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Tag Archives: bitterroot

We live in this house because it has an incredible view from the river valley to the high peaks of the Pasayten Wilderness. Besides that, there is no practical reason to live here.

Additionally, their are pretty good small views – wildflowers and birds too. This year, the flowers are all coming fast and furious – early with bountiful foliage and intense colors. Without some late spring rains, in a month from now we will be facing brown, crinkly hillsides. So we enjoy the colors and scents now.

We have had some really marvelous warm spring weather in the last week or two. Temperatures into the 70’s and light to steady breezes quickly melted the snow and out of the wet ground sprouted delightful tiny wildflowers. Lots of insects hatched attracting lots of birds and the honey bees have been busy on the willow catkins, gathering pollen for their hives. For nearly a week I’d go outside a couple times a day and search for my former nemesis wildflower – steershead or Dicentra uniflora – and I was delighted to find it. As the snow line descended down into our draw, I found more and more of tiny plants with flowers the size of a dime. How could they have been here all these years and I never saw them til last year. Were they tucked under the bitterbrush that burned in 2014? Or did the fire stimulate seeds that may have laid dormant?

We took the dogs up a steep hill on the game range¬†near Twisp. It was sunny and cold. We could walk mostly on dirt although the dogs enjoyed little snow patches. Luna especially likes them. She does better in cold weather and isn’t looking forward to the end of winter. And she seems to not care to have her photo made. I had hoped to find sagebrush buttercups but it is not the warmest hillside in the valley. We did find other green shoots and soon there will be more. Probably not this week with nightly low temperatures forecast to be in the teens. Brrrrr.

These are the remains of winter on our hillside.

 

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The anemone-like leaves of the bitterroot. It won’t bloom for months and by then the leaves will have disappeared.

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Lichen on a piece of thin bark

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A tiny buckwheat next to an immense ponderosa pine cone

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More lichen. They are bright and fresh this time of year.

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Maybe from a woodpecker

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Lots of little piles of fertilizer

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Does it seem like there was an especially good ponderosa pine cone crop? The White-winged and Red Crossbills have been busy opening them.

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Just one of the deer that didn’t make it through the winter

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Remains of an earlier time

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This was probably from one of last year’s fawns

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Sprouts!

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More subtle lichens on a rock

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One of last fall’s mushrooms survived the winter.

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These tiny flowers seem to be growing out of moss

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Back at home, the bees were flying again.

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I confess. I like Instagram. Ok. It’s alright to like Instagram. And sometimes it is just easier to carry the phone rather than a camera or both.

Lots of small wildflowers blooming on our hill now. The Balsamroot and Lupine are past their peak at this elevation. Now, there are more blues to be seen, some pinks and yellows too.

Bitterroot, Lewisia rediviva. On our hillside, it is much whiter, less pink than in other places, such as Patterson Mountain

Cat’s ear lily, Calachortus lyalli

A yellow violet (an oxymoron of a name), Viola sp. I don’t know which one.

I’ve always referred to this as a Brodiaea but looking at my field guide, I think its name has been changed to Triteleia grandiflora

Evidence that our part time neighbors celebrated the holiday weekend riding up and down our road on quads while drinking and tossing their litter around.

More bitterroot

And tired dogs.

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