31 October 2015

Mushroom growth

I found this fungus growing on top of the Eucalyptus stump behind my house. The growth pattern reminds me of the Chicken of the Woods mushrooms in the Laetiporus genus. However, it has none of the bright sulfur yellow color that is a major characteristic of that edible fungus.

The spores are white to cream (changing as they get older?). The only Laetiporus I can find with white spores *does* grow on Eucalyptus, but is still much more yellow in color (see photos here).

I will be doing a little dissection and adding to this post. Stay tuned!

14 October 2015

Walking smug.

I am feeling a little smug. Today I walked 4.5 miles. Today I walked 4.5 miles for the THIRD day in a row. As many of you know, I have a crazy dog. He is huge, demanding and destructive. In short, he more of an asshole than most people can deal with. I have discovered that a tired dog does not have the energy to be an asshole. Instead, he sleeps like a log.

11 August 2015

Sketches from a hike....

Went on a lovely hike last weekend to Point Isabel in Richmond. There were dogs everywhere at the beginning. I missed my own pooches. The Path soon led onto part of the Bay Trail. The sky began overcast with a brisk wind off of the bay.

29 July 2015


Ever since the flames that swept the Oakland hills in 1991, destroying homes and causing mass evacuations, folks around here have been less enamored of Eucalyptus trees and brush. The oil from the Eucalyptus leaves and bark (which they shed constantly) is an amazing accelerant. The brittle grass and drought browned brush is excellent tinder. Many of the lands most prone to fire are either too inaccessible or too costly to trim by machine. This is why, I believe, nature gave us goats.

13 July 2015

Turtle Tribulations

I woke up from a nap to a house full of smoke. Mind racing I moved through the rooms. Had I cooked anything today? Did I leave the oven on? The smoke was thicker as I moved towards the kitchen. It was not, however, coming from the stove. It was billowing out of the turtle tank.

25 May 2015

yard work

I made my first insect hotel today. I have been a fan of the idea for years, but this was the first time I put one together. As you can see, it is kind of random and sloppy like me. I used a five gallon plastic pot I found behind the shed in my yard. Bamboo makes a great substrate - the hollow stems are great niches for insects and spiders to take shelter. Straw works well too. Fortunately for me, the people who owned my house before me thought that bamboo would be great planted everywhere. I cut some back and then chopped it up into pieces roughly the size of the pot.
Insect hotels are a perfect place for native bees, and predatory insects (i.e. lady bird beetles or a praying mantis) to find shelter. It is a spot to lay eggs in your yard. A home in the yard where they can live. You want them around so that they can pollinate your garden, or protect it from aphids, mealy bugs or other plant-eating insects.
Some of the photos I've seen are quite elaborate. Today I decided to go for finished before perfection. But these links will give you an idea of how creative you can get making your own. 

29 January 2015

Once again, obsessed with words.

Today I had to use a foreign language site to order a book for the library where I work. This is much easier now that browsers include the right-click option to Translate This Page. I had to register and fill out all of the forms for shipping. One of the drop down boxes has stayed with me all day. It has amused and puzzled me. 

24 January 2015


One of the many coping skills suggested for folks going through stressful times (and whom out there is not?) is to focus on happy thoughts and images. The theory being that if you imagine a happy spot, or even look at pictures of kitties & puppies instead of dwelling on your particular situation, you will rework the neural pathways in your brain from negativity to positivity. Of course, sometimes this takes odd twists. Here are some of the pretty rainbow pictures that have begun to crop up in my sketchbooks since I started thinking positively.

30 December 2014

The 2014 book list

For those of you interested, here is a list of all the books, magazines and comics I spent time with in 2014.  I highly recommend #8, 19 (especially if you've read the first two), 48, and 95. Feel free to ask me about any of the others. Keep reading!

  1. The Maltese Falcon - Dashiel Hammet
  2. The Casual Vacancy - J.K. Rowling
  3. The Testament of Jessie Lamb - Jane Rogers
  4. The Inventor and the Tycoon - Edward Ball

26 December 2014

Year end review...

And suddenly, it was the end of the year. Here are a handful of sketches to walk you out. See you next year!