Tuesday, July 29, 2014

What’s New On Priest Lake?

Although not one for ‘bucket lists’ per se, there a few mushrooms / fungi / plants that Nicole would like to see (growing wild).  A friend in another state recently spotted one of those plants and prompted Nicole to take yet another walk in the woods to see what was new in her area.  Sometimes it’s all about timing.  Look what’s begun to break through. 

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                                 Indian Pipe!

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This super cool fungi feeding, vascular plant was a ‘want to see’ on Nicole’s list.

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They’re still working their way upward and opening their flowers.

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         Staring down into the barrel of the Indian Pipe (aka Ghost Plant).

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This unique looking leafless stalk appeared near the library.

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At first sighting two weeks ago it was still unclear what it was.

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It has since begun to take shape and we now know it to be
                            the Pine-drops plant.

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     It hosts these cute lantern like flowers which as of yet have not opened.
                   It is in the same family as the Indian Pipe plant.

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Even in its past due state it makes for great forest decoration.

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Thanks to a visitor who spent his spare time plucking all of this from our beach, we’re pretty sure we now know that this is Knapweed.  He grew up on a farm and told us that the cows wouldn’t eat it and spread so readily that it cut into their food source.  Hence, he still habitually picks it even when he isn’t on the farm.

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We waded along the waters edge the other day in search of a fragrant smell eventually discovering this to be the source.  What it is… we still don’t know.

What we do know is that the berries just keep coming.

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                Nature puts a spotlight on Baneberry.

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                     We’ve finally started spotting Thimbleberries.

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                   The berry is not solid but is… well, Thimble shaped.
      This adds yet another tasty treat to sustain us on our woodland hikes.

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When there is only one berry per plant as is the case with the
Bead Lily it can be tricky to photograph.

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           The Twisted Stalk has one berry per leaf.

And then there are the berries we aren’t yet sure of.

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                                         Northern Comandra?

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                                             Oregon Grape?

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                                     Wild Raspberry or Salmonberry?

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                                   Serviceberry?

Well, we’d better wrap this up.  Our friends G & D are coming to visit for a few days and they are bringing their pontoon boat.  So, besides getting to hang out with some good people, it looks like we’ll also get a different view of this beautiful lake we’ve been living on for the last three months.

                                                   Until we meet again…

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Things With Wings

We are happy to say that the mosquitos have been few for us this summer.  It is unclear if we should clarify that to mean they just don’t seem interested in us or that some folks we’ve met are apparently very appetizing. 

Numbers of other winged things however are steadily increasing.  This is especially so in the moth department.

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In the moth world, not all things are as they appear…

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                    This rad looking Underwing is hiding something.

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           It may live in Idaho but it’s a Michigan fan!

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                  It is said that the eyes are the windows to the soul.

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Death… Unfortunate for the moth, fortunate for the photographer’s close-up.

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                                    Deep-yellow Euchlaena

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                     This moth rocked some pretty decent camo.

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                           Is this a case of moth imitating bird?

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                                       Or bird imitating moth?

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When we spotted this one (not a moth, by the way), Nicole had Darlene keep a careful eye on it while she ran to the van to get the camera.  She did a great job.  It didn’t even move a muscle.  Needless to say discovering that it was nothing more than a shell gave a good laugh.

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Those last two were not attempts to sneak plants into the mix.

Let’s get a little closer…

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                                                    See…

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                               Winged Things

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                       This sort of has that ‘Finding Nemo’ vibe.

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                                             Not so much now.

Nicole was so intently looking at and photographing this next one that it caused a truck speeding down the road to throw it in reverse and come ask “What is it?”

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                                           Ichneumon Wasp

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And now for the Pi├Ęce de r├ęsistance.  Cruising down a new (to us) back-road to the library this morning, Nicole spotted something ‘flopping’ across the road.  Once tarantula and baby bird were no longer options the only thing remaining was BAT! 

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                                          A Silver-haired Bat!

It’s not often we get the opportunity to be this up close and personal with one of these amazing creatures.  Despite the fact that it was crawling / flopping along it moved rather quickly off the road and into the brush.  Cute little thing.  It’s little heart was beating so fast and it was shaking so we didn’t spend much time near it.  Still, what a special treat.

               The weather report said we would have thunderstorms today.

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                                                Priest Lake says otherwise…

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

We Never Promised You…

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                                           … a Rose Garden.

But we did promise you…

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                                 … more MUSHROOM PHOTOS!

    And here we go.  Get a drink.  Sit back, relax and go shroomin’ with us.

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We’re pretty sure this will be the last big round of mushroom appearances.  They seem to be trickling off.  Most of these photos are from May and June and only a few larger mushrooms seem to be appearing here and there this month.

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We had a week long blast of very warm temperatures in early July.  The van looks like a real hobo shack with tarps strung here and there to shade the windows.  It made a difference though and we managed to keep the internal van temperatures to reasonable levels.  When it was just too unbearable we retreated to the shore of our private beach where the shade and cool water made things really enjoyable.

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Temperatures this week have turned a complete 180 and most days it feels like Fall is in the air.  Not sure if summer is truly over or this is just a temporary reprieve.  Either way it hasn’t slowed down the number of people heading to the islands to camp.  We’ve had a constant stream and a steady turnover.  It’s not crazy busy but parking in our three smaller lots is at a premium.

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There’s a little over a month left in our time here on Priest Lake.  Running the boat launch and being fee collectors for the first time have been unique experiences.  We appreciate opportunities such as these.  They allow us to contribute our time to a good cause but give us room to find our own groove and approach.  Also, with each new volunteer position we learn an increasing amount about our public lands and what is required to maintain the delicate balance between preservation and use.

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                                             Keep Smiling!