Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Picnic at Paradise

Yesterday we played hooky and had a picnic in 
Paradise on Mt. Rainier.

It was a beautiful day and we took the back roads all the way. 

Past beautiful old farmlands. 

And pristine lakes. 

This luminous green glacial lake is Alder Lake, which supplies drinking water to the city of Tacoma. 

Wild Sweet Peas bloom along the banks.

Soon we arrive at the gates of Mt. Rainier National Park. 

Forest Service buildings built during the 1930's serve the many dedicated Rangers and staff. 

We follow the Nisqually River through untouched wilderness all the way to it's source, the Nisqually Glacier on the flanks of Mt. Rainier.

The sun creates pools of light as it filters through the majestic canopy of ancient forest. 

Trees that have witnessed centuries stand guard along the way.

The Nisqually River weaves it's path along this mountain canyon, as we slowly start to climb, higher and higher. 

We leave the ancient fern covered forest floor as we drive the switchback river trail towards it's source. 

Up and up we climb, past breathtaking scenery. 

To the flanks of Mt. Rainier - the source of  the Nisqually Glacier. 

The very large highway bridge is dwarfed by the enormous glacier. 

A broader view of the glacier and the headwaters of the Nisqually River.

 There is the river far below.

A tiny peek behind the clouds of the flanks of Mt. Rainier.

We stop to stretch our legs and take in the beautiful alpine scene.

The peak of Mt. Rainier as the clouds lift.

Alpine forest at the tree-line.

We stop after our long drive and find a perfect picnic spot in the warm mountain sunshine.

Ol' Blue Eyes thought he would sneak in a photo of me taking a bite, but I caught him just in time!

He likes to tease.

I stopped his teasing with my home-made Blackberry Squares for dessert.
(I will post the recipe in a future post)

Later, as I was taking photos of the scenery, he dead-panned,
'Wouldn't it be great if a deer walked by?'

Still absorbed in my task I laughed, never dreaming he was serious!

I was so surprised when I turned around!

There you see his shoulder on the left, as I zoom in on the deer behind us in the shadows.

Isn't she pretty?

She is busy having her own picnic, munching on the beautiful wildflowers growing all around us.

As she drifts away she shows us her namesake, for she is a Black-Tail Deer. 

Lupine and Cinquefoil carpet the landscape.

The slightest breeze carries their scent.

And all along the edges, Avalanche Lilies bloom. 

We took a little trail at the picnic grounds.

But we weren't at our final destination yet....

Next time - We arrive at Paradise Lodge.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Raindrops on Roses

Raindrops on Roses.

"These are a few of my favorite things"! 

My favorite song from 'The Sound of Music'. 

We had a little shower the other night. 

Just enough to turn everything magical. 

And refresh the tiniest among us. 

I watched this little guy go from blade of grass to blade of grass, taking tiny drinks from water droplets. 

And then he and the magic were gone. 

We haven't had any measurable rain since June 22nd! 

But this is normal for Washington State. 
We are cloudy and damp for 9 months and then we have our 'dry season'. 
Which can become dangerously dry. 

Last night my Mr. and I stood on our deck until late in the evening watching through binoculars a very large bonfire that someone had built on the neighboring ridge along the power lines.

Where nobody lives and where there is no water for miles.
Surrounded by timber as far as the eye can see. 

We called it in, and were informed that one of our neighbor's had already done that. 

But the fire dept. never found it and it gradually died down and we were able to sleep, although fitfully. 

This is wildfire season here.

But all is well this morning and take a look at this beauty, peeking through the deck railing to say Hello! 

I bought her as a commemorative rose in memory of my Mother. 

My Mother loved yellow roses. 

Although this one is more apricot, I think. 

Never-the-less, she is a beauty. 

I have been spending my afternoons watering. 

Our water is supplied by a deep well, 200 ft. deep! 

It gets low this time of year, because we are on the top of a little mountain. 

So my watering chores must be rationed. 

I am very careful and this is another reason why I primarily garden in pots. 

Whatever I plant in the ground must be very hardy and drought resistant. 

Still, I do have to water when it has been so dry. 

I finished planting my cutting garden. 

When I stopped at the plant sale I bought a few more pretties to fill in. 

Deep maroon Hibiscus. This is a non-flowering variety. 

My very old Butterfly Bushes bloom in the background. 

They have the most amazing, spicy scent that fills the air. 

Every year we look forward to them blooming.

The scent will forever remind me of late summer. 

I also added some shorter purple 'Osteospermum' to my cutting garden. 

Later I will add some creeping phlox and candytuft to spill over the stone wall. 

I will keep my eyes open for those at the nurseries. 

I already have tiny forget me nots sprouting here and there from last spring's flowers. 

My Mr. relaxes on the bench after dinner while I finish watering. 

We love these long summer evenings together. 

While I water, I toss the ball to Champ. 

Whitey steals the ball every now and again. 

But he never brings it back. 

Instead he takes it and tosses it up in the air and plays catch with himself. 

Until Champ steals it back. 

My dwarf apple trees have a nice crop of little green apples. 

Does anyone remember that country song, 'Little Green Apples' by Roger Miller in 1968? 

I was a young girl and fell in love with that song. 

'Little Green Apples' won a Grammy for 'Song of the Year' in 1968. 

A little trivia for you.....

I have two dwarf apple trees and both produce a heavy crop every other year. 
Seems they know to take turns! 

Sometimes I even get to have some if the deer and other wildlife don't get to them first! 

My old rain barrel has seen better days! 

Now it holds recycled plastic jugs until ready to go. 

As the sun sinks lower in the sky, plantain plumes glow in the sepia light next to the rain barrell. 

I continue my watering chores as the day slowly drifts away.

The Sweet William is starting to set seed in my wildflower garden by the tool shed. 

I will gather some seed for my new cutting garden and leave the rest for future flowers. 

Sweet William is a biennial. 

But the Bird's Foot Trefoil is starting to bloom. 

Can you see my maze of twine holding things together? 

And the yellow button flowers of Tansy are starting to color. 

I grow Tansy for it's pungent leaves that are dried and used for moth repellent sachets. 

The cool evening air feels refreshing after these hot, dry summer days. 

With my watering chores done for the day, we enjoy the last rays of languid light as the full moon rises over the hills. 

A soft breeze brings the spicy scent of Butterfly Bush while the forest birds sing their evening songs. 

After a lifetime of struggle and hard work, we are enjoying this tranquil, peaceful time in our lives. 

Life is good.

For now! (cross my fingers)

Wishing you peace and tranquility for your summer evenings, too! 


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...