Thursday, July 31, 2014

Walk A Mil (or more) In My Shoes

In 1987 the "back problems" I had been dealing with for 20+ years came to a head.  A ruptured disc sent me to the operating room and I came out with less disc, less pain (hallelujah) and a numb ankle and foot.  There was nerve damage when the disc squirted into my spinal column; the surgeon said the nerve might come back but that it was quite "withered".  As soon as I got home from the hospital I began an ongoing walking routine.  For the past 27 years I have walked an average of 15-20 miles a week, rain or shine.  Initially I walked around my neighborhood or through the park across the street from our home.  When I started working at a local high school, I walked the school track at lunch.  But about 15 years ago the Port of Bellingham created a 3 mile sidewalk that circumvents the harbor and every summer I would head down to the harbor early in the morning and enjoy this 3-mile "trail".  Want to come with me?  Here's a sampling of what I see on my journey:
This is where I start.  This is the "leisure" side of the harbor, full of leisure boats that, as far as I can tell, rarely leave the harbor!

More leisure boats and a lovely bank of black-eyed susans, the port has done a wonderful job of planting perennials all around the harbor.

This is looking north, the building in the distance is the Squalicum Boat House, a popular venue for weddings and such.  Soon I will be "over there"!
This is looking south, these docks are in front of the Bellwether Hotel.  There are often very large, very elaborate yachts moored here.  A few weeks ago there was one large and ostentatious yacht parked here--it's name was "A Pastoral Call."  Pretty tacky!

 This is the Hotel Bellwether

This is the exit channel for the harbor, there's a fishing boat heading out for the day

This is the "honeymoon suite" for the Bellwether Hotel, seems just a bit too public for my taste!

Now I'm heading back East, I'm circling back to where I've just been.

I love the flowers that the Port has planted all around this harbor.  Here is some Russian Sage, some Coneflower, Black-Eyed Susans

Lovely Coneflower

And you can even exercise if you're so inclined!

I'm on the opposite side of the Bellwether, next to the Squalicum Boat House...someone forgot to tell these Canadian Geese that they are fresh water birds!

Unfazed by humans!  They leave their "calling cards" all over the sidewalks!
More of the lovely flowers around the walk
 Now we're looking East, that's the honeymoon suite at the Bellwether and Mt. Baker in the distance

Despite the romance of the open sea, fishing is a dangerous livelihood.  Most of the large fishing boats from Bellingham ply the waters of Alaska and many who leave don't come back.  This is the tribute to those who left for Alaska and never came home.

We're half way there,. that's Lummi Island to the right in the distance and you can just vaguely see the Olympic Mountains in the far distance.  We'll finish up tomorrow!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

How Does Your Garden Grow?

This summer has been a flower's delight with endless warm, sunny days.  Here's a sampling of what's growing in my "garden".  I'm limited to container gardening where I live, but over the years I've found most things will thrive in containers given enough sun and water.  

The shade garden

One of my favorite plants, the black-eyed susan vine

Calabrachoa, creeping charlie, geraniums, lobelia and the wonderful Amazing Grace sign that my friend, Jill, gave me for Christmas a few years ago

My other favorite plant, the blue morning glory which is just now starting to bloom--it takes 60-90 days from planting before they flower but this will soon be covered in these glorious blue blossoms for months to come

English Ivy will take over a garden, so I planted it in a container and let it have its way on my garden shed...the drift wood is an addition we picked up (literally) from Birch Bay after a big storm

I've trained it to the other side of the shed and around an old wooden window that I found in the trash!

Geraniums, lobelia, and "do dads"

Basil, Rosemary, Italian Heather, raspberry busy

Another of my favorites, blue nigella; I prefer its common name "Love In A Mist" and when it's finished blooming it makes these interesting dried pods

The begonia, I dry the tubers every winter and then stick them in dirt in the spring and voila, instant gorgeous blooms year after year

Another of my favorites, heuchera, they come in so many colors 

Sedum, just getting ready to bloom a lovely shade of pink that will gradually turn to a dark magenta... the bees adore this plant

Blogger keeps changing the orientation of these photos and I can't seem to correct it so sorry these are not aligned correctly.  This is the sedum bowl I used one of my retirement gift cards to create.  Check out the blossom that has opened on one of the starts I bought!

My friend, Lynn, gave me an old hiking boot to use as a planter for some of the starts I purchased

And now I just sit back and enjoy it all when I'm hanging out on my patio.  Summer in the Pacific Northwest, you can't beat it!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Summer Treasure

Look what's for dinner!

Our wonderful neighbors go crabbing every summer and always share their bounty with us.  We had enough this year to make crab/avocado salad, crab bisque and crab omlettes...Yum!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

You Want Us To What?......

A few weeks ago I and 6 other brave and trusting women agreed to work on a "bar code project" for the school district.  It would involve bar coding all the new math books and materials for the elementary and middle schools for the district.  How hard could that be, we figured?  The district has adopted a whole new math curriculum for all schools, but only the elementary and middle schools have books and/or materials...apparently the high schools are doing all their math online.  I can't wait to see how that pans out since there is no 1 to 1 ratio of students to computers!  But I digress.

What I and the other brave women did not know beforehand was that we would be unpacking, stacking, repacking and hauling 21 pallets full of boxes containing 12 binders for every single elementary teacher, boxes of manipulatives, boxes of abacuses (the irony of the reuse of this ancient device is not lost on me!), and teacher manuals.  We had to unpack all the binders, stack them in piles, remove the shrink wrap from the inserts for each binder, put the inserts into the binders (oh, and one of the inserts was in a completely different box than the binders they had to go into), bar code the binders, repack the binders, then repack them into boxes in a different order than they arrived in and stack them on pallets.  All of this was done in an unaircondtioned warehouse during the hottest week of the summer so far.  We worked at fever pace and were able to complete in one week what the district thought would take a minimum of two...only because we wanted it DONE and could not face another week of it.

These are the finished pallets for 3rd, 4th and 5th grades.  Double this for the pallets we finished for kindergarten, 1st and 2nd that were already picked up and delivered to the schools.  
Bar coding...not what we had anticipated!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Elves Are Not Just For Christmas

I have a wonderful neighbor who lives next door.  Her name is "Z", we have never been told what this letter stands for and something has told me not to ask!  She is a whiz with gardening and works part time for the city as a landscaper.  She has transformed her yard into a mini-botanical garden full of flowers and food.  She's planted a row of raspberries along her driveway and has built a small cold frame in her backyard as well as a raised bed full of yummy and beautiful things.  

A few years ago I would come home and find small treats from her on my front porch:  a small container of berries, a bouquet or a plant start.  I, in turn, would leave small treats on her front porch whenever I could.  I don't have garden beds and my containers are filled with plants that are not generally good for cutting.  But I have left her bouquets of peonies and sweet peas, two things I am able to grow, as well as berries when I have extras from my own store.  We call ourselves "elves", because we love to do these things in secret.  Yes, it would be easy to just hand each other our offerings when we're both out in the yard together, but half of the joy is finding unexpected treasures waiting for us on our front porches.

Look what I found today:  I love the color combination of the roses, bachelor buttons and zinnias.  This photo doesn't show it well, but she added some dusty miller leaves around the outside of the bouquet and it looks just like a doily.  Made my day!


Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Butterfly Has Landed!

The pone rang yesterday (yes, I still have a land line!) and when I picked it up, guess who was on the other end?  Remember this post:: Happy Endings  Maria is in town with her girls visiting her parents and was in the park next to our house and wanted to know if I could some and say "hi".  You betcha!  What a treat to see this young woman, I'm so proud of her and all she has accomplished.