July 2022. A late alpine season after a particularly wet and cold spring.
The Elwha River restoration has a special place in my heart, as my first independent study site; an incredible and welcoming community of managers, researchers, and volunteers; the place my now-husband and I met; and an incredibly successful restoration project that continues to amaze me as it grows and thrives.
The cottonwood and alder I identified in my study plots as 2-inch seedlings are now towering adolescents. Seeded riverbank lupine is flourishing even in the rocky sediments on the valley floor, and improving the establishment success of many other plant species by decreasing erosion and fixing nitrogen. Driftwood logs — some of which were moved into place by helicopter during the dam removal stage — are acting as nurse logs, providing shelter from the wind and sun. Planted pines and doug firs have settled their roots deep, even in terraces of sediment standing thirty to forty feet above the river. Wildlife small to large is using the space.
Some more photos, mostly from Mills reservoir in June 2022, but also including a few I took in Mills and Aldwell in 2021.
The restoration of the Elwha river has been an impressive collaboration of the Lower Elwha Klallam tribe, Olympic National Park, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, NOAA, USGS, and many more. I’m so honored to have been a tiny cog in this amazing project, and I love getting to return year after year so see it change.
Looking back at 2021, I was surprised at just how many sewing projects I made time for. Sewing definitely became one of my main re-centering activities, especially on cold and wet days (which are frequent in the Pacific Northwest!) A lot of my motivation came from my little kiddo, and I loved being able to make pieces that facilitated her outdoor adventures in all types of weather. Here’s a few of my favorites:
Wool pixie pea coat, with a lady bug lining. I found this small wool piece at the thrift store and had a lot of fun figuring out how to match the plaid stripes and get everything cut from this little piece. Pattern is the Twig + Tale pixie pea coat
One-a-day embroideries I did during an online conference, of some of my favorite species I encountered in Washington this year: Pixie cup lichen, Common loon, Pacific Trillium, and Red dorid nudibranch
I made four shirts for myself this year, including this Twig + Tale shirt in a beautiful Robert Kaufmann yarn-dyed flannel, and some tshirts using a Patterns for Pirates design
I also made two fun twirly dresses for my kiddo using a pattern from Ellie and Mac–one of them in an amazing SPACE DINOSAUR fabric–some stuffed fabric pumpkins for Halloween decor, and finished up a slow-moving embroidery project. And of course it wouldn’t be a proper round-up of 2021 without mentioning the mountain of masks I made! There were leaf masks, cat masks, Halloween masks, Star Wars masks, and even two I made especially to match my outfit for job interviews.
I’m so grateful for the calm and the joy I got from all these projects in this chaotic year.
December 2021–finishing out the year with beautiful snowy peaks and sun-lit valleys at Olympic National Park.
Last summer I tried something different with my photos, keeping a nature journal with notes on the species I saw and places I visited. Over the next few weeks I’ll be uploading those photos here and maybe sharing some of the finished journal pages too
October color along the Elwha river
Enjoying the spring ephemerals and the dappled sunlight in the forest understory. Trillium, lady’s slipper orchid, salmon berry, wild ginger, pinesap, vanilla leaf.
It’s bizarre to see that it’s been almost a year since I last posted anything. An international move, an interstate move, and a new job, with a young family, during a pandemic took just about all my energy. But I have been taking pictures and we are loving being back in familiar surroundings and exploring our local natural areas. To start back up, here’s some photos from our time in California, and a few of the backyard birds we met there.