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.  

Friday, November 1, 2013

Fall Color at Coulon Park

The lure of a warm, blue-sky Fall day was irresistible, so we headed out for a sunny walk through Gene Coulon Park. This impromptu visit to a favorite waterfront park might have been our last opportunity to enjoy 2013's changing colors since, WHAM! Mother Nature is switching gears tonight. At least we had a glimpse of that Autumn display, before the last of those colorful leaves blow away in the upcoming storm. There's no way most of those fluttering leafy bits will hang on after the next few days of wet, windy, cold weather. I know, I know... it happens every November, but I hate to trade this vivid leafy beauty for the drama of storms and stark tree silhouettes. At least until a wonderful Winter walk reminds me how much I love the quiet beauty of that season.

Photo: Green leaves turn to gold...

Photo: Yellow leaves shine like spotlights in the landscape...

Photo: Neon colors are show-stoppers in the landscape...

Photo: Coulon Parks's buildings are wonderfully eye-catching

Photo: The park's sailing fleet is put away for the winter.

Photo: Bare tree limbs reveal an interesting nest - I wonder whose home?

Photo: Year-round resident Canadian geese look well-fed and content 

Photo: Local gulls are quite fearless and cheeky as they beg for food

Photo: Ivar's fish and chips plus seafood chowder is a traditional stop at the end of a park visit... unless we are tempted by neighboring Kidd Valley's burgers instead.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Seattle Japanese Garden in Fall

Photo: Cloud Reflections in the Koi Pond at the Japanese Garden (photo by RL))
Exuberant Fall color grabbed my attention, drew my eye and the lens of the camera immediately at the entrance to the Japanese Garden located in the Washington Park Arboretum. The sky may have been overcast today but the landscaped 3.5 acres were a riot of color as vivid golden-orange leaves of lace-leaf maples contrasted with the bright yellow display of ginkos and the deeper crimson hues of several other species. 

The garden's technicolor display may have peaked a week ago or more. Several early-turning trees were already bare while others held leaves with fading hues, no longer brilliant, their edges going brown and crisp. Without a distracting cloak of neon-colored leaves, branch structure is highlighted, then smaller details clamor for attention.

 I love walking through this tidy little garden in any season, any weather. Form, pattern and texture have a constant presence to share with anyone who takes the time to pause and observe. But today, it was all about dramatic punches of color highlighted against a background of evergreen trees and mosses, color so vivid it was as though a spotlight shined here and there and there...

Seattle holds many wonderful parks (link), but the Japanese Garden and Kubota Garden are high on my list of favorites. Set aside some time to explore a few, and remember to take your camera.