Saturday, June 25, 2011

Another reason it's called "fireweed"

Fireweed is one of the first plants to come back after a forest fire, and when it blooms, it turns whole feilds a flaming fuschia.  As you can see here, it is growing out of the ashes of the firepit in the backyard.
The whole plant is edible (as I'm sure you've gathered from my earlier posts on it), but the leaves become bitter after the plant has flowered.  Apparently, the leaves were a favored food staple for the early French explorers.

One of these years I'm going to make Fireweed Flower Wine, maybe next year, as I'm not sure either Darlin' Man or Breda Mine would really support the decision to move with multiple containers of fermenting wine....  So perhaps, this winter we'll just enjoy floral teas and dried fireweed flowers on salads and things?  I've already blanched and frozen a quart of new shoots.  We'll see how they hold up being frozen, maybe next year we'll put up more...

Meet Lucy

Lucy is my mother's new pup.  She's an English Shepherd, the breed that Border Collies were derived from.  English Shepherds, historically, were the most popular farm dog breed on small family farms.  They will both herd and protect various livestock (sheep, cattle, chickens and ducks, pigs, and even goats), as well as serve as watch dogs, companions, "babysitters," and even hunting dogs.  I've heard that the real-life stories that inspired the movie "Lassie" were about English Shepherds.

She is a joy, a bundle of mischief and energy, and faithfully trots along next to you from room to room and house to yard and back.  We're thinking that maybe, in a few years, Bunchberry will be home to her future boyfriend...

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Alpine spring

We shot some footage for a music video darlin' man and his friend are making at the top of Angel Rocks a few weekends ago.  It were loverly: camping on a sand bar, bonfire, and puppy so happy to splash in the river and hike a trail. 

We started the hike around 1 or so in the morning, and arrived at the top to a summer sunrise: light spilling golden pink over the hills.  I twirled and danced and stared soulfully into the light with a camera focused on my eyeball.  Then we (leisurely) hiked back down, getting back to camp by 5 am. 

The hike was long and reminded me how out of hiking shape I am, my knee hurt, and I was middle-of-the-night-grumpy.  But the memory of it is transcendant.  Not only was I reminded how much I love getting out on a trail, and having that solitudinous, passing through eternity experience of nature - so different from the productive gardening relationship, or the integrative living-in-a-place relationship with nature that I recently tend to focus on.  All are equally important to one's humanity and spirit, I believe.

Nearing the summit of Angel Rocks, passing through the angelic boulders, we encountered a fairy land.  Or so I would have seen it as a child.  Out of the shallow dirt edging the path and the boulders, springing above the tundra (the moss and lichen and alpine-stunted low bush blue berries and lingonberries, and the like) were clumps of delicate white star shaped flowers, and brilliantly, almost florescently yellow alpine poppies.  There were bright yellow asters growing out of crevices in the boulders, and near-to-blooming buds of other flowers, they looked like more poppies.
It was so beautiful, and so visibly effervescent: a fleeting, passing show of joy and glory.

The wild roses were blooming too, the briars and the flowers, writ on a smaller scale in the harsher environment, yet seeming to vibrate with life.  Watching the blueberry flowers, little white bells on their green legs, grow smaller and smaller, the membranes somehow more delicate and yet more sturdy the higher we climbed. 
I felt blessed to see that window of (near-) alpine blooming.