Friday, June 20, 2014

Shifting Sands


What is it about the shifting shapes of sand dunes that absolutely fascinate me? 


It’s the excitement of seeing the piles of sand at different heights and widths in the distance, knowing the closer I get the more massive the shapes will become, the more they will change and the more detail I will see. 


It’s watching the way light reflects and changes the shadows.  It’s seeing animal tracks and determining if they are lizard, snake or insect. 


It’s examining plants that can survive in that environment and finding artifacts whitened by the sun. 




It’s feeling the breeze as I watch the sand move and ripple forming a new shape.  It’s walking barefoot and feeling the grains between my toes. 


It’s learning and experimenting with the camera trying to capture the wonder.



It’s knowing that I have to be smart and have water and know where I parked the vehicle because I know how easy it is to become lost in the sand with the hot sun beating down and only having footprints to follow with no place to seek shelter.




It’s realizing that as I stand in awe of tiny grains of sand, I am part of the vast landscape.

from our recent road trip through Death Valley National Park - The Big Dune area

Friday, June 13, 2014

Thriving Through Extremes - Mono Lake


 

Summer means road trips for us!  On our recent journey we camped near Mono Lake CA, the oldest lake in North America!  I have to share some of my photos and make you aware of this area! 

    

Mono Lake’s history is interesting and illustrates once again how man can change an area – not necessarily for the better. It is a wonderful place to see nature thrive through adversity and extremes.   If you would like to read about it, the following link to Wikipedia has good information.   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mono_Lake 



This shallow saline soda lake has no outlet to the ocean.  There are high levels of salts that make the water alkaline with chemical reactions and there importance is explained in the following excerpt: 
“The geology of Mono Lake is of particular interest to scientists searching for clues about life on other planets, such as Mars. Mono Lake has become known for its unusual limestone towers- revealed by the decline in water level and known to extend up to 12 feet. Tufa are towers of calcium carbonate created underwater by the chemical reaction of calcium from fresh water springs with carbonates of the alkaline lake. The rapid precipitation of minerals entombs microorganisms within the towers, leaving behind a microbial fossil record. This is significant to understanding how and where life may have originated and specifically if it would survive passage through space because meteorites from Mars have been found to contain carbonate globules similar to those of the Mono Lake tufa. Scientists hope to apply knowledge gained from analyzing the tufa microfossils to the search for signs of extraterrestrial life.http://serc.carleton.edu/microbelife/topics/monolake/index.html

Tufas -more than 12 ft tall in areas!



The ecosystem is based on tiny brine shrimp and is a critical nesting habitat for 2 million migratory birds.  This is a fascinating place!
  

   

Friday, June 6, 2014

Visiting Arboretum Botanical Gardens




Summer!  Sun shining days and warm breezes bringing lots of birds to my deck in Prescott.  I love summer and remembering the short trips we take.  I have to share this one.

Indigo Bunting
Matt the new birder!
 When we were in Missouri recently my nephew, Matt, took us to the Arboretum Botanical Gardens in Overland Park, Kansas.  I had been there once before but this time we walked all the trails and introduced Matt to the world of birding.  I’m hoping he really gets interested in it because he can really spot the birds! 


This is a lovely garden with lots of flowers and different ecosystems.  Monet’s Garden has flowers and plants like the ones Monet painted and there is even a little bridge. Remember the ‘water lilies’?


An international sculpture garden shows off some interesting metal sculptures that were donated by Chinese artists and are tucked among the trees.



The bird trail leads to a little house with seats and a place for bird food.  Surrounding the building are bird feeders.  We sat inside the house and watched the woodpeckers eat.  It is great for watching and photography.

 

And there is a very interesting medicine wheel with great descriptions.  I wish I had more time to experience it. 


Along the path were figures carved into tree trunks and structures offering drinks and a place for trash. 



 Pretty cool!  It’s a great place to visit.  Thank you Matt!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Shifting Sands


What is it about the shifting shapes of sand dunes that absolutely fascinate me? 


It’s the excitement of seeing the piles of sand at different heights and widths in the distance, knowing the closer I get the more massive the shapes will become, the more they will change and the more detail I will see. 


It’s watching the way light reflects and changes the shadows.  It’s seeing animal tracks and determining if they are lizard, snake or insect. 


It’s examining plants that can survive in that environment and finding artifacts whitened by the sun. 




It’s feeling the breeze as I watch the sand move and ripple forming a new shape.  It’s walking barefoot and feeling the grains between my toes. 


It’s learning and experimenting with the camera trying to capture the wonder.



It’s knowing that I have to be smart and have water and know where I parked the vehicle because I know how easy it is to become lost in the sand with the hot sun beating down and only having footprints to follow with no place to seek shelter.




It’s realizing that as I stand in awe of tiny grains of sand, I am part of the vast landscape.

from our recent road trip through Death Valley National Park - The Big Dune area

Friday, June 13, 2014

Thriving Through Extremes - Mono Lake


 

Summer means road trips for us!  On our recent journey we camped near Mono Lake CA, the oldest lake in North America!  I have to share some of my photos and make you aware of this area! 

    

Mono Lake’s history is interesting and illustrates once again how man can change an area – not necessarily for the better. It is a wonderful place to see nature thrive through adversity and extremes.   If you would like to read about it, the following link to Wikipedia has good information.   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mono_Lake 



This shallow saline soda lake has no outlet to the ocean.  There are high levels of salts that make the water alkaline with chemical reactions and there importance is explained in the following excerpt: 
“The geology of Mono Lake is of particular interest to scientists searching for clues about life on other planets, such as Mars. Mono Lake has become known for its unusual limestone towers- revealed by the decline in water level and known to extend up to 12 feet. Tufa are towers of calcium carbonate created underwater by the chemical reaction of calcium from fresh water springs with carbonates of the alkaline lake. The rapid precipitation of minerals entombs microorganisms within the towers, leaving behind a microbial fossil record. This is significant to understanding how and where life may have originated and specifically if it would survive passage through space because meteorites from Mars have been found to contain carbonate globules similar to those of the Mono Lake tufa. Scientists hope to apply knowledge gained from analyzing the tufa microfossils to the search for signs of extraterrestrial life.http://serc.carleton.edu/microbelife/topics/monolake/index.html

Tufas -more than 12 ft tall in areas!



The ecosystem is based on tiny brine shrimp and is a critical nesting habitat for 2 million migratory birds.  This is a fascinating place!
  

   

Friday, June 6, 2014

Visiting Arboretum Botanical Gardens




Summer!  Sun shining days and warm breezes bringing lots of birds to my deck in Prescott.  I love summer and remembering the short trips we take.  I have to share this one.

Indigo Bunting
Matt the new birder!
 When we were in Missouri recently my nephew, Matt, took us to the Arboretum Botanical Gardens in Overland Park, Kansas.  I had been there once before but this time we walked all the trails and introduced Matt to the world of birding.  I’m hoping he really gets interested in it because he can really spot the birds! 


This is a lovely garden with lots of flowers and different ecosystems.  Monet’s Garden has flowers and plants like the ones Monet painted and there is even a little bridge. Remember the ‘water lilies’?


An international sculpture garden shows off some interesting metal sculptures that were donated by Chinese artists and are tucked among the trees.



The bird trail leads to a little house with seats and a place for bird food.  Surrounding the building are bird feeders.  We sat inside the house and watched the woodpeckers eat.  It is great for watching and photography.

 

And there is a very interesting medicine wheel with great descriptions.  I wish I had more time to experience it. 


Along the path were figures carved into tree trunks and structures offering drinks and a place for trash. 



 Pretty cool!  It’s a great place to visit.  Thank you Matt!