Saturday, August 25, 2012

Between the tomatoes and the bird bath!

In my garden today

Living in the Evergreen state, Washington, on the coastal side of the state, we always hope there will be sufficient sunshine for us to ripen the tomatoes in our gardens.  Our wishes are not always granted and many people turn mounds of green tomato in chutney and other tempting delicacies in an effort to not waste that which has taken so much of their time and attention.  For unknown reasons, this year, we have 3 cherry tomato vines, and only one full sized tomato vine ... on which all of the fruit is yet very green. Hands down, the orange colored cherry tomatoes are the sweetest.
Left of the tomato plants is a birth bath.  We never tire of watching our local avian population coming for a brief morning drink, a full on bath or a group of birds arguing over who is going to get the bath next! It's easy to stand motionless and get lost in the simple wonder of watching our visitors. We planted the small tree visible behind the bird bath to enable the smallest of birds to seek cover when the large raptors in our area are threatening.
Picking tomatoes in my garden late this afternoon I was transfixed to see Mt. Rainier framed by the tomato plants and the frame used to hold them vertical.  There between the tomatoes and the bird bath ... another view of "the mountain".  I always say that no matter where you go in this area ... if there is a view of the mountain, it will look different than the one you saw from a different vantage point ... even a few minutes ago.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

At the end of my garden on Wednesdays in Summer

Jockeying for the best position
At the end of my garden each Wednesday evening, beginning late in the Spring, sailboats begin to gather. If the wind is up and it looks like a good evening for sailing, the boats begin to gather early and play with the wind until around 6.45pm.  It's then that jockeying for the best position begins and by 6.55pm the stragglers are in place too. Buoy markers show the sailors the race course for the day and promptly at 7pm the sounding of the starting gun echoes across the bay. It's a little like a moving tapestry as the boats vie for the best place in the wind, try to block each others wind, see if they can get a good lead before rounding the first buoy ... and it's all played against the backdrop of this stunning body of water that is Puget Sound with Mt. Rainier (often, but certainly not always) overlooking all.  On a recent evening the fickle wind refused to blow and instead it was "a float": lots of limp and flapping sails with reflections of the boats showing clearly in the water.   Another Wednesday in the life of the Corinthian Yacht Club's Wednesday race.
Corinthian Yacht Club's Wednesday night race

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

When Nature Amazes one more time!

What kind of moth could this be?

Indian Paintbrush flowers at Paradise, Mt. Rainier

Bear Grass at Mt. Rainier

Not one, or two, or even ten,  but a field of Avalanche lilies
Living, as I do, in the Pacific Northwest corner of the United States, being overwhelmed by yet another astounding display by Mother Nature is not a rare occurence.  The mountain at the end of my garden provides almost daily opportunities for "Would you look at THAT!" experiences ... that is except when it isn't visible at all.
Late one evening a week ago there was a great fluttering in my kitchen and when it stopped the amazing moth, in the first image, was resting on the terra cotta colored wall. The blue "eyes" on it's wings one almost expected to blink ... so eye-like were they.  My grandchildren were here for overnight so we captured the creature in a container and released it the next morning for them to see, and for them watch it fly away.  But not before we had captured its photo.  I'm sure someone knows what kind of moth it is ... but I haven't found anyone who knows - yet!
Then last week on a three day stay at the lodge at Paradise, in the Mt. Rainier National Park we experienced the wonder of wildflowers that magically appear as the snows melt ... but this year it was carpets of wildflowers. Never before had I seen more than a few Avalanche lilies in one place. But this year just above the lodge on the way to Myrtle Falls I came across a huge field of them ... it was heartstoppingly beautiful. 
I'm always amazed when the throngs of people who come to "see" the areas around Mt. Rainier ... seem dogged in their pursuit of getting to the end of a trail, or to a certain peak, or to see it all ... totally miss the small things at their feet ... like a field of lilies or the perfume of the lupine carpeting a hillside.
I probably took enough photos for all the people who just trotted on by .... and Nature left me amazed one more time. Little did I know that when I took the photo below of the single avalanche lily, amazing in it's isolation and perfect beauty, there was a whole field waiting for just up the path.