cards and prints from Pamela Zagarenski
Winter Tidings by Jashna Vashti, of Portland OR : Etsy
Love and joy come to you,
And to your wassail too
And God bless you and send you a Happy New Year,
And God send you a Happy New Year!
Wassail is a hot mulled cider punch. Waes hael means "be whole" or "be healthy". In Medieval times wassail was a drink made of mulled ale or mead, curdled cream, roasted crab apples, eggs, cloves, ginger, nutmeg and sugar (but that competes with our Dr. Byrne’s Eggnog).....
Here is a modern apple-cranberry Wassail recipe to help you celebrate the return of the sun and to keep your spirits in good health. Waes Hael my friends and Cheers!
Check out my latest feature article (and two web exclusives) published in the
Autumn 2017 Pacific Horticulture magazine!
Main Article Bellwethers of a Healthy Environment
Web Exclusives Avian Dinosaurs
and Resources for the Back Yard Birder
Warning: Birds are a gateway species and may be habit-forming. While birds themselves are not addictive, learning about them may result in a total redesign of your back yard :^)
An enormous Shout-Out to Peter Pearsall for his incredible eye and all his gorgeous bird images!
Tree Swallow ©Peter Pearsall
Pacific Wren ©Peter Pearsall
One of the first things I did as an empty nester (in addition to BeePeeking) was to teach myself to knit. Next, I enrolled in a graduate program and earned a Masters of Teaching in Advanced Biological Inquiry (MAT/AIP). Knitting My Graduate Degree encapsulates the projects that I knitted during my three years of research into the realms of urban biodiversity, biophilia, and environmental stewardship.
Knitting allows me time to be reflective, to recognize patterns, and to consider the many possible outcomes that might occur--not only in my knitting--but in whatever inquiry task or puzzle I am working on. For me, the act of knitting involves contemplation, focus, and the ability to visualize; these are powerful skills to practice when one is taking on the task of making the world a kinder, safer, and healthier place.
Ultimately, knitting is about creating change through love, and it certainly is hard to beat that.
Just about everyone I know has been suffering through this winter's cold and flu season.
My remedy includes hot toddies, as well as sending lovely local bird note cards to friends and family.
Birds of Note Postcards
Don't forget to top them off with USPS postcard and Forever bird stamps!
My husband and I began keeping bees in 2005, and that same year I began blogging about my adventures as a "beepeeker". BeePeeking encompasses more than just keeping honeybees: it is a journal of my learning adventures in our backyard and urban neighborhood through organic gardening, planting pollinator parking strips, and becoming more informed stewards of our Backyard Wildlife Sanctuary.
In 2012, I found the perfect graduate program to round out my Arts and Humanities background, and I embarked on an inquiry adventure to earn my Masters of Teaching in the Biological Sciences.
Click HERE to view my Prezi "Knitting My Graduate Degree: Urban Biodiversity & Biophilia", and bee inspired!
Whether it be with bonfires, candles, or eggnog, northerners have been celebrating the return of the light on the winter solstice for centuries (this year solstice is on December 21 in the northern hemisphere, below the equator, the winter solstice falls around June 21 :^) On this date, the earth's axis tilts away from the sun in the Northern Hemisphere, and the sun reaches its greatest distance from the equatorial plane. Though we in Seattle are closest to the sun on the shortest day of the year, it is our longest night!
How could this be? Deb Byrd explains "because Earth doesn’t orbit upright, but is instead tilted on its axis by 23-and-a-half degrees, Earth’s Northern and Southern Hemispheres trade places in receiving the sun’s light and warmth most directly. The tilt of the Earth – not our distance from the sun – is what causes winter and summer. At the December solstice, the Northern Hemisphere is leaning most away from the sun for the year."
In following the Climate Talks in Paris, I came across this UK site Brandalism.
From their website:
"Brandalism has shared skills and techniques for 'subvertising' - the art of subverting advertisements. We start from the democratic conviction that the street is a site of communication, which belongs to the citizens and communities who live there. Our interventions are a rebellion against the visual assault of media giants and advertising moguls who have a stranglehold over messages and meaning in our public spaces, through which they force-feed us with images and messages to keep us insecure, unhappy, and shopping."
80 artists/600 designs. Be inspired.
Wood Ducks by Wendy Morgan Crane Creek Graphics
Seattle Audubon Society recently reported:
"Shorebirds are in trouble. According to the 2014 “State of the Birds Report,” authored by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and National Audubon Society among many others, "Shorebirds are declining more than many other species groups. Long-term migration counts for 19 shorebird species show an alarming 50% decline since 1974." Local declines are also apparent. This is significant because, as pointed out by the 2014 State of the Birds Report, "Long-distance migrants require healthy stopover habitats along their entire pathway, and the chain of sites is only as strong as the weakest link."
Please consider signing this petition from Change.org
As citizens of Seattle, and as environmental leaders concerned about the preservation of biodiversity, we call on the Washington State Dept. of Transportation (WSDOT) and the US Army Corps of Engineers, to alter the SR520 Wetland Mitigation Plan to create habitat that will return shorebirds to the Union Bay Natural Area (also know as "Montlake Fill").
Since at least the 1970s, the Union Bay Natural Area on the University of Washington campus has arguably been one of the most important stopover areas for migratory shorebirds in Seattle. Today shorebirds are rarely seen here due to the conversion of this area from open habitat to a wooded wetland. Recreational birders at Union Bay Natural Area have observed a decline from more than 1,400 shorebirds in the 1990s, to just 42 individuals last year. While loss of open habitat is a widespread threat to migratory birds, it is a threat we can address right here in Seattle. The phrase “think globally, act locally” comes to mind.
WSDOT's plan claims to include enhanced shorebird habitat, but instead it calls for increased planting of woody vegetation around all shorebird sites and maintenance and growth of trees where they exist. Although the mitigation design is meant to create habitat that would be used by diverse wildlife, no planning has occurred to consider any specific wildlife species or group.
The State legislature has allocated some $2 million to WSDOT for wetland habitat restoration at the Union Bay Natural Area. Unfortunately, WSDOT's mitigation plan will accelerate the catastrophic decline of shorebirds there.
Seattle Audubon advocates for tree planting and wetland restoration across Seattle, but also understands that not all species use the same habitat types and trees are not appropriate in all wetland habitats. We believe that biodiversity declines are a global problem that we can affect right here. Let us not lose a unique opportunity to bring back shorebirds to Seattle, and give ordinary citizens a glimpse into the lives of some of the planet's most extraordinary migrants.
Please join me in signing this petition to save critical shorebird nesting and stopover habitat!
Common Mergansers and ducklings by Wendy Morgan
The Birds found at Montlake Fill
BirdWeb reports: Union Bay Natural Area is noted for its microhabitats, which attract a huge diversity of resident and migratory birds. Some 200 species have been seen here over the years, including such delights as American Bittern, Yellow-headed Blackbird, Peregrine Falcon, Merlin, Green Heron, American Pipit, and Rufous and Anna's Hummingbird. The ponds attract migrating shorebirds such as Wilson's Phalarope, Stilt Sandpiper, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper, Baird's Sandpiper, and Solitary Sandpiper, along with the more common Leasts, Westerns, and dowitchers. Rarities can turn up at any time and include Black-headed Gull, Clay-colored Sparrow, Black Tern, Barn Owl, Sage Thrasher, Chestnut-collared Longspur, and Lapland Longspur. Waterfowl such as Cackling Canada Geese, Wood Duck, Hooded Merganser, and wigeons (both species) are common. The best feature about this area is that the birds quickly become accustomed to people and allow birders to approach closely.