Birding along the Truckee River ~ Cottonwood Park ~ Sparks, Nevada

A few sights from my walk along the Truckee River bike path near Cottonwood Park in Sparks, Nevada on Saturday, January 3rd, 2015.

Bewick's Wren, Sparks Nevada, 3 January 2015

Bewick’s Wren, Sparks Nevada, 3 January 2015

Bewick's Wren, Sparks Nevada, 3 January 2015

Bewick’s Wren, Sparks Nevada, 3 January 2015

Goldfinch eating sycamore fruit/seed, Sparks Nevada, 3 January 2015

Goldfinch eating sycamore fruit/seed, Sparks Nevada, 3 January 2015

Goldfinch eating sycamore fruit/seed, Sparks Nevada, 3 January 2015

Goldfinch eating sycamore fruit/seed, Sparks Nevada, 3 January 2015

Goldfinch eating sycamore fruit/seed, Sparks Nevada, 3 January 2015

Goldfinch eating sycamore fruit/seed, Sparks Nevada, 3 January 2015

A tiny female Bufflehead on the Truckee River, Cottonwood Park, Sparks, Nevada 3 January 2015

A tiny female Bufflehead on the Truckee River, Cottonwood Park, Sparks, Nevada 3 January 2015

A tiny female Bufflehead on the Truckee River, Cottonwood Park, Sparks, Nevada 3 January 2015

A tiny female Bufflehead on the Truckee River, Cottonwood Park, Sparks, Nevada 3 January 2015

ice formations on along the shore.

ice formations on along the shore.

ice forming along the edges of the river.

ice forming along the edges of the river.

These Great Blue Herons were in UNR’s Main Station Fields along McCarran, between Rock and Mill.

Male Great Blue Heron in the fields along McCarran Blvd (UNR's agriculture farm)

Male Great Blue Heron in the Main Station Field along McCarran Blvd (UNR’s agriculture farm)

Female Great Blue Heron in the fields along McCarran Blvd (UNR's agriculture farm)

Female Great Blue Heron in the Main Station Field along McCarran Blvd (UNR’s agriculture farm)

My new bird feeder stand at work…

A big THANK YOU to a co-worker, Jason, here at the university! I had my thistle sock and bird feeder attached to the posts holding up a newly planted tree outside my office window…and when he took the posts down in the winter he said he’d be back in the spring to make a stand for the feeders. He left one post up so the feeder could still be used.

Guess who had some time last Friday to make the bird stand! 🙂 He moved the stand out some between my window and the kitchen/break room window so we can all enjoy the birds.

University of Nevada goes under the knife….

NOTE: I’m not part of CABNR, but that one caught me totally off-guard! We are a Land Grant University for God’s sake! And the higher-ups are dismantling the College of Agriculture???!!! I bitched and moaned when they got rid of the Mackay School of Mines and put it under the College of Science, but AG?!

Dear Colleagues,

Today the University of Nevada, Reno is announcing that in the wake of a state-mandated 6.9 percent budget reduction, several colleges and departments have been notified that they will be considered for possible closure, reorganization or reduction. An Academic Planning Process, which was shared with Faculty Senate in January and announced at a University town hall meeting on Feb. 9, will be initiated immediately and will provide for a period of further review and input.

We have been asked to sustain an $11 million budget cut in order to meet the 6.9 percent reduction that was arrived at over the weekend during the special session of the Nevada State Legislature. We have already taken a 15.5 percent, or $33 million, budget cut. The new cut brings the total annual reduction to our campus to $44 million.

The notifications that have been made today set into action a very specific timeline for the coming days and weeks. I encourage all of you to go to the links below to find out how this process will proceed. The timeline calls for decisions, which are subject to approval by the Nevada Board of Regents, to be made by June 30, 2010. Changes would go into effect on June 30, 2011. After careful consideration, the Provost’s Office has made its proposals for review. Provost Marc Johnson has spent today notifying the colleges and departments, and providing an explanation and justification for the proposed changes, which is known as “Academic Planning Process/Curricular Review” and is prescribed in the Nevada System of Higher Education code. Curricular review includes the number of degrees granted, enrollment in the major, student full-time-equivalent production, scholarship productivity, external scholarship grant award and expenditure performance, relation to fulfillment of other programs, centrality to mission and national and international uniqueness. Reductions to areas not subject to the Academic Planning Process will also be necessary to meet our required budget cuts.

A University news release details the specific notifications that were made today. Notable among the notifications is the proposed closure of the College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources and a proposed restructuring of the College of Education into a single unit without department boundaries. A link to the news release is provided below.

For our students, it is important to note that even if a degree program is proposed to be discontinued, the timeline will allow them to complete the program , or a different, appropriately related degree. Out of an abundance of caution, we will provide those students that might be impacted with academic advising to complete their program. We continue to stand by the commitment that acceptance to our University means that we will do everything in our power to ensure student retention and success.

I should also mention that although I am disappointed to drastically cut our budget yet again, our legislative leaders, given the complexity and severity of a more than $800 million shortfall, did their best to minimize the damage to K-12 and higher education. We look forward to working with the state’s leaders to build a stronger, brighter future for our state – a future predicated on a strong system of higher education that no longer languishes at or near the bottom nationwide of the number of 19-year-olds who are enrolled in college.

Throughout the past two years of budget reductions, virtually every aspect of our campus has felt the state’s fiscal crisis. During this time of extreme challenge, all of you have served our institution and our students exceptionally well. I am so grateful for all of your efforts. Our bottom line remains clear: We must continue to ensure student success and protect the core of our University.


Milt Glick

Curricular Review Proposal

Copy of the News Release.

Fight for Nevada ~ Education Funding ~ Petition

When I got into work this morning I found an email from Eli Reilly, President of the Associated Students of the University of Nevada asking fellow Students, Faculty, Staff, and Friends to take the time to visit their website and sign the a petition to fight for education funding.

Fellow Students, Faculty, Staff, and friends:

The educational system in Nevada (K-12 and Higher Education) is at risk of receiving massive budget cuts from the state. The students of the Nevada System of Higher Education have created an online petition to support education in our state and help convince our elected officials that cutting the budgets of education is NOT the answer to solving our state’s problems. All further budget cuts will do is worsen the social and economic problems in Nevada.

Please take the time to visit our website and sign the petition:

It takes less than TEN SECONDS.

Eli Reilly
Associated Students of
the University of Nevada

“Ideals are like stars: you will not succeed in touching them with your hands, but like the seafaring man on the desert of waters, you choose them as your guides, and following them you reach your destiny.” Aristotle

For those of you outside of Nevada or for those of you who are just not paying attention…here’s part of an article from Nevada News that was written on Thursday, February 18, 2010 (link to the full article):

Last week’s town hall was attended by more than 300 faculty, staff and students with another 270 participating online.

“Candidly, our world changed on Jan. 22,” Glick said in his town-hall remarks about the state’s announced $881 million budget shortfall.

A proposal released by the Governor’s Office this week is being reviewed by University budget officials, but early estimates place the total impact in the range of 10-15 percent. Previous potential budget cuts to higher education of up to 22 percent had been reported.

Glick said a 10 percent cut would mean approximately $54 million would be shaved from the University’s budget. A 22 percent cut would total $79 million.

Noting the University has already cut 15.5 percent or $33 million from its annual budget, Glick said, “Every cut we make does damage to the University.”

For the University, budget reduction scenarios include:

:: Across-the-board salary reductions;

:: A declaration of financial exigency, which would essentially mean the campus would be declaring bankruptcy and would sell its assets, cut programs and lay off faculty;

:: Curricular review, which would follow guidelines set forth by the Nevada System of Higher Education’s Board of Regents and provide a process by which certain academic programs would be reviewed and possibly closed.

Of the three, Provost Marc Johnson said the campus would likely meet mandated budgets cuts through “a mixture of program closure and some opportunistic cuts such as not filling certain positions.”

Johnson noted the goal will be make all final announcements regarding closure of programs no later than the end of the fiscal year at the end of June.

“The advantage of curricular review (rather than declaring financial exigency) is it’s under our control,” Johnson said, noting that curricular review will give terminated employees up to June 2011 to find new employment. “Unlike financial exigency, we will have a little more time to give notice.”

Glick said he didn’t support financial exigency as a way to balance the higher education budget in Nevada.

“You become the poster child for a failed university,” he said of the national reaction to such a budgetary move. “It hurts the reputation of the University long-term and your ability to recruit students and faculty. I think financial exigency hurts everybody.”

Whatever the mode chosen, Johnson said the process will be even more painful than previous rounds of budget cuts, which have seen 281 positions eliminated and the reduction and elimination of several programs and departments. Tuition has also increased 28 percent over the past two years.

If possible, Glick said, the cuts will be made with the overriding philosophy of not doing irreversible damage to the University’s quality.

“This would result in a narrower University, but hopefully it will be done in a way to maintain the quality of the University,” he said. “Protecting our quality … I don’t see any other choice.”

In remarks given at the beginning of the two-hour meeting, Elliott Parker, chairperson of the Faculty Senate, reminded the audience that the University, even in a time of severe budget reductions, represents one of the most important assets the state possesses.

“I think this University is the finest thing about this whole state,” he said, drawing strong applause from the crowd.

A special session of the Nevada State Legislature will convene Feb. 23, by proclamation of the Governor, to consider specific matters related to the state budget. Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers have criticized Gibbons’ proposal for addressing the shortfall by cutting too deeply into education.

It’s Just CRAZY Around Here…

End of the Fiscal Year is 30 June 2009. I’ve lots of new contracts/pafs to generate for everyone and in an hour will have to walk on down to the “Joe” for a Classified Furlough Session. I’m the leave keeper too, so everyone is asking me questions. Have to figure out the answers. It’s sorta hard when most of our department’s classified people are paid from research grants…no state money. Why do they have to take a paycut when they are not costing the state any money. That leaves me, one of the only people paid from state monies…I must be a HUGE DRAIN on the system. I get the paycut. WooHoo! Go Team! (UPDATE: After going to the session yesterday afternoon, I discovered that all Classified will be taking furloughs, no matter what their funding is)

SO! It’s gonna be a picture day. 🙂

I’m growing 3 Tomatillo plants this year…isn’t this a great blossom?! I’ve never seen one before!

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Lemon Queen sunflowers against the fence, 2 Horseradish up front, 2 pickling cucs on the left…the rest are blueberries, elderberries, and herbs.
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HOLLYHOCKS!!!!!! OH! I CAN NOT WAIT to see them!
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This is Gabe…my newest gargoyle. He giggles a lot hence the hands over the mouth and crossed legs (don’t want to piddle, you know!).
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Poppy pod ~ pretty, no?
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Full Moon, Rock Cairns and Roses at UNR…just pics today!

Just pictures today ~ but I love pictures so I’m happy with that! 🙂

What a beautiful full moon we had last night, eh?! I got the tripod out and took pictures around 10 pm out in the front yard. I think the shots of the trees in front of the moon came out pretty cool.

Took more pictures of the rose beds at the north end of campus next to the Medical School. I should have asked her name, the girl who takes care of all the roses on campus. She was out prunning. Told her how much I love what she is doing with them…and that I was envious of her job. LOL! Also found out that the guy who takes care of our grounds at the Medical School and who makes the rock cairns is her fiance. Would love to see their yard at home…

Get ready for lots of roses…and one Mum!

And here are some more rock cairn pictures…

Baby Robins, Cairns, Gardens and Whatnots

My sister and BIL also work here at the university…and yesterday my BIL called my sister to tell her to come down with her camera to see the baby robins at the AG College. So at lunch we went down (I always have my camera on me) and it didn’t take us long to find them. The nest is perched right above one of the doors in the breezeway…and how the heck that nest can still hold those four fat babies I will never know! Every time someone opened the door…their little beaks opened and were screaming for food. They’re so fat and cute. I have a feeling one or all will be pushed out pretty soon.

There is a gardener that took over the Medical School area and since he started, rock cairns have been popping up all over. Very cool. There are many times that a few of us would rather be out working with him than inside where we’re at. I’m very glad he’s up here…makes me smile whenever I see his handy work.

This was taken early this morning around 5:45 am…so the lighting isn’t the best.

Everyone is still growing in my backyard garden ~ I’m especially happy that the sugar peas are growing in the decomposed granite ~ I had run out of the double mix soil at the time of planting so I took a chance and planted the seeds anyhoo. I had my doubts…but they are thriving pretty dang well. When I was watering last night I started laughing to myself about the large raised bed…everything is in nice, neat, orderly rows. SO UNLIKE ME! Then I glanced over at the smaller bed and was somewhat relieved…beans, squash, romaine, spinach and peppers sorta all jumbled together. I guess as long as they are happily growing I shouldn’t mind if they like standing at attention all in a row. 🙂

The stick in the smaller bed is the walking stick I made at my niece’s birthday party out at Davis Creek Park.

Last weekend I made up Jerry Baker’s Veggie Vitalizer Tonic with beer, pepper/onion/mint juice, fish emulsion and dishwashing liquid. The pepper/onion/mint sure smelled good in the house, even my husband came sniffing in the kitchen asking what I was making. Not sure if “really out-of-the-ordinary tonic that packs a double punch: It’ll get your plants up and growin’ to new heights AND help repel nasty pests, too!’ is working or not as of yet. And I’m not sure what nasty pests it’s repelling, but I will tell you what it’s NOT Repelling…flies. Oh my! That stinky fish emulsion definitely brought out the flies. I’ll be trying the All-Season Clean-Up Tonic and the All-Season Green-Up Tonic next. And the Aphid Tonic on the plants out front.

Been flipping through the Bobby Flay Cooks Americancookbook that I picked up at a yard sale...another oh my! Great looking recipes. Wild Rice Tamales with Sage Butter, Tacos of BBQ Pork Loin with Roasted Red Potatoes and Tomatillo-Red Pepper Relish, Green Chile Bisque wi Toasted Corn Relish, Crunchy Three-Cabbage Slaw, Pumpkin Bread Budding with Molasses Whipped Cream...yum.

Here is a list of what is going on at the Arboretum at Rancho San Rafael Park in Reno for the month of June.

Annual Plant Sale
Saturday, June 7, 8am – Noon
Native and ornamental plant sale. Come early to have the best choice. Learn from botanical society members about the plants for the area. They sell tried and true plants and are priced right! This fundraiser is sponsored by the Rancho San Rafael Botanical Society to benefit the May Arboretum. Organic brewed coffee will be for sale for you early birds!
May Arboretum Nursery & Burke Garden, RSR Park

Designing Butterfly Gardens
Wednesday, June 11, 6pm – 7pm & Saturday June 14, 9am – 10 am
Join Lainie Vreeland local garden expert, in a slide presentation and lecture to learn how to create and attract butterflies in your garden using perennials and annuals. Lainie will also discuss basic design principles and techniques used to attract these beauties of nature. On Saturday only, and after the presentation, Lainie will take you on a brief tour of the gardens.
Ranch House, RSR Park

Native Plant Identification
Wednesday, June 18th, 6pm – 7pm
Join Lynda Nelson, WashoeCounty Park Planner Project Coordinator, formerly the horticulturist for the May Arboretum in an hour long educational plant identification tour. With30 years of native plant experience, Lynda will show you native plants that survive in our area and ones that are used frequently with great success in landscapes. Don’t miss this summer evening of learning. Bring a camera, pad of paper and pencil for note taking.
May Arboretum Office RSR Park

Swarms of Earthquakes in Western Nevada

26 April 2008 Update….had a nice earthquake around 11:40 pm Friday night.  Was downstairs at the time as I was finishing sewing a quilt.  Good rumbler…I think they said it was around a 4.6 – heard the ground moan and pop. 

I grew up in Canyon Country, California…so these wee earthquakes are nothing to write home about, but since we’ve had so MANY of them and friends are emailing and calling, here is the poop:

University of Nevada’s Mackay School of Mines (yes, I still call it that) SEISMO LAB PRESS RELEASE on yesterday's 24+ earthquakes.

And for a really cool look at all of them in the past few days…USGS’s EARTHQUAKE LIST ~ I love the USGS's site.

I was dropping some paperwork off at the lower end of campus before the 4.2 earthquake hit…walking down the hallway when the door next to me started rattling. I looked at it and thought “what the hell is wrong with them?”…then passed another door and looked in and saw the water cooler swishing…AHHH! An earthquake. Just kept walking. Got downstairs and there was a group of women standing in the hallway all wide-eyed. I then commented that the hallway, under all of those lights is NOT the place to run out to when there is an earthquake.

As stated, I grew up in Southern California (first 14 years of my life)…went through the 1971 San Fernando Earthquake which had a magnitude of 6.5 or 6.6. And I remember screaming (I was almost 5 years old) on the top of my lungs UNDER the maple dinning table (mom still has that table). The aftershocks were big and lots of them.

The point is ~ Nevada is the 3rd most active state for earthquake activity, behind Alaska and California. As a kid we had Earthquake Drills in school. I started high school here in Nevada and thinking back, we didn’t have earthquake drills at all. Just fire drills. Do kids here know what to do if there is one? Obviously the workers in Ross Hall yesterday had no clue…let’s run out into the hallway! Where there are things to fall on top of our heads! What a great idea!

UNR’s Police Department sent out an email to employees yesterday afternoon and I thought it had pretty good sound information ~

According to the Nevada Earthquake Safety Council:

Nevada is the 3rd most seismically active state in the U.S., after Alaska and California.
Western Nevada is in a seismic zone similar to Los Angeles.
We are due for a 6.0 or greater earthquake.

What to Do When the Shaking Begins


Take cover under a piece of furniture or against an inside wall. Stay indoors until the shaking stops and you’re sure it’s safe to exit. Stay away from windows. In a high-rise building, expect the fire alarms and sprinklers to go off during a quake.

If you are in bed, hold on and stay there, protecting your head with a pillow.

If you are outdoors, find a clear spot away from buildings, trees, and power lines. Drop to the ground.

If you are in a car, slow down and drive to a clear place (as described above). Stay in the car until the shaking stops.

Other recommendations which are contrary to the DROP, COVER and HOLD ON advice, have been made by individuals with limited expertise and questionable credibility.

Research has shown that most injuries in U.S. earthquakes occur when people inside buildings attempt to move to a different location inside the building or try to leave. Quickly seeking a place of safety, such as under a sturdy table or desk, and moving as short a distance as possible to that place of safety, is recommended based on research.

In the 2003 San Simeon, California, earthquake, two people were crushed by falling debris when they ran from the building. Studies of the 1979 El Centro, 1987 Whittier, 1989 Loma Prieta, and 1994 Northridge earthquakes, as well as mounting evidence from earthquakes outside the United States, confirm this pattern of injuries. DROP, COVER, and HOLD ON reduces the likelihood of serious injury from falling objects.

After the Shaking Stops

Be prepared for aftershocks which can occur in the first hours, days, weeks or even months after the quake.

Help injured or trapped persons.

Check your home or building for damage. Leave the area if you smell gas or chemical fumes.

Vegetable Gardening in Northern Nevada & How to make a Raised Garden

After just about killing ourselves over those bloody junipers and planting the lilac and weeping cherry, I’ve turned my sights to the back yard and making my raised vegetable beds!

In the very back of Sunset’s WESTERN LANDSCAPING BOOK, pages 404-405, in the Materials and Techniques chapter, there is a section on Building A Raised Bed.

Raising your garden above the ground can solve some of the most frustrating problems gardeners face. An easy-to-build bed makes it possible for plants to thrive where soil is poor, wildlife is hungry, or the growing season is short. And if you need easy access to your plants – due to a disability or simply to eliminate back-bending labor – you can sit on the edge of the bed and garden in comfort.
Fill the bed with the best soil you can. Good soil means that plants can be placed closer together, making a small area more productive. Line the bottom of the bed with wire screening to keep out pests, or fit it with a PVC framework for bird netting.
A raised bed can be any size, but if its more than 4 feet wide it will be difficult to reach the middle from either side. If the sides will double as benches, build the frame 18-24 inches high.

We have a small backyard ~ with a huge front and side yard. So much rearranging of the landscaping to do! OY! Here’s what I have to work with out back ~ The soil that has been turned was going to be sod…but I’ve decided to put pavers there instead. The compacted ground area behind will be where the raised garden bed will go. Behind those rocks is a an area of about two feet wide to the fence…that will be where I plant the corn.

A couple of weeks ago The State of Nevada Employees Council had an Open House at The Joe here on campus and I signed up for a lot of information from the University of Nevada's Washoe County Cooperation Extension office. I used to be in 4-H out in Washoe Valley…so I knew they were loaded with great information. I highly recommend them for all us in Northern Nevada and the Eastern California area! I posted a link to all of their free publications below.

Here are some of the pamplets I asked for:
Vegetable Varieties For Northern Nevada
A Quick Guide to Composting
Nevada Soils – Worth the Toil
Urban Forestry Tree Planting Practices for Nevada
The All Seeing, All Knowing, Lawn Care Manuel for Northern Nevada
Roses for Reno and the Northern Nevada/Eastern Sierra Area
Spring Planted Bulbs Boast Beautiful Blooms
Hardy, Drought-Tolerant and Moderately Salt-tolerant Shurbs and Vines for Northern Nevada
Seven Ways to Make Your Trees and Shurbs Drought Resistant


The Vegetable Varieties for Northern Nevada is four pages long and gives a list of all veggie varieties that are great for planting here with the planting dates. Great comments on which are better for canning, yields, rust resistance, maturing, indoor growing, storage values, disease resistant, most popluar, etc.

ps: For all of you in the Reno/Sparks area…or those of you who will be in town on May 17th ~ at the Washoe County Extension Office on Mill Street there will be a plant sale that morning. 🙂

Saturday Afternoon Yardwork ~ Monday’s Aches & Pains

AKA ~ Die Juniper Die!

LOL!  Boy am I sore today! 

While the husband went to the UNR Wolf Pack double-header against the New Mexico Aggies with his dad…I worked on the front yard.  Needless to say, I didn’t get to work on my raised garden beds in the back. 

We inherited some Devil sent Juniper bushes out front when we bought our house.  I hate them.  I HATE THEM.  I WANT THEM DEAD!  Errrr….ummm…sorry about that rant.  Pssssttt….stickery ugly bushes?  DIE!!!!!

I pulled out my 17″ electric hedge trimmer (yes…woefully under-powered for the job), clippers, hand saw, wheelbarrow and box of trash bags and went to work. I must have looked like cross between Edward Scissorhands and Sweeney Todd ~ as whenever I did look up from my work, I saw worried and amused looks from my neighbors ~ some even kicked back with a beer in hand to watch. And I’m glad for the church next door, their choir practice drowned out my swearing. My arms and legs look like a demonic cat attacked me!

These bushes have been trimmed…but I want them out. I’d like to plant OLD ENGLISH ROSES and some peonies that came from my Grandma’s house in Nebraska. But that will be another day as I’m still working on the OTHER side of the yard….Stage RIGHT!

That sad looking brown thing in the corner? That is the same stinking bush that’s on the left side of the yard…only it was a lot taller. I’ve got it down to fence level…now we can take a chain saw to it and haul it to the transfer station. In the very corner I’m going to plant a lovely lilac bush/tree. And next to it, on the right, I’ll plant either Old English roses or Flutterby bushes. More Columbine, Foxglove and Delphiniums.

This is what the corner looked like last year in July ~ the vine over the bush is a Virginia Creeper. I let it take over so I didn’t have to see the bush…was very pretty in the fall when it turned all red.

Oh yeah…and those dang Day Lilies will be yanked too. Will give them away to the lady across the street. Stupid things are growing in the grass now.

Luckily our trash management people send out a free dump voucher every spring…those bushes will be heading to the dump today. I “free-cycled” all the stuff my husband was going to add (couch, chair, army chest and dvd/cd tower)…we live on an alley with lots of “creepers”, so all you have to do is set something outside your fence and in 5 minutes it’ll be gone. Now I have lots of room in the truck for those dang bushes.

Oh…and tonight? I’m borrowing my FIL’s chain saw. Then I’m drilling holes into the stump and pouring nitro down the holes and blowing the thing outta my yard!

(We no longer live at this house…and I hated those junipers so bad that I deleted the pictures I was hosting)