The Dahlias Stole the Show

In my last post I told you of our trip to Point Defiance – the zoo, aquarium and surprise at the rose garden. But of all the gardens at Point Defiance I think the Dahlia Garden stole the show.

Sorry I couldn’t just pick one! 🙂 For Cee’s Flower of the Day.

~ Susanne

Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium, and a Blast from the Past at the Rose Garden

Last week after having been being cooped up for days – first by smoke from wildfires, then by the heavy rain which followed – we were desperate to get out. So despite the rain we drove south to Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium in Tacoma, where we had tickets to enter at an appointed time, with a handful of other masked visitors.

We’ve been there before but every trip promises a new adventure and this day didn’t disappoint.

The rain stopped in time for us to leave our umbrellas in the car and we walked the beautifully landscaped grounds under mostly blue and cloudy skies. In fact my first picture looks more like Arizona, not a rainy day in Tacoma.

Point Defiance is a jewel of a park with forest, trails, a fort, gardens, zoo and aquarium.

I like the aquarium the best as I always have mixed feelings seeing animals confined, no matter how lovely the spaces.

The jelly fish are my favorite – I could watch them all day long,

including one of the largest, the Lion’s Mane Jelly.

And who doesn’t love sea otters? Nobody enjoys their meal like these rascals who ate and swirled and summersaulted in the water.

After we had our fill of the zoo we headed to the gardens just as it was starting to rain again. Surprisingly we’d never been there before as there’s so much to do in the park.

We moved on quickly to the Rose Garden enjoying the fragrance and color of the still blooming roses.

As we were leaving I stopped to read the sign giving the history of the Rose Garden. The Welsh designer, Ebenezer Roberts had worked at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, before immigrating to the U.S. in 1888. He designed the rose garden in 1895 along with many other Tacoma parks.

As I read the sign I noticed a familiar image above Ebenezer Roberts’ name.

And there it was, a picture of my grandmother, Elsie Chapman as a little girl in the early 1900’s, standing with her mother, my great grandmother. The photo was likely taken by my great grandfather, O.T. Frasch who was an early Seattle photographer.

Oh what a surprise! So I went back through the garden wondering where she had stood. Was it here? Or perhaps over there? And of course there was no way to tell and it really didn’t matter, but I knew without that little girl I wouldn’t be here and so I owed her some time there.

~ Susanne

Let’s Cruise to Alaska!

Virtually of course! Pandemic wanderlust has struck again and since cruising has been put on hold I thought it only fitting to reflect on my very first cruise – to Alaska – 3 years ago this month!

I came to cruising late in life but I quickly fell in love with it. And I found out how easy it is, especially since I boarded the ship in my hometown of Seattle – that beautiful anarchist jurisdiction – forgive me for that. 🙂

There were several ports of call on our itinerary including Juneau, the capital of Alaska;

Sitka, the most devoid of tourists,

and Ketchikan, one of the rainiest cities in North America! (Despite its reputation Seattle doesn’t even come close.)

All had something special to offer but my favorite port of call wasn’t a port at all, it was a full day of cruising in Glacier Bay.

You can probably tell the weather wasn’t great; there was heavy cloud cover and light rain most of the time.

But that didn’t stop us from getting up close and personal with the glaciers.

I would love to return and take in more of the magnificent scenery of Alaska. But that will have to wait until the pandemic is far behind us and the cruise industry recovers.

Until then, there’s nothing like a sunset from sea.

~ Susanne

Happy Together from the Turtles of Coulon

Did you get the title? If not, you’re too young and that’s okay too! You can tell me in the comments. 😉

Yesterday on the first day of fall in between days of rain which is our new normal, we had a wonderful sunshiny day and I spent it with a friend at Coulon Park.

It was the first time since March that I’d done anything with someone other than my husband – and we walked and talked and ate, and walked and talked some more.

And we stopped to visit with the Turtles in their usual hangout.

The whole gang was there – grandma and grandpa, mom and dad, a couple of teenagers, and a little youngster who enjoyed the view atop one of the others.

They jockeyed a bit for position, stretched out their necks and limbs to soak in the rays, and took turns on the log – Happy Together.

~ Susanne

Monday with Benji

Sleeping till noon.

Finally waking up to say hello.

I couldn’t resist.

Happy Monday from Benji.

~ Susanne and Benji

Surprised by Salmon on the Green River

We were so happy to have rainfall in the Pacific Northwest this weekend and healthy air once again so we celebrated with a walk at Kanasket-Palmer State Park.

Through the woods and down to the Green River we went, enjoying the wet and colorful foliage and fresh fragrance of the forest.

At one point we could see salmon leaping on the other side of the river and Bob thought he remembered a fish hatchery over there.

So we drove to the tiny town of Palmer (if you can call a few houses and a hatchery a town) and parked the car. A short trail led us to the spot we’d seen from the other side and there were the salmon, thick in the stream. They were driven by powerful instinct, hurling themselves forward to get back to the place of their birth – as if their life depended upon it – and the life of future generations do.

Have you considered the miracle of that? After being born the Chinook head out to the ocean, spend a few years there, then make their way back to the stream or hatchery they came from. They come to spawn, and to die, overcoming many obstacles on the way.

Some made it through and the rest kept trying.

We didn’t understand the impediment until we talked to a fisherman familiar with the hatchery. Apparently they want the fish to remain in the river as long as possible where there’s more oxygen, until the hatchery is ready to receive them.

It was both beautiful and painful to watch, but the salmon were undeterred, driven by something they didn’t understand. They would soon create new life and die, and become a food source for other living creatures.

The cycle would continue.

~ Susanne

Only Pretending to be in Hawaii

It’s birthday and anniversary season and I’m not above using them as an excuse for a trip to Hawaii. Hey, it worked the first time see here! Hawaii – the beginnings.

But due to the pandemic and other constraints a trip to Hawaii is out of the question till at least next year. But that doesn’t prevent a virtual visit does it?

So if I were there now, I’d start my day with a latte,

then spend time on a deserted beach – how about this one? – Makaha on Oahu’s west side.

I’d sink deep into the velvety sand and dip my toes into the crashing waves.

After lunch I might have this for dessert –

or better yet, this.

Then I’d head to the North Shore and watch the experts surf,

before calling it a night with sunset over Turtle Bay.

A person can dream can’t they?

~ Susanne

Bellingham, Fairhaven and Whatcom Falls – a Getaway

Even though the skies are choked with haze and smoke here in the Pacific Northwest, we still managed a little getaway to celebrate my birthday. One can’t stop living, right?

We drove north to Bellingham, home to Western Washington University and home to many memories for me. We stayed at our favorite spot in Fairhaven, an historic part of town complete with restaurants and shops all within walking distance of our hotel.

It was a relaxing few days filled with shopping, eating and scenic drives as we limited our time outside due to the poor air quality.

We’d hoped that rain would wash the smoke away and allow us to hike in the nearby mountains. But the little rain didn’t help much so we scrapped our plans. Two years earlier we’d visited the Mt. Baker Wilderness but even then it was wildfire season and smoke marred the views of Mt. Shuksan. We’ll have to return to see the mountain under clear skies.

Still, on our last day we managed to visit Whatcom Falls, a beautiful city park with trails through old growth forest along Whatcom Creek.

The forest beckoned, the air smelled fresh and there were miles of trails to explore. Even so we heeded the warnings and limited our time outside. Another reason to return when the skies are clean and more welcoming.

~ Susanne

Things are Looking Up!

Just an excuse to share another picture of the handsome one.

Happy Monday from Benji! 🙂

~ Susanne

Heavy Sky and Hummingbirds to Cheer

Today the sky is heavy with smoke and the air quality is poor due to the wildfires. So I wondered – should I share pictures of today’s sky? Or last week’s pictures of hummingbirds? I opted for both and hoped the latter would cheer me up.

You may remember I bought a new feeder – the one on the left below.

It took a few days but I’m happy to report…

the hummingbirds approve.

Hoping for rain to douse the fires and wash the sky clean.

~ Susanne

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