Thursday, June 07, 2012

Rockin' Good Time!

Everyone recognize that little girl with the umbrella?
Surely you know her saying:
"When it rains... it pours!"
(And I don't mean to pour salt on the wounds of my beleaguered non-stop rain suffering blog friends!)
In case you don't get it, this is the Morton salt factory out in Tooele, (pronounced too-wel-lah) about 30 minutes west of our house.
I would LOVE to take a tour of that processing plant.

But I wasn't out to see the salt plant.

And it wasn't raining but the salt still poured.

Gorgeous sky, huh?
These shots are facing away from the salt plant.

I wasn't out in the wilderness looking for salt, although if I needed some there certainly was plenty of salt heaps all around me.

If you use Morton Salt in a recipe you might want to mentally picture the scenic history of the tiny grains you are using.

Even if you aren't using the Morton brand, you may still be pouring Salt Lake salt into your food and water softener systems. There are other companies harvesting the salt in the area too.

As man made ponds around the Great Salt Lake are allowed to dry, the salt remains for harvesting, while looking quite a bit like snow on the ground.

An almost dry salt pond area.

People with too much time on their hands walk out into the dry ponds and spell out messages with rocks.
Mostly romantic messages.
I'm undecided if I would  consider the words "I Love U Jill" spelled out in rocks in salt would make my  heart flutter.
Probably not.

So what was I doing out in wilderness yesterday evening?
Well, this week both my son Jeff and I are spouse less.
Luke took another trip to California (I know...the kid is two months old today and already a jet setter) to visit his other grandparents with his mom, while my darlin' Mr. B. is out in South Carolina.
Jeff got wind of a great place to harvest landscaping accent rocks, acquired a rock collecting permit and asked if I would like to go with him rock gathering.
(The fact that I own a four wheel drive SUV probably had a little something to do with the invitation, but I am not picky about the reasons when it comes to being asked to spend time with my adult son!)
I am ALWAYS game for a wilderness adventure.

I knew I would be bound to get some great late spring photo ops.

The challenge was trying to decide where to aim my camera.
Right, left, up, everywhere.

We got to the first harvest area and started digging around.

The steepness and irregular ground was more challenging to me than I thought it would be.
I selected a few armful sized stones and had Jeff take them down the hill for me, then decided to just harvest pictures.
I am not as nimble footed on rocky slopes as I used to be.

While Jeff was sweating up high...

I snapped away down below. 

The people sized boulders were so gorgeous.

The size rocks that were manageable to carry down an incline were considerably smaller.

So I "harvested" the big ones via photography.

Jeff had mentioned his plans to a few co-workers; their recommendation was to just go to one of the landscaping stone shops in town and buy what he needed.
I suppose they would likewise suggest skipping hunting, fishing, backyard vegetable and berry growing too.
Sure you can buy all those things easily in stores, but where is the fun and adventure in that?

Plus stone yards don't come with views like this.

Or this.

There wasn't a lot of flora out there, but what was there was pretty too.

Love flowers that grow in rock crevices.

Check  out the horizontal stripes on these rocks.

And then note how the same stripes are nearly vertical just a few yards away.
Must of been one heck of a long ago earthquake that made that happen.

My Forrester is riding a bit lower in back about now. 

Really glad my (photo) harvesting work isn't hard on my back at all.

Tempting rock...but most of it is underground and it is way too big to move.

This one...just the right size for me to cuddle in my arms and take to the car.
I am in LOVE with this rock!
All the colors and lines and the shapes!
It is about 18 inches long and will look great standing up right in our garden.

I used to really want to pick wildflowers to take home with me to enjoy later.
Now I pick them via photography and have found they last a whole lot longer that way.

If I want to, I can even "pick" an entire bush with a single click of my camera's shutter button.

Jeff had finished up his own picking.
As we left the area the sun was setting and jack rabbits were bounding about.
Sure would be fun to stay after dark with a spotlight to watch the nocturnal animals running around.

Back at Jeff's place to unload the rock.

This tall rock got placed in the garden immediately.
Nice,  huh?
The rocks will add so much interest to the garden in winter snow when the Japanese maples are bare and all the other plants have died back.

Gotta love long daylight.
It was after nine o'clock when I took this picture.

A few of the rocks that I especially liked.

I had to take some close up  pictures of the rock as I doubt I will be inclined to wiggle up close to them once they are in the garden proper.

Nice haul!

Jeff showed me some rock he had gathered elsewhere awhile ago.
This particular rock was just as purple as purple can be.
Isn't that cool?
Isn't that the classic pose that fishermen and hunters use when photographed with their trophies?

 Of course I am still grooving on his iris.
Just a couple still firing off blossoms.

It is called "Carnival Ride", Jeff's wife made iris plant markers using paint stirring sticks and indelible pens, and included cute cartoon interpretations of the names too.
Carnivals are nice...but a day out in the wilderness with my son harvesting rocks is my idea of a real rocking good time.
Glad you could come along with us!

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

And other lovely botanicals

Another highlight of our San Diego trip:
The Jacaranda trees were in bloom!

They are planted all over San Diego, even though they are not native to the area.
The flowers usually bloom some time between mid May until mid June; earlier in some areas and later in others.
This year the blooms were spectacular!

Some times I miss Jacaranda bloom by days.
My SoCal "sister" Sara usually blogs about them when they bloom so I at least can see them in blogdom if I miss seeing them in person.
Just ask any native SoCal person about jacarandas and you will heard chorus after chorus of jacaranda praise.
(And a warning to never park your car under the tree in blossom as the falling spent flowers will stain!)

May I just say that I think everyone should see a jacaranda tree in full bloom and a Texas field full of bluebonnets at least once.

The castanet shaped seed pods are pretty cool too.

Ahhh...jacaranda, palm trees and bottlebrush together.
Must be a picture from home.
Bottle brush trees are noted for hosting hummingbird nests.
Every year I peer carefully at any bottle brush tree hoping to see a tiny nest; no luck yet.
Doesn't seem quite fair...lots of folks swinging into San Diego for a day wind up getting to see a nest, with eggs, and shoot dozens of fantastic pictures.
Oh well.
Some day it WILL happen for me.
I just know it will.

San  Diego flora is far more appreciated by me now that I haven't lived there for almost fifteen years.
Now I see beauty even in a palm tree stalk!

Wax flowers always struck me as amazing...they still do.

The buds remind me of Chiclets gum...remember the glossy little squares of candy coated gum?

When the wax flower is back lit they are especially beautiful.
This photo is in perfect focus...just look at the center red area and you can tell.
The pink five armed petals are covered with a pink velvet.
It is hard to believe that the wax flower is real!

Nasturtiums bloom in the spring in San Diego.
They are an end of summer treat in Utah.

This morning I planted a couple of packs of nasturtium seeds out in our garden.  Both the multi colored "Fiesta" mix and the Alaskan variety with white flecks on the leaves.  I usually wind up wishing I had planted more seeds as I love using the flowers for bouquets and in salads too.  Tasty!

I had on my calendar today to watch the Transit of Venus at 4 pm.
Yesterday it was 96 degrees here and skies were clear.
Today it is 60 degrees and the over night low will be around 46 degrees
The sky right now is cloud covered.
My hope of seeing the planet Venus moving across the face of the sun has been dashed.
Were you planning on watching?
Did you get to see it?
The event won't happen again for over a hundred years.
Wonder if God lets those in heaven watch such events?
Guess I'll find out one day!