The Music of the Outdoors Beckons

When I contacted Patty Kaija at Kaija’s Garden and Pet in Chehalis last week to ask if she would be willing to take the time to talk to me about feeding wild birds for a feature article she said, “Oh my, you’re making me miss Russ.”

We all miss Russ Mohney, I know I do. His autumn wisdom and way with words is sorely missed.

He brought the solace of remembering to his faithful followers through weekly essays in The Chronicle. He painted pictures with words and took us along with him on journeys into the past. He reminded us to look, really look, at the wonders around us. He invited us to care deeply for wild creatures, to take delight in simplicity of a leaf turning color in the fall and to watch for the return of the king salmon to our local waters.On crisp, cold fall mornings such as this, when the fog is lifting and the birds begin to chatter, I find comfort in a hot cup of coffee in one hand and Mohney’s book in the other, “A Simple Song.”

This book, as Mohney wrote in the preface, “is for those who understand the grand symphony of a rising Harvest Moon must be viewed through clear air while standing on simple dirt and grass.”

If you are reading this column, I’d be willing to bet you have heard such a symphony. The music of the outdoors beckons. Step outside, take a moment to listen.

Fall Fliers and Fishing
The first of the dark-eyed juncos, golden-crowned and white-crowned sparrows have made their appearance at my bird feeders. Winter is coming.

This humble trio of guests make up my favorite flock of dinner guests. Their bold ways and sometimes comical poses have given me hours and hours of photography fun in the past.

The geese are making themselves known as they fly by in ever increasing numbers and I have noticed that the ponds out back are again populated with ducks.

‘Tis the season of harvest.

The rivers are filled with anglers looking for salmon. A good majority of the fishermen I’ve met lately are from outside of the county. Their rivers aren’t producing the fish they want, so they come to our own Cowlitz seeking salmon.

It makes for a crowded bank, but the more the merrier, I say.

Grab your waders, your rod and drop by your local fishing and hunting supply shop to gear up and get the latest word on what’s biting where.

If you are new to the game, find a successful angler and pepper him or her with questions. Most of the old-timers are willing to share, and as long as you are already standing in their favorite fishing hole, there isn’t much harm in telling you how to fish it.

Good luck and get to it!
Kimberly Mason is a freelance writer who enjoys watching and photographing the wildlife in her own backyard in Cinebar. Visit her wildlife and outdoor encounters photography blog, The (Almost) Daily Bird, at Contact her via email at or call 269-5017 to share unusual wildlife observations, or to discuss upcoming events and topics you would like to see covered in The Chronicle Outdoors section.