Mighty Mink

Mighty_mink_1

While out at a local lake on our kayaks we were treated to a very unexpected sight…a mink hunting crawfish. This guy/gal was working the shoreline and caught at least two crawfish while we watched from out in the lake on our kayaks. We had no idea mink lived along the shores of this lake and have never seen one before. Another reminder that those little moments sure can make your day.

Fuzzy Friend

fuzzy

Found this beautiful fuzzy little moth warming up in the morning sun up near timberline while hiking on a cool summer morning. All that fuzz must help keep her and perhaps her little ant friend warm through the night.

Choke Cherry: Prunus virginiana

While the last blossoms of the Choke Cherry shrubs, which line the road near our home, have faded away their sweet smell still lingers in my head. Most of June was filled with that sweet smell as different bushes bloomed at different times of the month and thus we were treated to a wonderful progression of fragrance and sights.

The astringent fruits and even the leaves and branches of the Choke Cherry are considered an important food plant for wildlife. Both large and small mammals as well as birds utilize Choke Cherry for food. In addition to food Choke Cherry provides wildlife habitat and protection for watershed in the areas in which it grows.

Human uses include Chokecherry Jams, wine as well a medicinal uses by native cultures. New growth on the leaves can be toxic to humans and cattle especially those leaves injured by frost or draught. So do not eat the leaves.

While the fruits are quite useful it is always the blossoms that take the cake for me and somehow posting on Choke Cherry seems a fitting thing to do on the forth of July.

References:
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.
United States Department of Agriculture.

Where spring came late

There are those places where it is said there are only three seasons, July, August and winter. While perhaps not always that way, this year, spring arrived late to this high mountain valley and when it arrived it was a welcome sight indeed.

Grass grew and flowers bloomed just like it always has.

Early June 2018