7.20.2015

The not-so-baby buck

This guy started hanging around the farm a couple of years ago, first with a small doe, and last year, all alone. I spotted him today, rustling around under the big cedar tree that overhangs our patio. When I spotted him again, he and a doe were snoozing in the old orchard.



I'm always glad to see deer on our place, but I always wonder what my neighbors think. Especially Lucy, who has gorgeous gardens on her acre lot. And Jim, who has planted most of his two-plus acres.

7.19.2015

On a hot summer day...

A black cat among roses, 
phlox, lilac-misted under a quarter moon,
the sweet smells of heliotrope and night-scented stock.
The garden is very still.
It is dazed with moonlight,
contented with perfume...” 
― Amy Lowell


I have wilted in the heat, but the garden hasn't. Early this morning I pulled weeds and watered, then retreated to the house. After spending the afternoon in front of the fan, working on a quilt and writing, we headed out to find a few geocaches. We struck out on three level 5 caches (the most difficult), then hoped for dinner and a beer at the Milton. But after a very slow day, they closed early. So we went to another favorite spot, The Chalet in Puyallup. An Irish Death took care of the heat, and we had a late supper watching the colors of the sunset shining on Mount Rainier.

7.18.2015

Finch for breakfast


We had a late breakfast at Mom's Kitchen this morning, and we were just finishing up our coffee when the waitress started laughing and pointing toward the door. I turned around and looked, just as a finch strolled through the door and right up to the counter.

When we left a few minutes later, she was happily munching on the fragments of a slice of bread. When we drove out, she was taking crumbs from the fingers of one of the customers.

7.12.2015

More Ireland is coming...


It's been amazingly warm for June the past couple of weeks, so I've turned my back on the garden and outside chores. Instead, I've focused on things I can do while sitting in front of a fan, or in the wine cellar (always cool). I even rearranged my big freezer!

More fun was returning to the quilt that's been up on the design wall for more than a year. I've steadily finished blocks for this queen-sized sampler quilt, and only have seven more blocks to finish.

But our bathroom remodel beckons, and the weather has cooled down, so the garden needs me, too.

I will upload some photos from the past couple of weekends, but then for a few days, I won't be posting any new blogs or photos.

I'll catch up soon, I promise!

7.06.2015

Green on green, with sheep

I've been thinking a lot about Ireland during this heat wave. While our grass dries up in the heat, I think about fields of green punctuated with white. I swear it cools me down, just a little.



7.01.2015

Sun Top


Today was a two mountain day. A day of exploring around Mount Rainier National Park, with a small side trip toward Mount Adams.

The day was partly about escaping the heat by heading into the mountains, and partly about finishing up the 25 caches of the Rainier100 challenge. It was a perfect day.

We went to see the Wilkeson coke ovens, then drove up the Mowich Lake Road, something we haven't done in years. We did some hiking on the Pacific Crest Trail, checked out an archeological site in a cave, and found a new-to-us waterfall.


But by far the best thing we did was drive to the end of the Sun Top lookout road. Oh, my... what a trip! The road climbs from WA-410 at the White River, up and up to the top of an old volcano, 3000+ feet above the valley. It's a spectacular, vertigo-inducing drive up, with the sky getting closer and the trees falling lower, until you come out on the last switchback at about 5300 feet. And there it is, The Mountain, right in your face just 15 miles away.

We drove up in the early evening, the day drowsy with the day's heat, but with the promise of cooling come nightfall. There is a 360 degree view from here, all the way to the Olympics and Mount Baker on a clear day (but not today because of haze).

We met the two ladies who are volunteer fire watchers for the next couple of nights, and got a tour of the lookout. There are bunks for three, windows on four sides, counters to hold a cook stove, and cooking pots. And a never-ending view.



Driving home, this experience was the only thing we could talk about. The amazing panorramic view, and the beautiful classic fire lookout. I can just picture what it would be like to stay here overnight. The deafening quiet. Watching the sun go down from 5300 feet, and the sun rising in the east the next morning. That endless view. And can you just imagine the star gazing?

Becoming a volunteer fire watcher here, or any of the fire lookouts, is definitely on my list!

6.29.2015

Wild and tame and beautiful


County Kerry is in the southwest part of Ireland, and I look forward to spending more time there... on the next visit. We did get to spend a short amount of time in Killarney National Park, which is a beautiful combination of wild and tame scenery.

I'm used to the national parks of the West, which showcase stunning natural beauty, and also have amazing, rustic lodges built by the CCC. Killarney National Park is different. There are mountains and hiking trails and the local red deer, but the focal point of the part is Muckross House, a 19th century Victorian mansion.

The house stands on the shores of Muckross Lake, with the mountains of the park standing guard behind. It was built in 1839 for Henry Arthur Herbert and his wife, watercolourist Mary Balfour Herbert. During the 400-year period that the Herbert family lived here, this is the fourth house that the family built on the estate. The house wasn't open for visitors while we were here, but a tour would definitely be on my list of "must do's" next time.


The gardens are spectacular. They were extensively expanded and improved in the 1850s, in preparation for a visit by Queen Victoria. The rhododendrons soar way over my head, and there are vast numbers of them, laid out with wide green paths between them. With enough time, you could just choose a path, and wander for hours.




There was a spectacular woodland garden, with native plants and huge trees. And a secret garden. And beautiful greenhouses. We had so little time here, I rushed to see as much as I could, and couldn't take nearly as many photographs as I wanted.



Muckross House, Gardens & Traditional Farms, 
The National Park, Killarney, Co Kerry. Ireland
June 9, 2015

6.28.2015

Triple digits


This weekend we headed for the Yakima Valley by way of Mount Rainier. A good idea, the "head to the mountains" part, to try and escape the heat wave that hit Western Washington.

Going to the hot side of the state, right into triple digits, was an accident of planning... not exactly the best idea to head into the heat. But we had a good reason:  a wine club party at Cultura, our favorite winery.

But a stop in Enumclaw changed the focus of the weekend just a bit. After breakfast at The Kettle, we grabbed a geocache and learned about a new series of cache, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Mount Rainier National Park in 2016. While we waited to get DW's lifetime National Parks pass at the forest service office, we planned out our route to get as many of the caches as possible. It's going to be fun!


The views from the Sunrise road were amazing today. You can see three other Cascade mountains volcanoes from the viewpoint halfway up: Adams, Baker, and Glacier Peak. Most days you can't see them; any clouds of haze at the horizon obscures them. Today we could see all of them.


The view from above Tipsoo Lake was even better. For years I've wanted to take the MX-5 to the overlook and photograph it with the mountain in the background. Either the mountain is hidden behind clouds, or the roadway is crowded with cars. Today I got lucky.


But best of all were the wildflowers, weeks early because of the mild winter and the warm weather. We walked down into the meadows around Tipsoo Lake, surrounded by flowers and the heady fragrance of the lupine. I wanted to lay down and drink it all in, but I settled for a half hour of photography before we headed east.







6.23.2015

Garden art, winery style...

Today was another bottling day at DeLille Cellars. We were just about through our lunch break, when one of the guys rolled out on a forklift and deposited a heap of barrel staves and hoops on the ground near the table. He said we could take any or all of it home today.

I looked around and no one was making a move, so I didn't hesitate:  I asked if I could have the hoops. We drove the MX-5 today, but I managed to get 5 hoops and 5 barrel staves into the trunk. Plus the 6 bottles we got for our work on the bottling line. Not bad for a roadster!

. . . . .

As soon as I saw the barrel hoops, I thought of the gorgeous winery gardens at Camaraderie Cellars in Port Angeles.

We were last there in the summer of 2012, and I'd really like to make another visit this year, sample more of their wonderful wines, and spend some time in the gardens. I wonder if they do winemaker's dinners; I'll have to check that out.

Winemaking isn't Don Corson's only talent: he's also responsible for the beautiful gardens that surround the winery tasting room, and the varied garden art and structures there.


Under a large canopy is this chandelier made from barrel hoops. It's wrapped with mini Christmas lights, and has a beautiful large blown-glass globe in the center. This will be the inspiration for my own barrel hoop chandelier.



This "room" is beautifully landscaped, with plenty of comfortable seating. Windows from an old house form a windbreak along one side, without blocking the view into another part of the garden.


At the other end of the garden is a smaller room, with a fence made from sticks woven through uprights.


I love the table in this intimate room:  it's made from a huge slab of stone, set on pedestals made from cedar tree trunks.


The gate to the winery is made from barrel staves.


And before I forget... Camaraderie Cellars makes first-class red wines. You have to drive a bit to taste them, but this winery is worth the effort. And if you love to drive the back roads, you'll feel right at home.

6.19.2015

Doors

Instead of taking a much-needed nap this afternoon, I switched to my 35mm prime and took my camera for a walk through the Georgian neighborhood of Dublin. Which, conveniently, includes my hotel. All of these doors are on the same street.

My target is architecture, specifically, the many colored doors, and their surrounds.


I want to do something special with these photos, but will need some help from a friend who has Photoshop Lightroom. Because I'm fairly short, and these doors are more than fairly tall, the photos will need some tweaking to straighten out the perspective.

But they're still beautiful.


This eggplant-colored door has double columns and side windows.



Many share the same classic pediment style, but the fanlight windows are very different. The blue door has a very plain window. The yellow door has 7 panes of glass, and the center of the "web" has more rings.


The fanlight windows above these doors are like pieces of lace, frilly and beautiful. I especially love the way the arched trim goes clear to the ground, framing the columns and the doors.



This dark green door is framed by a pair of columns on each side, and still has the antique center-placed doorknob. The window has an elaborate lacy fanlight, different from the other fancy windows on the street.

I have many more door photographs, but these are some of my favorites.