Botanicals | Stiffstem Flax

Linum rigidum, or yellow or stiffstem flax, took its rank as a new favorite. Flowers that I rarely see often are the ones to qualify as favorites. It is clearly a relative of its more prolific cousin, wild blue flax, which has long been a favorite of mine – I love how the sunlight lights up the petals along the roadways, turning each blossom into a little blue glimmer on a sunny day. Yellow flax is not nearly as showy, almost disappearing among the array of other bolder yellow flowers this time of year, which is part of what made it so fun to find.
IMG_7582eCreation is so beautifully marked by patterns of similarity and differences. Evidence of a Creative Design behind all of this world.

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Botanicals | Breadroot Scurfpea

Pediomelum escelentum, or breadroot scurfpea, is one of those understated and overlooked flowers. The drab green-grey petals and the drab lilac-colored petals are sure easy to miss. But even with its drabness, there is a beauty about it.
IMG_7595eNot all of God’s creation is stunning in its aesthetic. But the uniqueness alone points to a creative God.

Botanicals | Sego Lily

This was a delightful find. I haven’t seen a sego lily in two years, I believe, and was thrilled a couple of afternoons ago to find that one of our meadows was scattered with them. I went back this afternoon to get pictures of these beautiful, strange flowers. Calochorus nuttallii, the sego lily, is one of two very similar species of lily, the other being the Gunnison’s mariposa lily, calochortus gunnissonii.    “And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin,  yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” Matthew 6:27-29

Botanicals | Shell-leaf Penstemon

Penstemon grandiflorus, or shell-leaf penstemon, is the largest of the pentstemons, and consequently is easy to spot along the road, where it is blooming profusely this time of year!I love seeing whole hillsides covered with this beauties! I’ve found these photograph best not in full sun, unlike a lot of other flowers, due (I think) to how fleshy their leaves and petals are. While other flowers take on what I like to call a “stained glass effect,” because shell-leaf penstemon has such thick petals, the light doesn’t shine through it well.

Botanicals | White Milkwort

This understated little plant, polygala alba, blends in with the grasses and can be difficult to spot.  I found a few clusters this morning in some open, sparse areas alongside a road. Don’t confuse it with its relative, seneca snakeroot (polygala senega). For a year or so, I had seneca snakeroot identified as white milkwort, until I finally decided both couldn’t be milkwort and needed to just figure it out. Thanks to the book Plants of the Black Hills and Bear Lodge Mountains, the mystery was solved.

Rain and High Water

High water for us means that Battle Creek is actually flowing across the southern end of our property, and when it does, we’ve had a lot of rain! God blessed us with more than 3 inches of moisture in the last couple of weeks, which sure gave every growing thing a needed boost! There is a favorite spot along Battle Creek, fondly referenced by a small cave we found which we dubbed “the Mountain Lion Cave,” where the creekbed winds its way through a ravine, with high canyon sides bordering the creek from one side or the other, and clear green meadows opposite, scattered with oak trees and adorned with dame’s rocket. Even when the creek is dry in that stretch, it is a favorite place to explore and rock hound and scramble, but with water running the fun level goes up drastically. We took the dogs down there so they could run and play in the water. I love watching delight play out on an animal’s face. Those two goofy dogs loved the water! Sarah did, too, and went wading in the creek with the crazy canines. I don’t think our pups wanted to leave! Poor Trixie is such a snow dog, the summer heat really gets to her. She becomes a water dog out of necessity!
IMG_7172eIMG_7195eIMG_7180eRain – what a blessing.