Saturday, December 20, 2008
I selected this painting by Mrs. Trowbridge because as I write this we are in the middle of our first big winter storm in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. The first snow fall of the season has covered our world with a big soft white blanket. As Christmas draws near, we eagerly anticipate our upcoming holiday gatherings. Soon we will be making the trip through the snow to my hometown to celebrate the joy of family and the birth of the Christ Child.
May your family gatherings be filled with peace and joy, and your carols echo throughout the forest.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
I shot these Maidenhair ferns (Adiatum pedatum) near a boulder overhang in the Dosewallips region of the Olympic Wilderness. Maidenhair ferns are recognized by the fine black stems and fan-shaped leaflets. They are always a delight to see along the trail.
Herbalists have used Maidenhair fern syrup just as Mrs. T once did, for chronic pulmonary conditions such as bronchitis, as well as anemia, and persistent skin disorders. If you would like to brew up a batch for yourself, here's Mrs. T's recipe, which I adapted to human measurements.
2 cups (40 grams) fresh Maidenhair fern leaves (equal parts, dried and crumbled)
4 cups (1 liter) water
2 cups (500 ml) unpasteurized honey.
Boil plant in water for three minutes, cover and infuse for three hours. Strain the decoction, and then gently melt the honey, without bringing to a boil, for five minutes. Pour the mixture into a glass bottle. Store in the refrigerator and consume within two months at a rate of 1-2 tsp
(15-30 ml) diluted in water, three times daily. Let me know if you should decide to try this recipe. I would love to hear of your results.
Oxalis (oxalis oregana), or wood sorrel, is the "clover of the rain forest". The plant bears small white, five-petaled flowers, as seen in Mrs. T's painting. It grows in abundance on the forest floor in the Olympic montane zone. Oxalis is edible...I've eaten it many times...it has a kind of tart lemony taste. The tartness comes from its oxalic acid content.
Indians ate the leaves fresh or cooked. They also used the plant juice for digestive problems. Oxalis blooms from April to August.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
She would sometimes paint herself into her pictures, as in the above painting which depicts her sketching an Indian Pipe by the stream. The sun is just beginning to break through the early morning fog.
I photographed these Indian Pipe (Monotropa uniflora) in the Dosewallips Wilderness several summers ago. A Saprophyte, Indian Pipe derive their nourishment from decomposing matter on the forest floor. Since they have no chlorophyll, they cannot manufacture their own nourishment. Indian Pipe blossoms from June to September.
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
In addition to being a fine scribe and painter, Mrs. T was a "crafty" creature as well. She always made a traditional heather wreath for the hearth mantle at Gathering Festival time.
Monday, October 27, 2008
One of my favorite times of the day in the rain forest is the early morning when the forest is shrouded in mist. The surrounding trees take on an eerie monochromatic hue. All is still and quite. I shot this photograph as we ascended Mount Angeles early one morning before the fog had lifted.
Mrs. Trowbridge captured a magical moment with her brush, just as the sun was breaking through the veil of mist to bathe the forest floor in warm sunlight. The mail mole makes his daily rounds, his breath leaving a vapor trail as he ambles along.
The setting for Mrs. T's painting, between Wolf Bar and Wild Rose Creek, was thankfully spared from the devastation brought on by last December's "storm of the century". You may have seen the photo essay of the storm that I published on this blog last summer. Our son, Brad, and I hiked into Wild Rose Creek, where Mrs. T once lived, to survey the damage. Hundreds of years must pass before the Quinault Rain Forest can repair itself and heal its wounds.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Friday, July 25, 2008
We also encountered many fine examples of shelf fungus (Basidiomycola). They were used extensively by the shrews and other small creatures in the rain forest as dwellings, and were the equivalent of an expensive high-rise condo by our standards. Mrs. Trowbridge mentioned them occasionally in her journal, and I did manage to find a color sketch that she drew of her brother-in-law's new shelf fungus condo. Below is one that I photographed on the trip to share with you.
Saturday, July 12, 2008
My son, Brad and I had come to the Quinault Rain Forest to survey the damage from last year's "storm of the century" that hit the Washington Coast. We were shocked and dismayed to see entire forests brought down by the 100-mile-per-hour-plus winds. The entire mountain of old-growth rain forest south of Lake Quinault Lodge, where President Teddy Roosevelt once stayed, appeared to have been logged off. It was undoubtedly the biggest blow down ever witnessed in the Quinault Rain Forest.
We forgot to bring any kind of time piece on this trek, and our cell phones didn't work in the wilderness, so we couldn't use them to check the time. Have you ever gone for days without knowing what time it is? It's a strange feeling.
WOLF BAR BEFORE - Once a verdant fern glade nestled among the young Douglas firs, Wolf Bar was unrecognizable when we first came upon it. We couldn't even find the spot where we had camped in previous years. The above picture of Wolf Bar was taken in 1992. The photo below shows what it looked like last week. This is where we camped our first night.
WOLF BAR AFTER - The giant sword ferns that were once the trademark of Wolf Bar have been buried under 18 inches of silt from the raging Quinault River that passes nearby. Several lifetimes must pass before the Quinault Rain Forest will be restored to its former splendor. Some of the trees in this forest are large enough to have attained world record status. I don't yet know if some of the world record trees were destroyed by the storm.
Countless thousands of trees were brought down, some caught by the river's flood surge, and carried downstream to form chaotic slash piles all along the course of the river.
As daylight began to wane with the setting sun, the forest took on an eerie blue aura. I looked up river and wondered what tomorrow would bring. We would be exploring Wild Rose Creek, where Mrs. Trowbridge once lived, about two miles up river from Wolf Bar, where this photo was taken.
I awoke the next morning with eager anticipation. The foggy morning mist soon burned off to reveal a splendid day. Upon arriving at Wild Rose Creek, we found more devastation. The creek had been storm-scoured to the extent that a rope ladder was required to descend 25 feet into the creek bed. The dirt and rock on the bank behind the ladder was once covered with lush vegetation.
Exploring the creek further, we found large old growth trees that were effortlessly snapped like twigs by the forces of wind and water. Up to 15 inches of rain fell during this one event!
We continued upstream and finally reached a point where most of the devastation was behind us. This canyon is just downstream from what was once Mrs. Trowbridge's village of Huckleberry Hollow. I was pleased to see that the canyon Mrs. T wrote about in her journal was not severely affected by the storm.
Just as we were about to embark on the second phase of our exploration, ascending above the canyon into Huckleberry Hollow itself, we were approached by two cranky forest rangers who asked us to leave the area immediately. So our exploration of Mrs. Trowbridge's village had come to a sudden halt.
Before we left Wild Rose Creek, the ranger was kind enough to give me a souvenir to remember our trip by---a warning ticket, for trespassing into an area that had been closed-off because of storm damage.
Friday, June 27, 2008
Friday, June 13, 2008
Mrs. T. devoted a number of pages in her journal to an old sketchbook that was buried in the clutter of her parlor. She writes...
Friday, May 30, 2008
The name “
Several years ago our expedition to explore Reflection Lake was put on hold when one member of our party became ill, and we were forced to turn back. I have yet to visit Reflection Lake. It's a steep climb...the lake is on top of the mountain.
Monday, May 05, 2008
Sunday, April 27, 2008
In today's post, Mrs. T speaks of the joy she finds in her daily journal time...
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Friday, February 22, 2008
This is another one of her tropical flower paintings. She spent many hours at the library in Huckleberry Hollow studying the flora, fauna and lore of her South Seas ancestors. This painting is a Bird of Paradise (Heliconia psittacorum). I am continually amazed by the mastery of the watercolor medium that Mrs. T displayed in her floral paintings.
Friday, February 08, 2008
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Friday, January 18, 2008
Tuesday, January 01, 2008
After several days of disappointments, we checked out this small motu, called Taakoka, in the southern Cook Island group. I took this shot from the kayak that we used to reach the islet from the research ship.
The water in the lagoon was like a warm tropical aquarium, filled with colorful neon-bright fish. It was a refreshing break from the frigid Puget Sound waters that we left behind in America's Pacific Northwest. We waded around the entire motu, looking for artifacts or petroglyphs along the shoreline.
We called this small island our "mother lode" motu. We found no less than 83 black volcanic rocks that had been scribed with Trowbridge petroglyphs. Curiously, we found no Trowbridge artifacts on the islet.
Some of the petroglyphs were right at the tide line, as seen here. If you look carefully you'll see the petroglyph on the rock just behind me.
Because the symbols are so small, they're barely visible at any distance, so here's a close up look. Maori team member, Paiere Unuia, from the Northern Group island, Manihiki, examines the petroglyphs at close range with the magnifying glass.
The written Trowbridge language is comprised of 25 pictographic characters, as shown above. With the wealth of petroglyphic data that we uncovered on Motu Taakoka, I'm even more convinced that my theory of a trans-Pacific migration of Trowbridge shrews is what brought them to the Americas.
By the way, Happy Anniversay to Mrs. Trowbridge! Her journal will is two years old today.