Category Archives: photographs

Paradise!

Yesterday, my quilting friend Kathy came over the mountains and took me to Paradise on Mt. Rainier.  We ate lunch (divine mac and cheese) at the National Park Inn at Longmire, then headed on up.  It was absolutely beautiful, and here is the proof:

My Mountain, aka Mt. Rainier.
Fall foliage on the alpine tundra at Paradise.
Another view of the Mountain, with more foliage.

A couple of plant close-ups.

Scarlet mountain ash berries.
The only wildflowers I saw — these are pearly everlastings, which is a more than appropriate name.

And some little critters.

A gray jay. Otherwise known as a camp robber :-).
M’sieur chipmunk.
Getting ready for winter with a big mouthful.

A view headed down the Mountain.

The brilliant autumn tapestry from the Paradise Valley Road.

And the absolutely lovely quilt I was given by my fellow members of the Washington State Internet Quilters (WASIQ).  Thank you so much to all of you!

A beautiful quilt.

It was a long but glorious day.  I darned near slept the clock around last night, I was so tired, but it was so, so, so worth it…

Karin’s sewing machine

Tonight my friend Tina and I went to a program/exhibit at the Lacey library.  It was put on by the Pacific Northwest Vintage Sewing machine organization.  It was fascinating.  All kinds of antique and vintage sewing machines, as well as a program where several people spoke about them.  Some folks there own more than a hundred sewing machines!

There were also quilts up on the library’s walls from a couple of local guilds, which was nice.

And I got to try a sewing machine about the right age to have been Karin’s sewing machine from True Gold, which was truly cool.

Here are some of the photos I took.

One of the oddest sewing machines I’ve ever seen. 1930s vintage.
I’ve never seen a white Featherweight in person before.
This one’s about the same vintage (if not the same maker) as my old sewing machine.
Some of the quilts on display.
This one looks a lot like the one my mother had.
A 1914 Scottish Singer machine .
Not a very good photo, but this machine could be the one Karin carried over Chilkoot Pass and the Golden Staircase in True Gold.  It’s a vintage 1895-1905 Singer portable.
And the carrying case for Karin’s machine.

Oh, and by the way, this is a photo of the Golden Staircase up to the top of Chilkoot Pass that Karin carried her sewing machine over, and the conditions in which she would have done it.

no annual annual shopping

You know what’s been really hard about this?  One of the silliest things that’s been really hard?

No annual annual shopping.  This is the time of year when I normally go to my local garden center and buy up my annuals for the summer.

No annuals for me this year.  It’s a small price to pay.

I’ll just have to make sure and hit lots of gardens on my journey.

The back garden of my condo, in early May 2006, almost two years after I moved in.
The back garden of my condo, in early May 2006, almost two years after I moved in.

 

 

I needed a break

From the mess my condo has become, so I took a walk.

This is what happens when you have the warmest April on record.  Some flowers get blasted, and some bloom way too early.

With bonus birds.

This is Thimbleberry in blossom.  The flowers are about an inch across.
This is Thimbleberry in blossom. The flowers are about an inch across.
Wild roses blooming already.  This is why I love my new camera.  Taken with zoom of a blossom a good eight feet away.
Wild roses blooming already. This is why I love my new camera. Taken with zoom of a blossom a good eight feet away.
Lush, greenery along the path.
Lush, greenery along the path.
Cranesbill, aka hardy geranium.
Cranesbill, aka hardy geranium.
This is why Indian plum is called Indian plum.  Do note, however, that each fruit is about a quarter of an inch long.
This is why Indian plum is called Indian plum. Do note, however, that each fruit is only about a quarter of an inch long.
The last of the Siberian miners' lettuce.
The last of the Siberian miners’ lettuce.
Wild peas.  Over a month early (they don't normally start blooming till late June).
Wild peas. Over a month early (they don’t normally start blooming till late June).
Small, loud bird (I don't know what he is, but I suspect a sparrow).  The woods are *full* of chirping this time of year.
Small, loud bird (I don’t know what he is, but I suspect a sparrow). The woods are *full* of chirping this time of year.
This is a rob-bob-bobbin, as my father used to call them, otherwise known as an American robin.  He was one of two robins having a knock-down drag-out fight.  Or sex.  I wasn't quite sure which.
This is a rob-bob-bobbin, as my father used to call them, otherwise known as an American robin. He was one of two robins having a knock-down drag-out fight. Or sex. I wasn’t quite sure which.
This is what happens when those pink salmonberry blossoms fall off.
This is what happens when those pink salmonberry blossoms fall off.
And a mama mallard.  Papa was just out of the shot behind the bushes, as were the babies.
And a mama mallard. Papa was just out of the shot behind the bushes, as were the babies.

And that was what I did while taking a break and a walk at the same time this evening.

less than three weeks

So.  I’m still on schedule to hit the road on May 28th.  We’ve had the inspection, the things they wanted done that I can do or have done are done, and the condo association handyman will be here on Thursday to take care of the things that he needs to do.  The appraiser will be here on Friday.  And after that, it’s less than two weeks before closing.

I’ve begun buying traveling gear I don’t have already (not much, actually — I needed to replace my sleeping bag, among other things), some online (all of which should arrive by next week) and some in the store.

Oh, and here’s a picture of Merlin:

Merlin

Yes, that’s his name.  If I ever have him painted green, then a Merlin is a small falcon.  In the meantime he’s named after a wizard 🙂   He’s a Ford Transit Connect, the short wheel base cargo version, which means he has two bucket seats and a 4′ x4′ x6′ space behind them.  He’s actually more fun to drive than you’d think he would be.

And my condo is filling up with boxes, which are gradually filling up with my belongings.  I packed up a good chunk of my sewing room yesterday, and I’m going to finish that today if I can.  My best friend’s daughter’s SO and another friend both work for grocery stores, so I am not hurting for packing boxes.

Nerves are starting to get to be a bit much.  Seventeen more days till closing, eighteen more till the movers get here, and nineteen more till I have to be out of the house.

Eep!

To Texas and back

A closer-up view of bluebonnets.
A close-up view of bluebonnets.

I have just returned from my annual trip to Tyler, Texas, to visit my almost 92-year-old mother, and, this time, to make a short (three-day) jaunt with my sister, who lives down there, too.  We planned this several months ago, before all of the problems with my condo made me decide to sell it and take another Long Trip, and the plane tickets were already bought, so I didn’t try to cancel it.

Mt. Rainier from the plane.
Mt. Rainier from the plane on the way down to Texas.

Anyway, Mother is getting more and more fragile.  I won’t get into her health issues here except to say how grateful I am that she’s still alive for me to go visit.  I stayed with my sister Ann, and that’s only one reason I’m grateful she’s down there nearby for Mother.

Anyway, I’d been wanting to go to Austin and San Antonio and the Hill Country for a long time, and since this time I had to rent a car, anyway, I decided to go, and to invite Ann to go along with me.  After a couple of days visiting with my mother, we headed south to San Antonio.

One of the nice things about Tyler is that to go any direction but due east or west, you pretty much have to get off the Interstate.  The drive to San Antonio, aside from missing one turn, not realizing we had until we’d gone too far to turn back, and having to reroute ourselves, was fun.  Wide open spaces, small towns, and wildflowers scattered all over the roadsides.

We arrived in San Antonio in the late afternoon, and found a hotel within walking distance of the River Walk and the Alamo, and went to eat supper along the River Walk.  The River Walk reminded us both a bit of certain parts of Disneyland, but it was still fun (and about 10 degrees cooler than up on the street), and we ate fancy pizza right next to the water.

The next morning, it was raining just a bit.  We strolled over to the Alamo under Ann’s umbrellas (she had two).

The Alamo.
The Alamo.
A close-up of where a cannon ball hit the Alamo during the famous battle.
A close-up of where a cannon ball hit the Alamo during the famous battle.
A view of the front of the Alamo from where we were waiting in line to get in.
A view of the front of the Alamo from where we were waiting in line to get in.  They don’t let you take photos inside.

I liked the Alamo.  It was very interesting historically (they did a terrific job with the museum exhibit part of the thing), and the gardens were lovely.  The rain was a minor nuisance, but not a big deal.  Yes, the Alamo is basically a shrine to Texas, but I knew that going in, and, well, I eat history up with a spoon, so I had no problem with it.

A blooming cactus in the gardens beside the Alamo.
A blooming cactus in the gardens beside the Alamo.

On our way back to the hotel to pack up and check out, we saw a whole bunch of carriages decorated as if for a wedding.  Turns out we’d arrived the night before San Antonio’s annual Fiesta began.  According to one of the carriage drivers, Fiesta attracts more people every year than New Orleans’ Mardi Gras, and was started when a bunch of ladies got drunk and flung flowers at each other 🙂

In the afternoon, we drove up to the Hill Country, which is sort of legendary for its spring wildflowers.  It did not disappoint.  After lunch in Fredericksburg, we took some back roads out through the rolling countryside (calling it hilly would have been stretching things, IMHO), and saw whole fields of flowers.  Bluebonnets, of course, but also winecups and evening primroses and all sorts of things.  Just gorgeous.

Bluebonnets!
Bluebonnets!
These are called winecups.
These are called winecups.
I had to look this one up in my brand-new Texas Wildflower field guide. It's called Prairie Pleatleaf, and it's a member of the iris family.
I had to look this one up in my brand-new Texas Wildflower field guide. It’s called Prairie Pleatleaf, and it’s a member of the iris family.

We wound up spending the night in the town of San Marcos, just south of Austin, and came in for a rude surprise when we turned on the Weather Channel.  A huge storm was headed our way.  You might have seen the recent news reports about flooding in Texas?  Well, we weren’t in Houston, where it got really bad, but the rest of it?  We were right where it was about to hit.

So we decided to cut our trip short by one day and go back to Tyler the next morning.

People think it rains a lot here in western Washington, and we do get a fair amount.  But it’s a soft rain.  Texas rain is like driving through a bleeding waterfall.  I’m not overly fond of thunder and lightning, either.  At least we didn’t have any tornado warnings.  But we made it back, and my only disappointment was that I didn’t get to go to the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin.  Maybe next time, if there is a next time.

Once back in Tyler, the weather cleared up (bad weather seems to go around Tyler a lot of the time, which is really weird), and until I left several days later (having planned the trip with the jaunt in the middle so Mother could rest up while we were gone), I not only spent as much time as I could with my mother, but I got to stroll around a nature trail just down the street from my sister’s house, where there were also lots of wildflowers.

Faulkner Park, near my sister's home in Tyler.
Faulkner Park, near my sister’s home in Tyler.  So many different kinds of trees, and so many different leaf shapes and sizes.
Red clover.
Red clover.  I’ve never seen clover blossoms that big and that color anywhere else.
Honeysuckle.
Honeysuckle.
Evening primrose (although this species actually keeps its blossoms open all day). Did I mention that I adore my new camera???
Evening primrose (although this species actually keeps its blossoms open all day). Did I mention that I adore my new camera???

The last day before I left, Mother and I drove out to a place called Love’s Lookout, about fifteen miles south of Tyler, where there’s a nice little bench with a beautiful view, and we sat and talked for a while.  It’s kind of our place, and I’m glad she was still able to go out there with me.

An autumn view from Love's Lookout, taken in 2006. I didn't take my camera with me this time, so you'll have to imagine how lush and green the countryside was the other day.
An autumn view from Love’s Lookout, taken in 2006. I didn’t take my camera with me this time, so you’ll have to imagine how lush and green the countryside was the other day.

And that was my visit to Tyler this year.  Every year now I wonder if this will be my last visit with my mother.  I hope not.

 

Spring is springing

Slowly.

Nathan Chapman was one of the first American soldiers to be killed in Afghanistan -- he was a local boy.
Nathan Chapman was one of the first American soldiers to be killed in Afghanistan — he was a local boy.

This is today’s photos of my favorite local trail, the Nathan Chapman trail.  It’s a three-mile lollipop (a trail with a loop at the end) round trip, about fifteen minutes from my house.

Trees just starting to show green.
Trees just starting to show green.
What a difference a camera makes. This is a new picture of Indian plum, one of three different kinds of wildflowers I saw today. Not counting dandelions, of course.
What a difference a camera makes. This is a new picture of Indian plum, one of three different kinds of wildflowers I saw today. Not counting dandelions, of course.
Things have been a bit damp around here this winter. Damper than usual to the point of breaking records -- we've had over 42 inches of rain since October 1st, normal being something slightly under 30.
Things have been a bit damp around here this winter. Damper than usual to the point of breaking records — we’ve had over 42 inches of rain since October 1st, normal being something slightly under 30.
The second kind of wildflower I saw today. These are wild currants.
The second kind of wildflower I saw today. These are wild currants.
When it's been this wet, yes, it's a bit furry.
When it’s been this wet, yes, it’s a bit furry.
Fern fiddleheads.
Fern fiddleheads.
Can you see the Ent face? It was a bit more obvious in person, I have to admit.
Can you see the Ent face? It was a bit more obvious in person, I have to admit.
And the third kind of wildflower I saw today. This is a salmonberry blossom.
And the third kind of wildflower I saw today. This is a salmonberry blossom.  It’s slightly blurry because of the breeze, because the the blossom is at the very end of a very thin, whippy branch.
You have to cross the ballfields to get from the parking lot to the trailhead. This is on the way back. The flag is at half-staff because of the attacks in Belgium.
You have to cross the ballfields to get from the parking lot to the trailhead. This is on the way back. The flag is at half-staff because of the attacks in Belgium.

And that was my walk today on the Nathan Chapman trail.

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Oregon grape

Otherwise known as Mahonia aquifolium.  Playing with the zoom on my new camera this afternoon, out at the Dogwood Scenic Overlook out by Eatonville, where on a clear day you can see Mt. Rainier.  Alas that this was not a clear day.  But this shot pleased me very much, as I really like the sharpness of the flowers compared to the out-of-focussedness of the background.

Oregon grape

I really can’t wait to actually take this camera somewhere, but it probably won’t happen until I go to the Monroe quilt show a week from Friday.