Retreating glaciers some ten thousand years ago left behind vast stretches of land scraped bare of trees, initially supporting only grasses and other low-lying scrub, in a climate generally so humid that grassland would normally yield to forest. Much of this post-glacial prairieland did revert to forest, but by burning off the old growth every spring, Native peoples prevented tree seedlings from taking root and thus maintained many thousands of acres as grassland for grazing their horses and other livestock.
However, the prairies of Western Washington were the first land grabbed by invading Europeans; lacking tree cover, they were ready-made for cropland and pasture. Farms and cities grew. The ancient practice of annual burns was abandoned, and big trees were soon thriving.
Only a few tiny remnants of these prairies remain, grassy islands in a sea of trees, and they are ecologically degraded now to varying extents. Much of the remaining acreage is entrusted to the Center for Natural Lands Management, a nonprofit that attempts to restore and preserve the South Sound prairies. Annual burning regimes have been reinstated.
Above is a bit of the grass in Glacial Heritage Preserve, a prairie in Thurston County, Washington, that is open to the public only on volunteer work days.
The deer are apparently not a security issue, but drones, on the other hand, are becoming a big problem. Multiple drone flights over the base been reported, all taking place at night, and nobody knows who is flying the drones or why.
Naval investigators have yet to solve the mystery. Nearby residents have been interviewed, but their involvement is doubtful. "I really can't imagine any of the neighbors or neighbors' kids thinking it's OK to run drones over Bangor," said one area resident who'd been interrogated about the incidents. "Everyone here is very aware that this is one of the most lethal places on earth."
Signs around the base perimeter warn "Keep Out. Use of force authorized."
The gathering celebrated not only Valentine's Day but also the grand opening of the new Labor Canteen of the United Federal Workers of America, CIO, near Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C.
United Federal Workers was a labor union representing U.S. government employees. Though soldiers and sailors were certainly not unionized, they may have frequented the new canteen for political and/or social activities.
The UFW included both black and white members. But the scene in this room was extremely unusual for 1940s Washington, which was still a completely segregated city. The military was also still segregated. Eleanor Roosevelt's presence was making a political statement about race as well as labor.
The cartoons on the wall in the background may have been the work of Woody Guthrie.
As some of you will surely point out, the banjo Pete Seeger is playing here does not look like the long-necked music machine he was long associated with. That one came a few years later.
Happy Valentine's Day 2015.
When last we spent our Saturdays at high school wrestling tournaments, back in the decade of the twenty-oughts, we were parents of wrestlers, which meant that we were working the concession stand or down on our knees with a camcorder or scanning the scene from the bleachers, looking for indications of wrestling drama.
We can report with confidence that in the winter of 2015, all the drama is still much in evidence. Even before you enter the gym, you can't help but notice the kid standing all by himself out in the cold parking lot, hiding his face, struggling not to cry.
The only big difference nowadays is that somehow, magically, our wrestlers from way back then have returned to this scene as what might be called wrestling facilitators. One of them is now a referee with striped shirt and whistle, and another is an assistant assistant coach, a guy who sits in the corner of the mat during each bout and yells, "Circle! Circle! Good–keep that elbow. That's all right, don't worry, now up and out!"
High school wrestling matches last six minutes, except when they're over in a few seconds. That can happen when a newbie, with panic in his eyes, is up against an experienced wrestler who knows a few moves. Of course it can also happen when an experienced wrestler underestimates an opponent, or when he forgets for an instant to do or not do something critical that he knew perfectly well he was supposed to do or not do.
Driftwood arrives naturally on beaches in the Pacific Northwest; storms, erosion, and ordinary old age can cause trees growing in thin soil on steep slopes to tumble down into inland creeks and rivers; when the rivers are running high and fast, entire forests can be floated right on out to the coast.
This photo comes from the files of the Office of the Architect, U.S. Capitol. The backstory is not known to us, but apparently foxes are observed from time to time roaming the grounds of the Capitol, feasting on squirrels. Just last February, tourists noted exactly that, and the Washington press corps twittered all about it.
It's gotta be that shredder sitting by the windowsill, just to the right of the desktop.
This is Ted's new office in Washington, DC.
By 7 a.m. on June 21, 1942, the line of cars at this Texaco station, and at pretty much every gas station in America, spilled out of the lot and on down the street. Strict gas rationing to conserve fuel for the war effort was set to begin the next day, June 22, 1942.
Note the corn plants growing in the grassy spot in the lower left corner of the picture. Note also the car closest to the camera: a brand new 1942 Packard.
McDowell's Texaco was in the 5200 block of Wisconsin Avenue NW, near Friendship Heights at the edge of Washington, D.C; a parking garage now occupies the spot.