knows about ladybugs, praying mantis, lacewings and nematodes. And adorable little pollinators.

Mason Bee

Yellow Bumble Bee

But I want to write about another group, maybe not so popular with people in general.

Wasps. Spiders. Dragonflies.

Let’s talk about wasps. This is a huge family of insects, my Field Guide to Insects and Spiders in North America tells me. (At least we have this one book). I mean there’s a lot. They belong to the order Hymenoptera (nice name for a character in a fantasy novel, I think—the Wasp Queen). Their relations are ants and bees. The book describes hymentopteran anatomy in great detail, and I won’t do that here, but at one point the book says that, outside of termites who are not in the family, hymenopterans are the “only truly social insects”.

Maybe that’s why my husband and I like them.

From childhood I was taught to not be afraid of “bees”, a name people use for any buzzing, flying insect that looks rather gold or yellow and is not a fly. The credo was, “don’t bother them and they won’t bother you.” Anyone who has been stung by a yellow jacket or a bald-faced hornet, as I have, learns a healthy respect for their personal space.

I learned this one day in our back garden, a chunk of flat land behind our house just south of Seattle, bordering the Duwamish River. We’d planted a small orchard of mostly quince, comice pear, apricots and medlars. One lovely summer day I was in the orchard battling one of our enemy plants—bindweed—when I felt a sharp burn on my wrist above my garden glove. I froze, then saw, hovering roughly 12 inches from my face, floating back and forth, a buzzing flying insect. Then, in the gloom of the quince tree, glued to branches and leaves, the biggest wasp next I had ever seen. The size of a basketball.

 

I obeyed the warnings and left immediately.

No one chased me. It was enough that I had left the vicinity.

The Internet told me these were bald-faced hornets, who are not really hornets and related to yellow jackets. It made me ask what is the difference between a wasp and a hornet? If a yellow jacket is a wasp, then who is a hornet? The New Oxford American Dictionary was not helpful, showing an example of a bald-faced hornet in the definition of hornet. It also told me that a wasp is a social stinging insect.

Back to the Internet.

As you might think, there’s a lot of information on the Internet. YouTube provided a clue: hornets are wasps, but not all wasps are hornets. Hornets are the biggest guys, and this group includes, depending on which expert you listen to, yellow jackets and bald-faced hornets. Their sting is the worst too.

(Caution. Scary picture follows)

And I learned even more, shortly after my encounter with the bald-faced scout. We’d heard from other organic gardening friends that there was this guy who would come to your home and capture the hornets to sell to serum-makers, suppliers of antidotes to insect stings in people with extreme hypersensitivity to wasp stings. I don’t mean these are people super nervous around wasps—a lot of people are—but some people have overwhelming histamine releases to an insect sting, enough to jeopardize their lives.

I finally got him on the phone, and he proceeded to talk me out of destroying the nest.

“Just think what an abundance of insect life you have in your garden, enough to support a giant colony like that. You don’t use pesticides. Everyone benefits!”

He also said he had all the bald-faced hornet venom he needed that year.

So we stayed out of the orchard that summer. As the venom-guy had predicted, the hornets disappeared when cold weather came. As did the yellow jackets living in the ground near our house in one of our driveways (the one we rarely use, fortunately).

I respect the credo of live and let live. The hornets probably came back for a while, always building their mega paper nest in a different location. What saddens me now is that, in the years since that bald-faced scout warned me away, I think the hornets are gone. Seattle is under extreme-growth pressure, and our once rural-ish neighborhood on the Duwamish is slowly disappearing under concrete and massive homes.

And people who spray.

I say, all you hornets and wasps—come on over. The orchard is still here. The quince still grow and we even have peaches now. And we don’t spray. At least, that’s something.

Share

Source: http://ift.tt/1eIlTf1

The Reluctant Traveler is Still Home

(Warning! Scary pictures not appropriate for entomophobics)

My husband and I think of ourselves as fairly knowledgeable organic gardeners. When considering a topic for this blog, I thought I would write about bugs. However when I browsed through our small library of gardening books, I found a gap. We don’t have even one good book about bugs.

Any recommendations?

I suspect everyone knows about ladybugs, praying mantis, lacewings and nematodes. And adorable little pollinators.

Mason Bee

Yellow Bumble Bee

But I want to write about another group, maybe not so popular with people in general.

Wasps. Spiders. Dragonflies.

Let’s talk about wasps. This is a huge family of insects, my Field Guide to Insects and Spiders in North America tells me. (At least we have this one book). I mean there’s a lot. They belong to the order Hymenoptera (nice name for a character in a fantasy novel, I think—the Wasp Queen). Their relations are ants and bees. The book describes hymentopteran anatomy in great detail, and I won’t do that here, but at one point the book says that, outside of termites who are not in the family, hymenopterans are the “only truly social insects”.

Maybe that’s why my husband and I like them.

From childhood I was taught to not be afraid of “bees”, a name people use for any buzzing, flying insect that looks rather gold or yellow and is not a fly. The credo was, “don’t bother them and they won’t bother you.” Anyone who has been stung by a yellow jacket or a bald-faced hornet, as I have, learns a healthy respect for their personal space.

I learned this one day in our back garden, a chunk of flat land behind our house just south of Seattle, bordering the Duwamish River. We’d planted a small orchard of mostly quince, comice pear, apricots and medlars. One lovely summer day I was in the orchard battling one of our enemy plants—bindweed—when I felt a sharp burn on my wrist above my garden glove. I froze, then saw, hovering roughly 12 inches from my face, floating back and forth, a buzzing flying insect. Then, in the gloom of the quince tree, glued to branches and leaves, the biggest wasp next I had ever seen. The size of a basketball.

 

I obeyed the warnings and left immediately.

No one chased me. It was enough that I had left the vicinity.

The Internet told me these were bald-faced hornets, who are not really hornets and related to yellow jackets. It made me ask what is the difference between a wasp and a hornet? If a yellow jacket is a wasp, then who is a hornet? The New Oxford American Dictionary was not helpful, showing an example of a bald-faced hornet in the definition of hornet. It also told me that a wasp is a social stinging insect.

Back to the Internet.

As you might think, there’s a lot of information on the Internet. YouTube provided a clue: hornets are wasps, but not all wasps are hornets. Hornets are the biggest guys, and this group includes, depending on which expert you listen to, yellow jackets and bald-faced hornets. Their sting is the worst too.

(Caution. Scary picture follows)

And I learned even more, shortly after my encounter with the bald-faced scout. We’d heard from other organic gardening friends that there was this guy who would come to your home and capture the hornets to sell to serum-makers, suppliers of antidotes to insect stings in people with extreme hypersensitivity to wasp stings. I don’t mean these are people super nervous around wasps—a lot of people are—but some people have overwhelming histamine releases to an insect sting, enough to jeopardize their lives.

I finally got him on the phone, and he proceeded to talk me out of destroying the nest.

“Just think what an abundance of insect life you have in your garden, enough to support a giant colony like that. You don’t use pesticides. Everyone benefits!”

He also said he had all the bald-faced hornet venom he needed that year.

So we stayed out of the orchard that summer. As the venom-guy had predicted, the hornets disappeared when cold weather came. As did the yellow jackets living in the ground near our house in one of our driveways (the one we rarely use, fortunately).

I respect the credo of live and let live. The hornets probably came back for a while, always building their mega paper nest in a different location. What saddens me now is that, in the years since that bald-faced scout warned me away, I think the hornets are gone. Seattle is under extreme-growth pressure, and our once rural-ish neighborhood on the Duwamish is slowly disappearing under concrete and massive homes.

And people who spray.

I say, all you hornets and wasps—come on over. The orchard is still here. The quince still grow and we even have peaches now. And we don’t spray. At least, that’s something.

Share

Source: http://ift.tt/1eIlTf1

The Reluctant Traveler is Still Home

(Warning! Scary pictures not appropriate for entomophobics)

My husband and I think of ourselves as fairly knowledgeable organic gardeners. When considering a topic for this blog, I thought I would write about bugs. However when I browsed through our small library of gardening books, I found a gap. We don’t have even one good book about bugs.

Any recommendations?

I suspect everyone knows about ladybugs, praying mantis, lacewings and nematodes. And adorable little pollinators.

Mason Bee

Yellow Bumble Bee

But I want to write about another group, maybe not so popular with people in general.

Wasps. Spiders. Dragonflies.

Let’s talk about wasps. This is a huge family of insects, my Field Guide to Insects and Spiders in North America tells me. (At least we have this one book). I mean there’s a lot. They belong to the order Hymenoptera (nice name for a character in a fantasy novel, I think—the Wasp Queen). Their relations are ants and bees. The book describes hymentopteran anatomy in great detail, and I won’t do that here, but at one point the book says that, outside of termites who are not in the family, hymenopterans are the “only truly social insects”.

Maybe that’s why my husband and I like them.

From childhood I was taught to not be afraid of “bees”, a name people use for any buzzing, flying insect that looks rather gold or yellow and is not a fly. The credo was, “don’t bother them and they won’t bother you.” Anyone who has been stung by a yellow jacket or a bald-faced hornet, as I have, learns a healthy respect for their personal space.

I learned this one day in our back garden, a chunk of flat land behind our house just south of Seattle, bordering the Duwamish River. We’d planted a small orchard of mostly quince, comice pear, apricots and medlars. One lovely summer day I was in the orchard battling one of our enemy plants—bindweed—when I felt a sharp burn on my wrist above my garden glove. I froze, then saw, hovering roughly 12 inches from my face, floating back and forth, a buzzing flying insect. Then, in the gloom of the quince tree, glued to branches and leaves, the biggest wasp next I had ever seen. The size of a basketball.

 

I obeyed the warnings and left immediately.

No one chased me. It was enough that I had left the vicinity.

The Internet told me these were bald-faced hornets, who are not really hornets and related to yellow jackets. It made me ask what is the difference between a wasp and a hornet? If a yellow jacket is a wasp, then who is a hornet? The New Oxford American Dictionary was not helpful, showing an example of a bald-faced hornet in the definition of hornet. It also told me that a wasp is a social stinging insect.

Back to the Internet.

As you might think, there’s a lot of information on the Internet. YouTube provided a clue: hornets are wasps, but not all wasps are hornets. Hornets are the biggest guys, and this group includes, depending on which expert you listen to, yellow jackets and bald-faced hornets. Their sting is the worst too.

(Caution. Scary picture follows)

And I learned even more, shortly after my encounter with the bald-faced scout. We’d heard from other organic gardening friends that there was this guy who would come to your home and capture the hornets to sell to serum-makers, suppliers of antidotes to insect stings in people with extreme hypersensitivity to wasp stings. I don’t mean these are people super nervous around wasps—a lot of people are—but some people have overwhelming histamine releases to an insect sting, enough to jeopardize their lives.

I finally got him on the phone, and he proceeded to talk me out of destroying the nest.

“Just think what an abundance of insect life you have in your garden, enough to support a giant colony like that. You don’t use pesticides. Everyone benefits!”

He also said he had all the bald-faced hornet venom he needed that year.

So we stayed out of the orchard that summer. As the venom-guy had predicted, the hornets disappeared when cold weather came. As did the yellow jackets living in the ground near our house in one of our driveways (the one we rarely use, fortunately).

I respect the credo of live and let live. The hornets probably came back for a while, always building their mega paper nest in a different location. What saddens me now is that, in the years since that bald-faced scout warned me away, I think the hornets are gone. Seattle is under extreme-growth pressure, and our once rural-ish neighborhood on the Duwamish is slowly disappearing under concrete and massive homes.

And people who spray.

I say, all you hornets and wasps—come on over. The orchard is still here. The quince still grow and we even have peaches now. And we don’t spray. At least, that’s something.

Share

Source: http://ift.tt/1eIlTf1

The Rambling Writer on the “North End” Trail

Thor, Bear dog, and I don’t always get to escape to the mountains for our outings, but luckily we have some wonderful Greenways trails in our community of Bellingham, WA. Bear dog needs a daily run, and a segment of the planned Bay to (Mount) Baker trail happens to run a couple blocks from our home. Parts of it are wooded and serene, where you almost forget that other sections run alongside the Squalicum Way truck route or over/under railway trestle and tracks, past industrial plants like this Oeser wood products.

We fondly call our mostly blue-collar part of town the North End, where nature snuggles up to industry, past and present. An off-leash area in the last segment of the trail and along Squalicum Beach on Bellingham Bay, is a popular neighborhood destination for people and canine pals.

For a few years, the creek and bay here were posted as contaminated from the Oeser plant, and people were advised to keep kids and dogs out of the water. After extensive cleanup, it’s safe but not exactly appetizing for human swimmers. It’s usually pretty murky from the natural Nooksack River silt that empties into the bay a little farther north. The dogs, Canada Geese, herons, ducks, and fish don’t seem to mind.

Bellingham Bay is still an active port, even though the old Georgia Pacific plant is gone and finally undergoing a cleanup for commercial and recreational development. (When I was growing up here, we often had “chlorine fog” and avoided the water due to mercury contamination. Oh, the wonders of “Better living through chemistry.”) The wooded hill is our protected Sehome Arboretum, with more trails, and the buildings clustered at the treeline are Western Washington University, where I taught creative writing until my recent retirement (hurrah!). Thor has another year to go as Professor of Paleontology and Geology.

Today we find a cozy spot to enjoy the sunshine and waves, beneath the railroad trestle.

 

Bear dog is not a swimmer, but he loves to wade and snap at the waves, watch the shore birds, and climb around on the logs.

A favorite activity for beach visitors is collecting rocks and making stacks. These modest ones we found near our picnic spot.

Thor, as a geologist, naturally bonds with the rich assortment of beach rocks, some formerly part of Mount Baker that have been broken, weathered, transported by the river, and are awaiting their final dissolution as part of the sea floor. Today he became quite inspired and declared himself “High Priest and Story Teller of the Stones.” (As part god, I guess he’s entitled.) We even did an impromptu interpretive dance of the epic battle or “cosmic cycle” of stone versus water.

This small stone encapsulates quite a drama. Called a “turbidite,” it was likely created by a very localized episode of turbulence in the bay or one of our nearby lakes. The sedimentary material was disturbed by a small mudslide or other shakeup, moving quickly, then more slowly. The heaviest grains settled on the bottom layer, medium in the middle, then the lightest silt on top. Pressure solidified everything, then weathering forces broke off pieces to be smoothed by water. Thousands of years of history to hold in our hands.

As the High Priest explains, every stone has its own story.  This one is “breccia,” gravel, probably limestone, that was broken up and buried, then glued back together with a water and silica-based cement and pressure.

Our yard is full of “rocks of the walk” from our many beach outings. Here are a few in our fountain basin, surrounding a chunk of columnar andesite from Mt. Baker. Can you hear all their stories they’re singing to Thor?

And, speaking of North End stories, the latest is Walter the Wayward Bear, who has been visiting bird feeders near our neighborhood, and peering in windows. A juvenile who probably got booted out by his mother, he seems to be having a good time. Dave Jones, our Fish & Wildlife warden, has been trying to trap him for relocation, but, “He’s a slippery character.” Last word is he might be heading east out of town, toward the mountain, so maybe we’ll see him on the trails.

Happy Trails to all of us!

*****

You will find The Rambling Writer’s blog posts here on alternate Saturdays. Sara’s newest novel from Book View Cafe was recently released in print and ebook: The Ariadne Connection.  It’s a near-future thriller set in the Greek islands. “Technology triggers a deadly new plague. Can a healer find the cure?”  The novel has received the Cygnus Award for Speculative Fiction.

 

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Source: http://ift.tt/1eIlTf1

The Rambling Writer on the “North End” Trail

Thor, Bear dog, and I don’t always get to escape to the mountains for our outings, but luckily we have some wonderful Greenways trails in our community of Bellingham, WA. Bear dog needs a daily run, and a segment of the planned Bay to (Mount) Baker trail happens to run a couple blocks from our home. Parts of it are wooded and serene, where you almost forget that other sections run alongside the Squalicum Way truck route or over/under railway trestle and tracks, past industrial plants like this Oeser wood products.

We fondly call our mostly blue-collar part of town the North End, where nature snuggles up to industry, past and present. An off-leash area in the last segment of the trail and along Squalicum Beach on Bellingham Bay, is a popular neighborhood destination for people and canine pals.

For a few years, the creek and bay here were posted as contaminated from the Oeser plant, and people were advised to keep kids and dogs out of the water. After extensive cleanup, it’s safe but not exactly appetizing for human swimmers. It’s usually pretty murky from the natural Nooksack River silt that empties into the bay a little farther north. The dogs, Canada Geese, herons, ducks, and fish don’t seem to mind.

Bellingham Bay is still an active port, even though the old Georgia Pacific plant is gone and finally undergoing a cleanup for commercial and recreational development. (When I was growing up here, we often had “chlorine fog” and avoided the water due to mercury contamination. Oh, the wonders of “Better living through chemistry.”) The wooded hill is our protected Sehome Arboretum, with more trails, and the buildings clustered at the treeline are Western Washington University, where I taught creative writing until my recent retirement (hurrah!). Thor has another year to go as Professor of Paleontology and Geology.

Today we find a cozy spot to enjoy the sunshine and waves, beneath the railroad trestle.

 

Bear dog is not a swimmer, but he loves to wade and snap at the waves, watch the shore birds, and climb around on the logs.

A favorite activity for beach visitors is collecting rocks and making stacks. These modest ones we found near our picnic spot.

Thor, as a geologist, naturally bonds with the rich assortment of beach rocks, some formerly part of Mount Baker that have been broken, weathered, transported by the river, and are awaiting their final dissolution as part of the sea floor. Today he became quite inspired and declared himself “High Priest and Story Teller of the Stones.” (As part god, I guess he’s entitled.) We even did an impromptu interpretive dance of the epic battle or “cosmic cycle” of stone versus water.

This small stone encapsulates quite a drama. Called a “turbidite,” it was likely created by a very localized episode of turbulence in the bay or one of our nearby lakes. The sedimentary material was disturbed by a small mudslide or other shakeup, moving quickly, then more slowly. The heaviest grains settled on the bottom layer, medium in the middle, then the lightest silt on top. Pressure solidified everything, then weathering forces broke off pieces to be smoothed by water. Thousands of years of history to hold in our hands.

As the High Priest explains, every stone has its own story.  This one is “breccia,” gravel, probably limestone, that was broken up and buried, then glued back together with a water and silica-based cement and pressure.

Our yard is full of “rocks of the walk” from our many beach outings. Here are a few in our fountain basin, surrounding a chunk of columnar andesite from Mt. Baker. Can you hear all their stories they’re singing to Thor?

And, speaking of North End stories, the latest is Walter the Wayward Bear, who has been visiting bird feeders near our neighborhood, and peering in windows. A juvenile who probably got booted out by his mother, he seems to be having a good time. Dave Jones, our Fish & Wildlife warden, has been trying to trap him for relocation, but, “He’s a slippery character.” Last word is he might be heading east out of town, toward the mountain, so maybe we’ll see him on the trails.

Happy Trails to all of us!

*****

You will find The Rambling Writer’s blog posts here on alternate Saturdays. Sara’s newest novel from Book View Cafe was recently released in print and ebook: The Ariadne Connection.  It’s a near-future thriller set in the Greek islands. “Technology triggers a deadly new plague. Can a healer find the cure?”  The novel has received the Cygnus Award for Speculative Fiction.

 

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Source: http://ift.tt/1eIlTf1