Category: Idaho


Northern Idaho and surrounding areas of Washington and Montana are blessed with a great variety of both flora and fauna.  The southern edge of the boreal forest, the Rocky Mountains and inter-montane habitat types blend into one another into.  Many species of migratory birds pass through the Idaho panhandle following Pacific flyway routes. Canada Geese, often called Honkers, are one of the most common.  Large flocks settle on the lakes and rivers.

Some Canada Geese are also year-round residents in the Sandpoint-Lake Pend Oreille area.  The image below depicts some of them on Sand Creek just a short distance upriver from Sandpoint.

While we do not seem to have suffered from a loss of birds that has plagued many part of North America I have noticed an increasing number of dead geese, and fish, in recent years while in my kayak. Whether that somehow results from the appearance of Eurasian Milfoil in out waterways, chemicals used to combat the infestation, construction and habitat degradation near the water, or some other factor, I do not know, but I worry about environmental degradation in this are as the population grows.

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honkers and cattails

Canada Geese And Cattails

Sunrise on Lake Pend Oreille. I went down to the waterfront one morning to watch the sun rise. Both clouds and smoke from forest fires in the region contributed to the redness of the sky. There was a very liquid feel that morning with the weather and that fact that the sun reflected off not only the water but the underside of the cloud layer, so I made this image a bit “out of focus.”

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A very red sun rise on Lake Pend Oreille

A very red sun rise on Lake Pend Oreille

Canada Geese goslings are escorted along the shoreline of Lake Pend Oreille in northern Idaho by an adult; nice blue mountains on the other side of the lake. This is a typical scene at City Beach park in Sandpoint.

For many years there was a group of resident geese. The powers that be decided they had to go – too many droppings – despite protests. The geese were eliminated and, in my opinion, it was a loss to the town. Now, however, there is a new group of year-round residents. They are fairly tolerant of humans allowing for close viewing and photography.

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canada goose and goslings

A stroll on the beach

I hope you like this one, a wild rose, I think it came out extremely well.

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Rosa spp,

Wild Rose

Often, what is believed to be a wild rose, fluffy pink roses around abandoned home sites, are not wild roses, but the descendants of cultivated roses tough enough to survive without human care. .Roses have been hybridized since Roman times, there are thousands of tough, long-lived hybrids.

True wild roses, the botanical term “species rose,” occur naturally, with no human involvement. There are over 100 species of wild rose, some native to North America, many from the Orient and Europe. All have five petals and almost all of them are pink. A few species are few white or red, a very few may be yellowish.

Two species, Wood’s Rose (Rosa woodsii) and Nootka Rose (R. nutkana) are common to the Northwest, Western Canada, and parts of Alaska. The image above, from a photograph I took, is of one of those two species. Determining which can be very difficult as they are very similar and each appears in a number of varieties.

Wild roses serve as browse for browse for big game, including moose and deer, from spring through fall. Porcupines and beavers also browse the leaves.

Wild rose hips persist on the plant through much of the winter. Many birds and mammals are sustained by these dry fruits when the ground is covered with snow.

Wild roses hips can be eaten raw or cooked, remove the tiny hairs and seeds in the center. They are used in making jelly and jams and can also be dried to make a tea. Dried leaves can also serve as a tea substitute. Flower petals are great in salads adding a light flavor and beautiful color. Native Americans utilized young shoots as a potherb

The dried leaves are used as a tea substitute. Used as a medicinal plant all over the world for thousands of years wild roses are mentioned many old manuscripts and even in the tombs of Egyptian pharaohs. Wild rose hips contain citric acid, flavonoids, fructose, malic acid, sucrose, tannins, vitamins A, B3, C, D, E, and P, calcium, phosphorus, iron, rutine, hesperidin and zinc. Research indicates that wild roses may aid in halting or reversing the growth of cancers. Rose hips are also known to lower saturated fats and triglycerides, helping to control blood pressure. The seed is rich in vitamin E and an oil extracted from the seed is used externally in the treatment of burns, scars and wrinkles. A poultice of the chewed leaves is used in an emergency to allay the pain of bee stings.

Europeans utilized hips as a source of Vitamins A and C. Rose hip powder was used as a flavoring in soups and for making syrup. . The leaves were steeped for tea, petals were eaten raw, in salads, candied, or made into syrup. The inner bark was smoked like tobacco, and dried petals were stored for perfume.

If you have ever eaten a rose hip you may have noticed that it may taste somewhat apple like. The interior of a rose hip, and the seeds, may also remind you of an apple. That is not an accident. The Rosaceae (The rose family) includes not only roses, but also the genus Prunus (plums, cherries, peaches, apricots and almonds), as well as raspberries and strawberries.

Continuing with this summer’s botanical series here’s a very tasty wild fruit that you have probably never heard of though species grow in Alaska, the Lower 48 and parts of Canada. I can attest that the Saskatoon makes for great pies and syrup. They can be added to cereal or muffins, dried as “raisins,” or just eaten fresh.

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amelanchier alnifolia

The Saskatoon, Amelanchier alnifolia

The Saskatoon tastes rather like a blueberry with almond added. There are several species in North America. At least one species is native to every U.S. state except Hawaii and to every Canadian province and territory. Two species also occur in Asia, and one in Europe. Amelanchier species can be anywhere from about six inches to sixty feet tall. The origin of the generic name Amelanchier is probably derived from amalenquièr, amelanchièr, the Provencal l names of the European Amelanchier ovalis. Members of the rose family, Amelanchiers are related to hawthorns, crabapples, cherries, plums, and peaches.

The various species of Amelanchier are known by several common names: shadbush, shadwood, shadblow, serviceberry, sarvisberry, wild pear, juneberry, sugarplum, wild-plum and chuckley pear. Pigeonberry was once also used. The name serviceberry comes from the similarity of the fruit to the related European Sorbus (Ash); it is also said that their flowers heralded the roads in the Appalachian mountains becoming passable, which meant that the circuit-riding preachers would be coming soon and church services would resume; also, that the ground was thawed enough to dig graves, and funeral services could be had for those who died over the winter. Shadberry refers to the shad runs in certain New England streams, which generally took place about when the trees bloomed.

The name Saskatoon originated from the Cree Indian name misâskwatômina (misāskwatōmina, misaaskwatoomina) for Amelanchier alnifolia, the species found in the Pacific Northwest, western Canada and Alaska.

In some areas the Serviceberry was included in pemmican, a combination of minced dried meat and fat, as a flavoring and preservative.

Amelanchier plants are preferred browse for deer and rabbits. Caterpillars of various moth species, as well as various other herbivorous insects feed on Amelanchier.

Saskatoons are harvested commercially and several named cultivars have been developed. Canadian growers are promoting the Saskatoon as a superfruit. Saskatoon berries contain significant Daily Value amounts of total dietary fiber, vitamins B2 (riboflavin) and biotin, and essential minerals, iron and manganese, a nutrient profile similar to the content of blueberries.

Saskatoons also contain significant amounts of polyphenol antioxidants, again, similar in composition to blueberries.

Pineflower

Here’s something you may not know.

Pines and other coniferous trees do not really have flowers; but they do have male and female cones. The woody cone, called a strobilus, you are familiar with is the mature, seed bearing, female cone. The reddish purple strobili below are of the Western White Pine (Pinus monticola); Idaho’s state tree.

You might also notice a specimen of Idaho wildlife.

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Immature female strobili of Pinus monticola

Pineflower

This image is available on many items at my Zazzle store .

Male cones, which produce pollen, are usually herbaceous and may go unnoticed, even when mature, unless you look for them. The name “cone” derives from the fact that the shape in some species resembles a geometric cone. The individual plates of a cone are known as scales.

The male cones of most conifer species are rather similar. Female cones are more variable across species in both structure and color when immature. Female cones are often used to identify conifer species.

For most species, male and female cones occur on the same plant (tree or shrub), with female usually on the higher branches towards the top of the plant. This distribution is thought to improve chances of cross-fertilization, as pollen is unlikely to be blown vertically upward within the crown of one plant, but can drift slowly upward in the wind, blowing from low on one plant to higher on another plant. In some conifers, male cones additionally often grow clustered in large numbers together, while female cones are more often produced singly or in only small clusters.

A further characteristic arrangement of pines is that the male cones are located at the base of the branch, while the female at the tip (of the same or a different branchlet). However, in larches and cedars, both types of cones are always at the tips of short shoots, while both types of fir cones are always from side buds, never terminal.

Tiger Lily

One of my favorite wildflowers because the color stands out against all the green this time of year.

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tiger lily

Lilium columbianum

There are several species of lily species in North America which share the common name “Tiger Lily.” The species native to the Pacific Northwest and southern British Columbia (Lilium columbianum) is also known as the Columbia Lily, and the Small-Flowered Tiger Lily.

The lightly-scented flowers can be yellowish, but are usually orange. The spots are a dark purple. It can be found in drier coastal meadows, forests, roadsides, and subalpine meadows.

Lilium columbianum occurs in open woods and forest openings from southern British Columbia south to northern California and east to Idaho, Montana and Nevada.

Several West Coast and Californian Native American tribes ate the species’ bitter or peppery-tasting bulbs. Dried Lilium columbianum is also eaten all around the world but it is not well known for it. Dried whole L. columbianum has a sweet and a sour taste. Unlike many native lilies, it is not particularly rare, but picking the flowers is discouraged as it impairs the ability of the plant to reproduce.

This is the same group of Bunchberry plants
that I pictured some time ago. Shown later in the year. A bit worse for wear as is evident, but with nice red berries.

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Bunchberry with berries

Bunchberry; With Berries

Bunchberry, along with a few others, such as Thimbleberry, Raspberry, Strawberry, Huckleberry, and Pacific Elderberry, are some of my favorite plants.

As usual, this image is available on a number of items at my Zazzle store.

A nice rural scene here. A dilapidated, old, red truck sitting near an abandoned cabin.

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old truck and cabin

The Old Red Truck

Not! I manufactured the image from three photographs I took in Sandpont, ID over a period of years using free software.

Here is the original photograph of the truck. You will notice that the truck is white. Transforming it into a red truck was a bit more difficult than it would otherwise have been as the color was so close to that of the snow. Still, it only took a few minutes.

old white truck

The Old White Truck

Here is the original photo of the house. Notice that the image is horizontally reversed.

ramshackle cabin in sandpoint, id

Ramshackle Cabin

And here is the original background image, also horizontally reversed, from some years ago.

mountains

Background Image

The three photos assembled into one. As I was not trying trying to create an image to fool the Internet public I did not take much care with precision cropping of outlines; or matching hues, saturation or luminosity. Not bad though; for a quickie job.

three photos combined to make one

Three Photos Into One

Be warned You can’t trust what you see. There are many people out there trying to put one over on you.

UPDATE November 8, 2012:
A project is in the works to use a remotely-piloted, camera-equipped drone to search for evidence of Sasquatch in the western United States. More information at The Falcon Project. I urge anyone who is able to make a modest donation to support the effort.

Though I think there is a very good chance that Sasquatch (Bigfoot) exists it is obvious that I do have fun with the idea.

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Sasquatcg Security Warning Notice

Sasquatch Security


Let the bad guys know you take safety and security seriously. Unobtrusive safety – as Sasquatch are so rarely seen you will hardly know they are there. Franchises are available in other states. Let me know if you wish to open a branch of Sasquatch Security franchise in your state I will adapt the logo.

If you live or travel in rural areas of the Pacific Northwest you may possibly come across one of the region’s lesser-known species of native wildlife. “Sasquatch” is an anglicized derivative of the word “Sésquac” which means “wild man” in a Salish Native American language. Sasquatch is reported to be a large, hairy ape-like creature, ranging between 6–10 feet tall, weighing in excess of 500 pounds, and covered in dark brown or dark reddish hair. Alleged witnesses describe large eyes, a pronounced brow ridge, and a large, low-set forehead; the top of the head has been described as rounded and crested, similar to the sagittal crest of the male gorilla. Sasquatch is commonly reported to have a strong, unpleasant smell. Enormous footprints for which it is named are as large as 24 inches long and 8 inches wide. Tufts of hair of an unidentified primate species are often found. Most scientists say Sasquatch, aka Bigfoot, is nothing but folkloret and attribute sightings or footprints to misidentification or hoaxes. However, some scientists such as Jane Goodall believe it may exist. Based on examination of footprint casts, Professor Jeffrey Meldrum of Idaho State University, an expert on foot morphology and locomotion in primates, believes sufficient evidence exists to warrant to warrant further investigation. One theory suggests Sasquatch are a relic population of ancient hominids which reached North America from Eurasia via the Bering Land Bridge during a period of glaciation. Stories about Sasquatch-like creatures are found among the indigenous population of the Pacific Northwest. The legends existed prior to a single name for the creature. They differed in their details both regionally and between families in the same community. Similar stories are found on every continent except Antarctica to include the Yeti of the Himalayas and the Australian Yowie. Members of the Lummi tell tales about Ts’emekwes, the local version of Bigfoot. The stories are similar to each other in terms of the general descriptions of Ts’emekwes, but details about the creature’s diet and activities differed between the stories of different families. Some regional versions contained more nefarious creatures. The stiyaha or kwi-kwiyai were a nocturnal race that children were told not to say the names of lest the monsters hear and come to carry off a person—sometimes to be killed. In 1847, Paul Kane reported stories by the native people about skoocooms: a race of cannibalistic wild men living on the peak of Mount St. Helens. The skoocooms appear to have been regarded as supernatural, rather than natural. Less menacing versions such as the one recorded by Reverend Elkanah Walker exist. In 1840, Walker, a Protestant missionary, recorded stories of giants among the Native Americans living in Spokane, Washington. The Indians claimed that these giants lived on and around the peaks of nearby mountains and stole salmon from the fishermen’s nets. The local legends were combined together by J. W. Burns in a series of Canadian newspaper articles in the 1920s. Each language had its own name for the local version. Many names meant something along the lines of “wild man” or “hairy man” although other names described common actions it was said to perform (e.g. eating clams). Burns coined the term Sasquatch, which is from the Halkomelem sásq’ets (IPA: [ˈsæsqʼəts]), and used it in his articles to describe a hypothetical single type of creature reflected in these various stories. Burns’s articles popularized both the legend and its new name, making it well known in western Canada before it gained popularity in the United States. For more information on Sasquatch visit the Bigfoot Field Research Organization. BFRO provides a free database to individuals and other organizations. Their internet website includes reports from across North America that have been investigated by researchers to determine credibility