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home : columns August 22, 2017


The Confederate flag and the unreconstructed
When I was a young man of about 20 or so, I had a Confederate battle flag sticker on the back window of my Chevy Impala.
Monday, August 21, 2017
Of a certain age...
Ten days of traveling across Idaho and Wyoming, and back again, brought to life the 1852 migration of my ancestors from Illinois across the American Plains and mountains to the Oregon Territory, land of promise.
Tuesday, August 15, 2017
Charlottesville
This week I had planned to write about our garden. After a few years of heartache and disaster, I wanted to share a tale of success - the 18 pounds of peas we've harvested so far, the bucket-loads of green beans, the beautiful squash, and the luscious ears of corn that have sweetened up just right and taste exactly like a Central Oregon summer.
Tuesday, August 15, 2017
Bull by Bull
• When I offered to help out the Anglea family - a clan of foodies - I was asked to provide dinner upon their arrival home from a cross-country U-Haul trip. For me, that about ended life as I knew it. After a sleepless night, I came up with a game plan, which included two of my favorite people contributing a smoked pork roast and a batch of the best homemade cookies in the world. I felt sure I could handle the side dishes and wine, and I wouldn't even need to take my printer out of the oven.
Tuesday, August 8, 2017
Arrivederci, Scaramucci
I, for one, am going to miss Anthony "The Mooch" Scaramucci. If you didn't know, The Mooch was sacked as White House Communications Director after an explosive and "colorful" interview with Ryan Lizza, a writer for The New Yorker.
Tuesday, August 8, 2017
Of butterflies
The most wonderful thing about writing this column is the phone calls and emails. Last week, the phone was ringing off the hook (and vibrating in my pocket) with all you wonderful people calling to tell me about the outbreak of "monarch butterflies" that have taken over the foothills of the Cascades.

But I'm sorry to say, those are California tortoiseshell butterflies, not monarchs.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017
Does your dog need a friend?
Every time you and Rover spend the weekend with your friend and her dog, the two dogs have a great time together. And each time when you return home your dog seems down for a couple of days.
Tuesday, August 8, 2017
Lashed to the mast
If you were ever lucky enough to live out on the great sagebrush sea, like I was during a certain vanishing era, you might have enjoyed a slice of old Americana in perhaps the rarest of ways: trailing cattle and working horses.
Tuesday, August 1, 2017
Famous mayoral meltdowns
The video that surfaced this week on BookFace of Sisters Mayor Chuck Ryan in a rant directed at one of his neighbors was certainly evidence of bad behavior - most likely personally embarrassing, and definitely intriguing, but hardly worthy of a 60 Minutes segment.
Tuesday, July 25, 2017
We know election interference when we see it
It must seem like a pretty good joke in the labyrinthine halls of the Kremlin: the Americans in a giant twist about Russian interference in the 2016 election. We ought to recognize it when we see it. The Russians understand - better than 99 percent of Americans - that the USA is the world champion of meddling in the internal political affairs of sovereign nations.
Tuesday, July 25, 2017
Who gets the family pet after a breakup?
Splitting up is never easy, especially when there is a beloved pet involved. Whether you and your ex decide to share custody, give the dog to solely one of you, or draw up visitation rights, make sure that you have your dog's best interest at heart.
Tuesday, July 25, 2017
Don, Jr. goes to Hollywood
For sheer overwrought political drama, vigorously milked for every last drop of click-bait and ratings potential, last Tuesday was certainly a hoot.
Tuesday, July 18, 2017
Sisters Country birds
The cedar waxwing [bombycilla cedrorum] occurs in medium to large flocks that will be seen on almost any tree that has berries. Serviceberry, dogwood, honeysuckle and mistletoe are just a few fruiting plants that provide food. In winter they consume cedar berries, hence their name "cedar" waxwing.
Tuesday, July 11, 2017
Counting butterflies
Looking at the toad photo, you may be wondering, "What does that toad have to do with counting butterflies?"
Tuesday, July 11, 2017
Baron Von Ripper
Occasionally, in the heat of summer, life will throw us a gift. Such a thing happened to me the other night, as I sat on the back porch in the golden light, watching a squadron of swallows dive-bombing around the barn and reading from Ernie Pyle's magnificent collection "Brave Men."
Tuesday, July 11, 2017
The Summer of Women
Here on the Figure 8, it is the summer of women. I admit to difficulties in the transition. For lengthy seasons in this life I have operated altogether outside the influence of women, marooned entirely alone on the desert, for instance, or crammed into warships with a battalion of humorless leathernecks. And if anywhere there truly is a man's world, look no further than the Marine Corps berthing spaces on-board naval shipping: It is like living in a bobbing jar full of angry hornets.
Monday, July 3, 2017
Working on the railroad
Earlier this month, on a tour with Steve Lent of Prineville's Bowman Museum, I took a step back in time to the development of railroads in Central Oregon.

The battle between two railroad giants, James J. Hill and Edward H. Harriman, to complete the first rail line from the Columbia River to Bend, resulted in a duplication of effort, time, and materials, with two separate rail lines, one on either side of the Deschutes River.

Monday, July 3, 2017
Flies aren't just flies...
The tachinid fly is a humdinger of an insect. When a beautiful giant of the fly

world came to rest on my wife, Sue's, back near the Chewucan River I whispered in her ear, "Don't move, there's a magnificent fly on your back, I need to photograph it."

Monday, July 3, 2017
Cascades compression
I was among those who thought the roundabout was a good idea. I still do-they work-though some of the motoring theatrics I observed this weekend might cause one to have legitimate second thoughts.
Tuesday, June 27, 2017
Oregon legislative busy work
In 1927, when L.L. Patterson was our governor, the western meadowlark [Sturnella neglecta] was chosen as the state bird by Oregon's school children in a poll sponsored by the Oregon Audubon Society.
Tuesday, June 13, 2017















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