Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Hello Spring!

...and here we are, one month later, welcoming Spring 2018. What a treat that she chose to arrive with blue skies, unseasonably warm weather, and full floral display. This just might be my favorite season. 

Thursday, February 22, 2018

A Snowy Seattle Morning

What's the best part of a sunny, blue sky, snowy morning? Do you really have to asK?

I savored a late morning cup of tea, watched the twitter birds snack at the suet feeder, and knew the snow would melt before it had a chance to grow dingy. TV weather dudes predict another light snowfall tomorrow; bring it on!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Searching for Fall Color

Early Autumn in the Japanese Garden

It's officially Fall. My calendar announced the autumnal equinox almost three weeks ago. So where are the vivid, neon-bright leaves that make this season visually unique? Well, it appears the local trees didn't get the memo. Was it the long summer of hot weather? Can we blame the lack of rain in September? Our recent leaf-peeping walk took us through mostly green foliage, unlike previous outings at nearly the same date. No problem, we're not easily discouraged and will continue to enjoy our walks with or without Fall color. Maybe this week we'll be lucky, or over the weekend, or next week... Drastic action would be to drive to a higher elevation and search for swaths of red-orange vine maples or golden larches.

Our walk took us inside Seattle's Japanese Garden, a fenced 3.5 acre hidden gem tucked inside the much larger 230 acre Washington Park Arboretum and Botanic Garden. A visit here never disappoints, no matter what the season. 
"Following a winding path around a central pond, stroll gardens invite visitors to journey through the varied landscapes of Japan - mountains, forests, waterfalls, rivers, lakes, islands and the sea. Along the journey, varied landscapes are hidden and then revealed."
Special viewing treats on this visit were...

...sunbathing turtles, perched on pond rocks to soak up warmth from the noontime sun,

...one lone heron, who occasionally speared a small fish in between long minutes of patient immobility,

...masses of colorful koi who swarmed to the bridge whenever a visitor paused, ever hopeful that fishfood would sprinkle the water, 

...and the abundant canopy of green leaves which hold out promise of Fall color yet to develop.

The annual Maple Viewing Festival runs October 5 through October 15 in 2017. But don't wait for a special event to plan your visit, enjoy this treasure throughout the year. We intend to.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Morning View, Far and Near

The sun rose on a very gray day, with a dense ground fog obscuring the view across the lake. It was thick enough that Mercer Island completely disappeared from view. The world outside the bedroom window took on the color of dryer lint, a mottled mat of wispy, twisted gray strands. The fog gradually thinned, drifting south on a light breeze, and within the hour The Mountain, Mt. Rainier, was visible again far away in the distance.

These two cormorants spent most of the day perched atop the piling; sleeping, preening and spreading their wings as if to catch the sun as it burned through the fog.This pair remained on those same piling from dawn until 3:00pm, without flying away or diving to fish. When do they eat? 

Eventually the sun broke through and Seattle enjoyed another blue sky day, but I missed most of it. The Seahawks game kept me indoors in front of the television. (Go Hawks!) Maybe tomorrow will bring another sunny day.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Seasonal Transition

It's officially Autumn. Weeks past the autumnal equinox, the hours of daylight have grown noticeably shorter. Evenings are cool enough to trigger the off switch on chlorophyll production in deciduous leaves and fall colors blaze in full neon glory throughout the region. Drifts of dry, faded leaves from our vine maple litter the yard, blown into corners by swirling winds. 

But Mother Nature seems confused by our recent stretch of unseasonably warm weather, triggering flower bud formation on magnolia trees, blossoms on rhododendron bushes and fruit on our Asian pear trees. It's October, so what's up with the new pears developing on trees that have already produced a bountiful crop? 

I'd settle for an extended period of mild Indian summer weather, but forecasters predict a return to cool, wet and windy any day now. It's Seattle, so changeable weather is no surprise. Keep the rain gear handy, but head outside with a camera and enjoy the change of seasons.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Construction Clutter and Progress

Construction clutter must mean progress, right? If that's true, there's evidence of progress all over the house, garage and yard right now. Piles of important clutter abound, all visible signs of progress on our various house projects. No single project is finished yet, but there are signs of work-in-progress. 

Step inside the house and you'll note every room on the first floor is either empty or full of furniture and furnishings, "stuff" from other rooms. Repair and restoration goes on, hidden from view behind protective drapes of plastic, clearly several works in progress.

The exterior clutter includes discarded siding, trim, roof shakes and doors, all waiting to be loaded into a trailer and hauled away. The construction crew picks up tools and equipment, sweeps up miscellaneous debris and leaves an otherwise tidy job site each night... except for those piles of clutter.

Unpredictable wet weather meant the unfinished replacement siding was stained, sticked, stacked and stored in the garage to dry. Our previously large garage seems to have suddenly shrunk by half. Access to the mail slot and freezer involves tricky maneuvering and careful footwork. 

The door scorecard reads 2 doors removed, 1 new door hung still needing trim, 1 door opening covered with plywood waiting for replacement door to arrive on site, and door #3 still waiting for any action. Next week could be Finish the Doors Week. Stay tuned.

A new square window replaces the old acrylic half-dome bubble window, dramatically increasing the great room balcony's light and framing the view to the south. Those are bonus features, the important fix dealt with a sneaky leak. I can hardly wait for a clear day to snap a photo of Mt. Rainier in all its glory as seen through this new 4x4 pane. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A Busy Week in the Neighborhood

There's never a good time to suffer through the flu, but this week was the best time to recover from Flu: Round Two. I had planned on hours of television time, watching Sochi Winter Olympic events, clicking from station to station on US and Canadian channels. I did some of that, but there's only so much curling I can view before dozing off.

No chance of dozing when the rumble of heavy equipment invades the neighborhood. Vroom, vroom! Thud! Crash! More vroom, vroom! Chunk by chunk a neighbor's house disappeared, knocked down by one man with a tracked Komatsu machine with a toothed bucket. Demolition is noisy and exciting. 

The next day the world outside my window turned black and white, blanketed by a light dusting of snow. Such a lovely visual gift, though not appreciated by anyone who had to traverse Seattle's hills on that day. It was a good day to stay inside and enjoy the view, in between naps and Olympic events. 

Later in the week I thought it curious that a group of crows kept doing power dives past the upstairs window, flashing by close to my reading chair. Local crows are known to pester osprey and eagles in flight, just for fun or hoping to steal something edible. It's hard to ignore large, winged objects hurtling past your head just feet away so I stepped to the window to check out the action. What a circus as crow after crow swooped down to harass an osprey that had landed in a neighboring yard. Oops! one young crow might have misjudged his approach and was now captured - osprey prey - soon to be osprey dinner.  

This was quite an interesting week in the neighborhood. Flu recovery wasn't at all boring.