Sunday, February 28, 2016

Delivering Mail

When our son Jake moved out of his former residence rather abruptly, and moved in with us, he had his mail forwarded to our address. Two weeks later he took up residence in his new apartment. Now he is getting mail in two places - our house and his new place. Ironically, his first paycheck from the US Postal Service got lost in the mail.

Jake likes his new job and has been putting in lots of hours as a City Mail Carrier. We are very pleased for him.

This  morning we took his latest batch of mail to him and then checked out the Fremont Sunday Market. 
 Unfortunately there wasn't much happening on that scene this morning. The weather was very unsettled but we lucked out with a break in the rain.
 With not much to see at the market we found the local Starbucks for a latte and a brownie. 
 Then we took a little stroll along the Lake Washington Ship Canal. 

As you can see, spring is here.

We made it back to the car just before the next squall let loose a torrent of rain. That is spring here too. 

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Early gardening in the Sunshine

Around here when the sun shines we go outside. With several dry, mild days this week, we have been able to cross a few things off our to-do list.
 You may recall that we had the fir hedge taken out last fall. this week we finished cleaning up the area and put up a property line fence where the original fence was before it was swallowed up by the hedge. 
On the lower property line, where there is open exposure to the neighbors, we planted more Arborvitae. As they grow we will keep them at an easily prunable height. 

Tom got the rest of the winter pruning done and the clippings picked up. 

Today I worked on the lawn for an hour before going to get a hair cut. I raked up debris in preparation for mowing the lawn.
 This may seem unimaginable for those of you who are still deep in winter, and we don't usually mow in February either, but with this early spring, everything is growing. 

After I got back from getting my hair cut I started cleaning out the flower beds. With tall fir trees overhead the beds are full of cones and twigs. A few perennials still need clipping . I got a good start on the job.

By 4:00 the mosquitoes were buzzing my ears. I stopped and put on some spray repellent and worked until 4:30. I managed to escape with only one bite. Damned bugs. 

It was 61° today. The weatherman says we will have clouds tomorrow, and rain by late afternoon. Hopefully we'll get in a walk and a bit more gardening, that is, if we aren't to stiff and sore to move. 

It looks like an on-and-off-again rainy week to come. You gotta' make hay while the sun shines around here. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

It's Soccer Season Again!

While the new Major League Soccer season doesn't officially start until March 6th, our Sounders and a few other teams are playing in an international tournament. 

Tuesday night the Sounders hosted Club America, Mexico's top club, at Century Link Field. Naturally, we were there.  Over 42,000 fans attended, many of them rooting for the Mexican club. It was a vibrant atmosphere. 

This was the view of the city as we arrived via the Link light rail.
 By the time we arrived at Pioneer Square Station and strolled a bit, it was time to form up for the march to the match.  It felt good join in the singing and chanting again. 

The weather was dry and mild, good for eating our stadium food dinner out on the concourse on the upper level. Hot Ivar's clam chowder hit the spot. 
 Gradually the stadium filled with fans and the Emerald City Supporters had a nice little tifo display for the occasion.  
 It was an exciting match with the Sounders scoring first and the visitors answering each time for a final score of 2-2. The second leg of the quarterfinal will be next week in Mexico City. We'll have to watch that one on TV. 

I love the view of the city as we walk down the ramp from the top of the stadium. The stadium is reflected in the mirror-like windows of a new condominium. 

 We traveled home under an almost full moon in an almost clear sky. 
It was a good start to what will be a long, and hopefully fun, season. 

Monday, February 22, 2016

The Northwest Flower and Garden Show: Part 2 - The Marketplace

A big attraction for us at the garden show is the over 300 vendors selling everything garden related, from glass flowers to real ones, from art to dirt, linens to brooms, honey and bees, books and tools and candle sticks. 
 Bedrock Industries makes fun things out of recycled glass. 

 Hand blown glass is beautiful but very expensive. 
 Colorful art made of wood. 
 Bob Bowling, whose work I have seen all over Whidbey Island, where he lives, creates wonderful garden sheds out of repurposed materials. 
 Lot's of fun birdhouse ideas here. 
 These glass flowers are beautiful, but then we noticed that the backs of many of the glass pieces were painted. No wonder the artist was able to come up with such matching colors. We overheard someone say they bought some a year ago and they faded to white. Not good. 

 I love the work of the husband and wife team from Oregon that makes these whimsical clay creations. I bought one.

 On the sky bridge between two sections of the convention center are small display gardens. I really liked this container bog garden. 

 Ravena Gardens always has great displays in their booth.

 I want Tom to try this the next time we have something big to prune. 
 The Dig Floral and Nursery booth was jam packed with tempting plants - for a greenhouse or indoors. 

 I thought these glass vegetables were cool, but then I love colorful glass. 

Wonderful nature inspired pottery.  
 More glass flowers, not painted. The vendor and I shared a few remarks about that. 
 More fun ceramics.

 Back across the sky bridge. 

 And into the plant market.

 This was a new one, Medinilla, Himalayan Orchid.  I wonder if Peter at The Outlaw Gardener bought one for his greenhouse. 
Beautiful colors in Hellebore and conifers. 

Tom studied this watering can in the Vintage Market, where there were lots of fun, old things. We resisted. For one thing, coming to the show on the light rail keeps us from buying too many big things.
This was a fun take on "not glass" flowers. 

We did come home with a few things. Tom bought a Frosty Fern. 
This is an internet photo, since he already planted his out in the secret garden.  He also bought four drinking straw like tubes of dormant Mason bees. He hopes to reestablish a colony to pollinate our fruit trees. 

Tom loves Green Man plaques. This is his newest. 
 I bought this rusty metal piece from Black Waters. We have several of their pieces out in the garden. 
 This little clay magnet pot called to me. It is now on my refrigerator. 
 And from that potter couple from Oregon I bought this flower. I love the texture and color. It has found a home in a pot on the patio. 
We attended one seminar, and then as the crowds thinned we went back to the display gardens to do the treasure hunt. Each of the 23 gardens had a wooden arrowhead plaque hidden somewhere in the garden. In some places we needed a clue or two. Like here.

Many of them were well camouflaged. In the photo above, it's that shape with applied leaves and paw prints just off center.  

Anyway, we found them all, got another good look at the gardens, and were awarded with a pretty cyclamen to bring home. 
And that is the wrap up of the big flower show for 2016.