Craters of the Moon

So happy to get to this beautiful, unique part of the country this year! Truly one of the most divergent areas to visit in Idaho, if not in the United States.

Big Craters area

Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve encompasses the entire Great Rift volcanic rift zone.” “It contains a huge concentration of volcanic land forms and structures along the more than 50-mile zone of fractures and eruptions.”

View north over the North Crater and Serrate Flows
View north over the Serrate and North Crater Flows
North Crater Flow
North Crater Flow

“The protected area’s features are volcanic and represent one of the best-preserved flood basalt areas in the continental United States.” wiki

Most of the trees that grow in the area are either Juniper or limber pine which, “…is named for the flexibility of its branches that can literally be tied in a knot.” NPS

Because of many issues currently threatening these pines, the ecological health of the limber pines are monitored for mountain pine beetles, mistletoe, and white pine blister rust.

Nearby to the west is a protected area between Craters of the Moon National Monument and the Pioneer Mountains. We unfortunately didn’t see them, but this is one of the longest migration routes for pronghorn, wolverine and sage-grouse. Nature Conservancy

We were very lucky to visit during wild flower season and were able to see some very unique flowers in bloom. “The ability to grow in this harsh environment means overcoming a lack of moisture, meager soil, and surface temperatures that exceed 150 degrees Fahrenheit” NPS

Sitting in the The Great Rift and the Snake River Plain (which “…stretches about 400 miles (640 km) westward from northwest of the state of Wyoming to the Idaho-Oregon border.”), this area’s environment is so unique and is surrounded by a gorgeous an amazing backdrop. wiki

Lost River Range
Lost River Range
North Crater Trail
North Crater Trail and Pioneer Mountains
Broken Top, Alpine Bitterbrush, and Juniper trunk
Broken Top, Alpine Bitter, and Juniper trunk

Visit the the park website to learn more.

If you have any questions about our experiences, don’t hesitate to ask 🌎

Great Salt Lake

I’m feeling thankful 🙏 to visit another area that I remember visiting as a child – but only vaguely since I was so young at the time.

I recall it being much, much bigger than the more recent visit; with water spanning as far as I could see in areas. But the current low waters made for a very different and fascinating experience. In fact, the Spiral Jetty earthwork/land-art isn’t even visible if the water is above about 4.2k feet (above sea level).

With the low levels, being able to walk out on the shores was very bizarre. The salty banks are sloppy, slick and sinking under foot in some spots. The heat seemed to permeate from the ooilitic sand reflecting the hot sun. But this didn’t stop some beach goers from setting up out near where the slop ended and the water began.

Its salty yet serene beauty made for an almost unearthly experience. 🌜🌎🌛

Rozel Point peninsula
Redish halophilic bacteria
Salt hole and tumbleweed 👁
Spiral Jetty
Salty tumbleweed
Beach geese
Distant lake mountains
Beach goers
Spiral Jetty

Colorado National Monument

I thought often about coming here when I was much younger than now. I remembered the idea of the geography and geology, the sight of the structures, the cliffs, the overall beauty.

This trip brought all of its beauty back in full force. The spring weather made for a cooler – almost muggy – experience; and after the rain and hail broke, and when the sun started to set…

All was right in the world. 💕 So happy to visit again.

North view over Grand Valley
Distant “Book Cliffs” & Mt. Garfield
Coke Ovens against Artists Point backdrop
Kissing Couple (L) and Grand Mesa? backdrop
Fruita, Colorado
Back side of Pipe Organs
Monument Canyon, Grand Valley and Sentinel Spire
Cold Shivers Point and Grand Valley

Colorado National Monument

Cedar Waxwings

I’m so happy to have these Cedar Waxwings visiting our back yard! The first time I saw them, there were only a few in one of our trees (that’s when I captured the last picture below). Today, I heard a bit of of commotion, looked out the window, and found them hunkering down in the snow flurries along with a flock of robins.

Since we don’t typically see them around here, I feel especially lucky to have them coming by to hang out in the trees out back! I assume they’re migrating… Do you know more about these birds? I’ve been learning more from these sites:

Cedar Waxwings 02
Cedar waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum)
Cedar Waxwings 03
Bombycilla comes from the Ancient Greek bombux, “silk” and the Modern Latin cilla, “tail”; this is a direct translation of the German Seidenschwanz, “silk-tail”, and refers to the silky-soft plumage of these birds. The specific cedrorum is Latin for “of the cedars”. WIKI
Cedar Waxwings 04
“Part of waxwing family of passerine birds”(or perching birds or songbirds)
Cedar Waxwings 05
“Outside the breeding season, cedar waxwings often feed in large flocks numbering hundreds of birds.”
“When a male waxwing sets out in search of a mate, it often carries a berry – passed to a female bird in an effort to impress her.” Check out more information HERE
Cedar Waxwings 01
“Spiritualists believe waxwings to be a symbol of selfless generosity.” – James Common

I hope they happen by again tomorrow! Here’s to more backyard birding! 🐦🔭🏡

Is the Blue Jay your totem?

Associated symbolism:

A blue jay animal totem flies into your life to teach the importance of using your intelligence to learn quickly and being able to adapt to any situation. It has a passion for investigating, thus utilizing adaptive skills and constantly learning new ideas and concepts. It allows us to access memories that we have long forgotten and shows how to adopt them into our awareness. – Leah M Bostwick
https://www.sunsigns.org/blue-jay-animal-totem-symbolism-meanings/

Blue Jay I  (Cyanocitta cristata)

It typically gleans food from trees, shrubs, and the ground, though it sometimes hawks insects from the air. #wiki

Blue Jay II (Cyanocitta cristata)

The blue jay is a passerine bird in the family Corvidae, native to North America #wiki

Blue Jay III (Cyanocitta cristata)

Like other corvids, they may learn to mimic human speech. Blue jays can also copy the cries of local hawks so well that it is sometimes difficult to tell which it is #wiki

Never really thought about it before, but with traits like as talkative, socially vigilant, resourceful, trustworthy, curious, diligent and intelligent… I think the Blue Jay would be an admirable animal totem.

What’s your animal totem?

The days when summer is changing into autumn… 

“The crickets felt it was their duty to warn everybody that summertime cannot last for ever. Even on the most beautiful days in the whole year – the days when summer is changing into autumn – the crickets spread the rumor of sadness and change.”#ebwhite #charlottesweb 🕸️

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

After purchasing our first home about two and a half years ago, my fiance and I quickly learned the difficulties of gardening, and the hatred for hours of fruitless labor. The previous owner of the home at some point had planted 10 wild rose bushes bushes – yes, 10! Which, we could only imagine would be beautiful come spring.

The first year in our home I decided it would be my job to tend the roses. Talking care to Google how-to and I felt confident summer would bring the blossoms I worked so hard for.  But soon came fall without even a handful of buds and finally… reality… I had failed miserably.

So the next year, it was his turn.. And again came the frustrating feelings of failure after hours of clipping and pruning and cutting and fertilizing.

But alas! Finally! After all the hours in the sun tending; this year, I am just extatic to share our long overdue success.  Yes – finally – we have roses!
image

image

image

image

image

Summer Swarms

image

I’m reading some very ingesting things about dragonflies… they really are fascinating.  They swarm around our neighborhood on summer nights feasting as they dart through the air.  Curiosity struck me to learn a bit more about them and I’ll say, they’re very interesting.
-They have incredible hunting skills: they basically spot their pray from a distance and then intercept it mid air…
-They can see far better than any fly and in every direction…
-They can move each of their 4 wings independently …
.. and the list goes on…
This site is great! And has great videos
http://listverse.com/2013/04/18/10-surprisingly-brutal-facts-about-dragonflies/

They swarm around our house in the summer evenings but really just fly around above us and leave us alone. Apparently some people experience them a bit more close up. This site includes many stories of them landing on and following people around… one person describes it as befriending the dragonfly; I call it dragonfly whispering:
http://thedragonflywoman.com/2012/01/02/a-bizarre-behavior/

It seems there is much more to the world of dragonflies then I could have imagined. I think I will further my research and wonder if I’ll ever run into a dragonfly whisperer. Are you one?