Collect a Cloud Today

by Bianca Perla on April 14, 2012 4 Comments

WRITTEN BY: KATHRYN TRUE

clouds over Colvos 2

April sky over Colvos Passage

It’s hard not to notice a spring sky. Like throw pillows of the gods, towering piles of cumulus clouds dominate the horizon. Or they loom ominously overhead like bulbous gray zeppelins, warning us not to get too attached to the parts of the sky that remain blue. I love how the sun catches cloud edges—creating a literal silver lining, while the shadowy undersides do a poor job of hiding their “precipitatory” intent. And who can resist the flying-saucer-like, weather-predicting lenticulars that cap Mt. Rainier on pre-rain days? As the saying goes, “If Mt. Rainier puts on her bonnet, it’s going to rain, doggone it!”

Water floating on air

What are clouds? Most commonly, they form when air rises and expands at higher altitudes. The rising air carries water in a gas form, or water vapor. When its temperature ...

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Get Your Green On With Nettles

by Bianca Perla on February 21, 2012 9 Comments

WRITTEN BY: KATHRYN TRUE

All around us myriad shades of green are nudging out the gray-brown wash of winter. Buds, blossoms, needles and leaves are unfurling with time-lapse-camera speed, responding to nature’s unseen alarm. For those in the know, one of the most exciting of the re-emerging plants are stinging nettles (Urtica dioica) —famous for their sting and often under-appreciated for their powerful nutritional offerings.

 nettle and glove

Most people prefer to harvest nettles while wearing gloves.

“Nettles are one of the very first signs of spring, and one of my favorites,” says island ethnobotanist Erin Kenny. “Everything is starting to open up and we’re on this trajectory—there’s no going back. It’s a hopeful sign that coincides with the birds becoming more active.”

Nutritional wow factor

Nettles are high in iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, amino acids and vitamins—notably A and C. Anecdotally, Kenny believes nettles can help ...

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