Skip navigation

Tag Archives: lichen

This time of year it is difficult to find good walking places. They are either covered in soft, unpredictable snow, or slush and mud, or just plain mud. The girls really like a little variety in their lives so I do try to get them out and about to various places. This morning we visited a small piece of public land on the river. It was a mix of soft and hard packed snow, very wet slush and occasionally wet ground. They were ecstatic. And Sky found sticks. Lots of sticks. What more could she want? Luna found smells. Lots of good stinky smells. It was a perfect dog walk.

In a world of little rain, much manages to live and thrive in the desert climate of the southwest. Junipers and pinyon pines, shrubs of all sorts, cacti, lichens of all colors – even blue, and I imagine all sorts of flowering plants that show themselves in the spring. And in an ephemeral pool, I found tadpoles! So somewhere there are frogs or toads, maybe under the crust of a dried up pool. Even the soil is alive with cryptobiotic crust composed of algae, fungi and cyanobacteria. The canyons’ rock walls erode away little by little contributing soil continuously. Roots inch their way into cracks, enlarging the cracks and storing moisture and soil for future growth.

After a couple of months of snow and cold here at home, it seemed downright balmy in western Washington. Folks over there thought it was cold with frost in the morning and cars coated with ice. Walking on grass and dirt seemed almost refreshing. We lucked out and had little rain and the sun even came out from time to time.

 

 

 

Last week Mary Ann and I took our dogs, Frida and Luna to an agility trial about 150 miles south of here. We traveled through the lower Grand Coulee and stopped for a short hike in the basalt country. It’s an area near where I used to live and hike on a regular basis and I miss the dramatic rocks and canyons. This area was formed out of molten lava that flowed from ground fissures. Later it was scoured by numerous ice age floods that sculpted the dramatic coulees and rock formations. Now there are many lakes and other water features – many made by humans with dams and irrigation canals. Still it retains a rugged beauty that I always enjoy. As for the agility trial – we had one good day out of three.

These are the remains of winter on our hillside.

 

P1050535

 

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

P1050538

 

Lichen on a piece of thin bark

P1050541

 

A tiny buckwheat next to an immense ponderosa pine cone

P1050547

 

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

P1050548

 

P1050550

 

P1050551

 

Maybe from a woodpecker

P1050552

 

Lots of little piles of fertilizer

P1050554

 

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

P1050555

 

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

P1050558

 

Remains of an earlier time

P1050560

 

This was probably from one of last year’s fawns

P1050572

 

P1050573

 

Sprouts!

P1050576

 

More subtle lichens on a rock

P1050580

 

One of last fall’s mushrooms survived the winter.

P1050582

 

These tiny flowers seem to be growing out of moss

P1050589

 

Back at home, the bees were flying again.

P1050597

 

P1050599

 

%d bloggers like this: