The text and paintings on The Trowbridge Chronicles are taken from the illustrated journal of Violet Trowbridge, a shrew that once lived in a village deep in the Olympic Rain Forest. Each new post will represent a portion of Mrs. Trowbridge’s journal.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Mrs. Trowbridge was fascinated by the tales and legends of her shrew ancestors in the South Pacific. Though she painted other subjects from South Seas lore, the exotic tropical flowers, like this Frangipani (Plumera obtusa) were her favorites.

Friday, January 18, 2008


Since the last post featured my Trowbridge expedition to the South Pacific islands, I thought this might be a good time to display some of the tropical flowers that Mrs. Trowbridge painted in her journal. She had a strong interest in Trowbridge history, from its origin on some remote Mongolian plain to the North American rain forests. She was especially intrigued by the flora and fauna of the South Pacific islands, where Trowbridge culture thrived in a past age.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008


I'm back at last from my South Seas Trowbridge Expedition. It's been a bit of a stretch between posts this time because of my extended research trip. I'm happy to report that our expedition was very successful, though we encountered our share of hardships. Each afternoon the temperature would soar into the 90's. That, coupled with the tropical humidity, made our treks through the steaming jungles quite unpleasant.

After several days of disappointments, we checked out this small motu, called Taakoka, in the southern Cook Island group. I took this shot from the kayak that we used to reach the islet from the research ship.

The water in the lagoon was like a warm tropical aquarium, filled with colorful neon-bright fish. It was a refreshing break from the frigid Puget Sound waters that we left behind in America's Pacific Northwest. We waded around the entire motu, looking for artifacts or petroglyphs along the shoreline.

We called this small island our "mother lode" motu. We found no less than 83 black volcanic rocks that had been scribed with Trowbridge petroglyphs. Curiously, we found no Trowbridge artifacts on the islet.

Some of the petroglyphs were right at the tide line, as seen here. If you look carefully you'll see the petroglyph on the rock just behind me.

Because the symbols are so small, they're barely visible at any distance, so here's a close up look. Maori team member, Paiere Unuia, from the Northern Group island, Manihiki, examines the petroglyphs at close range with the magnifying glass.

The written Trowbridge language is comprised of 25 pictographic characters, as shown above. With the wealth of petroglyphic data that we uncovered on Motu Taakoka, I'm even more convinced that my theory of a trans-Pacific migration of Trowbridge shrews is what brought them to the Americas.

By the way, Happy Anniversay to Mrs. Trowbridge! Her journal will is two years old today.