Monday, April 30, 2012

Monday Morning

I hope you all had a very nice weekend!

It is a rainy Monday here. You can see the clouds are very low and hiding Mt. Rainier. But we had nice weather over the weekend.

Hubby had a fire burning all weekend for the many large piles of storm debris we picked up. There was a pile about 6 feet high x 10 feet long here before he started. There is still so much to do, but we just keep working a little at a time.

I went grocery shopping and then stopped and bought some flats of flowers. These are red Impatiens that I will pot up and put in my window boxes and shelves. These will bloom in the shade all summer and only need water and occasional fertilizer.

They will add some much needed color to my pots of ivy I placed last fall. You can see how shady it is by the mossy pots. The ivy is growing, slowly but surely and will look so pretty when it starts cascading down among the red flowers. I have two window shelves, this one under my living room window, and the other one under my large bedroom window on the front of the house. I will be sure to show you pictures when I am done.

I also bought these flats of succulents to put in an old bird bath that leaks and won't hold water any more.

The plant behind it is a clematis vine I am going to plant along my deck. It has fragrant light pink flowers.

I bought two clematis, one is an evergreen that I am going to plant on my shed.

Of course I also bought some herbs to add to my herb garden. I garden in half whiskey barrels along the edge of my deck on the ground underneath. You can see the herbs when you stand by the rail and look down. I have Oregano, Mint, Spearmint, Chives, Sage, Santolina, Lavender, and Thyme. I will be adding Chocolate Mint, Dill, and Rosemary.

This barrel holds Lavender and a few tulips I planted last fall.

I grow Tansy in a raised bed along the front of Hubby's shed to use in Moth Repellent Sachets.

The woodlands are full of beautiful wildflowers, starting to bloom. This plant has little green bells which are just beginning to open. It resembles the cultivated Coral Bells, but is carefree and plants itself.

The wild bleeding heart continues to bloom among the unfurling Ostrich fern. These are growing along my long gravel driveway.

This ancient stump also resides along the driveway and hosts a Red Huckleberry. These Huckleberries are long lived and love the acid conditions in rotting cedar stumps. In the summer they have bright red berries beside lime green leaves which makes for a very pretty picture. The birds love these.

Below the Huckleberry, you can see a little colony of the wild Coral Bells.

This very Ancient stump still has the ax marks from the early settlers that cut this magnificent cedar down. It is starting to fall apart now, but it is home to small animals that live inside. You can see the entrance to their home at the bottom. Below on the ground you can see some of the debris left by our terrible ice storm. I am slowly working my way up the driveway and this is at the very top by the gate. I will finish this side, which is almost done, and then move on to the other side and work my way down.

In the meantime, I have been weeding, Hubby has been mowing, and once the rain stops again, I will be out to resume my endless cleanup.

But I am feeling a creative urge, and I will be making a gift for my sweet sister in law, as her birthday is coming. I will share that with you when I am done.

I hope that your Monday is going well, and that you have a little more sunshine than I have!

I will leave you with this quote;

'If you have tried to do something and failed, you are vastly better off than if you had tried to do nothing and succeeded.' - Flora McKennon

Friday, April 27, 2012

Lemon Blueberry Squares

Lemon Blueberry Squares

From Charlotte's House B&B, Bolton, MA

1/2 c. butter, melted
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. lemon extract
1 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 c. fresh or frozen blueberries
1 Tbsp. flour (for blueberries)
confectioner's sugar (for dusting on top)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Grease an 8"x8" square pan

Mix the sugar into the melted butter. Add the eggs and mix well.
Add the extract and mix in.
Add the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Mix well.
Toss the 1 Tbsp flour over the blueberries, then gently mix the flour and berries into the batter. Pour into prepared pan, spreading out evenly.
Bake until top is golden brown, about 25 minutes if using fresh berries, or 35-40 minutes if using frozen berries.
Cool completely.
Sift confectioner's sugar over the top and cut into squares.

These will keep 2-3 days covered.

Although it will be hard to keep them around that long!

Just be sure to hide one for yourself!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Color-'full' Baja Fish with Mango Salsa

Color is everywhere! Bright, Beautiful Color

Happy, Joyful Color
The Earth Sings in Flowers
It makes everybody Happy!
Warm, Sunshiny Color
Brilliant, Gorgeous Color
Yummy, Scrumptious Color
I want to fill myself with Color!

Don't you?

Baja Fish with Mango Salsa

Mango Salsa

2 large ripe mangoes, peeled, pitted, and chopped
1/4 cup minced red bell pepper
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
2 green onions, sliced (green tops only)
1 small jalapeno pepper, stem, seeds and membrane removed

Stir all ingredients together and set aside.

Baja Fish
Preheat oven to 425 degrees

1 lb cod fillets, rinsed and patted dry
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp Mexican oregano
1/2 tsp garlic salt

Parchment paper

Place cod on 2 large sheets of parchment paper. Stir together dry seasonings in a small bowl and sprinkle over cod. Bring edges of parchment paper together and fold twice. Fold ends under to enclose fish. Place packets on baking sheet and bake 15-18 minutes. Open packets carefully to let steam escape.

Serve topped with Mango Salsa.

Colorful and Delicious!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Hubby and I have been married a long time. It goes without saying that we share a lot of history. Some of that history involves relatives, in-laws, and friends who have also been married a long time. You take for granted that these people are part of your family and always will be.

You share history with them.

You attend their marriages, the births of their children, the celebrations, the holidays, the ups and downs, the good and bad. You share heart-ache and deaths, disappointments and hardships. You celebrate accomplishments, promotions, happy anniversaries, graduations. You witness their lives. They grow older with you. Their children grow up with yours. You laugh together. You cry together.

And then you hear they are getting a divorce.

That person in your life for too many years to count, is no longer. Poof! It's over. Now they are left in the shadowland of memory. Lines are drawn. Loyalties delineated. All that was, is no more.

The windows and doors of the life you shared with them are boarded up. You cannot enter. There are big No Trespassing signs.

In some ways it is worse than a death. With death, you can say goodbye. You can honor that person. You can pay your respects.

But with divorce, they are simply gone from your life with no parting words.

This leaves you with sudden loose ends, unravelled beyond repair.
And like a death, you feel the grief.

Because Hubby and I have been married a long time, we have experienced this many times. We have said our own private goodbyes to so many people. This is something else we share. Witness to the death of love.

For the people involved, it is sad and difficult. And for the rest of us, we feel the loss. We put away the pictures. We will never share our lives with them as a couple, as a family, again. They have moved on.

It makes us grateful that we have each other.

Marriage is hard. It's not for the faint of heart. It requires all the best that you can give, the best that you can take from it. It sometimes requires rose colored glasses. But the most important things it requires is respect, forgiveness, humor, understanding, friendship, and loyalty.
Add love and stir.

I only wish I could sprinkle every marriage with this potion.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Band Tailed Pigeons
Today I took a little walk to see what was happening in the forest around me.
The first thing I saw were these Band Tailed Pigeons.
They have long tails which, when opened in flight, display a white band.
They fill the forest with their beautiful cooing.
They arrive every April and nest in the tall trees.

Stellar Jay

Another favorite of mine is the Stellar Jay. These are year round residents. They are the 'watch dogs' of the forest, announcing with mimicking cries, predators such as hawks and eagles. When other birds hear them sound the alarm, they find shelter.  

Salmon Berry Blooms

The Salmon Berry Bushes are blooming.  You have to agree, the flowers are as pretty as a wild rose. Hummingbirds love these. They produce salmon colored, raspberry-like fruit which Robins and other fruit eating birds love. They spread by runners and form thickets of 6-12 foot tall spiny, arching shrubs.

Bleeding Heart

The wild Bleeding Heart are also blooming. They carpet the forest floor with their delicate, lacy foliage and nodding pink flowers.

Bleeding Heart carpeting the forest floor
I carefully stay on the path to avoid crushing the delicate plants.

Bracken Fern - 3-5 ft. - deciduous - single stalk

Ferns are starting to unfurl new fronds. We have many kinds of ferns, including these Bracken Fern, the beautiful, delicate lady fern, which I encourage in my gardens, and the leathery, evergreen Ostrich fern that form large clumps that live for many years and populate the forest floor.

Lady Fern - 2-3 ft. deciduous, clump forming
Another evergreen is the Oregon Grape with its arching, holly-like branches and sweet smelling yellow flower bracts. Bees like this, and later small purple 'grapes' form that are a favorite of the forest birds and small animals. This plant spreads into large colonies beneath evergreen trees in dense shade. It makes a handsome ground cover with its glossy leaves.
Oregon Grape
Today I added a new entry to my nature journal; Band Tail Pigeon.
I included the date, place, characteristics, breeding habits, and other pertinent information.
I have a feather, too! 

I started this journal to record the flora and fauna in the forest around me. It also doubles as a sketching journal. I will share it with you as I go along.

I like making journals. I have a travel journal that I take with me on trips. I make little sketches of favorite places and write down all that I have experienced. A journal lets you describe with all of your senses. Sight, touch, scent, taste, sound. Sometimes I press interesting flowers, feathers or leaves inside the pages, or tickets and ephemera. You can forget so much if you wait. It gives you something wonderful to look back on. It also gives you something to do on long days of relaxation while on vacation.

I have another journal just for writing down inspirational thoughts, quotes and ideas.
I also have a personal journal. This records my feelings about day to day events. Sometimes just writing down a problem gives you the solution as you go along, or it just makes you feel like you are getting it off your chest without burdening someone else.

Journals can be kept for so many reasons. Art, cooking, travel, nature, family, personal, decorating, fashion, writing, poetry....the sky is the limit.

Do you keep a journal?

Monday, April 23, 2012

My latest News Tribune Column came out today! You can read it here:

Can you find where there is a missing word?

Hey, things happen!

How many of you have read books with spelling errors?

 I can attest that no matter how many times you proof read something, sometimes these things happen.

I hope you enjoy my column this week! I think some people can relate.  

Birthday Girl

We celebrated a birthday on Sunday.
A precious daughter.
Our middle child.
A child no more.
Now grown for more years than I care to admit.
Where did the time go?

Big blue eyes, button nose, long black hair.

A smile to light up even the gloomiest of days.

Sweet and Tender Hearted.

A joy to all who know her.

Our birthday Girl.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Here Comes the Sun

It was a beautiful sunny day.

After days of clouds and rain.

Our only sunshine at the end of the day, when rays would drift below the clouds to illuminate the tops of  trees.

Glistening raindrops.

Pitter Patter.

And then, beautiful morning sunshine.

Streaming in through happy windows.

Shining on sweet faces.

Making me smile.

And landing on the ground in drops of gold.

I hope you are having a sunshiny day!

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