Monday, July 21, 2008

I'm Only Happy When It Rains

We've had a lot of rain lately. Everyone has been all, "What happened to our summer?" and "I'm getting sick of this weather!" Being born and raised in Ketchikan (a small city located in the rainiest area of Alaska the Pacific Northwest the entire country), I actually don't mind the rain. In fact, I downright enjoy it. Even four straight days of it. I absolutely love waking up to the sound of falling rain. It puts me in the mood for reading a good book, baking chocolate chip cookies with my girls, sitting down to scrapbook a few pages, taking a nap, curling up on the couch with a really soft blanket to watch an old movie . . . you get the idea.

Because I grew up in Ketchikan, I am not averse to tromping around in a dripping forest. This past weekend I took a nice long walk in the rain.

I never noticed this patch of dogwood before. Coming across it brought back fond memories of my childhood spent exploring the forest with my field guide in hand, identifying wildflowers that I would pick and then press between the pages of a heavy book. Remembering those times makes me realize I need to introduce my two oldest daughters to the wonderful world of Alaskan wildflowers. 

Right near the dogwood were some berries. This is a nice shot of the berry AND the leaf, so I should be able to figure out exactly what it is called . . . okay, I'm back. I do believe these are high bush cranberries! I wasn't sure, because dogwoods can have red berries, but the leaves on these match up to photos of cranberries I found on an amateur botanist's site. Before I start going crazy with my exclamation points (cranberries, y'all!!), I suppose I should check with a more authoritative source.

Daisies are everywhere in Alaska right now. The older I get, the more I appreciate the beauty and simplicity of a daisy.

As I returned home from my walk, I took a quick lap around the outside of the house. Which probably was not a good idea. While the rain does not depress me, this does:

My lilac bush is done for the summer. I'm always caught off guard by the tiny window of opportunity for lilacs to bloom here. It was less than a month ago that fragrant blossoms waved at me from outside my kitchen.

And what is it about these strawberries?! No fruit. Again!! I've had it! Next year I'm ripping this entire patch out and replacing them with the most hardy, dependable fruit-bearing plants I can get my hands on. I'm calling up Vickie in Homer and then I'm marching over to Peg's house next door. Both of these women have spectacular gardens and will know where I can get some good strawberry plants.

I was so upset to see how the moose have stripped most of the bark off my favorite tree (which I love not only because of its glorious foliage but because it helps provide privacy from passers-by on the road in front of our house). I'm going to wrap some burlap around the trunk in hopes that it keeps the moose from nibbling on it, but I'm not going to hold my breath. 

Short summer, uncooperative garden, destructive moose . . . at least there's the rain to cheer me up!

Dinner last night: parmesan chicken, twice-baked potatoes, steamed carrots

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