Saturday, March 28, 2015


When I lived in the urban area I used to pour scalding water on these to kill them. Now they grow in giant drifts in my lawn and I find them to be the most exquisite swaths of golden and can not imagine why I ever thought to eradicate them. I use their leaves in the wild crafted salads of spring along with violet leaves, miner's lettuce, watercress, maple blossom and columbine. Did you know that every part of the dandelion is useful? And that up until the 1800's people used to pull out their lawns to make room for this luscious golden and very useful spring flower? I am ever so curious about how our thinking shifts from useful to noxious. It is a good thing to remain open and make your own inquiry when you find yourself acting and are not sure why you are doing what you do....I now celebrate these golden beauties and their moon-like seed heads instead of trying to get rid of them.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Hound's Tongue Wildflower

Don't they look so much like the borage family they are a member of? There are some funny ideas about why this is named for a hound's tongue, the shape of the leaf, the idea that keeping a leaf in you shoe will prevent dog attack (really??!). I simply look for them as one of the first gifts of spring. An old friend who reliably shows up year after year. Can you see the tiny visitor on one of the flowers on the left hand side?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Wisdom in Age

It is possible to learn about history looking at the rings of a tree. The study of these rings is known as dendrochronology. It is actually possible to understand large scale climate changes with this method. I find this fascinating. Because the bristlecone pine lives for over 4,000 years and the dead trunks survive much longer, dendrochronologists have earth climate data spanning 9,000 years.

We had a small amount of thinning done for fire safety and the 8 - 10 inch diameter trees were over 70 years old. The light layers reflect spring growth, The dark layers, summer growth. The dark rings are what are counted to determine age. The wider rings show more water and cooler temperatures. We will put the trees we cut to use around the ranch, stripped of bark, as poles. Some of the small chunks will be seeded with mushroom spores as we move towards a permaculture view of the forest providing food.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

A Perfect Day

The rain came softly at first. As the day progressed rain came in showers. Stepping outside the air smells like beeswax. The fir trees, hundreds of years old, are in in blossom. Songbirds flit into their branches, nesting. Violets smother the ground. Their perfume transports me to innocent days of childhood play.