Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Looking for inspiration

Snow on the chicken coop

 It's late in the day, and I went to the coffee shop first thing as usual, walked three miles home, and wanted to show you that we got some snow this morning. I took this on the way home. Afterwards, I spent some time playing on my laptop and reading blogs and emails, and then I had my monthly acupuncture treatment in Fairhaven. 

And just like that, the day is over. I came home and spent a little time chatting with SG, fixed myself a late lunch, and then decided I'd better get going or I wouldn't ever get this Tuesday post written and done. I just couldn't find a subject and decided that the snow would have to be enough of an event to write about it. Boring...

So then I got on Facebook and read a little of my friends' posts, and I learned that another acquaintance has died, this time a woman younger than me who died of cancer. Sometimes I have to remember how lucky I am to be in relatively good shape for an elder, and that thought gave me the impetus to pour myself a glass of wine and get started.

I went over to the Bellingham group on Facebook called "Seeing Bellingham" and found this lovely picture taken by Doug Brown in Fairhaven this morning (obviously).

J.J. Donovan

I pass by this status whenever I visit the Village Bookstore just down the street from this statue. He's usually not looking so frosty. I had to look up the information to find out who this guy was.
John Joseph (J.J.) Donovan arrived in Fairhaven in 1888 at the invitation of Nelson Bennett for the purpose of building a railroad which would transport coal from his mine on the Skagit River to be shipped from the newly-settled town of Fairhaven. 
 He is writing a letter to his wife, which is easily read when you're looking over his shoulder, about the town of Fairhaven. "In the letter, J.J. is describing the four towns on Bellingham Bay:  Fairhaven, Bellingham, Sehome and Whatcom.  The town of Bellingham would soon become part of Fairhaven later that year.  In 1904 a City of Bellingham would be formed when Fairhaven and Whatcom were consolidated." (This information is from a website on Fairhaven History.)

That is a much more interesting picture and story than my lame chicken coop attempt, so forgive me, Doug, for snagging your cool picture to make my post more interesting!


Thursday, January 26, 2023

Foggy trail hike

Fog makes for misty beauty

Today Melanie and I decided to hike one of our favorites, the Chanterelle trail, since it was misting pretty heavily and wasn't all that warm. This way we could turn around at any time if we decided to. But we went all the way to the viewpoint.

When we started out, the misty rain had diminished considerably, giving us hope that we might be able to stay out in the elements a little longer. We started up the trail, with just a bit of fog at first, but that changed as we made our way upwards.

Our trail was mostly pretty dry

We also knew that most of the hiking trails today would be muddy, with this one having the best chance of offering up only small puddles, giving us the ability to navigate around them. We carried on a nice conversation the entire time, as we went up to the viewpoint, not knowing for sure what we would be able to see.

See all the rain droplets?

When we got to the viewpoint, I saw this sign, which would tell us what we might see. We've done this many times, and I almost always get a pretty good view of Lake Whatcom. Today, this is what we saw.

There's a lake down below

Although it was socked in, it was also not raining, but the fog was thick enough to plant a few droplets on our heads. Not enough to make us put on our rain gear, however. We walked a short distance down the logging road from here, just to make our distance a bit longer before returning back down the trail. We ended up covering 5.25 miles and 1,100 feet of elevation gain and loss. Enough to make us happy to be outdoors, but not enough to exert either one of us beyond our abilities.

Magnificent trees

As we began our descent, the fog lifted, for the most part, and we had a chance to enjoy these old trees. We are quite pleased that we stayed mostly dry and away from the puddles I know are filled with rainwater on some of the other trails we considered. Not to mention we were back to the car after just a few hours of hiking, feeling happy and filled with good company and Mel's oatmeal cookies. Another fine day.


Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Rain now, cold coming later

Angry gnome

I found this picture when I was looking for something else in my vast library of pictures from years gone by. Again I was amused by this little guy, who looks like he's telling us to get lost, or maybe turn around before it's too late. Obviously it was raining then, too. I didn't expect so much rain when I walked to the bus this morning; it looked like it should be intermittent and dry up quickly. But it didn't, and I think it only now it has stopped for the day.

It looks like it will be turning cold soon, with lots of frigid wind coming from the Canadian Frazer Gap, which always means unpleasant conditions even if the sun is shining. Oh well, it could be much worse: I could be living in some place where we are much colder and windier, or even somewhere that doesn't have nice warm houses to live in. I should count my blessings and be grateful for the rain, which always brings lovely spring flowers. Eventually.

The news has been horrific: I am afraid to turn on the TV and see if there has been yet another mass shooting somewhere in the country. Only three weeks in, and we have been averaging 12 or 13 a day. I think I will spend my time catching up on watching all the movies I've missed lately, now that the Oscar nominations are out. I've seen a few of them and truly enjoyed "The Banshees of Inisherin." At least half of the nominations are new to me, so it will be fun and a good diversion to check them out. Most can be seen online if I'm willing to pay a few bucks, which I would be doing if I went to the cinema anyway. How about you? What do you do to change the subject from the current world situation? I'm always looking for new ways to cope.


Thursday, January 19, 2023

Once more with feeling

Fragrance Lake trail today

I know it's only been a few weeks (three in fact) since we last hiked up the Fragrance Lake trail, but we really couldn't think of anywhere else we'd rather be on a sunny and cold January day. So, we started at the usual trailhead and hiked up well over 1,500 feet before we got to the lake.

Viewpoint over Samish Bay

And, as usual, we made the side trip to look out over the Bay. You can see. there are still plenty of clouds, but they did clear out before we finished the day's excursion. Since we do this hike often, it's not always easy to find new venues for interesting pictures, but I did find a few.

Fragrance Lake

I snapped this picture of the lake from the far side, and you can see the beaches where I usually take my lake photos over there. It was a quiet scene. What you can't see is how cold we both felt every time we stopped for any length of time. But we decided to head for our favorite lunch spot anyway.

Tree and rock

Although I've shown you this before, it never fails to amaze me when I see a massive tree emerging from a rock like this. The tree is still growing, so it must be able to continue to find nourishment from the soil around the rock. And I find it to be rather beautiful, too. Some of the roots didn't do so well, but apparently enough did to keep it alive.

Mel and me at our lunch spot

We made our way up to this spot, which we like to think of as "our" place, and we enjoyed our lunches with a very special dessert. I was hoping for this.

Four cookies

Yes, Melanie baked yesterday, so she brought along four of these chocolate chip delights for us to appreciate. I sure did snarf my two cookies down quickly, and she said she was sorry she didn't bring more. But as it was, I was plenty full afterwards, and I'm glad she stopped at two apiece.


Then, we returned to the trailhead via the logging road, rather than replacing our steps on the trail. We passed by the waterfall, which has much less water in it than three weeks ago. But it is still very beautiful to look at.  By the time we were around a mile from the trailhead, the sun was out and shining in full force. It was a very lovely day, we we covered around 6.2 miles by then, and now I am home, happy to have enjoyed another wonderful day with my pal Melanie!


Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Gorgeous out there

Rita Eberle-Wessner (Flickr photostream)

I didn't take this picture, Rita Eberle-Wessner in Germany did. I have linked to her Flickr photostream, where I found this lovely shot. It's caused me to revisit and linger over it enough times that I felt moved to share it with my friends here. Although I tried (and failed) to find out where to contact her for permission, I am hoping that this will suffice. Isn't it a beautiful picture? It makes me almost (almost!) want to upgrade my iPhone camera for one like hers. This was taken with a Canon EOS Mark IV, which costs many thousands of dollars, enough to cause me to quickly reconsider.

However, if you would like a feast for your eyes, take a look at her photostream. The pictures require not only an expensive camera, but also a great eye for beauty, which Rita definitely has. I am also a Flickr Pro member, but I hardly ever put up new pictures, not being particularly interested in photography for its own sake. I just want to revisit the scenes that evoke peace and tranquility, and others, like Rita, do it so much better than I.

Somehow, my days pass quickly by and are over before I notice, and therefore I am relegated to spending my time doing whatever catches my fancy. But I do try very hard to keep myself to the schedule I've set of three blog posts a week. This is my Tuesday offering, and since I didn't actually take any wonderful shots of my own, I figured I'd go back to visit Rita's photostream. And just like that, another morning went by without my permission! Time flies when you're having fun, right?


Thursday, January 12, 2023

Better than expected

Starting point for Hertz trail

I don't have many pictures for today's hike; Melanie and I decided to walk the Hertz trail along Lake Whatcom, since the weather forecast was for constant rain. I heard it coming down hard during the night, so I was ready for it this morning with rain pants, my favorite raincoat, and waterproof shoes. As I drove to Mel's home early in the morning, it was raining lightly, but nothing compared to last Saturday's deluge. I figured the real rain would be coming along a bit later.

The lake under a cloudy sky

Although we had intermittent sprinkles on the first part of the six-mile round-trip walk, it wasn't long before we realized that we were not getting all that wet. It was warm and we took off a little bit of our gear as we walked, but kept our raincoats on for the expected rain. It didn't come.

End of the trail and turnaround point

You are not seeing any raindrops on the water, because there weren't any. We were very surprised by the lack of rain, but the warm weather and the occasional fellow hikers made for a lovely three-mile trek back to the parking lot.

The lake, the trail, just perfect

It wasn't until we reached the trailhead, right around noon, that we got a few more sprinkles. Then as we headed back in the car, the rain picked up in earnest. Now I am home, looking out the front window at the rain. It was, I surmise, waiting until we found cover before letting the deluge begin. This is just one more reminder that here in the Pacific Northwest, you cannot wait for a good weather forecast before heading out. You never know what is (or isn't) coming your way.

So we had another really lovely day and got to experience the best way to get your exercise: outdoors in dry-ish weather. I am now enjoying how nice it is to hear the rain hitting the roof while I am enjoying my lunch in dry comfort.


Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Before the rain, it is nice out there

Tree in front of elementary school

I walk by the Birchwood Elementary School when I head out for a trip to the bus, or to my favorite hiking trails in the neighborhood. I noticed this tree has developed long dangly things, and since it's only January, I figure they must not be those seed pods that give my nose such trouble in the springtime. But after looking online, I cannot tell what they might be. I am such a neophyte when it comes to identifying the wonderful flora and fauna of the Pacific Northwest. 

One of the only things I know about trees around here is that there are deciduous trees (like this one, which loses its leaves in the fall) and evergreens, which keep their needles year round. I know the shape of maple and oak leaves when I see them on the ground underneath a tree, but I am embarrassed to say that's about it. Although I enjoy seeing the trees as they change during the seasons, I am really not very well versed on the differences between them. I'm sure there are plenty of my readers who can enlighten me, so I won't spend a lot of time googling.

Speaking of googling, I just read that the husband of the missing Massachusetts mother was asking Google how to dispose of a body. That served to remind me that all of my internet searches can be easily seen by those authorities who might be wondering why I am trying to research "long dangly things hanging from trees." Nothing online is safe from the prying eyes of the Law. That's a good thing, if you ask me, but then again I don't think I have to worry about my search history. Just a reminder to all those of you out there who forget we are not in a bubble but are completely exposed to the world by our phones, laptops, and other connected devices. 

My weather app has warned me that this lovely weather will not last, and some of the atmospheric river that is inundating California at the moment will be sending lots of rain to us, too. Just in time for my Thursday hike, it looks like. Fortunately I'll be ready to walk in it, even if it won't be my favorite thing to do, I'll probably manage to enjoy at least some of the day. As some wag once said, "there is no bad weather, just bad clothing." Although looking at the pictures of central California today, I think if I lived there, I'd stay inside.


Thursday, January 5, 2023

Chanterelle 2023

New mushrooms

Melanie and I decided to take our chances with the Chanterelle trail, even though light rain and windy conditions were possible. It turned out to be just fine, with only a few sprinkles and the wind, while strong, was not so strong that we were worried about trees coming down around us. And it was also not that muddy, with only one spot being one we even needed to navigate around.

Our trail today

It was another one of those days when the sun wasn't visible during our lovely hike, meaning that there wasn't much color to be seen anywhere. But as always, we have our ferns and moss giving us some green to grace the evergreens that we love and get to enjoy year round. We took a gentle and peaceful walk to the viewpoint.

Lake Whatcom from the viewpoint

It was breezy but so pretty to see the lake and the winter sky reflected in it, and it lifted my spirits. We spent a few minutes enjoying Melanie's chocolate truffles and thought about heading out to make it a little longer, but then the sprinkles started, so we decided to return to the car. We ended up hiking just under five miles, up and down more than a thousand feet (1,100 to be exact) and both feel well exercised but not overly so. 

Lots of cleanup evident

There were plenty of places where we saw pieces of logs that blocked the trail having been removed so we could walk more easily. The smell of recently cut logs and the sawdust was actually a nice fragrance wafting through the air. And now it's time to finish this post so I can pay more attention to the news of the day.


Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Tuesday ponderings

Going sideways

When Melanie and I hiked to Fragrance Lake last week, we saw this interesting root system, trying to find a way towards nourishment and running instead into a smooth rock that didn't allow for any breaks into the fertile ground underneath. I wondered about that long root that went all the way across the rock and apparently felt the presence of the water from the lake below. The tree is very well established and probably didn't suffer too much from this rooty excursion. 

It does make me think about how I will sometimes set out on a journey on what seems to be certain success, only to find out how wrong I was to think that, when an immovable object blocks my path. Life is filled with these obstacles, and even the hardest of them often create lovely patterns to be admired by passersby, like me.

I just got home from a wonderful acupuncture treatment. As I drove to my apartment, where I knew my dear partner awaited my return, I felt the emergence of joy bubbling up inside my heart, and I realized that I am very fortunate to enjoy such treatments, and that I can still afford them even though everything around me is increasing in price. I just won't go as often, but I am unwilling to give up, for the time being anyway, the sense of wellbeing that I often experience after having been "needled."
The World Health Organization has recognized acupuncture as effective in treating mild to moderate depression. —Andrew Weil

It also helps to have positive expectations, which I do, now that I've felt myself benefit many times from the treatment. I'd go once a week if I could afford it, but once a month will have to do.