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!


Pondside said...

A day out with one's son is always a good day - and a day with one's son, a camera and time to roam is perfection!
How interesting it was to see where the salt comes from. I've never been to that part of your country, but I'd love to see it!

Pamela Gordon said...

Thank you for visiting me and for your comment. I had to come over and see who you are. ;) This post is really interesting and you got some really great shots of the surrounding scenery. Beautiful! It's nice to spend special times with our kids even if it's rock hunting. He found some great pieces. I hope your afternoon is going well. Blessings, Pamela

ellen b. said...

How great is that!? Looks like a great day with handsome son. Love the rocks you both chose. They really do add some great interest to the beds...

RoeH said...

I remember seeing that Morton Salt little girl when I was very young. I also remember the lake being more of a lake than it is today.

Vee said...

Now that was a gift...time with your son. I have had zero time alone with mine since he left home at nineteen a few...cough...years ago.

What a fun thing to do. The rocks are all uniquely intriguing. Did you get to eat out or call out for pizza or have a real conversation, too?

Lovella ♥ said...

I so enjoyed that outing Jill. What amazing landscape. Looking for rocks is such an amazing adventure and hard to stop looking.
You have such a handsome son! Glad you two could enjoy some spouse-less time together.

Anneliese said...

Ha! That is a rocking time! Nice haul for sure. Too bad you could not bring some of those beautiful plants to replant.

Sara at Come Away With Me said...

Hmmmm...perhaps I should pay more attention to rocks!

The Morton salt girl I've loved since I was just a girl myself. The drawing always intrigued me...I had no idea she's a Utah native!

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed going on the Rock hunt with you and Jeff. I'm in love with some of the rocks too. That is what I call a fun day! Great scenery pictures too. Love, mom S.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

I'd also love to visit the Norton Salt plant and see how they refine the salt they collect from the flats.

You son did a wonderful job helping you pick out pretty and interesting stones for the garden.

Janice Haney said...

I enjoyed the trip. This is my first visit to your area.