Sunday, August 28, 2011

Mount Saint Helens

Scoot has an abiding interest in volcanoes.  He does a school report on volcanoes every couple of years.  When we went to Japan, he said he wanted to "walk on a volcano."  We figured out, too late, that he meant "hike up Mount Fuji."  This summer, we decided it was time to visit Mount Saint Helens.

Dandelionslayer and I remember the big 1980 eruption.  We were on the other side of the country, of course, but we remember hearing about it, and seeing the movies at school.  My parents' friends, who lived in Yakima at the time, sent us a vial of ash the next Christmas.  So we felt a sort of connection to this place that we hadn't visited.

Much of the surrounding area has been replanted with noble firs.  They stand there like round hairbrushes, the limbs sticking out so straight that you can barely see them.  But I was surprised at the barrenness of the mountain itself.  A ranger told us about forms of life that braved the conditions of the crater soon after the eruption, only to be disrupted by later events. 

This dome in the crater keeps growing, as does a circular glacier that surrounds it.  And the steam rises.  This is definitely a live mountain.

Plant life is creeping in around it, though, like this paintbrush . . .

. . . lupines, blooming a little later than at our sea level home, and . . .

. . . I really don't know what this is.  Any ideas?

Of course, the geologic formations are easier to see without so much plant life.  I particularly admired this amphitheatre,

and this frosted ridge.

Some of the tourists were pretty cute, too!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Stash to Treasure: Lavender Sachets

Take a little bit of this . . .

(flowered sheer fabric left over from a most elegant nursing coverup)

add a little bit of that . . .

(lavender in the garden)

and you can make these:

Lavender sachets. 

The directions I followed are here.  The hard part was removing the dried buds from the stems, but the result is very pleasing.  I don't generally like to add scents to my life, so I hope someone will like the sachets at our upcoming Relief Society Service Auction.  And if not, well, the scent is growing on me.  I'm tempted to make the dryer version, but I'll have to wait until next summer to harvest more buds.  I'm letting the rest of the plants bloom, and the bees are very happy about it.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

A Chilling Scene

...for those of you who are caught in a heat wave:

Time to defrost the freezer!

Rollo has always liked ice, applied orally, but he has recently learned to appreciate its healing powers.  If you know Rollo, you'll understand that this is something he'll use often.  Dandelionslayer's reusable ice pack comes out of the freezer a couple of times a day.  I've tried to convince him that my usually-cold hands are just as good.  The day I defrosted the freezer, he almost believed me.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Case of the Lifted Lettuce

It was a dark and stormy season . . . or too dry, or too something for my leafy greens to grow very well.  I planted lettuce, spinach, and carrots at the right time, and then again later.  But, except for about three carrot seeds, two spinach seeds, and one lettuce, they just did not sprout.  The only lettuce that has grown successfully in my garden this year sprang from established roots, one of those "live" lettuces from the store.  It grew back nicely, and I saved it for a special occasion.

I looked forward to adding it to my Grilled Chicken and Mango Salad last night.  I tore the remainder of last week's farmers' market lettuce into the bowl, then went out to the garden to harvest the fresher head.  But where was it?  In the space where, so recently, green leaves grew, there was only a hole.

Exhibit A:  the hole
The leaves had not been nibbled away, nor slimed by slugs.  The lettuce was simply gone, roots and all.  The lettuce lovers of my family denied any involvement.  Upon whom could I call to solve this mystery?  The Scouts, of course!  (Never mind that they were also the aforementioned lettuce lovers, and therefore suspects.  A Scout is trustworthy.)

The Caterpillar applied the skills he developed last year for his Stalking--I mean Tracking--Merit Badge to find this evidence:

Exhibit B:  the track

He identified the culprit as a raccoon.  This makes sense.  We know there are raccoons in the neighborhood, that their paws are capable of uprooting small plants, and that they will eat anything (not just the cat food the neighbors set out for them).  

Having convicted the miscreant (in absentia), the Cub Scouts sprang into action to prevent further leafy larcenies.

Exhibit C:  scare tactics

It  may not have the power of a brass serpent on a pole, but Scoot believes that this shiny CD fish will startle potential felons, and encourage them to go home and rethink their lives.

Exhibit C:  the League of Protection

Rollo contributed another fish (made at Cub Scout Day Camp).  He is also searching for a hero with animal communication skills.  He'd like to interrogate the bees.  Busybodies like bees should know what is going on in a garden, don't you think?  If not, Rollo's glowing countenance and Super D2's moral support may win the day and prevent further robberies.

Not that I have any lettuce left to steal, anyway.