Back working in the garden!

This weekend I tackled several of the tasks that were making my garden a place I wasn't excited about visiting. If you remember from my last post, travel has made it difficult for me to connect with the garden this year -- I was worried that I wouldn't be motivated to get out there and enjoy it. I'm glad to say that a couple of days of beautiful weather changed that for me. On Saturday I mowed the back yard and cleaned up the veggie beds, and those two tasks made the garden instantly more welcoming for me.

The veggie beds cleanup was quite a chore, but I'm not going to tell you about it yet -- I'm too excited about a project I tackled yesterday: this not-level-at-all planter box.


What garden?

Yesterday on an airplane high above the eastern part of this country, I was recounting the things that I was looking forward to at home: my own bed, the cats, a familiar TV remote, preparing my own meals. I realized there was something missing from that list: my garden.

This was a startling realization, as I have a bit of an obsession with my garden -- if you haven't noticed. So I started thinking about why the garden didn't make the short list of things I missed, and I think I know the answer.



I need a little break.

I'm not flying thousands of miles to my wintering grounds...


Devils Tower, the next day

The evening bike ride really tired us out, but after a good night's sleep we were ready to break camp and see the tower up close with sufficient light.

We left pretty early as we knew from the previous evening that there were limited parking spots for RVs up there. (That's the view from our campsite with the tower lit by the morning light. So nice!)


Devil's Tower National Monument

Arriving at Devil's Tower somewhere around 7:00 PM after a long day of driving, we were excited to see this famous monolith of stone up close.

And close we were -- it's really surprising how close the campground was to this.


Leaving Grand Teton NP, seeing Wyoming

The next morning (after the hike) we left Grand Teton National Park as early as we could, which was around 7:00 AM. We knew we had a long day of driving ahead of us and as we learned the first night of this trip it's no fun pulling into a campground late at night.

After an hour of driving or less, we started getting a taste of what central Wyoming has to offer, with wonderful views everywhere!


Grand Teton hike: Swan Lake

Yesterday I shared with you the haunting sound we heard before we got to the lake. Now, here's Swan Lake:

Actually this is just a small sliver of the view we were greeted with when we stepped out of the trees. If you look closely toward the right-middle of the photo you can see a couple of the sandhill cranes that were the source of the eerie forest sounds.


Back to Grand Teton NP -- What's that sound?

We now return to our roadtrip vacation to Yellowstone and back, taken last month. We left off in the middle of a hike in Grand Teton National Park, where we had seen a small lake, some hot, dry fields, a wonderful creek, and were now approaching another lake.

This is where we heard a strange, haunting sound... but more on that a bit later.


Planting Peonies

A couple of weeks ago I got an email from my gardening friend Michael letting me know that he's going to be digging up some of his peonies very soon, and wanting to know if I was interested in a couple of divisions.

Since I don't currently grow any peonies, and since they're a plant that my wife really likes, and since they're free -- I said yes! Since it's Mike I should have known that "a couple" really meant six.


Discouraging grass and encouraging bamboo

Remember last year when I planted several running bamboos in the "hell strip" (aka "parkway" or "parking strip") in front of my house?

Phase two of this project has recently occurred -- the plan to have these bamboos fill the entire space is taking shape!


Grand Tetons hike continues

In the last post we were enjoying the wonderful views of the small lily-filled lake and the mountains. A few minutes later the trail turned to the east and the terrain changed. We lost the shade of the forest and the heat of the afternoon hit us.

It probably didn't help that the surroundings were dry and mostly brown, but it sure felt like I was hitting the water bottle much more often out here now.


Something different: guess the city!

As a little break from my roadtrip to Yellowstone posts, let's try something different for me.

Can you guess what city is shown in today's post? The visual clues will get stronger toward the end of the post, so scroll slowly and see how quickly you can guess.


Grand Tetons National Park Day 2

Yesterday we took a short hike around the Colter Bay area of Grand Tetons National Park. This morning we decided to take a much longer hike. (If you're following along, this was Tuesday, Aug 20, the 8th day of our roadtrip.)

Although this hike wouldn't take us along the shores of the lake, it still promised wonderful views of the mountains, forests, a couple of smaller lakes -- just an assortment of the beautiful things you expect to see on a hike in this part of the country. It certainly didn't disappoint, as the above view was one of the first we encountered.


Grand Tetons preview

After three single nights spent in different campsites in Yellowstone, we left to the south and entered Grand Tetons National Park, where we would be spending two nights in the same place.

This post is just a preview of what we saw there, as I just don't have the energy to write much after putting these panoramas together and retouching about a hundred dirt and dust specks. I really wish I had cleaned my lenses before this trip!


Leaving Yellowstone

After we left the Grand Prismatic Spring, we thought there wasn't going to be much to see on the way out of Yellowstone National Park. We were leaving via the South Entrance (which I guess technically I should call the "South Exit"), and there wasn't much on the map as far as attractions.

Then I saw a sign for the "Kepler Cascades", and after a quick confirmation that the parking lot was large enough for RV's, I pulled in, not knowing what to expect exactly. I am so glad I did!


Bug Tracks

Sorry, no post today. Too much watering, long business trip, etc. ate up my time.

Back tomorrow with more of our recent roadtrip!


Bacterial mats, fascination!

At the Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone I certainly enjoyed the beauty of the spring pools themselves, but without the expansive bacterial mats that surround them this place wouldn't be worth seeing.

I spent so much time looking down both here and at Fountain Paint Pot, snapping dozens of photos of the wet, surrounding "ground".


Grand Prismatic Spring

Continuing with the story of our roadtrip to Yellowstone last month, after leaving Fountain Paint Pot we next came to a feature I was really anticipating: Grand Prismatic Spring.

I'm not going to say too much about this feature today as I think the photos speak for themselves.


Yellowstone: Fountain Paint Pot

Monday morning (Aug 19) in Yellowstone and we're leaving the park today, but there's much to see along the way. Remember that on our drive up to Madison we passed a few spots that we decided to hit on the way back? We'll stop at them today!

It's all about the hydrothermal features in this part of the park, so I hope you like steam, water, and color because that's mainly what you'll be getting in the next few posts. Our first stop was Fountain Paint Pot. Not as colorful as some pools in the park, but still a nice way to start the day!


Yellowstone: Madison river area, close-up

Back to the Yellowstone posts again today, and I can't believe I almost forgot to post this next set of photos -- I was actually working on the post for the next stage of our journey when I realized that I didn't remember seeing the photo of the campground, which made me realize there was a whole batch of photos sitting there waiting to be shared!

So if you're following along, Sunday (August 18) was our day in the Madison area. We had already explored the river earlier in the day, but I went back in the early evening to get more photos of the plants -- remember I had done this in North Dakota earlier in the trip.


A look around the garden

I thought I'd take a little break from the roadtrip posts (still posting about Yellowstone when I get back to it) and show you what's going on in my garden this morning. Unlike the vacation shots which contain images that are a few weeks old, the images in today's post were shot just minutes ago.

I have to say that like most years, I'm quite happy with the way some parts of the garden look, but quite disappointed in others. Most of what I'm showing today though falls into the "happy" category I think.


Madison river, the water!

As much time as I spent observing every detail I could of the view of the Madison river (see yesterday's post), I spend almost as much time looking at the water itself.

Such clarity, such beauty! Mountain rivers are the best, and a source of fascination for me as I typically only get to see muddy, silt-filled water so many miles downriver  from here.


Roadtrip continues: Madison area of Yellowstone

After leaving the Fishing Bridge area of Yellowstone Sunday morning, we made our way to the Madison area on the west side of the park. Along the way we passed Old Faithful, and just had to stop.

This ended up being probably my least favorite of the sights on our 3+ days in the park. You see, it's pretty much the "Disneyland of Yellowstone": a huge parking lot, many shops, restaurants, and other unidentified buildings, and a long set of bleachers around the south edge of the geyser.


Smoke, Relax, View

These Yellowstone posts are tiring me out -- so long, so many photos to include. So I thought I'd simplify a bit today and focus on a few unrelated things from Yellowstone.

Starting with the smoke from the Alum fire as seen from Yellowstone Lake. I took several photos of these billowing beauties, and just had to share them.


Yellowstone Lake, Fishing Bridge

After the canyon and the grass garden (I mean mud volcano), we arrived Saturday at the Fishing Bridge area of Yellowstone. The campground here contains an RV park, which means we were separated from all of the tent campers and that it was essentially a parking lot surrounded by forest. We had driven over the namesake bridge on the way in, so decided to take the short hike back to it -- better than sitting around a "parking lot", right?

On the way we crossed the road and stopped at the visitor center, took a quick look out back and were delighted to find that the lake was right here -- somehow we had the impression we'd have to walk farther to see it!


Very hot mud, very cool grasses

After leaving The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone on Saturday, we headed toward our next campground which would be Fishing Bridge. On the way we stopped at the "mud volcano".

From the name, I expected to see lots of bubbling hot mud. It was no surprise that this is exactly what we saw. What was a surprise though was what else was there.


The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone

Our first morning in Yellowstone (Saturday, if you're following along) started out quiet, but soon got more exciting. No, I'm not talking about the heart-straining uphill bike ride back to camp from the visitor center -- we went for a hike at one of Yellowstone's most impressive attractions: "The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone". Often just referred to as "The Canyon".

We had heard the distant rumble of what had to be a waterfall the night before, and were only two minutes into our hike when we saw the source: the upper falls.


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