Nature made...

This afternoon we hiked around the small park near our house. There's just a wide spot on the shoulder to park in, then hop down and across a marshy area to get onto the trail. But once you get into the natural area, it's gorgeous. I can picture the neighborhood kids building the trails, and hauling lumber and tools to build bridges across the creek. Not this one, though... nature built this bridge.



I headed out early this morning to run errands, but took time to record the bumper crop of dandilions before I left. DW plans to mow the grass today, and they'll be gone. At least for a couple of days, when the next crop will open up.


Trails beneath my feet

We've done a lot of hiking lately, walking through parks and open spaces where we used to mountain bike. It's a bit odd being here, with the ghost sounds of tires on rock and the soft jangle of gears shifting.

But I also thought of hours and miles, riding the trails on the back of my horse. The feel of a big horse underneath me, my fingers opening on the reins to let a thousand pounds loose to gallop through the woods. I miss those days, all those horses I got to ride. I think the ghostly sounds of hooves striking softly on dirt will always be with me, no matter how many years go by.



We took the wee car out for a drive, and wouldn't you know... an hour from home, and the sky turned black. Luckily it never rained on us, but we wouldn't have put the top up anyway! We're working on a state parks geocaching challenge, and ticked four off our list today. This park upstream of the Green River Gorge is one we hadn't been to, and there's a great view of the river. So much rain lately has swollen the river, but the water today is clear and beautiful.


Blue and pink...

This morning I cut fabric again: a blue and pink scrappy snowball quilt, from a book of Civil War quilt patterns. I've wanted to pair pinks and blues in a quilt, and have so many scraps in those colors. The pattern is designed for civil war fabrics; if I like how the quilt turns out, I may do another.

I've turned my back on EJ the past couple of weeks; all I want to do is design more small quilts and cut fabric. Maybe it's time to let go of "daily." Daily blog post, daily photographs, daily journal. Something to think about, as we turn the corner to spring and my chores start to multiply.

This afternoon, TrueRed took us geocaching. We did a series out in Enumclaw, and ended up at The Mint for dinner. We fit the wee car into a small spot across the street, and walked right in to a table in the back. No waiting at all, not what I expected at 6:00 on a Saturday night. I had a Seven Seas rye ale that was dark amber and yummy, and Dave had an IPA that exactly suited his tastes and went perfectly with his southwestern salad with chicken. I had my favorite burger. We talked and laughed for a couple of hours; the perfect end to a fun day.



I've had a thing for moss lately... maybe because all the rain has made it grow everywhere. And because we've been hiking a lot already, and there's no better place to find moss than in the woods. And on the trees. And on the ground. And...


The perfect "job"

Back in the quilt studio today. No guilt... the yard is too wet to work outside. I gave my 1940s Singer Featherweight a break today, and cut out pieces for a new quilt. Madison came down a few times to check on me, and jumped up onto my cutting table and lay down on my fabric, but she wouldn't stay long. I look forward to the day when she settles into adulthood, and will be content to spend the day curled up in the chair in the corner, and keep me company.



Raining too hard to take the big girl's camera out today, so the Android had to do.


41 years...

Hellebores in the perennial garden are in full bloom

We spent this cold, rainy day at home until late afternoon, then went to one of our neighborhood pubs for dinner. We reminisced about this day, all those years ago, our small intimate wedding followed by a week in a little cabin at the edge of the ocean. It was a magical week with perfect end-of-winter weather, clear and bright and sunny.

We always intended to go back and spend our anniversary in this little cabin. We loved it so much, DWs brother and sister-in-law spent their honeymoon there, a couple of years later. But the following year, a huge winter storm carved away the cliff, and the cabin tumbled into the sea.


Spring green...

We slept in this morning, and it felt so good after all the hiking and exploring the past few days. I dreamed about my little quilts... my version of counting sheep? I woke up thinking about the next one to make, and what colors to use. The more I work with these Civil War reproduction fabrics, the more I'm enjoying the rich colors. I've enjoyed our time in Tri-Cities, but am looking forward to getting back to my quilt studio.

As we came past the river, the bright morning sun lit up the new foliage on the weeping willows.

We begged off on stopping to visit friends on our way home, anxious to get home. As we crested the top of Umptanum Ridge, the Kittitas Valley was filled with fog and clouds. It was like driving down into a snowstorm, very cool.



Up early for breakfast, then we worked our way out what used to be the back way into our neighborhood. Now it's all houses and roads and traffic. We visited our old house, walked in the park by my old riding stable, then followed the back roads into the valley east of Yakima. It's the route we often took when we came home for a visit, and I have such memories of the hop farms in the valley. On a hot summer day, we'd follow tractors pulling trailer loads of hops, heading to the dryers. For years it wasn't profitable to grow hops here, but the valley is once again full of hop fields.

At the end of the valley, we climbed up into the hills, and finally found our way up onto the edge of the eroded hill that looks west toward the mountains. It was too cloudy to see them today, but I'd bet the view is spectacular on a good day. And I can't think of a better place to watch the sunset (or the sunrise).

This was a great find, but we made another one today: the Cowiche Canyon bistro in Yakima. Awesome food in a modern space full of custom wood furniture and with an open kitchen. Don't miss this place if you're ever driving through.


Second home...

We lived here, years ago. It was a good life, full of friends and new jobs and sunshine. Our first house (our first new house, too). We spent seven years in this place, and we try and get back occasionally for a few days. This weekend we came to meet new friends, run around the sand dunes and hike along the Yakima River, and have fun.



Of all the canyons I've explored in my life, this is one of my favorites.
My first drive through the Yakima Canyon was in high school with my boyfriend, when we were nearly hit head-on by a careless driver. Not a "first" I'm ever likely to forget!

My next trip through was many years later, in my brand-new Miata MX-5 sports car, and I fell in love with the twisty road that swoops high above the course of the river.

Now I love it for its world-class fly fishing. All those things, those memories, combine to make this trip through the canyon one I always look forward to.


Frozen ...

It was a chilly 28 degrees this morning, and the pastures were white with frost. So I grabbed the camera and ran outside to look for photographs to take. The sun was just coming over the ridge across the valley, and I stood and watched the sunlight hit the trees, then the shrubs, and finally, the grass. I should have laid down in the grass for the best view, but it was too darn cold for that.



This wee birdhouse wasn't for birds... 
it held a tiny geocache instead. 


On the wing...

I went out early this morning, to take a look at the day, and see what it will bring. And overhead, a sign of spring:  a flock of Canada geese, heading south.


That feeling of belonging...

Quilting has been a passion of mine for years now, but I've never joined a quilt guild or taken a class. It's always been enough for me, to cut and stitch in the privacy of my sewing room, and go shopping for fabrics for my stash, knowing I'd eventually find the perfect pattern to use them. That's all changed. And all it took was one of my friends deciding to learn how to quilt.

Kimberlee discovered one of my favorite online quilting experts, read a stack of books, and bought a new sewing machine (I'm jealous!). Recently she was invited to join a quilt guild, and she invited me to join with her. Tonight was my first meeting, and just like that, I'm part of this group of women who love quilting and designing and shopping for fabric just like I do, who have made me welcome. It's a sweet, sweet feeling.


At the top of the mountain

My day was all planned out. Rain, so a morning quilting sounded like the perfect thing to do.
At least, that was my plan. Until Dave suggested we go hike to the top of Squak Mountain to find a geocache we need to complete a challenge. I wasn't exactly thrilled about hiking in the rain (been there, done that). But off we went.

We explored a bit first, scouting out the best route, hoping the rain would stop or at least slack off. But when we got to the trailhead and it was decision time, it was still raining hard. But we opted to just go for it. As my sister always says, it's just water. So off we went.

Most of the trail was uphill through the woods, with no views at all. So I just put my head down and slogged uphill. And I walked headlong into a tree that had blown down across the trail. Good thing I was wearing a baseball cap under my raincoat; it padded the blow a bit. I paid more attention after that!

The trail took us clear to the top of the mountain, and when we dropped down on the north face, the wind was howling and the trees were swaying and it was more than a little creepy. I took a couple of photos where Mt. Rainier should have been, and we found the cache and headed down.

Our jeans were pretty wet when we got back to the Pilot, but we were thankful for our Costco rain jackets that kept the rest of us dry and warm. An early dinner sounded like a good idea, so we headed for Draft Choice, the sports bar at the end of Thomas Road. We figured if we were still dripping, they wouldn't mind. With the heat cranked up and the heated seats on high, we shivered our way to Black Diamond to find an uncrowded bar and awesome burgers, topped with bacon and blue cheese. Perfect with an Irish Death porter, one of my favorite local brews.


A year ago...

One of the benefits of a daily journal is being able to look back and see where I was a year ago, or ten years ago. This day last year, DW and I were on the Big Island, our first ever visit to Hawaii. We woke to rain, and decided it was the perfect time to go snorkeling. Who cares if it's raining; you're going to be wet no matter the weather! So we found our way to a place the locals go, called Two Step.

. . . . .

There was no snorkeling for me today, on this equally rainy day. I got wet running errands, but also spent time working on a quilt. I had no idea there was so much fabric in my scrap bins: enough for a dozen little quilts so far.


Ten pounds...

Another day in the quilting studio, ignoring my blog and the world outside my windows. But I'm at peace with that. We're getting out every day for a cache, in spite of the chilly, wet weather we're having. We walked the trail in the rain to find the final for a puzzle cache, and were the only souls brave enough to be out walking there.

Madison, our 9-month-old kitten, topped the scales at 10 pounds this morning. Her breed doesn't reach their full size until about 5 years old... wonder how big she'll get?



The last couple of weeks has been such fun:  finding patterns for small quilts, and digging through my fabric stash to find the fabrics to make them. It feels a bit like collecting china. I don't do that anymore... or collect silver flatware. But fabric is something I will always collect.

Looking ahead to camping and backpacking, and a lot of road trips, these small quilts will be perfect. So many times I wish I had a small project to take along, something I can stitch while we drive, or in those few quiet minutes at the end of the day.

The small quilts cut from Civil War reproduction fabrics will be just the thing.



The lone clump of daffodils at the line where the lawn meets the pasture is in full bloom. A few are yellow and white, some are all yellow, and one is white and pink. I didn't plant them there, but somehow (probably with the help of a mole or vole) they ended up there, where I can enjoy seeing them every time I come home.

Undisturbed, each year the clump grows larger.


Flying solo...

It's blooming all around the old farmhouse today. The daffodils are opening, one by one. The first bloom opened on a camellia that is covered with buds. The iris are pushing through, and so is the fireweed, which persists no matter how hard I try to eradicate it. The hellebores are in full bloom, and so is the pieris japonica shrub. And that beautiful pink rhododendron still shines in the corner of the patio, like it has for two months.

It's still too wet to start digging in the dirt. But not too wet to run errands. So that was my day.


In the foothills...

We woke with the sun this morning, and decided it was a good day to explore. By the time we got to Enumclaw for breakfast, the clouds settled in and it began to rain. Oh, well... it's only water.

We drove and explored, and parked and hiked. All day long, in the foothills west of Mount Rainier. It was an amazing day, and we found a lot of cool places.

A tall stone chimney is all that's left of a CCC camp near Eatonville. It was used by the crew that built a nearby hydroelectric plant.

An abandoned road to a flooded townsite still has a yellow strip down the middle, and an old-style guardrail made from concrete pillars and cables down one side. It was a bit creepy, walking down the road toward the water, and watching roadbed and barricade disappearing into the lake. I could imagine what it was like, driving this road through a beautiful valley, coming around a bend in the road, and seeing a small town.

Our last adventure was driving up the Carbon River, to do an earthcache. The long Carbon River bridge is closed to cars because of flood debris damage. We walked across it, 600+ feet of it, to look at the flooding. And watched as the sun went down through the trees.

We ended the day after dark, with a beer and a steak at a cool pub in one of the tiny mining towns that are clinging to life and doing very well. We come here whenever we drive into the national park on this out-of-the way road.


Playing with light...

This time of year, the morning light is in the perfect place to shine straight into the basement windows, and it's so beautiful. I played with fabric for hours, sorting and washing and pressing, putting away the bits and pieces, getting ready to pull new fabrics for the next few patterns I've chosen. DW says I have too much fabric. There is no such thing. Just ask any quilter.

Before the day ended, I walked around the woods with my camera. I love the contrast of the soft moss with the rough bark, the bright green and the silver grey bark.


Three signs of spring...

Spring in the Northwest: three separate hailstorms left the ground covered, with the sun shining through the cedars, past a rhododendron in full bloom.