There must be a million ways to photograph the endless varieties of flowers. I've only dabbled with a few. This one caught me off guard, being off center. I don't remember taking it that way but two years have passed. I do remember being drawn in by its light peach tones. In the end, taking the color away better revealed it's shadows, light and that papery transparent bottom petal. Mother nature's details kill me.
April 28, 2009
April 27, 2009
I am a hopeless lover of rust, peeling paint, making something from nothing, creative thinking, funky stuff and fearless construction. There is also a huge place in my heart for stubborn determination. Conversely I love architecture styles spanning a thousand plus years; cliff dwellings to ornate churches, cottages to castles, simplicity to opulence. Each carries the reflection of imagination(s) at work and dreams made real. Even this weathered, riveted metal box that housed a business has someone passionate in its past. I'd like to meet the maker.
April 26, 2009
April 25, 2009
And on that farm grows the most beautiful range of dahlias. Year before last I spent a few hours there with friends and it felt as if we dropped into a color and texture filled heaven. I had no idea there were so many dahlia varieties. My favorites were of a more simple form than those above, one row of flattened or spiky petals around. Fortunately my camera liked them all, so many kinds were captured. I'm hoping to get back to the farm, when summer begins it's turn toward fall and the dahlias are showing off once more. Until then, here is the link that will take you to the array of offerings available at Connell's Dahlias in Tacoma. Have a wonderful Saturday!
April 21, 2009
April 19, 2009
Poisoned Waters, the PBS special scheduled for April 21st at 9 PM, is a program I would encourage everyone around the country to watch. The waters you see above are part of the vast Puget Sound, which is one of the water bodies discussed. In this case, you are looking at the water from the Silverdale shoreline. Portions of the Sound (not Silverdale) are already dead (no plant or aquatic life, no oxygen), others are in peril. Waters, here and in other areas around the country, are so beautiful they capture our hearts, often making it far too easy to avoid the realities that lie beneath the surface. Watch Poisoned Waters. It speaks volumes about the good work and successes, along with making clear the work which still needs doing. We can all be a part of the change, but first...know the facts in order to know where your efforts can have the greatest positive impact.
PBS - Frontline
"More than three decades after the Clean Water Act, two iconic waterways - the great coastal estuaries Puget Sound and the Chesapeake Bay - are in perilous condition. With polluted runoff still flowing in from industry, agriculture and massive suburban development, scientists fear contamination to the food chain and drinking water for millions of people. A growing list of endangered species is also threatened in both estuaries. As a new President, Congress, and States set new agendas and spending priorities, FRONTLINE correspondent Hedrick Smith examines the rising hazards to human health and the ecosystem, and why it's so hard to keep our waters clean."
Once you've seen the program, you may be interested in knowing more about Nisqually River Council and the Nisqually Land Trust, as they are discussed in the piece. Those links can be found in the side bar of this blog.
Key Center, WA is the home of Sunnycrest Nursery. I admit it, they are my favorite nursery, owned by some of my favorite folks. They have a great variety of plants, healthy gardening supplies, florist services and a fun selection of gifts. And if all that isn't enough, they support the work of area artists. In a tiny community where retail space is limited, floor space even more so, providing local talent a place to shine tells you a lot about the owners. Biased, me, you bet!
I wandered down to Sunnycrest today for a splash of spring. I found it along with many of my favorite plants, now in bloom. Euphorbia is number two on my list, just under Maple trees and right before Hydrangeas. As you can see above, Euphorbias come in colors that almost sparkle after a long winter. Also included on my list of favorites is just about anything varigated, especially Geraniums. (click on the photo for a closer look) And scented Geraniums, oh my.
Glad I took the short drive to Sunnycrest. It was brimming with color and planting possiblities. And if you're a hand made basket lover, be sure and check out the BEAUTIFUL work of my dear friend, the Basket Gal. Yeah Spring!
April 18, 2009
And here are those quicksilver birds with the edge of the horizon pool in view. Sorry I didn't manage to catch more of the boats, but at least you can see how the pool appears to blend with the marina area. Actually there is a walk way below. So, enough of the Museum for awhile!
Since I seem to be waxing on about Tacoma and the Chilhuly Glass Museum, I thought I would put the building in better context with it's surroundings for you. This photo is taken from the entrance to the Washington State Historical Museum, another "must do" for your Tacoma visit. Smartly, the revitalization of downtown includes this walking bridge over the highway. Fun walk. If you look closely you can see two sections along the bridge that hold permanent glass exhibits.
The first section is the tunnel looking a bit like a box car. In reality, it houses an over head sea of Chilhuly glass pieces. As you walk through the glass is resting on a Plexiglas layer, each piece changing with the whim of the sun and clouds above it. Further along the walk, you pass through two walls of show cases. Each boxed section holds individual blown glass containers. Between the overhead show and the side show, all manner of shapes, sizes and colors are there for viewing. Truly a treat, even if you aren't a glass fan. The contrasts of artistry, sky, highway, architecture and city scape, make for a wonderful experience.
And since I have already confessed my inability to resist the variation urge, here is another. The hydrangeas and statue can be seen at Watson's Nursery in Puyallup. Marrying them with a little downtown Tacoma Chilhuly blown glass, seemed just the thing for this fine spring day. Hope something fresh and new has caught you up today. Enjoy!
April 17, 2009
Some days it's impossible to leave well enough alone. Impossible to resist the urge to make changes, edit, create variations, or use what I have made as a catalyst for a new direction. Regardless the medium, that addictive mixture of intention and serendipity feels good. Engaged and dis-engaged. Since my urges don't include cross word puzzles, I'm counting on these brain teasers to keep my mind firing on all pistons. So, pictured above is just such a variation, based on the photo two posts below, taken from a bit different position. Hmm, what next?
April 16, 2009
"Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the moments that take your breath away." Unknown
Yesterday, this moment took my breath. Unfortunately a light and constant breeze was blowing, making it impossible to capture these petals in stillness. No matter, the blue sky and simple white petals captured me. I told you, a little sunshine makes we Northerner's giddy.
April 15, 2009
I've said it before and yes, I'll say it again; if you end up anywhere near Tacoma, WA please do yourself a favor and go to the Chilhuly Glass museum. Like our weather, the look of it changes about every five minutes. Yesterday, I saw dark clouds and sunshine out my window at work. That combination makes wonderful reflections all over the museum grounds, so off I dashed on my lunch break.
It was cold and windy but not a drop of rain fell while I raced around snapping this and that. Oddly there were very few people walking around. Usually, when we Northwest cave dwellers see any sign of sunshine, we are outdoors in droves acting giddy. Probably a side effect of Vitamin D deprivation.
The upper pool was empty so I assumed there were no water instillation's. When I stepped down to the second level where the horizon pool lives, bingo, a quicksilver bird flock appeared.
April 14, 2009
There is a form of book binding I learned in a workshop with Traci Bautista a few years ago, done with ribbons. I've used it a few times and always enjoy the play of textures and colors a variety of ribbons can bring. Ribbons and curls, not a traditional binding but fun.
April 12, 2009
Like a beacon, Mt Rainier stands out in Washington State as the life's blood of so many things. Her snow melt provides water for a good portion of the regions people, fish and wildlife. When we came to WA, almost thirty five years ago now, I assumed the area was sustained by rainfall in one way or another. Not sure how far along I actually got in my thinking about sources during those early years. Water was simply an expectation. Clearly my thinking was simple as well. And actually on the Peninsula where I live, we are rain dependent.
These days our regional resource situation has changed and my understanding of it has grown far beyond my comfort zone. Some days, what I've come to know about regional and world water resources frightens me into near paralysis. To write about it runs the risk of touching on topics more serious than what you may be coming to this blog to read. Knowing that, I'll let my thoughts on the topic slip out in small, more easily digestible doses over time.
For now, suffice it to say, we in WA appear to be lucky this year with a healthy snow melt. The Mt gods are smiling on us. If temps rise this summer, as in the past few years, that comfort zone may not feel quite as comfy, as waters evaporate at faster rates and our ground waters are extracted in like speed. South of here, in States where folks I love live, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and so many other southern states, "no rain yet" is the cry. Where once our conversations began with hellos, weather has become our opener.
Rather than drone on I would make one suggestion. If you find yourself with about 80 extra minutes, rent the movie FLOW. It received praises at the Sundance Film Festival. It provides background about specific water situations around the world that are important to be familiar with at this time. With that I'll leave you with Mt Rainier. She's a beauty isn't she? Mother Nature at her finest, right there for everyone's gawking pleasure each time the clouds part. A gift.
April 11, 2009
Watch out for rabbits, they are out in full force at this time of year! And not just clay rabbits either. Living in a more rural area gives us the opportunity, especially in spring, to have lots of wild rabbit sightings. I never tire of seeing them, even though some of our spring growth goes missing. They get the low bits, leaving the higher morsels for the deer.
Years ago I lived on a mountain ranch in California for a time. In the spring I posted a funky Rabbit Crossing sign at the beginning of the long dirt road leading up the mountain to my house. I didn't need the sign painting or post hole digging practice, but there were tons of baby rabbits migrating back and forth across that road daily. After the inevitable happened, and I hit one, the sign seemed the best course.
Jo, the woman who owned the ranch, looked gobsmacked when I raced to her house, the tiny rabbit wrapped in a blanket to slow its shock, and asked for the location of the nearest vet. While a good portion of her focus was spent controlling her amusement, the rest was used to calmly explain that my rescue attempt would be futile. By the time we finished those few sentences, my blanketed passenger had completed his journey.
Now I grew up in the land of farms, ranches and families with tons of pets, hence, I was quite familiar with the cycle of life. Obviously my twenty something reaction to the "passing" of one small rabbit MAY have been an "over-reaction". Non-the-less in the months that followed, the sign, erected in hopes of providing safe passage for rabbits and the like, remained. Well, remained until I moved on. I'm pretty sure Jo's sign posting tolerance didn't exceed my stay, yet while I was there she kindly allowed me to think I might be making a difference. In reality, she simply understood the first time you are responsible for the death of another living thing, it shakes you up. The story became fodder for campfire laughs when the ranchers all gathered for the next cattle roundup. They decided it was a city come to country tale. I chose not to correct the notion.
So now it's almost Easter, a time, among other things, for stepping out and enjoying springs colorful arrival and carrying on Rabbit filled traditions, though I'm still not clear about why Easter Bunnies bring eggs? This Easter, enjoy your families, nature and if you have any extra time you may want to put up your own Rabbit Crossing sign. Can't hurt, right?
April 5, 2009
I can still hear the giggles and shrieks filling the back yard at my paternal grandparents (Nana & Pappy) house during our annual Egg Hunts on Easter mornings in the 1950's. Nana grew up in the days of little magic and loved to make it. Birthdays, Christmas and Easter always included extra decoration and mirth making. Pappy loved fun and surprises as well. It seemed all the kids in town knew he was wild about Halloween and that he could not wait to pass out Hershey bars. The doorbell would ring late into the evening and each opening revealed another costumed child, eager to add Pappy's chocolates to their candy bags. He bought those bars by the boxes, filling the freezer with the excess. A frozen Hershey bar on a 110 degree summer day was hard to beat.
For Easter, Nana would have a beautifully colored basket for each child and spend hours dyeing eggs in colors similar to the basket colors. And then there were the special little bundles filled with tiny toys, trinkets and candies. Early on Easter morning the treats were hidden all around their large yard and garden. Once everyone was gathered and the OK was given, the children, much like race horses itching to leave the gate, would burst outdoors to the yard where her handy work could be found. Not without a great deal of searching of course. Being dressed up like dolls in impractical clothing, while crawling around on the ground and climbing in the trees for goodies, seemed an odd contradiction. There were non-stop parental reminders to not get dirty. Right. Hard to blame them in hindsight. In the early years, we girls all had on white gloves.
For her two grandchildren, my grandmother couldn't resist an added surprise before Easter dinner; a beautifully frosted hollow sugar egg would appear. When we looked in the windowed end, another tiny world came to life. Each year a different pastoral scene with bunnies, flowers, fields or gardens kept our imaginations working overtime.
By the time the photo above was taken, probably 1956 or 57, thankfully my family was being a bit more practical, dropped the glove requirement and allowed for warmer coats. Whew. However, note the two cute little girls on the right dressed all in white, daughters of my grandparents neighbors. Bless em'. Their strict dress code went on for years, evidenced by those white dusters and hats. Cute as buttons they were, but feeling very uncomfortable. I'm on the left and next to me, my cousin. Note that none of us appear to have feet. Seems to be a common theme during those years.
I love going through old family photos. Wonderful reminders of innocent, care free times. And though the Easter Egg Hunt tradition has changed little over the years, each time I watch the next group of little ones enjoy that frantic search, I remember the extra special touches Nana brought to the occasion back in the days of dusters, hats and gloves.
PS...Yes, my bangs had recently undergone a self-administered paper scissors trim. I was in training. I still cut them myself, albeit a bit straighter these days.