A barn in winter...

My camera and I haven't traveled the backroads lately, looking for barns and fall color. The other things in my life, like quilting, have kind of taken over.

So instead of a new barn photo, I will instead share some photographs of one of my favorite barns. It belongs to my brother-in-law and sister, on the land that his family homesteaded. It's an interesting hybrid style, with a milking room built on one side.

I took these on a misty, cold December day when the clouds were low, and I could see my breath. I love how the clouds turned the photograph into a watercolor painting. It was quiet, and nothing else was stirring, not even the birds.

Linking up today with Tom's Barn Collective.


A year and a day...

On a brilliant sunny day, we headed to Mount Rainier (our third visit in less than a week). Things were shutting down for the season, with snows already blanketing the high places like Sunrise, forcing the roads to close.

We had planned to drive a few miles up the road from the White River Campground, but even though the road was bare, the gate was barred. So we got to our destination the old-fashioned way:  we walked.

The views as we climbed were amazing, and so were the fall colors. We did our earthcache (the main reason we walked uphill for nearly two miles on perfectly good pavement), and as I turned to head downhill, my feet were perfectly placed on the double yellow lines.

I laughed out loud, and couldn't resist snapping a photograph. We couldn't be this close and not drive to the top of Chinook Pass, where the Mountain was stunning white above Tipsoo Lake.


A sky on fire...

I woke up early, when the sky was just beginning to lighten up. By the time I got dressed and downstairs, I had just enough time to grab my cell phone and head down to the lake (in my slippers... brrr). The sky (and reflection) is already pink.

There's frost this morning, and the ducks are just starting to move about on the water. Yesterday I tried to count the Buffleheads, Mergansers, and Cinnamon Teals on the lake, and stopped counting at about 100.

I stood, and shivered, and watched the day turn fiery pink and red. It was amazing.


City windtunnels...

We went into the city this morning for a meeting, then took a walk uptown. It's been raining all morning, and the wind turned the city streets into wind tunnels. We found lunch at Elysian Brewery & Kitchen, then walked toward Elliott Bay to the public market. The market is quiet this time of year, but the seafood vendors were still in full swing, and the stands of winter vegetables were colorful and tempting.

We had one more errand in the U District, which took us for a walk along the Montlake Cut where the University of Washington Husky crews were out on their workouts.

Rain in Seattle means horrible traffic; it's like everyone forgets how to drive on wet streets in between rain showers. So traffic was horrible, with no time to drop me at home, and Dave to make it to his monthly get-together with his old work friends. So we headed straight for Georgetown, and got there just in time. And I still made it to my guild meeting on time.



It's the first of a new month, the one I always think of as the start of winter. Yesterday it dawned cold and clear at 31 degrees. Today, it was 49 degrees and cloudy. Welcome to the Pacific Northwest!

By November we know what our fall colors will be like. In the best years, the days are cold and clear and the leaves have time to change color. The hillsides turn yellow and gold, mingled with the dark green of the firs and cedars, then the leaves drift to the ground. They cover the trails and the roads with crinkly leaves, and I love to walk through them.

On wet years, the days are rainy and windy and the leaves fall before they have a chance to change color. Instead, they die and turn brown and tumble to the ground in a mushy mess. Those are not the years that inspire me to walk the trails, kicking the leaves and watching them float behind me.

I've been too busy to get out with my camera the past couple of weeks, but still, I've enjoyed watching the colors change on the hillsides.


Strawberries on trees...

An unexpected warm and sunny afternoon, and equally unexpected trees in a park in Federal Way. I stole a few moments to snap photographs, wondering what these trees were.

The bright red fruit is round and spiky, and the flowers look like Lily of the Valley. Once I got home,  it took some digging to identify this gorgeous tree. I finally found it on the Sunset site:  a strawberry tree, Mediterranean in origin, blooms from October to December, and produces edible fruit.



Three huge zucchini spent the past few days on the table in my kitchen, a gift from a family friend. They were taking off in the motorhome in a few days, looking for warm weather. I haven't made anything from zucchini for years, but the thought of zucchini bread on a snowy winter day sounded pretty good. So yesterday I finally ran chunks of unpeeled zucchini through the food processor, and froze it into 2-cup portions.

Today, 25 pounds of beefsteak tomatoes are on my kitchen table. I'll chop them in batches and cook them in my biggest cast iron skillet, adding chopped garlic and onion and seasonings, turning them into my husband's favorite pasta sauce.


Penn Cove...

Coupeville is one of my favorite places on Whidbey Island. It's at the end of Penn Cove, famous for its mussels... and blue waters. The town was laid out in the 1850s, platted in 1910, and still has the look and feel of a 150-year-old seaport.

Every time we're here, I'm thankful that Coupeville is a historic district, and protected from rampant development. The town nestles within the first national historic reserve in the country, Ebey's Landing. It was established in 1978 by an act of Congress. Its 22 square miles includes farmlands, two state parks, shorelines and beaches, parks, trails, and 91 buildings and structures on the National Register of Historic Places.
We came early this morning for breakfast, then walked out onto the pier. There were kayakers out for a morning paddle, and a group of people were waiting to board a boat to go tour the mussel beds. 
We had a different goal: a geocache hidden in plain sight on the pier that was causing a lot of fellow cachers a lot of frustration. We found it, yeah! 
On the roof was a group of seagulls, squawking their heads off at something not to their liking. When we walked around behind the building, we saw why: A Great Blue Heron was perched on one end of the roof. Both species were keeping their distance, but it didn't matter. The seagulls were vocal in their dislike, but the heron stood alone and aloof.

We walked inside to check out the displays and the complete whale skeleton that hangs from the ceiling.

And then we headed north toward the bridge, and home. 

I love this island, and would love to live here someday. If we ever do, I know I'll be spending a lot of time here, watching and waiting for photographs.



A small white cottage near the beach, nestled beneath a huge big-leaf maple in full autumn color. It would make some nervous, others would think only of the acre of huge leaves to be raked each year. To me, I only see a beautiful tree that is protecting, not threatening, the wee cottage in its care.



We walked through a Japanese sculpture garden in Bellingham yesterday afternoon, before heading into town to find dinner. There was a geocache to be found here, but I was mesmerized by this gorgeous Japanese maple.

The western light shone through the trees, and lit up the maple leaves like a torch. All I wanted to do was sit down underneath the tree, and watch the light playing through the leaves.

We had a Japanese maple in our yard when we lived in Eastern Washington. It was beautiful, but nothing like this 6-foot-tall tree.

The brilliant red against the green foliage was stunning.