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home : columns June 23, 2017

Oregon legislative busy work
In 1927, when L.L. Patterson was our governor, the western meadowlark [Sturnella neglecta] was chosen as the state bird by Oregon's school children in a poll sponsored by the Oregon Audubon Society.
Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Introducing a kitten to your adult cat
Spring and summer are kitten season! Yes, kittens have a season.
Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Climate change is not an unsettled question
I am deeply concerned about our planet as I watch our steady environmental regression. So many hide their heads in the sand about the issue. I read with interest one of Craig Rullman's recent columns entitled "Red-teaming the climate question" and I realized it may be a long time, if ever, before sufficient consensus is reached and, more importantly, we begin taking action before we arrive at the tipping point from which there is no return.
Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Speed wobbles
Once, while attending a summer program for young students at UC Santa Barbara, I attempted to skateboard down a long, sloping hill. I had no business doing that. I was not a skateboarder. Where I hailed from in the outback corner of northern California skateboarding was not a thing - because it is very difficult to skateboard on dirt roads. But I tried anyway. I stepped aboard and went merrily down the path until, and quite suddenly, the skateboard developed speed wobbles, became uncontrollable, and I was tossed unceremoniously - and I'm sure hilariously - into the grass.
Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Of a certain age.....
Every year on Saturday morning of Rodeo Weekend, I can be found standing on the corner of East Cascade Avenue and North Larch Street, where the parade turns left, watching the quintessential small-town-America affair with horses, hotrods, flags, floats, and fire engines.
Tuesday, June 6, 2017
Don't step on the eggs!
There are two ground-nesting birds common to Central Oregon who need help when it comes to surviving during nesting time - the killdeer and common night hawk. Both lay eggs (almost always four) that you really cannot see because they look like the pebbles surrounding them, and often get mushed by people, cattle, wildlife and whatever, because they are all but invisible.
Tuesday, June 6, 2017
Getting started
The world has known some famous horses. Alexander's horse Bucephalus, for instance, who had one blue eye, a star on his forehead, and died after the battle of Hyaspes in 326 BC. He was celebrity enough to be buried with honors, to have his tale told down through history, and to this day has a province in Punjab named after him.
Tuesday, May 30, 2017
How to rock the roundabout
As the roundabout project comes closer to completion I wanted to say a few words on the project. My motivation stems from an enthusiasm for the project which I have found to be unmatched and also as your resident naturopath, a few words on a public health concern.
Tuesday, May 30, 2017
Changing bird populations
At my bird-feeder in the front yard of my domicile I have a mystery going on. Without an acceptable reason, house finches and house sparrows have taken a nosedive in populations, along with my white-crowned sparrows.
Tuesday, May 23, 2017
A man you never knew
Word has reached me, carried on the wind, that Bruno Selmi, legendary owner of Bruno's Country Club in Gerlach, Nevada, has passed on. I had known that Bruno wasn't feeling well, after stopping in for a visit last year, but am forced to admit that I was nursing a strong, and stupid, hope that he might live on forever.
Tuesday, May 16, 2017
Bull by Bull
• I rewrote my obituary awhile back when I realized I know a lot more about my life than I did 10 years ago when Vernon and I first wrote our obituaries. Firstly, Vernon has died. That changed everything. Secondly, I wouldn't have yet discovered "The Big Bang Theory" or "Little Big Shots." And thirdly, I now know what it feels like to be 74 years old.
Tuesday, May 9, 2017
The Great Wall of Trump
Many of us remember Robert Frost. Typically, we even have enough of his inestimable work committed to memory to recite a few lines: "Two roads diverged in a yellow wood," for instance, or the notable bit from "Mending Wall" where a laconic neighbor says: "Good fences make good neighbors."
Tuesday, May 9, 2017
Of a certain age...
Forty-two years after his parents came west on the Oregon Trail, and 50 years before my birth, my paternal grandfather, then a young adventurer 20 years of age, spent part of the summer and fall of 1894 tramping along the spine of the Central Oregon Cascade mountains from Diamond Peak to the North Sister, in the company of Judge John Waldo, Oregon's version of naturalist and conservationist John Muir. Entries from his trail diary describe his time in "my neighborhood."
Tuesday, May 9, 2017
Keep 'em on a leash!
Two years ago, a Sisters resident was knocked down by a non-aggressive unleashed dog while walking her dog. Her injuries were substantial and wouldn't have happened if the dog was being supervised by a responsible pet parent/owner.

Failing to control your dog is an act of negligence, even before the dog causes an injury. You are liable for your dog's actions - always.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017
12 O'Clock High
Some things are so intrinsically American they have helped define the way we understand ourselves. The B-17 Flying Fortress is one of them. Though there are only about 15 of them still airworthy today, for a few years in the last century the B-17, and the men who flew them, did enough of the hardest work to cement their rightful place in our national identity.
Tuesday, May 2, 2017
Watching over us and our homes
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is a state agency designed to help keep our planet Earth - and us - healthy. Currently, DEQ is encouraging Oregonians throughout the state to take part in a nationwide effort on Saturday, April 29 to collect unused, unwanted or expired medications so they can be disposed of properly.
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Red-Teaming the climate question
Recently, thousands of people, and even a few penguins, peacefully turned out to protest against the politicization of science. The protestors insist that policy making in government circles should be evidence-based, and that heavyweight decisions on issues such as climate change should be made by reference to scientific fact, rather than deep state politics. On the surface, that's hard to argue with.
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
The riots that brought us home to Sisters
Marilyn and I will sit down with our daughter Ceili this week and watch the History Channel's "The L.A. Riots: 25 Years Later," and the National Geographic "L.A. Burning." The history has profound resonance for her, though she doesn't really know it yet.
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Minimize your cat's shedding
Are you finding cat fur on your clothes, furniture, and even floating in the air?

Finding Kitty's hair on almost everything in sight is a fact of life for a cat pet parent. Kitty is not intentionally trying to drive you crazy, it's just a side effect of her natural shedding process.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017
All politics is local
I have been thinking of Tip O'Neill's book and his famous saying that all politics is local. The point has been driven home by watching the anger and outrage present at U.S. Representative Greg Walden's town hall meetings.
Tuesday, April 18, 2017

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