The Dana Hunter’s Gneiss Schist Maclargehuge Cyber Monday Sale!

Ohai, it’s time to think about the midwinter gift-giving holidays! Do you have a geologist on your list? Someone who likes pretty rocks and/or volcanoes? A person needing some inspirational stuffage consisting of pretty photos and really bad Bible verses? A reader who could really use a snarky look at the worst bits of Genesis and Exodus? I absolutely have you covered on all fronts! And lots of stuff is discounted TODAY ONLY. Gitchoor shopping done early! [Read more…]

Mystery Flora: Orange Trumpets of Heady-Scented Delight

Mystery Week concludes with one of the best flowers ever. Seriously, if you all could smell it right now, you’d want to come live here. It’s been blooming pretty much all summer, and it is incrediballs.

Here it is with a tent for scale:

Image looks down from our upper to our middle deck. There is a domed two-man tent pitched on it. Beside it is a flowering bush about 3/4 its size. It has large bright green leaves with downward-pointing, trumpet-shaped orange flowers. There are dozens of blooms.

Mystery Flora I

Yep, that is one huge and happy plant! And the reason the tent is out there is because S spent most of October sleeping with it. Those luscious blooms put out a delightful perfume.

Image is a close-up view of three of the flowers and the huge green tear-drop shaped leaves. The leaves have broadly serrated edges, coming to four or more points down each side, before ending in a drip tip.

Mystery Flora II

I find the scent hard to explain: it’s a bit like the rich, smooth scent of many tropical blooms, but not quite as ponderous. There’s a hint of pollen, and a hint of spice. It’s quite lovely without being overpowering. Which is good, because it has come to live with us in the house now. It’s a summer-loving thing and can’t take the cold.

Image shows one of the blooms in a stray beam of late fall sunshine. It shades from yellow-green at the base to a deep and vibrant orange at the trumpet.

Mystery Flora III

It lives in the south picture window, and fills the living room with its lovely fragrance. But that only happens at night. During the day, you can’t smell a thing. But as evening falls, you catch a whiff, then the scent gradually strengthens until it fills the large, open room. Even just one or two blooms will perfume the entire space.

Image looks into the open end up to the anthers and stamens.

Mystery Flora IV

I have stood there at night, in the dark, cradling Boo and breathing it in. Then I put Boo down and pick leaves off of her food bowl, because the thing is shedding everywhere. It’ll soon be nothing but bare branches, much like my dad’s rubber tree. Then S can prune it back. It feels like it’s taking up half the living room right now! When things warm up in the spring and it leafs out, it’ll go back outside to live in the sun.

Image shows one of the blooms outdoors. The photo was taken looking up into the trumpet, with the leaves fanned out above.

Mystery Flora V

There are more images of this lovely mystery flower here, including some artsy ones of it reflected in our wall o’ mirrors. When you identify it, all of you who love floral scents are going to want one. You can apply to S for a cutting of ours. I think he’s going to have some extras when he gets done pruning this ginormous beauty!

Unidentified Flying Dinosaur: Uncooperative Little Barstard

Mystery Week continues! I know there’s a lot of awful and outrageous stuff going on, but I don’t have the spoons to write about it right now. Need a breather. If you need my occasional sharp commentary on various breaking news, however, you can click this little button right here if you’re a Facebook denizen:

And then you will be able to follow me as I fume. I also post a lot of pictures of cats.

Anyway. Some of you may remember our little trip to Frenchman Coulee a few weeks ago. While we were there, R and I were serenaded by this little delight. [Read more…]

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?

New at Rosetta Stones: We Get to Visit Stratigraphy Viewpoint at Last!

Whelp, it’s taken me a lot longer to get here than expected, but I’ve finally got the Stratigraphy Viewpoint at Mount St. Helens displayed for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy! And sometime soon here, I’ll have more photos up for you including all the spectacular fall color we saw there that day. You will love muchly!

Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education XX: Wherein Creationists Misrepresent Secular Scientists for Jesus!

Oh, joy! After a fallacy-filled introduction featuring a two-faced jackass, Earth Science 4th Edition is gonna teach us all “geology.” After they’re done with us, we’ll be able to “explain the dangers of viewing the history of the earth as very old and as the product of natural processes.” We’ll also be equipped to “exercise dominion on God’s specially created earth.” And wow, look at this… interesting… history of geology right here:

People have been studying the earth for a long time, probably since right after the Creation and Fall (see Gen. 4:22).

O-kaaaay… so do tell us how a verse about a woman having a son who was good at making metal stuff proves people studied the earth in a systematic fashion.

After the Genesis Flood, people needed geology to identify new sources of metals and building materials.

Oh, yes. Creation myths are great science texts. Such proof. Much evidence.

They also seem to think there was no geology in Medieval Europe, as Renaissance folks had to discover that science from other people’s writings. So I guess that means they didn’t need any building materials, then?

Image shows facade of St. Giles' Cathedral, a large, gray-brown stone cathedral with many spires, arches, and buttresses.

St. Giles’ Cathedral, built in the late 14th century – positively medieval! Image courtesy Carlos Delgado (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Oh, my.

Well, but surely nobody in the Middle Ages was in the market for metal. [Read more…]

Holiday Road Trip? Compelling Reasons to Stuff a Geologist in Your Car – But Do Your Own Driving

“‘If I’m going to drive safely, I can’t do geology.'”

-Geologist quoted by John McPhee in Basin and Range

There’s nothing like roadtripping with geologists. If you’ve got a long, dull trip coming up, stuff a geologist or two in the car with you – it’ll liven things up considerably! Of course, you’ll find yourself taking risks you never expected to take, and pulling your car off the road at extremely short notice and sometimes awfully close to a sheer drop, but trust me, it’ll be worth it.

You know how you’re driving along, minding your own business, and sometimes zip through gashes in hills and such where engineers have decided removing some rock is in the best interest of the roadway? You know how it’s all mostly been a brown or gray blur as you speed past? All that’s about to change. [Read more…]

Sneak Peeks from Frenchman Coulee

Waterfall, petrified wood, bighorn sheep, and stunning sunset, oh my! S’s friend R is visiting, and we took advantage of a nice weather break to head over to Frenchman Coulee. Twas glorious! I’m too exhausted to do much of anything but drool over some photos, but I think you’ll very much enjoy drooling with me.

Image shows the peak of Mount Stuart, which is a fan-shaped, rugged mountain. It has a coating of bright white new snow.

Mount Stuart showing off a beautiful new coat of snow.

As we drove through the Cascades, we saw the peaks dusted with snow so new it was still clinging to tree branches. So lovely! [Read more…]