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…]

Brain-Teasing Boat

B and I went to Discovery Park a couple of weeks ago. I’ve got so many very delicious photos to share with you! It was brilliantly sunny just about everywhere except for Magnolia, which was fogged in. The entire park was shrouded in mist and mystery.

The boats on the Sound looked eerily awesome. Most of them I could figure out: there was the ferry, with the sunlight shining on it through the mist.

Image shows a ferry sailing over a misty Sound. There's a glint of sunlight from the front that makes it look like it's got a train's headlamp shining.

One of the ferries – probably the Bremerton Ferry – with sunlight glinting off its front windows.

Ferries are dead simple to identify. They’re Janus-faced, looking both forward and backward, because they don’t ever turn around.

There were a few barges hauling freight, and even some sailboats. It’s been a terrifying mild January so far. Even that day, with all the fog, was relatively warm, and the breezes just right.

This boat, though… I can’t figure it out. [Read more…]

Reveal That Metazoan! Roadcut Reptile Edition

Oh, look, it’s a brand-new mystery series! Many of you seem to enjoy these puzzlers, and I’ve got pictures of animals other than birds and bugs, so I figured I’d expand a bit. Branch out to other metazoan families, donchaknow. And that’ll help break up the relentless onslaught of mystery flora. The sad truth is, plants stand still. Animals often don’t. Hence, we have a dearth of animals as it is. We cannot afford to ignore any of them just because they don’t fly or don’t have an exoskeleton.

Here to inaugurate our new series is a delightful lizard seen in that incredible rhyolite road cut near the Nevada-Oregon border.

Image shows a gray-brown lizard with horizontal black stripes on its tail clinging jauntily to an outcrop of rheamorphic rhyolite.

Mystery Metazoan I

Saucy, innit? And large! It was quite plump and long. I’m used to Arizona lizards, which were skinny little things about the length of a finger. This one was longer than my hand, and definitely looks like it’s found good eating, out there in the rocky wastes.

Image is a close-up of the lizard's face.

Mystery Metazoan II

Look at those arch eyebrow ridges or whatever you call ‘em on a lizard! I love their dear little faces. There’s something about a lizard’s expression that just screams superiority. It’s like they know they’re better than those warm-blooded young upstarts that went infesting the planet. They almost seem to remember a time when reptilia ruled the world, and they haven’t bloody forgotten it.

Image shows the lizard now on a different rock, facing down and to the left.

Mystery Metazoan III

This one seemed to be curious about us, and also quite pleased to show off the remarkable rocks that were its home. It posed here and posed there, and I snapped away frantically, wanting to get a few good photos in before it decided it had graced the uncouth mammals with its appearance quite long enough.

Image is a close-up view of the head, showing a dark charcoal strip beneath its eye and along its head.

Mystery Metazoan IV

So really look closely at that glorious animal. Note the subtle but gorgeous patterns in its earth-toned scales. Observe the insouciant ease with which it perches in impossible positions on its rocks. Drool on the rocks a little, by all means, but do please return to perusing the lizard.

Alas, it eventually tired of us, and swept away across a rhyolite boulder, vanishing into some rabbit brush.

Image shows the lizard clinging to a rhyolite boulder, about to dodge into some rabbit brush.

Mystery Metazoan V

Look at those toes! They’re so agile. Amazing little critters.

I’ve got more photos over on Flickr for ye. Good luck in your identifications, my darlings!