Posted by: greentangle | September 19, 2017

Yellowstone Photos

Since I can’t show you Yellowstone photos anymore (and despite the beauty don’t mind at all that I wasn’t there this overcrowded, hot, and smoky summer–but it did snow enough to close roads twice in the past week), I’ll make sure you see this collection of them.

Posted by: greentangle | September 2, 2017


One of the part time jobs I’ve had since I moved back here has been at the zoo. The other day some of the employees were given a tiger feeding tour which was interesting. The highlight was spreading her meal of ground cow (all the parts) around a two room holding area–on the bottom of a bench, just outside the cage so she’d have to reach under, high on the walls so she’d have to stand to paw it off. No posted photos allowed, but in any case my camera battery had died while I was walking around the zoo before the tour, so I’m not holding out on you.

This llama lives fairly close to where I work, so I usually go say hello on my break. As with people, I’m never sure if he’ll be friendly or spit at me. Usually we just stare.

This heron isn’t an actual zoo resident but is often in the area.

There’s a butterfly exhibit this summer.

I think the snow leopard is the most beautiful animal there–the tail and paws are amazing, but here’s the face.

Maybe someday I’ll try that again with a fresh battery.


Posted by: greentangle | August 13, 2017

What Would Henry Do?

This morning I finished reading a book I’ve been slogging through for a month: Henry David Thoreau: A Life. I came close to giving up halfway through but I’m glad I finished it because I thought it became more interesting when focused on the later part of Thoreau’s life. I learned details I didn’t know or remember about Thoreau’s involvement with John Brown and the Underground Railroad (appropriate for these divided days), as well as his trip to Minnesota near the end of his life. I found the writing style a little awkward, primarily because of paragraphs comprised of too much information in a mixture of quotes and apparent paraphrases which read like quotes but lacked quotation marks.

Mostly I’m glad I kept reading because it reawakened the urge to read Thoreau. In my studio apartment, where the main living area is almost exactly the size of Thoreau’s home at Walden (although I have much larger windows and found no room for chairs for friendship or society), the only convenient place for the one bookcase remaining from the overflowing five I used to own is in a corner entryway where it can’t be seen from most of the room. This morning I moved the eighteen (used to be 40 something) Thoreau books and over a dozen field guides from the bookcase to the floor where I used to store books I didn’t care about that much. Instead of being hidden in a dark corner, these books will now be in sight all the time.

I’m also nearing the end of The Quarry Fox: And Other Critters of the Wild Catskills which has reawakened a little homesickness for New England’s landscape and wildlife.

I’m not as easily and cheaply relocated as a few dozen books so I’ve settled for researching websites for wildlife cams and some favorite Massachusetts locations. The least well-known of those is probably Purgatory Chasm, so here’s a link to an article with several photos. I made several important trips there at different periods of my life, and reading the comments makes clear that others have strong memories of the place as well. And the Arnold Arboretum, just a couple blocks from one of my Boston homes, where I sadly learned about the hemlock wooly adelgid. And the whales! The August 11th entry includes not only some great breaching humpback photos but also a great white shark!

Posted by: greentangle | August 10, 2017

Yellowstone National Traffic Jam

I told you it was too crowded.

Posted by: greentangle | August 8, 2017

Your Choice

Take a look at these two recent videos and ask yourself which you would prefer.

A brown bear with two cubs walking toward you:

Or a mountain lion staring at you from above:


Posted by: greentangle | July 29, 2017


I decided last night to go looking for thimbleberries this morning. This morning came the more difficult decision–should I wear the too small shoes with good support, or the roomy shoes with no support left, or the new ones I don’t think I like? It was going to be a three mile walk, my longest in months, and since it was early in the morning, my feet were as small as they get anymore so I went for the support.

I took a bus to my starting point and then had to wait for this train.

We walked along on opposite sides of the tracks. Mine was obviously the wrong side.

This cat was watching them too until I gave a whistle.

Many chipmunks quickly crossed my path, but this was my only proof. :-)

I saw many thimbleberry plants but no sign of berries and had decided I was too late. Then I spotted these in a relatively inaccessible spot.

If my feet don’t explode overnight, I’ll look in a nearer, shadier, less popular location early tomorrow morning and see if I can find any to actually eat.

“I was framed!”



Posted by: greentangle | July 12, 2017

Letter to Henry

Happy 200th birthday, Henry. A few days ago I read a new essay about your influence on conservationists and writers. It was a good article, but very conspicuously didn’t mention Edward Abbey in a long list of authors despite the article’s author having written the introduction to an edition of The Monkey Wrench Gang and Ed’s own long essay Down the River with Henry Thoreau. Henry, there have been more books written about you than you had in your large library, including a long new highly praised biography which I’ll start reading in a few days.

As Abbey wrote, “Henry thou should be with us now”. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the buffoons running the federal government (the linked article refers to the need to protect a couple areas you loved from profiteers and bandits). I suspect you and Ed might each be writing from a jail cell if you were both around today. You might not recognize much of Concord and New England. Despite more people and highways, there are a lot more forests and wildlife than in your day. It’s warmer, though. People have used the phenology records you kept to show how much earlier many plant species are blooming, and that others have disappeared from Concord.

That rewilding of New England is one of the topics mentioned in Witness Tree, a fine short book which features a century-old red oak in the Harvard Forest in western Massachusetts as its central character in a look at climate change, but explores a wide variety of subjects. There is pleasure in living there through a very snowy winter, interacting with cows, and climbing the tree, but one of the sad topics is the tree species we’ve lost since your time, Henry. You’d want to know what happened to the chestnuts, the elms, and now the hemlocks. I heartbreakingly witnessed that last one happening myself in the Arnold Arboretum a few blocks from my former home.

There’s something new called a podcast, Henry. You could listen to a good interview about this book with its author here. She even mentions you in the book.

I’m living in Minnesota, which you visited near the end of your life. I was on a boat on Lake Superior recently and it made me long for the whale watches I used to go on when I lived in Boston. How I’d love to see you seeing a humpback whale for the first time, Henry!

Oh, and there’s another quirky book you might enjoy for its attitude toward wildlife. It’s a mix of natural history and neuroscience and psychology titled Carnivore Minds.

There’s going to be a big crowd at Walden Pond today. Thanks for trying to make this a better society.

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