Sometimes, when you're deep in the countryside, you meet three girls, walking along the hill tracks in the dusk, spinning. They each have a spindle, and onto these they are spinning their wool, milk white, like the moonlight. In fact, it is the moonlight, the moon itself...  All they have to do is to see that the world gets its hours of darkness, and they do this by spinning the moon down out of the sky. Night after night, you can see the moon getting less and less, the ball of light waning, while it grows on the spindles of the maidens. Then, at length, the moon is gone, and the world has darkness, and rest, and the creatures of the hillsides are safe from the hunter, and the tides are still.

Then, on the darkest night, the maidens take their spindles down to the sea, to wash their wool. And the wool slips from the spindles into the water, and unravels in long ripples of light from the shore to the horizon, and there is the moon again, rising above the sea, just a thin curved thread, reappearing in the sky. Only when all the wool is washed, and wound again into a white ball in the sky, can the moon-spinners start their work once more, to make the night safe for hunted things.

     -- from "The Moon-Spinners," by Mary Stewart (c) 1962



The hedgerows are prettier in Ireland... but ours are edible. Recently we walked a stretch of the Enumclaw rail trail. I'd always wanted to bring the mountain bikes here, but walking was easier for photography, and as it turned out, for grazing our way from one end to the other. The trail is getting overgrown, thanks to the blackberries that have sprouted up along the farm fences on either side, growing unchecked now that the right-of-way has been abandoned. Blackberries, warm from the sun, just reaching that perfect juicy ripeness. I can't think of a better perk to a long walk.



A short (for me) haircut, and a stroll through my favorite thrift store. Took a walking stick and went down to the pond, looking for the last bits of tansy ragweed to cut. The paths that DW mowed just a month ago are already growing over with blackberries. A long e-mail chat with my best friend, catching up on our separate lives, and planning a get-together. Talking about orchards and bumper fruit crops, and what to do with all those tomatoes took me back a lot of years.

Summer on the farm... there's no place I rather be.



This morning as I stood washing up a few dishes in the kitchen sink, I saw movement on the driveway. A small deer, no two. Followed by a larger doe, and a 3-point buck. Four deer, that's a record here on the farm.

A doe and very young fawn, from June 2012 near Hood River

This was a family:  twin fawns, with their parents. They made a beeline for the orchard, and I made a beeline for my Nikon. But they passed right through the orchard, into the pasture, heading toward the pond, parents chasing after offspring. As I watched, they dashed through the cottonwood grove back to the private road, running straight for the county road. The impetuous youth... heading straight toward danger. Just as they went out of sight behind our cottonwood trees, I heard the gruff rattle of a Jake brake as a big dump truck towing a backhoe came to a screeching halt. No need to wonder what brought him to a dead stop in the middle of the road.

It all happened in under five minutes... wish they'd stayed around to graze in the orchard. Or for a photo.


Home town tourist...

Sometimes it's good to just set everything aside, and spend the day being a tourist in the place you call home. When we had the chance to go tour the Boeing Everett factory with some Australian visitors, we grabbed it. We had a great day with Chris and Lynn.

We toured the Boeing plant in Everett, then had a late lunch on the water in Edmonds. The tour was impressive, and so was getting to see an Antonov An-225 cargo jet arrive to take on a load of huge GE engines.

The Antonov is, quite simply, the largest airplane in the world: 275 feet long, 290 foot wingspan. It arrives at Paine Field three times a week to deliver or take on cargo for Boeing. It dwarfed the 747s parked nearby, the engines being loaded into it, and the people standing underneath. Simply impressive.


On my kitchen table...

On a round mat on my kitchen table, surrounded by windows, is a little forest of African violets. One is maybe twenty years old, planted in an antique pot that I found on one of our road trips. Two are just a couple of years old, still in the dark green plastic pots from the nursery. In tiny antique pots are four: two that I grew from cuttings, and two that Linda grew. They're healthy and seem to love this room, where the light comes from three directions: south and north and west.

The baby plants are too young and too small to have bloomed yet. But once their greenhouse blooms faded away, none of the violets have ever bloomed again. Until this past weekend, when I spotted an edge of white peeking out from under a leaf.

In just a few days, two more sprigs of blooms opened up under the leaves, pushing out and into the light. Big, beautiful purple flowers, edged in white.

The only thing that's changed, is that I've started watering them through the top, so water flows down the cupped leaves and into the crown. I figure that's the way nature waters these plants, so maybe I should, too.


Trail food...

This afternoon, I worked on a quilt in my sewing room, with Madison curled up in the big wicker chair for company. DWs new jeans are marked and ready to hem, and nearly all the blocks for the latest quilt are ready to square up. Later, we started to organized food for the pack trip, thinking about how to manage bear wires and a stuff sack for stove and food. And how to make it through a night without my lip balm (it has to go in a bag on the bear wire).

I really want to dip into the GORP that Kathie and I made together, but so far I've been good.



Quilting and laundry, and researching geocaching challenges for a road trip. Set up the new tent in the living room, pushing the furniture aside to make room. Sorted through fly fishing gear, deciding what to take backpacking. A grilled cheese sandwich was dinner, then browsed the Internet, looking for some old friends. And before the evening ended, photographed the one lone foxglove in my garden that waited until August to bloom.


Black and blue...

Yesterday I laced on my new hiking shoes and wore them for a couple of hours. The right barely laced up, because of my swollen foot and ankle. But it gave me support and protection. I've been walking and climbing the stairs, trying to keep my foot flexible. I quilted a bit, and did laundry, then pulled off my boots to take a reading break. My toes and lump and ankle are turning blue and purple and black, probably from icing my foot.

Maddie curled up on the bed with me while I read; I'm working my way through my favorite Mary Stewart books from a few decades ago: The Moonspinners, My Brother Michael, The Ivy Tree, and others.

Dave took me out caching, then to The Milton for a cold beer and a hot pizza. No standing in the kitchen for me for a few more days.