Imagine a world without trees

We had no idea how many trees were on earth, but there were plenty of wild quesses. The September  issue of the journal Nature provided much needed answers. Three trillion! There are 7 billion folks walking around, that’s 425 trees per person. Is that a lot of trees per person?

The study theorizes that at the beginning of civilization, there were 6 trillion trees. Yes indeed, half the earth’s trees are no more. The investigators estimate that we are losing 10 billion trees per year. In 150 years, there will only be half again, 1.5 trillion trees. We can count on 10 billion folks walking around 150 years from now. That’s only 150 trees per person. Yikes!

Let’s assume that 150 years ago there were less than 1 billion folks walking around amonst 4.5 trillion trees. Back in the day, there were 4,500 trees per person. We were tree rich, now we are heading towards tree bankrupcy.

What good are trees you ask? They clean water, stabilize climates, build fertile soil, provide food and raw materials, and soak up carbon emmissions to mediate the effects of global warming. You might come to the conclusion that they are one of the most important organisms on earth. They are also beautiful and produce oxygen, you know, the stuff we breathe!

Human activity is the most significant cause of the decline in trees. Currently, 50% of the trees live in tropical and subtropical regions, 25% live in temperate zones, and 25% live in the northern boreal forests. The boreal forests happen to be the most dense, 1 tree per square meter. That’s about a square yard for you nonmetric people. The following map shows the worldwide distribution of trees.

That strip across the top is the boreal forest. My fear is that as the climate warms and the boreal forests dry out, there will be massive wildfires that greatly increase the rate of future tree loss. If you have ever seen a wildfire, you know that dry trees growing close together burn like crazy.

We should have a goal of increasing the number of trees on earth to 4 trillion. As the population grows to 10 billion, that keeps our current ratio of about 400 trees per person intact. Note: I have rounded numbers to make the math more pleasing to the eye without changing the overall gruesome results.

My advise, while trees abound,

Get out there and be amazed…


Rock n Rolling

You can spend many enjoyable hours strolling down the beach or a river bank looking at the variety of beatiful stones. Most have been shaped and polished by eons spent rolling around in the water and sand.

Notice that when they are wet, the stones shine like jewels. When they dry, their luster fades.

You can easily put a permanent shine on those stones with a rock tumbler. We purcheased one from Lortone and found out how easy it is to polish river rocks. The tumbler was placed in the garage in a tray in case one of the containers leaked.

Skills needed are minimal, patience is the required talent. The rocks go into a container with water and polishing compound. They are then tumbled 24/7 for many weeks. Three to four different grits are used to get a progressively finer polish. Each grit requires 7 to 10 days of tumbling.

After five weeks of rock and rolling, the results were stuning. 

Get out there and be amazed…

Creation of a beach

Walking along the beach, we came upon a slide that blocked our path. Recent heavy rain had saturated the bluff causing a huge avalanche to tumble into the sea. The slide was about eight foot high and at least 100 feet long.

Already waves from passing ships were working to redistribute the material from the slide.

This is part of a continuing process where the bluff erodes and creates new beach to walk.

Get out there and be amazed…

Secret places

There is a place we regularly walk the dogs. It is very public. Dogs are off leash, they run about open fields, having lots of fun. Dog owners stroll around and chat, mostly about their dogs.

Just off the beaten path is a special place of solitude. Hidden from plain sight, it is largely passed by.

Many secret little places exist just out of reach of your daily awareness. They are found by exploring. Take the time to look beyound the normal boundaries of your world and you will find them. 

Get out there and be amazed…

Young dog loves beach

A young pup, Scout, did his best to get Maggie to play. Everyone loves the beach, especially the young at heart.

 Tonight will be good dreaming of a fun day.

Get out there and be amazed…

Mt Baker in the distance

Even from afar Mt Baker is huge. It is not even a standard mountain, but one of the great volcanoes located in the Cascade mountain range that tower above everything else. Baker is the northern anchor, the next in line is Mt Ranier.

I have lived in the northwest for many years. Baker seems unchanged by time. But that would be people time. The mountains have their own internal clock, where a human life is not even a moment in mountain time.

Tick, tick, tick and a hundred years have passed. Every now and then an eruption or a tectonic plate movement to disturb the elusion of serenity. Just ask Mt Saint Helens what happened in 1980!

Humans, absorbed in their own preoccupations barely give them the time of day. Yet pay a visit up close and you stand before them in awe.

Get out there and be amazed…

Organic Farm School Final Harvest Day

It was a gorgeous day at the Geenbank farm on Whidbey island. We were walking the dogs on the land that was once a loganberry farm. 

Located on one edge of the property is the certified organic farm and home of the Organic Farm School Program. Young people from all over the US attend this 8 month school that teaches organic farming techniques.


It was the last week of school and the students were harvesting their final bounty to sell to the public.

I chatted as they picked amazing kale, lettuce and carrots. Each had an amazing experience and were planning to find jobs on existing organic farms or start their own farm. One person was remaining on Whidbey Island to manage the South Whidbey School Farm and Garden Program.

Get out there and be amazed…