Saturday, July 24, 2010

Busy Days Are Here Again

Summer 2009 This evening our daughter Jill will be arriving at the airport here in Seattle. This marks the beginning of two busy weeks for us. Sunday Jill will help us pack up the car with all of the gear needed for a family trip to Rockaway Beach on the Oregon Coast. Son Jake will stop by to hang out, and then take Jill with him to pre-match functions in Seattle. A while later Tom and I will be on the train headed to the stadium, all of us to converge on Qwest Field for a Sounders soccer match against Colorado. While Jill lives in Colorado, she is first and foremost a Seattle fan when it comes to soccer and football. Monday morning Jill will drive the van south to Portland, where the rest of the family will be arriving about 10:45. That includes son-in-law Corey, grand kids Isaac and Irene, and Corey's mom and step dad, Andrea and John. From Portland they will head west to Rockaway Beach. We will leave for the beach from Seattle with the Toyota loaded down, make a grocery stop in Seaside, and we'll all meet up at the cabin in the afternoon. Corey looks forward to a cool vacation on the coast after the Colorado summer heat. He's a sheriff's deputy with the county and so his work clothes include a bullet proof vest, hot stuff in 105 degree weather. I don't think there will be any problem finding cool ocean air. John and Andrea haven't been out here for a long time and seldom take vacation trips, so I'm hoping their week is wonderful. They have rented a small motel cottage just about next door to our cabin. The following Saturday John and Andrea will be delivered back to Portland to fly home. The rest of us will attend a family picnic in Vernonia, Oregon on Sunday next, on our way back to Seattle. Our second week will include a trip to Whidbey Island to stay several nights at the cabin there, attending Seafair events here in Seattle, like the hydro races and Blue Angels Air Show, and all of us will go to another Sounders match. Tom and I have had a lazy afternoon, the last such for a while to come. Yes, I will take pictures. There will be postings, perhaps some along the way, and more after the buzyiness is over. I'll try to catch up with all of you as I can. But my priority? Well, spending time with those grand kids, of course!

Friday, July 23, 2010

A Lovely Summer Day....

...but strange things are going on. But we'll begin at the beginning. When I checked my email this morning I found a Blogger newsletter, which among other things, told of a new blogger service called Stats. I was interested, so I saved it until later. Then we were off to our usual Friday morning breakfast with the teacher ladies. We had a good time and two and a half hours flew by. At one point we were talking about laughter and it's value, and I shared the not so romantic card by husband gave me for my birthday. It says: I've got a birthday story that will turn your hair gray. (open the card) Oh, I see you've already heard it. We all got a good laugh out of that, for me a second one. I'm not sure how it got to be 4:30 already, but maybe the fact that we didn't get home from breakfast until after 11:00 may explain part of it. But that was fine, because we have planned for this to be a lazy day. I went on line to see about installing the Stats device on my blog, but I had to click on the Blogger in draft option to get it. OK, fine. Did that. Then I went into my computer picture files to change my header photo. Good. Done. It was beautiful outside so I got Tom to stroll around the garden with me, to see what was blooming. I grabbed my camera for some new material to post. That's why you see this blog decorated with flower photos. Glass flowers with roses.
And fuchsias.
Butterflies, bees and hummingbirds are flitting about these days. I love summer!
We no longer have live cats, just stone ones. But this was a favorite spot for our Callisto when she was with us. Not so much fun for the birds.
We had lunch about 1:00 and sat on the patio and read. I'm reading another Scandinavian mystery, this by Jo Nesbo, called Nemesis. It's very good and I'm trying not to spend all of my time reading it.
Then I came upstairs to download my photos when to my dismay, all of my photos, hundreds of them, maybe thousands, had been deleted from my computer! I yelled HELP! and Tom came up to see what was wrong. Fortunately we have a back up system, Carbonite, and after some navigating, I found my Photos. I am in the process of restoring some of them back to my hard drive.
With my new photos finally downloaded, I went to post them on my blog. Well, the image icon no longer directed me to my hard drive????? Blogger in Draft looked foreign and didn't do what I wanted it to. So I spent more time trying to get rid of it and get back to normal. Forget the Stats if it's going to mess up everything else.
I think I am, normal that is. Well, whatever that is. But I'm definitely confused!
Oh, and I ran out of photo storage again and this time I went right away to the Picasa Album option and bought 20 GB of storage for $5. That was last Thursday. But it took at least 24 hours to kick in, so I left it and went away for the weekend. When I went to post photos from Whidbey, I got the "used up storage" message. What? I checked my credit card statement online and had been charged, so went searching. Turns out I had to sign in to Google and sign out for the new storage to kick in.
I think I've got everything all squared away now, finally. I have no idea why my photos were deleted. It's a mystery.
But with all of that, I'm going to wrap this up and head back outside. It's a beautiful day out there, a perfect summer day.
I hope you appreciate the effort I've gone through to bring you this blog today. I'm exhausted!
Maybe I'll set up my mini lap top in the shade on the patio and see what the rest of you have been up to.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Walk On the Dike

As I have explained before, our cabin on Whidbey Island sits on a sand spit bordered by Useless Bay on one side and Deer Lagoon on the other. Our cabin is on the bank of the lagoon. This is a tidal lagoon which empties out with each tide cycle. In 1918 a dike was built separating the lagoon from the wetlands as a means of reclaiming about 80 acres for diary farming. So for many years the dike has been a favorite walkway to observe nature. The lagoon is on one side and channeled wetland on the other, backed by farm land, consisting of pastures and hay fields. Sunday morning Tom, Jan and I went for a birding walk, to see what we could see. They had binoculars and I had my camera. Jan was especially eager to seen whimbrels. She is very interested in log legged shore birds. I captured a photo for her. A few mallard hens, some with ducklings, frequented the wetland channels.
The wild blackberries were in bloom. This hawk, which we think is a red tail, watched from above. We hoped he didn't have duckling on the menu.
Each year I post at least one dike walk. With our cold spring this year, my summer walk still had a spring freshness to it.
A white crowned sparrow was among the many little song birds flitting about.
Thistle flowers against a lagoon backdrop.
Checking to see what they could see.
A few wild roses still in bloom.
A gold finch was perched on the hillside at the back of the lagoon.
My zoom lens was barely able to capture this kingfisher perched on pasture fencing near a drainage channel. I love king fishers. Earlier we watched one hover and then dive, crashing into the lagoon to catch a small fish.
The mallard families stayed far away from us so it was hard to capture them in photos.
Killdeer were working the lagoon mud.
A great blue heron fluffed his feathers.
Farmland on the hillside.
Not pictured are the eagles that were circling above us and the ever present gulls and terns.
It was a very successful birding outing and a lovely walk too.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Whidbey Birthday

Last Friday we went to our usual Friday morning breakfast and then came home and packed up. Off we went for a Whidbey weekend. There were a few other folks getting an early start to their weekend too, and we had to wait for the next boat at the Mukilteo ferry dock. By the time we got to the cabin the morning fog had burned off and we had a lovely, slightly cool afternoon. The tide was out so we went for a beach walk. We settled in and had no trouble finding our lazy bone. Tom's twin sister Jan joined us as we sat on the beach at sunset. I was awake early on Saturday to watch the sun rise over the lagoon, but then I went back to bed and slept until 8:00. Happy Birthday!
On the schedule for the morning was the Bayview Farmers Market. It's just up the hill from us, a short drive. This is a fun market, full of local flavor, literally and figuratively.
Strawberries are just ending. I bought a carton of very ripe, very sweet berries for dessert later. Raspberries are in season and blueberries and blackberries are just starting.
This was wonderful cheese. We bought some aged Cheddar to have later.
Don't you just love that carrying basket? I asked the woman wearing it about her basket. She said it was over 30 years old and was originally a picking basket.
Local entertainment.
Garden flowers.
Blue pottery.
It's a dog friendly market.
We stopped next door at the Bayview Nursery, always a must.
We returned to the cabin for lunch and to visit with some friends who stopped by. Then Tom and I went to check out the town of Langley.
Flower baskets on the light poles.
Boy and Dog in the village plaza.
We had coffee at Useless Bay Coffee Company.
The rest of the day was spent lazing around, reading, having wine and cheese on the deck, followed by shrimp on the barby, an after dinner stroll, then strawberries, ice cream and brownies for dessert.
It was a simple, lovely birthday.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Do Cry For Me, Argentina

Argentina has just passed full rights for same sex marriage. Gay marriage in Argentina! Argentina?? A Catholic dominated country we sometimes consider third world? Argentina! Perhaps because they are Catholic, not Puritan. Do cry for US, Argentina.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Chopping and Shopping

Monday and Tuesday we had cool weather, just right for working outside, and we put in two busy days chopping and pruning and trimming. The compost bins are full and we have bags and bins of hedge prunings awaiting yard waste pick up. It will take several truck pick up days to get rid of it all.
But the spent perennials are cut back and all of the pruning has been done and picked up.
Out in the vegetable/cut flower garden the dahlias are beginning to bloom. They will be the makings for many bouquets for the rest of the summer.
And finally, at long last, the sweet peas are growing and getting set to flower. They sat there and looked at us for a long time during our cold, wet spring.
I had mentioned that I would be picking raspberries every third day, but I think our season has come to premature end. We have raspberry fruit worms.
I was having trouble sleeping last night, so I got up and went on line to do a little research. You see, I had noticed a few tiny white worms earlier on the berries, but when we went to have some berries last night from the bowl of fresh picked berries, the bowl was full of tiny white worms. We threw them all out. I'm pretty sure the ones I have in the freezer are wormy too, but hopefully not as bad, and at least the worms are dead. Maybe we'll never notice them in cobbler???
Anyway, the verdict is that we have raspberry fruit worms and the infestation is severe enough that I don't think I'll bother to pick anymore. The crop this year was only about half of what we usually get anyway. We'll have to watch and spray early next year.
Since I was up in the middle of the night, I did go back to bed and slept. It was 9:00 when I awoke! So I got off to a slow start.
On the list for this morning were shopping for clothes and for groceries. I took my coupons and headed off to Kohl's for some new jeans. I hate shopping for clothes so I seldom do any. But it was time to retire several pair of jeans to use as gardening clothes and replace them. I'm between sizes, so I bought a bigger and a smaller size, depending on if I want to slouch around comfortably or get squeezed in a bit. Jeans always stretch out after wearing so I have options. I also bought several new tee shirts, one "dressy", and a pair of Capri length pants for wearing on the beach. With my legs, shorts are no longer something I want to subject the rest of the world too. Not pretty.
Then I was off to the local Safeway for another hour of shopping. I was back home by 1:00 and had to put all the groceries away before I had a late lunch. Later this afternoon I finally went through my closet to sort out winter clothes to move out and move summer clothes in. Finally I think it's safe to put the long sleeved tees away.
Jeans and tees, that's pretty much what I wear. I have two kinds: the ones I wear around the house, and the ones I wear out in public.
Saturday is my birthday and we are heading to Whidbey Island Friday to spend three or four days there. It will be a quiet, simple celebration. Now that I'm over 65, there seems to be little significance to my age. I've already qualified for senior rates, pensions and Social Security and Medicare. Sixty-six is just another year. But a very good year if was!