Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


I have a few part time jobs. One of them is to water, weed, and prune the Erna Gunther Ethonobotanical Gardens at the UW's Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture.

Also known as the "wild woman of the woods" garden.

I've already learned and memorized the plants. It takes several hours to water the garden and with the heat Seattle's had (over 100*F!) I sometimes water 3 times a week. In those hours I have started reading books again. I haven't actually read books like novels and such for a long time.

I read "Like Water for Chocolate," a humourous book set in Revolution Era Mexico about a girl whose cooking incites supernatural events. There is a movie I hope to see soon.

Then I read "The Botany of Desire." The apple chapter reminded me how much I want my own mini-farm with heirloom (non-hybrid, re-seeding) plants...especially fruit trees. The tulip chapter explained why the Dutch love tulips and some of the mystery behind beauty (at one point, a single tulip bulb would sell for the price of an entire estate. In the marijuana chapter I was reminded their exists a hallucinogenic lichen and that I appreciate having the quality of a sense of wonder. The potato chapter reminded me how amazing and fascinating genetic modification can be, but also how unstable.

My next books will be:
"Guns, Germs, Steel" by Jared Diamond
"Seed Saving"
and I'm going to finally finish the Joseph Smith biography "A Rough Stone Rolling."

Any other recommendations?


Monday, August 10, 2009

Mt. Rainier

Adam and I did a three day, 35 mile backpacking trip for our 3 month anniversary!

We did the Northern Loop Trail, part of the Wonderland Trail that circles Mt. Rainier, our local volcano.
Here we are at the start with Mt. Rainier in the background:

And here we are at the end:

It was so great to be out in the forest and on the trail with Adam. We've been working in an office/lab for far too long.

Our home for the night:

Adam is a master lightweight backpacker. He got our pack weight to around 20 pounds each (he carried our sleeping gear, and I carried our food and water). This is our tarp (like a tent), ground cloth, sleeping pads, and our homemade double sleeping bag (more on our homemade bag to come).

We saw meadows brimming with wildflowers, high country lakes and streams, rocky mountain peaks, foggy forests with slime molds and parasitic plants, glaciers, and few mean mosquitoes.

(we bathed in that lake!)
(can you see Adam in this fog?!)

(Orobanchia, a chlorophyll-lacking plant that feeds off a fungus that feeds off a conifer tree)

(a strange lichen)

(a slime mold?)

(I thought those red, fungi-like organisms above were slime molds...but they are collembola, some kind of bug! hahaha!)

(a marmot!!! so cute!)