We had a wonderful trip just before the Memorial Day mobs took over. We enjoyed lots of hikes and nature walks and explored parts of the North Coast we don’t often see. More to come after a great deal of sorting…
I’ll be trying to catch up on reading and commenting and replying just as soon as I can.
I knew when I met you an adventure was going to happen.
― A.A. Milne
A bit windy, but warm enough once we were out of the stiff breeze (as evidenced by the spindrift).
The flowers and the leaves look like our Ceanothus, a recently discovered native, but this was a hefty sized bush rather than the carpet or mat we were used to seeing. It had a distinct, not unpleasant scent, too.
At first I was thinking a butterfly bush, but something didn’t seem quite right. The flowers looked too much like the other Ceanothus we had discovered. Digging in a bit, I suspect it’s a Blueblossom or California Lilac (Ceanothus thyrsiflorus)
Ferns with a touch of sun.
No berries yet, but there’s some huckleberry with its bright red leaves and the tall white flower is a thimbleberry with it’s large green leaves front and center.
Irises galore in various shades and colors.
I’m guessing this one is some sort of sweet pea.
The sun was lighting everything to its best advantage.
I think I finally found one that seemed to ask for a black and white treatment. I suspect it’s the shadows that required it. There really wasn’t a whole lot of color to begin with.
And then we have the Dudleya farinosa. It’s amazing how these plants manage to cling and grow to these nearly vertical cliffs. I’m beginning to suspect that the two smaller ones on either side are its way of spreading out. I imagine that somehow those little ones will find someplace to hang on. I’ll need to watch to see what develops.
It appears that the yellow one reaching toward the center left edge is getting ready to bloom. Again, something to watch.
Little dots of sunshine.
Seen a bit closer. Buttercups perhaps?
A Sitka Spruce with developing cones.
If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.
― Frances Hodgson Burnett,
…or another walk with camera
As the out of doors calls to me…
I wander over to the Calla lily which has expanded up the bank into the yard. Apparently planted by a previous resident. It seems to be expanding its territory. I’m not particularly fond of these flowers. They’re not native and they remind me of funerals and apparently they also spread. So far, at least, it appears rather benign so it’s likely to get a reprieve… at least for now.
The sound of the wind chime catches my attention as a soft breeze meanders up the canyon.
A wider look at the wild cucumber plant (Echinocystis lobata) for those who might remember the little tendril in my previous post that allows this plant to cling so tightly to the rest of the vegetation. It produces all those little white flowers on a vine, showing how it has climbed and spread over the bank. See if you can find the tendrils. There’s one along the right edge with the tendril stretched out looking like the old curly phone cords. (I may be dating myself with that reference.)
Can you guess this one?
Here’s the clue: I cheated and flipped the Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) on its side in this picture. It seems to grow wild around here, but it was introduced from Europe. It’s only recently that I’m learning how many plants I thought of as wild natives have actually been introduced, or escaped from gardens.
I had been wondering what some of these leaves (along the left edge) or buds (at the bottom edge) were going to look like when they opened. Mystery solved. They’re the Woodland Phacelia or Caterpillar flower (Phacelia bolanderi).
This one looks like a spittlebug has latched onto it. If you look close at the bottom of the buds, you might be able to spot the white froth. I thought the bugs were essentially harmless, but apparently they drink about 300 times their body weight in plant fluids in one hour’s time. As a result of all the drinking, they produce a lot of waste, and that’s what causes all the spit on your plants. Not good.
Matching the leaves and the flowers with the ones that bloomed earlier helped to identify them. This is one of the natives to our region. It attracts butterflies, bees, birds, is deer resistant and drought tolerant. What more could you ask for?
A mutant California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica). This one was a bit strange because the flower didn’t have the usual cap covering the bud. Instead it popped out under the leaves you see still clinging. I guess it’s sort of a native, but it arrived by way of some seeds I saved from the previous house which came from a local nursery.
I’m not certain, but I’m pretty sure it’s Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) -correct me if I’m wrong.
A closer look. Those saw-toothed edges of the leaves make me think this is the stinging culprit. It is native to Europe, Asia, northern Africa, and North America. It gets around.
Not at all sure about this one, but it grows more like a vine with thorns and tiny pink flowers that look like miniature roses.
The Big Leaf Maple (Acer macrophyllum) has grown its wings. Next I’ll be looking for the seeds on the ground. Maybe watch some spin on their way to the ground.
Catkins on the willows (Salix). Haven’t narrowed this down to one of six native willows common to our area. The bits of white fuzz get blown around by the wind and look like snow sprinkles.
The flowers of the Piggyback plant (Tolmiea menziesii). A very unique looking flower.
This shot which included the faucet and the hose might give a sense of scale for the tiny little flowers. Ignore the wild strawberry plant’s leaves to the left of the faucet and the unidentified leaf directly under the faucet. The Piggyback’s leaves pretty much surround the green hose.
Is the spring coming?” he said. “What is it like?”…
“It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine…”
― Frances Hodgson Burnett,
Once in awhile I grab the camera and take a walk about looking at what’s popped up recently, getting to know the neighborhood, so to speak. This sweet little house and yard seem to have been neglected for quite a spell.
I have this yearning to try to return this little patch of ground into something more natural or native. It abuts some marvelous hills with all sorts of amazing plant life. I moved here to get closer to nature, so I wasn’t looking for the “paved paradise and put up a parking lot” experience.
To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter… to be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird’s nest or a wildflower in spring — these are some of the rewards of the simple life.
― John Burroughs,
A thing we need to do more often…
We stopped on our way to the creek to see if the hops had survived the winter. No, we’re not planning to brew our own, but a leaflet about hops plants caught my eye when it mentioned that a certain pretty butterfly (Celastrina humulus) loved this plant beyond all reason. So there are visions of having the vines hanging off an arbor. Not knowing a thing about growing hops, I was a bit concerned when ours dried up and looked dead last fall. Just a few weeks ago I noticed a bit of green that looked more like the ubiquitous blackberry that spreads everywhere. Then the above image shows a ray of hope. I do believe the hops (at least this one) may have survived and looks quite happy.
Couldn’t help but notice that the wild cucumber (Echinocystis lobata) is going places. One website called it a “rambunctious vine” and it’s certainly an apt description. It’s said to reach mature lengths of 25 feet in a hurry, sprawling over much of the other vegetation. Pity the cucumbers aren’t edible.
A sweet little lilac colored flower. I found the name thanks to fellow blogger BlueBrightly (in a much earlier post last June): Phacelia bolanderi and a boatload of common names: Bolander’s phacelia, Bolander’s scorpionweed, blue-flowered grape-leaf, and caterpillar flower! (Thanks, Lynn! Your help has been invaluable!)
A wild iris. I really like the delicate violet shade of this one.
Perhaps a wild apple? Or a survivor from earlier days. Or I’ll need to watch for fruit later on.
I’ve been seeing these Red Elderberry (Sambucus racemosa) bushes along long stretches of road up and down the coast.
So… maybe I meant to focus on that tiny drop of water clinging to the bleeding heart? 😉
An oversized leaf. Reminds me a bit of one growing near a goldfish pond I once had.
A Mallard strolling along the bank of the creek.
Maybe Mr Mallard is thinking of this little fellow, or maybe even inviting him over for dinner?
The willows are leafing out and displaying their lovely catkins.
Some interesting mosses, though this type is taking on a sense of familiarity.
The Creek with a mossy rock and a willow clinging to it. It’s what the Beavers like for breakfast (or any meal, for that matter).
I’m hoping this image finally fixes the difference between our big leaf maples and the vine maples solidly in my head. I’m hoping the vine maple is on the left and the other is the big leaf maple. Seems that these days there’s so much less storage room in the brain.
So, I’m guessing these are vine maples even though they didn’t have the droopy flowers in the previous image. I certainly hope so, because I love the vine maple in the fall when it’s one of the few local trees to give us some lovely, bright red foliage.
An Alder cone stops to visit with a maple. I came across an odd little bit of trivia about the Alder cones. Apparently they are beneficial for shrimp. As in fresh water shrimp aquariums. Who knew there was such a thing? The benefit is that the cones release tannins which are antifungal and antibacterial.
Thimbleberries in waiting.
Last, but not least, such a cute little bit of red moss growing in the rocks. How could I resist?
Onward up many a frightening creek, though your arms may get sore and your sneakers may leak. Oh! The places you’ll go!
― Dr. Seuss,
We were actually in search of the Darlingtonia californica (aka Pitcher Plant)I couldn’t resist yet another shot of the maple flowers and baby leaves along the way.
Tiny little mushrooms- the cap smaller than a dime (roughly 15 mm across).
A tiny variety of Trillium -a bit over 1.5 inches or 35 mm from tip to tip of the open flower petals.
A pale version of the Snow Queen. I should have included the leaves for a proper ID. 😦
The sun kissing the lacy tips of a False Cedar. Small wonder I’m confused. This is why they’re called “false”.
A rather crooked peeled trunk of a Madrone.
The bog at last.
A closer look at the carnivorous Pitcher Plant. It attracts insects with its (nasty) scent and the sweet nectar on its ‘tongue’, which is cleverly highlighted by sunlight shining through a transparent area on its upper lid. If an insect wanders inside the lily’s tube-like leaf structure, the plant’s slippery secretions and downward hairs cause the insect to fall into the lily’s trap, where it’s then slowly digested. A bit of a turnabout with a plant eating an insect instead of the other way around.
A water strider (Gerridae) enjoying the bog.
A snag sculpture. Perhaps a Viking boat? Note the shadows underwater and the clarity of the water.
Trilliums in the bog were a surprise.
This shot was too funny to pass up. Make up your own story. Don’t overlook the bullet holes in the door.
A mossy stump by the creek.
Warning: a multitude of mosses and lichens are to follow. None that I can name with any degree of certainty. They seem to be another growing passion. Just another one of those things I never paid much attention to in previous lives.
Then it started to rain. Looking out the windshield.
Waiting for the drops to stop falling, this stump with exposed roots provided an interesting shot and then the hail (see the little white spots) quit as quickly as it had started.
Ceanothus pumilus or prostatus. It’s nearly impossible for me to tell them apart. I couldn’t get a closer shot of the above image because it was clinging to a very high cliff.
Same as above? or not? It’s a different location, but I had a better shot at the unique flowers, but the leaves are quite similar.
My very first impression was that someone spray painted this plant, but there are far too many that look like this for that to be plausible.
Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.
― Robert Louis Stevenson
This is the time of year to see the Trillium in bloom… almost every step of the way.Your stereotypical Redwood shot. The inclination is to stand there and lean your head back nearly horizontal to the ground and stare upward at these tall giants.
But you need someone standing there to give a vague sense of scale, though this is by no means one of the larger ones.
Oxalis oregana -one of the common understory plants.
The Trillium from early bloom to the later darker stage.
Mother trees that have fallen and now nourish the new growth that follows.
Shelf fungus -Polyporales Family
Unnamed falls on the way out.
I seem to be drowning in pictures taken during our trip to the Redwoods. I will continue to sort through them and eventually post, but I thought I’d put up some shots from a lovely hike we took this morning… just up the road. We mostly have the big leaf maples which turn a bright yellow in the fall and seem to attract a lot of moss on their bark creating the Dr Seuss looking trees:
This time of year they seem to shine out from the darker green shades of the evergreens.
The flowers will soon grow “wings”, indicating that the fruit of the maple tree is ripening. It is probably obvious how fascinated I was with these lovely, delicate and welcome signs of spring. (click on any image for a closer look… and enjoy!)
Trees are poems the earth writes upon the sky, We fell them down and turn them into paper,
That we may record our emptiness.
― Kahlil Gibran
…or as I like to think of it: LOVE YOUR MOTHER DAY!
What more miraculous place to celebrate and honor it than the Redwoods? Eric caught a shot of me hiking down one of the Redwood Trails…
I still have quite a few images to sort through, but…. I had to take the time to post good wishes to our Mother Earth on her day! I imagine that the actual colors weren’t quite as bright, but it was such a magical experience, walking through these ancient living beings. It just seemed appropriate to add a glow!
For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much—the wheel, New York, wars and so on—whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man—for precisely the same reasons.
― Douglas Adams,
…about this amazing macro/micro world we live in.
Thank goodness I seem to be over the worst of the nasty-cold-from-hell and can stand to go scampering around taking pictures of some of the amazing life popping up in the hills around us once again. (Just in time it seems!)
(Apologies to those whose posts I’ve missed or haven’t replied to.)
Somehow Eric spotted these tiniest of Trilliums I’ve ever seen… it’s a Trillium rivale (aka Brook Wakerobin) local to our region here in the Siskiyous. I can’t imagine how Eric ever spotted this charming little miniscule wildflower, but he’s earned the nickname of ‘Hawkeye’ in my book ever after.
Just try to imagine spotting this microscopic flower hidden among the ferns as you’re driving down the road. I honestly don’t know how he does it.
Salmonberries in waiting… These lovelies are much less of a challenge to pick out along the way.
More worlds in miniature… an unidentified mushroom (before I thought to bring along a ruler and before I got so sick)…
Red currants blooming all over….
Our very own Dudleya farinosa. We had seen these unique succulents growing on the tops of some of the massive monoliths at the beach. Of course we would never pick them or try to transplant them, but once after a wild storm, we found a small bunch on the beach (where it wasn’t likely to survive), so we took a chance and planted it in our yard in similar conditions. It looks to be reasonably happy where we put it. May it continue to enjoy our hospitality.
Last, but not least, I’ll admit to being a bit squeamish about finding this critter crawling across the kitchen floor. Turns out there’s a LOT more to him than meets the eye. We seem to have quite a lot of these Cyanide-producing Millipedes (Harpaphe haydeniana) here.
I’ve seen these Cyanide-producing Millipedes (Harpaphe haydeniana) countless times in the forest and have always been fascinated by them. They are a large, easy to identify millipede due to their size and colour. In addition, when handled they curl into a defensive spiral and give off a strong odor that smells like almonds – this smell is the stuff of Agatha Christie – cyanide!
According to Andrew Moldenke, a Research Associate in Entomology, Department of Entomology, Oregon State University, the odor of roasted almonds is actually hydrogen cyanide gas, a potent metabolic poison. As a result, H. haydeniana has only one predator, the groundbeetle Promecognathus laevissimus. Fortunately, this means that the millipede can perform its duty as a “macroshredder,” breaking up plant material and initiating the process of nutrient recyclying in the soil ecosystem without having to worry about a whole host of predators. In fact, it plays such an important role in the process that it can be considered to be a “keystone” species.
The most I can ever do is write things down. To remember them. The details. To honor them in some way.
― Chuck Palahniuk,