Benji from the Dog House

This is Benji and today Sue put me in the ‘dog house’ (her exact words).  I don’t really know why though I suspect it had something to do with the chair incident.

Every morning I like to join her in the office while she drinks coffee and reads. Tiger would too but he’s slow and I usually beat him to the punch.  I am very fast.  I’m so fast in fact,  I can climb up the back of her chair in under a second, this after I’ve finished sharpening my claws on said chair. (It is important to keep the nails filed properly at all times.  Sue should know this.)

This seemed to bother her this morning (or should I say it bothers her every morning but some days she is more tolerant.  Maybe more coffee was needed.)

And so after a brief altercation I was forcibly put into our bedroom, which apparently bears the moniker of  ‘dog house’ if I am closed in alone.

Sorry Sue.  I’ll work on the chair thing.

~  Benji

Rainy Days and Setting Sun

By now you may have heard that we are experiencing the rainiest October through April in Seattle since 1895 when records began to be kept.  We have received almost 45 inches of rain since October 1st and April is not over yet.  And yes, it feels like it.

Still, when the sky clears I’ve become fond of chasing sunsets which manage to make an occasional dramatic appearance rainy day or not. Earlier this week I settled for the golden glow in the garden shortly before the sun went down.

And a few minutes later I enjoyed colorful clouds behind the evergreens.

One rainy day followed by a clear evening with two different garden views gave me a little more practice with my camera and the setting sun.

~  Susanne

One Year with Cats and Trails and Garden Tales

Has it really been a year since I started this blog with just a few cat stories in mind, along with a lot of fear and trepidation?  Well, yes it has! And a wonderful journey it has been!  I am honestly pleased (and somewhat surprised) to have made it this far and am happy to have you along for the ride!

So on this anniversary of Cats and Trails and Garden Tales, with post number 134 (in case you were keeping track), it seemed good to reflect on where we’ve been together. First, did you ever wonder about the name?  I chose it because as the song goes,  “these are a few of my favorite things!”

Cats

It’s no secret I love them.  When I started this blog a year ago, I only had one cat in residence: the handsome Tiger, who had some things to say.  He is still talking.

Then there were two.  We brought home Benji from Seattle Humane Society as a companion for Tiger.  It turns out Benji has something to say as well.

I love watching them individually and together.  They truly enjoy their cat life.

 

Trails 

 

I love to hike (though the trails are getting shorter) and I love to travel to places both far and near.  In this part of the blog I try to convey the beauty of the Pacific Northwest where I live.
 
 
 as well as the beauty of these United States of America, and sometimes distant lands.
 

 

Garden 

 

Finally, I love gardening and I love gardens.  I love to share pictures of my own,

and  those I visit.

 

Throw in some rain, a few sunsets and other reflections on life and you’ll have a good idea of where we’ve been.

 

Yes, I am still learning.  Learning to write.  Learning photography.  Learning how to use the blogging technology.  It’s worth the effort.  So here’s to another year of Cats and Trails and Garden Tales.  Thank you so much for following along.

 

Susanne, Tiger and Benji

A Spring Walk at Coulon

A perfect day begins with a trip to Starbucks and a walk at our favorite park on the shores of Lake Washington. We tried twice earlier this week to do just that but each time were turned back by the cold, wind, and rain.  One time we made it to the park only to sit in the car and drink our coffee with this view.

What a difference a day makes!   We woke today to a different reality:  crisp, clear, and sunny with a temperature of 64 F in the forecast, the highest this year.

We head to Gene Coulon Park in Renton with drinks in hand and are rewarded with the bluest of blues and air fresh and washed clean.

We weren’t the only ones out.  This mama duck and her babies were enjoying a swim together…

While this turtle basked in the sun alone.

These stony folks were committed as always to walking….

And the trees were blossoming and fragrant.

What a glorious day!

We are reminded again why we live in the Pacific Northwest.

~  Susanne

Still the Handsome Tiger

This is Tiger and I gotta tell you it’s not easy being the oldest cat in the family.  They let that boy run wild and do things I would never have gotten away with.  Times change I guess.

Flying around the house.  Howling at the top of the stairs. Climbing on the roof for Pete’s sake!

‘O isn’t he cute?’  Sue gushes to Bob as she runs to fetch her camera.

Benji on the printer.  Benji watching TV.  Benji  this and Benji that.

Benji. Benji. Benji.

Spoiled.  Completely spoiled.

Now do not think I am jealous.  No, no, I would never go back if I could.  I continue to maintain my dignity. So what if I put on a few pounds. They will sustain me in the lean years to come.  Maybe I can’t move as fast as I used to, but what’s the big hurry after all?  Speed must be tempered by wisdom.  It is wisdom to contemplate, to reflect.  To stop and smell the roses, if you will. (And the lavender. And the catmint.  But I digress.)

These eyes have seen many things that Benji cannot even imagine for he is still young.  And they are still the only green eyes in this house (and most handsome I am told.)

I know Sue still loves me and she is doing the best she can with the boy. He was a rescue cat after all and has a chopped ear.  It will take him time to overcome.

Still handsome after all these years and with both ears intact,

~ Tiger

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Gee, I didn’t know he was so sensitive.

~  Benji

Tiffany Park Woods Revisited

Behind my house in Renton there are 22 acres of woods.   You can see them through the fence in my backyard where they provide a wonderful backdrop of green making my own gardening efforts easier.

I have enjoyed their quiet beauty and the birds and wildlife who live in them. I’ve welcomed the deer who occasionally peer through the fence and let them prune my raspberry bushes when I forgot to close the gate.

Of all the friendly birds that have stopped by my yard (and there are many), my favorite was the red crested pileated woodpecker. I’ll never forget watching that giant bird with the bright red plume as he stopped for a drink and made my bird bath look small.  I have never seen another one in the wild.

It has already been a couple of years since we learned the woods had been sold.  At the time, neighbors voiced their complaints to the city and various hearings were held. Environmental studies were performed and inventories of wetlands, trees, birds and mammals were taken. But things being as they are it was only a matter of time until the clearing of the land and the building of the houses would begin.

I wonder how the trees feel about it?  Do they know the white tag or the blue tag or the pink tag pinned to their bark determines their fate?  Have the animals perhaps sensed what is coming and already relocated to more permanent homes?

Recently some friendly men came by and we asked them when work would begin.

“Soon,” they replied.

“But we have heard that for years,” we answered and laughed together.

But this time it really is soon. Their mission is to prepare the infrastructure to support the new homes.  Tree felling will begin within weeks and utilities should follow after. The peace and quiet will be gone for too long a time I fear. I wish it was already over and done.

I thought I would take a final walk through the woods before the logging begins and photograph what will be lost.  I follow the trail where young boys run and play and older boys walk their dogs.

I come across this comfy stool fit for a fairy.

and I find ferns with new spring fronds unfurling ..

The bleeding hearts are in bloom…

and the salmonberries are blossoming.

And of course there are the trees.

I find this tangle that will likely stick together while coming down.

They are ordinary perhaps, these Tiffany Park Woods, nothing special except to those who live near them.  Or in them.

I remember the first time I heard the deep hooting of the Great Horned Owl in the dead of night.  I wondered at the size of an owl that had such a booming voice resonating in the woods.  I got up hoping to catch a glimpse of him but of course it was too dark. Silly I know.  There are other owls too but I don’t know what kind. I’ve tried to remember the rhythms of their calls so I could look it up the next day.  But by morning I have usually forgotten.  I will miss the owls.

I grew up next to woods in West Seattle and have fond memories of the many hours spent in them; running on the trails, making beds of the ferns, and playing the games of childhood.  Maybe children don’t play in woods anymore.  But I still believe there is value in having some patches of wilderness in urban spaces.

The woods in Tiffany Park will soon be gone but my woods in West Seattle still remain.  For that I am thankful.

~ Susanne