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Friday, September 10, 2010

Ah, September

I really like September, especially here in Western Washington. The deciduous trees are already starting to turn colors, and leaves are beginning to fall. Every living creature seems to know it's time to put up stores for the future.
Last Thursday night, I slept in my Bravada up at the school property becasue it didn't make sense to drive down the hill at 9pm only to drive back up at 8am for the second day of our annual staff training. I didn't even pitch my tent, although I had it with me. Instead, I just laid the seat down and crawled into my sleeping bag. I'd backed into the parking spot under a Vine maple (Acer circinatum) so that my head would be on the uphill, and stayed nice and warm and mostly comfortable...until I got an early wake up call.
The sky was still grey, so it was very early when I first heard something hitting the roof of my car. Something larger than raindrops - and it wasn't raining anyway. Without my glasses, I could only see that the branch above me was jerking and swaying...but only the one branch. The rest of the tree was still.
I put my glasses on, and was amused to see the little Douglas squirrel (Tamiasciurus douglasii) cutting clusters of maple seeds from the branches! For half an hour or so, I was greatly entertained by the dark little squirrel with the short tufts on it's ears. Sometimes we were eye-to-eye when it moved to a lower branch by my window. I never stirred in my sleeping bag, and so didn't spook it away. By the time I had to get ready for the day, the entire top of my Bravada was covered with the neatly bitten off (at a 45 degree angle) seed clusters. I brushed most of them off so the day's work would not be wasted...but I brough one home to add to my nature museum of cool things I've found in the woods.

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My Favorite Fiction Authors and Books

  • Suzanne Arruda- the Jade del Cameron mysteries: "The Mark of the Lion" "Stalking Ivory", "The Serpent's Daughter", "The Leopard's Prey" and "The Golden Cheetah"
  • Ken Goddard - "Balefire" and others
  • Stephen White - the Dr. Alan Gregory books are all great. "Kill Me" is my favorite.
  • Harlan Coben - anything he writes is great
  • Elizabeth Peters - Amelia Peabody mysteries

My Favorite Nonfiction Authors and Books

  • "Coyote's Guide to Connecting With Nature" by Jon Young, Ellen Haas and Evan McGown- 2nd edition coming soon!
  • Gavin De Becker - "The Gift of Fear"
  • "Deep Survival" by Laurence Gonzales- the best survival book I've ever read! Not a how-to, its more of a who does,and why.
  • Candice Millard - "The River of Doubt -Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey"
  • Anything that starts with "Peterson's Field Guide To..."
  • Tom Brown, Jr. - "The Tracker" and others
  • Mark Elbroch - "Mammal Tracks and Sign" and "Animal Skulls"