Friday, May 29, 2009

My Daisies

I admit it, my garden has too many daisys. This is a hard time for me, as I know I should dig a bunch out because they are crowding my other perennials, and I should be planting some annuals were the daisys are, but I can't bear to thin them out when they are flowering so divinely.

A cool thing about daisys that the non botanist may not know - each daisy flower is actually a an inflorescence, a cluster of flowers on a stem. Small yellow disc flowers in the middle, surrounded by ray flowers, each sporting a single long white petal. If you look close the disc flowers are arranged in very precise mathematical order. I've always wondered how many of these tiny flowers make up what we call a daisy flower, but I've sure been too lazy count them.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Hiking Season...

I took my first hike of the season on Sunday. We headed up Broads Fork in Big Cottonwood Canyon. I say up, because like most of out local hikes, there was a substantial elevation gain(~2000 ft)so the hike was a good work out as well as reminder that I need to work out more!
The trail was pretty steep and still snow packed in places. At about 9000 ft, we came to meadow that sported lovely views of the surrounding peaks. We chose to stop here, as the trail was getting pretty snowy.

Most everything in the meadow was still pretty brown and dead, with the exception of these beautiful alpine wild flowers, clearly the first of the season. The leaves and petals of this plant seemed thick and waxy, I suspect it was well prepared to survive the early season extreme environmental variation.
You know me, I needed a good macro shot.
The view from Broads Fork, down Big Cottonwood Canyon, across the Salt Lake Valley to the Oquirrh Mountains on the other side.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Spring Botany

As I left work the other day I decided to take some close up shots of the blooms on the Redbud trees that are outside my building. I love the Redbuds, they remind me of home back in Ohio. The botanist in me finds it interesting that they are in the same plant family as peas and beans, as is evident if you look closely at the flowers, which are distinctly pea like.

As I was snapping my pictures a guy from the lab downstairs came up to me and said "You need to check out the one up there that looks like it's covered in purple moss" and pointed up the hill. Sure enough, on the top of the knoll stood an ancient tree who's trunk was covered in blossoms. I'd never seen anything like that before; flowering bark!
Developmentally, I have no idea whats going on there, but it sure was interesting to look at. I'll have to ask my better botanist friends about why the bark was blossoming

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Renn Faire

On Saturday some friends of mine and I headed up to Ogden to check out the Renaissance Festival. I've been curious about renaissance festivals ever since hearing my cousins back in Indiana talk about the one they attend back there. The festival here is pretty new, it's only in it's 4th year so I didn't expect much. I enjoyed he people demoing ancient crafts, like, blacksmithing and armor making. There were craft vendors and musicians, and many people wandering about the villages in period dress playing their parts. The court jester was wonderfull, extemely jovial and entertaining. The woman who played Queen Elizabeth did a positively stellar job. Joseph, the 10 year old son of one of the woman I went to the faire with, was quite fascinated by the queen. In her perfect old english accent she performed a ceremony and knighted Sir Joseph. He had a lot of questions for her and her answers amounted to quite a history lesson. She seemed very authentic, very entertaining and she really made Joseph a happy little boy.

Friday, May 08, 2009

From Across the Pond...

I opened my email this morning and found this message:

Video message from Matt,


Matt created a personal video at Tate Modern, London.

Please click here to view Matt's video message

Wednesday night he and his girlfriend flew off to England. Her family is British and Matt joined her for a three week trip to visit her relatives and play tourist in England and France. The video message was sent from Tate Modern Museum in London... They sure didn't say much,(I bet they were very jetlagged!) but don't they look like they are having a good time? It makes me very happy to see my boy look so happy, and it was nice surprise to get a message and to see that they arrived safe and sound!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

It's a jungle out there...

Where's the jungle? My yard! Two weeks ago when I went to cut the lawn for the first time this season I discovered my lawn mower was terminally ill. Not that this suprised me, as it was pretty ill last year, but the malfunctioning pull cord completely quit rewinding, making it impossible to start. So for the last 2 weeks the mower's been in the shop, and my lawn kept growing and growing. I'm sure my neighbors were a little confused about why I was spending so much time weeding ly flower beds but not bothering to cut the lawn.

Last night my neighbors little Shitzu came to visit, wading through my long, long grass like she was on a real jungle adventure. As fun as she was to watch, all I could think about was the looming disaster awaiting me when my mower was fixed.
Well, today I finally got the call that my mower was done. $121 later I have a mower that starts like it did when it was new. Good thing as it stalled in the thick grass many, many times. It took me over two hours to get the grass cut. It's normally a 45 minute job. I think my arms are going to be sore from pushing the damn thing and I turned my feet green, but at least I'm no longer competing for the trashy neighbor of the week award.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Happy Cinco de Mayo!!!

Unfortunately, not my flowers, it's a friend's neighbor's house, but all the tulips set against the picket fence looked so pretty I had to take a photo op!

So what's Cinco de Mayo all about? I don't really know. I know it's NOT Mexican independance day as commonly thought. It is he celebration of some important battle, but having spent half my life as a history-phobe I don't know much about that either.
What I do know is that I have co-opted the holiday to suit my needs. I've decided that Cinco De Mayo is the start of margarita season, so I'm having friends over for a fiesta and of course, margaritas!

This year I decided to try some out of the box cooking. How does a chili laced flourless chocolate torte with cayenne flavored whipped cream sound? The cake recipe called for ancho chili powder, but in my last dash, no time to go to a mexican store hurry, I had to substitite, so I used dried guajillo peppers, which I ground into an almost powder in my magic bullet type blender. I figure it will be a interesting, yummy dessert, or a culinary misadventure.... but after a few margaritas it probably won't matter which it turns out to be!

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Rain, rain...

Go away. Come again some other day.....

I really don't mind rain, in fact, we really need it here, as Salt Lake only gets 16 inches a year. So in some ways a nice rainstorm is really a treat... but... NOT on the weekends. We have 5 out of 7 days to enjoy the rain, I'd much rather have it when I'm at work, not when I'd like to be working in my garden.

I ran to the store yesterday. When I went in, the sun had finally come out, when I came out, the sun was still out, but it was pouring rain again. I looked to the mountains for the rainbow and sure enough there was one. So rather than heading right home I thought I'd swing by Canyon Rim park in hopes of a photo op, and this is what I found. A rainbow always makes day.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Beat the Flu!

There was a tiny bit of excitement at my coffee shop Thurday morning. One of the local radio stations was there, with a couple of pink pig pinatas. So if you wanted a chance to beat the swine flu, Grounds for Coffee was the place to be.

It was my first time witnessing "grown ups" break a pinata. They are not as exciting as kids to watch. The chocolate candies all were picked up quickly enough, but the many of the hard candies languished on the pavement... not exactly the frenzy of selfish candy collection I remember from my kids parties!