a bit of a preview

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


back to the beach

Boardman_Corridor-02553A bit windy, but warm enough once we were out of the stiff breeze (as evidenced by the spindrift).

Boardman_Corridor-02506The 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.

Boardman_Corridor-02507At 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)


Boardman_Corridor-02512Ferns with a touch of sun.

Boardman_Corridor-02510No 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.

Boardman_Corridor-02511Irises galore in various shades and colors.

Boardman_Corridor-02515I’m guessing this one is some sort of sweet pea.

Boardman_Corridor-02517The sun was lighting everything to its best advantage.

Boardman_Corridor-02559I 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.

Boardman_Corridor-02531And 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.


Boardman_Corridor-02544It appears that the yellow one reaching toward the center left edge is getting ready to bloom. Again, something to watch.

Boardman_Corridor-02563Little dots of sunshine.

Boardman_Corridor-02565Seen a bit closer. Buttercups perhaps?

Boardman_Corridor-02569A Sitka Spruce with developing cones.

If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.
― Frances Hodgson BurnettThe Secret Garden

surrounded by

…or another walk with camera

yard-02313As the out of doors calls to me…


AKA Arum-lily – Zantedeschia aethiopica is a species in the family Araceae, native to southern Africa in Lesotho, South Africa, and Swaziland. Wikipedia

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.

yard-02353The sound of the wind chime catches my attention as a soft breeze meanders up the canyon.

yard-02355A 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.)

yard-02346Can you guess this one?

yard-02348Here’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.

yard-02342I 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).

yard-02343This 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.

yard-02345Matching 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?

yard-02331A 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.

yard-02337I’m not certain, but I’m pretty sure it’s Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) -correct me if I’m wrong.

yard-02334A 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.

yard-02324Not at all sure about this one, but it grows more like a vine with thorns and tiny pink flowers that look like miniature roses.

yard-02316The 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.

yard-02327Catkins 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.

yard-02319The flowers of the Piggyback plant (Tolmiea menziesii). A very unique looking flower.

yard-02332This 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 BurnettThe Secret Garden

neighborhood watch

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 don’t suppose I should say this has popped up recently. Perhaps amend that to what caught my eye.


Seemingly a native. Waiting for the flower to show itself to perhaps assist in identifying it.

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.


On the other hand, I’ve done a bit of cheating. I did bring these sweet little lily-of-the-valley pips  from the old house in an attempt to get them established in a damp, shady spot here. That was before I learned they were highly toxic. I’m not sure these are native, though the scent always brings back childhood memories from New England.


A Rhododendron bud about to open up. This looks like the wild version we have quite a bit of. The cultivated ones in people’s yards and in a full spectrum of colors seem to have bloomed some time ago. The natives, always this shade of pink, bloom a bit later.


An apple? a cherry? tree growing on the bank. Perhaps I’ll find out come autumn.



Three, not just one, osprey were chasing each other around overhead at one point. Just a bit ago we saw an eagle chasing three ducks fly by. Of course the camera wasn’t handy at that moment for that event.


My mother once commented how lovely this gorse was all along the roads here.


Note the evil looking thorns. It’s a lovely plant that has done far better than it ought here. It’s crowding out all the native plants and is impossible to eradicate.


A pretty clover.


I encourage anything to bring more visits from the birds and bees.


A closer look at how the wild cucumber plant hugs anything within reach.


Unidentified pretty flower with unidentified rod.

(Scrophularia californica), California figwort

California figwort (Scrophularia californica) – what a funny name! The hummingbirds seem to like it.


A native Dudleya. This is one I rescued from the beach after a storm. It seems to like it’s new location because it has grown a little one this spring. I’m not sure if it’ll bloom, or not. Or, perhaps, that miniature sticking up on a stem is the bloom. It’s fun to wait to see what develops.


Last fall I took a cutting from some fuschia bushes growing along the road. It looks like it might be taking hold. I hope it does well because the hummingbirds love them.


Another one I introduced… it looks like the hops are doing well. It’s pretty obvious they aren’t the blackberries I feared. We have quite enough of those, thank you.

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 BurroughsLeaf and Tendril

a walk along the creek

A thing we need to do more often…

creek_walk-01913We 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.

creek_walk-01911Couldn’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!)

creek_walk-01870A wild iris. I really like the delicate violet shade of this one.

creek_walk-01847Perhaps 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.

creek_walk-01821So… maybe I meant to focus on that tiny drop of water clinging to the bleeding heart? 😉

creek_walk-01812An 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.

creek_walk-01798Maybe Mr Mallard is thinking of this little fellow, or maybe even inviting him over for  dinner?

creek_walk-01802The willows are leafing out and displaying their lovely catkins.

Some interesting mosses, though this type is taking on a sense of familiarity.

creek_walk-01800The 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).

creek_walk-01797I’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.

creek_walk-01785An 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.

creek_walk-01782Thimbleberries in waiting.

creek_walk-01791Last, 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. SeussOh, The Places You’ll Go!

in search of a bog

We were actually in search of the Darlingtonia californica (aka Pitcher Plant)HCBog-01098I couldn’t resist yet another shot of the maple flowers and baby leaves along the way.


HCBog-01106Tiny little mushrooms- the cap smaller than a dime (roughly 15 mm across).

HCBog-01126A tiny variety of Trillium  -a bit over 1.5 inches or 35 mm from tip to tip of the open flower petals.

HCBog-01129A pale version of the Snow Queen. I should have included the leaves for a proper ID. 😦

HCBog-01136The sun kissing the lacy tips of a False Cedar. Small wonder I’m confused. This is why they’re called “false”.

HCBog-01140A rather crooked peeled trunk of a Madrone.

HCBog-01152The bog at last.

HCBog-01154A 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.


HCBog-01163A water strider (Gerridae) enjoying the bog.

HCBog-01165A snag sculpture. Perhaps a Viking boat? Note the shadows underwater and the clarity of the water.

HCBog-01184Trilliums in the bog were a surprise.

HCBog-01185This shot was too funny to pass up. Make up your own story. Don’t overlook the bullet holes in the door.

HCBog-01213A 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.


See the growth rings of the tree?










HCBog-01223Then it started to rain. Looking out the windshield.

HCBog-01226Waiting 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.

HCBog-01229Ceanothus 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.

HCBog-01241Same 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.

HCBog-01235My 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.


The end…

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant. 
― Robert Louis Stevenson

hike to Trillium Falls

This is the time of year to see the Trillium in bloom… almost every step of the way.Trillium_Falls-01318Your 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.

Trillium_Falls-01392But 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.










Trillium_Falls-01370Trillium Falls


Trillium_Falls-01399Shelf fungus -Polyporales Family

Trillium_Falls-01405Unnamed falls on the way out.

A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people.  
― Franklin D. Roosevelt

maples in springtime

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:

maples-01670This 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

Happy Earth Day

…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 AdamsThe Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

learning more and more

…about this amazing macro/micro world we live in.

Trillium_rivale-00966Thank 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.)

trillium_r.-01008Somehow 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.

Trillium_rivale-00945Just 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.

salmonberry-00906Salmonberries in waiting… These lovelies are much less of a challenge to pick out along the way.

_shroom-00758More worlds in miniature… an unidentified mushroom (before I thought to bring along a ruler and before I got so sick)…

red_currants-00807Red currants blooming all over….

succulents-00859Our 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.

centipede-01055Last, 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 PalahniukFugitives and Refugees: A Walk in Portland, Oregon



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