Monday, April 20, 2015

Blackwing Slate

New Notebook

Blackwing Slate
Blackwing Slate: photo by Cliff Hutson

I really did not need another notebook at this time. There are already a few in my stash waiting to be used. But, they tossed in two extra pencils, a Blackwing and a Blackwing Pearl, into the deal so how could I refuse that offer?

Three Palomino Pencils
Three Palomino Pencils: photo by Cliff Hutson

The Palomino Blackwing Pearl is said to be softer than the Palomino Blackwing 602 (which comes bundled with the notebook), but firmer than the in the Palomino Blackwing. I guess that the Pearl should be the one that Goldilocks would prefer. Now that I have all three, I should probably do some sort of a side-by-side comparison. But, I am not sure if I have enough discrimination to do a bang up job of that.

Places One Might Find a Blackwing 602
Inside Cover: photo by Cliff Hutson
The back page of the journal is kind of interesting. It caused me to hunt down my 30th anniversary edition Jaws DVD. Sure enough, there is what looks like a Blackwing 602 clutched in the jaws of Matt Hooper (see #16) in the scene on the dock where he identifies the first shark.

My plan is to use the Slate to take over from the "What Did I Eat Today?, A Food Lover's Journal" which was such a disappointment. The Slate may not be "guided", but I am certain that it is going to serve me a whole lot better as a journal.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Brie and/or Apples

Take Your Pick

Brie and French Bread
Brie and French Bread: photo by Cliff Hutson

I have to admit that I still get a big kick out seeing photographs I have made being used on the Internet or in print.

It may be vain, but what the heck. 

Bowl of Apples
Apples: photo by Cliff Hutson

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Common Monkeyflower

Mimulus guttatus or Erythranthe guttata

Common Monkeyflower
Seep-Spring Monkeyflower: photo by Cliff Hutson
The Common Monkeyflower (Mimulus guttatus)also known as Seep-Spring Monkeyflower, is a variable plant ranging from spindly and tiny to large and bushy, between one and three feet tall. The two-lipped yellow flowers have red, or reddish-brown spots and can range from about one half inch to almost two inches in length. Described as a plant that likes to get its feet wet, it is found in moist places through out most of California below 10,000 feet and flowers from March in to August. It thrives in many habitats - Coastal Strand, Northern Coastal Scrub, Yellow Pine Forest, Red Fir Forest, Lodgepole Forest, Subalpine Forest, Foothill Woodland, Chaparral, Valley Grassland, Pinyon-Juniper Woodland, (many plant communities), wetland-riparian.

My field guides place it in the Scrophulariaceae (Figwort family). Newer references, such as Jepson eFlora, have it in the Phrymaceae (Lopseed family). The name monkeyflower comes from the supposition that the flowers look like little faces when viewed from the front. I have never seen a monkey’s face. However, based on my experiences leading wildflower walks, those participants under nine years of age seem to see it quite readily. 

These are not just plants lovely to look at, monkeyflower leaves were eaten as a salad. The stems and roots were brewed as a tea and used to treat diarrhea and kidney problems. 

Common Monkeyflower
Common Monkeyflower: photo by Cliff Hutson
Recent molecular analysis seems to indicate that almost all Mimulus species in western North America should be reassigned to the species Erythranthe and eventually Mimulus guttatus will be called Erythranthe guttata.

Monday, April 6, 2015


Lasthenia, spp.

Goldfields: photo by Cliff Hutson

The color theorist Josef Albers (1888 – 1976) remarked that, “. . . the nomenclature of color is most inadequate. Though there are innumerable colors - shades and tones - in daily vocabulary, there are only about 30 color names.” Therefore, in a departure for from my usual commentary when describing wildflowers, I am not going to quibble about the name of this month’s plant; and instead just revel in its beauty. Goldfields in large populations, growing from one to two feet in height, can bloom at once in the spring producing the carpets of yellow on hillsides and in meadows that lend the plant its common name. However, in the days of the Californios, young women knew it as si me quieres, no me quieres (love me , love me not), using its petals as petals of daisies are used.

Lasthenia is a genus of the family Asteraceae. As a member of the sunflower family, each flowerhead is actually made up of many individual yellow flowers. The 7 - 15 outer ray flowers look like petals while the numerous inner disk flowers are tiny and shaped like a tube.The genus is named named for the Athenian girl Lasthenia who dressed as a boy in order to attend Plato's classes.  It has been noted that this genera is plastic and difficult to really separate. Many species names have been applied and it can be confusing.

When I took the accompanying photograph, I identified it as L. glabrata, or yellow rayed goldfields. It is endemic to California, where it is a resident of vernal pools and other moist areas in a number of habitat types. The epitaph “glabrata” means somewhat glabrous, I.e., free from hair or down; smooth. I don’t see any in hairs in the photo, that is my story and I am sticking to it. 

Friday, April 3, 2015

Friday Favorites

General's Cedar Pointe Pencils

General's Cedar Pointe Pencils
General's Cedar Pointe Pencils: photo by Cliff Hutson

Every time you make a typo,
the errorists win.

We are all prone to making typos, and many escape detection by spellcheck applications and human editors a like. Certainly my share has made it into publication. But, I still get a good laugh at the misfortunes of others. So I was bemused by the Remodelista listing for General's Cedar Pointe pencils. It is not really a typo. They ran the wrong photograph. The website shows the right pencils. But, the photo in the book seems to be of the Badger pencil. I am not sure what that mistake should be called, but the errorists win again.

General's Cedar Pointe pencils feature a natural finish, black imprint, black ferrule and black eraser, as shown in the photo I took of three of the two dozen I have on hand at home. I like the feel of the wood. And, it has a faint, lovely smell of cedar. However, some may find that during extended use a painted finish might be more comfortable. The black eraser erases cleanly. The lead is smoothly consistent and doesn't wear rapidly. These pencils may cost a little more than some garden varieties, but seem to be worth it.

Cedar Pointe Pencils
Cedar Pointe Pencils: photo by Cliff Hutson

But, don't just take my word for it, check out his review from Wood & Graphite:

Wednesday, April 1, 2015