Western Blue Flag

Iris
Iris missouriensis forms a rhizomatous clump and can exist in large colonies. Its range extends from BC to Baja California and east to Minnesota.

The beautiful purple flower is actually composed of three sepals, three petals and three petal-like styles. Also called Wild Iris and Missouri Iris, the leaves, stems and roots are poisonous if ingested. However, some native Americans used the mashed root as a pain reliever when applied to toothaches.

Easy to Miss

It’s easy to miss the subtle beauty around me. On any given day I can get wrapped up in my to-do list and forget to take the time to simply look around me. On photo hikes I can get wrapped up in looking for that “once in a lifetime” shot and not see the brush strokes of wind, rain, drought, freezing, thawing, living and dying painting a story right there, waiting to be read.

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Real Food

I didn’t actually know there’s such a thing as a “real food” movement. It’s just a term I use for homegrown food or food I know is free of processing. You know, food where the ingredient label isn’t 100 items long.

I don’t consider myself a homesteader, but living on a ranch, it just seems natural to grow as much of our own food as possible. There’s a certain satisfaction I feel when I bypass the meat, dairy, and egg sections of the grocery store.

We are growing lamb and beef for our own freezer and supplement that with wild game (elk, deer). We get eggs from a neighbor, and hope to have a garden in 2014 (I’m partial to growing small fruit: berries and such).

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Hostile to Large Carnivores

I won’t go into a long (boring) post about my lack of blogging. A move, new job, new home, kids in a new school are the reasons.

I thought I’d jump back into blogging with something controversial. There’s always plenty of fodder when it comes to wildlife management in the greater Yellowstone ecosystem (GYE). The controversy of the day is that the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC), issued a report de-emphasizing the Yellowstone grizzly population’s dependence on whitebark pine nuts as a food source.

A little back ground might be helpful to understand why this is making headlines.

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Turn Off the Lights, Save Water

Living in Wyoming we are always aware of the scarcity of water. The majority of Wyoming receives less than 15″ of precipitation annually.  Water, even more so, potable water, is becoming a global problem. We hear a lot about reducing water usage by using low flow shower heads and commodes, turning the tap off when possible, watering the yard in the cool hours of the day, and planting low water use plants for landscaping. These are all good ideas and I try to do them all, and teach my kids to do the same.

We also talk about reducing energy usage by getting fuel efficient cars, turning off the lights, and getting energy efficient appliances, but I don’t think I realized that by doing these things I am also reducing water usage.

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Wyoming Sage Grouse Conservation and Land Use

In 2010,  the U.S. Fish and Wildlife decided the greater sage grouse would be kept in consideration for placing on the endangered species list. They say the listing is “warranted,” but there are too many other endangered species needing attention at this time.

“Based on a  12-month status review pursuant to the Endangered Species Act, the U.S. Fish  & Wildlife Service determined that the listing of the species was warranted  but precluded by higher priorities.”1

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Medicine Lodge: Etchings of the Past

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Sandstone bluff containing petroglyphs and pictographs at Medicine Lodge

The obvious feature along Medicine Lodge Creek is the 750 foot long sandstone bluff containing a fascinating display of petroglyphs and pictographs. Petroglyphs are images carved into the stone with a sharp object. Pictographs are painted onto the surface. I imagine the bluff has caught the attention of both Native Americans and European settlers for centuries, but it wasn’t until the 1960’s that an organized archeological study of the area was undertaken.

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