Greetings from Seattle



Sunday, April 26, 2015

Wren House

We bought this bird bottle in Colonial Williamsburg many years ago, and hung it in a corner of the house outside the family room window.  


Over the years, a pair of birds might take an interest, but more often than not, they would abandon the bird bottle house.  Then about five or so years ago, a pair of sweet little Bewick's Wrens decided it was just what they needed.  Here they built their cozy nest and raised a brood of young.  We knew because we could sit and watch the adults fly back and forth with insects for the babies.  We could never really see the young, but if we listened closely at the right time, we could hear their tiny voices. This was tricky, because the parent wrens did not like for us to be around when they were tending their young. 

The wrens are back this year, whether the same adults or children back to their homestead, a pair are busy carrying bugs to their babies.  Today I stood on the porch with my zoom lens camera for quite a long time, trying to get the perfect photo, but the adult with a juicy caterpillar in her/his mouth would not go to the bottle house as long as I stayed outside, so I could only capture its photo as it scolded me while grasping lunch. 
I zoomed into the house to see what I could see, and I think I might be able to see two heads at the top of the inside of the bottle.

I did get a photo several years ago, with a less timid parent.  If you look closely at the photo below, you can just make out a wide open mouth at the top of the opening. 


We love our little wren family. 


Baby Wrens’ Voices

BY THOMAS R. SMITH
I am a student of wrens.
When the mother bird returns
to her brood, beak squirming
with winged breakfast, a shrill
clamor rises like jingling
from tiny, high-pitched bells.
Who’d have guessed such a small
house contained so many voices?
The sound they make is the pure sound
of life’s hunger. Who hangs our house
in the world’s branches, and listens
when we sing from our hunger?
Because I love best those songs
that shake the house of the singer,
I am a student of wrens.
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Friday, April 24, 2015

Changes in the Garden

As we enter the second month of spring, transitions are occurring in our garden.

The tulips are almost gone. 
 Columbine are beginning to bloom, 
 and perennial cornflower - Centaurea montana. 
 A few bees have been buzzing around. 

 The Welsh poppies are popping. 
 Hostas are unfurling. 
 The first Arisaema has opened its pulpit. 
The espaliered apple trees are blooming.
Out in that new bed, where we removed the rose tree, new growth is beginning to fill in.

 Behind it our Loderi rhododendron is finally taking off, with lots of gorgeous blooms this year. 

My coal scoop planter has found a place on a rock wall.
 There's lots of color just in new foliage, and the glass flowers are back blooming in the garden. 


 The secret garden is ready for sitting. 

 Sweet peas are up in the garden boxes.  Most of the rest of the planting will wait until after the first of May. 


 Down on the garden deck the wisteria is slowly opening. 




 Some of the re-worked patio pots are in place.  

 Others are waiting in the green house, or outside in the heat pocket in front of the green house.  Tom's vegetable and flower seedlings are back inside too since the weather turned chilly and wet this afternoon. 

 The driveway wall is in bloom.

 On the front porch, the Lewisia are adding gorgeous color. 

 When I took these photos Thursday morning, we had just come back from our daily 3.5 mile walk.  Yes, Tom is walking with me most days now. He decided it was good for him too. 

By afternoon, the rain came and the temperature dropped to 46°.  That will slow things down a bit.  We can't have spring happening quite so fast here in the Pacific Northwest.  The loveliness needs to linger. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A Destination Walk

A meeting with my siblings about our shared interest in the Rockaway cabin called for us to travel to Chehalis on Tuesday.  We took the opportunity to leave early and walk out into the Nisqually Delta.
The delta had undergone many changes in its more recent history. One a rich natural area for fish and shellfish and wildlife, it was diked and drained and turned into farm land in the early twentieth century. 

Now in the twenty-first century, much of it is being returned to it's natural state. Boardwalks and pathways take visitors along the river slews and out into the tidal estuary.

Would you believe I forgot both of my cameras?! So I just had my iPhone to take photos.  
 There were many signs of beaver activity along the river backwaters. 
 And some wonderful old trees too big for beaver, fortunately. 

 Turns out there wasn't much action to photograph anyway, since it is past migration season, and solitary nesting is keeping most bird life out of view.  There were a few mud dabbling teal. 

 This wonderful board walk leads way out into the tidal lands, but with the tide out, the view was of mud and more mud. 
 I have been here once before, but didn't have time to make it to the end.
 This time I did!
 In the distance you can dimly see the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. 
 And the long way back to the car. 
At another time of year it would be more interesting, but I did get a good four and a half mile walk anyway.