Posts Tagged ‘robert michael pyle’

Sunday, 5 November 2017

We began by offloading the huge amount of Fifth Street Park compost from our trailer to the three compost bins.  By the time I piled everything on, the bins were heaped high.

I wish we had assembled four bins by starting them a little further over.  I measured, and there is not room to fit an equal fourth bin in where the plastic bin sits, empty so far.

However, it is probably good to have that area where hops and honeysuckle hang down in the summer and hide the work area as one approaches the back garden.

After having first thought of putting my new Podophyllum ‘Spotty Dotty’, a memorial to my cat Smoky given me by Our Kathleen, in the wayback bogsy woods newly cleared area, I realized it must go in the former hosta spot by the campfire circle, where Smoky loved to joined me.

perfect Spotty Dotty spot

my young paper bark maple glowing in sunlight

Skooter observed my various gardening activities.

The new wayback had a bit of standing water from last night’s rain.

That will not be a wet winter sit spot, as it will require wading to get to it.

surprising new flowers on a nigella

I picked two bouquets, one for an afternoon event at Time Enough Books, and one to thank Salt Pub for the meal Julez brought to us Friday night.

Speaking of bouquets, I am very pleased with myself that I have kept all paper clutter off of the dining nook table for the past week.  Here it is today with a bouquet from the Fifth Street Park hydrangeas that had to be clipped.

Allan delivered the bouquet to Salt Hotel.

Allan’s photos of the Salt bouquet at Salt Hotel.

south side of Salt Hotel

Robert Michael Pyle at Time Enough Books

door to Time Enough Books (Allan’s photo)

Local author, naturalist, and butterfly expert from Grays River, Bob Pyle, gave a talk about his recently re-published book about Bigfoot, also known as Sasquatch.  Although Bigfoot has never been of big interest to me, the talk kept me fascinated.

Before Pyle arrived, bookstore owner Karla gave me this gift wrapped book.

Thank you.

Karla’s mulled cider, served up by her sister, Linda, went well with cookies.

Linda and Scout

a packed house

I told Karla that my bouquet was too big for Pyle’s table, so we moved it to the fireplace.

And a good thing, too, because Pyle filled the table with Bigfoot memorabilia.

Karla introduces Robert Michael Pyle. (Allan’s photo)

Pyle did not begin his book as a Bigfoot believer.  He did end the writing of it with an open mind.

Scout works the crowd. (Allan’s photo)

Scout in a typical pose

Allan’s photo

Bob alternated reading excerpts with telling stories.

Allan’s photo

Several points that especially intrigued me:

Bob said we are in the period of the sixth extinction, which includes many independent bookstores, and that the ones that remain are a grace note on our culture.

Even giants have legends of giants, as in the Brobdingnagians of Gulliver’s Travels, who despite being 60 feet tall, spoke of a time when other, bigger, giants had walked their land.

Bob got a Guggenheim fellowship to write the book, which he compared to the unlikeliness of Bigfoot entering the book store, sitting on one’s lap and feeding one bonbons.  Karla said, “Would he buy books?”  Bob:  “He’ll take books.”  Karla:  “I’ll let him.”  Bob said Bigfoot would leave something in trade, in the way that Bigfoot is said to leave a stick in exchange for catching a salmon.

Bob said that many members of local tribes think it is pretty silly (he used more elegant words) that people don’t believe in Bigfoot.

Pyle spoke much of a wilderness area called the Dark Divide, such an evocative name.  I wish to read the book if only to find out more about this wild area.

signing books after the talk

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photos

Allan showed me a book he had found on the shelves, with posters of women serving in WWII, a topic of interest to me because of my WWII Marine Corps mother.

The book featured London Transport posters from 1908 till the present day.

At home again, I sat down right away to read my gift from Karla.

How I wish…How very much I miss my Smoky…..from For Every Cat an Angel by Christine Davis








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Saturday, 27 May 2017

Allan’s Day, part two: Long Island

This was the feature of the day, the weekend, to me: A guided trip by naturalists of a route to easily land and hike up to the small stand of old growth cedar that has been preserved on Long Island.


Here’s Long Island as it compares to the Long Beach peninsula

Here’s another view of the island.

Screen Shot 2017-05-31 at 1.34.17 AM.png

I’ve paddled into the bottom of the large green meadow in the center. Another time I paddled to the meadow opposite the Refuge and Baby Island but didn’t spot a good place to land with a trail. Actually, I felt it was OK to just sit in the boat.


Not all birders are boaters, therefore, canoes and planning.

Once again I ran across Baylee Layman, owner of Willapa Paddling Adventures. She had just driven 35 miles south from Raymond with a customer’s rental. Her shop has a fleet of varied kayaks and paddle boards. It’s a great place to get a lesson and into the water.


Baylee with one of her kayaks


Robert Pyle loading up with Tom & Ann

I was the last to leave as I had boots to help push boats off.


We were careful not to break the bug net


A canoe returns for more passengers while the kayaks head for the old ferry landing.


The pickup truck of the paddling world



I dragged the little Mary Beth kayak to just over the grass bank.


Robert Pyle & crew followed. The tide is a +1.3′ 


Here’s the party getting ready. Someone suggested I pull the Mary Beth up even further and tie it to a post next to Dr. Pyle’s canoe.


Here’s the same scene after we came back. The tide had risen six feet and fallen back a half a foot and was still flooding the grass bluff.

There was a large group paddling around to the far side of the island to set up camp at Smokey Hollow, one of five campsites on the island.


The evergreen huckleberry grabbed the focus


Here’s a story


Dr. Pyle pointed out a solitary Silverleaf at the boat landing.

The trail was easy to follow as it was an old logging road covered with grass and fallen branches.



Fungi on the trail



Water droplets – I just had to touch one and find out. I don’t recall any rain that day either, just fog maybe four hours earlier.



The underneath was quite different from the top


After about two miles we came to a sign and a narrow trail.





The beginning of about a fifteen-minute loop trail



An evergreen huckleberry high up in the grove.




A topped tree with multiple new trunks


A fallen tree is bridged instead of sawn.


The differences between lichen and moss are examined.


Not sure of the book’s title but this sighting turned out to be a grey jay, sometimes called a whiskey jack.

A phone app that was recommended was ‘Merlin Bird ID’ by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.


Back to the landing with the boats still there


Steve, on the left, handled the logistics that made this trip possible.




Dr. Pyle, Tom and I are the last boats back.

Now I can share this trip again with a friend or several. I have one person already angling for a trip to be organized later this summer.


From the Refuge to the grove and back, at an average of 1.6 mph, with side trips took almost five hours and covered eight miles according to my ‘MapMyTracks’ app.


Smokey and our Robert Pyle book collection

 Post Script…Emails from Steve & R.M. Pyle June 4

Hello All:

Just wanted to say a final Thank You to you for a fun & friendly gathering last week at the refuge.  We managed to stay safe on the water and to enjoy the incredible beauty of the several environments we visited, plus see, and hear, some birds.  I think the hiking was a bit more than what I had estimated but a welcome workout nonetheless.  It was a pleasure to be involved and great to meet some new folks.  I think we all enjoyed our human company as much as the flora and fauna.  Hope we can do this again.  I’m looking at the Ellsworth basin nearby as a potential trip next Fall or next year.  For those of you who are not Willapa Hills members I invite you to join or at least visit our website http://willapahillsaudubon.org/.  So long!

BTW, we had 25 bird species identified, several by sound only.


Bob Pyle wanted me to forward the following missive:
Dear Folks,

Thanks so much for coming out with Steve and me to Long Island Saturday. Everything seemed to work out well, and I, for one, had a fine time. Thanks to those who helped with my big canoe.
I was glad to see that the Grove of Ancient Cedars was named for Congressman Don Bonker. Don was a great representative who sponsored ALL the major land protection bills passed during the Reagan administration, which wasn’t many: Columbia Gorge, Mt. St. Helens, Bowerman Basin, and Long Island. Even then, Weyerhaeuser tried to hold the cedars hostage for more money than they had agreed to take in the first place. Bonker called their bluff, and saved the rest of the cedars. (This, of course, with lots of local support, including from WHAS.) His successor, Jolene Unsoeld, got the refuge expanded and the island protection completed. We won’t see their like again in the Third District, the way it has been gerrymandered by the Republican Party.

If you would like to know more details, you will find a fairly complete summary of the whole story in my book Wintergreen: Rambles in a Raveaged Land, in the chapter called “The Last of the Old Growth.” Earlier editions leave the story somewhat up in the air, but the latest (fifth; 2016, Pharos Editions/Counterpoint) brings it all up to date.It’s available in Redmen Hall, Skamokawa, at Powell’s Books (Including Powells.com, far preferable to Amamonster for on-line book shopping), and of course in our fine libraries.

The trail penetrates just a corner of the cedar grove. There are many more, and denser, ancient trees protected there than we saw, but they take some work and time to get into. Dr. Jerry Franklin (UW & USFS), the old growth guru, said upon beholding them that this was the first climax forest he had ever met outside a textbook. He thought there were 3,000 year-old cedars there, and no significant disturbance for 1000 years. Their survival  was a close call.

Oh, and I was  little surprised to see NO butterflies on the island, given our lucky warm, sunny day, and plenty of nectar in the salal, evergreen blackberry, and spring beauty. Not many species occupy the coastal strip, but a few have been recorded on the island, and half a dozen or more could easily have been in the habitats we traversed. The long, wet winter and spring (so-called) have been rough on their survival through the winter, thanks to what I call the Rot Factor. Another, warmer & sunnier spring we might have seen some.

I much enjoyed meeting and seeing you all, and I thank brother Steve for getting this great outing together. Hope to see you again soon.

All the best,

R. M. Pyle
Gray’s River

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I am obsessed with the Sylvia Beach Hotel room journals, and I can’t get back to writing about gardening till I share some of my favourite entries with you.  I want to preserve them for posterity (at least WordPress posterity) in case something happens to them.

Almost as soon as we checked in, I immersed myself in the journals written by guests in our Wednesday night room, Emily Dickinson.  A few other entries from the same room are in my room journal entry from last year (including a beautiful drawing a man made of his sleeping wife on their honeymoon).   I took the journals up to the library, where I read from 5:25 to 6:47 PM.

journals from Emily

some journals from Emily

I was quite excited to find this entry from someone who is writing a book about the SBH and its room authors.

Kelly's book

Kelly’s book

We met Kelly at breakfast the next morning and indeed, the book is a serious project.  It will focus more on the authors and not especially on the room journals, I gathered.

In the journals, I am always deeply moved when I read of grandmothers and granddaughters traveling together.    My grandmother liked nowhere better than her own home and was not much of a reader so it’s not as if I wish we had traveled together; I just like to see a close relationship like we had.

granddaughter and grandma

granddaughter and grandma

A long distance friend whom I met at SBH in perhaps 2008 cherishes this journal entry by her grandma.

guest from Utah

and the granddaughter writes:



Sometimes I have to skip a few pages because the handwriting is illegible, although if I can tell that the entry is a fascinating one I will struggle to read it.  I even saw one from our local author Robert Michael Pyle but could not decipher most of it!  And then I run across an entry like this:



You can see the south end fireplace of the library around the edge of this two-page entry about the healing power of the SBH:

entryentry page two

“Time is more valuable when there is so much less of it to waste.”

praying to the Emily

praying to the Emily

A running theme in the 1990s journals:  Jersey tuxedo cat got cranky with age.  Sometimes a hotel cat does become too cantankerous and is then found a private home, but Jersey was at the hotel for years and I remember Jersey sleeping on my bed in 1991.

Jersey poem

Jersey poem

I love the phrase, below:  “Still trying to figure it out as though we were kids, still.”

figuring out love

While reading many of these over again I still become weepy with emotion about the human condition.  I rarely feel such deep emotion as when I am reading the SBH journals and connect with the commonality of the sort of person who loves staying there.

second time around

second time around

My soul wants to stay forever.

My soul wants to stay forever.

the longing for solitude

the longing for solitude

At 6:50, I tore myself away from journals so that Carol and I could tour some empty rooms (the doors are left open if the room is unoccupied) and then went to dinner at April’s (delicious and right across the street).

At ten PM, I was back in the library reading more journal entries.

like a lazer

like a laser beam

I well remember reading this moving entry from last time:

six months since I lost her

six months since I lost her…

appreciating Emily

appreciating Emily

at the Fishermen's Memorial

at the Fishermen’s Memorial

Some people grace the journals with their art, from children’s scribbles to elegant works like these:



Sometimes I find an entry that reveals how much someone has fallen in love with the journals:

journal addiction begins

journal addiction begins

People reveal so much of themselves and I want to read every word of every journal in every room.

understanding Emily

understanding Emily

At the bottom of the blog entry of a visit some years ago, I have added some thoughts about the journals from the Sylvia Beach Hotel Lovers Facebook group,  so check it out if you would like to read more about journal addiction.

At 11:15, we repaired to our room; we were the last ones out of the library and so we turned out all but one lamp.



The journal reading would recommence on Thursday.

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