Gray Rabbitbrush and Lupine in June

Gray Rabbitbrush (aka rubber rabbitbrush) looks like wild sage paintbrushes loaded up densely with vibrant sunshine-colored pigments and left out in the sun to dry.

Not to be outdone, stunning bluish-purple lupine putting on quite a show as well…

These photos were taken June 13th near Bridgeport, WA

Blessings! ~ EK

Achillea millefolium – Common yarrow

Common yarrow – Okanogan-Wanatchee National Forest, June 2021

One of my favorite pastimes is to identify plants from photos I’ve taken while hiking.

Some plants are common and easy to identify; the yarrow pictured above for example.

Other plants are trickier… I’ve got a funky lookin’ Larkspur that’s been giving me the run around for a month, haha.

What’s blooming in your neck of the woods?

I’d love to read about it in the comments 🙂

~ EK

Chicken pesto and a skirted twirl

We packed a cold chicken pesto sandwich, a greek salad, and a couple of bottles of kombucha from the Tonasket Natural Foods Co-op into a lunchbox for just the right moment to pullover and pop the trunk for lunch.

I’ve eaten lots of fancy foods in very nice restaurants over the years, but these humble trunk meals of sandwiches and snacks are actually my favorite.

Standing in the gravel of some rest area between hikes, or on a road trip, quietly synchronized-chewing in blissful satisfaction.


Naturally, after fueling up on some simple nourishing grub, I felt like twirling in the sun.

The birds cheered me on from the trees…

See video below for reference:

Do sandwiches make you twirl, too?

Or is it just me?

~ ~ ~ e k

Fiddlenecks in early June // Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest

Some photos I captured on a walk earlier this month of a plant I was able to later identify as a type of Amsinckia, commonly known as Fiddlenecks.

After a fair amount of comparison and research online, I still wasn’t able to distinguish the exact species. I suspect most likely Amsinckia tessellata or possibly Amsinckia menziesii, but this plant is new to me and the variations are subtle and numerous.

Common fiddleneck is a member of the borage family, aka the forget-me-not family.

Adorable, hairy tendrils growing toward the light…

Hey, that sounds a lot like us fuzzy little humans 🙂

Keep growing! ~ EK


Some Campfire’s Love Poem

Some Campfire's Love Poem

Weary child, as evening 
casts your shadow long
across this pebbled bank

the sun, who held your face 
in daytime, selfless
omnipotent illuminator
who only told you true
for all of your life

who kissed your cheeks
and showed you how
to plant your feet down and
how to lift them up again

weary child, the sun is fading.
Draw near me now in reflection
and be held almost whole
in this unsettling hour.

Elizabeth Keefer, May 2021

Cold and accomplished – first camping trip of the season

Long before I opened my eyes to the calm blue light of tent walls dotted with sunlit glassy raindrops, the honking of geese overhead stirred me to consciousness and a sleepy smile spread across my slightly chapped lips.

First sight of the day, wet tent fabric

These early morning moments are what I camp for.

Waking up in a tent to the smell of wet earth.

Crisp air nips at my cheeks and reminds me of my vitality.

The sounds of animals bustling around me on a thick carpet of damp ponderosa pine needles reminds me I am but one part of a large web of deeply connected beings.

Waking up to a new day alongside non-human siblings – the grasses, the trees, the bugs, the birds, the deer, the rocks. Whew! What a privilege.

looking up inside the tent
out of the warm tent and into the wet cold morning
boots on…
and ready to face the day
sunrise over camp
Foggy sunrise over Lake Roosevelt, May 8th

First camping trip of the year… CHECK!

How beautiful is that fog rolling off the lake? 🙂

Stay curious, friends! ~ EK

Tiny Buttermilk Pancakes in The Wild

My beloved, albeit painfully needy rescue pup woke me up at 3 o’clock Sunday morning to investigate a mysterious sound, again. I’m an all-or-nothing sleeper so once I’m up–that’s it for me. I try to be sympathetic in these moments. How do I teach her which sounds are inconsequential – the clicking of the ice maker in the kitchen – and which sounds might be raccoons rummaging through the kitchen, or aliens beaming up the whole damn house?

I got dressed, washed my face, and brewed myself a hot mug of spiced apple cider. I wrapped up in a blanket and plopped down on the couch in the dark. My mind wandered to the quart of buttermilk idling in the fridge. “Why yes, Stevie,” I said to the dog now contentedly snoring beside me, “buttermilk pancakes do sound good.”

I googled “buttermilk pancakes” and the first recipe to pop up was Perfect Buttermilk Pancakes. I had all the ingredients on hand so I went with it. NYT Cooking recipes tend to be consistently O.K. with a couple of modifications – in this case I added a tablespoon of vanilla and a 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, incorporated the wet and dry ingredients in separate bowls before combining everything together in one large bowl, I let the batter rest at room temperature for nearly an hour, and I opted for avocado oil in a cast iron skillet for perfectly golden pancakes.

While watching the sunrise over frozen hills from my kitchen window, I ate a single perfect pancake, complete with a cartoon quality pat of melting butter and a hefty glug of real maple syrup. I cleaned up while the leftover pancakes cooled, used a cookie cutter to cut them into several small circles, and dusted them with powdered sugar before tossing them into a travel container. I then brewed two thermoses of coffee and patiently waited for K to wake up.


We try to get out for a hike or at least a long walk every weekend.

Bette smiling while squatting halfway up a set of treacherous stone steps

Sunday was crisp and gray, and I layered up in fluorescent knits against the chill.

Close up of wet leaves decomposing on rocks

I’m a creature of the PNW and the smell of wet, rotting leaves soothes me. If I look at this picture, then close my eyes, I can smell them now.

Close up of tiny pancakes in a clear container held between Bette’s knees

Once we reached the peak of our outing, we stopped to sit and enjoy some tiny buttermilk pancakes and hot coffee.

Looking down from Bette’s point of view while sitting on a large rock, her hand is holding an open thermos of coffee and there is an open container of tiny pancakes held between Bette’s knees

I added hot cocoa powder to the coffees; a poor man’s mocha. We quietly ate more pancakes and I audaciously wiped my sticky fingers on the cuff of my pants. Stevie sat inches from my face attempting to showcase her self-mastery and obedience in exchange for a tiny pancake of her very own.

Close up of Bette’s hand holding a pancake slightly larger than a quarter in the foreground in focus, Stevie is sitting obediently in the background out of focus

Of course I obliged, I’m not a monster.

Close up of Bette’s hand holding a pancake slightly larger than a quarter in the foreground out of focus, Stevie is sitting obediently in the background in focus

I’m an equal opportunity hiking guide – everyone gets a pancake at the summit, no questions asked.

Bette posing in front of a stream in a long sleeve purple t-shirt, a pink and brown short sleeve hand-knit stranded colorwork sweater, khaki overalls, a fluorescent yellow wool hat over a pink baseball cap and dark sunglasses

I felt so grounded here by this gushing stream, I took a selfie to commemorate the moment.

Close up of rotting leaves and rocks in a stream

Escaping to nature is the best antidote against the “too muchness” of contemporary life.

The stream doesn’t grind, it flows.

Best xx Bette