Saturday, July 24, 2010

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Native Plants - Ocean Spray

Holodiscus discolor is a member of the rose family. This lovely shrub is compact when in full sun, but can grow tall and leggy if in shade. I love the splashy cream flowers and the interesting leaves.

This plant is growing under the power lines, at the edge of the woods.

This plant is along the roadside, adding color to the trees that form a light windbreak.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tansy Beetle

I've been reading up on Tansy Ragwort and how to get rid of it. It seems the Cinnabar moth and the Tansy beetle have controlled the plant in areas of the Western states. Well, not in my neck of the woods. Tansy ragwort is abundant.

Upon inspection of the tansy plants, I did discover several of these cute little beetles - another import from Europe. They feed exclusively on tansy, and lay their eggs on the plants. WAHOO! A few thousand more of them would be good. I'm not seeing as many Cinnabar caterpillars as I would like to, but the natural forces are at least in the area.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Grass Seed

The grasses have set seed, and are looking lovely in the evening sun.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sunset on the Hill

Sheep At Work

Saturday, July 17, 2010


Friday I had lunch with four of my favorite women at a lovely cafe in Seattle. The weather was sunny, Swanson's Cafe is surrounded by lovely plants, and my companions are all exceptional people. Ivy, Simone, Joy, Pearl and I had a wonderful time. Ivy (my godmother), Joy (my mother) and I are shown below with Santi - ready to head out to lunch. Pearl is the photographer, and a life long friend.

I feel very fortunate to have been raised in a community of strong, independent women. Now in their 80s, they are still vibrant, interesting people. Simone coordinates ski trips for a local school (and still skis). Ivy golfs and takes daily walks through her local parks. They, and the other women I grew up around, have always been an inspiration. I was an adult before I realized how unique and wonderful they really are.

These women were World War II war brides. They travelled thousands of miles to join their husbands in a foreign country, in a time when travel was slow and communication was mostly by mail. There were no assurances they would ever return home. It takes a special kind of person to undertake that life.

These women were my role models. I still hope to be like them when I grow up.

Native Plants - Berries!

This region is covered in berries, many of the natives. These are two of my favorites.

The Trailing Blackberry (Rubus ursinus) is the only native blackberry of the Pacific Northwest - although not the most common. This is the berry vine that grabs your ankles and attempts to trip you as you hike in the woods or across grassy fields. This unfriendly behavior is compensated for by the tiny fruits that fill your mouth with a burst of intense, wonderful flavor.

Thimbleberry (Rubus parviflorus) is the gentle berry. The plant has huge maple-shaped leaves and no thorns. The fruits are delicate and sweet. This is my favorite of our regions many native raspberries, although I like them all. By constantly cutting back or pulling out the ever-invasive Himalayan Blackberries I've helped the native berries establish themselves along my lane. Once established, they hold their own (with a little help) against the stronger Asian and European invaders.

Our local berries start fruiting in May, well before the Himalayans and Evergreens. By encouraging these native food sources I hope to also support the native birds and animals that eat these nutritious fruits.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Views Along the Road

I love this beautiful, magical place I live in. Everyday business is punctuated with surprising beauty, and loveliness in surprising places.

The view leaving the local feed store (Premium Quality Hay and Feed - a wonderful, friendly place). It feels like the mountain is watching over us, keeping us safe.

A mix of wild daisies, dandelions and grasses (and often, unfortunately, tansy) brighten the roadsides, reflecting the light on sunny days and providing some on dull, cloudy days.

The entrance to a storage facility is lined with the gorgeous balls of sunlight produced by what many consider a weed. It is invasive, but who can deny it's beauty?

Thursday, July 15, 2010


The wildflowers under the powerlines are profuse. The sheep love them as much as I do.

White daisies are everywhere, the predominant flower in the area, and a favorite of the sheep.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Cinnabar Moth (NOT a Butterfly)

Thanks to my friend Glenn Grace I have learned that this is a moth, not a butterfly. I couldn't find it's identification because I was looking for native butterflies or moths, and this one is from France. It was imported to help control tansy ragwort (also imported from Europe). I have seen the caterpillars on tansy plants, but this was my first sighting of a moth.

This year I have seen more butterflies than I have for years. This unusual one posed nicely for pictures, then flew towards me and landed briefly on my nose.

Here are a couple pictures I found online of the caterpillar and a moth with the lower wings displayed.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Sheep Deli

Dairy Visitor

It turns out my sheep aren't the only ones who think the neighbor's hay field has the best food in the area. While I was chasing my sheep out of it, I saw this pretty visitor. She didn't seem concerned that I was tromping nearby chasing sheep.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Mt. Adams

Workday Lunch

A friend came over to help restore my patio furniture. It was such a lovely day, not as hot as has been, but still sunny and warm. I made a mixed salad for our lunch repast - the perfect food for a hot summer's day.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Monday, July 05, 2010

Morning Visitors

A pair of Goldfinch flew past as I was watching the geese graze. I grabbed my camera, hoping they were still in range. They weren't, but soon they flew back to the fence nearby. Unfortunately the hen flew off as I focused. I love these bright little birds.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

What do you see?

Someone asked in a comment, "How do you come up with ideas to post?"

As I go through life I notice as much as I can, notice and appreciate and enjoy. When I notice something exceptional, I start describing it in my head. Exceptional things can be very small, like a tiny flower that captures my attention. If I'm lucky I have my camera handy. If not I'll often return with the camera. The description in my head helps me notice more, appreciate more. If it seems like something others would also enjoy and appreciate, I blog it.

There are so many wonderful things to notice, and to share. Of course, living in a beautiful place with an amazing crew of critters helps provide plenty to notice.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Morning Stroll

Mine is the only house at the end of my lane. That doesn't prevent road blocks and slow traffic.

At 3 days old these goslings are learning their world. Mom and Dad have taken them all over the one acre surrounding my house and their nest site.

I was on my way to a family gathering in Seattle, being delayed by slow traffic.

I love watching goose families. Both parents are totally devoted to raising their young, and will take on anyone who gets in their way. They weren't too concerned about the car behind them, expecting it would just need to avoid them.