Share where you live... sunrise, sunset

The bright apricot sky woke me up this morning. I gathered up my clothes and phone and book and headed into the bathroom, threw open the window, leaned out, and took pictures until the colors began to fade.

Even though our bedroom faces east, it's hard to get good sunrise photos from our house. From one side of the valley to the other, there are lots of trees in the way, which means not much open sky. But I've never tried a photo from the bathroom before.


Chocolate, and more chocolate...

Today we split up our errands. DW took his mom to the dentist, and I gassed up the truck and hit a couple of quilt shops. I have a notion to make nothing but Kim Diehl quilts this year (that is, besides a mystery quilt for my guild, a block exchange, and finishing up 2-3 almost-done quilts). I found what I needed for the KD quilts at my favorite quilt store in Des Moines, and at another shop in my town, I found the perfect batik fabrics for the mystery quilt.

As I walked out I glanced down the street, and spotted my Pilot, which Dave had taken this morning. It was parked outside a fabulous bakery and cafe; I figured my hubby was having lunch with his mom.

So I jaywalked (shhh, don't tell) across this quiet street in the historic part of town, and pushed open the door. They were sitting at a table near the door, and smiled when I pulled out a chair. DW said, "I got you something" and held out a white bakery box. Inside, a gorgeous big piece of chocolate cake.

After dinner, I set the cake out on a favorite square plate from Spode, got out two silver dessert forks, and cut the cake in half. This is the first piece of cake I've had in years... and it was amazing. A thick layer of chocolate mousse sandwiched between two chocolate sponge cakes, covered with chocolate ganache, with toasted almond slices on the outside. Oh, and two raspberries on top. Even my hubbie raved about it, and chocolate is never his first choice for dessert.


Share where you live... sidewalk art

As far as sidewalk art goes, this is pretty spectacular. And it's permanent: a mural added to the local skate park a year or so ago. I wish I'd had a chance to go to Redmond over the weekend; it was their annual Chalk Fest, with lots of invited artists scratching their art onto sidewalks.
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This is #4 on the @twistedroadstudio summer photography scavenger hunt


First sounds of autumn...

I went out early today to work in the yard. It was overcast and cool, and even though my task was chopping through matted roots of an overgrown lemon balm, it was pleasant to be outside in the garden.

While I worked, I heard a familiar sound of autumn: Canada geese arriving in our little valley. They love the ponds next door and across the county road, and we're a stone's throw from a creek valley. Lots of water, lots of food... the geese arrive late summer, and stay until spring.


Share Where You Live... farm stand

Visit a Farmers Market/Farm Stand - favorite fruit or vegetable | #16

Carpenito Bros. is by far my favorite farm stand.  I've been going there since I moved to this town in 2015, but it's been there much longer than that.

More than 50 years ago, brothers Mike and Dan Carpinito started growing vegetables on their family farm. Starting with pumpkins and corn, they sold to locals passing by on what is today Central Avenue in Kent. As interest grew, they gradually expanded into other vegetables, then built a roadside farm stand.

As their business grew, so did their dreams. they acquired more land in the famous Kent Valley, some of the most fertile farmland in the state (even the nation). Today, Mike and Dan, together with their sons, grow more than 40 varieties of farm-fresh vegetables on more than 800 acres. They also grow and sell plants of all kinds starting in the spring, topsoil and beauty bark (manufactured on site), and Christmas trees, before closing down for the winter. The towering piles of copper-red bark are a good landmark for finding the farm stand.

One of my favorite sights in the summertime is a John Deere tractor and trailer, hauling produce from the farms at the south end of town, to the farm stand at the north end.

Today I came for end-of-season perennials, and vegetables for the fridge. Like a 9-in. cabbage for a buck, and a huge head of Romaine for 75 cents. From June through September, this is the only place I buy vegetables, berries, and fruit.

My photos show one of my favorite flowers in many varieties: the hydrangea. And one of my favorite vegetables, cabbage.
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This is #16 on the @twistedroadstudio summer photography scavenger hunt



The past six months I've felt like I was on a pendulum... swinging back and forth, stopping here and there, always landing on the one thing that felt more urgent than anything else I should be doing.

In the spring, it was finding balance between clearing out the gardens and quilting. The gardens won out for a while. The early perennials were already up: the forget-me-nots, the orange poppies, the bachelor's buttons, the pasture daisies, and lots of snowdrops. It was the perfect time to clear away any weeds before the summer plants started to push through. And the lilacs... oh, my. The four shrubs were loaded with blooms, and smelled heavenly.

And then quilting won, because I needed to finish up my show quilts by the end of May. For a solid month, I sat with a quilt on my lap every evening, hand quilting or embroidering or binding. And every nice day, I was looking out the windows, wanting to be outside.

And for that same month, I watched it rain, then shine, then rain. I was grateful for the rain, because quilting had to be the priority. But what I really wanted was to be outside, weeding and edging and pruning, keeping an eye out for the perennials pushing up through the bark into the light. 
So I breathed a huge sigh of relief the day I turned in my quilts. Time to garden!

Somehow we found time for some weekends away: Tri-Cities with cycling friends, Port Angeles for two winery weekends, Whidbey Island for a family wedding. Fun... but getting distracted from the yard and flowers was also frustrating.

Another long weekend of rain gave me a chance to wrap up another project: making a list of a huge pile of household items, clothes, and books (lots of books) headed for Goodwill. I've been clearing out drawers and closets, trying to downsize. And everything has landed in our small studio apartment (out of sight, out of mind).

And then, back to the garden. The newly planted dahlias grew fast, and there's much to learn about growing these flowers. The farm stands and nurseries started putting plants on sale, and a few came home with me to be added to the perennial garden before fall. And the weeding never ends. Never.

And neither do household chores, laundry, grocery shopping, cooking. But we won't go there today.


Keeper's cottage...

Just south of Dash Point is another point of land that juts into Puget Sound. This one is in Pierce County, called Brown's Point. There's been a lighthouse there since 1887, reduced now to a caged light on a concrete platform. I wish there was a beautiful lighthouse structure there, but there never has been, so I don't pine.

But even though there is no beautiful lighthouse here, there are other beautiful buildings in this small park. There's a cottage for the lighthouse keeper, and a gable building where the water supply was housed. There's also a building that used to store oil for the light, and a boathouse for a rescue lifeboat.

The Points Historical Society rents out the Keeper's Cottage, and operates two museums near the lighthouse: the History Center has changing exhibits about the history of the area, and the Boat House Museum has a replica surf boat and maritime artifacts on display.

The grounds have beautiful gardens, taken care of by volunteers of the historical society. Mid-summer is the perfect time to come for a visit, as the gardens are at the peak of their glory.

There are a lot of hearts in this picture

The park has broad green lawns spreading down to the shore, and there's a beach for surf fishing or kite flying or spreading out a blanket and having a picnic Today there were a dozen people standing in the surf, fishing. And there was a young family laughing and playing on the beach. I could have stayed here for hours. Next time I'll come near the end of the day, and stay to watch the light change, watch the day darken to dusk, and the sky turn color with the setting sun.

There are also beautiful views of  Puget Sound and Tacoma from this park, too. But today, the flowers grabbed all my attention.


Sea of yellow...

DW's been consumed with the barn project, so the mowing has taken a back seat. And that's good for me... the back pasture and the orchard are awash with bright yellow and green, with the dark backdrop of a forest of evergreens.

I waded out into the yellow, sat down, and focused on the forest of buttercups. I walked around and looked through the viewfinder, looking for photos, and finally making my way to the old orchard and the orchard pasture between the farmhouse and the pumphouse.

I've always wanted to plant foundation gardens around the farmhouse, but there's a deep clay layer next to the house, and plants (and grass) don't grow well there. But the lawn, that's another story. Just go out twenty feet from the house, and the grass grows lush and green.


Kissed by the rain...

It rained today, so I took my camera out into the garden, looking for water droplets. As beautiful as flowers are on any ordinary day, they are so much more lovely when kissed by the rain.


Quilt room...

I love my guest room. It's nestled in the dormer of my 1923 farmhouse, cozy and comfortable. It's also become the quilt room. Not where I create quilts, but it's where my collection of antique quilts lives. And a bear made from an antique quilt. And a stack of antique yellow suitcases, watched over by a Boyds bear (my whole collection of collectible bears lives in the walk-in closet off the guest room).

It's also where I display the tiny hand-made quilts I love to make from orphan quilt blocks. The blocks either side of the hearts quilt are orphans; the hearts quilt is a panel I bought in the late 1970s. On a visit to me in the Tri-Cities, my sister taught me how to hand quilt, using this panel. My passion for quilting had its roots with her, and I am very grateful.

My ribbon-winning quilt, Field of Flowers, was always destined for the guest room. The colors fit perfectly in this room, with the cream-colored bead-board walls and pale green carpet.

It took Madison exactly five minutes... maybe six... to discover the new addition, and make herself at home.