Greetings from Seattle

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Light Shows!

This week we have been working on slowing down and enjoying ourselves. 

Monday evening we took advantage of the dry weather to go out to see several local light displays.  These are places we visit every year, but I never get tired of the colorful light in the darkness of December. 

The Bellevue Botanical Garden presents Garden d'Lights.  The garden has recently undergone remodeling and the addition of a new visitor's center.  The light display has changed too, and is more spread out.  I have to say I liked it better the old way, but it was still good.

The lights all represent real flowers and create a lovely garden.



 The pond and stream.
 A magic dragon!

 The vegetable patch.
 Autumn clean up. 
 The vineyard.
The other light display is at a park on Lake Washington, where the Ivar's restaurant chain presents Clam Lights. 



 And here are the dancing clams!


 The view from the dock out around the swimming beach is lovely. 




There is much beauty to be found during the holiday season. 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Cookies!

This week Tom and I baked five kinds of Christmas cookies, each someone's favorite.

Then Saturday Jill and the kids joined us for the annual cookie fest, making gingerbread and sugar cookies.

 The gingerbread animals are baked and cooled.  On to the sugar cookies.

 You'd better watch out!





We used to get big piles of sprinkles and lots of "Ooops!"  Now there is meticulous creating going on.
 And lastly, the gingerbread critters got their royal icing detailing. 
One thing I will not be baking is pumpkin pie, at least not from our Halloween pumpkin. But what to do when we weren't home to carve it into a Jack-o-lantern, and it sat on the porch all through November and would not die? 

Well, decorate it, of course.
It's the Great Christmas Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!


Editor's note- For those who asked, these are the traditional five kinds of cookies, as photographed last year.

L to R - Russian tea cakes, Chocolate covered cherry cookies, cranberry swirls, cherry twinkles (Jill makes these) filbert crescents, apricot foldovers.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Whidbey Photo Walk

We had some very calm, still days at Whidbey Island last weekend.

On Friday afternoon Deer Lagoon, behind the cabin,  looked like this, a perfect mirror of the dike and the sky.
 Even Useless Bay was flat in the evening.
 Then Saturday morning the wind was strong, enough so that it brought out the local kite surfers over by Double Bluff.
 By Sunday morning it was absolutely still again, the perfect time for me to take a photo walk on the dike along the lagoon.
 The hips on the wild roses add deeper color to the buff and tawny colors of late autumn in the wetlands. 
 A raft of ducks floated on the lagoon. 
 There is someone watching me from the pond over there. 

 Great blue herons are patient fishers.
 Green winged teal, I think. 

 On the calm bay side, another heron preened on an old piling. 
 About the time the Seahawks were beating the Eagles on the TV, these real eagles appeared at the back of the lagoon. 

 Sorry guys, it was not your day. But thanks for stopping by and enriching our day!


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Holiday Time in Langley

We spent last weekend on Whidbey Island, at the cabin, with Jill and the grand kids. 

Much of Saturday was spent in the village of Langley, where we started off with the Christmas parade.

You need to know that Langley is a small town, a bit hippie oriented, artsy, and always fun and funky. That also described their parade, which is about ten minutes long.


 For me, the bag pipes are the best part.






 There was candy to scramble for, of course, and animals too!

 The Langley Whale Center tracks local pods of Orcas, and is involved in campaigns to free captive whales.

After the parade we walked through the town, visiting the decorated shops. These are authentic old store fronts, built between 1910 and 1930. 




 For my gardening friends, take a look at this great plant combination in this sidewalk garden. 
 The Garden shed of the Chocolate flower farm in my favorite shop. 



 Someone had fun with aluminum pans.  Clever!

 We stopped at Boy and Dog Park, where Tom's parents have memorial benches. 

 And then we had a late lunch at Useless Bay Coffee Company. 


 In the evening we returned to Langley to stroll through the lighted lanes. 


 Even the produce viewed through the window of The Star Store was pretty. 


It was a fun day.