Secrets shared...

My current favorite local park has become my new favorite place to go wander with my camera. It's an open space that surrounds a small lake, and it's a great place to stretch my legs. The park is full of native trees... towering firs and hemlocks, massive cedars, maples and alders, vine maples, and spiky hawthorns.

Because I live nearby, and drove past this acreage for years before the city started buying the land, I know where the farmhouses and barns once stood. So I understand the reason why there are so many pockets of non-native trees: the oaks, the fruit trees, the camellias and other ornamental shrubs that once surrounded farmhouses and barns.

The knowledge is like a secret I share with the land. I like that.


Balls of moss...

We took DW's mom to lunch today, to our favorite hangout... a local bar & grill that's been on the same corner since I was in high school (and probably a lot longer). On the way home past Clark Lake, DW dropped me off at the corner, and I ran into the park for a quick cache. I only took a pen and my camera; the hint (Hawthorn tree) is all I need to find this one.

This tree stands alone on a grassy slope that was once a horse pasture. As I walked down the hill, I was so glad I brought my big camera:  the tree still has a lot of red berry clusters, and is studded with beautiful balls of spiky moss.

The tree looks like it's decorated for Christmas. Beautiful.


Open space...

One thing I love about geocaching... the search for caches has taken me to a lot of really cool places. A couple of weeks ago, we discovered a new county open space park near our house. We went back again today for another cache; there are eight of them here. This wooded open space lies near a couple of beautiful lakes, on land that was once riddled with coal mines. I'm looking forward to better weather, so we can go hiking here.


Fresh dill...

In winter, a dry day means a baking day. A pile of ingredients, a couple of dirty bowls, lots of flour on the counter, and therapeutic kneading led from this...

to this.

They're not only beautiful, they're wonderfully tasty and satisfying. Cheddar-Dill scones and cabbage soup for dinner!


Movie day...

Today turned out to be another dry day, but we had other plans:  a date! A neighborhood coffee shop for a hot coffee and baklava, then a cute little theater in the north end for an afternoon spent with DW and Matt Damon and Tom Hanks.



Morning glow...

The ground in this corner of the park is carpeted with oak leaves that finally fell off the trees. I scuffed my way through piles of uninspiring light brown leaves, and this one leaf glowed in the pale sunlight.


A hint of spring...

My kitchen windows look out on the orchard, and it's a view I love all year long. But I especially like it in the winter. I look forward to bringing in armloads of branches in late winter, and watching the blossoms open up in the warmth of the house.

When the leaves are off the trees, I can see through the orchard to the chicken coop and the pasture, and beyond the windbreak of fir trees to the farms north of us. I love this more open view of our little valley, one I don't see from these windows the rest of the year.

But lately when I look at my trees, all I see are the suckers shooting toward the sky. Straight whippy branches that are eager to grow tall and snatch all the sunlight for themselves. I don't want 'em. But it's been cold, or raining, or cold and raining, since Christmas, and tackling a dripping wet orchard just isn't my idea of a good time.

Today turned out to be one of those mid-winter days that hints of the spring that's just a couple of months away. It was supposed to rain most of the day (nothing new). But after breakfast as we caught up on e-mail and played with the kitten, the sun suddenly broke through the clouds and lit up the room. I jumped up to look. There were lots of dark clouds all around, but the sky overhead was clear and blue.

So we changed our plans. Dave headed out to work on the truck (it's getting new shocks and struts), and I hauled out the pole pruner and started in on the orchard trees. It felt great to be outside on a day warm enough to work in just a sweatshirt and jeans.

Today was a gift.


Another rainy day...

One of those "not much going on" days. A dentist appointment for a cleaning sandwiched between some extremely wet geocaching, then home to keep the fire going to keep the chill off. The rain made the day so dark; I opened up all the blinds in the house, trying to find some daylight.

My Nikon didn't get out at all today, not on such a wet day. I tried to compensate by spending the rest of the day tagging photographs in PhotoShop. I don't even want to admit how many years (and photos) I'm behind.


A walk in the woods...

This small park that surrounds a lake is one of my favorite places to walk. People bring their dogs for a run, and on a good day, there's a stunning view of Mt. Rainier. On the hill above the lake the springs were running strong, creating small streams running down the hill toward the lake. The stream that runs from a nearby lake , and the two streams that run through the park are full.

The park has been a work in progress for more than a decade now. The city has acquired the land in stages, buying out the small farms that enclosed the lake; some have been here for a hundred years. There are only two farms left, but you can see where the other farmsteads stood. The city decided to leave a lot of the trees and shrubs that were planted near the farmhouses. The last farm to be demolished had a towering redwood tree by the barn, and a huge native camellia in the front yard.

It's sad that they didn't leave any of the barns. I always thought they'd make the perfect park maintenance buildings. But it's especially sad because this state has such a strong heritage barn program, dedicated to preserving these pieces of Washington's farming heritage. That makes it doubly tragic for a city to just carelessly destroy them.



Snow turns the most ordinary things into works of art... even this wheel irrigation line. It stands out against the white... every line, every curve. The snow highlights the basic composition of everything around it.