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Just a meandering soul sharing my backyard. Visit my Flickr page too! www.flickr.com/photos/meanderingwa/

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Its Christmas Time in the City

What a month.  I feel like time slipped by so quickly.  There have been a few events but overall simply hectic days at work and super low energy perhaps brought on by the unrelenting dark dreary days and eating and drinking things I really should not.

Girls Weekend with my sisters was a bit early this year.  We went to hear the Seattle Mens Chorus and for a change of pace visited the Pike Place Market.  I love the market, it is so visual.  When we went it was chock full of people, which can be part of the fun, but hard to take photos when stuck in the milling herd.  As usual we ended our evening out at Olivers, where I officially had my first vodka martini.  I am a Scotch gal myself, so this was a leap.  It promised good vodka and olives as a reward.  My review;

I could be converted. 

Best part of the downtown adventure was walking to and from everywhere (comfy shoes this year) and seeing the lights.

The following weekend I got up early to go view the Lunar Eclipse.  I was sure I was going to have to climb or drive up someplace high to get above the unrelenting fog we had been having, but amazingly enough when I got up and out, the sky was clear and the moon was dazzling.  I selected a park overlooking Lake Washington where I could sit in my car and enjoy the sight without being in the 20 something degree weather.

I don't have a camera that can do justice to night sky photography so I was very pleased to get at least one passable image.  At the moment of totality, I mean smack on the moment, the marine clouds rolled over the moon and totally hid it.

The following day was the Jingle Bell Run in downtown Seattle.  Typically my sisters and I are having girls weekend on the same weekend so I grabbed the chance this year to go down and take pictures before the race.   This fundraiser for the Arthritis Foundation draws a lot of participants and dressing up is the fun.  Many teams have a theme and everyone wears little jingly bells.

I grabbed the opportunity to check out the windows at Fox's as I needed a "window display" for my monthly scavenger hunt on Flickr

Could not resist taking photos of the carousel

or the Bon star.  Ignore the huge MACYS on the side of the building,  It is forever to be called The Bon Marche or simply The Bon.

While everyone was at the race I grabbed the opportunity to visit the market while it was quiet.

 Breakfast at Lowells.  Yummy coffee, creaky wooden floors.  I wish I had a better chance for a photo op.

then a wander through the market while the vendors get ready for a busy day.


A final pat good-by to Rachel the Pig then it was off to get started on making Christmas caramels

all 10 batches

I treated myself to two more holiday shows.  Stuart McLean was at the Paramount on a Tuesday night and then I had a last minute chance for a Nutcracker ticket with some folks from work.  I loved Stuarts show, it was, as usual, filled with his wonderful storytelling and lots of music.  I think Sunday on the radio ( our local KUOW / NPR station), he promises the story "Dave Cooks the Turkey".  Some stories never grow old.  Check him out at http://www.cbc.ca/vinylcafe/home.php

The Maurice Sendak Nutcracker is my favorite of all the productions.  It is as visual as can be and I spent a lot of time simply taking in the sets and costumes.

We did Toys for Tots at work.  I was chairman for my building.  Two truck-loads of toys and $1200 in donations.  Amazing.  I love going out and buying toys for this event.

Last weekend we had a Scotch Broom pull with the Nisqually Land Trust.  Their new property on the city limits of Eatonville needs some attention.  This historic property was that of the Van Eaton pioneer family and still holds a barn build by the teenage sons well over 100 years ago.  Scotch Broom is highly invasive.  With the wonderful root jacks, it can be pretty easy work.  Here is a before and after, what a small group can do within a few hours.  Notice the log on the left

So here we are.  The final days.  I ran into my sister while out scouting for the Crab Boil spices my brother recommended.  I have crab for Christmas Eve, my sister has mussels.  Look at that check list, two pages!

 Christmas Day is Cioppino and I will bring the crab for that as well as making appetizers.


Mr Cioppino, who has a pretty big attitude

Best wishes to all for a lovely Christmas.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

At 60 MPH

You never know what you will see along the way!!!

Keep movin', movin', movin',

though they're disapproving,

Keep them dawwgies rollin', Rawhide!

Don't try to understand them,

Just rope and throw and brand 'em,

Soon we'll be living high and wide!

My heart's calculating,

My true love will be waiting,

Be waiting at the end of my ride.

Move 'em on, hit 'em up, hit 'em up, move 'em on

Move 'em on, hit 'em up, Rawhide

Cut 'em out, ride 'em in, ride 'em in,

let 'em out, cut 'im out, Ride on in, Rawhide!

H'yah! H'yah!

Turkey Trot

After a wonderful Thanksgiving meal, my mind turns to penance.  A day of sloth and eating, punctuated by a visit to work left me wanting to get out.  It was an amazing sunny day.  I was hoping for a hike that would put me in a little bit of snow at the highest point.  The snow level, however , had risen quite above 4000 feet and unless I wanted to go further inland I knew I would not easily find snow.

They say there are old hikers, and bold hikers, but no old bold hikers.  While this is not entirely true, I find myself erring on the side of caution when it comes to visiting areas I have not been before.  I don't feel comfortable going to a place I have never been in the season of rain washouts and snow.

I settled for a familiar place, Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park.  This 25,000 acre park is set between Bellevue and Issaquah, and just 20 minutes from my home when there is no traffic.  The trails are well marked and wind all over,  It seems you are never far from a trail junction, so folks of all ages and abilities can have a walk in the woods within their comfort level. 

I considered the map and chose a feature I had never seen before.  It was clear across the park from my parking area so out and back should be a nice healthy burner of calories.

This area supported many mining interests and you can still find open pits and caves.  These areas are well marked as toxic and have sturdy fences to keep you at a distance.  There is something about the graphic skull and crossbones, plus the toxic lungs of the fellow on the right

I featured this park last February and like then, there is a simple pleasure in our typical mixed woodlands.   I am participating in a Flickr group which requires posting a photo every day.  Every month we get an assigned color and the photo of the day must feature the target color.  This month is "rust".  I though it would be a challenging color but being forced to see, I find rust all around.

Must be due to all the rain.

The trails here are covered in Bigleaf Maple leaves.

I selected the route northbound, away from my usual favored trails and paid a visit to the old Nike Anti-Aircraft site.  You can read about it here.


There is nothing much left here except the footprint of cement sidewalks.  Now a cell tower makes use of the space.

I did find an old relic and when I saw it, had a chuckle as I realized how long it had been since I noticed such a thing.  I guess it puts me within reach of "relic" status.

in the trees near the Nike site, the remains of an old telephone pole with the climbing rebar.  Remember those?  Small irony that it was near the cellphone / microwave tower.

I trucked along enjoying the quiet.  Along the way I was reminded of dinner the night before...

Witches BUTTER  ( oh the glory of all things cow  butter cream cheese  ) 

Tremella mesenterica   actually a jelly fungus

And mushrooms of every shape and color.

The stump was my choice for my rust photo of the day.

These lichens caught my eye.  I am not sure which ones they are but I think they are in the Cladonia / pixie cup group

Cutting down through Tibbetts Marsh I again remembered that I want to visit this place during the blooming season to see what treasure can be found in this woodland marsh.  It was great hearing water running that was not that over topping the plugged gutter outside my window.  Creeks cut through this park and oven the trail runs above or over their courses.  Makes a pretty sound and one that simply relaxes and keeps you going along.

I finally reach my destination, the "Fantastic Erratic".

Humm you say, a rock

Such a rock; a boulder, a whopper.  Many of the hill and mountainsides are littered with these foreign visitors.

Carried here floating or embedded in glaciers, deposited as they retreated.  There are people on top of the erratic and a man walking past.

The Erratic is covered in ferns lichens and mosses.  Soils have built up from the leaf litter.  The ferns reminded me of green beans.  OK off the food thoughts

It is easily 15 - 20 feet up to the top from this side.  The bare base is colored with lichen.

And if you look closely you can see glacial etch lines where the stone was scoured as it was pushed along.

All though this park there are details to keep my eyes and mind busy.  This massive old trunk was easily 75 - 100 feet tall.  Filled with massive holes, I am sure it still serves as nesting perching and protection areas for birds and animals of all kinds.

These mushrooms were fresh and pliable.  One cluster appeared to be growing from a neat woodpecker hole.

I love this bridge, a cut log and handrails over the tumbling Coal Creek.

Leaves everywhere

Coal Creek Falls are the best of the many waterfalls in this park.  One could spend a solid day getting around to every one.  As it was my time walking was 4 hours.

By the way, left over green bean casserole makes a great variation of Barbudos.  I first had Barbudos in Costa Rica.  It was simply grilled green beans mixed into beaten eggs and cooked flat like a pancake.  Some recipes have you dipping the greenbeans then frying them in a cluster.  No matter,  I rewarmed some leftovers and topped them with the leftover egg white from the pecan pie I made.

No amount of walking is likely to atone for that pecan pie.

But oh, both walk and pie were mighty nice.