Monday, May 10, 2021

Had a great Mother's Day

Lily and me, plus flowers

Lily hosted me, John, and Gene for Mother's Day, and we had a super-wonderful meal, to which we all brought something to share. John brought the biggest part, with his incredibly well seasoned cod, which he cooked right before we sat down to eat. Plus Lily made scalloped potatoes, and we had John's fresh asparagus, and a big salad. Gene and I brought dessert.

Cod, potatoes, asparagus, salad

Once we had enjoyed this treat, we ended the feast with lemon scones with whipped cream and John's homemade rhubarb sauce, and Gene brought wine and bear claws. As you can imagine, after all this we were very full and went our separate ways happy and with a little bit more avoirdupois.

I just watched a really interesting video clip from a 2014 60 Minutes program, which John insisted I watch. I'm going to try to embed it here, but if it doesn't work, you should be able to click on the above link to get to it.

Well, that was a lot of work. Did I get it right? In any event, the video is entitled "Living Into Your Nineties." And John was right:  I did enjoy the interviews with these wonderful seniors. I can only hope...


Thursday, May 6, 2021

Fragrance Lake, Fiona, and fairy slippers

We were seventeen all together

Today seventeen Senior Trailblazers met at the Lost Lake trailhead, our first real gathering since the pandemic began. Since the Senior Center is still closed, we drove either alone or with friends, all of us now completely vaccinated and able to gather in larger groups outdoors without masks. Earlier in the week we had been led to expect rain today, but we learned it had decided to wait until later in the afternoon before moving in. So we had a lot of interest in getting out and about.

My group of nine (I took the picture)

We broke into two groups, one of 8 and the other of 9, and I joined the group that would go more slowly and not travel as far as the other one. We walked up the service road to Fragrance Lake, figuring we'd take the hiking trail back and make a loop out of it. 

A meagre waterfall today

Since we haven't had much rain lately, you can see that our waterfall is looking much less impressive than usual, but it's still very beautiful. Our group decided to make our way to Fragrance Lake and make a trip around in and head back to the parking lot. But that is not how it turned out.

At the lake

Once we got to the lake, Tom suggested that we explore a "gentle" trail that would take us up to Fiona Ridge, and then we could decide how to get back to the original trail after exploring the ridge. 

Trail up to Fiona Ridge

Tom led us up the trail, which was obviously not well used, and in no way would I call it "gentle." Apparently that is only in comparison to the steep and difficult Fiona trail that is more well known. I struggled my way up the trail, and fortunately I had the help of Richard, who held out his hand for me many times, as I made my way up steep and rather treacherous spots.

A calypso orchid

One bright spot on the trail was the discovery of some gorgeous and rather rare pink orchids, right by the seldom used trail. Melanie got this picture, since mine was out of focus. These are also called fairy slippers, but their actual name is Calypso bulbosa. That article tells us that they are a perennial member of the orchid family found in undisturbed northern and montane forests. 

Trail to Fragrance Lake 

Once we came off the ridge, we were on Cleator Road, which we had to walk for about a mile until we got to this trail that would take us either to the service road or the longer but more lovely trail back to the parking lot. Since by this time we were pretty tired, we chose to take the shorter and more direct route back.

In any event by the time we finished, we compared our devices and worked out that we had covered around eight miles up and down, which explains why I feel so tired right now! It was a good day, and a great way to begin our post-pandemic season. It was nice not to have to worry about masks or social distancing, since we are all fully vaccinated now and our options are opening up.

I'm glad I had the chance to do this "short" hike and to learn that I am still capable of making longer trips into the wilderness. It was a good day indeed. And even now, after 3:00pm, the rain has still not started!


Monday, May 3, 2021

Lilacs are in bloom

In our driveway

It's that time of the year again, when lilacs everywhere in town are in bloom. It only happens once a year, for a very short time, but I watch for the blooms with lots of enjoyment. I've learned that the white ones bloom first and are sometimes gone before the deep purple lilacs have shown their color. Yesterday I saw a very different looking lilac bush than I've seen before: purple blooms edged with white. They had only begun to come out, so I didn't get a picture. It's located on a walk I take only once in awhile, so I might or might not capture the blooms. My attention span is limited these days.

At the moment I'm dealing with a blockage of ear wax in my right ear. I went looking for the earwax removal kit in my bathroom and tried it, with no success. Then I noticed that it might be because the expiration date was way back in 2017. Off to the pharmacy for a new bottle, some of which is now in my tilted ear, with hopes that I'll be able to hear normally again in the near future. If it's not one thing, it's another. A minor annoyance but one I cannot ignore.

How about you? How is the weather in your part of the world? I keep seeing these awful tornadoes in the south and am reminded that spring tends to exacerbate these terrible storms. We are having cloudy but mild weather, nothing serious to report. We do keep having rainstorms, but that is perfectly normal for the Pacific Northwest during the majority of the year.


Thursday, April 29, 2021

Amazing trilliums

A trio of trillium

Today Melanie and I decided to head back to our favorite trail, the Lower Salal on Chuckanut Mountain, to check the status of the beginning trillium display we saw two weeks ago. And we were not disappointed: we saw hundreds of these beauties along the trail. I had a hard time deciding which ones to share with you.

Trillium plants are wonderful springtime flowers. I learned quite a bit about them as I began to research them for this post. I found this article on Prairie Nursery. I'll share some of what I discovered. The article is entitled, "Ten Things to Know about Trillium."

There are 39 native trilliums in the U.S. All trillium species belong to the Liliaceae (lily) family. Native to temperate regions of North America and East Asia, the genus ‘Trillium’ has 49 species, 39 of them are native to various areas across the United States. 
The plants are extremely long-lived. Trilliums are relatively easy to grow from their rhizomatous root but slow to develop and spread. To make up for it, the plants can live for up to 25 years.

I knew that they only produce one flower per season, and I also learned from this article that they are sometimes called Toadshade (for their resemblance to a toad-sized umbrella), Wakerobin (for their appearance with the first robins), and Birthroot (for medicinal uses during childbirth).

So beautiful

We saw so many today, some that are just getting started, and others that have already grown old enough to turn purple. That's what they do when they've been around for awhile.

Such a lovely lavender 

Like this one, which we probably saw two weeks ago and now can enjoy in its later life. I guess if I thought of them in terms of our own lifespan, this one might be a senior, like me.

A mutant trillium (duillium? twoillium?)

This trillium is what started me on a quest to find out how often a mutant like this appears. It only has two leaves and two petals. Once a few years back, on a trip to the mountains, we also found a quad-trillium, with four leaves and four petals on a single flower. But after quite a bit of reading, I found nothing to explain these anomalies. 

 Magnificent flowers

In any event, spring is definitely in full swing, and we were thrilled that we were surrounded by so many of these beauties. I'm pretty sure that when we are there next, most will be purple or expired. I'm so glad we decided to make this journey today. We went almost six miles and over 1,000 feet up and down, and we enjoyed ourselves very much.


Monday, April 26, 2021

Three drizzly days

Spring flowers

I took this picture awhile ago, while walking back from the bus. Most mornings I head down to the coffee shop and walk back home via a short trail, and I saw these most lovely flowers and greenery, bringing a big smile to my face. It was raining lightly, which has been going on for the past three days. After lots of sunshine, more than usual, we have recently returned to normal Pacific Northwest weather. Light rain (which the flowers just love) and more moderate temperatures (today's high will be 12°C (54°F). I am not unhappy with it; perhaps I've become assimilated and now spurn the warmth. At least until July and August, when we lose our rain and it can actually get hot for a few days.

A few rays of sunshine teased me just now

I looked outside and saw that there's a bit of sunshine and the rain seems to have slowed or stopped for awhile, although the forecast said to expect more showers this afternoon. This is my beginning front porch garden for 2021. The pink azaleas in the foreground were a spontaneous impulse buy while at Costco the other day. They looked so pretty in a hanging basket, but I don't think they will last. The other flowers, the petunias, geraniums, and alyssum, should all thrive.

I mentioned on my other blog that I will be having a tooth extracted within a couple of weeks, and I received lots of comments about my query as to whether I should get a second opinion, since there's no pain in the tooth... yet. I've decided just to go ahead and do it, as there's little doubt that it will inevitably progress to that unhappy state. One friend had three recent extractions and said it wasn't a big deal. It's just always hard to say goodbye to an old friend. 

Meanwhile, I am enjoying life and will happily tend to my gardens, both the front porch one and my vegetable garden in the back. Stay tuned for more progress on that seasonal hobby.


Thursday, April 22, 2021

Anyone for tulips?

In front of the RoozenGaarde windmill

Today Melanie and I decided to take the annual tulip excursion to Skagit Valley instead of hiking with the Trailblazers. This is the first day that our erstwhile leader Al has suggested that anyone who is interested should meet at a nearby trailhead and hike together. I had already bought tickets for the two of us to head to RoozenGaarde to see the state of the tulip festival. On Easter Sunday, Lily and I traveled south to see it, but it was way too early. Today, I think we found the optimum day for tulip gazing. Although because of the spate of overly warm weather we've been having, I feared that they might have gone the other way and been on their way out. Nope!

Inside the display garden

RoozenGaarde has a beautiful display garden among their acres of flowers, and the incredible artistry in designing the planting was especially delightful this year. Maybe it's because they were closed for the pandemic last year, but I couldn't help but allow happy tears to flow, when I saw the beloved garden once again.

Melanie amongst the tulips

Once we wandered around for a good long while, oohing and aahing and taking pictures right and left, we walked out to the fields of tulips behind the main area, to take in the incredible views.

Miles and miles of tulips

We were actually fortunate to have some cloudy skies, since it helped us take better pictures of the tulips. Full sun has a tendency to wash out some of the vibrant colors, so we were happy for the wonderful cooler weather and light breeze.

I heart you

One of my favorite little designs was this one, with a beautiful red-and-white heart among still blooming purple tulips. Somebody had a good time designing this one, I think. My eyes were full to the brim before we left this delightful area.

The arrangements kept coming

No sooner did I feel I could not take even one more picture, I'd see something like this one. Can you see the subtle spiral of different-colored tulips wafting their way through the others? There was just so much to see and take in.

There's always one in every crowd

I loved seeing this differently colored tulip in the midst of all the red. It stood out in brazen defiance, it seemed, and it sure made me smile to see it. And then we left the gardens and drove over to see Tulip Town. I've never been there before, and I suppose if I had not been already overwhelmed with all the beauty of RoozenGaarde, I might have enjoyed it more. But I missed the creative gardens, although I enjoyed the visit very much and am glad we went there too. 

Now it's time to pull myself together for the Trailblazers hour-long zoom call. I'm curious to find out how the day went for the other Trailblazers. I hope they enjoyed their day at least half as much as Mel and I did!


Monday, April 19, 2021

First veggies are in the ground

My teeny little patch

Yesterday I prepared my little garden patch by turning over the dirt with a shovel and putting in some compost to enrich the soil. By the time I got that far, I was exhausted, working out in the hot sun and doing my best to keep on going in order to get the vegetable starts into the ground. At that point, my friend Carter, who is the Chief Gardener in our community garden, came out to help me finish. Fortunately, we got all those little plants into the ground before this old lady (me) collapsed.

And then I watered them and headed into the apartment for some needed refreshment. After I finish this post, I'll go out and water them again. Although it doesn't look like I got that much done, it sure felt good, once I was finished. I'll be posting more pictures as time goes by, and once I get the final plants in, I can sit back and let the sunshine and water finish the job!

I am also working on my front porch flower garden, and it's coming along well. You will see that in the near future, too. It's that time of the year when everything is in bloom. It sure is a good way to bring one's sense of joy to the forefront. Let's now have some fun!!