Leap day...

Old Soldier's Cemetery in Orting, Washington

We have a good friend who got married today. I said, "How can they celebrate their anniversary every year?" And maybe that was part of the plan.

Our plan was to spend the day with geocaching friends, starting with morning coffee at 6:30, then caching all day long. We wandered around Tacoma, hiked in Puyallup, wandered through an old cemetery in Orting, explored a peat bog in Federal Way, then did a sort of GPS scavenger hunt in Renton. We finished up at our favorite pub for a burger and a beer.


Rainy days...

It rained. I spent the morning in the basement sewing room, every light on against the gloom. Washed and pressed the new fabrics, yummy browns and dark reds and greens to go with the other Civil War fabrics. Ordered more books from the library.

In the late afternoon, dashed out in the rain to get our daily geocache, near home. And just like that, the rain stopped and the sun peeked through the clouds. Just for a moment, but that's all we needed.

Home again, I read, curled up in my favorite chair by the wood stove. Quiet days can be the best days.


Small quilts...

                         Pocket park mural in old town Kent

The 2004 album quilt is coming along, so I took a break today and cut fabric for a wall quilt. I've decided to work with Civil War reproduction fabrics; years ago I got a dozen yards of various colors and patterns for $5.00 when a craft store went out of business, but never made anything with it. Today the fabrics are more popular than ever, and there are dozens of books with design ideas. I love this darker, more muted color pallette: dark red and dusky navy blue, brown, rust, poison green and gold, even teal and pink.

My goal is to bundle up a dozen or so quilt kits, all the fabric bits cut and ready to sew. I plan to hand quilt these small quilts, and they'll be perfect for taking along on road trips.


Catching up...

The rain has been endless, but we've had some sunshine, too. I don't mind the rain... I'm not ready to tackle the garden yet, and if the weather was good, I'd have to put my quilting project aside for a while. And I'm having too much fun.

With hours spent in the sewing room each day, I've been pretty bad about keeping E|J updated. I still start each day writing in my journal, and sometimes I write last thing before bed. So the words are there. And my camera still goes wherever I go, and I've enjoyed trying to capture sunshine one day, and a monsoon the next. There are puddles everywhere, and trying to photograph reflections is something I'm working on right now. So the pictures are there, too.

I promise that my words and pictures will make it into my blog soon.


Home town, part two...

This morning we went back into downtown, this time for breakfast. Then we took another walk through town. We did a sort of scavenger hunt, based on the murals and other artwork scattered through the old town. We wandered through the pocket parks tucked away on the side streets, and the light was beautiful on this warm spring day.


Home town part one...

DW slept in, and missed breakfast. So I put away my quilting project, and we headed into town for lunch at our favorite diner. Then we left the car and walked the old part of town, enjoying the parks that are bursting into bloom, the brick buildings, and the murals. This isn't really my home town, but it'sthe place I've called home for more than thirty years.

As we walked, I kept stopping to take photographs of all the small things along the way. The mosaic benches, the oak leaves that cling to the street trees, the seed pods, the puddles that reflect the brick buildings. It was a nice, relaxing way to spend a few hours.


In bloom...

My annual checkup today, a couple of caches, then an hour at the library, looking at quilting books.
I've been a bit obsessed with quilting lately, spending a few hours each day in my basement studio, picking fabrics to go with new patterns, and getting everything cut and ready to stitch. It makes me happy, working with fabric and color. I even love the geometry of quilting... my mother would be amazed.

I came home with a sore throat and a headache, but still went out to finish the pruning, and stack the branches for DW to collect with the tractor.


Pocket parks ...

Reading. Quilting. Watching it rain, wishing I could get back out to the orchard, and finish up the pruning. New quilting books to read, and a cat to cuddle. We went out for a cache at the end of the afternoon, in a pretty little greenbelt.


Stone house

Running out of milk was a happy accident this morning. It took us out for lunch, to a new place recommended by friends. It's called the Stone House, and both of us remember this quaint building, . Decades ago it was a functioning service station on the shores of Lake Washington, and we drove past it often. It's the prettiest building, with gables and a rock exterior and white trim. And finally its use suits the architecture. The food and the coffee were amazing, and so was the glass-enclosed outdoor eating space, with a great view of the lake and fresh snow in the Cascades.


Moss in the park...

A late geocache, then dinner at one of our favorite neighborhood pubs. Then a walk through town, and two pieces of pie to bring home for dessert. A good day.


Wet feet...

Our daily geocache took us to Green Valley today, one of my favorite drives in my little red MX-5. We didn't drive it today; too wet. But we stopped in a few places to look at the river, swollen way over its banks and into the pastures.

I've taken a lot of photographs of flooded pastures this winter... farms are one of my favorite subjects, and I know from personal experience that all this standing water is not a welcome thing to farmers. But I love how the reflections from all this water add so much to some of my favorite places.


Plum blossoms...

The by-products of pruning the orchard are hours spent outdoors, sore muscles, and piles of branches stacked up, ready to be hauled to the burn pile. I got a bonus this year. the smallest branches from the plum tree were already swelling into bud, so I brought them inside to see if they'd bloom. And they did, for just two days, then they faded and dropped. Still, they were beautiful.


Stones from the past...

In my class this week, we're writing about nature... photographing the world around us. When we got home after errands today, I paused to look around the garden, taking note of the early signs of spring. And I saw my dad's paving stone, with moss growing between the stones, and I remembered the church camp when we made these. My dad build a form, mixed up the concrete, and laid out the pattern. And we each took turns choosing a stone to press into the concrete, making the swirled pattern with his help. There were a lot of different patterns; they stayed at the camp to form part of a walkway. But we also made a few at home, for our own garden.

This paver stayed in my dad's garden for many years. And when he passed away, I brought it home to the farm, where it graces my own garden.

And I remember.


End of day...

Rain. A walk in the woods. Pointing my lens at more moss, and a cascade of stones, and cedars that nurse small seedlings of fir and maple and hemlock. Finishing the day at the place I wish was in my neighborhood, for a microbrew and tacos.



I slept in this morning, then we had breakfast with DW's mom. We lingered over coffee and talked about the family, and it was lovely. We did our daily cache on the way home. I liked having it taken care of before noon; it left me the whole afternoon to work on blocks for the second Shop Hop quilt. It's going up on the design wall next to the almost-finished 2004 quilt top, and I like seeing them there. So much progress in just a few weeks gives me such a good feeling!


Winter rhodie...

We bought our little farm in fall 1984, just before the worst, longest snow I can remember. It started to snow in early November, and by Christmas we'd received two feet of snow. When the new year rolled around, there was still a foot of snow on the ground. Imagine my surprise to find a rhododendron coming into bloom just before Christmas. I had no idea a rhododendron would bloom that early; I thought they all bloomed in April and May.

Every year since then, this rhododendron has put out just a few blooms, right at Christmas. And a month later, it bursts into full bloom, just about the time we get our winter snow. It's blooming now... I hope that means that snow is right around the corner.

Fingers are crossed.


Signs of spring...

A sale at my favorite quilt shop, a visit to the mountain where I rode my horse years ago, photographing some favorite barns in May Valley and Hobart, then home to work on the new quilt. A talk with "our" favorite uncle in Colorado, and cabbage soup for dinner.

My early rhododendron is blooming, the daffodils are 8 inches high, and there are buds on the hellebores. These are welcome signs that spring is coming... I'm thankful that the weeds haven't yet started to grow!



An overgrown stormwater pond was a surprisingly good place to wander with my camera today. Wet with standing water, green with moss, with a backdrop of Mt. Rainier.


Rainy day...

A rainy day, a drive in the country, and an evening with Barking Frog and DeLille Cellars and some wine club friends.


At home...

It rained overnight, and it's going to be mild again. But I lit a fire in the wood stove anyway.

There's absolutely nothing on my calendar today, and no chance to finish pruning the orchard. So, I happily spent the day indoors with a stack of quilting books, drafting new quilt patterns, and working on the new quilt.



Today was a gift. A beautiful sunny day, 63 degrees, and The Mountain made an appearance. I spent an hour with my camera at Hillcrest Cemetery. It's on top of Scenic Hill, and I never knew until today the reason for its name. From the back of the cemetery, there's a spectacular view of Mt. Rainier.

But I was after a different sort of view today.

We've had a very wet winter so far. Cold, and stormy too, but mostly wet. And that means moss. And on today's sunny day, the color was simply beautiful.


Do not disturb...

We broke the rhythm today, changed the routine. For starters, we both got up early. I'm used to having the house to myself for a couple of hours, a quiet house for catching up on the latest book. This morning we ate, then went out early for our daily geocache. Then we watched movies. So instead of quilting, I brought up my clipboard and drafted block patterns.

Until I came back after making a cup of tea, and Madison had gone to sleep on my clipboard.

Too cute to disturb.



The sky was so bright with color this morning, it actually woke me up. I grabbed my camera and ran to the upstairs bedroom, the best place to see the morning sky. I had to lean way out of the double-hung window to get the camera past the eaves. It was glorious.


Thinking like a kitten...

Madison took a run at the cabinet, chasing a toy. And she got stuck. Halfway in, halfway out. She hasn't fit under there for a couple of weeks... guess she forgot.

I gave her a few minutes to see if she could figure it out, and she rolled around and pulled herself all the way under. Five minutes later, she finally made it back out.


Daily bread...

There is comfort in routines. My favorite time of day is the early morning, when the house is quiet and the day hasn't really gotten started. I fix a mug of herbal tea, feed the cat, and settle down with my book. When DW gets up, I fix our favorite steel cut Irish oatmeal. Topped with Craisens, sunflower nuts, coconut, wheat germ, and cinnamon, I think it's my favorite meal of the day.


Time to go chase winter...

A quiet day spent editing photographs, and working on a quilt. Then we met friends for a beer and dinner, and talked until late, catching up. No rain today, but it's warm. I'm beginning to think winter is over, and that's a shame. I need to pack up and follow the snow, before it's too late.


Family wine...

I love spending time in the wine cellar. Maybe not so much in the winter, when it's darn cold down there. But I love being surrounded by bottles of wine that we chose ourselves, and the room that I set up myself.

We never finished it the way we intended... not a unique ending to one of our projects. But I love what I did all by myself:  wine in black-painted boxes, tapestries on the walls, a rug on the floor, wine label art, and stone winery tiles on the counter.


The herons are back

I drove past the heronry today, and a dozen birds were there, sitting on their nests. Yesterday, there was no sign of them. Isn't it wonderful when nature brings them back, just when they're supposed to arrive?


28 Moments...

This month I'm participating in a class called 28 Moments. It's a writing and photography class, and I'm really looking forward to it. I'll let you know how it goes... it's a commitment, with everything else on my plate right now. But it will be fun. Thanks to my friend, Cathy, for getting me in.