J is for...

Juniper!  We moved into our home in Bend exactly 2 years ago today.  It was just before Memorial Day weekend and it was cold and windy and I think we got hail.  Just about what the weather will be like today.  I remember at the time thinking, oh my gosh what have gotten ourselves into! 

Well, today I'm thrilled to be able to live here and the junipers are part of why I like it so much.  We live on the west side of town, which is slightly closer to the mountains and the national forest.  So, we have a lot of pine trees.  We also have a few junipers, including this one here.  This is right outside my kitchen window, so I keep a few bird feeders there (hard to see in this photo).

Where we are, the elevation is a bit higher and we get more rain and snow too.  As you go east across town you get more deserty.  It's drier and the pines give way to juniper and sage. 

Well, what's so special about juniper?  They are not the prettiest trees to look at.  Kind of scraggly.  But the scent is so intense, especially after a rain.  We've been having a lot of rain lately (thunderstorms too, which I love). 

My best juniper scent memory is after flying home from a trip last fall.  We'd been gone a long time and I was so ready to come home.  We landed in a rainstorm and, since our little airport doesn't have jetways, you have to walk down the steps right into whatever weather you have.  As soon as the plane door was opened there was a burst of juniper and sage scent.  It was amazing and the first time I felt truly glad to be home, here in the high desert!