Saturday, September 29, 2012

A Sign

DH's cup at breakfast cafe today. He thinks it is a sign. Maybe. But to me it spells GARDENER (as an engineer, he says land maintenance engineer would be ok).

Later, we went to the waste transfer station (dump) with those blackberries and more, Starbucks, a geocache and the library.   Our way to celebrate us both being home...for now.  

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Woolly Bear Break

Another beautiful September day (& evening sunset).  I was trimming blackberries and found a rolled up banded woolly bear caterpillar in the destruction zone.   Before moving him to safety, I took a break and waited for him to unroll.    This link is to another caterpillar encounter.

Garden gloves don't cut it for blackberry day.  I searched for my heavier gloves and finally found them in The Truck.  Hmmm... I don't remember taking them anywhere...  This means I get driving rights for the truck again (now loaded with some of the blackberry vines and other stuff for the dump).

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Japan - Hayama

While we were watching the sunset, Mount Fuji appeared - a birthday surprise.   This was the evening before the wedding, in Hayama, Japan. 

Earlier in the day, it was bright and hot!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Wedding Excursion (the USA one)

Congratulations to the couple recently married in Ashford, WA.  Wellspring Spa, by Mt Rainier, was a beautiful spot for guests to enjoy, too (even though the couple then went on to Iceland, without inviting the rest of us).  This is where we were going when we spotted the giraffe in Washington.
A place to pass through, or pause.  (just what my garden needs)

When it was time, the guests walked the path to the outdoor wedding site (we'd been advised about footwear).   I loved this short journey we all took through the woods just before the wedding.

I also had a chance to walk the labyrinth of mossy stones (that's not me in the photo).  Years ago, some friends had visited different local labyrinths, but I couldn't join then.  (Together, we did do this excursion to Bastyr University in this reflexology walk part II post, and garden related part I). 

In the honor of the one who is now with us in spirit, on a beautiful day, with a glass of wine...and jet lag, I went.   Pretty cool experience to see what comes to mind as you walk it. 

This shows about a quarter of it.  I like how it is laid out in the forest, up and down with the ground and over the tree roots. 

In the center is this mossy tree.

Here is one of the cabins.   Each cabin is unique, one is a tree house, and a couple are safari-style tents.

Yes - a memorable wedding and excursion.

Monday, September 24, 2012

September Evening

The only things better than September days are September evenings.
Today is a good example.

September Days

If I could have done this move to celebrate the beautiful day, I would have.  Actually, this hummingbird was keeping his eye on me as I inspected the roses on the hillside (below). 

I haven't noticed it at this color stage before.  This link shows it in other seasons, and this link with snow.  It's a wild rose that seems quite happy expanding on the hillside.

Then I went to check out the hawthorn tree, now much larger than when we first set up a hillside retreat under it.  (see this link about the hillside retreat.)  It has also sprouted new trees, but it's a good place for a hedgerow.

The hummingbird sat in the top of the tree and chatted at me until I moved on.  I don't know why he is worried.  There are plenty of bugs for everyone.  My visit today wasn't early enough to catch the dew on the spider webs in the tree, like this photo.

On the hillside.

In the garden.

It's a nice time of year to be at home (at least for a little while). 

September Squash Con't

Last night's cooked giant white scalloped/pattypan squash and tomatoes where not that great.  I had reservations about trying this big guy (also scalloped, but yellow).   No worries - best dish all summer.  I cut this one up in large chunks and steamed it.  Then added fresh tomatoes (instead of cooking the squash & tomatoes together).   I think it is more flavorful than even young white scalloped squash (seeds were "assorted scalloped.") 

The difference was age.   The one last night had been on the vine longer.  It's skin was tough and the seeds more mature.  It was the last one on the plant, too.  This yellow one had tender skin without mature seeds.  

And there many more on the two plants.   They were late sprouters from the seeds I planted in the garage.  I almost thought it was too late to plant out in the garden (late july).  They are going strong while the others are finished.

September Garden

Remember the garden?  It's been on its own for these past warm and dry weeks.  Along with these tomatoes, I had a basket full of sungold and chocolate cherry tomatoes and a giant pattypan squash (ideally, you don't want them to reach giant size).   I cooked the squash, some of these red tomatoes, onion, a few green beans and basil.  

The cherry tomatoes are now frozen for winter cooking.  We've also frozen blueberries from our neighbor.

I just noticed another late planted squash with many small squash and one larger one.  I'll figure out which type of squash it is, and try it tonight.

And my mission of using up older things in the cupboard is progressing.   We never have pudding (hmmm... so that's why it is old), but now we have pudding with bananas to eat.

Back to vacation posts.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Glad You're Home

Do you think Nikko missed me?   The chair next to me wasn't close enough.  She inserted herself between me and the computer.  I don't know how to tell her at least the next trip will be shorter.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Not Tanzania: Yokohama

We've been in Japan for a wedding and even more warm weather than Tanzania. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Tanzania - Giraffes

Northern Tanzania in August.

Serengeti National Park.  The silent, watchful giraffe.

In the open spaces of the Serengeti, we kept seeing stumps, rocks and clumps posing as animals.  I pointed to a spot and said there's a stump posing as a giraffe.  Actually, it was a giraffe posing as a stump.   (but not this one, above)

Tarangire National Park.  Even when they hang out in groups, giraffes are know for neglecting to warn the others of danger.  When people don't look out for others, Tanzanians say they are behaving like a giraffe. 

A giraffe's dental hygienist makes house calls and works in high places.  This giraffe didn't seem fond of having her teeth cleaned, but the bird was very persistent.

Tarangire.  Giraffe camouflage works here.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Tanzania - Lions

Does this look like someone who would eat a zebra?   YES!    Ngorongoro Crater.

Ngorongoro Crater.  He is ignoring the zebras in the background because he is TOO FULL to care.

Serengeti National Park.   We call this DH's lion because he spotted him up in the rocks.  We don't know what he has been eating.   But then he disappeared and so did we.

He's not roaring.   That, we only heard at night (to announce dinner).  He is panting and trying to hold his eyes open just a little longer.   Serengeti.

Like our cats at home:  It's a hot day. It was a busy night (a wildebeest or two).  Now let's sleep in the shade.  Serengeti.

Even more like our cats at home, watch for Lions Part II.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Tanzania - Wildebeests

I came to appreciate the wildebeests.  They have a calm, solid presence and this soft call they frequently make to keep everyone in touch.  They are a type of large antelope, with a grandfatherly beard and expression, even the younger ones.  Collectively, the ones on the edge of the herd would stop and turn their faces to keep both eyes on us.

Tarangire National Park. 

The lookout - It was very typical to see self-appointed guard wildebeest standing on alert on top of a termite mound, rock or other high place, while the others moved about, grazed or rested.  

The wildebeest herds migrate great distances, and yet it isn't a leader or social structure that makes sure they get there.   "Any individual can start walking and tens of thousands might follow...If a lion or a crocodile eats the very temporary leader, the rest barely notice, the migration continues..." 

They will all hold up on one side of the river, even for days, until one is willing to take the plunge.   Then everyone follows.  Our guide said, "Well, if you could be eaten by a crocodile, you might pause before jumping in too."

Ngorongoro Crater - It's the world's largest intact volcanic caldera and the 8th Wonder of the World. There was a wildebeests line marching from place to place that day.

The Serengeti.   We didn't see the largest groups sometimes seen moving together, but we saw plenty. 

See the mounds in the shadow below?   There had been a lion laying by one, with wildebeests and zebras nearby.  He stood up to move toward the trees and we watched all the wildebeests and zebras cautiously move away.   In the Serengeti, we quickly learned those clumps are favored by lions, cheetahs and leopards.   I kept an eye on the clump next to our tent.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Tanzania - Zebras

Northern Tanzania in August.  DH's trip summary is this:  GO.

Serengeti National Park.  Along with the animals, I loved the light and the colors in the leaves, grass and sky.  This one may be pregnant.

In Tarangire National Park.  When many zebras are close together, their stripes make it difficult for their predators to focus on one well enough to attack.  Babies have a chance of making it if they keep close to the others.

These two, above, were synchronized.  Their heads went down to eat in unison, then up.  They'd look to the right, maybe to the left, back down to eat, and up again. 

Tarangire National Park.  Smart zebras and wildebeests hang out with the elephants because the lions don't like the elephants (and the lions do like zebras and wildebeests more than you want to know).

Ngorongoro Crater.  This was a frisky bunch.   It was the cool, cloudy day (and the lions had already eaten).

When saw this picture, all I could think about was yoga class.  It's a good way for the zebras to maintain strength, balance and flexibility for playing keep away with the lions.   Even during yoga, one is "on watch" for those pesty lions.  Ngorongoro Crater.