Lone tree...

Our hot, dry summer took a toll on the woods around here, especially on the young trees. Everywhere I look, trees are dying.

We took a walk through the woods recently, and in a clearing of lush healthy trees, we found this poor little evergreen sapling.

It was quite beautiful in the rain, bright orange, with water droplets sparkling in the light.


Almost free...

Last night I was editing photos and looking for free typefaces online, and stayed up way too late. Midway through, while going through some May trip photographs, I suddenly remembered: it's my birthday, and I was going to get my Lifetime national Parks pass today! Bummer.

This morning, DW woke up and said, "What time do they open?" So off we went to Enumclaw.

Mount Rainier was out, unexpectedly as it was cloudy everywhere else. And the rain we've had down here in the lowlands has given our mountain some fresh snow! We didn't stop, but I snapped a shot through the windshield anyway. This time of year, you take what you can get.

After oatmeal at The Kettle, we did a couple of geocaches in town, then went to get my pass. Ten bucks, and it's good for the rest of my life. Pretty good deal, I say!

We topped off the day by meeting DWs sisters and brothers-in-law for dinner at a favorite Italian restaurant, to celebrate my birthday. This is a new thing for us, but we plan to faithfully meet for dinner each time one of the eight of us has a birthday, just to be together.


Good reads...

I crawled out of bed early this morning, made a cup of tea, and settled down to finish Molly Wizenberg's latest, called Delancey. I loved this book and didn't want it to end. She looks at the world with a writer's eye, and tells her life in a story most fiction writers would envy.

We met friends for dinner at the Issaquah Brewhouse, narrowly missed being conscripted as unwilling baby sitters for a big group who didn't want to keep an eye on their own kids. The staff nipped that in the bud by pulling a divider across, and sending the kids back to their parents' space. We had a good laugh over it, and settled down to enjoy ourselves.


Simple days...

It felt so much like autumn this morning, as I stepped out the door early this morning. The trees are changing color on the farm, and I heard the honking of a flock of geese as they flew overhead.

The place to be in the fall: fishing for trout (with a trusty fishing dog)
By afternoon it was clear and sunny and warm. But I turned my back on the outdoors to get some chores done inside, then headed out for that dreaded of all renewals: my driver's license. The last time I did this, I could do it by mail. That's the way to go. The time before that, I waited for 3 hours. Today it was 10 minutes from the time I walked in the door, to walking out with my temporary license. Cool.

Dave was out geocaching when I got home, so I went out to find my one for the day, then home to edit photos and write. I'm a month behind, but catching up fast.

Dinner was simple: BLTs with thick slices of local tomatoes from Carpenito Bros, fresh Romaine lettuce, caramelized onions, and crispy bacon. It's one of my favorite simple suppers.


Geysers that don't flame

It's been a while since I've been here, to this state park that hosted so many company picnics, so many family picnics. The Green River runs along two sides, and it was always a favorite spot on a warm summer afternoon for a bit of fly fishing.

Today only a few people were there, a few on the trails we walked, a couple enjoying one of the last summer evenings, sharing a picnic dinner on a blanket, on the lawn near the river. We came here to walk, and to find a few geocaches.

The so-called flaming geyser is near the park buildings, and DW remembers coming here as a child, when there was enough methane escaping that you could light it on fire. I prefer the bubbling pool. It's a short walk uphill through the woods, climbing over a hundred or more big tree roots.  Cool trail. We stood and watched the stream flowing past a wood platform, watching for gas bubbles. The grey color in the stream is caused by calcium carbonate settling out of the water. If the water was heated (like the geothermal springs in Yellowstone), there would be vivid colors in the pool instead of grey.

On the way home we stopped for dinner at a little pizza & pasta restaurant in one of the small towns nearby. We walked out to an amazing sunset, a nice finishing touch to the day.



We headed home this morning, taking the long way (always my favorite way). A lot of new memories came home with me.

An autumn drive over the mountains, with bright blue skies and towering clouds, and hillsides already turning from green to flaming red and yellow and orange.

Our friends' beautiful new home near Lake Wenatchee, cooking together, drinking wine together, playing Mexican Train until the wee hours.

Wine tasting in Chelan, with dinner afterwards by the lake, listening to live music. Driving back to Leavenworth in the last light of day, that lovely golden light on the hillsides and the river.

A new wine club.

A load of aspen branches to turn into useful items, like polished walking sticks and candle holders and coasters. I'm looking forward to shaping and polishing, on those gloomy rainy days this winter.

The times spent with friends are among the best times of all.


Fish patterns

We came to Lake Chelan for the wine, but the koi pond is what tempted me to bring out the Nikon. The swirling color and changing patterns in the water are the first things that have inspired me for quite some time.


The winery grounds are lovely, with a long arbor covered with vines hung heavy with fruit, and ponds connected by a stream and a waterfall. The sound of running water made me want to linger all afternoon.

It felt somehow right, sitting on the stone steps, watching my friend, Julie, feed the fish. I was reminded of how easy it is to miss the best moments, if you don't take time to sit quietly once in a while, and watch the world pass by.


Favorite time...

The fall came early this year. I am not unhappy with the shorter days, the crisp mornings, the urge to dig deep in my sweater drawers, looking for last year's favorites. The overwhelming desire to nest, to clean out closets, to put things to rights before winter.

My favorite farm stand is stuffed with apples and corn on the cob and onions and heirloom tomatoes. And on the other side of the building, table after table of chrysanthemums in all those gorgeous autumn colors, dark red and copper and gold and leaf green.

Yesterday I walked my neighborhood trail, where big-leaf maples have started dropping yellow leaves that crackled under my boots. After being dormant through late summer, the recent rains have brought the grass to life, as green as early spring.

The Canada geese have begun to fly over, looking for winter homes. There are always a few on the ponds in our valley each winter; we used to have a pair before our pond got too overgrown. I love hearing them in the morning, as they fly over the house on the way to the creek.

For all these reasons, it's my favorite season of the year.


Lone tree...

I have a birthday in just a few weeks, into the turning of the seasons, the shortening of days, the cool mornings, the crisp air. I especially love the skies of autumn... the brilliant blue, and high thermals
that whip the clouds into ever-changing patterns.

It's the best time of year to have a birthday.


Walking their goose

The wind hit hard this morning, and by 9:30 our power went out. So what do we do with no electricity? We go geocaching. We're working on some challenges currently, and had a lead on a few caches that will finish up at least three different challenges.

As we started down a neighborhood trail near Milton, I dropped everything and grabbed my camera when I saw this family out for a walk:

Two kids, a mom, a dad...  and their pet goose. The woman told me that they got her as a gosling, and as the only one of her kind, she imprinted on the family. She follows them wherever they go, including on their daily walk.