Thinking Small

I have taken a vow to bury my head, not in the sand, but in pond scum and similarly invertebrate-rich substrates for the remainder of this political cycle. I am abetted in this determination to look elsewhere than “the news” by a new tool: a compound (think biology lab from high school) microscope.I’ve had it less that two weeks and have only begun to explore: tree bark and lichens; common mosses; branch and creek sediments; leaf litter; and garden grass clippings and top soil.In all cases, the items, if not aqueous already, are placed in a small stacking dish of … Continue Reading ››

Quite the Rack Ya Got There

mothAntennae680Once again, I got an image and a few links, then back to the spinning plates.This little fella (and in this case an insect is easy to sex) was on the screen the other day. Full width just about an inch. But what caught my eye and made me want to get a closer look (via iPhone 6s camera) was this moth's remarkable antennae.Turns out this extra-showy rack is a multi-use body part...inspiring medical research, used in a gyroscopic or other coordinating way for flight, and of course finding that elusive female … Continue Reading ››

Finding Water: A Draft

So I may have mentioned (and perhaps one reader noticed) that I am accumulating draft pieces toward a third book if all goes well. (All never goes well, sometimes something does, OTOH, and I’ll take it.)The working title changes from time to time. Currently is stands as “One Place Understood: Field Notes from Earth.”The title comes from a Eudora Welty quote I have taken on as a writing mission statement. The southern writer tells us “One place understood helps us know all places better.”And so the hoped-for forty or so pieces of the would-be book offer some personal reflections on … Continue Reading ››


…or Beavers Butts Smell Like VanillaI invite you to go out whiffing nature. Matter of fact, I have what's left of a copperhead in a bucket so you can come see if it indeed smells like cucumbers.And I can vouch for the millipede smelling like (very strong) cherry cola.The rest I'll have to take the authors' word for, or will be willing to have your first-hand accounts: do spadefoot toads really smell like peanut butter? We used to find them in Alalbama but truth be told,  I guess I was never tempted to snort one.14 animals that smell like … Continue Reading ››

Photos and Front Porch Musing from Floyd County Virginia