dragon's mouth orchid

This is Arethusa bulbosa, or the aptly and poetically named "dragon's mouth" orchid. It is an amazing and beautiful little orchid, both because of its stunning hot pink with a yellow center, and its shape. I found this one about 2 weeks ago, growing on top of a sphagnum moss bog between Dissapointment and Jordan lakes in the boundary waters canoe area. I was slowly canoeing by the edge of the floating sphagnum mat, admiring the pitcher plants, when the hot pink caught my attention. I photographed this species once before in Wisconsin, but this was the first time I have seen it in Minnesota.

stemless lady slipper

This is the most common of the "lady slipper" orchids in Minnesota, Cypripedium acaule, or stemless lady slipper. I found this one growing on the shore of an island in Disappointment Lake in the boundary waters canoe area. I was fishing from the canoe and looked up, and there it was on the shore! It's the one and only time I've ever seen this plant growing in the wild. This flower is not the state flower of MN - that's the showy lady slipper and I am still looking for that one!

small white lady slipper

This is Cypripedium candidum, or small white lady slipper. I photographed it growing in Carver County. This isn't the first time I have found this species. I have photographed it in 4 different places around the twin cities metro area. It is much smaller than it appears. Each white "slipper" is about the size of the fingernail in your pinky.

new orchids

One of my life-goals is to find and photograph each of the 42 orchid species which can be found growing wild in the state of Minnesota. As an amateur botanist and amateur photographer, I fully expect that this will take me decades. There's nothing really special about finding an orchid. The fun lies in the adventure - it's like a treasure hunt. Orchids are my needles and the wilds of Minnesota are my haystack. In the past 2 weeks, I have added 3 more to my list, bringing my total now to 14 species.

new blog

I started a new blog for my mother-in-law's golden retreiver kennel. Check it out: http://rollingoaksgoldens.blogspot.com
Samuel Sean was born on March 24th, a healhy 7 lbs. 13 oz. He is the new joy in our life!

37 weeks

it's been a long time...

... but I'm back. I've been aweful busy, and have a had a pretty good reason to not have written in a while (that reason weighed abou 7 lbs. 13 oz.)


Can you read this?

Can you read this?

Olny srmat poelpe can.

I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd
waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid,
aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't
mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny
iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the
rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll
raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid
deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.
Amzanig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!


don't waste... your cancer

I am blessed by the faithful teaching of God's grace and truth. One of those servants that I am most thankful for is John Piper, here in Minneapolis. Although I do not belong to his church and have only heard him preach personally a couple of times, his life of preaching and teaching have affected me greatly. Our church was started by some folks who came from Bethlehem Baptist in Minneapolis, so there is a spiritual legacy there. Desiring God Ministries has a radio program which I have heard occasionally. There is also an athletic legacy. I have read and enjoyed a few of Piper's books.
John Piper had surgery a couple of weeks ago on his prostate cancer. His website posted about the situation, and have some very good words on the subject from pastor Piper:
"Cancer is not wasted when it is healed by God. He gets the glory and that is why cancer exists."

a very touching story

I love a good story. This one from ESPN.com is about a high school basketball player named Jason MacElwain.

It took four minutes. Four measly minutes for high school senior Jason McElwain to morph from a relatively unknown student manager of the Greece Athena basketball team into a nationwide inspiration.

In those 240 seconds, the 5-foot-6 kid with autism, in his first-ever appearance in a high school game, scored 20 points and tied a school record with six 3-pointers.
Read the whole article and watch a video HERE.

A lot about J-Mac reminds me of my little sister (in-law) Amy, who has Down Syndrome. She really is just like all the other kids, and she has an athletic streak about her too. I would not be surprised if some day she is a special olympics swimming champion -- or homecoming queen -- because all of her classmates really care for her, just like they would any other friend as cool as Amy.


a minnesota predator

The pitcher plant (Sarracenia purpurea) is a plant native to the wet and boggy places of Minnesota. It is unique in that it is a carniverous plant; in other words, it likes to eat meat. Don't worry - the pitcher plant isn't a danger to small children or pets - its usual prey is ants. Insects are attracted to the plant, and fall or crawl into the "pitcher" shaped structure. The pitcher fills with rain water, which becomes acidic and digests the bugs so that the nutrients are absorbed by the plant. Pitcher plants grow in acidic bog environments, where the pH is often as low as 3. It is a very nutrient poor environment, so the pitcher is designed to supplement what the plant can produce through photosynthesis.

I love pitcher plants. They are really bizzare looking, and are not easy to find. They grow along with lots of other cool plants like orchids. I really want to get a few of them growing in my bog garden.

dreaming of spring

Its the time of the year when I begin dreaming of spring. Usually that means thinking about which places I want to visit to see the blooming woodland wildflowers and guessing where and when the crappies will be biting. This year I am looking forward to building a bog garden in my back yard.

Last fall I got a used kiddie swimming pool which I buried to that the top of it is level with the ground. Once our ground thaws, I am going to fill it with a mix of clean sand and dried peat moss. I am going to connect my rain gutter down spout to the pool, so that it stays wet most of the time. This will create the perfect environment to grow some of my favorite plants - if it works as planned! The photo above is a pitcher plant (Sarracenia purpurea). I also hope to grow some orchids, sphagnum moss, sedges, and other rare plants.


marfa lights

marfa marfa marfa

I was in between the old and the new jobs in October, and my wife and I decided to go to Texas and visit my cousin. The thing that made it really fun is that we took my 96-tear old grandmother with us. All 3 of us had wanted to visit Kate at her new place in Marfa, Texas for some time, and my abilitiy to go without using vacation time made it very convenient.

Grandma Rose was the best of travel companions. We were like the 3 amigos. I don't think any one of us would have gone on the trip if one of the other 3 hadn't. Kate is a sculptor and recently rennovated an old gas station into her studio and living space, and it was very fun to see.

One of the highlights for me was a personal encounter with the Marfa Lights. The three of us, Kate, my aunt, and Kate's brother drove out on the lonely highway east of Marfa at about 11:00 one night at the chance that we might see them. TxDOT build a really nice "observatory station" at the side of the road. We walked out to the viewing platform, and almost immediately detected the strange lights on the horizon. They were like little radio tower lights that danced around, changed colors, moved rapidly, appeared and disappered - all from out in the middle of nowhere in the Chihuahuan Desert. The phenomenon is unexplained and has been observerd for at least a hundred years. It was very, very cool.



It's been a long time since I posted. The last couple of months have been very eventful, both good and bad. Maybe the most eventful and emotioal couple of months in my life, so far. I became quite discontent with my then job, before searching for a new one. The Gophers collapsed (as per usual) and Laurence Maroney didn't win the Heisman. I got a sweet new job. I went on a wonderful, once in a lifetime vacation with my grandma. My wife is pregnant, getting closer and closer to delivering our baby. Some friends of mine from college were tragically killed. Some hard things have happened at our chrch. 2006 feels like it is going to be the best year ever. It feel refreshing to be in a somewhat new place in my life, and I am looking forward to the things to come.


moving on

today is the last day for me at my current job. it is going to be a difficult and awkward day. next week i start at a new company.

Lord, thank you for all of the gifts you have graciously given to me. Thank you for my health, for my job, and for the ability you have given me to work and provide for my family. Please give me patience and help me to finish today diligently. Thank you for your word, and for reminding me that I am your servant even when I am at my job. Help me to glorify you in what I do and to honor your Name in front of my co-workers.