Monday, April 30, 2007

Well, you never know what you might see, even on Whidbey Island. Here is Jim Simpson with his concept car Blue Ray III in the parking lot at the bank. I turned around and pulled in to look at it. You can click on his name for his website - he finds and sells exotic sports cars, and designs and fabricates custom bodies, primarily on Mazdas and Miatas. And he lives right here. What a treat!

Sunday, April 29, 2007

I'm back home now, getting ready to be back in the old routine. The garden has really grown and bloomed while I was gone. This pale blue Veronica is so pretty - it's a little washed out in the photo. We saw one like it at Quail Crest farm a couple of years ago, and I was lucky enough to find one in a local nursery. It is thriving, and when it blooms I am reminded of that trip.

This azalea is so striking - I call it a Flame Azalea, but I'm not sure that's the right name. But it reminds me of the azaleas we saw on the Blue Ridge Parkway - they were orange and bright yellow.
Well, time to go home. I had a great time visiting my family - every time I come, it seems like I had never left. We just seem to pick up where we left off. It's good to see everyone happy and healthy. This is Mt. Rainier - we flew really close, and it was so spectacular with it's little cloud cap, and the cloud layer that we were descending through.

John loves to sit by the bird feeder. Well, he actually loves to try and catch the squirrels and chipmunks that come to eat the seeds on the ground. The squirrels are a little too quick for him, and the chipmunks run into the christmas tree. John won't go all the way in, but he'll climb partway in, and leave his hind end sticking out. Maybe that's why he's looking a bit disgruntled!
This is the Denver airport, and we're getting ready to pull out for Seattle. I'm looking at the plane that I just came in from Akron on. All the planes have animals on their tails and winglets - that is Montana the elk on the tail, and on the winglet of my plane is Jim and Tim, the fox cubs. I flew out on Lobo the wolf. I had good connections and everything was on time!
FRIDAY, APRIL 27, 2007
Here's another of John's favorite places - on top of the WebTV receiver. Of course, it is warm - the main consideration. It also affords a clear view of the bird feeder, so he can keep an eye on all the critters.

Kathy and Cris and I went out to lunch, and really enjoyed ourselves! Well, the deserts helped.

The may apples were unfolding their umbrella leaves. They poke up through last year's dead leaves, then slowly spread open. They'll begin blooming in a couple of weeks - a white flower hanging under the leaves, which ripens into the "apple" later in the summer.

Cris and I worked on a metal project, from a book by Mary Hettmansperger. We hadn't tried anything like this before - I'll post some photos of the finished project soon. It involved lots of hammers and other implements of destruction, including fire!

We cut the pieces, forged the edges with the hammers, and used the torch to color the brass and copper. Then we wove with wire and beads - Cris made a little wall hanging, and I made mine into a book necklace. John helped, then, overcome with exhaustion, took a nap under the lamp, one of his favorite places.

It rained all day long! Even the weatherman on TV said it was "gloomy"! Everything is dripping. We have been seeing and hearing this barred owl for several days, and I finally got a shot of him. You can just see his glowing eyes, sitting on a beech snag. This wasn't his (her) preferred perch, though - that was deep in a huge fir tree. Occasionally the crows would chase him out, and he'd come to this tree close to the house. At night, he'd discuss it all with his friends.

Cris and I went to Oberlin during the day, and shopped at the bead shop - always a lot of fun! We also saw a great exhibition at the Ginko Gallery - Rita Buchanan's "A Gardener's Weavings". It was a collection of woven grass cloth, her unique style of weaving with grasses, iris & daylily leaves, stiff stalks and colored twigs. She had items fashioned into boxes, book covers and purses, and tapestries and wall hangings. It was inspirational, and of course quite lovely.
I spent the day with Kathy at her house, catching up on all that sister talk. Later, back at home, I saw a woodpecker go into a hole in the trunk of this tree, and while looking up at it, saw the waxing moon through the branches.
MONDAY, APRIL 23, 2007 Mom and I got out early and went to the Beaver Ponds on the towpath in Cuyahoga River Nat. Park. The ponds were so still, reflecting the early sun and bare trees. We came across this little guy trying to soak up some sun, and we saw a muskrat swimming, too. Lots of geese and ducks are nesting now, but there is a mink in the area eating the eggs in the nests, so tensions were high!
Later Cris and I hiked the trail at Hampton Hills, looking for wildflowers. The dog-tooth violets were in full bloom, everywhere we looked. If you look closely, the yellow flowers are scattered throughout the green on the hillside next to the trail. It was beautiful.
Cris and I also went to NatureRealm, where we looked for the brick that Kathy, Cris and I commissioned for our parents last year for their 67th anniverary.
SUNDAY, APRIL 22, 2007
Sunday is breakfast with the boys - Lewis and Dale, who worked with Dad at Goodyear. Mom goes sometimes, and I like to go when I come to visit. They've been retired for 15-20 years, and have been meeting every Sunday all that time. It's always interesting to visit with them. Afterwards, Mom and I worked down in the woods. The dog-tooth violets were blooming - at first you didn't see any flowers, then, once you started noticing them, they were everywhere!

The tiny little blue flowers are growing in the lawn. We took a drive through the Cuyahoga Valley, and came upon this drift of narcissus in the woods. They smelled heavenly! They are intermingled with daffodils, which were just about finished blooming. This was the site of a nursery back in the day, and they must have planted lots of bulbs, which have continued to naturalize and spread through the woods.
On Saturday we had a picnic - the weather was just gorgeous! Sunny and warm, no humidity or bugs. John came to see what I was doing behind the daffodil leaves - well, you can see the photo below. Seated is Dad talking to Don, and going down the stairs is Mom in front of Cris and Kathy.

FRIDAY, APRIL 20, 2007

I'm in Ohio to visit my family. My parents live in the house that they built the year I was born, where I lived until I left home at 18. It's still home to me.

Early morning shadows on the moss. This is Mom's side yard - no leaves on the trees, yet. In Washington, our leaves were mostly out, so I was surprised by bare naked trees.

John was happy for the attention, and decided he liked having his photo taken. It feels so good!

The daffodils and Grecian windflowers were among the flowers blooming in the garden.
Airborne at 6:00 AM on my way to Ohio. Once we're up above the clouds, Mt Rainier looms pinkly in the sunrise. What a sight with Mt St Helens smoking quietly in the background. Below you can see Mts Hood, Adams, St Helens and Rainier under the wingtip.
At Mom and Dad's, we found some of last year's Money Plants weathering away in the sunset.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Been keeping an eye on the sky all day - very changable weather! And, it makes for some very dramatic photos. I've also been keeping an eye on the tulips - they're out in full now. I'm going to be gone for 10 days, so they'll be done by the time I return. I wanted to capture their beauty.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Oh, how brief their life! First the gloriously cheerful bright yellow face follows the sun, then the petals fall as the seeds form their wings, poised to take flight at the slightest breeze. Or black dog, as luck would have it! Just as I settled in the grass flat on my tummy, Buzz raced in front of me and completely denuded my subject! Luckily, there were hundreds more to choose from, silhouetted against the sunset.

Monday, April 16, 2007

OK - 10:30 at night, still no photo. I was all set to get out for a walk, when it began to pour! Talk about bad timing - it had been sunny earlier. Well, still raining, as you can see by the very wet deck! You can also see where the cats have sharpened their claws over the years. Time for a pressure-wash and new paint.
Sunday, April 15, 2007

What - no photo again? Well, it is the last day to finish taxes.....

Saturday, April 14, 2007

I ask you - what forces are at work to make a spiral in the pollen floating on this quiet pond in the middle of the woods? There is no current, no inflow or outflow, this is just a collection pond, a depression that quickly fills with water during the wet winter, then slowly empties as the days get drier. Do you think there are ducks that swim in circles? This is where I have sighted the owl a couple of times now - maybe she swoops low, and clears the water with the wind from her wings.
The birch tree is leafing out delicately. Buzz bounds up the trail to see what I am doing sitting in the middle of the path. The salal bushes that he is coming through grow fast and thick - it is a constant chore to keep them clear of the path.
Friday, April 13, 2007
These bright red rhodies are the first to bloom in our neighborhood. They're so vivid it was hard to show it in the photo! There is a pair that reflect beautifully in the pond along our driveway. My favorites are still the pale pink natives, but they will bloom much later.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

This little pond is our neighbor's along our drive, with the poplars lining his driveway. I've been admiring them, bare in the winter, but soon to leaf out. The pond was still, and the sunlight caught on the bark, reflecting vividly.
Here is another photo of the swamp along the drive, too. The leaves are really opening out fast, and such a wonderful chartruese green when the sun shines on them. I took a shot a couple of days ago on April 8th - you can see the difference.

Thursday is art day at Carol's, and her magnolia, which had been threatening to bloom for weeks now, finally opened. They're a beautiful creamy pale yellow, with the branches still bare.
Here is Carol with the quilt she's been working on - a new series for her with triangles.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Second Wednesday of the month - Guild Meeting. On the ferry crossing to Mukilteo, the mountains were just crystal clear, even though the sky had high cloud cover. Someone was feeding the seagulls from the upper deck, and they would glide out occasionally so I could see them from where I was on the car deck. It was a fun challenge to catch one in front of Mount Baker, with Hat Island on the left.
Looking east toward Everett, a new jet was on a test flight returning to the Boeing plant at Paine Field. They often run the tests over the water and Whidbey Island, because of the lower populations. Sometimes they go over our house so low you feel like you could touch them. Glacier Peak is at the far left; Pilchuk is in the center.