Saturday, October 31, 2009


Do Frogs get Lonely?

One day last summer, Sherry came back from the Fred Meyer garden store with a tray of small bedding plants. When we removed the small plastic pots from the cardboard tray, there was a small green frog huddling in the corner. It was a chorus frog (formerly known as a tree frog). The plants were from a nursery in the Willamette Valley, Oregon, and this is a native species. Well, we don't keep pets anymore, and we live in a very urban area, so what to do with the little guy/girl? I carried her/him to the backyard, our Garden of Tranquility, and released him/her on a flat rock in our water feature. She/he crawled under a rock and hasn't been seen since.

However, over the past few weeks, there is a frog calling from the corner of the Garden of Tranquility where the water feature is. It's a very plaintive call, almost haunting in it's loneliness. Is our frog lonely? Is it trying to find a companion, a mate? What should we do to help? Is it legal for me to capture another wild chorus frog for our garden, and if so, how do I know if we need a male or female - how do we even tell the difference?? Life has knotty problems.

Eats Shoots and Leaves

A panda walks into a bar...... Well, no, actually that's just a joke. But I think about pandas every time I have to thin our bamboo landscape screen next to the house. Bamboo is an amazing grass. Ours, the black bamboo, sends new shoots out of the ground every May (we call them "the Aliens"), and these things grow about 10 feet in 3 weeks. Amazing! Every year I spend a day or more thinning - which is the easy part. Then I have to cut the bamboo thinnings into pieces small enough to fit in the green yard debris recycling can. This takes hours of tedious work.

Our sister-in-law Jill volunteers at the zoo. I asked her once to ask the zoo folks if they want my bamboo cuttings for the pandas, or the giraffes, or anyone. I knew they wouldn't - and they didn't - because, well, how do they know I haven't sprayed the heck out of the bamboo with poison?

I need a panda. Not as a pet - remember, we don't do pets anymore - but maybe once or twice a year. A panda yardwork helper, with an appetite. Anybosy know one I can call?

Thursday, October 22, 2009


OK, this is a confession - I think I've committed a crime against the environment, but I'm not sure.

I was puttering around the house the other day, and looked under a bathroom sink for something. For some reason, I decided to take everything out from under the sink - you know - cleaning mode set in. And there they were, several almost-empty plastic bottles of shampoo, liquid soap, hair conditioner. I hesitated. The correct thing to do is rinse them thoroughly and recycle them. But it takes a lot of time, and water, to get all that sudsy stuff out of each bottle. "Which is worse" I pondered, "throwing the bottles in the trash (egads), or using so much water?"

I threw them in the trash, thus saving water and time.

But now I feel guilty. Every time I hear a car door close outside our house I get nervous - is it the Portland Eco Cops? Will they just give me a warning, or will I do hard time? What should I plead: temporary insanity? Conflict of eco-logic? Not guilty? Or should I confess my crimes and take whatever punishment I deserve?

Oops....gotta go hide, I just heard a car door slam.

Saturday, October 03, 2009


The power went out for about 30 seconds this morning. Now I'm sitting at the kitchen table drinking coffee, reading the NY Times, and trying to ignore all the damn blinking digital clocks!! From where I'm sitting I can see 4 appliances blinking at me, begging - no, nagging me to reset them. Luckily we have one battery powered clock on the kitchen wall, so I know what time it is. Now, the age-old question, can I get all the digital readouts to display the exact same time?

I'll then need to go through the house and reset the DVD player, the clock radio in each bedroom, and other gadgets I can't remember we have. (Actually, I have a confession - I have never set the clock display on the DVD player, so it always just displays "12:00....12:00....12:00....12:00.....")

If I ever go shopping again for an appliance with a digital read out, I'm going to look for one that has a setting for "Turn Off the Damn Digital Clock." I don't need these. I don't want these. I'm tired of paying for the electricity they use.

Oh well, it's a beautiful cold, crisp, grey Portland autumn morning. I'll just relax with my second cuppa, and.....blink.....blink.....blink.....blink.....blink.....blink.....blink.....blink.............