Spring in the forest

We had a very long winter, here, as well as a slow spring. But, finally! Spring is here in full force with new wildflowers popping up every day and tons of forest eye candy. I thought I’d share a few pictures!

The hummingbirds here are crazy. They flock around our feeders 5-6 at a time. Sometimes, in the evenings, there will be NINE floating and buzzing around, fighting for a bit of sugar water, and they actually SHARE a feeder. I posted a video on my Guest Hollow FB page of them landing on my hands. Click the linked text, if you want to take a look. They are practically tame, and I’ve never seen hummingbirds act like this where we lived before.

My husband took a picture of this calliope hummingbird – the smallest bird in the United States:

Picture © Charles Guest

They are like little jewels and always darting everywhere. I have a feeder hanging right out the window where I do all of my Guest Hollow work, so I can see them and their aerial acrobatics all day. It always sounds like subtle, tiny chainsaws right outside my window.

It’s a very physical existence here, with tons of outside work, but we manage to squeeze in time to learn more about the forest. Even though I’m no longer homeschooling, I still love to learn. 😉 One of the things I’ve been learning is how to identify the local plants, and other botany related topics. I’m learning permaculture principles, as well, and how to apply them to the “food forest” / garden / orchard we are working on creating.

We were really fortunate to get to tour our new friends’ homestead and see permaculture principles put in action. Monica and Sean of The Prepared Homestead invited us to join one of the tours they put on for one of the classes they teach (they also give tours to groups & individual families). We learned more in that hour tour than hours and hours of reading! It was wonderful to actually see firsthand how a permaculture oriented homestead works, and to walk through their amazing gardens & food forest.

They are now opening up a new bed-and-breakfast in their home: Huckleberry Mountain Homestead & Breakfast. I was privileged to see the beautiful rooms they put together. If you are ever looking for a unique bed-and-breakfast experience, I highly recommend them. They are friendly, kind, and knowledgeable folks!

So, anyway, we are constantly learning about something new. My husband remarked to me the other day that he has NEVER been interested in identifying bird calls, until now, lol. We are constantly surrounded by bird song, and it’s fun to know who’s doing the singing. 😉

He’s less enthusiastic about learning to identify all of the flowers, lol, but he puts up with my constant chatter and pointing out the many new things I know. He encourages my love for this type of learning and supports all of my efforts in that area.

Here’s a picture of some fairy slippers (orchids) growing wild in the forest:

Picture © Charles Guest

A close up:

Picture © Charles Guest

We are chickens when it comes to eating wild mushrooms, but I’ve at least seen my first morel!

Picture © Charles Guest

I love all of the wildflowers that grow in the forest, like this trillium:

Picture © Charles Guest

Even though many of the smaller seasonal snow-melt creeks are starting to disappear, the rivers are full and wild and beautiful:

Picture © Charles Guest

The biggest treat, though, is that we got to see the northern lights!!! I’ve always wanted to see them!!

Picture © Charles Guest

Picture © Charles Guest

Picture © Charles Guest

Picture © Charles Guest

At first there was just this odd subtle tinged green glow in the sky, but there was not a moon out, and it was midnight, and we don’t live near any big cities. My husband looked at his aurora notification app and there was a higher than usual chance of seeing them….but there was just this odd glow and nothing spectacular. He brought out his camera and started capturing it via long exposures. We were able to confirm via the pictures that it was indeed the northern lights.  We were out there a long time, and then around 1:00 a.m. or 1:30 a.m. there was this distinct glowing band that formed. It was not long after that that the magic happened, and we saw what you’d consider the typical aurora (at least a mini version) where they shimmer and undulate across the sky. It was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen. There were a few bursts of red and sometimes a long streak would flash up in the sky. It was almost like it couldn’t be real, lol…like someone was playing with special effects in a movie.

I love our new home, and I love all of the new things I’m experiencing and learning. I’ll post soon about the hugelkultur bed we’re building!