Wild lilacs, golden eagles, and grouse, oh my!

Well, we didn’t get a full load out woodcutting today because the chain on the chain saw got dulled up quickly–spouse has been nursing it along but today it let us know that A New Chain Is Required. Nonetheless, today was a pretty nice day out in the woods.

Last time we were out, and drove home by way of Crow Creek, I noticed that there were isolated wild lilac bushes along the creek. Most of them were nowhere near any place that could have served as a homestead, so odds are pretty good that the seed or roots washed down from someplace that was a homestead at one point. The bushes are all sizes, so I think some are propagating on their own. This time, on the way to the places where we could cut, I saw a similar phenomenon of wild lilacs scattered here and there. So I stopped and took a picture of this one. Keep in mind that these bushes are under several feet of snow or more during the winter. Hardy plants.

Then, as we drove up the steep, winding gravel road above the Chesnimmus canyon, we saw a golden eagle circling in the thermals. It’s not the first time we’ve seen goldens in that spot–I suspect there’s a pair that return to that area every year.

On top of that, when driving on the forest road next to the creek, we saw a ruffed grouse just hanging out in the middle of the road. Ruffies come in two modes–either EI-YI-YI I’M OUTTA HERE or “what are you? I’m gonna scold you forever!” This one was number two. It didn’t spook out of the road until spouse got out and then it promptly ran downhill, tried to fly up, hit its head on brush, and fell down, before taking off running again. No, it was an adult, not a fledgling.

It’s also prime butterfly season. I saw swallowtails and possibly a monarch as well as a painted lady and lots of those little blue butterflies. I have a butterfly book but can’t make heads or tails of what’s what in it. I am a very casual butterfly observer. Probably should work on improving my observations simply because the Wallowas are a prime butterfly location, but….

Otherwise, in spite of the saw chain dullness, it was a nice day out in the woods. I spotted a very pretty camas field, and oh are the calypso (ladyslipper) orchids out and about. No morels with them, alas. Usually if you see the calypsos you can see the mushrooms. But this has been a sparse year for mushrooms.

Here’s the orchids:

Then it was back home. The sheep herds are back along the highway–three separate herds, each with their own shepherd. Then it was gather up the grain, go visit the old mare in her field and grain her (somehow it is raining where she is but nothing at all here in town). After a short visit, then it was back to town. I went out and picked a big batch of lilacs and honeysuckle from the back yard. It made a nice bouquet in the old Roseville vase that was a wedding present to my parents.

Have some lilacs and honeysuckle.

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