Mostly show, just a bit of tell…
A drive along the coast
back home again…
The concept of conservation is a far truer sign of civilization than that spoilation of a continent which we once confused with progress.
― Peter Matthiessen,
Today, driving along the coast, it was apparent that summer is drawing to a close.The fog is sticking around later in the day, cooling things off. My favorite sort of weather.
The misty scenes feel refreshing compared to this past stretch of bright, glaring, unrelenting sunshine, with nary a drop of rain.
The Big Leaf Maples are showing signs of noticing the cooler nights.
Definitely autumn is in the air.
Pity the tourists coming down to see the coast…
…though there are glimpses.
Again, you have stood before some landscape, which seems to embody what you have been looking for all your life; and then turned to the friend at your side who appears to be seeing what you saw — but at the first words a gulf yawns between you, and you realise that this landscape means something totally different to him, that he is pursuing an alien vision and cares nothing for the ineffable suggestion by which you are transported.
― C.S. Lewis,
(after all these years?) Or was that supposed to be starry-eyed (that, too!) 😀 ❤
The cataract surgery went well I’m told. The major nuisance at this time is the many eye drops morning, noon and night, plus the one at bedtime. And they sting! I can’t tell if there’s an improvement because I’m guessing I’ll need a prescription change for my glasses. For a number of reasons, they couldn’t fix me to where I don’t need to wear them anymore. I’m hoping they can improve my sight enough so I can read street signs. That would certainly be nice.
This… more or less, is how I’m seeing for now, with my normal glasses. Perhaps not quite this drastic. (Off topic- be sure to note the happy bee visiting the lower thistle. If you can find it in the blur.)
The very best focus I could manage with the sun shining bright and orders to be wearing my ‘sun shields’ (glorified sunglasses that fit over my normal ones.) Luckily the stern warning to wear sunglasses outside will be lifted by the end of this week. I might be able to see through the viewfinder again! I’m not sure what the camera thought it was focused on, unless it was the wind that caused the heavy blur?
When an eagerly awaited Dudleya (or Sedum) flower went missing, I first suspected the innocent bunny. But then I noticed the attack on the young Red Currant Bush and realized who the real culprit was more likely to be. (Thanks to auto-focus, this shot of the evidence came out OK.)
Thus… we have the real culprit. Once upon a time I used to think deer were cute, but that was before I’d lived where they wipe out orchards and any other sort of plant. Thanks to folks who feed them, they lose all fear of humans and become destructive. I think we could use some more predators visiting. (In case you’re wondering, I can see better in order to focus in the shade.)
In the meantime, Eric created a wacky mobile with some repurposed CDs hanging from it. Don’t know if it will work to discourage them until the currant bush gets established (when it might actually need a haircut). It’s a whimsical solution. The deer certainly can’t be starving with all the bounty that surrounds us.
Inherited from a previous owner of the house. It seems to like the benign neglect it’s been receiving.
Ripples in the bird bath.
Another attempt at catching an approximation of the way the California poppies appear to glow in the sun. This doesn’t come close enough. I’ll keep trying.
The Phacelia gone to seed. Perhaps I’ll have more of them popping up elsewhere.
I think someone told me last year what plant produced these twirls of seedpods, but I’ve managed to forget already. (sigh) Obviously, I find them fascinating. It’s all so wonderfully unrestrained.
We’ve had a bumper crop of Himalaya blackberries. They are extremely invasive, but they’re also delicious. Eric has managed to tame them to an arbor. We’ll see what sort of visitors it might entice.
Dandelion puffballs doing their thing. I’ve noticed temperatures cooling down with the fog creeping up the canyon in the evenings. The fog leaves behind quite a bit of dew, but not a real watering. I’m already a bit bored with summer’s unrelenting sun. A small squall would be hugely appreciated.
Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.
― Lauren DeStefano,
I have a new lens in my eye…
Things are a bit blurry and I don’t suppose I ought to spend too much time online until I’ve had a bit more time to adjust, but I thought I’d post some random shots taken before the surgery… just so you don’t forget me entirely.
I couldn’t decide which of these I liked best, so I’ll just post both…
The Dudleya rescued from the sand was doing so well… it even put out a lovely blossom.
First our resident bunny was accused of having the blossom for a snack… but when the currant bush was given a rather severe trimming, the bunny was off the hook. No way could he reach that high. The latest suspect is a deer.
My first sighting of a Black-Crowned Night Heron. They don’t call them a night heron for nothing. It was getting pretty dark when I snatched this shot.
Last, but certainly not least… a portrait of one of our resident lizards with eczema. (Just kidding… he’s actually shedding.)
Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.
― Desmond Tutu
Another “Botany romp” a name I’m borrowing from a comment to the previous post. We were close to the same area as before, but exploring a delightful meadow this time.
(All of these images were taken June 11th, 2018)So many botanical treasures, it was extremely difficult to narrow things down to a reasonable level to post. A field full of buttercups and Camas lilies, just for starters.
This is only a small sample of the field in bloom.
A view at the edge around the meadow.
A very busy little bee visiting this wild rose.
From this location we looked up at the dead and aged trees that still stand from the Biscuit Fire (2002).
There are so many similar looking varieties of Paintbrush (Castilleja) that I’m not even going to try to pin this one down.
A female Bluebird who didn’t let us get close enough for a good portrait. She’s a bit more drab than her male counterpart with his bright blue feathers.
Looking up at a Fire Lookout at the top of that ridge. We’re thinking that the Firefighters might have set a back burn going down the hill to protect the building and to help contain the fire. That slope below and behind it looks pretty bare, though quite a few trees at the edge of the meadow seem to have suffered minimal damage.
Some diminutive violets scattered here and there.
An Elegant Cat’s Ear (Calochortus elegans). I find these fuzzy ones fascinating, but they’re so tiny in this area that they’d be very easy to overlook.
Even the Chipmunks seemed smaller than usual.
I seem to find the white flowers to be the most challenging because there are so many similar ones.
Pacific Coast Irises (Iris innominata).
Another one from the Iris family… Idaho blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium idahoense)
This lovely cool, clear water stream ran through the meadow at some point.
You could tell where the water flowed by the clumps of pitcher plant flowers showing above the meadow grasses.
This cute little fellow seemed to be enjoying a small pond.
Another unidentified white flower.
I’m guessing this is a Spring Azure Butterfly (Celastrina ladon). It was a challenge to catch it as it flitted from flower to flower, even more so to identify it.
(Corrections gratefully accepted.)
This looked like some wildly confused bunch of grass – didn’t know which way to go.
New growth on Conifers.
More leaf tips decked out in colors. This time in red.
Another example of Bear Grass, this time it’s more fully opened up.
I can’t seem to resist the look of the sun shining on the lacy Western Redcedar (Thuja plicata)
Finally we found this cool little spring heading on the way down the hills.
Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread. A civilization which destroys what little remains of the wild, the spare, the original, is cutting itself off from its origins and betraying the principle of civilization itself.
― Edward Abbey,
Another week seems to have slipped by and I’m still working at finishing the discoveries we made last June 7th. This should finish up that day and I’m hoping June 11th may be posted a bit quicker. That’ll get us a bit closer to the burnt areas of the Biscuit Fire.
Starting a bit closer to home was this Madrone tree in bloom with its redish orange bark.
A couple of perky Bear Grass flowers.
From a distance, I keep thinking these are yellow flowers, but on closer inspection they appear to be leaves of a lighter color.
From a distance these flowers seemed to almost glow against the rocks. It’s Spreading Phlox (Phlox diffusa)
Another wild Azalea.
Miscellaneous unidentified lovelies- except for the last (purple) one. It’s a Coastal Larkspur (Delphinium menziesii).
I’ve been watching this Siskiyou Mat (Ceanothus pumilus). It seems to be everywhere up in the hills. It’s a great ground cover and it’s local. I’m hoping to perhaps get some started on the bank at the front of the house.
A closer look at the flower or ‘inflorescence’…
which eventually turns into these red berries.
Some say they look like cherry tarts.
It also doesn’t appear to mind visitors in its midst:
A closer look at a Northwestern mariposa lily (Calochortus elegans)
I did try to identify the butterfly without any luck. As if there weren’t enough flowers and other plants to try to pin down.
What a pleasure to come across this sweet Anemone.
Some interesting Sedums clinging to the rocks or cliffs. They never cease to amaze me the way they seem to thrive in bare rock.
False Solomon’s Seal (Maianthemum racemosum)
Looking toward Signal Butte on the way home.
Last, but not least, even closer to home we check on the Sedum in bloom. Perhaps a Dudleya?
The earth laughs in flowers.
― Ralph Waldo Emerson
We decided to head up into the hills to see what recovery might have occurred after the large wildfire (named the Biscuit fire) in 2002. We wanted to see if plant life was recovering after nearly 16 years.
This is the sort of country we were exploring. You can see the trees that died during the fire. They remain standing (for now), but they’ve lost their bark and they have weathered to a silver color over the years. What I find really intriguing is the way you can see where the fire killed groups of trees and yet left other patches surviving.
This is a closer look at patches where plants have recovered. Looks like it’s mainly ground cover in this section, but it varies as you’ll see as we continued our exploration.
Looking back at the section where I decided I’d get out and walk. Luckily the steep slope was not on my side of the pickup on the way in, but I still felt a need to stretch my legs and to kick some rocks that had fallen out of the way.
Not much room for error as you can see (at least so it seemed given my fear of heights). Luckily we didn’t encounter anyone else who might have needed to pass us. Hard to decide if the fog helped by not showing just how steep that slope was, or not.
Looking back at part of the section where I got out to walk (near the upper left corner). I’m pretty sure this doesn’t show the spot with the really steep drop. You can see the more ‘normal’ road down below a bit right of center.
Sissy, our adventure poodle, came along to guard me from any bears or cougars I might encounter as we headed back to cross the scary section on foot.
Some of the flowers popping up… yet to be identified.
It’s taken me awhile to sort through all the images, so this shows what was blooming on June 7th. (as usual, you can click on any image for a closer look)
This lovely specimen (still to be identified) looked so elegant clinging to the deep red earth and jumble of rocks.
Wild Irises in various shades of yellow and white and purple were abundant.
Some Trilliums were still in bloom, though turning from white to purple with age.
A Western Columbine ((Aquilegia formosa) enjoying the sunshine.
We first noticed how the mist had accumulated on these leaves.
The Dogwood tree was also getting its share of moisture.
This Iris seemed to be getting a sufficient bit of watering as well. It’s pretty amazing how these plants manage to thrive in an environment that is so arid during the summer. Perhaps this mist that comes in off the ocean and keeps me cool in the evenings is the secret.
This is just a small sample of flowers and plants we found on this first trip to the area. I’ll never get anything posted if I continue trying to sort through it all. So for now… to be continued. We’ve made weekly trips to the area or close to it, to watch the changes unfold.
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.”
― Mary Oliver
Oh the places he’ll go… what an amazing adventure! Join Curt on his 1,000 mile hike through some of god’s loveliest country!
My fellow blogger and friend JoHanna Massey from Sedona, Arizona sent the following post out to her followers about my thousand mile backpack trek and gave me permission to repost it, which I am doing today as I begin my journey from Mt. Ashland. (Peggy is along for my first six-days of hiking.) My sincere thanks to JoHanna. You can find her delightful posts at https://johannamassey.com.
“The Mountains Are Calling
And I must Go.”
Curt Mekemson has just left on a thousand mile chunk of a hike that begins in Ashland Oregon, travels south to Mount Whitney, through Siskiyou, Marble, and Sierra Nevada Mountains.This is quite the hike, through some of the most beautiful places in America. Places most people, Americans too, never will see. Curt Mekemson is an excellent nature writer, with an eye for detail and a way with words that could convince anyone to…
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The weather was much better on the trip home…
Waves and surf… one of my favorite things…
Pelagic Cormorants hanging out on the cliffs…
Sunshine and waves…
Coming in for a landing… a Common Murre colony.
A Murre racing a wave…
Color showing up in the sky as evening approached.
Yaquina Head Lighthouse as the skies darkened.
More color nearing sunset over Newport.
and then the sun went down and the world turned dark…
Next morning we grabbed some fish to take home…
Once again the graceful arcs of the Yaquina Bay Bridge.
The Never Again IX…
Stopping at Cape Perpetua as we headed south…
This is Marten– he hangs out at the Visitor Center. He’s a bit stuffy and aloof.
Our escorts as we continued down the road. They seem to follow us. We call them Huginn and Muninn…
In case you haven’t had enough of our coastline…
or perhaps needing another glimpse of waves?
or this one?
… or that last walk on the beach.
Not my usual quote format, but this one was courtesy of the Visitor Center at Perpetua. It seemed appropriate.