Spring is officially here on the Palouse, as temperatures soar to almost 80 degrees and graduation season is upon us. The University of Idaho had its commencement yesterday, though I did not attend. This marks the end of my first year in graduate school, and so far it has been a success. But this summer, I’ll be finishing up some projects in the lab and really hammering out ideas for my own disseration. Of course, the summer is not completely for work. I’ll be planning a few backpacking trips and other expeditions to explore the landscape around me.
The real indicator of Spring are the wildflowers. Erin first noticed the flowers earlier this week on here way home from work, and I have since discovered them in every location. There are little yellow Lilies which I have yet to identify beyond that, Trillium, Heart-leaf Arnica, Ballhead waterleaf, Bluebells, a field of Grass widow, and many more. One of my biggest challenges has been to find a good wildflower guide for the west. In the East, I could use the Newcomb’s guide with great success. Unfortunately, there isn’t anything like it for the western U.S. In addition, the West seems to be broken up into several sections, and we sit in that over lap of the Northwest and Rocky Mountain regions. In the bird world, we have our swallow back. We’ve had tree swallows for a couple of weeks, but I saw my first barn swallow this weekend. The hummingbirds have also returned. I’m looking forward to a season full of warm weather and time that I can spend outside.