A new (to me) park. 

I discovered a lovely park, right off Loop 360 and Spicewood Springs Road. The trail head for the Irving and Hazeline Smith Memorial Trail is on the northwest corner of the intersection.  You can park right nearby.  It’s an easy, flat, 1.5 mile loop through woods, grassland and near the creek.  No dogs permitted, though.  

Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve.

Today I went birding with my friend, Doray, to Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve.   I’m a novice.  I was able to get a lot of amazing photos of tree branches.  🙂   If I ever get an amazing photo of a bird, I may share here.  But for now, I won’t bore you with it.   We did see several kinds of birdies, so I’m calling it a success.

Here are two non-bird shots from the morning:

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Garden guest.

I was walking back from the shop today when I saw a butterfly fluttering among the zinnias.   She flitted around, while I stopped to watch, for a good 2 minutes, posing, in perfect light.  Of course I didn’t have a camera with me.  When I got back in the house I grabbed my phone and popped back out.  She was still there, but wouldn’t let me get as close, and didn’t pose as perfectly this time — camera shy, i guess.   I took some zoomed-in shots, not crisp, but pretty.  I think this is an eastern black swallowtail.  She does love the zinnies.

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Whoa, Nellie. 

I took a walk around the hood tonight to hit my step target. And I came across this little lady who was very wary of me.   I said hi, took a picture and kept moving on down the road.  I’d like to think that she has a similar snap of me. 

  

Renewal.

We have been working in the yard quite a bit lately.  Two weekends ago we set out to save a stand of 5 or six struggling young liveoaks in our back wooded area that had been dealt two bad cards:  they were being overshadowed by invasive hackberry trees, and completely defoliated by catepillars this spring.   They looked like goners.

So we cut the hackberries down, fertilized the oaks, and sprayed to get rid of the remaining catepillars.  For the last two weeks i’ve been checking on them every day, watching tiny lime green buds pop out up and down each branch, and then watching the buds turn into tiny leaves.   And with all the recent rains they are starting to look like trees again.  I think they’ll make it!

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Checking out the Falls.

Today I had the chance to go for a small road trip.  Just a 90 minute drive, each way, up to Snoqualmie Falls.   I went for it.  I packed mom along with me, with her wheel chair for maximum ease of checking out each nook and cranny of this naturally beautiful place.  And we were off…headed east to visit one of the most popular scenic places in Washington State.  It turned out that Noreen and David were coming west over the pass from Eastern Washington from a wedding, and we were able to time it so that we met for lunch at the beautiful Salish Lodge at the falls.  The flow was high, due to snow melt… swelling the falls to a thunderous level.  You could feel the water falling, you could hear it beating the rocks below, and you could feel the spray 300′ up from the bottom.

I can’t tell you how pretty it was, so i’ll just share 2 shots:

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and a panorama:

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An awesomely beautiful day.

Faces in open places.

The weather this winter has been a roller coaster of sunny-and-70s then sleet-and-20s-and-30s. About three or four turns so far and one more on the way tomorrow. It was a beautiful day today, so I threw open the windows and took a walk through the greenbelt.
Along the way I came across this rock and saw a face in it (sort of). If i squint a bit i think i can make out Jay Leno…

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A little worse for wear.

I saw this dragonfly perched on the top of my garden obelisk in the backyard.   At first I thought he might have been dead, but as I approached I saw that he was moving and watching my every move.   After taking a breather, he eventually flew off.

He looks a little like I feel this week… but reminds me that no matter what challenges we’re dealing with, we just have to keep on going.

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Be my valentine.

Time-worn heart.

Time-worn heart.

Another thing to celebrate this week… Happy Valentine’s Day!

I found this on the beach many years ago.  It is a rock that must have formed out of sediment inside a shell…you can still see some of the lines from the shell on the surface.  Over time, it’s been worn into the shape of a heart.   And after all those many years, it ended up in the surf in front of me, catching my eye.  I picked it up.  And now it’s mine.  🙂

 

 

Sister time (and a little football).

The always stunning Olympic Mountains.

The always stunning Olympic Mountains.

Last night my mom and I went over to Noreen and David’s for dinner.  Colleen and Jake drove over and joined us.  After dinner we all sat around just telling funny stories for a couple hours.  It’s nice to laugh like that.  Everyone in my family is a comedian it seems…

Instead of driving all the way back to Seattle, Colleen and Jake slept at my mom’s, as we were planning on going to Francine and Art’s in the morning to watch the Seahawks game… a rare treat for me, since in Texas all that is usually on the networks is the Cowboys or the Texans (ho hum).

When I went out the front door to get the paper I was greeted by this stunning view of the Olympics.   They seemed particularly white today.

Francine whipped up some biscuits & gravy and mimosa’s — breakfast of football divas   🙂   Noreen and David came over after church and we all cheered and screamed at the refs until the Seahawks won in overtime.  Awesome!

Life in the woods.

Thoreau’s view — 165 years later.

As I was driving past Concord on the way to my hotel on Tuesday night, I saw signs for Walden Pond.  THE Walden Pond.  You know, Henry David Thoreau’s Walden Pond, from his 1854 book Walden.  I remember reading that book back in high school, over 30 years ago.    It made a deep impression upon me at the time, but I haven’t thought about it again since then.   Thoreau decided to live in the woods and did so for over 2 years, from 1845-1847.  He later wrote the book from his notes and observations from the time he lived simply amongst nature.

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived”  – Henry David Thoreau

I really wanted to see Walden Pond for myself.  So, after my last meeting today, I drove there before closing time and took a walk.  It was interesting to see how close the pond is to town, and actually in his book he says that even back in the 1840’s the lot where he built his 1 room cabin was only about 1 mile away from neighboring farms.

There’s a walking trail around the lake, about a 1 3/4 mile loop.   The pond is now a state park and when I arrived it was packed with people sunning on the banks and swimming in the lake.  A little bit more bustling than when Thoreau lived here.

I walked to the site of his cabin.  It’s not there anymore, but the foundation is marked, and there is a huge pile of rocks next to where it stood.  A pile that visitors have been adding to over the years – one rock at a time.   I placed my rock atop the pile before I left.

The picture above is a view from the edge of the pond closest to where his cabin stood – about 100 feet behind me.   I like that I accidentally captured the gibbous moon in the top left corner.

The picture below is one that I took looking up as I was standing in the spot that would have been right outside the front door of his cabin.

Very beautiful.

This is a quote from the park brochure:

“…my friends ask what I will do when I get there.  Will it not be employment enough to watch the progress of the seasons?”  – Henry David Thoreau

You got that right, Henry.

I’ll have to dig up a copy of Walden to re-read, for old time’s sake.