Montana Outdoors

May 31, 2018

Unidentified

Filed under: Wildflowers — Tags: — montucky @ 6:13 pm

Yellow Paintbrush - immature?

Yellow Paintbrush - immature?

Yellow Paintbrush - immature?<

Yellow Paintbush - immature?

Yellow Paintbrush - immature?

This little plant defies my ability to identify it. It is growing in an area where Yellow Paintbrush (Castilleja lutescens) are plentiful and the leaves and fine hairs seem similar to those on the paints. Could it be that these are an immature stage of the Yellow Paintbrush, or it is an entirely different plant? If anyone knows its identity, I would sure like to know.

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May 30, 2018

Bitterroots

Filed under: Wildflowers — Tags: , — montucky @ 8:02 pm

Bitterroot ~ Lewisia redivivia

Bitterroot ~ Lewisia redivivia

Bitterroot ~ Lewisia redivivia

Bitterroot ~ Lewisia redivivia

Bitterroot ~ Lewisia redivivia

Bitterroot ~ Lewisia redivivia

Bitterroot ~ Lewisia redivivia

Bitterroot ~ Lewisia rediviva

Bitterroots have just about disappeared in the valley here but I was delighted today to see them in abundance at a friend’s place on a ridge above the valley. They are Montana’s state flower.

May 29, 2018

Idaho blue-eyed-grass

Filed under: Wildflowers — Tags: , — montucky @ 8:07 pm

Idaho blue-eyed grass

Idaho-blue-eyed-grass ~ Sisyrinchium idahoense

It was with delight yesterday that I discovered these blooming near a stream on a friend’s property not far from my home. I had seen them only twice before and those were far in the back country..

May 28, 2018

Memorial Day

Filed under: Writing — Tags: , , — montucky @ 10:36 am

It was cloudy and cold that day in the late fall of nineteen hundred and forty four as a small boy stood with his family on the windy concrete platform of the old Milwaukee railroad station in Missoula Montana awaiting the departure of the train bound for the west coast.

The boy of three-plus years stood at attention in his miniature green uniform, authentically made for him by his mother’s hands. On each collar of his jacket he proudly wore the Globe and Anchor of the United States Marine Corps.

A few feet away stood a tall young Marine also dressed in a crisp green uniform. On his collars were shiny gold bars: on the left side of his campaign cover was a Globe and Anchor, on the right another gold bar.

When departure time came, the young officer hugged his mother, shook his father’s hand and then shook the hand of his young brother, followed by a sharp salute, then turned and boarded the train. His destination, known to him but not to the family; the South Pacific.

It was a cold winter that year but also one filled with foreboding and anxiety as the news of the South Pacific Campaign slowly trickled back to the town. The boy knew that something very important was happening from some of the words he overheard spoken and from an occasional glimpse of his mother’s tears.

There were letters received by the family during that winter, sporadic and short, but ever so welcome. Then one afternoon, when spring was at the doorstep of western Montana a large black sedan pulled up to the curb in front of the family home. The boy could see the tears well up in his mother’s eyes but he was still too young to understand.

A Navy Commander accompanied by an aide emerged from the car and made their way up the walk to the front door. After a short introduction, the Commander made a short and emotional statement: “The Department of the Navy regrets to inform you that your son has been killed in action during the battle for Iwo Jima.”

epilogue

There is much, much more to this story, but to put it briefly for now, the Department of the Navy is not always right. Several weeks later a letter came in the mail in the young officer’s shaky handwriting and postmarked from the US medical facility on Guam, where he was slowly recovering from massive wounds incurred on the morning of March twenty-sixth during the last battle on the island and on the day Iwo Jima was declared officially secure. He was more fortunate than thousands of his comrades about whom the brief messages from the Department of the Navy were correct.

(This is a re-do of a post I made in 2007, but today I felt it appropriate to post it again. I was the young boy and the young Marine officer was my older brother. The events of that time are still very fresh in my memory.)

May 27, 2018

Mountain Lady’s Slippers

Filed under: Wildflowers — Tags: , , — montucky @ 8:20 pm

Seldom do I go out looking for a particular flower, but after an outing yesterday it occurred to me that the Lady’s Slippers should be starting to bloom and so today I drove to a place where I usually see them and, happily, they are in peak bloom. I’m glad that I didn’t miss it! They are one of the prettiest of the wild orchids native to this region.

Mountain Lady's Slipper

Mountain Lady's Slipper

Mountain Lady's Slipper

Mountain Lady's Slipper

Mountain Lady's Slipper

Mountain Lady's Slipper

Mountain Lady's Slipper

Mountain Lady’s Slipper ~ cypripedium montanum

May 26, 2018

Mariposa Lily

Filed under: Wildflowers — Tags: , — montucky @ 7:54 pm

Pointedtip Mariposa Lily

Pointedtip Mariposa Lily

Pointedtip Mariposa Lily

Pointedtip Mariposa Lily ~ calochortus apiculatus

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