Archive for the ‘Gardening’ Category

October Splendor in the Garden, at the Coast

October 1, 2017

I went out to the garden to cut flowers for a bouquet.  Before stepping outside, I wondered which flowers, if any were to be found, would work for my bouquet because it is so late in the flowering season and most flowers have already done their blooming. It is already the first day of October and the leaves are starting to turn red so you can imagine my delight at finding many blooms for my bouquet!

How can flowers make me so happy?  Flowers and sunshine!  Below are the flowers I cut and you can see the bouquet I created from the autumn blooms.

The hydrangea below is a very special type called Ayesha Hydrangea.  One of my favorite aspects of this hydrangea is the cupped petals.  Each petal looks like a little spoon.  When it rains, each petal holds a drop of water.  The flowers are heavy and precious!  Sadly, I’ve heard another name for this species of hydrangea is called “mop-head”.  I hesitated to include that bit of information.  I don’t like the name.  It takes away from the beauty of this remarkable flower. Everyone who sees my Ayesha instantly falls in love with “her” and wants a cutting or a start of this bush.  I need to buy some rooting hormone and get some promised starts started!

Long ago, I taught a little girl by the name of Sophie.  She was very young and yet her parents insisted she learn Italian from me.  We are talking some 20 years ago.  I believe Sophie was four years old at the time. So I taught Sophie Italian using the TPR technique.  Total Physical Response technique is a method used to teach children language, using physical responses and physical exercise as a means to engage in interactive learning.  It worked well with Sophie! In return, in lieu of payment in cash, her father, a landscape architect, paid me in bushes, rare flowers, and trees!  Talk about a cool barter system!  This rare Ayesha hydrangea is one of the plants I earned in the teaching/plant barter.  After 20 years, Ayesha is still thriving and as beautiful as ever.


Here are a few other hydrangeas in bloom today, October 1st.



Other flowers to make it into my vase were fuschias and the fronds of Lucifer Crocosmia.  You can correctly suppose the flowers of Lucifer are a hellish (or heavenly) RED.  I didn’t have the heart to cut the last of the crocosmia flowers, especially the rare yellow ones that seem to bloom only every other year (also part of the teaching/plant barter deal).

Below are the last of Lavatera (Mallow) flowers. They also made it into the vase.


The rhododendrons have already set their gigantic buds for next year’s spectacular flowering performance!  I am a garden nut for good reason.  Flowers are my garden’s song.  Flowers are life unfolding!


And the bouquet!  So pretty.  I was surprised to see how well the white single petaled anemones did this year.  They made it into the bouquet, too.


Sunshine, don’t be fooled!

Big fat billowing clouds give no hint of the sudden squall that will soak me, within seconds, to the bone.

Upon arrival to the beach, a blue kite dances in the sky, a girl with yellow boots frolics in the sand, chasing waves.

Sweet youth mock me not!  Like a child, I search for moonstones and agates and fill my pockets with gems.

The grass seed-heads on the dunes are illuminated by the early October sun.

Today’s clouds, a painting waiting to be painted.

This is your lucky day! This is my lucky day!  Ours to celebrate!

Happy October!



Seattle’s Cool Hood

August 5, 2017

Can’t believe that after living in Seattle for 26 years, I finally got around to visiting Georgetown, Seattle’s oldest neighborhood.  I went there one afternoon and evening in July to enjoy and explore this part of the city with a group of friends/yoginis.  Miriam, a long time resident of the neighborhood and lover of history and neighborhood lore, showed us around.  She did a great job of bringing the past to life, of showing us how resilient a neighborhood can be, and showing us how vibrant the neighborhood is today.

Our walking tour with Miriam coincided with the annual Georgetown Garden Walk, which is always held the second Sunday in July.  Mark your calendars now for next year’s garden walk.  Or better, yet, perhaps Miriam will begin taking groups on private tours, like she did for us.  She is remarkable.  Our trip was extraordinarily precious because afterwards we went over to Annette’s house for a great potluck dinner in her back garden. The hydrangea blooms were at their peak and we enjoyed a wonderful evening together.

Annette's hydrangeas in full bloom.

Annette’s hydrangeas in full bloom.

We walked the neighborhood and saw so many gardens, so creative and artistic in nature.  Many of the original houses used to have (and some still do) an extra lot used for gardening.  The land was rich and attracted farmers long ago.  The streets were formed by following the original flow of the Duwamish River, whose course used to curve throughout the neighborhood. You can still trace the curved streets of Georgetown in S Front Street, S Fidalgo Street, and S River Street.




I mentioned above that you can trace the old course of the Duwamish River by following the curvy roads.  In 1913, work began on straightening the river! The idea was that a straighter, deeper river would make it easier for ships to navigate the area.  The city planners envisioned more industry on the reclaimed area and they wanted to control the flooding often experienced by the meandering and curved Duwamish. You can read more about the straightening of the Duwamish on this link.

Today the Duwamish is a straight river.  Perhaps that is what makes Oxbow Park so special.  Oxbow Park sits in the heart of Georgetown.  “Oxbow” refers to a U-shaped bend in the course of a river.  Right where the park sits was an oxbow of the Duwamish.  The park is also known for its Hat ‘n’ Boots.  The two photos below were taken by MJ.  The boots and hat were originally part of a 1953 Western-themed gas station, located in Georgetown.  The light blue boot was a ladies’ restroom and the darker blue was a men’s restroom. The hat was the office, where you’d go in and pay for your gas.  The gas station was wildly popular and became the busiest gas station in the state of Washington.  When Interstate-5 was built in the 60s, it cut right across Georgetown and diverted traffic away from the gas station.  The gas station could not sustain itself and went out of business.  The hat and boots were eventually moved to Oxbow Park.

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I found this information about Oxbow Park.  I love the bit about Elvis visiting the original gas station in 1962:

Oxbow Park is located in the heart of historic Georgetown. In 1953, Seattle artist Lewis Nasmyth was hired to “rustle up” a design for a western-style gas station in Georgetown. Featuring a 44-ft. wide cowboy hat and 22-ft. high boots, the Hat n’ Boots opened the next year to a stampede of customers. In fact, for a time it was the biggest selling station in the state. Legend has it even Elvis dropped by when he was in town during the World’s Fair in ’62. But in the early 60’s, a brand new interstate, I-5, cut a swath through the neighborhood and started diverting traffic away from the station. By the late 80’s it pretty much looked like trail’s end for the Hat n’ Boots. That’s when some Georgetown residents saddled up to rescue the soul of their community. “The Hat n’ Boots is as important to Georgetown as the Golden Gate Bridge is to San Francisco,” says Allan Phillips, former director of the Georgetown Community Council. “If the Hat n’ Boots were ever to be gone from Georgetown, it would be like losing our soul.”



Georgetown is replete with murals (see above), saloons, bars, breweries (the original Rainier Brewery, built in 1882 and once the sixth largest brewery in the world), coffee houses, bakeries, restaurants, Fran’s Chocolates (retail, production, and viewing tours all right in Georgetown) and a haunted castle!


Well, the Georgetown “castle” is actually a Victorian-style house, deemed a castle when it was built in 1903.  Eventually, the house fell into disrepair and was recently completely renovated.  It is beautiful!  Miriam told us some juicy stories about the original residents of the castle.  I have included some information I found on line about the “castle”.  It is said to be haunted and is part of the Georgetown Haunted House Tour.  The tour might be a fun one to do around Halloween.

The Georgetown “Castle” is located in an old industrial, red light district of Seattle, WA. A large 3 story, turn of the century, Victorian style home, was reportedly built in 1903 by Peter Gessner, who was a gambler and blackjack dealer at the famous Central Tavern in Seattle’s Pioneer Square District. More…Having trouble with the local authorities for running “questionable” gambling and prostitution activities, he decided to move his operations farther out of town, to avoid too much unwanted attention, turning the home into an infamous brothel and gambling parlor. He died a gruesome death one year later, committing suicide in the house by drinking carbolic acid.

The home was then purchased around 1912 by Dr. Willis H. Corson who was a former superintendent and head coroner of the King County Hospital, located close by. This hospital and it’s grounds, which at the time surrounded the house, served as the county poor house and tent city for tuberculosis patients, as well as a crematorium that was used to burn the bodies.

Having heard stories about the infamous Georgetown Castle, yet never actually seeing it, I was surprise to find that it was nothing close to a castle. Just a large 3 story Victorian that sat just off the street in a somewhat run down residential neighborhood of south Seattle The view of the house was skewed by trees and unkempt vegetation. The only thing you could see from the street was the large dark tower looming from out of the trees. In a poor state of disrepair, the house was covered with nearly a century’s worth of peeling and cracked pink paint and loose siding. Beyond a short, rusty, chain link fence, the front porch leaned slightly to one side. Our first gut impressions were that this place is totally haunted.

full article on Ghost Hunt

And the grand finale was the potluck dinner at Annette’s house. It was a pretty magical evening. The day had been hot and the evening was comfortably cool, the food absolutely delicious, the company and conversation lively, the setting so comfortable and beautiful.

Carol's dessert....

Carol’s dessert….




July 28, 2017

We made our annual trip to Stehekin last weekend.  Stehekin, Washington is a place that awakens the nature-loving adventurer and dazzles the eye of the outdoor enthusiast.  I didn’t see any bears this year, but I did see a grouse, big as a hen, on the trail.  Leslie and I also spotted a baby osprey in its enormous nest. The baby osprey was squawking for its parents.  While there, we hiked, read by the river, visited Karl’s Stehekin Garden.  And I got in a lot of restful sleeping time.  The bed in the cabin is so comfortable, the night so quiet, and the air coming in from the open window so pure, fresh, and soothing.  I slept deeply and dreamed of the night forest.


Stehekin is a wilderness place of forests, waterfalls, mountains, and tumbling creeks (26 creeks flow into the river). It is a place where time seems to stand still.

Stehekin refers to the grand 17-mile long river, which carries glacial water from the Cascade Mountains. The Stehekin River a surreal blue as a result of the glacial melt.  It flows into Lake Chelan, a 50.5 mile lake.Stehekin also refers to the community, which sits in the Stehekin Valley and is part of the North Cascades National Park.

One reason why Stehekin remains so pristine and wild is because the area is not accessible by road.  You can only reach Stehekin by hiking, float plane, boat, or ferry.

Below are some photos from last weekend’s visit.  It was not quite as hot this year and the mosquitoes were not so bothersome as they have been in the past.  And there were no forest fires this year so the vistas on our hikes were very clear.

Our champ, Miss Winnie, resting at a creek after a long deep drink of cold water:


Morning Sun on Cabin:


The Stehekin River greets us in the morning:


Reflections, a perfect Stehekin morning:


And I found these waders drying on the clothesline amusing (along the forest path leading to Karl’s Garden):


Old cars like this Chevrolet, in excellent running condition, abound in Stehekin:L1390773

Refreshing water stop during one of the hikes:


A trip to Stehekin requires:

  • Hiking and a visit to Rainbow Falls
  • Fly-fishing (if you are a fisher-person)
  • A visit to the Stehekin Bakery (their pies are ridiculously delicious)
  • A visit to Karl’s Organic Garden


A visit to Karl’s garden is one of my Stehekin highlights.  Karl’s produce is beautiful.  He keeps bees and sells honey.  And he has goats and sells goat cheese.  The perimeter of his vegetable garden is studded with flowers.  This time of year, Karl’s dahlias are in full bloom.  I could not help myself.  I kind of went crazy on the flower photography.






Karl also offers food for thought on his white boards.  Here are some examples of his words of wisdom:


I love Stehekin  (one of our hiking lunch spots below):



The Best Season

December 12, 2016

In the memoir, Poser: My Life in 23 Poses, author Claire Dederer talks about how my yoga classes often have a theme related to the seasons.  Claire was my yoga student for years, and wrote a book about her life and, in part, about me/my teaching, so she would know the truth about my interest in the seasons and how we are affected by seasonal changes. Spring fills us with hope!  We are more energetic in the summer.  Kids do much of their growing spurts in the summer.  We tend to shed more hair in autumn.  My mother used to say in Sicilian, “Cadano li castagni”, which translates to “chestnuts are falling” because my chestnut-colored shedding hair was everywhere. We need more rest in the winter.  We crave light foods in the summer such as seasonal fruits and vegetables.  In the winter, we crave warm soups and starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes and root vegetables.

Below is a poem I shared yesterday during the two yoga workshops I taught in Seattle.  The poem has to do with the seasons (!) and is followed by photos, shot throughout the years, representing the four seasons.  I took all of the photos with one exception: Rick took the tulip against the blue sky.  The author of the poem is Wu-men Huikai.  He was a Chinese Zen master who lived from 1183-1260.  He wrote poems about enlightenment and called his poetry “sacred poetry”.  He also wrote social, political, and anti-war poems.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn,
a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter.
If your mind isn’t clouded by unnecessary things,
this is the best season of your life.

“Ten Thousand Flowers in Spring” by Wu-Men


Nothing like a tulip to say SPRING

Nothing like a tulip to say SPRING (Ocean Shores)


Fawns (Ocean Shores)

Simone's poppy

Simone’s poppy (Simone’s garden)

Fragrant late spring rose

Fragrant late spring rose (Simone’s garden)


Summer Dahlia

Summer Dahlia (Carl’s garden in Stehekin)

Flower Power of Summer

Flower Power of Summer (Stehekin Garden)

Lilies in the Sun

Lilies in the Sun (Kelley’s garden)


Color of Autumn

Color of Autumn (Fremont, Seattle)

Fire walking

Fire walking (Wallingford, Seattle)

Autumn Boots

Autumn Boots (Wallingford, Seattle)

A long stretch of Autumn

A long stretch of Autumn (Capitol Hill, Seattle)


Jack Frost painted this fern.

Jack Frost painted this fern. (La Push, Washington)

Frosted vegetation

Frosted vegetation (La Push, Washington)


Simone’s Lovely Garden

May 13, 2016


Today’s blog post is a visual meditation of sorts.  I spent a wonderful afternoon and evening with Simone on Wednesday.  We walked in her neighborhood and then enjoyed her lovely garden.  The weather has been unusually warm and sunny, so we also dined outside amid her garden in full bloom.  She had asked me to bring my camera over to capture the fleeting beauty of the poppies, roses, and other flowers growing in her garden…and so I did!…be sure to scroll all the way down to view the short slide show.

Fragrant Rose

Fragrant Rose

Rose seemingly floating in the garden-intense RED

Another fragrant rose seemingly floating in the garden-intense RED



Enjoy the brief slideshow below and don’t forget to view it on full screen and turn up your speakers.  Thank you, Simone, for growing such beautiful flowers for all of us to enjoy!

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Fridheimar Greenhouse

October 5, 2015

Fridheimar Greenhouse yields 300 tons of produce annually in an interior space, run electronically, covering 5000 square meters. Produce from the greenhouse at Fridheimar’s consists uniquely of tomatoes and cucumbers. The tomatoes at this particular greenhouse contribute 18% of Iceland’s tomato market. Tomatoes are vine ripened, and immediately sold in supermarkets throughout the Iceland. Fridheimar’s greenhouse tomatoes are fresh, tasty, sweet, and organic.


Helena is one of the owners of the greenhouse. Together with her husband, she has been working the greenhouses for over 20 years. Helena talked to us about Iceland’s sustainable energy used to power her greenhouses. 90% of Iceland runs on clean bio sustainable geothermal energy and the greenhouse we visited was a fine example of how a country can use high technology and geothermal energy to produce food without harming the environment. Imagine delicious tomatoes grown in a country so far north that it receives only four hours of sunlight per day during the cold winter months!

The greenhouse growing culture got started in the 40s and 50s in Iceland. Today’s greenhouses are high tech greenhouses controlled by computers. The computers control the opening and closing of windows and the turning on and off of the high pressured sodium lamps used as grow lights. The computers even read the outdoor wind and make appropriate changes to create a perfect environment for tomato and cucumber growing. Helena told us (first group) that by using the computer on her iPhone, she was able to control the climate in her greenhouses while lying on a beach in Thailand!

At Fridheimar’s Greenhouse, artificial and chemical pesticides are not used. They do, however make use of one natural pesticide. It is a small green fly, whose exact name I cannot recall, whose job it is to feed on small microbial critters. The small green flies are the good guys.

Helena and her husband also make use of bumble bees. Cucumbers are self pollinators and have no use for the bees. Tomatoes, by contrast, rely on the bumble bees for pollination/ fertilization to produce fruit. One queen and hundreds of worker bees are flown in from Holland every few weeks. They arrive in a box, ready to work. Worker bees live 6-8 weeks. There are up to 600 active worker bumble bees at any one time at their greenhouse. Bumble bees are extremely industrious and one worker bumble bee can do the work of several honey bees. Compared to honey bees, bumble bees rarely sting. Bumble bees only sting in self defense.

Once the tomatoes start to ripen, plum tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, and piccolo tomatoes are picked weekly. Cucumbers, on the other hand, are rapid growers and they are picked daily! Everything is carefully picked by hand and the work of harvesting is labor intensive. All produce is ripened on the vine. Of the tonnage produced in tomatoes and cucumbers, none is exported. Everything is for domestic consumption.

After the explanation, we enjoyed a fabulous tomato soup lunch. Fridheimar Greenhouse has a lovely bright cafe within the greenhouse, complete with a bar and dessert offerings. We ate tomato soup served with the best of breads, made in onsite geo thermally run ovens. They even produced a gluten free bread that was, according to a gluten free member of my retreat group, some of the best bread ever produced! Might I mention the bread was served with Icelandic butter?

Fridheimar Green House where tomatoes and cucumbers are grown by tons!

Fridheimar Green House where tomatoes and cucumbers are grown by tonnage!

Greenhouses are bio sustainable and make use of 17 hours of sunlight from geothermal energy-run lights

Greenhouses are bio sustainable and give 17 hours of sunlight from geothermal energy-run lights


Bumble bees to fertilize the plants in the tomatoes and cucumbers: Queen Bee and her drones

Bumble bees to fertilize the tomato plants: Queen Bee and her drones

Helena passionately explains how the greenhouses work!  She and her husband have run the green houses for 20 years.

Helena passionately explains how the greenhouses work! She and her husband have run the green houses for 20 years.


Bread made and served at the greenhouse!  They also served gluten free bread and Russ said it was the best gluten free bread he has ever eaten in his life!

Lisa sits down to tomato soup made from Fridheimar's tomatoes.

Lisa sits down to tomato soup made from Fridheimar’s tomatoes.

Tomato Soup Recipe!

Tomato Soup Recipe!

More bread served with the soup!

More bread served with the soup!

Oh, and more bread! (always served with delicious Icelandic butter.)

Oh, and more bread! (always served with delicious Icelandic butter.)

Dessert!  Yes, someone ordered this tomato ice cream served in a planter.  Apparently, it was really good.

Dessert! Yes, someone ordered this tomato ice cream served in a planter.

The Forest Breathes

July 28, 2015

I get a natural high from walking along forest trails and this year I have had ample opportunities to be out in nature, hiking through the most alluring landscapes.  Rick and I just got back from our annual trip to Stehekin, Washington with Leslie.  While Rick fished the rivers for trout, Leslie and I hiked miles and miles of trails with her dog, Winnie.

No roads lead to Stehekin!  In fact, you can only get there by plane, boat, or hiking.  One of the many charms of Stehekin is its remoteness.  Once in Stehekin, there is a road that stretches from the landing to the Stehekin Bakery and beyond to some trail heads.  The only vehicles are the ones that have come over on a barge from Chelan.  In order to have a vehicle, you must be a grandfathered-in property owner or lease holder.  Wild untouched Stehekin is part of the North Cascades National Park.  Around 100 people live here year round.

We took a float plane to the landing.  It is about a 50 minute flight from Chelan to the Stehekin Landing:


The next two photos are hilarious (to me, anyways!).  You can see how small the plane is.  Rick, in green, to your far right, is smooshed into his seat with two other beefy men!  Leslie and I, on the other hand, had ample space between us because Leslie bought a seat or a “space” for Winnie.   Winnie burrowed and hunkered down into the floor of the plane where she felt secure and Leslie and I got to spread out a bit.  Rick was wedged in so tightly that he was unable to look back to see us. I made sure Rick was in a humorous mood before I showed him these two photos!


Tight Quarters!


Ample Space on the flight for Fran, Leslie, and Winnie! (feeling a wee bit guilty about all the space!)

One of the people who lives in Stehekin year round is Karl, the man who, year after year, plants and produces the best organic vegetables in his Stehekin Garden.  In addition to vegetables and fruit, he sells honey, candles made from his bees’ wax, dried herbs and teas, goat cheese made from his goats, whole wheat crackers, muffins, granola made with his honey, salad dressings, and pesto made from his homegrown basil.  Every time we arrive at the cabin, I make a dash for his garden to see what vegetables and fruits are available.  This time around I bought organic nectarines, peaches, blueberries, beets, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, green beans, and a muffin!  When I arrived at the garden, I was greeted by barefooted slender Karl.  His earthy wholehearted hugs are most welcoming.  His vegetable garden is fringed with dahlias and other beautiful flowers which, he is quick to tell you, he does NOT sell.


Karl’s dahlias, after a much-needed morning rain shower, are nearly smiling.  We were at Karl’s when it started to rain.  We sat under the eaves with Karl and waited until the rain let up. 


Hope you like dahlias because there are many in this blog!


One of Karl’s bees busily pollinating a dahlia.



During the winter months, Stehekin is covered in snow.  Karl’s garden and goats rest in the winter and Karl spends his winter days cross country skiing, meditating, doing yoga, reading various books, and writing.  You can see his spirit-infused writing on various white boards at the garden.


Health is Wealth, written by Karl


A bearded Rick talking books, poetry, nature with Karl at the garden.



Inner Peace by Karl

Leslie and I took a hike to the Buckner Orchard and to Rainbow Falls.  This is our favorite hike to do on our first day in Stehekin.  We saw so many deer in the apple orchard on this day.


Long Term Parking at the Buckner Orchard


Winnie takes in a long drink at Rainbow Falls. 

Like Cuba, Stehekin has trucks and cars that have been around for a while and still running.  In order to get a car here, it has to be barged over as was this 1967 Chevy back in the day.  I was looking at some of Leslie’s old photos from years ago and noted that today the Forest Green ’67 Chevy Truck looks almost identical to how it looked back then.


The Cannon’s 1957 Chevy. 


Winnie, ready to hike!

Another favorite hike is the Lakeside Trail, along Lake Chelan.  The trail starts near the landing and goes on and on towards Chelan.  It is a rolling trail with a constant view of Lake Chelan.  Parts of the forest have been victim to forest fires and as we hiked we saw blackened trees that have survived past fires as well as charred stumps that were not so lucky.

As we stopped for lunch at a bluff overlooking the lake, Leslie was pulling some items out of her backpack and came across her favorite poem, Lost.  She always carries this poem with her and from time to time, on our hikes, she reads it aloud.  I asked her to read it on this hike.  I am always moved by this poem.  The name of this blog post, The Forest Breathes, comes from this poem. She reads it so perfectly:

Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree of a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.

-David Wagoner

David Wagoner was Rick’s professor for the MFA program at the University of Washington.  We went to a reading and heard Wagoner read his poem, Lost.  He prefaced the poem by telling us that he never imagined this poem would be so well received! Wagoner still seemed to be in disbelief that this very poem is the favorite of many outdoor enthusiasts, including Leslie and myself.


Burnt trees from fires past.


Another hike: Agnes Creek Trail


View of Agnes Gorge

Well, since our fisherman, Rick, caught a 19 inch trout (!!!), he decided to join Leslie and me on this morning’s half hour steep hike up to a viewpoint.  From our viewpoint, we had the best view of the Stehekin Valley.


View of the Stehekin Valley

Rick’s prized trout, was dinner tonight!  We brought it back to Chelan with us and Timothy grilled it with rosemary and lemon slices.  Four of us feasted on the best trout ever!  Here it is below, about to be grilled.



July 20, 2015
Another wonderful place in Washington discovered (for me) this past weekend.  Simone and I drove up to Anacortes, where we stayed with friends Janet and Steve.  Like so many others, I have been to Anacortes before because it is the point where we catch ferries to Lopez Island, Orcas, and San Juan Island.  However, I have never taken time to explore Anacortes.
Beautiful AnacortesThe town is named after Anna Curtis, wife of an early settler named Amos Brown.  And all this time I thought the name of the town sounded very Spanish, but it’s not!  We were there for the Shipwreck Festival, which is basically rows and rows of tables set up on the streets where vendors sell just about anything from used clothing to garage sale type items to crafts and furniture.  Every vendor is ready to make a bargain and, though I had no intention of buying anything, I got some good deals (amongst them a cute sunhat and a set of 6 blue water glasses).  Read on to see the weekend through many photos and captions!  I think this blog post is a record for number of photos posted!  I just can’t trim down to any fewer photos!  Enjoy..

We ate delicious meals.  Ingredients could not have been any fresher: vegetables straight from Janet and Steve's garden and from the Farmer's Market


Loki the Cat and more from the garden...with all this heat, peaches are ripening early this year!

Anacortes Farmers' Market

Heirloom tomatoes at the market

Beautiful Carrots and Roots

Janet gets down to the business of buying purslane.  The market vendor told us how purslane is really good for the lungs.  Here is what I found out about delicious purslane: "Purslane is a nutritious weed increasingly used in agriculture and cooking recipes. This herb is high in vitamin C and metabolism-regulating Omega-3 fatty acids. "  I even read that it has more Omega-3 fatty acids than most fish oils!  I think I will add it to my herb garden.

Squash and Yellow Zucchini

It's Dahlia season!

Summer bouquets at the market

Seen earlier in the day at the Shipwreck Festival!

Back at Janet and Steve's house, Steve reads to me from his novel in progress!

Postprandial Walk

View along the trail

Since Janet and Simone were admiring this enormous drift log, I thought I'd capture it on film.  The light was divine.

Pugalicious!  A very sweet 14 year-old pug resting on a bench along the trail.

Sunset coming on.  Hot summer days and gorgeous sunsets is how I will always remember this summer.  It has been and continues to be amazing.

Sunset in Anacortes, along the Guemes Trail.  Does it get any better than this?

Sunset in Anacortes

And today's hike through a Madrona Forest!  Madronas are perhaps one of my favorite trees!

Madrona Trunk I

Madrona Trunk II

Splashes of Color for the Fourth of July

July 5, 2015

It is 10:28pm as I begin posting this blog.  It is Independence Day and the city of Ocean Shores is celebrating America’s birthday along with the rest of the county.  As I write, there is a constant boom, bang, pop in the air as people light their fireworks on the beach.  So much excitement in the air, literally!  This has been an unusually dry summer for this part of the world, so the city of Ocean Shores, Washington has forbidden fireworks anywhere but on the beach.

Meanwhile, as I walked through the garden today, admiring yesterday’s weeding and maintenance work, I thought about how the garden, too,  seems to be celebrating the 4th of July through bursts of color that rival tonight’s fireworks.  My garden seems to be saying, “Happy Birthday, America!”

Crocosmia "Lucifer"

The hummingbirds go crazy for this: Crocosmia “Lucifer”

Potted plants on the deck

Potted plants on the deck drenched in sunlight

A collection of rocks and shells welcome you as you enter the house.

A collection of rocks and shells welcome you before you enter the house.

Sword ferns love the moist environment of the shade garden

Sword ferns love the moist environment of the shade garden.

Bright as fireworks

Bright as fireworks

This fragrant antique rose that I started from a cutting dipped in rooting hormone is as big as my hand

This fragrant antique rose that I started from a cutting dipped in rooting hormone is as big as my hand!  The color says POW!

Liberty Apples.  We vie for these along with the raccoons.  Who will get to them first this year?

Liberty Apples. We vie for these along with the raccoons. Who will get to them first this year?

My dad's fig tree grows big beautiful leaves in the fruit orchard.  I have yet to taste the figs!  We need more sun here at the coast, but maybe someday, it will yield figs for me.  I already dream of eating them plucked fresh from the tree as well as making a fig and goat cheese pizza...and why not?  I will make an amazing jam of these figs when they finally grow on this tree!  My dad brought a cutting over from Sicily.

My dad’s fig tree grows big beautiful leaves in the fruit orchard. I have yet to taste the figs because they never ripen in our coastal climate. We need more sun here at the coast, but maybe someday, this tree will yield figs for me. I already dream of eating them plucked fresh from the tree as well as making a fig and goat cheese pizza…and why not? I will make an amazing jam of these figs when they finally grow on this tree! My dad brought this tree cutting over from Sicily.

Climbing roses

Climbing roses and butterfly bush intermingle.

Firecracker colors

Firecracker colors!


Blue blue sky for the 4th of July!

Blue sky as backdrop for the 4th of July!

Garden view from the house

Garden view from the house (with my brother-in-law Jim’s birdhouses…many have resident chickadees busily feeding their chicks!)

Summer Solstice

June 15, 2015

We are fast approaching Summer Solstice.  This is my favorite time of the year.  I love the light, the sunshine, the warmth, and the late sunsets.  Little Renaissance is alive with climbing roses in full bloom.  The garden appears to thrive on neglect and I marvel at how lush the greenery is.  It has been so warm out that the plums look like they might be ready to harvest in a week or two!

Dragon Driftwood

Dragon Driftwood

The days are long this time of year.  This past weekend has been filled with sun drenched days.  There is a lovely group who comes out to Little Renaissance twice a year for a yoga retreat weekend filled with creative yoga sessions, lunch out in the garden, long walks on the beach, great company, and lively conversations.  This was the weekend we shared with them.  So much fun!  Such a great tradition.  (Just ask me about booking a weekend with us!.)



Rick using his magnificent telephoto lens to capture the two bald eagles on the driftwood!

Rick using his magnificent telephoto lens camera to capture the two bald eagles on the driftwood! (My camera is quite limited, having not much of a telephoto lens.)

Double header-headstands.  Skye brought her headstand bench, too!

Double header-headstands. Skye brought her headstand bench, too!

Skye Kickin' Air

Beautiful Sky, Ocean, and Skye!

Sand Crab Shell

Sand Crab Shell

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