Friday, April 21, 2017

Another Spring Walk-About

Hello, dear Friends, we have had very unsettled 
weather, here in the foothills of Washington State. 
One minute it is sunny, and the next it is raining. 
A moment after this photo was taken, the foothills
were completely obscured. 

And down came the rain. 

We have had so many rainy days that 
I have been getting a bad case of cabin fever. 

Washingtonians describe it as getting 'raingry'. Lol! 

I have managed to get outside to feed the birds
and take a little walk each day despite the rain, 
so come along with me (and my 3 loyal companions)
and we will enjoy a little stroll in between showers. 

They do say that April showers bring May flowers!.....

The dogs are always so excited when I open the gate. 

Kai will even drop his toy, which he carries everywhere :)
Once they are outside the gate, they run as fast
as they can up to the bird feeder to see what
they can scare up!

Today it was a whole flock of wild Band-Tailed pigeons! 

They wait patiently. 

These big guys (the size of a small chicken)
 are eating me out of house and home. 
Last night Ramblin' Man made me laugh...
after carrying in another heavy, 40 lb bag of bird seed, 
he said, "Wow, that just made my socks fall down!"
But when you are outside and you hear them
contentedly cooing, there is no sweeter sound.

The sweet, gentle mourning doves wait nearby.

You can see the difference in size and coloring between the two.

The pigeon is easily 3 times the size of the dove. 

View from the feeder. 

We keep it well away from the house due to wild critters. 
You know, like bears......:)

The feeder is metal and the suet cages have clips on them
to keep raccoons from hauling off the goods! 
Every night they try to pry them open :)

Looking around, I see the wild bleeding heart is blooming. 

Every year they form large colonies here and there. 

One of my favorite woodland flowers are pink current.
This is a small, sprawling shrub.

Aren't they pretty? The hummingbirds love these.
Small, greenish currents form from the flowers.
There are never enough to make jam,
as the birds get to them first.

The Oregon grape is just starting to bloom, too.

The panicles of sweetly fragrant yellow bells
will produce small, edible purple 'grapes'.

This was an important food to our native peoples.

I love them for their drooping, fern-like evergreen foliage.
They form large colonies under evergreen trees
and are used in native plant landscaping.

Another of my favorite flowers is Salmon Berry.

These lovely, star-shaped blossoms grow on
tall, vase-shaped, thornless shrubs.
The berries are a beautiful salmon color,
hence the name. They are a favorite of birds,
especially Robins.

I've watched Robins hover like a hummingbird to
pluck the berries off slender twigs!

Wild deciduous ground-covers have also suddenly sprung
up from the forest floor around our evergreen sword ferns.

This pretty, lobed ground-cover is called Fendler's Waterleaf.
Growing alongside are the wider leaves of Fringecup.

This delicate, lime-colored ground-cover has
the mysterious name of 'Enchanter's Nightshade'.
It certainly is enchanting, especially when the
tiny, white flowers bloom.

Growing alongside are young Holly seedlings.

Big-Leaf Maple has large (4-6 inch) flower panicles.

These are a favorite food for our native Douglas Squirrel.
These are small squirrels, slightly larger than a chipmunk.

It's starting to rain again!
Droplets bead up on the leaves of Oso Berry-
 otherwise known as 'Indian Plum'.
Can you see the white flowers hanging down?
These will form miniature plums
that are a favorite of the birds.

These are small trees, generally 10-15 ft. tall
and are the first to bloom in the forest,
providing returning Rufous Hummingbirds with nectar.
Our larger Anna's Hummingbirds stay year-round.

Whitey Bear checks out a small, fallen tree
just outside the gate.
Ramblin' Man will have to deal with that
when he comes home :(
Can you see my plastic-wrapped newspaper leaning by the post?
Every afternoon the dogs and I walk up the long drive to retrieve it.

The daily newspaper is one of the small luxuries
we can't live without. No fake news :)

We pass the newly leafed-out Red Huckleberry growing
in its favorite conditions - the highly acidic soil around
a rotting stump!

The evergreen Sword Fern is unfurling new fronds
after our winter of heavy snowfall flattened its form.
Fringecup grows alongside.
These have long wands of cup-shaped blossoms
 with a little 'fringe' when they bloom.

Weenie Baby investigates a mossy stump.
This stump was here when we arrived 36 years ago,
(in our 20's) and is just now succumbing to the earth.

Nature is sometimes swift and brutal,
but most often slow and gentle.

One of Ramblin' Man's 'sculptures'.
I find little surprises from him when I venture out :)

Ramblin' Man mowed the lawn for the first time last weekend.
My gnarly old dwarf apple tree in the foreground is just starting to leaf out.

A little colony of foxglove has sprung up at the edge of the lawn.

I was surprised by these white daffodils this year.
I had planted a large bag of bulbs a few years ago
and had a great display the first couple of years, but nothing
last year. Then these little beauties presented themselves!

The hellebore keeps surprising me with its
changing hues. The flowers last for many weeks
and like shade with just a little bit of sun.

It's time to head back inside. The sprinkles
are turning into a rain shower.

You can see my red Camellia has put on a lovely show
next to the gate this year. This is another shade lover.

Just as lovely as a rose!
Without the thorns!
Sadly, they have no scent.

This little sweetie (Song Sparrow) has been staking out territory by
the dog kennel next to the walkway.
 (You can tell how often we use that!)
I see it everyday, scratching around the ground and
sitting on the wire.
Its song is lovely.

Come inside and take off your raincoat.

Can you see the pigeon in the tree?

Let's look a little closer.......

One lovely benefit of all the rain are rainbows
at the end of the day.

Can you see the hummingbird?

Thank you for coming along with me, dear Friends.

And thank you for your wonderful visits and kind comments.
I always love to hear from you and learn a little more about you
each time you stop by.
Getting to know you is like a beautiful painting.....
one little paint-stroke at a time.


Thursday, April 20, 2017

A Moment of Reflection - Thankful Thursday

Today I am thankful for all those who dedicated their 
service (and too often their lives) to uphold our freedoms
and protect our country from harm. 

My Dad served in the Army/Air Force when it was 
one branch, during the Korean war. 

Although he didn't see actual combat, he was stationed 
in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska - 
a critical outpost, as we have seen this week 
with Russian jets invading our air space in that very spot. 

I am so thankful for being my Father's daughter. 
He taught me so much about kindness, patience, 
honesty, hard work, humility, and keeping a sense of humor
no matter what. 

My Father succumbed to Alzheimer's disease in 2012.
It was devastating to see my bright, energetic 
Dad slowly slip away, but I'll always be grateful
for the lessons he taught me.  


I saw this in the newspaper obituaries today.
I thought it was so touching.....

Go kiss your loved ones today, dear friends.
Don't let time pass.


Today I am linking with:

Thankful Thursday

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

A Spring, Country Drive

Hello, sweet friends, come along with me
and we will take a country drive 
along the back-roads of my little world, 
here in Washington State. 

The fields are lush and green, and the 
flowering trees are simply lovely, 
as we travel along, singing happy songs,
slightly out of tune with the radio :)

We wait so long for these sweet spring days, 
during the dark and cold winter. 

Seeing the flowers blooming, and hearing 
the birds singing, lightens the weary heart, 
and gives us hope for happier days to come.

"To be overcome by the fragrance of flowers
is a delectable form of defeat."
-Beverly Nichols-

It is like a magical world! 

Cotton Candy trees! 

"The breath of flowers is far sweeter in the air...
than in the hand."
-Francis Bacon-

I drive along with a smile on my face. 

It's easy to forget your worries on a lovely spring day. 

Flowers beyond reach are sacred to God. 
-Indian proverb-

I think of all those who planted these beautiful trees, 
knowing they might have to wait years 
to enjoy the results. 

It is like planting tangible hope. 

Trees like these might be planted as gifts, 
marking special occasions, 
or the celebration of a new garden. 

Perhaps planted for a child, 
or in commemoration of a loved one, now gone. 

Or simply to add beauty to the lives of the planter..... 

And all those who have the pleasure of passing by. 

Imagine the happy horses who call this their home! 
Or the enchanted walkers, strolling along the sidewalk. 

I wonder if the trees, themselves, know how beautiful they are? 

Are they vain in their beauty? 

Do they evoke envy from their plainer sisters? 

Surely they are gifts to be treasured. 

Can you see the bird on the wire?

Asking so little. 

Just a bit of sunshine, rain and warmth 
to provide us with beauty, nectar and delicious fruit. 

And what of the wild divas, living their lives 
unnoticed for most of the year, only 
to bashfully display their beauty for 
the lucky few who discover them hiding in 
sylvan glades? Who planted them? 
Are they tended by fairies and gnomes?

We'll never know the secrets they withhold from us, 
but we can be thankful for a world that 
gifts us with these beauties of springtime. 

We are home, dear friends, with the wild plum 
to grace our entry.

Thank you for coming along with me! 


Today I am linking with:

Floral Passions: Floral Bliss

Won't you join the fun?

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