Tuesday, January 29, 2008

ABC Wednesday--B

Continuing the wildflowers (and other wild critters) with B:
American Bistort is common in the meadows in July and August. We were told once years ago that its nickname is Dirty Socks. No one since seems to have ever heard of that, but the smell explains where the idea came from. Its nasty smell attracts pollinators.

Bear Grass is an interesting plant. Growing about three feet tall and with blossoms that are at least three or four inches across, bear grass is not abundant every year. You can go two or three years without seeing any, then one year, there seems to be bear grass everywhere.

Birds Beak Lousewort --don't you just love the name?

lousewort lousewort lousewort

Blue Lady Butterfly

Sunday, January 27, 2008

We have moved on from ice to snow.

Yesterday I scraped about 3/4 inch of ice off the windshield in order to drive. Today a broom was more useful than a scraper for the fluffy dry snow that had been falling since last evening.

The report said two to four inches. They must have been pretty big inches to reach the almost to the seven inch mark on my ruler. This was a couple of hours before it stopped this afternoon. There is supposed to be more coming.

Way to go, Jack!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Photo Hunt--Theme: Old-Fashioned

On our way to Vancouver a couple of weeks ago we stopped and visited a small museum. The volunteer docent guided us around the collection explaining the old-fashioned items on display and their connection to local history. The visit was quite interesting. There were a number of items similar to ones we have in our own home, handed down from one side of the family or the other. There were also a number of items which I have actually seen IN USE in recent years--in other parts of the world.

Knowing that "Old Fashioned" was coming up, I combed my photo files to find pics of those items and a couple of others that were not in the museum. These pictures are from my trip to India in 2000 and our journey across Siberia in 1998. With all the technology available to us today, there are people still doing very well with the old-fashioned methods.

No video games here! These boys at the boys' home played chess, checkers, and caroms. I had not seen a carom board since my youth. I wonder where ours ended up.

Then there's the old fashioned slate. This was required in the school bag for these first graders in the school in southern India. Shoes were not. If you enlarge the photo you can see more closely that, like first graders everywhere often do, this little girl sometimes reverses her "9".

The museum had many old tools, especially farming tools and construction tools. This entrepreneur in an Indian city was ready with his foot powered grinding wheel to maintain those tools for you.

No, we did not see anyone doing laundry in the river at the museum. Their old-fashioned washing machine was modernity itself in comparison.

Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water--as did these children seen here in Siberia in 2000. In several rural areas there we found wells like these --and other forms of outdoor plumbing in daily use.

The museum collection sported a hay rake. The docent was quite fascinated with it, as we were when we saw them in use along the Trans-Siberian Railway route just ten years ago.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

ABC Wednesday

I have decided to join in on ABC Wednesday, and I think that I will try to post features from nature for each of my entries. As much as I love the snow in the wintertime, the summertime at Mt. Rainier brings a vast range of colorful wildflowers. Here is a sampling of A flowers.

The Avalanche Lily blooms very early in the season. Along with the yellow Glacier Lily, you will find them where the snow has recently melted away--sometimes peaking through the snow itself.
Anenome, this is specifically the Western Anenome, also known as Pasqueflower. In mid to late June this appears as a creamy white blossom close to the ground. But July's warmth matures it to these "Moptops" about which one visitor to the Park asked me "What are the flowers that look like muppets?"
Arnica seems to flourish through most of July on into September.
This is one of the varieties of Alpine Aster which graces the meadows through the later part of the summer.
Orange Ageoseris, is found only rarely, late in the season, in dry rocky areas along the trails.
Here's the Avalanche Lily I posted before I found the other picture.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Random Visuals

You know how sometimes you have these images that don't fit into any particular category? These are some that I've taken over the last couple of years that I wanted to share.

I want to come, too!

Which way to go!

Turn around, silly, the camera is over here!

What a turkey!

Anybody want to finance a wheelbarrow?
I'm glad I'm in here out of the rain at least.
I always support my local clown, don't you?
Hey you guys, there's nothing in this pack to eat!
$00 or best offer. Hmmm.

Friday, January 18, 2008


The Photo Hunt Theme for the week is Important!
This theme comes at the perfect time for this grouping of photos, which represent something that I feel is very important.

This Sunday is Respect Life Sunday. My interpretation of the Photo Hunt theme is built around respect for life--for life is very important.

Respect for life is important!
Zest for life is important!
Doing something with your life is important!
Making a statement about what you believe is important!

I've had this T-shirt for a long time. I hope it never wears out. It illustrates for me how important it is to embrace all aspects of your life.
As does this saying on our license plate holder (yeah, I could have cleaned it up a bit.) My husband is a volunteer with hospice. This license holder comes from them. Interestingly, our speaker for our Martin Luther King Jr. Day assembly commented that King had said pretty much the same thing--It's not how long you live but how you live your life.

What is important is that you live your life as if you believe in something and stand up for those things you believe in. Each January we gather with a group that we don't see a lot of at other times of the year. They are volunteers from various churches in our community who set out a pattern of pink and blue flags as a memorial to lives who never saw the light of day because of abortion and a reminder that there are other Life Options.

For this Respect Life Sunday, find a way of affirming your zest for life and stand up for what you believe.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

I never got an award before

...at least not a blogging award. Paulie gave hubby and me this You Make My Day Award. Hmmm! Do you think maybe she had a good time on her birthday? We had so much fun, too. Thank you for the honor, Paulie.

Here are the directions which came with the award from Paulie: "Give the award to up to 10 people whose blogs bring you happiness and inspiration and make you feel so happy about blogland! Let them know by posting a comment on their blog so that they can pass it on. "

I am going to choose four.

First of all, back at you Paulie, because I enjoy the joy you find in everyday things and your persistence in seeking out those things that give yourself and others joy. Paulie blogs at Postcards from Paulie.

I regularly find inspiration and fun in Sister Julie Vieira's A Nun's Life. She keeps me connected to the nuns I have known and to the spiritality I need. Her blog is very comprehensive--usually spiritual, but fun and human as well.

Then I like to visit Sister Susan Rose Francois at Musings of a Discerning Woman. Sister Susan Rose is a novice in the congregation that a dear friend is an older member of. Her blog provides me a glimpse of the continuity of the sisters.

Finally, I am inspired as an educator by Jane Little's My Many Colored Crayons. I love how connected she is to her crayons (as she calls her students) and how excited they are about learning.

My son Jeff first got me interested in blogs. I remember what one of his blogosphere friends said after I had posted a comment: "How would you feel if you knew your mother read your blog? Jeff knows." I would post this award to him, too, but he has not been blogging much recently.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Oh, the snow!

Paulie beat me to the punch with her snow photos, and indeed, I have some that are just like hers. Here are a few different angles on yesterday's snow adventure at Mt. Rainier National Park--ranging from the majestic to the mundane, the silly, and the smallest details. (Hubby was well warned that the day would be dueling cameras--as if traveling with one crazy photographer is not enough.)

The mountain itself gave us only the briefest glimpse of itself, and by the time we stopped the car to jump out with the cameras, had gone back under its cloudy blanket. Alas, I have a couple of wonderful people pictures, but have promised...

One jagged peak of the Tatoosh Range snuck clearly and brightly out of its cloudy cover to give us a glorious view as we made our way up the road to Paradise. When we got well into position to take pictures it was sneaking back in again. (Hubby has this thing against just stopping in the middle of the road for photo ops.)
Yes, there is a mountain up there--or is this the one that is yes, there is a glacier down there. Up, I think... No, I change my mind. This one looks down to the glacier, hidden behind the fog.
Now for the mundane--the patterns of life in the deep snow. Driving the road to Paradise is something like travelling through a roofless white tunnel. The road is plowed daily. If it weren't, the summer opening of park facilities would be well delayed because of impassable roads. Paradise did hold the record for the most snowfall in one season (1,122 inches, set during the 1971-1972 snowfall season and passing the 1000 inch mark at least three other times.) The slice of snow at the side of the road is above our heads in most places. To get the first photo, we had to back off across the road.
Here is the pattern that the snow blower leaves carved in that bank.
Here is the pattern of tracks of some kind of equipment that helps to keep things open. I love finding odd patterns in mundane things.
Along our hike we met many happy faces, including this guy. What is it actually? When snow piles very high on a small tree it will eventually bend over with the weight. A mound is formed--and some of these mounds take interesting shapes. The tip branch of the tree forms this guy's nose. The sagging of the snow forms his mouth. Someone graciously left him with eyes courtesy of their trekking poles. From the side, he looked a bit like a cartoon shark in one of the books at the library.
This guy got his visage all on his own.
And finally to the tiny details. This is cropped from a shot just like Paulie's.
We had fun! But then again, we always have fun when we get to share the mountain.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Photo Hunt-theme: Skinny

Although my small rural community is adequately supplied with coffee alternatives, it is not so much of the culture that this non-coffee drinker has assumed the vocabulary. So when we were headed home from visiting the grandkids the other day, and Hubby pulled in for a latte for the road and ordered the special sugar free and with non-fat milk and no whipped cream, my ears pricked up when I heard the barrista's voice over the speaker tell him, "We call that a skinny!" My camera was ready when we got to the window.