Spring 2017 update

Pieris japonica

The winter has been cold and wet. We have had snow even in February and a couple of freezing days early in March. The cold weather has made the spring bloom late.

The first Spring tree that I look for is the flowering plum. They are late. None of the ones that I would typically see in flower at this time of year have opened. You can see the pink cast to the buds on the branches but nothing has opened. The only thing now in bloom is the Cornus Mas especially along the ferry dock.

Shrubs are starting to bloom. Pieris has started to open and is colorful as is Viburnum. There are a few forsythia just starting to open to add yellow. The heather has been in bloom for a couple of weeks. Euphorbias are budded but nothing is open yet.

Bulbs will be late. The crocus are just past. The rain has beaten many of the larger crocus. The squirrels ate our species but a few have made it. In our window box which is warmer, the iris were in full bloom around Presidents’ Day week as were the snowdrops. Cyclamens are still in bloom and the hellebores are coming on strong.

Daffodils are just budded and a few are opening in the warmer areas like Green Lake and Edmonds but they are still a ways in our yard. I suspect the tulips will be real late.

It has been warmer this week – in the 50’s but lots of rain. I have a feeling this will be a wet year with lots of rain in April and few 80 degree days until July. Let’s hope I am wrong.

Cornus mas

Seal pups in Edmonds

Belted Kingfished - Edmonds

Vegetable Garden 2017 #2

Tomatoes are started

Not much happening in the garden right now. March has been very rainy – in fact the whole winter has been rather gray, wet and cold. But the seeds have been started.

Since the last update, we have started our tomatoes and some annuals. We are growing 6 tomatoes; Stupice, Legend, Taxi, Siletz, Early Girl and a Yellow Pear cherry. We also started some Gypsy peppers from seed that we save and we will see how they do. For annuals, some Empress of India dark Nasturtiums and salpiglossis.

I have a bit of cabin fever because it has been raining. I have been walking with a group at Green Lake so I am getting out but just haven’t wanted to do anything in the yard since everything is so squishy.

Rainy March

Vegetable Garden 2017 #1

Vegetable starts 2017

It has been a very wet and cold winter. We got several days of snow in December before Christmas and again in January. We had a long string of days also with lows into the teens.

The crocus were a week or two late and then the squirrels ate them. We definitely need to move them. The iris in our bulb box was in full bloom by the 15th along with the snow drops. The iris is looking sad now from more rain.

G started the early vegetable seeds on February 25th. Two types of lettuce, Nevada and Outrageous. Three types of snap peas – Sugar Anns and Sugar Sprint which are shorter and we will put in the pots. We are going to try Super Snap Peas in one of the beds which have new soil and never had peas. They are supposed to be more disease resistant and hopefully they won’t get wilt.

We did a bit of cleanup in the front year. We clipped the ornamental grasses and did a little bit of leaf cleanup. On my list of projects is to deadhead and start some weeding. The forecast looks for a long cold spring but we will see.

Seed packets

Retired!

Packing up the office

I logged off for the last time yesterday. It was a bittersweet ending to a wonderful six years. Several of my teammates chatted and phoned me to wish me well. Normally when one quits a job, you leave the office and drive away. I worked from home so it was not final until today when I packed up the equipment and took it to UPS.

I thought about going out to dinner but just wasn’t inspired. I enjoy cooking so I decided to make a dinner of seared scallops with a saffron cream sauce, rice pilaf and carrots from our garden. We over wintered carrots and they are still good even after the snow, freeze and heavy rain winter.

I am now officially retired. No plans on looking for another job and looking forward to the freedom and flexibility of doing what ever I want whenever I want. “Me Time” as a friend called it.

Seared scallops for retirement

Retirement

2016 Anniversary Hike at Mt Rainier

Bench Lake - Mt Rainier
Mt Rainier from the Snow Lake Trail

Our tradition is to do a hike at Mt. Rainier. We usually try to do Mt. Burroughs as we did in 2014 but this year we decided to do a different hike. We hadn’t done Bench and Snow Lakes for several years. It was also an easy and good hike for early fall.

We left around 9am thinking it would be an easy drive – but nothing is easy any more on the weekend in the Seattle area. We made it to just about Southcenter and the traffic stopped. We remembered that they were working on I5 and had closed 3 (yes 3!) of the 4 lanes. So we headed to our alternative to only find out that there was also construction and a closure farther down. Time for Google maps to give us an alternative through Spanaway.

We finally made the trailhead almost 3 1/2 hours late – almost an hour more than normal. Fortunately the day was warm and sunny and we headed out on the trail. It is a pretty easy trail with some up to a meadow along with a bit more before dropping down to Snow Lake. We continued on beyond the lake to the talus slopes for some solitude.

After lunch and relaxing, we returned to the car. We realized it wasn’t any farther to drive the rest of the way around Mt. Rainier so we headed out towards Box Canyon, Cayuse Pass and home. Another memorable Anniversary hike.

Here are some of the views from the trail.

Bench Lake - Mt Rainier
Rusty reds of the blueberries bushes along the trail

Bench Lake - Mt Rainier
Mt Rainier under a partially lenticular cloud

Bench Lake - Mt Rainier
George in the meadow

Bench Lake - Mt Rainier
Unicorn Peak

Bench Lake - Mt Rainier
Overlooking Box Canyon

Bench Lake - Mt Rainier
Snow Lake

Bench Lake - Mt Rainier
Happy Anniversary

Camping 2016 – Foulweather Bluff

Foulweather Bluff
Foulweather Bluff near Hansville

It was finally time to return home. The weather was moody but fortunately did not rain.

We stopped first at a farmhouse stand to pick up some fresh eggs. We were greeted by their turkey!

Next we headed for one last hike at Foulweather Bluff at the far tip of Kitsap Peninsula. You could see how this would be open to the harsh weather of the straight.

We returned home – a fun time camping and sightseeing on the Kitsap Peninsula.

Smithshyre Farm

Smithshyre Farm

Smithshyre Farm

Smithshyre Farm

Foulweather Bluff

Foulweather Bluff

Foulweather Bluff

Lions mane jellyfish

Foulweather Bluff

Madrona bark

Leaf Face

Camping 2016 – Scenic Beach

Scenic Beach Camping

Our campsite was located at Scenic Beach which is just outside of Seabeck on the Hood Canal. I was hoping for sunny warm weather like I had for my birthday in 2013 but no luck. It was overcast and warm.

After sightseeing in Winslow, we headed to Poulsbo for lunch. We were surprised how crowded everything was the day after the 4th. I think a lot of people avoided the traffic and crowds and stayed until the 5th. After lunch and a short walk around Poulsbo, we headed back to Bainbridge for a beer tasting. I wanted to camp on the Kitsap Peninsula because of the wide variety of different breweries to visit. Our first was Bainbridge Island Brewery which we had tasted at the beer festival. We had a good flight although we were disappointed that several of their reserves were no on tap.

We headed on to our campground and were very pleased at the park. It was very quiet and somewhat empty on the 5th (Tuesday). We set up our camp and relaxed. The sites are up a ways from the beach and we walked to the canal near sunset.

The next day we headed for our hike at Guillimot Cove. We have hiked there twice and it is a beautiful hike. The sun was just coming out as we descended down to the cover. The house at the bottom of the trail was even more spooky and dilapidated. We headed through the butterfly filled field to the oyster-shell covered beach to watch the eagles and herons fishing in the canal. Of course, we had to stop at the stumphouse before climbing back up to our car.

We headed for Silverdale and lunch at Silver City Brewery. I had some awesome fish tacos and several good beers. We drove to the old town Silverdale and walked down into the harbor before returning to camp.

Poulsbo

Poulsbo

Poulsbo

Poulsbo

Bainbridge Brewing

Bainbridge Brewing

Bainbridge Brewing

Guillimot Cove Hike

Guillimot Cove

Guillimot Cove
An abandoned Home – we have watched it deteriorate over the years. It is very spooky.

Guillimot Cove

Guillimot Cove

Guillimot Cove

Guillimot Cove

Guillimot Cove
The cove was alive with swallowtail butterflies on the thistle

Guillimot Cove

Guillimot Cove Guillimot Cove

Guillimot Cove
Birthday Girl

Guillimot Cove

Guillimot Cove

Guillimot Cove

Guillimot Cove

Guillimot Cove

Hood Canal at Scenic Beach

Scenic Beach

Monotropa uniflora - Indian Pipes

Scenic Beach

Camping 2016 – Bainbridge Island

Japanese American Exclusion Memorial

We were hoping for good weather and I took part of the week of 4th of July off. We decided to go camping across the sound at Scenic Beach on Kitsap Peninsula. It is close but feels like we travel away since we need to take the ferry across.

We could not check into the campground until about 2:30pm so we headed to Winslow on Bainbridge Island. I wanted to visit the Bainbridge Island Art Museum with the roof top garden by Lewis and Lewis and the Japanese American Exclusion Memorial.

The Bainbridge Island Museum was wonderful. It has a lot of pieces in different medias and focuses on NW Artists. The exhibit of the works by Barbara Earl Thomas were so diverse. Her work brought back many memories from my previous job. The halls were filled with NW Artists and I daily walked by several of her paintings. The rooftop garden was smaller than I anticipated and we actually enjoyed the diversity of plants in the courtyard better.

We drove through Winslow and around Eagle Harbor to Pritchard Park and the location of the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial. Nidoto Nai Yoni, translated as “Let It Not Happen Again” is the motto of the memorial. The Japanese Exclusion was part of my education growing up. One of my best friend’s parents were removed from their property to Manzanar and lost everything. My mother’s bar in Eastern California was built from scrap lumber from the camp. “Let It Not Happen Again” still echos in the political campaigns of 2016. I had to visit.

The curving cedar wall is built along the footsteps of where the Japanese walked on their way to the ferry that took them off the island to the camps. The names of the 227 islanders are memorialized on the wall along with cedar friezes that describing their life before and after the internment.

Camping Kitsap County
Leaving Edmonds for Kitsap Peninsula

Camping Kitsap County

Gardens at Bainbridge Art Museum
Courtyard at Bainbridge Island Museum

Gardens at Bainbridge Art Museum
Courtyard at Bainbridge Island Museum
Gardens at Bainbridge Art Museum Gardens at Bainbridge Art Museum

Gardens at Bainbridge Art Museum
Rooftop Garden

Gardens at Bainbridge Art Museum
Rooftop Garden

Gardens at Bainbridge Art Museum
Rooftop Garden

Japanese American Exclusion Memorial

Japanese American Exclusion Memorial
The bridge to the entrance

Japanese American Exclusion Memorial

Nidoto Nai Yoni, translated as “Let It Not Happen Again”

Japanese American Exclusion Memorial

Japanese American Exclusion Memorial

Japanese American Exclusion Memorial

Japanese American Exclusion Memorial

Japanese American Exclusion Memorial Japanese American Exclusion Memorial

Friezes showing the life of the Japanese on Bainbridge

Japanese American Exclusion Memorial

Japanese American Exclusion Memorial

Japanese American Exclusion Memorial

Vegetable Garden 2016 #5

Garden 6-30-2016

Last update was early in June. The weather since then was somewhat cool with some of the nights down into the 40’s mid-month. But it has started to warm up with long days and the garden is starting to really take off.

Let’s update for June 23rd – The peas and strawberries were wonderful this year. We harvested a pint of strawberries every week mid-June. We also got about 7 meals off the sugar snap peas. We took them out on June 26th.

We purchased a few more plants at Fred Meyers on June 13th – an eggplant and a green bell pepper. A second crop of Bodacious corn was directly seeded. We tried starting some more bush beans with absolutely no luck. It was too cold. So purchased some new seeds and planted Nickles bush bean, a tri-color set of bush beans and Musica broad (romano) beans.

Our first batch of radishes did terrible so we pulled them out last weekend and replanted Easter Egg radishes on 6/27. We also directly seeded carrots, beets and lettuce on 6/22 to see what we get. And we are giving the Marengo yellow romanos one last chance. We will see if they are too old or not.

The tomatoes and cucumbers are getting big. We have a few tomatoes on several plants. Let’s hope for a hot July.

Garden 6-23-16
The end of the peas

Garden 6-23-16
Eggplant and Pepper planted on 6/13

Garden 6-23-16

Garden 6-23-16

Garden 6-23-16 Garden 6-23-16

==============================
June 30th – My how they have grown
Garden 6-30-2016
French Breakfast radish did great

Garden 6-30-2016

Garden 6-30-2016

Garden 6-30-2016 Garden 6-30-2016

G also has been a bench with a fiberglass top. This is for his succulents so they can get sunshine but no summer rain. It has been moved out where the peas were.

Garden 6-23-16

Garden 6-30-2016

Reecer Creek – Table Mountain Fire

Meadows of Douglas's onion - Allium Douglasii

It has been about six years since we visited Table Mountain. The last time we visited the region was in 2010. In 2012, lightening struck the area and started a fire that burned form June until the wet cold of winter finally snuffed out the flames. It was time again for a visit.

Saturday’s forecast was for warm sunny day in Central Washington. It had been a dark cool rainy June week in the Seattle area and we were ready for some sun. We left by 8am for the 2 hour drive. The road to Table Mountain starts just west of Ellenburg. We turned off at Cle Elum and drove through Swauk Meadows to the eastern foothills of the Cascades before heading back west up Reecer Creek.

The narrow paved road start climbing immediately with views down over the Ellensburg valley and the Manastash Ridge. We noticed right off that the flowers were already past. Our last trip in 2010 was on July 4th and here on June 25th, many of the plants were already drying up.

The road climbs 4000 ft in just 15 miles so as we drove another mile we went back in time to earlier in Spring and started to see more flowers. We found wonderful large patches of pink onion blossoms and the fields were red white and blue with scarlet gilia, yarrow and lupine, delphinium.

We continued climbing up the road and came to the burnt blackened forest. It was sad and beautiful. The views at Lion Rock were beautiful.

We headed back to Seattle stopping for a burger in Ellensburg and a couple of beers at Dru Bru at Snoqualmie Pass. Fun day.

Reecer Creek Road - Ellensburg, WA

Allium acuminatum - Tapertip Onion

Castilleja miniata - Scarlet Indian Paintbrush

Reecer Creek WA

20160625-Reecer_TableMountain2016 054

Douglas's onion - Allium Douglasii

Elmer's Paintbrush (Castilleja elmeri)

Red White and Blue for the season

Scarlet Gilia - Ipomopsis aggregata Yarrow - Achillea millefolium Forget Me Nots

Botanizing in a field of buckwheat

Buckwheat - Eriogonum douglasii

Burnt Forest nearing the top of Table Mountain

View west from top of Lion Rock

The Stewart Range and the Enchantments

Looking north from Lion Rock