Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Spring has begun

view from a hike near Livingston Peak in southwestern Montana

Spring has arrived in Utah.  Astronomical spring has begun, and the temperatures have been on the rise.  We've been sleeping with our bedroom window open.  We were one number shy of 80 degrees Fahrenheit this past weekend.  Three record highs have been broken since last Tuesday.  I've heard that mosquitoes are already buzzing around the wildlife refuges north of Salt Lake City.  And I have the fever to get outside and hike.  Friends have already been on trails along the Wasatch Front, and I find myself eagerly looking forward to following suit. 

view of the Lower Falls of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone from Artist Point

Sunday, March 12, 2017

"Nature is always lovely, invincible, glad, whatever is done and suffered by her creatures. All scars she heals, whether in rocks or water or sky or hearts." - John Muir


More light in the evenings makes me hopeful for more scenes like this - the eastern side of the Stansbury Mountains.  We're hoping to spend some time walking amongst green alpine meadows in the upcoming months.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

wings and feathers


Two weeks ago we took a trip to the Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum at the Brigham Young University campus in Provo, Utah.  There was a nature photography exhibit that was rather inspiring, and their permanent exhibits are impressive as well.  I had the most fun in the bird gallery and the insect alcove (so many butterflies!).  However, the entire museum is well worth the visit.  Giraffes, an elephant, lions, wolves, elk, a wolverine, even a polar bear were all on display.  Dead, of course.  (Well, taxidermy animals might be a better description.)  The BYU campus is, in fact, home to several museums.  There is also a Museum of Art, a Museum of Paleontology, and a Museum of Peoples and Cultures.  


  




Friday, February 24, 2017

Evening stroll


Lately we've been walking in the evenings to bird watch and catch the sunset.  There has been a pair of red-tailed hawks in an area planted with cottonwood trees, some of these housing a few noticeably large nests.  They were flying about again tonight.  

A great horned owl has been hoo-h’HOO-hoo-hoo-ing in that same area, and tonight we finally caught a glimpse.  About twenty minutes after the sun went behind the hills, we heard its territorial hooting.  Having finally remembered to bring binoculars, we scanned the trees and found it.  Not wishing to disturb it or change its behavior, we quietly walked around the block to get a better view, never getting closer than a hundred yards or so.  Last weekend we spotted one at the very top of a tree as the stars came out and felt its glare as we passed by trying to stay as quiet as possible.  

I love that the bird life here (and in Utah in general) is pretty prolific.  Tim and I are eagerly awaiting the return of the hummingbirds, swallows, and songbirds that migrated before winter.  That being written, we never tire of the common ones that reside year-round - robins, European starlings, mourning doves, and ravens among others.  


This was the only birdie I managed to photograph before we lost the light.  I joked that he was flirting with us as he kept up quite a racket while flitting about in this tree.
 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Bead Hoarders Blog Hop

Lori Anderson is again hosting a Bead Soup Blog Hop, this time a bead hoarders edition!  Lori is the absolute best at bringing bead lovers together to share their stash and exhibit their designs.  This will be the third time that I've participated in one of her blog hops, and I'm very much looking forward to diving into what my bead partner sent to me.  

The main rule was to choose a special bead - a piece I had kept for a long time, something that had special meaning to me - and send it to my partner once Lori matched up the participants.  I immediately knew what I would send and put it aside days before knowing who my swap buddy would be.  I added a little bit here and a little bit there, ultimately sending her several little baggies of beads, findings, and a beautiful enameled pendant from C-Koop Beads.

Without further ado, let me introduce you to my bead partner:  Danielle Kelley, writer of the blog Imbue The Muse.  She, too, has participated in Lori's blog hops in the past.  Below are photos of what she sent from her home in western New York.  Stay tuned to her blog to see what I mailed from my little corner of Utah.

the wrapping around the box is actually a necklace made with Russian amber
 

Danielle made these polymer beads herself.  They are so colorful and lightweight.  I've got plenty of ideas on how to use these beauties.
a hand carved elephant bead from Let's Bead, a fabulous store in Rochester, NY
Here is the hoarded bead - a gorgeous piece of agatized coral.  Stunning, isn't it?
Last, but not least - a wee bowl of Goldstone beads.  These were special to Danielle as they came from her Nana.  Everything she sent had me immediately inspired! 
Reveal day is March 25th.  Do come back to see the jewelry pieces that come out of this generous bead soup as well as those from the more than 160 other folks who signed up to take part in Lori's hop.  I am very excited to view the immense creativity that will be on show.  I always walk away from these hops inspired and awed. 

Saturday, February 11, 2017

abloom

As a Jane Austen fan, quotes from her books (more accurately, lines from movies based on her books) often come to mind at random moments.  This happened just a few minutes ago as I was looking over photos of roses taken last summer. 

Lady Catherine to Lizzy Bennet: "If I had ever learnt, I should have been a great proficient."

Of course she was speaking of playing the piano forte, not growing roses.  The correlation is that I've always wondered if I'd be any good at whipping up a garden of my own.  It's always been a daydream to have a patch of green overgrown with blossoms in every possible shade, a place full of fragrance and buzzing bees and benches to sit and admire.  I've always loved roses.  Over the years I've collected books about them, cut out images from seed catalogs depicting them, dried and kept many that were given as gifts for one occasion or another, and spent countless hours in gardens that were full of them.  There is a tranquility and serenity about roses, a perfection of botanic elegance.  Sublime might be the word I'm looking for.  Anyway, this was what I was pondering when the line came to mind.  Perhaps one of these days I'll try my hand at cultivation. 





Sunday, February 5, 2017

Meandering leads to perfection. - Lao Tzu

 

Well, I'm not sure about attaining perfection via how I take a walk, but I just had to lace up my beat up sneakers and get outside yesterday.  Holy Guacamole, it felt like spring out there -  fifty-two degrees on the fourth of February.  

While we had a wonderful lap around the neighborhood, the realization hit that I'm just not ready for winter to end.  I actually like having to layer up and wear socks to bed.  I enjoy the feel of a constant cool breeze and snow falling on my face.  I'm keen to burrito myself in a quilt on the couch.  I don't mind being compelled to grab a scarf and gloves on the way out the door.   I am, and always have been, a cold weather gal.  That's not to say I don't take pleasure in other seasons.  Who doesn't adore spring and fall?  It is the height of summer that I dread.  However, that is a long way off.  So instead of lamenting what it is to come, I will savor meandering on mild, sunny days.