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Showing posts from June, 2022

Changing What Interests You

  Is there a general pattern to how people change as they spend more time in the outdoors?  I notice it in myself.  But do other people go through the same thing? At the beginning, people are excited by 'breathtakingly beautiful' tourist scenery, that is, anything freakishly big, vertical, colorful, etc. And then how do they evolve?  Perhaps they become more interested in some activity or skill, be it hiking or fly fishing.  But recreation can still smell a bit vacation-ish or touristy. I am guessing that they lose their obsession with 'pretty' and become more interested in the real and authentic processes of Nature.  They want to grow food or raise a litter of puppies, cut firewood or build a cabin. Maybe that is one reason why I was interested in the local mushroom hunters in this forest.  Another group of 'gatherers' is the firewood guys.  They too looked so proud and satisfied as they hauled away their quarry.  Did they remove the bark from the tree?  How di

The Minotaur and the Mud-pit

  Sometimes you just have to take a chance.  I chose to return to camp on an unfamiliar road.  Actually I knew it looked OK on the high-altitude end, and the low-altitude end started graded and wide.    But one can get a 'sinking' feeling while ascending a mountain.  It was not confidence-building to have to cross a couple streams. Think of all the $5.45/gallon gasoline disappearing into a 6.0 liter V8 engine.  This had better work.  The view was certainly nice towards the top. Looking down on the Grande Ronde valley, Oregon. Finally the road was starting to flatten out, and the forest had the same look as it did back at camp.  So I've made it! Whoops. Ahead of me was 75 yards of axle-deep ruts in mud ooze.  There was no way to drive around it.  At least I am old and wise enough to not make matters worse by being stubborn and macho.  So I surrendered, but how?  There was no way to turn around. I had to back up a quarter mile to a junction where I could do a three point turn

How Many Starbucks Outlets Will Survive?

  It is hard to believe but I am now camping in a Left Coast state. Apparently, 'travel makes strange bedfellows.'   Of course I am in the 'hinterland', the 'flyover' part of the state, where all the 'Deplorables' live.  Still, there is some contamination from Portland and Eugene.  And the coffee culture of Seattle/Portland is quite strong around here. How many of these little coffee drive-throughs will survive the economic turmoil?  I started thinking about this back in Idaho after seeing a mobile coffee shop, parked on the edge of a small town. My goodness, was it cute!  It was a homemade trailer, made to look like a little mining shack.  I wonder about the people who own it.  They must be drastically different than a standard cubicle-rat.  Perhaps I romanticize these owners just because of their spunk, courage, and independence.  Does anybody care about these independent owners becoming casualties? But will coffee shops disappear? You'd think so.

The Opposite of Helio-therapy

What is the opposite of helio-therapy? I can't think of the right term. But whatever the term is, I have gotten it the last couple weeks.  It is a miracle cure. I thought that I was a terminal sun-hater, brown-hater, and a few other things. But three weeks as a human mushroom... Morel, Brain, and Coral mushrooms. The Coral, on the right, is 4" across.  ... and I am cured! The photo credit goes to a fellow camper who was a mushroom hunter.  I have gotten a kick out of the mushroom hunters in the forest.  They take their hunt so seriously -- more seriously than most people would take gold-prospectin'.  They are even secretive about where they found their mushrooms, and told me that there were bear tracks in the area or a cougar sighting.  You could say that about any place in the western public lands, so why are they mentioning it! This is a perfect example of how human beings can sometimes be seen at their best.  It's rare.  Can you think of more examples? Their "b

Where Nature Is at Her Best

It is so ironic: when people think of the best examples of Nature, they think of national parks. They would be more accurate if they thought of the city park. I was in a city park the other day, in a small Oregon city. I was told of a nice dog park there and wanted to give Q.t.𝞹 her first workout at one. She is a bit of a squealer, so I was nervous about this. There were no 'customers' at the dog park, so we just went for a walk to kill time. I couldn't believe the variety of trees -- with leaves! -- to be gushed over. And there was green grass to walk on, instead of stumbling and bumbling over desert rubble. A few feet away, noisy boisterous water gushed through the Grande Ronde arroyo.  Just think how monotonous national forests or BLM sagebrush flats are.  But the city park was vastly wealthy in a variety of real trees.  There were few people at the city park.  Well, maybe the locals didn't appreciate the park but I did -- so we went into the fenced dog park and let

Can Dogs Climb Trees?

I wonder if a Go-Pro isn't the right technology for somebody interested in outdoor photographs and other applications.  It seems like a digital camera or smartphone is unavailable whenever something interesting happens.  Surprising and moving events seem more interesting than static poses. Younger dogs sure are great at jumping.  The other day  Q.t.𝞹 was charging a tree because she spotted a chipmunk up there.  I couldn't believe her vertical launches!  Was she actually trying to climb the tree? With a Go-Pro mounted on my head maybe I could understand her technique, after watching it in slow motion.  Perhaps her body still had upward momentum when she contacted the tree with her paws, and that made it look like she was taking another jump from the tree rather than from the ground.  After all, dogs have straight claws rather than the curved ones they would need for real climbing. Straight claws are only good for digging in the ground. Grizzlies have straight claws.  Black bear

Explaining Our Parents' Disdain of Consumerism

  Many Baby-Boomers had parents who went through the Great Depression. They would sometimes tell anecdotes to their children that might have seemed exaggerated to the children. The children would also tend to roll their eyes when their parents displayed frugality that seemed laughably out-of-date. I am starting to wonder if there is another reason for the parents' frugal consumer behavior. Last post I talked about how inflation will cause substitution; that is, products will use cheaper and cheaper materials. They will take every shortcut imaginable. How much cheapening can happen before a consumer starts to dislike shopping? When every new purchase produces a disappointment, won't a consumer start to dread buying anything that isn't absolutely necessary? It is hard for older consumers not to make negative comparisons.  Maybe there is a point where the cheapening actually starts to offend and disgust them. Products, companies, and retailers start to seem like scumbags to th

How We Will Adjust to Stagflation

 There was a time in the 1970s, during a decade or more of stagflation, when people must have been discouraged. How could they ever break out of the trap? And then Paul Volcker came along and administered 'shock and awe' to the interest rates. In a year and a half, the stagflation era was over. Can it happen again? I would like to think so, but I can't. The country is just too hooked on low-interest rates and helicopter money. Real life will go forward based on substituting inferior goods for better goods and then using deceptive labelling. When was the last time you bought Swiss cheese? Did you notice that it doesn't have holes in it, anymore? I suppose that is because of "adjustments" (aka, cheapenings) to the aging process. What really matters is that Swiss cheese now tastes like cheap rubber with some yellow food coloring. What is to stop new Extra Sharp Cheddar cheese from being the same as yesterday's Sharp Cheddar? It won't show up as inflation

A Mile of Purple Meadow

It is always satisfying to start the return trip (on a bike ride) at a nice view. In this part of the world, the scenic spot is more likely to be a lake or meadow than a mountain. The meadow was packed with purple flowers which I am too lazy to identify. It was too soggy to walk through that meadow so I couldn't really get a photo that does it justice.   Just before taking the photo, a large mother elk crossed the meadow with a young calf following her. Believe it or not I was more delighted with a different animal. It has been years since I have seen a snail. It was fleeing soggy soil apparently, and was posed in the middle of a smooth dark gravel road. I couldn't believe how much of its body stuck out of the shell, and yet it would draw all of the body back into the shell. As Wikipedia explained, after tripping over its own tongue in a few paragraphs of jargon, a snail is basically a slug with a backpack. A few years ago I photographed this slug: I feel sorry for his optometr

The Faith of the Elites

It would take somebody more clever and devious than me to make sense of what the Elites of Nato-stan (USA and Europe) really expect in the long term. Consider the neo-Con block in West Nato-stan (the USA). Do they really think this is still 1946 or 1991?, and that the USA can keep ruling planet Earth as the great Uni-Power? Look at the economy of the USA! It sent its industrial base to China. Its economy is based on nothing more than money-printing, services, government employees, entertainment industry trash, real-estate speculation, and diploma manufacturing.  How much of that is real? How much does the rest of the world need? Perhaps the War uni-Party (both Democrats and Republicans) thinks that industry doesn't really matter as long as you have the 'greatest military ever.' Where did they get the idea that the US military was all that great?  It has fought countries in the Mid-East that had no air force, and then lost most of these wars anyway. Apparently American Elit

A Sign From Heaven

That does it -- from now on I will carry my smartphone along on all walks outdoors, just as I carry my bear spray.  Something interesting happens when you least expect, and then your "real camera" is back at home. Q.t.𝞹 and I make use of a well-graveled forest road for routine walks. We stay out of the mud that way.  The moisture content in the sky was amazing.  On the way back I saw the most impressive rainbow/halo around the noon-time sun.  It was a complete circle that would have circumscribed both of your palms held up at arm's length. I don't think I have ever seen something quite like that.  By the time I got back to the trailer and camera, the halo was gone. Imagine you were some shepherd in the high country of a drought-stricken land, and you saw this halo.  You would have considered it a divine sign of some kind.  Around the campfire that night, you might have tried to write a song or poem about it.  Let's hold on to the ability to imagine ourselves in

"Pops, let's go back to Arizona"

It is fun to look at things from her point of view: Remember that we came to the Inland Northwest in May to avoid forest fires, dry heat, and drought. She seems to think that we were perhaps  too successful. But you must remember that she is a Phoenix girl. I like to think of water as being the fundamental layer of the food chain in nature. And she certainly is enjoying that food chain. She saw her first wild turkey -- a big one -- the other day, and almost pulled me off the bicycle. Soon my first umbrella, in years, will arrive. And rubber-soled muck books. I am determined to get a grip on this situation. __________________________________ The favorite time of the day for me is dawn -- or even, just before dawn -- when birds in the forest engage in beautiful and spirited singing. Wikipedia would probably explain this. But I won't look it up. I prefer to wonder about it. You don't hear pre-dawn singing in the winter. It is one of the best things about summer.