Thursday, July 28, 2011

Summer Meadow

My front yard is a wild flower meadow. If you have been reading my blog for awhile, then you know I love these unruly blooms. While most folks love their green lawns, my “lawn” is filled with dollops of color that erupt in the best places. Some folks might call those drops of color weeds, but I beg to differ as weeds are unwanted, and my wild flowers are definitely wanted and cherished!

 Indian Paintbrush
 Red Eyed Susan

 3-Spot Lily
 Winter Cress
It takes a certain type of bravery to have a meadow for a front yard. Some folks just don’t understand how beautiful the flowers can be. Lastly, you have to admit that a summer meadow is a lot more colorful than a ordinary green lawn!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Parks Redux

Last week I spent a few days in Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks with a group of friends who had not been there before! It seemed as if all of us were visiting the Parks for the first time and it was a grand adventure.

It started with a scenic raft trip down the Snake River. The views of the Tetons from the River are always exquisite. Our guide was excellent...a good way to start the trip. We visited Jenny Lake and the Oxbows and fell in love with all the wild flowers. A snowy winter means lots of flowers in the summer.

From there we went to Yellowsstone. Our first stop was Old Faithful and we had a great treat!

Not one eruption, but we stayed there long enough to see two eruptions AND we had dinner at the Old Faithful Lodge, which is a fantastic log structure about 7 stories tall and is over 100 years old!

Along the way we saw lots of bison. It’s always fun to see these huge animals wander around the valley floor. 

The next day we visited Artist Point, another must see.  Lower Falls, which dumps into the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone was spectacular! Lots of water in the west this year! In fact, there is still snow on the mountains!

Another treat was a tour in one of the old yellow buses. These refurbished 1936 White Touring buses are wonderful, all you have to do is try to get a reservation for one of their guided tours. We were lucky to get a reservation for the evening animal watch tour!

We were lucky again, as we saw a grizzly bear frolicking in the clover in the Lamar Valley. We watched the big beast for half an hour as it ate clover, rolled on the ground and wandered the valley floor. We were about 60 yards away up an embankment. It would have been a good time to have a super zoom on my camera.

For our last day in the Park we visited the Midway Geyser Basin and marveled at the beautiful clear blue pools. The bluer the pool, the hotter the water and these run about 199 degrees F. We did not dip our toes in to see how hot they were.

On Friday morning we left Yellowstone and headed back to the Tetons to stop at Colter Bay. It’s impossible to have an ugly time in the Tetons! Then we headed home.

I’ve been to to these park many many times since my first visit in 1973. They are both marvelous parks. Last week I got to see them from a fresh perspective and they were even grander!

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Our friends are raising pigs for their 4H project. Tonight I got to see the pigs up close and personal. For a person who has never spent much time with pigs, it was both interesting and exciting.

The kids were having a great time showing me how to feed a pig a marshmallow, which is apparently a favorite treat.

It was also great to watch 2 little people walk their pigs. The pigs weigh in at almost 200 lbs...and the kids are less than a 1/4 that size! The pigs need to be ready for the county fair in August. At that time, they cannot weigh more than 280 lbs. The pigs grow fast. When they were purchased in March, they weighed 25 lbs. I guess there is something to that phrase “eat like a pig!"

Friday, July 8, 2011

Wildflowers Finally

I was beginning to think that the wildflowers would not appear this year. Sometimes the flowers won’t bloom if they have been overwatered...and we have an abundance of water...but the news is good.

Just this week the geranium (above), lupine,


 cone flower, 

 and paintbrush

 made an appearance. 

The front “garden” looks like I want it too with the taller trees shading the wildflowers below. Unfortunately, the garden does not stay this way all summer. In another month the flowers will get ready for the fall and the “understory” will brown out. Right now it’s green with lavenders and yellows and orange.

 There’s also a domesticated group of flowers in the mix. I have some colorful baskets around the house. This morning I even saw a butterfly...but alas no picture.
 I have never been a person who gardened...and I don’t think I “garden” now, but I do enjoy the beautiful blooms of summer!

Thursday, July 7, 2011


The west is filled with water. The lakes are full, the rivers are high and the waterfalls are lush. We have never seen these conditions. Lucky for us, there have not been any floods.

This is usually a trickle, but this year, it’s a good size waterfall.

 This is the Falls Creek Waterfall off the Snake River Road in Idaho. This year, it’s a healthy cascade with 2 levels dumping a lot of water into the already high Snake River.
 In normal years, the Snake River is braided at this location but it’s full this year. And, there’s still snow in the mountains.

I have no idea why this is tinted pink...but if you listen you can hear the sounds of the water as it crashes in the Snake River.

Independence Day

On July 4 we celebrated the 235th birthday of the United States. There was a golf cart parade in town...and fireworks in Idaho Falls. Happy Birthday USA (albeit a little late).

Mormon Row

We have been playing in the Tetons for years, yet we went to Mormon Row for the first time last week! I looked at a website that listed ghost towns in Wyoming and discovered Mormon Row.

The village was settled by Mormon homesteaders in the 1890s and they eked a living until the mid-30s when they moved to greener pastures. They called the settlement Grovont. What a beautiful setting!

 They built log homes and barns, dug irrigation canals, and farmed the land.

Not too much is left of the village, but there’s a magnificent barn, some log homes and the remnants of life that made Grovont possible for the 27 families who called it home.