January barn...

Last week I ditched my Tuesday sewing group, and drove the back roads with my camera, looking for light, and clouds, and barns. On a country road at the north end of Maple Valley, I found this beautiful old dairy barn for my collection.

Linking up today on Tom's Barn Collective.



A bottle of Cabernet Franc from the cellar, salmon from Alaska, lovely green beans cooked in garlic and dusted with Parmesan, and cheesecake from the freezer. The company of a good cat, and The Godfather on the television.

A good end to a quiet day.


Harry Potter in Ballard...

We traveled far today... from Harry Potter's Diagon Alley in Ballard, to the Fremont waterfront to watch boats coming in and out of the locks, to a walk through the Washington Park Arboretum, where rhododendroms and jasmine and witch hazel are in bloom. I wish it hadn't been so gloomy and dark; photographs were a challenge.

When I was at the University of Washington, I used to cut through the Arboretum, sort of a short cut to the I-90 floating bridge. And sometimes I'd stop and walk. It's the most beautiful place any time of year, and I feel the need to come back again soon, on a better day, with my long lens.


Rail trail...

This morning, early, we walked the rail trail in Enumclaw. The Mountain was hiding behind clouds, but the light was beautiful. And as we walked south, I found another barn to photograph. We'll come back in a week, the next nice day, and walk it again, and see what else we can find.

We're meeting an old friend for breakfast at Charlie's, one of our favorite spots on the outskirts of this small town. I'm looking forward to a couple of hours of talking and catching up, then we'll drop his truck at the mechanic, and drive him home. And in a few days, we'll do the whole thing again, in reverse.



Another warm day, so I played hooky. Instead of going to my weekly sewing group, I took my camera to Issaquah, then explored the back roads, looking for barns to photograph. It turned into a beautiful day, with gorgeous cloud formations, perfect for photography.

I caught up with my best friend via e-mail, and we headed down memory lane for a while, chatting about the years we spent sharing our passion for antique quilts, transferware, yard sales, and antique stores. Watching her daughters grow up. Sharing weekends at the lake, sitting on the beach by the fire, watching for satellites and meteors, talking until the wee hours.

It was so good, this talk. It reminded me how much I miss her now that she lives on the other side of the mountains, and reminded her how much she misses me in return. It's good to have friends like this.


A quiet day...

I got up before the alarm this morning, and watched the rising sun turn the sky pink and rose and gold. It's been a while, in this soggy cold January, since I saw a sunrise.

I made a mug of lemon herbal tea, and settled down with Madison to read my friends' blogs. It shocks me how quickly I fall behind. And how behind I am with writing my own. I've been spending more time sewing, trying to ignore that I've not felt the urge to go out with my camera. I miss that feeling, that I need to get outside ahead of the sun, no matter how early it might be. But it will come back... the next time the day dawns crisp and cold and beautiful, I will be out there.

Dave finally got up at 9:30, and suggested we find a cache in Burien, then have lunch at Sharp's Alehouse again. I love this place, all dark wood and glass and comfortable chairs. And the food is wonderful.

It hit 62 degrees today... it's a bit early for our false spring, but I'll take it. I spent the rest of the day thinking about the yard, and pruning that needs to be done, and all the work we plan to have done on the house and outbuildings this summer.



Madison slept underneath her new minky cat blanket all night, and we all woke up early to winter temperatures. There's a lot of ground fog, but it will burn off in a few hours. It was beautiful.

The canister filter for the fish tank quit working yesterday; we were glad to find one locally and not have to wait for one to be shipped. We picked it up this morning (and some new fish), and Dave happily spent the afternoon cleaning and testing water and fertilizing. I was equally happy working on a 2018 journal layout, so I can start catching up.

I heard some sad news today... one of our closest friends lost his mom to cancer. She lived eight years longer than the doctors predicted, and I'm so happy he had the extra years with her.



It will be an interesting month, this first month of 2018. Two weeks into a brand new year, and already I feel like I'm being pulled in three directions.

DW and I are still on our geocaching streak, heading toward 1001 consecutive days of finding at least one cache a day. It gets us out of the house, rain or shine... a good thing. And we enjoy getting together with people we've met through this fun sport.

A Bug lost in the woods... in the Danville-Georgetown open space. 

The second pull (yank?) on my time is quilting. This is the year I decided to learn hand applique, and I really don't know what took me so long. I started by making blocks for a sampler quilt, and now have three applique quilts in work. All are applique and embroidery, another love of mine. It's been fun to have a basket of blocks to work on each evening, once we settle down after dinner to watch a movie.

And finally, the this is also the year I'm determined to get more proficient with my Nikon dSLR, and finally make the move to manual mode. To that end, I've signed up for a year-long online photography class.

I know that I will feel pulled in all directions this year, and hope to find the time to keep up with regular entries in Electric | Journal. It was hard last year to keep up (and I didn't). But however things work out in 2018, I will certainly not be bored


A year with my camera...

A Year with My Camera started today... my first online photography class, and my first photography class in thirty years. I already feel part of an exciting community of people who want to improve their photographs. It's a free year-long class, and it will be a fun year.

Perfect reflections on Lake Crescent, March 2017

For years I've watched my online friends journey through what I like to call keyword classes: each day (or week or month) they're given a word, which forms the basis for a photograph or essay. I've been tempted to join in, but could never figure out how to make such a class fit into my life.

Then last fall, I learned about a class that sounded like a perfect fit for me. Taught by a photographer in England, the goal is to get us off auto/program modes and comfortable in manual mode, and learn how to use our dSLR's controls to get the images we can see in front of us, but struggle to capture. 

As a warm-up and for fun, she sent us a list of 30 topics to capture. Things like vintage, older than me, abstract, pattern, and just two colors. Things to think about when taking (or finding) a photo to match. Because I procrastinated and didn't sign up for the class until the end of December, my approach was to search through my photo library for an image that fit each word. This is my photo for "Break the Rule of Thirds."

So, here I am, playing along with a keyword class, something I never thought I'd do. And to my surprise, I liked doing it! It got my creative juices flowing, and I'm looking forward to a year-long journey.  


In retrospect...

Although we chose not to take a road trip this year, in favor of getting some big projects done around house and cabin, we made up for it by taking a few short trips around our beautiful state. And somewhere along those back roads, I managed to capture images that made it into my favorites list for 2017. I hope you enjoy the look back.

January | a beautiful old farmstead on the Enumclaw plateau

February | Frosty mornings took me out several days with my camera. On one frosty morning on the way to breakfast before a hike, I found this lovely barn.

March | A few days in Port Angeles for our anniversary, hiking in Olympic National Park, and walking the beaches. We stayed in a cute little cabin on a rushing stream, swollen to overflowing from all the snowmelt. On our way to Sol Duc falls one early morning, we drove past Crescent Lake when the air was still and the water was calm, and there was snow on the hills.

April | The month was spent whipping the gardens into shape and mowing the pastures, bookmarked by day hikes whenever we could get away. On one hike on the Landsburg trail, we came across a bobcat track in the mud. This blue snail was much less threatening.

May | A visit with friends in Ellensburg, then a week in Sunriver with our Leavenworth friends. We geocached and they golfed, we had another go at the Bend Ale Trail, and did lots of back roads exploring. Winter hasn't let go of the Oregon cascades yet; it snowed!

June | Mount Rainier beckoned, still surrounded by snow and ice, but the roads were finally open. Three times we made the drive, to enjoy the snow and the views, and explore. Once the snow leaves the high meadows, we hope for more hiking in my favorite national park.

July | We volunteered at Suntop Lookout again this year, sitting up late to read by lantern light, and waking by 4:00 am to watch the day break, camera in hand. The wildflowers were spectacular, especially the beargrass. With a 360-degree view of the mountains (and two other fire lookouts), this is a supremely magical place. (Sorry... it was impossible to choose just one photograph.)

August | More mini-road trips, including the family camping trip (on Whidbey Island this year). It was a pleasure to wake early and take off for a solo drive around the island with my camera, and watch the sun come up. Hydrangeas coming into bloom, deer in the meadows, old barns, and a solar eclipse were highlights of our weekend.

September | The Northwest was on fire this month, a horrible sight to see. Our skies were filled with smoke for weeks, and tens of thousands of acres burned. We spent my birthday on top of Crystal Mountain, hiking and enjoying an early dinner overlooking the mountains, and staying to watch the sunset over Mount Rainier. Later in the month we headed back to the salt water again. A few days in Sequim was just what we needed to escape the smoke from the wildfires.


October | More hiking, taking advantage of a break in the weather. We visited Windy Ridge, overlooking Mount St. Helens. We climbed Mount Margaret, in the central Cascades north of Lake Keechelus, to find the oldest geocache in Washington. A few days later, we hiked to the ghost town of Monte Cristo. We also spent a few days in Bellingham and on Whidbey Island.

On a "let's turn here" road in the Skagit valley, we stumbled upon a hundred acres of snow geese, just arriving for the winter. They're early this year, and I didn't expect to see any until November. DW squeezed the Pilot into the shoulder of the road, and I stood at the fence, in the cold wind, for nearly an hour. Corn grew in this field all summer long, and the geese were so busy feeding, they didn't mind my being so close.

November | In early November, we went out to our lakeside cabin to do end-of-autumn chores, and close it up for the winter. We had some of the most beautiful sunrises at the lake that weekend. Then we headed over the Cascades for a wonderful, relaxing visit with friends outside of Leavenworth. Good food and wine, visits to town to shop and watch the Christmas lights being hung, wine tasting, snuggling under the bear quilt, and getting acquainted with their new puppy. We drove home in the snow, the first of the season. 

December | A return to the cold brought early morning hoar frost to the pastures, and gave us a white Christmas for the first time in a few years. We spent a weekend at the ocean with friends, had lots of family time, and there was time to spend in the sewing room, finishing up some quilting projects. A very fun, relaxing month!


I hope your 2017 was grand... I can hardly wait to see what 2018 brings!