Sunday, September 30, 2018


Just before the death of flowers
And before they are buried in snow,
There comes a festival season
When nature is all aglow,
-Author Unknown

One of the pleasures of going plant shopping last week was seeing the autumnal displays in the nurseries. Watson's Greenhouse and Nursery was looking especially festive. 

The heucheras  look like autumn too. 

And then as we were out walking this morning we noticed that Safeway was looking quite festive too. 

In rain or in shine, I hope you all have the opportunity to enjoy October, and nature's glow. 

Friday, September 28, 2018

Digging It

With this lovely late September weather, we have been busy in the garden again. Really I should qualify that to say Tom has been busy in the garden, and I have helped a little.

In our front yard we had some old rhododendrons that were not contributing anything. 
 We also had these Japanese cedar balls, one of which had just up and died.
 So I got out the lopping shears  and my secateurs and chopped them down and cut them up and stuffed them into the yard waste bins.
 Meanwhile Tom was out in the back yard, building new trellises for the new raspberry and blackberry patch. Then he got all the whip like canes tied up. 

Since I cannot dig out root balls anymore, Tom then came to my rescue with his big iron pike and pried out the roots. 
 Charlie checked in and sat with me on the front steps to watch Tom work. We were keeping him company. 

 This was all done over a period of two days. Then on Thursday we went plant shopping. At Home Depot we found Skimmia bushes for a very reasonable price to replace the Japanese cedars. We found one hydrangea we were looking for at Vasseys Nursery, 30% off, and then we scored at Watson's, where we found all of the hydrangeas we were looking for, at 30% off.  These are the four varieties of Hydrangea arborescens we bought to go with the one Annabelle that was already in that location. We needed hydrangeas that do OK in the shade, and these will. 
Today Tom hauled a load of compost from our bins and then got everything planted.
 He got distracted by his lovely bed of autumn blooming hardy cyclamen. 

  The view from the front door. 
I did do some digging. I dug out a big clump of epimedium that had planted itself and was spreading. I added a heuchera we picked up cheap at Home Depot and a couple more that we had in our "nursery" that were from our yard that we had chopped off and re-rooted. 
Out in the greenhouse Tom has been tending his geranium cuttings.

And the tender plants have begun their migration from the patio to the greenhouse for the winter. 
I think that will be the last flourish for this month. October will find us busy both here and in the Whidbey garden. 

Monday, September 24, 2018


Now that it is officially fall, I can decorate.

My sister Laurie made  a handkerchief wreath for me and gave it to me in August at our family picnic. I had never seen one like it before. With it's autumnal colors, I decided to wait to hang it by the front door. 

This is the back side.
We talked about maybe embellishing it with some sunflowers or whatever.

So I did. I bought a couple of bunches of artificial flowers and leaves at JoAnn's, cut them up, and stuck them in the wreath. 
 Today I hung it by the front door. 
 Those geraniums will fade and disappear before the frost, but my pretty wreath won't. 
Thank you, Laurie!

Oh, and here are the real items, plucked from the garden,  in a bouquet in the bathroom. 
They won't last either, but they sure are fun while they do last. 

Saturday, September 22, 2018

The Autumnal Equinox

This is the day. 

The day we officially say goodbye to another summer. I took this photo some years ago, on another equinox, as the summer sun sank into the sea. 

I never like saying goodbye to summer. But there are blessings with everything. Coolness and moisture have returned. We look forward to some 70 degree days in the coming week, after the showers we are experiencing this morning have passed. The air is fresher, and the plants can breathe again. 

Fall colors are creeping into tree and shrub foliage. We are fortunate here to have a long, drawn out color season, lingering until Thanksgiving. I will enjoy it all, and probably share a few photos along the way.

I will count my blessings, and welcome another fall, with only a touch of melancholy for another summer gone. 

Thursday, September 20, 2018

I Borrowed The Cup

Last night the Sounders played again, this time at home in Seattle. It was a late start, 8:00 Wednesday night game, not great for a school night/work night, but still just under 40,000 fans were there. 

We were there too, of course. As we lined up for the March to the Match in Occidental Park, the Emerald City Supporter leaders brought the Cascadia Cup that the Sounders had won in Vancouver for the 2018 season.

I decided I needed to hold it. I gave Tom my phone and walked up, tapped the guy on the shoulder and held out my hands for the trophy. 
I think you can see that they thought it was pretty cool. I thought so too. 

The game itself was intense. We were playing Philadelphia, a strong team from the eastern conference. As we near the end of the season, every match matters for teams trying to make the playoffs. The Sounders have been on a run, winning the last nine matches in a row. 
Alas, Philadelphia scored in extra time at the very end of the match, to bring our hopes and our win streak crashing down.

I know many of you are not sports fans, but most of you are passionate about something, so you understand disappointment. But all good things must come to an end, and the playoffs are still a real possibility. 

We march on!

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Off the Beaten Track

On Sunday, since we decided to head straight for the US Canada border, we had time take a few side trips off the freeway to prowl around in a couple of places we would otherwise never get to. 

The first stop was Fairhaven, the historic district of Bellingham. Of course DJan was on my mind when we prowled around her favorite bookstore, Village Books, and the Village Green. 

Mr. Twain and I shared a book. That bubble coming out of my head says ,"The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read." -Mark Twain. 

Of course this plant and flower shop caught our eye. 

We browsed in this great glass gallery also. 
Then we stopped at the Starbucks just off the freeway for lunch. I was eating yogurt by now, trying to settle an overindulged digestive system. 

Since Chuckanut Drive is no longer a through highway. we drove south on I-5 to the Bow Hill Road exit, for a stop in a couple of tiny towns in farm country in the Samish Bay region, north of the Skagit Valley. 

I hadn't slept well Saturday night and I was wearing down, so I forgot to take any photos, just enjoying the here and now. These are "borrowed" photos from the Internet. 

It has been quite a few years since we happened upon the Samish Bay Cheese Company in Bow. I think this sign dates back to its origins. 
It used to be located in the old creamery shed of the old dairy barn, but it now has a great little store front with tables for enjoying the local product on site. 

 We sampled several cheeses, and made our selection.
Both are aged, expensive, and very good, and great with fruit, which is how we'll enjoy them. 

After leaving the creamery, we spent a while prowling around a "junk" shop in Bow, looking for treasures. We didn't find any, but looking is fun. 

Our next, and last stop, was in nearby Edison, where the bakery is the big attraction. Again, these are borrowed photos. 

 Tom bought one of those Kouign-Amann to eat at home later. He reports that it was very good. 
 I bought a pack of Hazelnut espresso shortbread cookies. 
 I've eaten one so far. They are very good too. 
We watched them making potato bread loaves when we were there, much like this photo. 

And by then we really wanted to go home. The traffic had other ideas though, and there was about an hour delay getting through what seemed like mostly open country between the Skagit Valley and Everett. 

But we made it home, got things unpacked, and then Tom took a two hour nap while I caught up on mail, email, putting stuff away, putting out the trash and recycle bins for Monday morning, eating a light supper, and the rest is a blur until I woke up Monday morning, not quite caught up on my sleep, but good enough. 

For a trip that we made up as we went along, it turned out pretty well. We were not disappointed.