Saturday, March 26, 2016

Wasatch Wildflowers Series - 6

Calochortus nutalli, Sego Lily. Family Liliaceae. The Sego Lily is the State Flower of Utah. Mormon Pioneers depended on the bulbous root for subsistence during the early settlement years. The plant was used extensively by indian tribes across the Western US. Other members of the Calchortus genus are found throughout the area and are cultivated for their elegant floral display.

Caltha leptosepala, White Marsh Marigold. Family Ranunculaceae (Buttercup). This lovely flower is found in marshy wet places in subalpine locales throughout the Rocky Mountain region.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Wasatch Wildflower Series - 5

Rudbeckia hirta var., the popular Black-Eyed Susan.  Family Asteraceae.  Cultivated in gardens all over the world.  These were photographed by my son Thomas, as his shadow shares the glory.

Astragalus utahensis. Utah Milkvetch. Family Fabaceae. Extracts are used for medicine. Also known generally as "locoweed", it can have toxic effects on browsing livestock.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Wasatch Wildflowers Series - 4

Erigeron utahensis, Utah Fleabane. Family Asteraceae.

Arnica cordifolia, Heartleaf Arnica. Family Asteraceae. Common in shady undisturbed coniferous forest. Aromatic extract has been used for medicine.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Wasatch Wildflower Series - 3

Epilobium angustifolium, Fireweed, Willowherb. Family Onagraceae.

This graceful beauty of forest lands is often the first to populate burned-over areas.

Erigeron utahensis, Utah Fleabane. Family Asteraceae.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Reiterating: Get Informed, Get Involved

After finding this counsel in article from the February Ensign magazine, I feel somewhat vindicated in my new avocation in madness.

I am aspiring to get involved in political activism.  Even though I passionately hate to be involved in public affairs.  I am a very private person by nature.  It goes against my natural inclination to force myself into public performances.  I have always preferred to sit in the back.  I gravitate toward the back of the chapel, the back seat of the bus, and the less-noticed bystander on the edges of the crowd.  I long for the freedom of isolation that comes with wilderness places, shunned by the thundering herd.

The Ensign article explores the idea,


I do not have any particular talents that distinguish me, other than plenty of time on my hands.

So far, only a few people have honestly questioned my sanity, and nobody has questioned my sincerity.

The article asserts,
The exaltation and happiness of any community goes hand in hand with the knowledge possessed by the people.  (Joseph Smith)
The man who cannot listen to an argument which opposes his views either has a weak position or is a weak defender of it. No opinion that cannot stand discussion or criticism is worth holding. And it has been wisely said that the man who knows only half of any question is worse off than the man who knows nothing of it. He is not only one sided, but his partisanship soon turns him into an intolerant and a fanatic. In general it is true that nothing which cannot stand up under discussion and criticism is worth defending.  (As quoted by James E. Talmage)

As we educate ourselves on issues and decide a position to take, it’s important to seek the Lord’s will. Once we have studied an issue thoroughly—including the scriptures and the words of our leaders—we can then pray about our decision with confidence that the Lord will guide us. The Savior told Oliver Cowdery, “But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right” (D&C 9:8).

There is nothing new or startling about such principles.  Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, was concerned that the people must be educated to qualify them for the responsibilities of self-government.
I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society, but the people themselves: and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is, not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education.  This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.  (Thomas Jefferson)

And one of the best-known quotes from Joseph Smith, in answer to a question about how he managed the government of such a large body.

I teach them correct principles, and they govern themselves.  (Joseph Smith)

I have discovered a mission to be all about helping to learn and teach and advocate for correct principles of self-government.

And finally in our efforts, we should always keep in mind,
Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.  (2 Kings 6:16)

Wasatch Wildflowers Series - 2

Achilea millefolium, Yarrow. In the family Asteraceae. A classic herbal medicine source, the flowers are a splendid array.

Agastache urticifolia, Horse Mint. Mint Family (Labiateae). Strongly aromatic perennial. Some find the strong perfume disagreeable.  When I hiked the high elevations where this species was common, I would put a few blossoms in my pocket.   The pleasing odor is half the point.

Wasatch Wildflowers Series - 1

I have been posting flower photos to Facebook.  Just occurred to me, might just as well copy them here too.  These are flowers from around the Wasatch region  and elsewhere.

The above lovely is Asclepius speciosa, Common Milkweed. Family Asclepiadaceae. Milkweed is attractive forage for nectar-gathering insects, especially the Monarch butterfly. Used to be common as a yard weed but populations have been much reduced by urban sprawl.

Please let them grow in your flower beds.  The the bees and butterflies love them.

Aconitum columbianum, Monkshood, Wolfsbane. A beautiful but deadly member of the Ranunculaceae. Leaves and root are the source of Aconite, a virulent neurotoxin.

Don't eat this.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Utah Politics

SALT LAKE CITY — President Thomas S. Monson and his counselors in the LDS First Presidency are counseling Utah church members to participate in the state's political caucuses on March 22.
"We are concerned that citizen participation rates in Utah are among the lowest in the nation, and we urge greater involvement by members of the church in the 2016 election cycle," the First Presidency wrote in a letter dated Feb. 17.
Utah priesthood leaders have been instructed to read the letter during a sacrament meeting in every one of the state's congregations of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Sacrament meeting is the faith's regular Sunday worship service.
The First Presidency letter also asked Utah stake, mission, district and branch presidents and bishops not to schedule any church meetings on Tuesday, March 22, so members would be free to participate. Precinct caucus meetings for all registered political parties will be held that day.
"Our communities and our state are best served when Utah citizens fully engage in the political process through caucus meetings, primaries and other political mechanisms," the letter said.
The caucuses are run by political parties. Caucus participants will be able to vote that night in the presidential nomination race. The outcome will determine which candidates get the state's support at the national conventions this summer.
Democrats must attend their neighborhood caucus meetings to vote for a presidential nominee. Republicans can attend their caucus or vote online.
The church's letter was neutral.
"It is important to remember that engaging in the election process is both a privilege and a significant responsibilty regardless of one's political inclinations," the letter said, "and that principles compatible with the gospel may be found in the platforms of the various political parties."
The First Presidency has regularly made similar appeals in the past. The church maintains politically neutralityin matters of party politics but reserves the right to speak, "in a nonpartisan way, on issues that it believes have significant community or moral consequences or that directly affect the interests of the church."
The letter was signed by Presidents Monson, Henry B. Eyring and Dieter F. Uchtdorf.

Note:  I am going.