Name that feather!!!

When I first began walking in my forest I started collecting the interesting feathers I would find...I have a vase of them sitting on the fire place mantel.  Most were easy to identify but others took some sleuthing by us.

The other day I found this feather in the garden and a specific bird did not come to mind readily.  So I went to one of my favorite sites... Feather Atlas ..
 (  https://www.fws.gov/lab/featheratlas/   )  When you want to identify an unknown feather, you click on "Identify Feather." That  opens a tool allowing you to classify your feather by color, pattern, and other optional characters, and then run a search for feathers with similar characteristics.  It is amazing and we quickly knew our feather was from a juvenile mourning dove. 

We have a lot of wild turkeys in the forest and their feather patterns differ widely on various parts of their body and are so beautiful... But my favorite feather to find is from a red-shafted Northern Flicker which we have year round.

They are aptly named because their wing feathers do indeed have a red shaft.

When their wings are spread the red shaft make a great visual design.

And speaking of birds.....bald eagles nest in the trees near the lodge in Alaska.  I thoroughly enjoy watching them if I visit in the summer.  Especially seeing the young wobble about getting up enough courage for their first flight.  My daughter in law took this great shot just recently of one sitting on the post of their deck.. If you look very closely you can barely  see Mt Iliamna and Mt. Redoubt across the inlet..


The garden soothes my soul


I love the yellows of early spring.  The doronicums have just finished and now the yellow iris are stealing the show.  It's hard to focus on any other color.  I have no annuals because of the water situation so I am dependent on drought-tolerant perennials which are like a parade of visitors coming by for just a short visit and then they are gone for another year.  For now the iris are fabulous..
Another yellow I am anxiously awaiting is this yellow species rose "Harrison" It is impossible to propagate by stem cutting and not easy to get going by a root division.  But once well established it will last for years and years and in the future someone will wonder who was the idiot that planted this so close to the porch.  One small rose has opened near the bottom and you can see it is loaded with buds.

I have coddled and fussed over this plant for several years but I think I have it well established now...  Sometimes called the "pioneer  rose" and  old homesteads may have collapsed with age and this rose would live on.

Once established it is common for them to reach this size


The next glamor girl and just opening is this pink oriental poppy.  If you look closely you can see that it also has enough buds to keep it showy for a couple weeks at least.  The flowers are about 8" across.

Out in the old greenhouse which has a floor of rocks these columbine flourish with no watering or care.  I've transplanted them to the garden with no luck and gathered the seed to plant with no luck. But without fail they give me this dazzling display each spring and the only catch is I have to walk clear out to the greenhouse to see it.

The pink one in the foreground is double and reminds me of fancy bloomers.

I have been busy spraying the weeds and hauling around a 2-gallon spray tank is hard on an old body so I converted a golf bag cart into a carrier for my spray tank.  Whenever I find one at the thrift store I buy them and have several I have converted to different uses in the garden.

And last but not least...remember the collage of rusty tools I gathered last summer to be "garden art"  Well it is shaping up nicely and I occasionally add another old tool to the lot.  Even the clematis "Bill Mackenzie" is growing like crazy and I will probably be sorry I planted  it there.....



"The One!!!"

My son has a fishing lodge and used to travel and do sportsman's shows to promote his business.  On one such trip he met the lady of dreams and pursued her even as he traveled around the country.  In the spring he called and assured me he had met "The One".  She had quit her job and was driving cross country all the way to Alaska to join him and was stopping by to meet me on the way.

I adored her immediately and that was 1994...26 years ago and I still adore her.

Living so far apart I'm lucky to get to see her once or twice a year but this year has been special.  She came for a long visit in the winter and we had almost a week together at the wedding and she just flew out for Mother's Day for a few whirlwind days.

She treated us to dinner, helped me with many things that are hard for me and offered to drive me anywhere I needed to go and that was a lot... DH is great about driving me but it seems after all the doctor visits I hate to ask for extra trips for little things.  We caught up on all of that plus several white chocolate mochas along the way.

When she was here earlier she had gifted me to an introduction to yoga workshop and I have been going every week since and do it about four times a week at home.. So on this visit she was able to go to class with me twice and it was so much fun. Even though I still think of her as "the one" she does have a name...Vivian

Finally the last day she arranged a "spa" day for the two of us. We both received an elaborate facial  (my first ever) and I also received an "Upper Body Bliss" (a fancy name for an upper body massage.)  This photo was taken right after the blissful experience.   Do you think I enjoyed it???

Although she is absolutely gorgeous and is stunning when she is elegantly dressed, my favorite picture of her is in hip waders and a cowboy hat. We made enough memories the last few days to last me a good long while.
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