Test Your Mad Glacial-Valley Spotting Skillz, with Bonus Mount Rainier

B and I made it up to Lord Hill at the end of January. It was a mostly-clear day, and we found the viewpoint I’d been wanting. Huzzah! Here I am standing upon it in triumph, gazing toward the Cascades:

Image shows me standing to the left, looking over a valley filled with evergreen and leafless trees, with the Cascades in a line on the horizon.

Moi at Lord Hill.

There are two kinda-hard to see things here, but I’ll bet you can find them. There’s the moon, and there’s a classic u-shaped glacial valley. I’ll give you some time to look round, and then show you it tomorrow! There will even be an airplane for scale! [Read more…]

Mystery Flora: Minty-Leaved Pretties

Here are some more lovelies from that same Oregon trip that brought you the starry lavender delights and the lovebugs.

Image shows a tall stem bearing clusters of pinkish-purple flowers and bright green leaves that look a bit like spearmint. It's climbing against a mossy rock.

Mystery Flora I

I have a feeling I could spend the rest of my life just shuffling around Washington and Oregon, and never run out of new sets of flowers. I won’t run low on geology to eyeball, either. Between these things and sporking Christianist textbooks, I should be able to keep these pages well fed.

Another photo of the flowers, showing a cluster surrounded by the leaves. The leaves are in clusters of three.

Mystery Flora II

Speaking of sporkings, my leisure reading is Mouse’s snark at the Left Behind kids series. I have no idea why I like to send myself to sleep by reading about some of the world’s worst books, but I’ve got an idle idea I may get some geology out of them. A tradition started in the comments at Slactivist of renaming Nicolae Carpathia. Since his last name was taken from mountains, people would call him Nicky Rockies and things of that nature. Mouse has carried on that tradition, only she uses some rather obscure-to-Americans mountains and ranges. I’m half-tempted to go back through and blog them. What do you say? Would you like a series introducing you to some mountains of the world?

Image is a wide view showing the flower stems growing against the large rock.

Mystery Flora III

Because the kids’ books are short, Mouse has gotten further along than Fred has with the main series, so we’re already on Wormwood here. I about choked the night I read about it, because according to LaHaye, Wormwood is a big ol’ comet made of – wait for it – rotting wood. Yep. Rotten outspace wood ball, that’s Wormwood, according to those who don’t actually read the Bible literally but think they do, and sometimes take things literally in really odd ways.

It’s a good thing I haven’t done any drugs lately, because that would’ve made me sure I’d done something permanent and terrible to my brain.

Image is a close up of one of the flower clusters, showing full blooms and buds all packed together.

Mystery Flora IV

I suppose that’s why I read this stuff when I could be reading something better: I don’t have to pay close attention, so it’s great for going to sleep with, but at the same time, there are these delightful absurdities that are howlingly funny – until you realize there are people in the world who believe this is an actual thing that is going to happen in the very near future. Ow, my brain.

Speaking of ow, I took a thorough look at that Coulee conspiracy book Trebuchet bought for us, and had to put it down and go do something else. It’s terrible. I’m not sure if it’s going to end up being funny-terrible or terrible-awful when we’re done. It saddens me that there are people who actually think this way, and are earnest about it, and put their thoughts so-called on paper in an effort to make other people believe them. Being so bloody paranoid and narrow-minded can’t make for a very satisfying intellectual life. It’s sad to come across such stunted minds.

Ah, well. Forget that for now. We’ll face it soon enough. For now, flowers.

Image shows a few clusters of the flowers against the rock. A bit of sunshine has emboldened their colors.

Mystery Flora V

That’s much better.

Fundamentals of Fungi: Discovery

Yes, I know you will probably tell me that most of this is lichen, not fungi, but I kinda lump them in the same general category. Otherwise, you’d end up with a series titled, “Likin’ the Lichen,” and then you would want to smack me, which would be uncomfortable for us all.

I think you’ve identified these lovely specimens before, or at least something similar to them, but these look just different enough that I’m not sure if they’re the blue-gray beauties in their prime or something altogether different.

Image shows a moss-covered log with charcoal gray growths with scalloped edges.

Mystery fungi I

There will be real fungi later, too!

[Read more…]

So Wrong… So Not Funny… But Entirely Hilarious!

I don’t often break into great gales of laughter. I’m usually not reduced to helplessness. There are few things that get me laughing so hard my stomach hurts, I can barely breathe, and I start sob-laughing. Usually, I can get through funny stuff with just a grin or a guffaw. I’m pretty restrained like that, especially when I’m alone and don’t have someone else’s mirth jamming its foot on my funny bone.

I can’t really remember the last time I lost it. It might come to me someday. I can tell you this is the hardest I’ve laughed this year, and I really feel like I shouldn’t. I mean… it’s not a funny subject. Not a bit. I’ve got to give you trigger warnings right now: if you’re at all squeamish about graphic medical stuff, if you’ve ever had a prolapse or been traumatized by someone else’s prolapse, this piece may not be for you. You may be permanently scarred. [Read more…]

Scenes from the Elderly Felid Life

Being kitteh-mommy to an ancient cat requires care and attention. I have a few criteria for determining if Misha is still healthy and happy.

1. Is she sleeping comfortably?

Image shows Misha lying on the edge of my bed with her face planted in my pillow.

Definitely asleep.

It would appear so. Comfortably by cat standards, certainly. She has established a wonderful routine in the mornings where she crawls under the covers and tucks up against my tummy for an hour or two before it’s time to really wake up. Of course, she’s been demanding cuddles more often, which makes anything but reading a bit difficult, but I needed to get quite a lot of research done anyway. I sneak in computer time when I can.

2. Is she curious? [Read more…]

Bodacious Botany: Vaguely Tropical

Back where I grew up, “evergreens” were generally conifers. We didn’t seem to have many plants that would remain alive and vibrant during the winter unless they had needles for leaves. Even nearly a decade later, I’m still occasionally surprised by how much stuff west of the Cascades stays happily green when it’s cold.

I don’t think I’ve seen these bushes at Discovery Park before, but that’s probably because the grass in these meadows gets quite tall and swallows nearly everything. This is not a problem in winter. Wild grass is one of the few things that takes the season off. These plants seem quite happy about it. [Read more…]

A Collection of Pretty Photos from Discovery Park For Ye

I’ve been so busy you would not believe. I wrote you a book! I am typing and revising it right now! You will have an excerpt soon! And I am fisking an MRA rant from the 19th century, and trying to get some geology stuff written, and I have that silly conspiracy book to dissect. So while I keep meaning to post Discovery Park photos, I haven’t quite gotten round to it.

Today, let’s just have some of the random pretty photos from our trip to Discovery Park when it was all foggy. [Read more…]

Order This Weekend for Valentine’s Day!

Are you one of those folks who celebrates V-Day? Do you need a punny geological gift for your rock-loving loved one? Of course you do! You’ve still got time to get them some Holy Schist with Guaranteed Garnet. Hooray! And if you use the coupon code VALDAY, you’ll get 15% off your entire purchase! Place that order now.

Image is a macro of a small piece of garnet mica schist with tiny, red-orange garnets speckling it.

Lovely little garnets! In Holy Schist!

Remember, Holy Schist is for a lifetime, unlike flowers, which will rot within the week unless you get a living plant. Unlike living plants, Holy Schist does not need water or sunlight to stay beautiful, though, so it’s still a more thoughtful gift.

[Read more…]