Our new pond

Monday afternoon I broke through some brush at the edge of the yard to cut some cattails for a floral design class one of our grad students was teaching. Lo and behold, I discovered the pond that El and I talked about putting in when we first moved here.

I knew the beavers were busy this summer. I could hear them at night plowing through the cattails back to the safety of water when I’d take the dogs out at night. But I had no idea how busy they were.

beaver pond

Their damn is probably 100 feet long and 4 or 5 feet tall at its highest point. It collects water from the small stream that runs behind our yard and the springs that also pop up in the area in and around the pond. There is a small lodge in the center.

From what I recall of beaver biology from my youth (hey, no snickers — I grew up near a small lake that had several beaver lodges), after a year of so, the young get kicked out of established lodges to go build their own. There are beavers in several areas of the wetland along the main creek. Guess it was getting crowded, so they moved up into our little branch.

I am planning to put some hardware cloth around the trunk of the willow tree down by the stream.  Beaver like willows, poplars and other species that colonize the flooded areas they create.

Exploding pumpkin

Hat tip to Ann Raver who plugged this video in her article in today’s NY Times, In the Pumpkin Patch, an Orange Thumb, about growing and showing giant pumpkins.

Rep. Pete Stark (D – CA) from the House debate on the override vote on Bush’s veto of SCHIP:

But President Bush’s statements about children’s health shouldn’t be taken any more seriously than his lies about the war in Iraq. The truth is that Bush just likes to blow things up. In Iraq, in the United States and in Congress.

Who volunteers to captain the Titanic …

… after it’s hit the iceberg?

That’s how John Oliver summed up the possibility of Al Gore running for president on The Daily Show last night:

Actually, there are signs that Al Gore is already running for president. Check out these three very short videos of Gore on his on CurrentTV website since he awarded the Nobel Peace Prize:

They are commercial-length, no-bullshit progressive views on the three top issues of the day. (Well three of the top four. We know where he stands on the fourth.)

They have all the production value of a dorm-room, videocam rant. Nothing you would see on TV. But just exactly the kind of thing that plays well in this new medium we call the Internet.

Thom Hartman speculated today that we are perhaps seeing the first candidacy that will rely on the Internet and bypass the mainstream media (MSM). Just as radio replaced print in campaigns decades ago, and later TV replaced radio, Gore again sees the future and is reaching out directly without having to go through the MSM filter.

It’s not like the MSM ever did him any favors with their coverage. See Going After Gore in the latest Vanity Fair for a great article on how the media got it all wrong on the ‘discovering the Love Canal’ and ‘inventing the Internet’ memes they created.

Through the Internet, he’s going to hoist the MSM on their own petard.

First frost

There was scattered frost Saturday morning, meaning that the low spots in our yard (including the vegetable garden) got hit pretty good while plants near the house survived mostly. I don’t think it will be recorded as an official frost as the official weather stations in this area have warmer microclimates on cold nights.

I have heard that we have already broken the record for longest growing season. But I’ll await official word.

Frost is always fun to shoot. The frosty lawn and the water garden:


Frosted dahlia:


Monarda seedheads: