Beach Camping

Oh, did we ever just have the weekend we needed. Larry’s hiking club does a beach clean-up on the Olympic Peninsula every Spring, and he invited us along. It was my first time seeing the Pacific coast in Washington, and my first time camping on a beach (also my first time hiking in to a camp, but that part was less magical to me – I either need a real pack, or I need to stop packing as if I’m car camping). We took the ferry across Puget Sound, then got on 101 and took it past Forks, WA to Oil City Road, and hiked a little over a mile from the trailhead to the beach. You can see a map here. (You may need to zoom out to see the pushpin).

We left later than intended on Friday – out of work a bit late, and then there was a Mariners game right next to the ferry terminal. Oops. We had an hour and a half wait for our ferry, so we went next door to Ivars for some chowder to pass the time. Delicious. The ride across was lovely as always. Rainier was semi-visible behind the stadium and shipyard cranes.

The Olympics peaked through deep clouds, doing a great Mordor impersonation. We got to the trailhead just before midnight, packed up, and hiked to the beach. We probably won’t hike at night ever again, since we managed to scare ourselves silly, but Larry showed up to meet us just as we were getting about ready to turn back and set up the tent next to the car. We were exceptionally happy to see him. Fun night, with marshmallows and a fire, shooting stars and boxed wine drunk out of mugs.

Saturday was supposed to rain, but instead was just gorgeous. It had been 38 degrees when we left the car the night before, but during the day it was several hours of t-shirt weather, and sunglasses were needed. Amazing and happy. We explored the beach at low tide,

Larry (and later Shawn and Kevin) climbed big rocks,

Shawn hunted for doubloons with his metal detector (Larry was willing to share in anything he found, but sadly, treasure was scarce on our beach) ,

and we collected two bags of trash.

Sanna and her friend Stephie drove over from Seattle Saturday morning, and joined us for the eating, vegging and wild life watching portions of the day. We saw several bald eagles (always so exciting), a hairy (or downy?) woodpecker, a pair of raccoons at the shoreline at dusk, and *many* unidentifiable creatures in the waves.

We’re guessing that they were seals (and maybe otters).

Although the sun didn’t set until after 8, the light started to get amazing around 5. The camera got taken out for some shots of the waves.

Aren’t the colors amazing?

Kevin made marshmallows over the fire while Larry boiled water on his stove for tea. (The beach was sandy, with lots of rocks brought up by the tide, and truly impressive driftwood, ranging from twigs to enormous trees, all buffeted and smooth from the sea. )

Meanwhile, Shawn and Sanna found a great piece of driftwood and a nearly round rock, and started a game of golf.

Kevin joined in. (photo credits to Larry on this one)

And the game lasted well into the twilight. Here’s Sanna celebrating a great shot.

There was pasta and sauce for dinner, more stars, and when we woke up in the morning, our tent was being drummed with rain. Between the ocean waves and the steady drops, it was such a wonderful, cozy sound. Kevin and I packed up slowly, and then enjoyed the drive back around the peninsula in the daylight. It was especially fun to drive past Crescent Lake (where we met on a camping trip in June ’02). The mountains were semi-visible, and it’s just an interesting route to drive. We decided to take the Kingston ferry back instead of the Bainbridge one, which meant that we got to have a crepe while waiting for our boat to arrive. Yum.

Moral of the story: Larry runs awesome camping trips, we should get outside more, the coast is amazing. πŸ™‚ What a great weekend to start the summery season!

P.S. The full flickr set is here. πŸ™‚


After last weekend’s day worth of sunny and almost 80, Seattle’s desire for summer is reverberating. And yet, Friday around 5:30 pm this happened (why does it always choose to snow at rush hour?):

It all melted overnight, but then on Saturday afternoon, we got round two. Here’s a photo of the front yard, with all of the fallen blossoms littering the ground around the bush in the front yard – they didn’t seem to appreciate Friday’s snow.

When it started snowing again this morning, I didn’t even bother to go take more photos. Instead, here’s the snow from Friday, accumulating on the kitchen window. Such a cozy sight.

And now, that’s quite enough of a good thing. We’re all convinced. It snows in Seattle. And now it’s REALLY time for summer.

Rhododendrons on the counter

We have the prettiest pink mini rhododendron out in the backyard, and I couldn’t resist cutting one of the blooms off the back and bringing it into the house.

It looks so pretty on the counter. A bit of spring to counteract all of the grim weather.

(Not to mention, a challenge for Kevin’s new flower lens and detachable flash. As soon as I took my card out of his camera, he hurried off to get himself all set up. πŸ™‚ Copycat.

His favourites are here.


The logic becomes clear

It turns out that our big white-flowered bush on the side of the front yard has a pink flowered twin in between the windows! It needed to be massively pruned, and it looks like we chopped off all of the buds but three, but next year will be so pretty!

It’s also making me appreciate some of the other shrubbery more. There are two bushes with these odd pink flutes on all the new growth. It almost seems like a tropical-leaning burning bush.

See here for a close-up. I’ve been sort of unimpressed, especially since they haven’t really been taken care of so they’re bizarre stunted little things. But now I see that they’re meant to complement those huge pink flowers. How pretty that will be! They just got a new lease on life. πŸ™‚

Isabella is done

I finally finished the last step of Isabella! Pretty picot edging around the arms.

I cast on a few months before our wedding, made it about halfway through and then realized that not only would I never finish it in time for the Hawaii honeymoon, but that it was silly to try. I brought it for the series of plane rides – perfect plane knitting with all of that stockinette – and then kept working on it in spurts. And now it’s done!

(That photo of it is dreadful, but for some reason I just can’t seem to get any that look proportional – at least this one has pretty daffodils!)


Pattern: Isabella from
Yarn: 5 Β½ balls of Jaeger’s Siena 4 Ply, bought on sale from Patternworks in NH, in July 2006. The color is #412 (Sapling). #3 needles.

Larry’s apartment

Larry invited us over on Saturday for pizza and a sunset. Pretty amazing. When we got there, you could still barely see the mountains, but the sun got lower and the view just got prettier and prettier. He’s about half a mile south of our old apartment, and way up on the hill, so he has an incredible almost-180 degree view from the bird sanctuary in Bellevue all the way up to Juanita. By sunset, it was all dark purple Olympics against an orange sky.

And then it just got mellower and softer, and the mountains kept getting clearer. We watched all of the lights come out in Seattle on the hills on the far side of the lake.

I’ve missed that view.

Playing Catchup

My mom pointed out that the blog has been a little bit quiet recently. I know! I’ve been feeling bad about it, but most of the major activities of the last three weeks (work, taxes, replacing the water heater…) just aren’t blog fodder. If you know what I mean.

See? 14 years old, way out of code, I could go on, but it’s really not interesting. (If you live in Seattle or the Eastside and have water heater people recommendations, we are ALL ears. We’re on company #4 and only moderately hopeful. A backup plan might be just what we need.)

I’ve been enjoying our new lawn mower. πŸ™‚ Taking it out for a spin after work = so satisfying. We seem to have a lot of moss, plenty of clover (and a bunny who comes to munch on it in the evenings!!), and about three kinds of grass. I’d like to plant more, probably just from seed, but I’m not sure how to match what we already have. Any advice?

Kevin went out last weekend and came home with a ton of crafts supplies. Not exactly the norm? Turns out that he wanted to make a light box. (if you think of product shots, where you just have a white background with diffused light and a vague shadow, and no specific lines or horizons, you’ll get the idea.) Apparently you can also tint the light, and there are other benefits. In any case, 45 minutes and $8 later, he was able to take pictures of my sock progress. πŸ™‚ The colors aren’t true and I’ve tripled the progress in the last week (1″ till the heel turn!) but you get the idea.

Finally, try and tell me that THIS doesn’t make you want to improve every switchplate in your house… Just when you thought you might be reaching the end of the pri-1 house projects, the internet comes through again! πŸ™‚

Backyard flowers

I’ve been meaning for the last few weeks to get a picture though one of the windows in our living room. The flowers, top to bottom through the pane, are just so great, if a bit hard to capture.

From top to bottom that’s:

  1. Pink and red blossoms and copious moss on the fruit tree.
  2. Forsythia (the small yellow buds on branches underneath the pines).
  3. Pink buds on the mini rhododendron on the right in front of the forsythia.
  4. (Purple) Periwinkle all along the top of the steps.
  5. On the left – massive pink mystery flowers that have been blooming for three months – love them.
  6. Far right, above the grass line: some of the primroses I planted – these are variegated white and purple.
  7. *Mowed* lawn! You can see all of the motley grasses.
  8. Mini daffodils in pots in front of the window – I keep pulling the bulbs mid summer, putting them in ziplocs over the winter and replanting them once they start to sprout – this is year three and they were a bit late but now splendid.

And I wasn’t kidding about the copious moss…

And in the front yard, we have the prettiest bush. There has been a single bloom for the last week, but the rest of the buds are just oozing promise.

Kevin took this photo with his new lens (a treat to himself for his new job! Same company, new group, and he gets to manage people which is a whole new playing field.) – pretty awesome. I’ll try to get a sunny photo of the full bush one of these days, though it will be hard to get organize before all of those fat, full buds bloom. Any minute now.

Feeder politics

Kevin, at home on Saturday while I was at the WA Democratic District Caucus, managed to catch the thief in the act…

We hung a bird feeder about two months ago, and while the birds have been happy to pick up the seeds under the feeder, we’ve never seen one on the feeder. Possibly the wrong time of year, but still a mystery. This explains a lot. Kevin threw a pinecone at the thing right after he took the photo and the squirrel (apparently used to the numerous aggravating neighbours who feed them peanuts) scampered up. Kevin got a close shot.

I was all up in arms until a male/female duo turned up – our first birds that we’ve seen actually eating from the feeder. So exciting! I wanted to get a picture, but I more wanted them to stay (and it seemed like opening the door was a likely way to scare them away). They were teeny (slightly bigger than chickadees), and the male had a brown body with a bright red head — the beak shape and the tuft of feathers on the head looked like a cardinal to me. Kevin’s family gave me a bird book for Christmas, and it looks like what I was seeing was a either a pair of Purple Finches or House Finches. They were so pretty – I hope they decide to become regulars! And then I can get a photo and determine for good what they might be.