It's been a while since I've been here, which leaves me feeling horribly guilty :) I thought I'd update you all...
I spent every Friday in May at Hogle Zoo, in Salt Lake City, Utah, taking a Utah Master Naturalist class. It was a really wonderful experience! I was able to learn more about aquatic systems/wetlands in Utah, and visit some fun places. We went on field trips to the G. K. Gilbert Geologic View Park at the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon (it's a very tiny park, but the info signs are fantastic!), a short hike up Little Cottonwood Canyon, Farmington Bay, Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, USU Botanical Garden at Kaysville Ponds, and around Hogle Zoo itself, of course. My absolute favorite field trip was our last class, where we did a Boreal Toad survey at Strawberry Reservoir. Sadly, I forgot my camera, and have yet to see pics from anyone else's camera LOL We were able to find approximately 50 Boreal Toads, as well as several Chorus Frogs (we also heard some Northern Leopard Frogs, but didn't actually catch any). I would LOVE to participate in the survey again next spring! I am also hoping that I will be able to take the mountain module for UMN next spring as well. If any of you have a chance to take a Master Naturalist class (they are taught in most states), I highly recommend it. No experience is necessary :)
June was supposed to be very busy, but it ended up being busy in a different way than I expected. We always do our cub scout day camp in June, and that went as planned, with only a little bit of rain. It was still a lot of fun! Our theme this year was space camp, and they had an inflatable planetarium in the main cabin, which was awesome! The next week of June was supposed to be the annual Quilt Shop Hop with my mom and sister, but sadly Boy Scout camp and 11-year old camp were the same weekend. I decided it was more important to me to have dh go to camp, first a night with S at Camp Hunt at Bear Lake, then a day with E at Hull Valley, than it was for me to spend way too much money buying more fabric LOL I did get to spend one afternoon visiting Village Dry Goods in Brigham City and Red Rooster in Logan with my mom, sister, Peggy and Amy. We had lunch at Maddox first; that chicken salad was HUGE! While in Brigham we paid a little side visit to the thrift store there, where I got a couple of goodies to add to the towering pile of things I need to do something with LOL
July started off with a bang with a camping trip to Preston Valley, up Logan Canyon. We had a fantastic camping site, with flush toilets right across the street, yet totally screened by a layer of trees. It was a large site with plenty of room for our tent, a tent for S and A, and Valori's tent (we even had room for MORE tents, if anyone else had decided to stay). We were there from Wednesday afternoon to Saturday afternoon, plenty of time for some serious nature observing. Joe was very patient with my constant taking off :) Nature list (since I can't just post bird lists anymore LOL): pink alumroot, lance-leaved stonecrop, Rocky Mountain maple, river birch, box elder, western meadowrue, yellow columbine, red osier dogwood, alfalfa, yellow sweet clover, wild roses, star-flowered false solomon's seal, sagebrush, tarragon, tiger swallowtail, cabbage white butterfly, several different unknown caterpillars, caddisfly larva, American beaver, song sparrow, yellow warblers (lots of them, feeding their babies), lazuli bunting, American robin, yellow-rumped warbler, black-throated gray warbler (a life bird for me!), barn swallow, violet-green swallow, black-chinned hummingbird (the camp hosts, right next to us, had several feeders that were always covered in hummers), MacGillivray's warbler, American dipper, chipping sparrow, red-tailed hawk, black-headed grosbeak female, red-naped sapsucker, pine siskin, dusky flycatcher, western wood-peewee, hermit thrush, racer snake (you should have heard the piercing screams from Az when she discovered this snake in the restroom! LOL), and some little fish in a pool of water that connected to the river (I think they are immature trout, since I can't find any pics of minnows that look like them). I'm sure I'm forgetting something, but that's quite the list isn't it? It was a really fun trip, and most of those things were found right around our campsite! Friday night we came down from the canyon and watched the fireworks from Valori's yard. Can't miss the 4th of July fireworks, even if you're camping!
Last night we took a short drive up Green Canyon. The boys and I hiked up a rock slide, where we found some horn corral fossils and a BIG yellow crab spider (I grabbed a stalk of tarragon to take a pic, and almost grabbed the spider instead!). Valori came with us, and had to be back to do a massage (how lucky am I to have a sister-in-law who is a massage therapist? LOL), so Joe left me at the rock slide and took Valori back to the mouth of the canyon. I walked half-way down, taking wildflower pics along the way, to the "boy scout cave", where I caught up with my family. Nature list: tarragon, rabbitbrush, sagebrush, Rocky Mountain maple, juniper, spider milkweed (this is a really cool looking milkweed), Virgin's Bower clematis, aster spp., red clover, yellow sweet clover, alfalfa, common mullein, thistle, sego lily (Utah's state flower), wild roses, some yellow flowers that I haven't identified yet, spotted towhee, chipping sparrow, broad-tailed hummers, and assorted dragonflies. The canyon was pretty dry, and a lot of things were done blooming, so this trip wasn't as great as last months, but still a nice evening in the canyon.
I am hoping to post a BUNCH of pictures later today or tomorrow, so be on the lookout!