Gossamer Tapestry

Reflections on conservation, butterflies, and ecology in the nation's heartland

Monday, September 22, 2008

On the Virtues of Meeting Old friends for the First Time

Mark (L) and Rodger

My trip to the Pacific Northwest took me from Portland to Seattle. Driving north from our detour to Cape Disappointment, Vincent and I ended up at our hotel in Seattle, just a few blocks from Pike Street Market.

The fish stall at Pike Street Market This picture is especially for Celeste

We visited Erin at Woodland Park Zoo. They and the Oregon Zoo collaborate on rearing Oregon Silverspot butterflies. Their techniques are similar. They house the females in paper bags where they lay eggs. We had the opportunity to view their procedure for feeding them.

Each bag contains one gravid female who will lay up to 500 eggs

A silverspot inside of the egg laying cage

Feeding the silverspots. The feet are first diped in water (petri dish on the left), then the butterfly is placed on a cotton ball soaked in sugar water. Note that her proboscis is extended into the cotton ball.

We visited the insectarium at Woodland Park. It's a very nice facility with interesting insects that are well displayed.

In the Insectarium.
Vincent interviews a walking stick.

After learning all that we could about breeding butterflies the Pacific Northwest way (and having our world rocked in the process), Vincent and I said goodbye to Erin. I jumped on the evening train back to Portland, where I spent the weekend with blogging friends Mark and Rodger. I've known them since I started blogging. Rodger commented on my very first post, and Mark showed up shortly thereafter. I've wanted to meet them in person since the outset, and now I finally have.

They picked me up at the airport and whisked me up to their beautiful home in the hills above Portland. We spent the evening drinking wine and (inspired by a comment from Homer) gossiping about other bloggers, especially UrSpo, about whom they now know everything.

On Saturday Morning, we walked through the foggy hills of Forest Park. There were lots of cool mushrooms.

Portland shrooms

For the afternoon we headed towards the coast and Tillamook, famous for its cheese. We bought cheese curds, and really good ice cream. I had huckleberry, Mark had German Chocolate, and Rodger had something with Reese's Peanut Butter Cups in it. The cheesemaking operation was interesting, but didn't teach me much that I could apply to my own work. I'm not planning on industrial-scale cheesemaking any time soon.

After cheese, we went back to the river. I photographed insects, including a really cool woolly bear, while Mac the wonder dog swam and chased sticks. He's a total sweetie.

West Coast woolly bear

He's more fun to pet when he's dry.

Saturday night it was back home for Mark's amazing egg enchiladas, more conversation and more wine. On the way to the airport on Sunday, I realized that not only was I sorry to be parting company so quickly, I felt as though I have known Mark and Rodger a lot longer than the two years I've been blogging. They are wonderful people and excellent hosts. I've grown very fond of them.

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At 23:50, Blogger Ur-spo said...

You are a lucky man to have met these two.

I noticed the eight legged bastard in the corner of one of your photos.

At 07:42, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh to be a fly on the wall!

I didn't see the spider though, I'm gonna have to go back and look for it. Are these pics taken with your new camera? They are great shots!

Glad you had a nice trip!

At 08:21, Blogger Celeste said...

Yeah 'FISH' my favorite! Are you trying to get me fired Doug?!!! :)

At 10:32, Blogger Floridacracker said...

Those Pike Street fish vendors have inspired a work philosophy called FISH.
Our principal is crazy about it.

At 15:03, Blogger robin andrea said...

How lucky that you met Mark and Rodger. What a great way to spend a weekend in northwest.

At 17:24, Blogger Lemuel said...

a great tribute to "new" "old" friends!

At 18:05, Blogger Doug Taron said...

Spo- I am lucky indeed. I didn't even notice the spider until you mentioned it.

Heather- Yes, the pics are with the new camera. A fly on the wall? We'd rather have had you there sharing in the fun.

Celeste- When we were there, we knew you needed a picture.

FC- We've done the FISH program here at my work, too.

Robin- It was a great way to spend the weekend. At one point, we were saying that it would be great to meet you and Roger.

Lem- Yes. It's fun how they are both simultaneously.

At 19:03, Blogger cedrorum said...

You have such great trips. I wish my work related trips were that fun.

At 21:28, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a wonderful time and some great pictures! Sounds like a blast!

At 22:14, Blogger rodger said...

Does that picture make me look gay? Don't answer that! You already know we drive a Subaru and wear Birkenstocks...of course that just makes us Lesbians. (no offense girls!)

I couldn't have said it better Doug, it was as if we'd known you forever and just hadn't seen each other in a while. What a great time we had and we're looking forward to many more.

I've had to hold off on my post since Mark used ALL the pictures but I'm working on a new tack and will post tomorrow. Of course I'll be nice and not mention how much wine you had if you don't tell how much I had. m'kay?

Looking forward to our next get together.

At 07:30, Blogger Gallicissa said...

Meeting with two more blogging friends! I haven't met a single person yet! Perhaps because most of them are from too far away.

Which country is that Stick Insect from? We have one that grows over 30 cm here.

At 13:06, Blogger Kathiesbirds said...

Doug, you have way too much fun! I am curious about feeding the butterfly. Why do you dip its legs in water first and how do they hold it that way without damaging the wings?

At 09:05, Blogger Doug Taron said...

cedrorum- I occasionally feel guilty about the amount of fun I manage to have on work-related tips. Then I manage to get over it.

let's paint- Thanks. It was a blast.

Rodger- >Of course I'll be nice and not mention how much wine you had if you don't tell how much I had. m'kay?

I think you just did...

Gallicissa- It's too bad, geogaphy doesn't work in your favor (though I'd love to visit Sri Lanka some day). The stick insect is an Australian species.

Kathie- the first dip of the butterfly is because water stimulates it to uncurl its proboscis. Many of a butterflies taste receptors are in its feet. If you grip the butterfly so that it can't flop about, it's fairly easy to hold them without damaging the wings.


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