Friday, September 30, 2016

A Walk in the Woods

Come along with me as we take a woodland walk
near my home in the Cascade foothills of Washington State.

Whitey Bear, one of my American Eskimos, leads the way.

Late afternoon light casts a soft glow.

 My daughter's two mini-dachshunds
Peanut and Weenie-Baby :) tag along.

I am pet-sitting for the weekend.

Kai is also part of the pack,
but is too fast to capture in a group shot!

Peanut keeps her eye on him.
He's been known to come up so
fast from behind that he knocks her right over!

We are on the look-out for critters,
and today we have found five
for 'Five on Friday'
Saturday's Critters

The first critter we see through the gate,
as we get to the end of our country lane,
is a very healthy-looking cow elk.

She is lured by the neighbor's apple trees.

She is not too sure about us,
so takes one last look before she disappears
into the shadows.

We leave her in peace.....

The Black Cottonwood trees are starting
to drop their leaves, carpeting the ground
with a tapestry of burnished hues, providing
a thick mulch for plants below, such as these
Western Sword Ferns.

Black Cottonwood has a sweet, balsam scent
that is especially lovely this time of year.

These trees are the tallest, fastest growing
hardwood in the Western US and can
reach heights of up to 225 ft with a diameter
of up to 100 in.

In May they release their seed which fills
the air with tiny cotton tufts, hence their name.

The second wildling we see is the Douglas squirrel,
or Chickaree. These active and vocal little squirrels
eat seeds, mushrooms and fruits.

The cones of the Douglas Fir are a favorite.

The female has 4-6 young in early spring,
which will stay with her for most of their first year.

They especially love to 'scold' the dogs
as we walk below their tree.

Another favorite treat are the winged seeds of the
Big-Leaf Maple. They help to disperse
the seed by severing the clumps so they fall
to the ground for gathering.

Big-Leaf Maple gets its name for obvious reasons!

These are very large trees unsuitable
for the average backyard.

They frequently grow in clumps
where Licorice Fern thrive
in the accumulated debris between
the trunks.

The third creature we see is this
sweet little chipmunk who has climbed to the
top of a snag to get a better look at 'the pack'.

The dogs have not noticed, so I quickly
move them on so the chipmunk can climb down and hide.

A scarlet leaf of creeping blackberry
among mossy rocks and dry leaves.

Moss will grow on anything stationary in
our cool and damp climate.

Blue berries of Oregon Grape are a favorite of
birds and small animals.

It was an important food source
for our native peoples, also.

This arching, evergreen ground-cover is
very handsome in the forested landscape
and is frequently sold in nurseries for landscaping.

We look up to hear the screeching call of
the beautiful Steller's Jay, our fourth wild sighting.

These are large Jays (11") that mate for life
and live within 10 miles of their place of birth.

These are highly intelligent birds that mimic
the cries of eagles and hawks to warn
other birds of danger.

Mushrooms are common this time of year.

I always love discovering these magical fungi
on my woodland walks.

I wonder who lives here?

The pretty seed-heads of Hawk-weed.

Late afternoon sunlight on Western Red Cedar.

As I gaze upward I see movement in the trees.

The fifth wild sighting is this beautiful
 and very well-camouflaged Rough-Legged Hawk.

You can see that he spies me, too!

What are you looking at?

These smallish hawks (22") migrate south
for winter after nesting in Canada's Northwest Territories
and Alaska.

He keeps watch on the dogs as he turns
to prepare for flight, showing us
the beauty of his markings. (Or hers :)

These small hawks hunt for snakes, small animals,
and large insects.

He takes one last look before flying away.

And off he goes......

The craggy trunk of a large Douglas Fir.

Weenie Baby and Kai investigate a scent nearby.

Can you see them?

I find a Mourning Dove's feather.

Some early fall color.

We arrive back home
after a wonderful walk in the woods today.

Time to relax with a cup of tea and a favorite magazine.

Thank you for joining me, Dear Friends!

I hope you enjoyed our walk in the woods today!


Today I am linking with:

 Five on Friday
Saturday's Critters

Won't you join the fun?

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Autumn Beauties for Flower Wednesday

Hello, Dear Friends, thank you for joining me
as we wind down the beautiful month of September together. 

The gardens have been gradually preparing for 
their long winter's nap, but there are still some 
lovely faces to greet me as I take my daily stroll. 

Here dahlia peeks over the lily-pad leaves of 
trailing nasturtium, while canary bird vine flutters overhead. 

Canary bird vine (Tropaeolum peregrinum)
 is easily grown from seed in areas with cooler summers. 

This nasturtium relative grows 8 to 12 feet, winding around a trellis or 
a taller plant, like here, where it is twining up a climbing rose. 

It gets its name from the flowers that look like canaries in flight. 

You can find the seeds in spring here:  

I still have roses, too! This beauty loves the cooler 
temperatures. I have lost the name of this rose, 
but even without a name, it is lovely as can be 
with its purple leaves and apricot blush. 

The blooms are very large and fragrant. 

Autumn Joy sedum is also another star of the 
autumn garden. These beautiful plants 
are very old.....maybe 20 years old! 

I have three large clumps that are aptly named,
as they do bring such joy! 

As the season progresses, the color 
changes, becoming deeper and deeper. 

Here they are in August as the flowers start to open. 

Bees love them! 
They do require full sun and a well-drained site. 
Even in rainy Washington State, they thrive
because they are planted on a south-facing hillside. 

I rarely have to water or fertilize them and only 
cut them back in early spring. Cutting them back 
earlier in our rainy climate leads to rot as water 
can get into their hollow stems, so I leave them
 be all winter and cut them once I see new growth in spring. 

Rosy begonia are still blooming, too! 

I added some pretty chrysanthemums
to the rail above. 

I bought this flat of begonias in May and 
 just placed the whole flat into my galvanized tray planter
and they have been blooming ever since! 
I simply added weak fertilizer with every watering. 

Calibrachoa still blooms sporadically, too. 

These look like mini petunias, but have no scent. 

The hummingbirds love them, though. 

Believe it or not, we have year-round hummingbirds
here. Annas Hummingbirds are year-round, while
Rufous migrate south. 

I actually have a heated hummingbird feeder! 

Double begonia bloom with boxwood in a planter box. 

Begonia can take some sun, but prefer filtered sunlight
or bright shade. 

These have also bloomed all summer and look like miniature roses. 

Impatiens love the cooler weather and are at their peak
right now. I had these inside on my step-ladder for a while, 
but they were unhappy, so I put them on the window ledge
where it is nice and shady and they are very happy now. 

Soon Ramblin' Man will take the canopy down
for the winter, but for now, Maggie enjoys 
taking naps in the late afternoon sunbeams. 

A pot of white impatiens brightens her sleep. 

She is my elderly pet - 18 years now. 

We left the canopy up for the winter the first year
only to have it carried off by the wind, 
slamming into the glass doors and flipping
over the rail onto the ground. 

The door wasn't broken, but the frame has a permanent dent
and the framework of the canopy suffered some injury
that Ramblin' man was able to repair. 

We wisely put it away for winter now! 
We sometimes have powerful storms in winter. 

All of my petunias are gone now, 
but alyssum, bacopa and the fairy garden remain. 

The large, leafy plant is pineapple sage, 
which will soon have lipstick colored blooms. 
The leaves taste and smell just like pineapple! 
So good on a fruit salad! 

I planted these from 2 tiny pots in May. 

The fairies have been busy all summer 
collecting their orbs and tending to their garden :)  

Soon they will go into 'hibernation' :) 

Tiny alpine geraniums and star creeper 
have been well tended to all summer. 

But once the last of these blooms fade, so will the fairies.....

Of course, fall means pansies, too. 

These little charmers self-seeded among the wildflowers. 
(Herb Robert)

More self-seeders - 'whisker face' pansies. 

I will be planting winter pansies and bulbs 
next, and I will share those with you soon. 

I hope that you enjoyed visiting my flowers
and I hope that you are enjoying some 
lovely fall blooms where you are, too! 


Today I am linking with: 


Won't you join the fun? 

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