Showing posts from August, 2013


This past week, I posted a photo for Skywatch Friday titled  Midsummer .  It was shot on June 25th, 2013.  The photo above is the same scene taken yesterday, August 24th at 07:40 in the morning.  At the time, air temperature in my yard was 58° F/14.4° C, dew point 57.2° F/14° C and relative humidity 97%.  Bands of cool air over the warmer waters of the bay are revealed as strands of fog.  The fog appears to be claiming the islands for itself.  By 09:00, the fog had disappeared, and the overcast cleared. In typical fashion, the day would end up warm and sunny and looking more like the "Midsummer" photo.  Living close to an ocean often means early morning overcast skies, even in the summer. In this area, autumn begins its arrival in mid-August.  Weeks of warm, dry weather is suddenly interrupted by the first rain system moving in off the Pacific.  As I write this, a band of showers is moving north from Olympia and Tacoma.  I doubt they will reach us here in the north Soun

Skywatch Friday: Midsummer

Skagit Bay in Washington State is the northern-most reach of Puget Sound.  The bay is connected to the Strait of Juan de Fuca by Deception Pass .  The photo was shot June 25, 2013.

Avis Puppis

I must apologize.  I realized only last night that my weather station has not posted any measurable wind velocity since July 31st.  Today I checked the anemometer cups and found them jammed.  I went to the Davis Instruments website and found their Sensor Maintenance page.  Here were instructions for removing and cleaning the cups. Avis puppis turned out to be the problem.  If you need a translation for that, you can find it at Google Translate . Everything is running smoothly now.  The wind is blowing on South Fidalgo Island as it should.  Again, my apologies to anyone who may have been relying on this data.

Northwest Native Plants: Deer Fern

The Pacific Northwest is fern country.  Our forests are literally carpeted with them.  If you enjoy native plant gardening like I do, take a look at the Deer Fern (Blechnum spicant) . Ferns are associated with shade and damp conditions.  I have a lot of shade, but my glacial soil and Rain Shadow location can be hostile to moisture-loving plants.  When I spotted some Deer Ferns at the Ace Hardware nursery in town, I decided to to try one and see how it fared. I planted it in a mostly shady spot at the northwest corner of the house.  It gets some mid-afternoon sun and a little watering, but the sandy, rocky soil is always pretty dry under the bark mulch.  Nevertheless, it seems to be thriving here.  I planted it in early spring, and it has since doubled in volume. It has also sprouted fertile fronds.  The bolder fronds growing in a rosette from the base are sterile, i.e. they produce no spores.  The taller, thinner, lacier fronds growing above the main plant bear the fertile s

Rest In Peace

I am stunned.  My neighbors had this tree cut down.  The big Douglas Fir was a favorite Hunting Perch  and resting place used almost daily by Bald Eagles.  It was also a favorite haunt of Chestnut-backed Chickadees and Steller's Jays.  I have posted several photos from this tree on my blogs.  It was not just an asset to the neighborhood.  It was an asset to the entire ecosystem of northern Skagit Bay.  Now it is gone forever.  An empty void in the sky is all that is left.  I simply cannot fathom how something this mindless, crass and ill-conceived could have taken place.  Rest in peace, old friend. The people are from eastern Washington and don't actually live here.  They probably have no idea what they have done.  For them the house is just a status symbol.  For the rest of us, this is our home.  We live here because we appreciate the things that we have here.  We don't just show up once in a while to party. The neighbor and I spoke about this tree just the other da

Deception Passage

I posted this photo over at Google+ yesterday and it got quite a response.  It was shot in early May while I was visiting the wild rhododendron grove at Goose Rock.  A few comments from Europe and one from the northeast US remarked that "this is something we never see."  That is a point that had not occurred to me.  Around here this is a sight we can see almost every day, somewhere in the area.  My best guess is that the logs are headed to a paper mill, perhaps in Everett, Washington. The waterway is Deception Pass and the photo was shot from out on the bridge .  I had to work quickly.  Those tugs and the raft of logs were moving surprisingly fast.  No time for fussing with a camera. The tugboats are from Dunlap Towing in La Conner, Washington nearby.  The tow boat is the Swinomish which we have seen here before .  The small tender is the Pull & Be Damned .  Apparently, she was named for a local road with the same name near La Conner.  Or the road may have bee