Hobart barn...

    Up against the foothills in Hobart, a Western-style barn surrounded by stone walls

When I come across a new road to explore, it doesn't take much to make me turn the wheel. If I'm lucky, the reward is an old barn or farmhouse, or a building built a century ago, and abandoned to nature.

Finding this barn made the love of horses shiver inside of me, and I sat on the side of the road, the engine idling, thinking of long-ago horses who made their lives with me. When we finally bought our own little farm, I finally got the beautiful old farmhouse I'd always longed for.

Maybe, just maybe... the next farmhouse will come with a barn.


Road by road...

    Pasture in Hobart

Today I followed a road I'd never noticed before, navigating by touch and sight and curiosity...
and found a row of trees along a ridge, rising tall above a pasture, waiting for spring, and leaves, and new life.

But winter isn't over, and the dark ridge of mountains may soon be snow covered, competing with the white winter sky, giving the trees even more contrast for their silhouette.


Red truck...

It was a complete accident, a glance sideways as I drove toward a sharp corner, a bit of rusty red and bright chrome tucked behind a row of trees.

I kept going toward my goal: a red barn trimmed in white, with a good-weather, jaw-dropping view of Mount Rainier. There was no view of my favorite mountain that day, the clouds were down to the clamshell of foothills that hold up the mountain. But I got my barn shot, then came back to find that red truck.

Studebaker. 1940s vintage. Red with black fenders. That's all I know, but I'd like to know more.


In search of...

Today it was supposed to rain. But when I got up, the clouds were breaking up and the sky was too
interesting to ignore. Because of a cold and sore throat, I'd already begged off from my sewing group. So there was nothing to keep me indoors.

So I took off for the back roads, heading south to the Enumclaw Plateau in search of barns, farmhouses, and lone trees. With fingers crossed for a glimpse of Mount Rainier.

And before it started to pour, I found everything I hoped for. I stuck to the unfamiliar roads, and found this old farm, with two old barns, bare trees, and sheep. As I got out of the truck, a great blue heron flew overhead, close enough to touch, heading for the pond that's just out of the photo. This turned out to be the lull before the storm; the sky to the west was beginning to break up and patches of blue were peeking out. Twenty minutes later, the rain started and never stopped. We got more than an inch of rain today.

The Enumclaw Plateau has my favorite collection of barns and farms, and today I found barns, trees, foothills full of snow, and even an old red truck. But the mountain never made an appearance.

. . . . . . .

Linking up with the Backroads Traveler's Barn Collective.


Bits of me...

I can't walk on a beach without picking up a rock or bit of beach glass to bring home. Most people like sandy beaches that warm up in the sun, and feel good squished between their toes. I prefer rocky beaches with noisy surf, beaches where I can walk for hours looking for agates and jasper, or even pieces of old brick that have been scoured by the waves. Those are the beaches of my childhood, when my family spent every vacation on the Oregon coast, bringing home a bag full of rocks to run through the rock polisher. In my upstairs bathroom is a glass jar of those beautiful stones from my childhood... black and red, striped and heart-shaped, white quartz and agates of yellow and gold and copper.


Duck pond...

Duck pond near Peshastin, WA

Frozen water... there's a lot of it around here, after a few weeks of sub-freezing temperatures. The ponds in our small valley are frozen, and there's ice on the creeks. Our own pond stays shadowed all day long, hidden in the trees, and it seems to be a magnet for ducks in the wintertime.

When we moved to our small farm, there was a duck house floating on the pond. It was painted in the same colors as the farmhouse:  Williamsburg blue with bright white trim. When it started to fail, we rescued it, storing it in the barn for safekeeping. We always intended to repair it and move it back to the pond, but never did.

In years past, we'd be skating on our own pond by now. We used to have skating parties, invite family and friends, and build a bonfire to warm our hands by. I'd make a big pot of soup to feed everyone at the end of the day. I loved those parties. Our pond is overgrown now, and we can't skate there anymore.



    E. R. Rogers house, Steilacoom

This is the year to paint our 1923 farmhouse, and everywhere I go I look for paint colors on historic homes. I know the perfect combination is out there: house, window trim, and accent color.

Our little farmhouse is shingled from top to bottom, and has wide trim boards and molding, and wide boards frame the double-hung windows.

In Tacoma and Steilacoom, we saw many homes with our architecture, painted in a soft sage green with white or cream trim. One had dark rust for the accent color (and front door), one had dark mulberry, and one had dark green.

I really liked the mulberry.

This beautiful house was built in 1891 and has been a private home, a boarding house, a restaurant, and is currently a law office. It's been completely restored, and stands along the waterfront with views of the Anderson Island ferry, the south sound islands, and the Olympic mountains.



I woke to icy roads and cars in the ditches... snow turned to freezing rain and delayed schools, but all was well by 10:00. So I went to my quilting group, where the foot pedal for my antique Featherweight shorted out. A friend brought antique quilts to share, and a beautiful green and white hexagon quilt came home with me. I cached solo along the Green River, and made cabbage soup for dinner, with a bottle of cabernet sauvignon from the cellar.

It was my favorite kind of winter evenings... a fire in the woodstove, a cat sleeping on a pad in front, and hand sewing to work on.


Bare branches...

On the third day of the new year, we braved the icy wind and took a walk on an abandoned road that snakes along the Green River. The wind rustled through the dead grass and the bare branches, and our feet were silent on the old blacktop. When we turned around and headed back toward the truck I spotted the new moon, framed in the branches of a winter maple.


Scene and story... December 2016

To me, winter was always the season to spend indoors, reading and sewing, sitting by the fire with a cat on my lap. And maybe I'd get some of those chores done... like cleaning out closets.

There were years when spending time outdoors in the winter was required, and I got used to being cold all day when we skied, and cold when I had a horse, and exercising the beast was a requirement no matter how cold or rainy or snowy it got.

But that changed in August of 2015, when we decided to go out to find a geocache every day, until we hit 500 days in a row. Now I find myself going out in all kinds of weather, and I look forward to it for much more than just that one geocache.

A day in December brought that home in a big way. DW and I started the day with a walk on a section of the Snoqualmie Valley trail near Preston. The morning was foggy and beautiful, and the trail beckoned me to come explore. We found our geocache, and as I turned to follow DW back to the Pilot, the early morning light took my breath away. I dropped everything to grab my camera and record this scene.

The rest of the day we explored the back roads, and were treated to stunning views of the Cascades dressed in the season's first real blanket of snow.

. . . . .

My friend, Sarah, has a new linkup on her blog, Paisley Rain Boots. Each month, we'll post a photograph from the previous month, and write a bit about it. This is mine.