When I move to new places, near and far, my first step to settling is getting to know the new environment. Learning the plants and mushrooms that fill that space. Utah is drastically different from anywhere I’ve ever been. I have much to learn before I get myself to the place where I am comfortably familiar with the nature around me.
If anyone had any question of just how nerdy I am, there have been multiple times on the drive out here and upon getting to my new home in Utah that I recognized that this landscape is foreign to me in all ways except one – it reminds me a lot of a world some Starfleet officer would beam down onto to explore. So while I haven’t been able to settle my anxiety by admiring species I know and love, I’ve at least been able to settle it by finding comfort in my sweet, soft love for Deep Space 9 (and I guess Star Trek in general).
Someone please reassure me that I am not the only person who does things like this.
I made it safely to Utah, and everything has been going quite well so far. Please enjoy this picture of shriveled up mushrooms growing on a cow patty in middle-of-nowhere, Wyoming, which helped me realized my mushroom radar is still functioning great.
Thank you for your patience during this little hiatus. I have been in existing in the transitory space between one chapter and the next, so it’s been difficult to find the focus to queue up photos.
The day after tomorrow I am moving across the country again, this time to Utah to do graduate research on lichen. I am excited and nervous. I’m planning to integrate the education and outreach provided on my blog and Youtube channel into my research, so you will likely see an evolution in the near future.
Take care, and I hope everyone is seeing some amazing organisms out there!
My 11 year old niece has started trolling me by calling slime molds fungi.
I’m back from the Keweenaw Peninsula, and I have hundreds of lichen pictures to edit, many of which I am so excited to share with you all! SO MANY NEW LICHEN BUDDIES
Hexagon halloween quilt in progress! I haven’t posted any photos lately because I’ve had strange hours getting cross-trained at work and between that I’ve been prepping for an upcoming art show.
This is more of a personal project; here’s some of the progress. I like english paper piecing as a technique because it allows me to work in sections and I can do one seam at a time if I want; it works perfectly with my schedule because I only need to find an extra 10 minutes here and there to chip away at it; It’s really going to be a year-long project. I started it last October and I expect to be finished by this October; this has been my first attempt at english paper piecing, I think it’s a beautiful technique but as far as hand-sewing, it’s labor intensive and time consuming so I can see why this is hardly a popular quilting technique
my sister and I met a polydactyl cat today and I got to pet his extra large paws; I never thought I’d see such large paws IRL
When I go on photo hikes, I go alone. Sometimes when I’m hiking with friends and family, they assure me that it’s okay for me to take pictures as I normally do, but I don’t think they know what they are asking for. I take it to mean they are okay with me taking a photo here and there while still maintaining a steady pace, not that they’re okay with me walking 1 mile an hour (or less), investigating every rotting log, every rock, and whispering words of encouragement to every mushroom and chipmunk I see.
My photo hikes are deeply personal. It is an opportunity to strip away the identity I’ve given myself, to forget my body, to stop existing as a single unit and merge with my surroundings. It is not just looking for organisms to photograph – it’s feeling the energy of life in the air, the sound of insects buzzing between trees, the smell of moist soil and decomposing leaves. I can lose myself forever in a single log, and nothing matters except that log and the microecosystem it contains.
That is why this blog (and all that branches from it) is so important to me. I would absolutely be a witchy hermit of the woods, hoarding all the joy and contentment that the forest provides me, if it weren’t for this blog. Thank you for your enthusiasm for the content I share, for appreciating the experiences I bring back with me from my jaunts through the forest.
i really want to swim soon. not in the ocean (too cold) but in a swimming pool
Sometimes I frolic in the forest with other humans and they take sneaky pictures of me taking pictures. Here is a compilation from 2017, which also nicely shows the places I was lucky to visit throughout the year (top to bottom: carnivorous plan garden in Wilmington, NC; literally chasing crabs and squeeing in Carolina Beach State Park, NC; some park outside of Raleigh, NC, that I didn’t like that much but found some lichen anyway; avoiding resort culture on Marco Island, FL, and photographing a living conch).