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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

What's Red When It's Green?

Do you know this old riddle? The answer is blackberries, only right now they are very, very green! This year we appear to have a bumper crop unfortunately. Lots of people love them~me not so much. They are a real nuisance in the garden and very hard to control.

As Marguerite said on her blog, you almost need body armor to get rid of the canes. Some of those "little" buggers are nearly an inch thick! And wicked! Kids used to cut through our yard from the schoolbus stop; they don't anymore.

Bees love them. We are quite sure blackberries make up the infrastructure of our state. Little did we know when we had our backyard cleared of the cottonwood trees that blackberries were lurking beneath the soil, waiting for some sunshine. And now the battle continues. They don't die back in our winters either; they just rest until it gets warm, gathering strength for the next season's assault. It's a losing battle. Every fall the people from the neighborhood come and pick a few thankfully, but not me. I'm chicken....all those sharp thorns. No thank you. I'll stick to apple pie!

On a positive note, I do like the blackberry color and found some yarn to make another dishcloth, this time for a birthday gift. The party theme is ladybugs and thanks to Dee, I found a great pattern.

Now while I've been grousing about blackberries, the folks in my former hometown have a real reason to complain. Last Thursday they had around 7 inches of rain in a very short time, flooding the whole village. We only heard that the airport was closed for 24 hours. Yesterday's email from a friend included a link to a video that showed what happened, and Dick found another link to some photos. Perhaps you read about the floods in southern Wisconsin? Take a look; you'll be as amazed and humbled by the power of nature as I was. (I'm not sure though whether these guys used their best judgment in taking this video; however, I'm glad they did.)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Into the Woods~City Style

Another beautiful day, and we decided to find one of the trails in our Footloose Around Puget Sound book instead of spending the whole day working in our yard. We didn't find Goldilocks or Red Riding Hood, but we did find the trail from Cowan Park to Ravenna Park and marveled that we were really still in the city! In the early 2000's the city decided to "daylight" Ravenna Creek, and let it out of the sewer pipes with wonderful results.

We ambled down the service road which borders the creek and then explored the North and South Trails. We saw lots of people walking and cycling but no wildlife except for a squirrel and this wasp nest.

The woods were filled with swordferns,

tall evergreens, reaching for the sky,

and hollow trees. Believe it or not, this one still had leaves at the very top!

The trail passed under two signs of the city like this one.

On the way back to our car, we decided to try and find the "green bridge".

Success! It's no longer a thoroughfare, but rather a walking path, high above the trail.

What a nice way to spend a summer afternoon!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Twenty-five Years Later.......

Normally we can forget our ages, but not so this past weekend. Our older daughter's Girl Scout troop had a 25th reunion of their trip to Europe in 1985. And it was just before the event, that it hit me: the girls are now about the age we parents were then! Here they are sans cell phones and laptops, heading off for several weeks in Scandinavia and England. We did not hear from them while they were gone. No one could even imagine that now, could they?

And here they are in the same order last Saturday, approximately 25 years later. Three girls, er, young women are missing, our daughter one of them. She was here in April for her sister's wedding and couldn't make another trip now.

Can you find her in the first photo?

Oh, and by the way, all we parents agreed, only the girls have aged! ;)

Friday, July 16, 2010


Once in a while a trek in the woods turns up something unusual. These aspen leaves are covered with what looks like insect trails, what kind, I don't know. Interestingly enough the trails were only on the topside of the leaves, but they were on lots of trees in that area. I wonder what that means for the health of the forest?

This is probably the most perfect example of a "nurse log" that we've ever seen. Occasionally a seed sprouts and grows on a dead log, and the log usually decomposes, leaving interesting results. When this stump rots, I wonder whether the tree will be able to support itself? In the meantime, lots of kids will have fun exploring its nooks and crannies.

It always amazes me that tall trees have such tiny beginnings. I love Douglas fir pinecones and the way the seeds peek out like little tails.

The perpendicular lines of the strata in this area were intriguing and so was the explanation. These rocks have been pushed up from the ocean floor! Can you even imagine? The trail here is probably around 5000 feet above sea level. Wow!

Despite our wanderings, I have finished a few small projects. I'm also working on a couple of sweaters which I hope to have done by September. We'll see.

A UFO scarf of Moonlight Mohair that had been languishing in my knitting bag.
Inspired by the Fourth of July.
Small but challenging..... I did not do it in the car!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Flora and Fauna in the Olympic National Park

Last Friday the skies were beautifully blue, so we dropped everything, hopped in the car, and went to Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic National Park near Port Angeles, WA.

As you can see, we saw lots of deer and, for the first time ever, several sets of fawns. Black-tailed deer of all sizes were strolling around everywhere, even in the parking lots!

We also saw this guy. It's not a crow on steriods; it's his relative, a raven, and if you think crows are loud, you should hear his screech.

Summer is slowly coming to our mountains, and the snow is melting. (We just heard that the snow is still deep at the lodge on Mount Rainier.)

On the trail we took up Hurricane Hill, the path was mostly clear, and flowers were blooming everywhere. This was our first time to see purple violets, creeping phlox, and stonecrop blooming in the wild.

We didn't quite make it to the top of the "hill," but as we headed down and back to the car, we had some good views of the lower part of the trail as well as the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Once again we were reminded of the diverse geography of the Evergreen State!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Flowers in the Woods

Tucked amongst the undergrowth in the Canadian wilderness, waiting to be discovered, were lots of wildflowers, and we enjoyed finding them. Lupine added a lovely touch to the already spectacular scenery.

We also saw bunchberry, which is a relative of dogwood, spirea, twinflower, columbine, pine-drop, paintbrush, and yellow lilies.

The roar and splashing of the waterfalls are hard to ignore, but just as lovely were these little spots of color tucked in along the paths to the falls!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Back from the Wilderness

We came home late yesterday, all the way from Clearwater, B. C., too tired to stay up for the fireworks. Actually explosions and booms were going on all around us in the neighborhood which was terrifying the kitties. Our trip to Canada was great! The weather cooperated, at least on Saturday, so we could actually do a little bit of "hiking" in the Wells Grey Provencial Park where there are an abundance of beautiful waterfalls. While the nearby mountains are somewhat flattened due to being formed by volcanic eruptions under glaciers, the forested area is sliced by deep canyons and dotted with impressive waterfalls that were filled with rushing water. The sound of roaring water filled the air.

MOV00794, originally uploaded by jatshaw1941.

In addition to lots of water, we saw all sorts of wildflowers, and I will post more of their photos soon. Dick had a tough time catching this foraging butterfly but managed quite nicely, don't you think? We spent the first night of our trip in Vancouver, B.C., with the intention of visiting Granville Island on Thursday to see Kirsten Chursinoff's work at the Craft House Gallery. What we didn't expect was the volume of traffic onto the island, complicated with a Canada Day parade. So, we decided to visit the gallery on the way back home and did so yesterday. By then most of her pieces had been sold, although luckily they were still on display. We had fun admiring her work as well as that of other artists. Thanks to the folks at the gallery, we also found a yarn shop, and I came home with a skein of cotton and silk in my favorite color: red! For our return trip, we decided to cross the border at Blaine rather than Lynden, and that cost us over an hour. However, we did get to see the wonderful Peace Arch as well as a beautiful floral flag, a grand conclusion for a fun-filled getaway. I hope you enjoyed this holiday as well!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Happy Fourth of July!

Since we'll be heading back from a few days in British Columbia, I wanted to be sure to wish everyone a grand celebration on the Fourth. Speaking of grand, what plot do you suppose these two are hatching?

Wouldn't it be nice to sleep like this? (Thanks for the photos, J and M!)

One of our quilting friends is having a tough time at the moment as her DH is very ill, so we decided to make her a caring quilt. Here are my contributions....all with fabric from my stash. The prints were a group of precut 5" squares. We weren't given any colors except off-white for the background and no reds or pinks. Hope these are OK! The pieced heart pattern is from Your First Quilt Book or It Should Be and a good reminder what accuracy means. Accuracy is NOT my strength unfortunately, so this one is my second attempt.

Have a fabulous weekend!