Wednesday, August 30, 2017

A Daughter's Birthday and a Big Surprise

Hello, Dear Friends, I hope you are enjoying 
this unofficial last week of summer 
leading up to the Labor Day weekend and 
'Back to School'. 

Last weekend, we celebrated our daughter, Heather's
birthday and before the guests arrived I took 
a few photos of the preparations. 

I had a little bit of fun with the crepe paper :)

It was a beautiful, sunny day, so we were
able to celebrate outside. 

Heather's favorite flowers are sunflowers, 
so I made cupcakes with that in mind, 
using jelly beans and upside down chocolate chips :)

Paper plates kept things simple. 

The gas grill was put into service......

on the menu:
Chicken-pineapple-sweet pepper kabobs
corn on the cob
pasta salad

assorted fruits, cheese and crackers

lemon cupcakes with orange sherbet

We had some extra special guests.....
Ramblin' Man's brother Dave and wife Katie,
visiting from 'back east'. 

They had taken an Alaskan cruise and 
disembarked in Seattle to spend the weekend with us.


It was a special birthday for Heather, 
and we also celebrated Katie's recent birthday. 

The birthday girls. 

There was also a very special announcement. 

Heather, Eric and baby Gavin had 
wonderful news........

Count the sneakers.......

Yes, they are expecting twins! 


My dear daughter did not think she would 
ever be a Mom, and now........
they are so very blessed. 

We are over the moon with happiness! 

The babies are due in February. 
Gavin is just 9 months old. 
To say they will have their hands full
is an understatement, but 
luckily we live only 10 minutes away. 


After that bit of excitement, it was time to dig
in to our cupcakes. 

Our 2 year old grandson, Ethan thoroughly enjoys his! 

'Big brother' Gavin gets snuggles 
from Auntie Jennie as Uncle Dustin relaxes nearby. 

My turn for snuggles.....

Ramblin' Man (Papa) and Ethan. 
Mischief is written all over their faces :)

Ethan can climb in and out on his own!

Ramblin' Man and his brother looking 
through binoculars at the mountains beyond.

It was a wonderful party filled with happy, 
smiling faces. 

And now the house is quiet once more. 

The 'kids' have gone home, David and Katie, too, and
the pets I was sitting for have gone home to their humans. 

Now it's just me and the dogs, trying to stay cool. 

Meanwhile, I have been watching the tragic events unfold 
in the path of hurricane Harvey. 

My heart is heavy and my prayers go out to all 
those who have suffered so much loss. 

Just a few weeks ago, life was normal there 
and they had no idea what was to come. 

We never know what tomorrow will bring. 
We must cherish each and every day. 


Monday, August 21, 2017

Solar Eclipse and Other Strange Phenomenon

Hello, Dear Friends, did you witness the solar eclipse? 

We had a partial eclipse, here in Washington State, 
but I didn't dare look, as I had no special glasses, 
so I watched it on television. 

This is how it looked at totality in Lincoln City, Oregon.
(photo taken from my t.v.)

I think if I were younger and more adventurous, 
I would have camped out on the beach there and 
witnessed it first-hand, but hey, I am not so young, 
and I have too many pets and, well -  excuses, excuses! :)

When I was younger, we used to take the kiddos 
camping in Lincoln City, Oregon. We have fond 
memories of freezing to death at night in our tents
and seeing a dozen eagle's nests along a bluff, 
and feeding the spotted seals that came up along
the boardwalks. Oh, and the shops and restaurants
and amazing kites.......

So I stayed home and watched the skies dim with 
eerie shadows and everything was so quiet
I could hear the electricity in the air. 

One strange phenomenon that I noticed was 
crescent shaped shadows. 

Here you can see the crescents on the casing of the window
above my paper roses. 

It was the strangest thing......

I went outside to see if there were more. 

And there were! 
On the top of my canopy. 

I had never seen anything like it. 

Here you can clearly see the crescent shapes. 

The light had a distinct silver cast and looked
so pretty through the forest behind my home. 

It was like bright moonlight. 

Here it shines on my caged angel. 

You can see the shadow had distinct wavy lines. 

Silver light on the face of my fairy. 

I even had my own mini-eclipse on the kitchen floor.....

from the lamp in the skylight! 

This only happens at certain times of the year. 

Once the eclipse was over, the temperature, which 
had dropped significantly, began to rise once again, 
and I got on with my day......
Doggy Spa Day! 

You can see Kai after his bath, tied to the rail. 
If I don't tie him until he dries, he races back and forth 
like a wild banshee, rolling and shaking. 

Whitey Bear is always reluctant at first, 
but thoroughly enjoys his soaks in the warm tub. 

My little house-guest, Charlie, was first in the tub. 
His human Mom will be coming to take him 
home soon, and he wanted to be
 nice and clean for the happy reunion!

Bath time is exhausting, so we all rested in the 
warm summer sun while we dried off. 

 It wasn't long before we had a 'visitor'. 

A one-person, open cockpit aircraft flying low
over the tree tops. 

When it approached the high-tension electrical 
lines that run through the forest valley, 
I grew quite concerned, but he went right under them! 

You can see how dangerous this little maneuver was! 

Then up it soared over the foothills.......

And it was gone. 

Every once in a while we get small planes through our little 
valley, and sometimes helicopters, but this type of 
aircraft is very rare. 

Once, when George W. Bush was in our state 
visiting Fort Lewis Military Base,
(not too far from here as the crow flies) 
an F-15 fighter jet flew down through 
this little river valley between our mountain 
and the next, at very high speed. 

Maybe the president was on board - I don't know, 
but this was something that has only happened once
in all the 36 years we have lived here. 

I can tell you, it was something.........

Once we had a large white military drone fly over 
at tree-top level, too. It made not one sound. 

And that's the extent of our 'traffic'. 

I will leave you with this perfect shot 
of the full moon directly over Mt. Rainier 
that I took last month. 

I will say goodbye for now, I have tubs 
to bail out, plants to water, laundry to fold
and dinner to make for Ramblin' Man. 

This weekend we are celebrating a special birthday
and expecting out of town guests, 
and I will share that with you next time. 

Have a lovely week, dear friends, and 
always keep your eyes open for strange phenomenom
in the skies above! 


Saturday, August 19, 2017

A Late Summer Stroll

Late summer is a languid time of year,
here in the foothills of the Cascade mountains
of western Washington state.

It is so quiet that you can hear the dry leaves drop, 
the buzz of an insect as it flies by, 
and the fluffing of feathers in the underbrush. 

Something that the robins appreciate as they listen 
for grubs and worms. 

Can you see Mr. Robin on the fence rail?

Red Huckleberries brighten up the shadows.

They grow in the highly acidic soil
around rotting cedar stumps. 

A favorite of the birds - thimble-berries 
ripen above their large, maple-like leaves. 

These form large colonies in the shade of the 
forest floor. 

Whitey Bear hears a stick snap.......

We all go on high alert. 

It is just a small herd of deer across the way. 

We relax and move on, leaving them in peace. 

Can you see Charlie, the little black dachshund that
I am pet-sitting, down along the bend? 

He is always in motion and I am unable to get a clear 
photo of him! He is searching for critter burrows. 
He loves to dig :) 

He will be going home soon and we are going to miss him. 
He's been such a happy little presence. 

The blackberry blossoms are pink in the shade......

and white in the sunshine. 

The blackberries are sweet and delicious
this year, despite the drought. 

I am not the only one who thinks so! 

It's always nice to stop for a quick snack :)

Douglas spirea is a native shrub with delightful, 
fuzzy flowers that also dry well for arrangements. 

Ocean spray is a tall, arching shrub with white, frothy 
flowers resembling 'ocean spray'. 

The flowers also dry beautifully to a lovely 
parchment color. 

The slender branches are extremely strong 
and were used by native peoples to make arrow shafts. 

An interesting moth on a mossy rock. 

It was on the large size - about an inch and a half. 
Nature provides wonderful camouflage. 

Dried seed heads of the wildflower, avens,
back-lit by the late afternoon sun. 

Oregon grape ripens to a dusky blue, 
hence the name. These are edible and 
grow on a low, arching, evergreen plant
with toothed leaves. These form lovely 
colonies and are used in native landscaping. 

Here they grow alongside my driveway. 

Tiger swallowtails enjoy the fragrant butterfly bush
growing along the edge of the clearing. 

As we get close to home, we see the apples 
are ripening. 

These are left to the wild things, as they 
are too wormy :(

The tansy is blooming, but has fallen here and there
from our recent rain. 

No is harvested for its pungent leaves
to use for moth sachets. 

The button-like blossoms dry nicely, too. 

A cute grasshopper keeps its eye on me
as I take his cameo. 

I enjoy sitting here under the shade of the cedar tree
on a hot afternoon. 
You can see how brown the grass is from our recent drought. 
We went 55 days without rain, breaking the record. 

Our walk is over - we arrive at the gate. 

The lower area around the house is completely
fenced to keep the dogs corralled. 

The house sits behind a cedar grove. 
You can see dry needles are already falling
around the base of this beauty. 

A ground-beetle along the walkway. 
This one is not alive. 
I suspect a dog stepped on it. 
Poor thing. 

These beetles eat grubs. 

My side window with pots of red impatiens,
blue lobelia and creeping Jenny. 

Ramblin' Man took a hanging basket off the deck
that had seen better days and plopped it
into my little red wheelbarrow to move it
elsewhere. It looked so pretty, I told him to 
leave it there. 

I found the bench arbor last year at the end of the
season deeply discounted, and we put it together 
this spring. I am coaxing a honeysuckle vine to grow
up the side. 

It matches my rose arbor. 
The roses are tired and have stopped blooming
for now. 

Mt. Rainier's snows have been melting, 
exposing its rock face. 

Did you notice the crow at the top of the tree?

He is waiting for his friends.......

And off they go as the setting sun 
reflects on mountain snows. 

The end of another lovely day. 

Time to go inside as the moths begin to play. 


Thank-you for coming along on my Late Summer Stroll, 
dear friends. 

And thank-you for your always kind comments. 


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