May 7, 2005

Wow! What a difference six days can make. On Sunday, May 1, I took a hike and wore a stocking cap and heavy jacket while braving brisk northwest winds and snow showers.

Today was totally opposite. It was very warm and humid when I walked outside at 8 a.m. And by late afternoon, there was a severe thunderstorm watch posted for the area (we only received some rain and a little lightning after dusk).

As I hiked, I was surprised to find many flowers growing; six days ago, when it was so cold, I questioned if anything would grow until June. I also loved to again hear the sound of thunder in the distance, along with the dark blue skies of a rain storm.

Oh, by the way, the tick count for the day was approximately 50-60; none imbedded (well, just about one), and I pulled most of them off my pant legs while hiking (I put duct tape around the bottom of my pant legs and hiking boots so that they crawl up on the outside where I can spot them much easier and then brush them off).

The cushion milkvetch plant doesn't look very striking when you see it. In fact, it's easy to walk right by it because it hugs the ground so close. However, when the plant is magnified through a telephoto lens and brought up close, you can see that it is a beautiful plant.

For some reason, this photo looks like a painting.

Take my advice. This would not be a good place to sit down and take a rest. :)

To my surprise, the large-flowered beardtongue plants are already growing.

Western wallflower.

Saskatoons - or juneberries as they are more commonly known in this area.

There were a lot of violets in an area along the side of a hill where ground water comes to the surface.

This bug didn't like my intrusion upon his day - and he moved into this position whenever I got close.

Whatever it is, it must be good!

Prairie smoke.

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