Columnists

Wild Ideas: Pollen on the way?

Pollen season is almost upon us and, thanks to the relatively warm winter, may arrive sooner than expected. The culprits spewing what, for some of us, is an annoying allergen are members of the juniper family. This is the only tree pollen I seem to be allergic to, and it creeps up on me most years, being the last thing on my mind when I stare out at the bare winter landscape. […]

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Wild Ideas: Who made that mark?

One of the reasons I love to write about nature is that it gives me a great excuse to spend time trying to solve the mysteries with which the natural world abounds. Of course, the more answers I find, the more questions I have. […]

Home & Garden

Prepare for winter

As the mowing season wraps up, now is the time to have your lawn equipment serviced before it is stored for the winter. Regular servicing of your lawn and garden equipment is an important factor in maintaining productivity. […]

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Wild Ideas: The monarchs of Death Valley

When I joined my brother, Dana, and his wife, Joyce, in Death Valley National Park on Oct. 6 for a five-day camping trip, it was hot. Of course, I expected our campsite, at Furnace Creek — on the valley floor, almost 300 feet below sea level — to be hot . . . but not that hot. […]

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When you find snake eggs

In July, Sperryville resident Virginie Audrain sent me some photos of eggs she and her companion, stonemason Jim Carter, found in one of the compost piles they use to fertilize their gardens. […]

Home & Garden

Wild Ideas: The case of the mystery hummingbird

For the average birder, checking off one more species on his or her life list can be a thrill, especially if that bird is outside its known range. For those of us who do not consider ourselves birders but still love to watch birds, just sorting out common species can be a challenge, and the rarer ones even more so. […]

Home & Garden

Photo contest announced: Share Your Vision of Nearby Nature

Enter your photos of Northern Virginia’s beautiful urban and rural outdoor spaces in the Nearby Nature Photo Competition, sponsored by the Northern Virginia Conservation Trust. The contest is open to all non-professional photographers, with prizes for youth and adults in two categories: “the land and water around us” and “people enjoying the land.” See www.nvct.org for entry details. The deadline for online submissions is Sunday, Oct. 30. […]

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WILD IDEAS: What’s tossed around, comes around

I had business near Woodville recently that led to my driving back roads in the area around dawn and dusk for a couple of weeks. The gently rolling hills along the route are mostly pastures, with cows and horses, and wildflowers grow in fallow fields, which made this an enjoyable drive. […]