Rain!

Saturday night we received a bit of rain and awoke to smoke-free skies.  Sunday afternoon we took a drive to through Glacier Park.

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Watching the storm clouds roll-in on Avalanche Creek…

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Clouds rolling across the valley on Going-to-the-Sun Road…

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Soot from the Reynolds Creek Fire, running off in the rain onto some red rocks..

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A quick rainbow over St. Mary’s Lake…IMG_5000

A black bear crossing the road in Many Glacier in the rain…

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We ended up enjoying our day in the rain. Normally, we would have been a bit bummed to spend the day in the rain but with the wildland fires and evacuations going on, smokey suffocating skies and how badly we need the rain this year, it really was a great day.  Kind of funny how a different perspective on things can change an attitude.  Skies have been without smoke all week, even though we still have the majority of the fires burning and we are suppose to be getting more rain, maybe even some snow in higher elevations throughout the weekend.  🙂

Cold, dreary day…

Near Two Dogs Flats, in Glacier Park…

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Off in the distance though, we spotted a fairly large herd of elk!

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We often pass this spot in the park and often say aloud that this looks like a wonderful place to spot some elk.  So imagine our surprise when…whoa!… this time here they are!IMG_0831

We didn’t see any bulls, just a bunch of cows and calves.  Still awfully exciting though!IMG_0839

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Nature Notes

Fireweed…

 

Lovely, pink Fireweed was in full bloom this weekend at Glacier National Park….

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We had a day and half of rainy weather (which didn’t slow us down much!) and a day and a half of blue skies to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary!!
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Fireweed beside a sow grizzly.IMG_1059 P8020386

The clouds rolling up the mountains…

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In a burnt area overlooking the Saint Mary’s side of the park…P8040639 P8040646 P8040654 IMG_0818

This herb is often abundant in wet calcareous to slightly acidic soils in open fields, pastures, and particularly burned-over lands; the name Fireweed derives from the species’ abundance as a coloniser on burnt sites after forest fires. Its tendency to quickly colonize open areas with little competition, such as sites of forest fires and forest clearings, makes it a clear example of apioneer species. Plants grow and flower as long as there is open space and plenty of light. As trees and brush grow larger the plants die out, but the seeds remain viable in the soil seed bank for many years; when a new fire or other disturbance occurs that opens up the ground to light again, the seeds germinate. Some areas with heavy seed counts in the soil can, after burning, be covered with pure dense stands of this species and when in flower the landscape is turned into fields of color.

In Britain the plant was considered a rare species in the 18th century, and one confined to a few locations with damp, gravelly soils. It was misidentified as Great Hairy Willowherb in contemporary floras. The plant’s rise from local rarity to widespread weed seems to have occurred at the same time as the expansion of the railway network, and the associated soil disturbance. The plant became locally known as bombweed due to its rapid colonization of bomb craters in the second world war.

The young shoots were often collected in the spring by Native American people and mixed with other greens. As the plant matures the leaves become tough and somewhat bitter. The southeast Native Americans use the stems in this stage. They are peeled and eaten raw. When properly prepared soon after picking they are a good source of vitamin C and pro-vitamin A. The Dena’inaadd fireweed to their dogs’ food. Fireweed is also a medicine of the Upper Inlet Dena’ina, who treat pus-filled boils or cuts by placing a piece of the raw stem on the afflicted area. This is said to draw the pus out of the cut or boil and prevents a cut with pus in it from healing over too quickly.

The root can be roasted after scraping off the outside, but often tastes bitter. To mitigate this, the root is collected before the plant flowers and the brown thread in the middle removed.

In Alaska, candies, syrups, jellies, and even ice cream are made from fireweed. Monofloral honey made primarily from fireweed nectar has a distinctive, spiced flavor.

In Russia, its leaves are used as tea substitute and were exported, known in Western Europe as Koporye Tea(Копорский чай). Fireweed leaves can undergo fermentation, much like real tea. Today, koporye tea is still occasionally consumed though not commercially important.

Chamerion angustifolium (Epilobium angustifolium) herb has been used in the traditional Austrian medicine internally as tea for treatment of disorders of the prostate, kidneys, and urinary tract.

Fireweed’s natural variation in ploidy has prompted its use in scientific studies of polyploidy’s possible effects on adaptive potential and species.

For more info please click Here…

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Taking a swim…

That’s what happens when little boys decide to play outside during a rain/hail storm…

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We received a much-needed 1/2′” of rain in less than a half hour!

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Evening Skies…

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Over the past couple of days we have received over 2 inches of rain.  It has helped to perk up the pastures and when the sun comes back out it should be producing at top notch!

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It’s kind of nice to see a colorful sunset after a long dreary day…

 

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After the Rains….

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We had just a bit of a downpour her this evening…

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We received just a bit over 2/10ths of an inch of rain in under an hour.

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Gunnar was letting me know it was safe to go out now…IMG_3604

The birds even came out…
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The sun lit up the trees…IMG_3615 IMG_3616 IMG_3627

and the lilacs too!IMG_3630 IMG_3632

The raspberries…

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more trees…
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and chives…IMG_3642

and grasses…IMG_3646

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Dandelions and Daisies too…

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The sun kept dipping down lower…IMG_3693 IMG_3716 IMG_3719 IMG_37181

Good night, all.

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Let it rain, let it rain, let it rain…

It’s starting to become a bit depressing around here.  Rain, rain and more rain.  We are all wishing it would cool down and SNOW!  With all this mud and muck it feels like spring, instead of winter.

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These pictures were taken this spring.  It pretty much looks and feels the same, except the grass is now brown and the baby lambs are grown-up!

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