Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Winter Garden

Considering the deadly cold some parts of the US are suffering, I probably shouldn't even show this, but here in the balmy coastal Pacific Northwest, we are experiencing a mild winter, so my little winter garden right outside my family room window is putting on its sweet show.
Tom's hardy winter-blooming cyclamen are such pretty little things, not just the flowers in shades of pink, but the lovely little leaves too. They are punctuated by snowdrops. 
The larger, more pointed leaves are the fall blooming cyclamen. They send flowers up before the leaves, the flowers bloom and fade in the fall, and then the foliage lasts through the winter, while the winter bloomers send up leaves first, and then the flowers pop up. 

This hellebore that we picked up last summer, inexpensive and unnamed, is just going bonkers with blooms. 
Our dark ones are slower and not as robust. 
The primroses just don't quit. 
Witch hazel is in bloom 

rising above the sarcococca, which fills the winter garden with fragrance. 
This winter flowering mahonia ( Oregon grape) is the third one of three different varieties to bloom, offering a progression of nectar for the hummers.  
This is the view from the family room window, where, when the rain returns, I will still be able to enjoy this little winter garden in the front yard. 
And in the back, I got out yesterday and cleaned up the patio and removed the frost browned plants from the pots. We have been spending a little time here, sitting after walks or yard work. It isn't warm, but bundled up just a little bit, 45 to 50 isn't bad, when it isn't raining. 
Today was another mostly sunny day. More projects were completed. That's another post.

Stay safe and warm, all of you who are in the Arctic vortex. We're thinking of you. 

Monday, January 28, 2019

Sunday "Run Away From Home" Field Trip

After being home bodies for a while, I begin to get restless for a change of venue. It's winter, it's cold, and I don't want to go far. Also, Seattle is experiencing even worse than usual traffic issues because the Hwy 99 viaduct is now permanently closed, and will be torn down, and the new tunnel to replace it is not yet open. So the question is, where can we go on the train? 

We use the light rail, Link, to go into the city, and in the city there are places to explore. So that's what we did. 
From the Westlake Center Link station we walked downhill to the Pike Place Market. We signed in at Lowell's restaurant in The Market and then browsed the produce while we waited ten minutes for our table. 

See that pretty green cauliflower/broccoli vege above the asparagus? We chatted with a vendor about it. It's Romanesco broccoli, and I have seen it often in farmer's markets but never tried it. On our way back to the Link much later in the day we stopped and bought one. I think I will roast it. 

Our table at Lowell's had a peek-a-boo view of the market below. Since the fog wasn't clearing, it was OK to not have a view of the sound. 
Tom had Hangtown fry, a scramble with bacon and oysters.
I like some seafood, but not oysters much. I prefer my bacon and eggs plain, with french toast.

After a leisurely brunch we studied all that the market had to offer.  
These are greenhouse grown tulips.
The other flower venders offered dried bouquets. 
There were a surprising number of people out and about. Here they had a view of the viaduct. 
This woodworker turned cigar box guitar maker was featured in that morning's Sunday newspaper. We had a fun chat with him. We enjoy taking the time to talk to vendors when they are not too busy. We have several good chats along the way. 
One of the market pigs. 
Fog, ferris wheel, and ferry boat. 
And the empty viaduct, streaked with paint from partiers the night it closed for good. 

More produce vendors.

And cheese!

We don't seem to be getting crab in the grocery stores, and it is expensive here in the market. 
We left the Market and walked down lots of steps to the waterfront below. The carousel was looking and sounding great.  
Winter plants were lovely at the Argosy tour boat pier. 

Here you see the viaduct on the left. When it is gone there will be a dramatic change here at the waterfront. 
We stopped by Ivar's pier to see the scene: fire boat, ferries, and seagulls begging for handouts. 

Ivar Haglund is a legend in Seattle. Feeding Ivar's french fries to the gulls is a tradition. 
Seattle is a city of skyscrapers and cranes now. 
The Great Wheel. 
We walked back up a bunch of steps and then found an elevator to rescue us and get us the rest of the way back up to The Market, where we stopped in at a treasure of a place, the rooftop garden that is part of the Market Senior Center. 

Across the street from the Market you can find lower prices from the vendors. Since $10.99 was better than $13.99, we bought one two pound crab to share for dinner when we got back home. 
And then, to top off our Seattle Day, we stopped in at the Pike Street Starbucks, where we cashed in reward points for two coffees. The brownies were on us. 

We arrived back home a little before 4:00, tired but happy with our adventure.

From vendors in The Market I bought a little dish to set by the kitchen sink to hold my ring when I want to spare it from messy hands, 
and this long sleeved tee with NW Native hummingbird design. 
No matter what I have tried, this photo insists on going sideways. Fortunately our crab dinner did not actually slide off the plate. 

It was a great topper to our run-away-to-Seattle day.