Monday, April 17, 2017

The Colors of Spring in the Brazos Valley

For your enjoyment, a few spring wildflowers from April in the Brazos Valley of Texas.  Some are ID'd through great websites: Texas Highways, Texas Wildflower Index and Wildflowers of the U.S.  Some are puzzlements.  All mistakes are my own.  

Little pollinator in winecup, perhaps CallirhoĆ« involucrata

Texas thistle, perhaps Cirsium texanum

Firewheel, perhaps Gaillardia pulchella 

Texas bluebonnets and  primroses in a breezy meadow   

Ah, a member of the legumes, Fabaceae

Possibly Rose Gentian, Sabatia campestris

Texas Yellowstar, possibly Lindheimera texana

And now, three unknowns:  

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Sunday, March 26, 2017

Take a Walk at the Wildlife Refuge

Take a walk with me at Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge, where I am training to become a 
volunteer naturalist and trail rover and just beginning to 
learn the common plants here.

Better wear your hat and gloves. 

The refuge provides space for wildlife 
to go about their seasonal activities.  
On my first visit, on the water there were hundreds, perhaps a thousand, pintail ducks, my favorites.

Trillium is an iconic spring wildflower 
in the Willamette Valley 
and they are now in full bloom at at the refuge.

Another sign of spring, the willows 
gearing up for reproduction.  
These are the pistillate or female flowers.

Pollinators are important to plant species reproduction; here, some little insect is busy 
in the red flowering current.

A violet means spring of course; this is 
wood violet, Viola glabella.  

Oaks toothwort, thank you friendly botanist. 
Above and below, two flowers with four petals, 
often meaning a member of the cresses, including wallflowers, mustards and toothwort.  

Who knew that ferns grew on tree trunks?  
Licorice fern, above, likes the deep woods. 

As does, this little cup fungus, below.  

     A cold day in March!
     Clouds rise above the bare trees--
     my heart feels at home.  

Sunday, October 16, 2016

When the Sun Came Out

The sun began to warm the backyard and I took a break from my computer.  Grabbed the PowerShot and found some small views of late Fall.  Leaves, seeds, flowers.  A spider walked though one shot but turned out blurry.  

Friday, October 7, 2016

Portland: The Industrial Southeast and Produce Row, A Walking Tour

On a drizzly Portland day, walking what some call the SouthEast Warehouse District, here are some of the places we visited.  This tour comes from the book, Walking Portland (thank you Dean & Adrienne).  And thank you LeeAnn for leading the way.

The first stop is Hippo Hardware, a purveyor of antique goods: lots of skeleton keys, doorknobs and other fixtures.

Here is one of the hippos, having a grand time in the bath.  

Wonder if these guys & gals know the Fantasia hippos in tutus?

In a modern-day vacuum cleaner store, there is a hall of antique cleaners.  Just had to take a shot of the Electrolux section; they look like the cleaner I used to vacuum the stairs up to our childhood bedroom.  

Concert mural on the walking route.

This old warehouse used to be home to a Wheaties factory; it's now the Olympic Mills Commerce Center.

Last stop, a yummy grilled cheese sandwich at Bunk Bar and this mural of tumbleweeds in the desert (the opposite of a Portland landscape).  

Note 1:  All photos taken with an iPhone.  Mostly no post-processing. 

Note 2:  Other stops, un-photographed but noteworthy:  Steven Smith Teamaker for a rejuvenating cop of Lord Bergamot and Sheridan Fruit Company with (surprise) a three yard long glass case displaying more different sausages than you can think of, all for sale.   

Note 3:  Here you see that someone of advanced age such as myself is an Honored Citizen when riding the bus (to and from the walk's starting & ending points).  $1.25 for 2.5 hours.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Elk Rock Gardens....Along the Willamette River

Elk Rock Garden, a tucked-away retreat along the Willamette River at the southwestern end of Portland.  Here are some views of a walk along the many garden paths.  

Wood, leaves, river and clouds provide atmosphere, texture and substance.

We see oaks, pines, douglas fir, cedar, maple, and many more tree species.  Some have labels, some must be guessed at. 


And, I learn that poison oak  does grow in Oregon.

As does Madrone.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Botanical World in May

Globe lily

A. mollis 

A. mollis in bloom

Well, finally we found out this is Bellardia

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Sunday Morning on the Balcony

Taking in the neighborhood sights, lazy person style.  

Downtown San Jose: lots of construction going on.

Study in dog and walker.


After church.

One other had the photography bug this morning.

The other watcher.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Monument Burn at Coe Park; Two Weeks Later

On November 19, Henry W. Coe Park staff along with professionals from the State Park Monterey District, CalFire and other state & local agencies conducted a prescribed burn in a 630 acre area close to Park Headquarters and bordered by Manzanita Point Road, Hobbes Road and the Little Fork of Coyote Creek.  These photos were taken on December 5.  
[Manny Pita, 2015]

Prescribed burns are used to revitalize natural landscape processes and reduce fuel load.  Fire has always been a normal change agent in  California ecosystems and we use prescribed burning to control the extent of fire and amount of change within a desirable range. Manzanita Pt. Rd NW of Grand Junction.  Burn on right; unburned on left.

Fire naturally occurs in cycles, perhaps every 10-20 years in the Coe area. Here, the Old Corral was within the prescribed burn section but was deliberately left unburned because it is an important cultural feature in the park.  

Regeneration after a burn can happen quickly.  We aim to manage the burn's heat and intensity so plant roots and seeds in the soil are not damaged even if their leaves are burned.

Specialized firestarter tools allow for safety and efficiency.

Walking the Forest Trail gives a up-close and personal view of immediate fire effects.  Here, you can see that the burn was patchy, not affecting the entire landscape.  Already fallen leaves are adding new organic material to the forest floor.

Little bits of greenery show the power of plants to persevere.

When a stump smolders, fire can burn the roots and create what a fanciful imagination might see as magical passageways into the earth itself.  There are  two or three instances like this on the Forest Trail.  

Many plants in fire-adapted habitat have special protective structures and processes that allow them to spring back after a burn. Madrones often have a thick storage area at their base that protects nutritional materials and promotes post-fire growth.   

Prescribed burns are done when environmental conditions are exactly right, including wind speed & direction, temperature, relative humidity, and atmospheric conditions.  Thank you Mason and Chris for leading this Coe MeetUp walk through the burn area!

A tip of the hat to Mother Nature; hug a tree this week!