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Just when you think California is perfect. I guess I’ll be needing to keep a few bottles of this in the back of my car now.

Tecnu and Poison Oak FAQs.

April 29, 2014 | Camping, Flora/Fauna | Continue Reading | Comments { 0 }

Mother Earth.

If you ever see one of these books at your local thrift store, PICK IT UP.

April 28, 2014 | Flora/Fauna | Continue Reading | Comments { 0 }

The Sound of Mushrooms


THIS is just wonderful.

 MP3: Pearl Jam – Around The Bend

February 5, 2014 | Flora/Fauna | Continue Reading | Comments { 0 }

Wooly Bear Winter

Woolly Bear

Normally this wouldn’t be of interest, BUT, since we’ve been spending most of our time up in Sullivan County, NY this month, we see Woolly Bear caterpillars constantly. Every step you take on the road, there’s another black and brown fella trying to make his way to other side.

Anyway, this is from NPR Morning Edition. It’s going to be a cold, wet winter. Or maybe it won’t, who knows. Listen here:

Sit down, Punxsutawney Phil. Over the weekend, people in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, gathered for a weather forecast from caterpillars. Woolly bear caterpillars are black, with a brown stripe down the middle and folklore says the larger the stripe, the milder the winter. At the 17th annual Woolly Worm Winter Weather Prognostication Festival – say that twice – several woolly bears predicted a wet, cold winter ahead. Of course, they were wrong last year.

October 16, 2013 | Flora/Fauna | Continue Reading | Comments { 5 }

Juniper Ridge x Men’s Journal

Juniper 1 Juniper 2 Juniper 3 Juniper 4

If you’ve flipped through the pages of the Men’s Journal on stands now, you’ll see a wonderful article written about my cousins and heart condors, Juniper Ridge. I’ve spent a lot of time with those folks in the last year hiking/camping/driving around California, drinking wine on Oakland porches, singing about stray cats in cabins near Mammoth and eating Korean tacos in Brooklyn, so you can imagine how happy I was to see Hall, JR’s founder, swearing in print:

Four hours and several beers later, Newbegin swirls a beaker under my nose. Piney, woolly, grassy notes hit me powerfully. Newbegin is not surprised. “This stuff is Ice Age,” he says. “You’ll respond regardless if you give a shit about Big Sur, because the love of nature is hardwired into us.”

See more of Jose Mandojana’s wonderful outtakes from the Men’s Journal shoot here.

August 14, 2013 | Camping, Flora/Fauna | Continue Reading | Comments { 0 }

Private Life of the Barn Owl

Private Life of a Barn Owl

Thank you to Mr. Holstad for sending over a link to The Private Life of the Barn Owl, a 1976 BBC short writen, produced, directed and narrated by the great David Cobham.

MP3: Carly Simon – Night Owl

May 21, 2013 | Flora/Fauna | Continue Reading | Comments { 1 }

Mountain Misery

On our drive back to the Bay Area from the JMT/PCT, we stopped several times along the road, smelling this and looking for that. (This is what you do when your friends/hiking companions run a wildcrafted soap/incense/perfume etc. company.) One of the most aromatic plants in the area – one that you could instantly smell as soon as you rolled down the windows – is Chamaebatia foliolosa, more commonly known as Mountain Misery. It gets its name for the wildly resinous and sticky leaves that adhere to just about anything. It’s scent is unpleasant to some, but a few of us (including me), were absolutely transfixed by the somewhat innocuous fern-looking plant.

In any case, look for Mountain Misery next time you’re out in the Sierras. Kitkiddizze, Gary Snyder’s famous homestead built in the early 70s, is named after the local Wintun Indian word for Bear Clover, also known as – yes, you guessed it – Mountain Misery.

September 12, 2012 | Flora/Fauna, Long Hairs | Continue Reading | Comments { 1 }


Thanks to the ladies of San Francisco’s Gravel and Gold for hipping me to this album. Recorded in the mid 70s by weirdo electronic musician Mort Garson (who also did the backing music to Richard Burton’s interpretation of The Little Prince), this was given out with the purchase of a Simmon’s mattress at Sears in 1976, and as a bonus, came with extensive instructions on plant care. Track names include “Symphony For A Spider Plant,” “Ode to An African Violet,” and “Mellow Mood For Maidenhair.” Perfect.

MP3: Mort Garson – Plantasia

September 10, 2012 | Flora/Fauna, Music/Movies/Books | Continue Reading | Comments { 0 }

Jeffrey Pine

My favorite tree. The Jeffrey Pine, named in honor of its botanist documenter John Jeffrey, occurs from southwest Oregon through much of California (mainly in the Sierra Nevada) and all the way down to northern Baja California in Mexico. In the north of its range, it grows widely at 4,900 to 6,900 ft and to the south, anywhere between 5,900 to 9,500 feet.

The tree gets between 82 to 130 feet tall and the leaves are needle-like and grow in bundles of three. The cones are 4.7 to 9.4 inches long and dark purple when immature.

See you soon, Jeffrey Pines.

MP3: Metallica – Master Of Puppets

August 8, 2012 | Flora/Fauna | Continue Reading | Comments { 1 }

California Etc.

Cold Splinters is headed out to California tomorrow, and for those of you living in the Bay Area, come on down and hang out with me and the wonderful folks from Juniper Ridge this Saturday. We’ll all be one of my favorite stores out west, Gravel and Gold, from 1-5 pm distilling White Fir from a recent JR trip to Carson Pass (a few of Obi’s photos from that trip are after the jump). So if you want to smell better than all of your friends, come on down and watch the magic unfold.

Learn more about Field Lab, Juniper Ridge’s “aromatic snapshots of life on the trail, here.

Continue Reading →

July 26, 2012 | Flora/Fauna | Continue Reading | Comments { 0 }