Mystery Flora/Cryptopod Double-Header: Flowery Sprays

Mystery Week continues! In this edition, I’ve got some lovely flora and fauna for ye. Well, lovely as long as you love sprays of flowers and the occasional insect.

Our selections today come from Juanita Bay, where in early July we had many loverly flowers blooming, and lots of insects buzzing round.

Image shows a spray of tiny white flowers dangling from a tall plant. There's a long, narrow brown insect dangling upside-down from it.

Mystery Flora/Cryptopod I

I think we may have had this white one before, but I don’t honestly remember. There are enough new folks round the cantina we can have another go with it anyway. But the most essential part of this photoset is the wee little brown beetle.* [Read more…]

Cryptopod: Latvian Lovers

Hello and welcome to Mystery Week at En Tequila Es Verdad! Thanksgiving is coming up in the USA, I’ve got a book to finish and publish by Friday, and there’s enough Serious Stuff going on that I feel like maybe a break would do us good. So we’re going to have nothing but mysteries and pretty pitchoors!

Let us begin in Latvia, where RQ photographed some absolutely marvelous cryptopods over the summer. [Read more…]

Autumn Color Pops at Stratigraphy Viewpoint

Funny Diva and I got very lucky on our October trip to the south side of Mount St. Helens. The autumn colors were out in force! It’s getting to the gray part of the year in the Northern hemisphere, so a little splash of color will do us good. Let’s have a look at the wonderful ways the deciduous trees and bushes enhanced our views at Stratigraphy Viewpoint.

Image shows a length of the cut bank at Stratigraphy Viewpoint. Red-leafed trees and bushes are visible amongst the evergreens at the base of the bank and on its top.

Stratigraphy Viewpoint Fall Color I

One of the more botany-oriented folks in the audience will have to tell us what’s causing all these luscious fall colors. I suspect maples of some sort, but I dunno. We didn’t get across so I could inspect leaves.

Image shows a zoomed-in version of the previous photo, showing a particularly vigorous red tree. The bank is shades of pale gray, cream, and yellow-tan.

Stratigraphy Viewpoint Fall Color II

Speaking of botany, do you see that fluffy green bush trying to get all up in our stratigraphy? The nerve of some plants!

There are more fall colors splashed about in the photo set, if you want to go explore them. I shan’t overwhelm you with slight variations upon the theme here. Instead, let us turn to a stratigraphy photo that didn’t make the cut at Rosetta Stones, but which I love. First, you have to see it complete with the maclargehuge tree topping it like a birthday candle on a cupcake:

Image shows a tall portion of the exposed bank with a very tall lodgepole pine rising far above the surrounding trees.

Neato stratigraphy I

Look at that magnificent giant surrounded by short younger trees! It must have been there watching while Mount St. Helens went all asplodey and hurtled mudflows at it. And it was strong enough to endure the whole thing. Hats off to that tree.

Now, you may want to drool all over the bank it’s growing on.

Image zooms to the bank, which is a slice through tan, gray, pale brown, and yellow layers.

Neato stratigraphy II

How gorgeous is that? If you zoom in on it, the individual layers become fairly distinct, even though we’re shooting late in the day from across the wide river channel. You can even identify many of those layers yourself! Use this photo for reference. How many did you spot?

Tell Me About Your Favorite Books!

It’s getting to be that time of year when it’s time for me to update our gargantuan book guides for the gift-giving season. So you know what this is a great opportunity for you to do? Tell me all about your favorite books! They don’t have to be new this year, although it would be outstanding to get some new releases on the list. They just have to meet the following criteria: [Read more…]

Halloween Magic Madness! Very Rare Photo In This Post!

You, my darlings, are about to see something you may never have seen before…

B was all like, “Let’s get dressed up and hand out candy to the kids!” And I thought he’d get over the get dressed up part, so I didn’t bother putting my costume together. I’m frantically trying to get the second draft of Really Terrible Bible Stories vol. 2: Exodus done, so I haven’t been as keen for Halloween as I typically am. I bloody love this holiday, but I was going to keep it low-key.

S invited me to parties, but I was exhausted by the end of the week. Writing is hard work, yo. So B’s idea of hanging out and watching teevee in between trick-or-treaters sounded perfecto. I checked in Friday to see if he still wanted to do costumes, and he did. And I suddenly decided I not only needed a night completely off, I also needed to be something other than a pirate. I wanted to be a sorceress. [Read more…]

Drop Everything and Watch This Orangutan Bottle-Feed Tiger Cubs

Look, you deserve a break. You deserve terminal cuteness. You deserve to watch this orangutan foster baby tigers.

This is apparently a regular thing for the Myrtle Beach Safari orangutans. You can see a longer video here.

Parenting instincts transcend species boundaries. This certainly isn’t the first example, but it’s among the cutest. When that primate started feeding that cub from a bottle, I about melted in a puddle of squee.

Alas, when the cubs’ predatory instincts begin kicking in, they’ll probably have to be separated, but for now, bliss.

Here. It’s going to be a long week, I’m sure. Have some more animal adorableness. Like a cat caring for ducklings: [Read more…]

Unidentified Flying Dinosaur: Bunches of Beautiful Birbs

You’re in for a treat, my darlings! Ken Gibson has given us the keys to his birding kingdom, and I have selected several delights for your identifying pleasure. I’ve linked each photo to the maclargehuge original for ye.

First up, a birb that’s just screaming for a caption: [Read more…]

Brilliant Fall Colors at Icicle Gorge – Come Enjoy!

It’s fall! I hate this season. Yeah, I know, everybody else seems to love it, but I get all maudlin about the dying year. I hate the days getting shorter, the return of endless rain, all the deciduous trees and plants becoming skeletons, the endless pumpkin nonsense… yeah, killjoy, I know. I didn’t even like it in Arizona, when it basically meant the Peaks would be dusted with snow and it would finally drop below blast furnace temps in Phoenix. I’m just not a fall person.

But I do like the brilliant colors of the turning leaves. And I bloody adore Halloween. So there’s that.

Anyway. I’m trying to take advantage of every rare good day we get, and B and I lucked out tremendously. We hadn’t had a chance to actually go out and do anything since his new job started, but this time, he happened to have a day off on one of our few remaining spectacular days, and I was also free, so we hopped in the car and headed over the Cascades to Leavenworth. Just outside of Leavenworth, Icicle Creek plunges through a spectacular gorge cut into the Chiwaukum Schist. There’s a lovely loop trail that winds around and into the gorge, crosses two bridges, and presents a lot of interesting variety along the way. You get creek views, mountain views, forests, bogs, and all sorts of things! There’s even maclargehuge Ponderosa pines, which makes this former Flagstaff, AZ girl happy. [Read more…]

Mystery Geology Revealed!

As promised, I have the answer to our mystery geology.

RQ got the spot right: it’s Hohllay!

Image shows a large sandstone cave from inside. At the right, there is an arched opening looking out toward a jumbled pile of boulders and some trees. At the center and left, there is a large oval opening, with a narrow pillar down the middle. The ceiling overhead is marked with scrapes and grooves, and has many rounded hollows.

Hohllay (“hollow rock”) in Berdorf, Luxembourg. © Dietmar Rabich,, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons.

Alas, twasn’t Chthulu or water that hollowed the cave and left the marks. The whole thing was made by humans: [Read more…]

Some Mystery Geology for Your Saturday!

I’ll have photos with fantastic fall colors and really delicious folds in garnet mica schist for ye soon…ish. In the meantime, here’s a bit of a photo I’ve had saved up to show ye! I’m going to present anonymous crops of it first, because I want to give you a chance to see if you can puzzle out what it is. Because it’s a fairly famous landmark, I’m only going to say it’s sandstone, it’s in a European country, and the photo these bits are from is on Wikimedia Commons, available under a Creative Commons license. Why not the whole picture? Because that would give it away instantly! I mean, all you’d have to do is Google it (don’t Google it, that takes all the fun out of the game).

Now: can you tell me what made the cave, and the marks in the ceiling? [Read more…]