Tuesday, July 29, 2014

These Hot Summer Days

Can you believe that July is almost over? 
Sometimes I wish these beautiful summer days could go on forever. 

It's been quiet here in the forest. 
The birds are done nesting
and defending their territories with beautiful songs. 

On my morning walk, the rat-a-tat-tat of the Pileated Woodpecker
is the only thing that breaks the silence.

It has been very hot the last few days. 
The petunias and herbs are loving it. 

Did you know that purple petunias are the most fragrant?

They are so deliciously scented! 

 They attract the Western Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly. 

These large butterflies are common here. 
The caterpillars feed on Alder trees, 
(among others) of which we have plenty. 

While sitting at my deck table admiring the butterfly 
 I felt a thump on my head! 
It was this little guy. 
He might have been trying to make a pass
 at the butterfly from some high place
and thought my head would make a great landing pad. 
I was a little startled! 
 I had to protect him from the cats who were very interested......
He is safely ensconced in the strawberry pot now. 

This is where I hang out on hot summer days. 
My sweet Mr. assembled the canopy
and this deck furniture on his week off. 

I spend as much time as possible here. 
We've had the canopy for years, but haven't put it up in a few. 
I bought the furniture on clearance last fall, 
ridiculously cheap. 

The stone fountain was a gift from my son. 
I just love the sound of the tinkling water. 

Can you see Ling Ling? 

The cats think we did this all for them! 
They spend the hot summer days sleeping here. 

The deck sits on the South side of the house
and is very hot in the summer. 

This little oasis keeps things cool. 

Lanterns and a candle chandelier light up the evenings. 

A tiny Zen Garden with striped rocks collected over time
is fun to arrange and rearrange. 

I grow succulents on the 'hot' side of the deck. 
I've had these plants for many years. 

Despite our very wet winters, they seem to thrive. 
Good drainage and tucking them under the eaves helps. 

They bloom and multiply every year. 

These warm summer evenings end with Mt. Rainier reflecting the sunsets. 

If we zoom in a little closer we can see the glaciers outlined 
by the rosy light. 

They seem to hold on to the flanks of the mountain rather precariously! 

Can you see the cracks above this glacier? 
If one of these fell, it would be a disaster 
called a Lahar. 

Lahars can travel great distances
 following the river valleys below. 

It is estimated that a wall of mud and debris 40 feet thick 
would swallow up a nearby town. 

There are Lahar warning systems in place,
much like tornado warning systems. 

School children have drills regularly and there are road signs
directing people to higher ground. 

I am glad that I live on higher ground! 

Mt. Rainier is considered one of the most dangerous volcanoes 
in the world due to the high density populations surrounding it. 

We all live with danger and uncertainty
no matter where we live. 

Some have tornadoes, some have hurricanes, 
some have drought and wildfires,
some have extremes in temperatures. 

We have volcanoes and earthquakes! 

Life is uncertain at best, 
we never know how many precious days we have here. 

I try to keep this in mind, 
to remind me to always be kind. 

Thank you Dear Friends for all of your kindness.

It means so much to me. 

'Recompense injury with justice,
and recompense kindness with kindness'

'What wisdom can you find that is greater than kindness?'
-Jean Jacques Rousseau-

'The best portion of a good man's life.
His little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and love.'
-William Wordsworth-



  1. Your canopied seating area is beautiful Karen! I think that I would live in there during the summer. The mountain looks beautiful, but it is indeed precarious living so close to it isn't it. I hope that there are no issues for you and that the snow does not break free and cause an incident. xx

  2. Wow Karen that bird is a pileated woodpecker. They're actually rather rare! So awesome that you captured a shot of it :)

  3. Karen, I love your new canopied sitting area! It does look like the perfect place to spend a day reading and watching your beautiful views. I don't know if hot weather is usual for you, but we have been having very cool temps, which is very unusual for us! It feels like fall here. Oh well, it's good weeding weather:) Have a great day, friend.

  4. Oh Karen you captured the elusive (can't spell it this early:)) Woodpecker... awesome. Oh it is so beautiful where you live I would live there danger or not:) Thank you for sharing. Hug B

  5. Your deck is quite a refuge for you with the canopy up ... was this put up before or after tiny toad hopped in your hair?! Love how you have displayed the potted petunias :) Excuse my ignorance, but I didn't know Mt. Rainier was a volcano. Here in Ontario we have it so safe, with only an occasional small tornado or earthquake. I visited Mt. Etna a couple of years ago, and to see the rivers of hardened lava so close to the town makes me wonder why anyone would live so close to a steaming live volcano. Perhaps they reason they have lived there for generations and the town is still standing so why worry. It would be hard for me to adopt that philosophy. Enjoy your hot sultry summer days ... ours have been so cool and not summer-like at all, which has been disappointing after the hard winter. Maybe August will be warmer. Take care :) Wendy x

  6. Hello sweet Karen! It is very hard to believe July is about to come to an end - where has the summer gone?!

    I had no idea that purple Petunias are more fragrant so thank you for sharing that little tid bit :)

    Your photos are always so beautiful and enjoyable to look at - thanks for putting a smile on my face.

    Hugs to you!

  7. i love catching sight of pileateds here! and their laugh! :) your petunias are so pretty! laughed at the frog. LOVE your deck canopy - like your own outdoor living room. LOVE! the mountain shots are amazing. i just read about lahars yesterday from a blogger in new zealand, explaining the death and destruction that occurred from a volcano.

  8. I never tired of your pictures of Mount Rainier, especially with the pink light the sun makes. Nature is beautiful, but knows how to put us back in our tiny place. I experienced my first earthquake in Brittany a few weeks ago and I was terrified even if it was only a tiny one!

  9. Dearest Karen,
    Lovely extension of your living room and well protected from the sun's heat. Oh, cats know too well where to hide for some cool time in summer.
    So this means the canopy needs to be taken down after summer as it would collapse under the weight of snow? Quite a task but so very worthwhile having it up!
    Sending you hugs and much joy of the quiet time of summer; nature wise that is... The quiet empty nest period!

    1. Dear Mariette,
      I always enjoy your sweet visits, my Dear! To answer your question - Yes, the canopy needs to be taken down for the winter. Not only the snow, but the wind here in the winter is too much, and the first year we thought we could keep it up and the wind took it right off the deck! It did do some damage to the frame, but my Mr. was able to repair it. It is a bother to take it down, but so worth the trouble for the shade it provides. Hope your week is lovely. xo Hugs, Karen

  10. If the frog had landed on my head, I'd be half-way to Idaho by now! Just sayin'.

    1. If you got to Idaho, it would only be half a day's drive from me! Maybe I will find a way to drop one on your head! Then we could share a laugh together! xo

  11. Dear Karen,

    I did not realise that the beautiful mountain you can see from your porch, is actually a volcano. The Lahars sound really scary. You are right that we all live with danger and insecurity. In Rotterdam we live approx. five meters below sea level and my parents 8 meters below sea level. If anything goes wrong great part of the little country that I live in will be under water. Best not think about it. We have waterworks now, which stop the water when something goes wrong. This helps feeling safer.

    Hope the beautiful weather will stay. Enjoy Karen!

    Madelief x

  12. It is so true that we all have different weather and environmental factors that affect us. And to appreciate the moments in our lives. Your beautiful oasis is the perfect place to do that Karen! Holy cow is it just magical there on your back deck! Love the canopy and your furniture is spectacular! And your flowers! I would be in heaven there! I really can't wrap my head around just how fast life is moving these days! Here is to cherishing the last months of summer! Nicole xoxo

  13. I just love the way your verandah is so close to the trees and forest. Your photos capture the relaxing feel of your hideaway perfectly. It seems quite big. So good.
    Thank you also for those excellent pictures of Mt Rainier. I learned something new.
    You certainly write engagingly and I hope you sendarticles to the sort of magazines retired people buy.

  14. Oh Karen, you live in such a beautiful place. The woodpecker is so pretty. One of my favorite things to do is take pictures of birds. I usually see average looking ones around here, but still I love it just the same. Your purple petunias are gorgeous. Purple is my favorite color, so they caught my eye. The forest surrounding your home is so lovely and peaceful. I can see why you sit on your deck often. I can't believe a frog jumped on your head. How beautiful the Mt. Rainier pictures are at sunset. I enjoyed seeing a glimpse of your home, Karen. The summers here in California are pretty, but it's been very hot lately. Staying indoors is a must right now.


  15. So nice to read your lovely blog! Your pictures are always so nice. Love your story about the little frog. You must just be thrilled with your canopy! I love it and can just imagine sitting out there in the evenings. ENJOY!

  16. I can understand why you'd want summer to linger with such a comfortable deck and spectacular views to enjoy.


  17. Dear Karen,

    Every post of yours is a hot summer happiness in our eyes and our souls.

    Yannis and Vania Politopoulos


Thank you for stopping by! Your comments are important to me and are very much appreciated. xx Karen

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