|Old Guest Cabin|
What a different a week makes! The hills and valleys of Wahkeena are now blanketed with 5 inches of powdery snow and the temperatures dancing above and below 0 degrees. The dark green foliage to the left of the cabin in the picture above is native rhododendron, Rhododendron maximum. Rhododendron has an interesting way of dealing with the extreme cold temperatures. As the temperature drops the leaves curl tighter and tighter. Think about what we humans do when we get cold- wrapping our arms around our body in an effort to reduce our surface area and retain more heat. (Interesting scientific fact- there really is no such thing as “cold” only an absence of heat!) Because they are evergreen plants, the rhododendrons are reducing the surface area of their leaves in an attempt to limit loss of water. (It’s hard to drink more water when it’s frozen in the ground!)
|Curled rhododendron leaves w/flower bud
While checking out the rhododendrons, I also noticed some ice formations by the enclosed spring in the sandstone rocks near the old guest cabin.
Interesting birds at the feeders include a female Eastern Towhees and Yellow-bellied sapsucker and just moments ago an Eastern cottontail rabbit came to fill its belly…….sorry birdies!