Sunday, January 27, 2013

As if by magic!

The word magic, or magical, seems to come easily into my vocabulary of late.  I find myself entranced by small and large images that to me appear magical.  It might be a never imagined image of an iceberg in Antarctica, that caught my eye on the internet one day ...
(,  or the tiny yellow announcement in my garden today heralding the opening of the Chinese Witch Hazel blossoms. Nubby little brown buds give way to tiny flecks of yellow. Brought inside and placed in a tiny vase of water ... the yellow ribbons appear, followed quickly by the amazing fragrance now permeating my studio.  I no longer have a huge lens with which to capture those super detailed images ... so my efforts to herald the thought that spring can't be too far away, will have to suffice.

Earlier this morning ... just the hint of what will appear was enough to excite me.

Like microscopic ribbons the yellow tendrils unfold.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Before fresh scones with clotted cream and marmalade ... Friday morning reflections!

Driving on 44th Ave SW towards a friend's home, and passing the small trail head that accesses Dumas Bay, there is a  pond which is a constant source of fascination and delight for me. On this particular Friday morning, the resident Mallard community was enjoying the quiet and skimming noiselessly across the reflections on the water. Stop. Back up the car. Grab for the camera and just sit and watch the changing artwork of nature unfolding before me. Take my photos to share with my friends ... and my reward?  A fresh, warm scone with newly made marmalade and clotted cream. What a blissful way to start a day! I wish you could have been there too.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Winter Magic

On a hillside between Tacoma and Southcenter earlier today, I was in time to capture this moment of magic created on the bare branch of a tree.  Of course when I checked an hour later, there was just enough warmth in the air for it to have melted. Whatever caused those droplets of water to stay long enough to freeze, I was grateful just to see them!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Winter light in the Pacific Northwest

Low snow in Cascade Foothills and cloud cover on Mt. Rainier
Christmas Morning gloom ... December 25, 2012
A momentary flash of morning light illuminates Tacoma and the St.Regis mill.
Late, low light on New Years Eve

New Years Morning  ... bright sunshine & clear skies at last.

2013 is upon us! Today when I was tutoring the first grader I work with each week I wrote the numbers for the first time.
It is a time of short, often dark, days ( even though officially there is a daily lengthening of a few minutes) and long, dark, winter nights in our part of the world.  The sun spends more time in the southern hemisphere and is very low in the southern part of the sky here each day.  When it does shine it is dazzling! On the other hand when the sun doesn't shine it is often difficult to differentiate between the sky and the water: they are both grey! There is a short time annually when the low sun rising behind Mt. Rainier projects the reflection of the mountain onto the water.  I managed to capture a neighbors tree highlighted, the roof line of a single building and outline of evergreen trees projected onto the water of Commencement Bay, from the ridge opposite our home looking in a southerly direction. In that fleeting moment when the sun shone late in the afternoon on New Year's Eve - it was brilliant !  Twenty seconds later the darkness returned! Today it was thick fog and frost.  Wonder what tomorrow will bring?

Saturday, December 15, 2012

A different Cherry Picker experience!

Some days ago now, we had another experience of a person in a cherry picker reaching out with a very long stick!. This had a lot more personal consequences, than the man painting the silo with a long stick, in a previous post. We were expecting 16 people for dinner, followed by a presentation from a young friend who has just spent two weeks in Afganistan with the organization Mountain2Mountain.
The weather around here had been very wintry with torrential rains and wind roaring through the area. Several quite serious effects ... sliding houses, mud slides closing train lines, local flooding etc had occurred.
Just after 2pm, on that day, a violent wind storm with pounding, torrential rain blew through: it last maybe 4 minutes. In the midst of this blast there was a moderate "boom", coming from the power pole across the street from our home, and our lights went out. A call to Tacoma Power ascertained that no one else on the street had called, but they would have someone out here as soon as possible.
We lit every candle we could find in our pantry, which created a lovely warm glow in our living room. Dinner was stove top cooked on our gas stove and our gas fireplace warmed the living room at least.
Without detailing all the steps to re-establish power it was more than five hours before our power was reconnected ... following some major work on the pole outside our home ... in torrential rain and wind off an on. The workers who came to fix the problem couldn't have been more helpful. I always feel for the people who are responsible for getting power up and on again following power outages and I know from a friend (whose husband works for a NW power company) about how badly harassed power companies often are, following power outages, by people frustrated by living without power.
We simply want to say Kudos to Tacoma Power for their professionalism and hard work on our behalf.  At the moment our guest was about to give up on the idea of showing her pictures of her time in Afganistan  ... the lights came on.  Anna's stories were so interesting and images fascinating!
Tacoma Power crew arrives to diagnose the problem

The technician reaches with a long stick ... followed by another boom!

Removing all the "bad" non functioning equipment in the rain and wind.

Anna, by candle light, arranging the Afgani dinner before speaking about her experiences
                               Check out for images of our friend's time in Afganistan.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Far from the end of my garden ... storage tanks appeared!

 Not really visible from my garden, but for the past few weeks I have watched, fascinated, the construction of a group of  enormous storage tanks on Port of Tacoma tideflats land. I see them as I drive from my home into the city of Tacoma.  It seems as though they appeared overnight! I am sure it was just that the construction of lower parts of the tanks were hidden behind other buildings ... but one day there they were! Giant grey cylinders!
Following the completion of the construction the painting began. That was the interesting part for me! Two men, perched on the end of a huge cherry picker, with very long handled paint rollers seemed to have nearly completed the task.  Today as I drove home (see the last photo) I watched fascinated as the man with the very long handle ... at the end of the cherry picker ... extended as far as it seemed it might go ... closed up the remaining grey spot!  Others remain to be painted but the one closest to the road gleams beautifully white ... the painter's work on display!  Good job guys!
Several of the storage tanks nearing completion
Two painters working feverishly when the sun shines!
Turning the last little grey space to white!