Photo of the Week - December 31, 2013

American Bushtit
on Rhododendron bud
Olympia, WA
December 31, 2013 

How small is a Bushtit? Almost as small as a rhododendron bud!

Photo of the Week - December 23, 2013

Chum Salmon Spawning
Allison Springs
Olympia, WA 
December 23, 2013

Native chum salmon spawn on local streams in November and December. Hundreds of people come to the observation platforms at McLane Creek Nature Trail and Kennedy Creek. to see the salmon and learn from volunteer Salmon Stewards. 

By the end of December the activity has dwindled to a few fish. Carcasses of salmon litter outnumber spawners 10 to 1. But a few mighty fish struggle to complete their journey. The photos you see here were taken at low tide, when the stream was only a few inches deep. The salmon churn through the shallow water for several dozen feet and then rest for an extended time, gathering strength for the next few yards.  

Photo of the Week - December 7, 2013

Cartoonist Jim Woodring
demonstrates his 7 foot pen 'Nibbus Maximus'
Olympia Timberland Library
Olympia, WA
December 7, 2013

The Olympia Timberland Library is the coolest library around. Not only do they have an excellent selection of books, videos, music and reference materials, but they also offer some of the best talks in town. In the last three months, I have attended a presentation on hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, a ukulele concert, and an evening with Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner Timothy Egan, discussing his book, 'Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher'. To cap off this eclectic group of offerings, I attended Cartoonist Jim Woodring's lively and humorous demonstration of his 7 foot pen 'Nibbus Maximus'. 

Jim Woodring creates 'Visionary Art for Adventurous Spirits'; he is best known for the comic adventures of Frank, "a generic cartoon anthropomorphwhose adventures careen wildly from sweet to appalling."

According to legend, Woodring created the giant pen after seeing a large nib in a pen store in London. The proprietor told him that larger nibs were physically impossible. Woodring took it as a challenge and the rest is history.

Woodring fills the pen with ink from a small bucket. The pen has a tendency to drip and there is no super large bottle of whiteout, so errors must be incorporated into the design. Woodring completed a lovely drawing of a gigantic frog arm in about a half hour.

At the end of the event, Woodring gave the audience the chance to try out the giant pen. Several local comic artists gave it a whirl, much to the delight of the audience.

Did I mention that we have the coolest library around? Thanks to Timberland Library staff for a wonderful event.

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