Off to Paradise – Mt. Rainier, Waterfalls and Blackberry Pie!

On the hottest day of the year we took a drive to our favorite local attraction – the big mountain two hours south!

There wasn’t a cloud in the sky as we drove the back roads to Paradise, the mountain calling us all the way there.

As we entered the park the trees got bigger and we rolled down the windows to let the fragrance in, calming and delicious.

As we wound our way to the top, we stopped by Narada Falls, which tumbled from above, under the bridge and far below us.

There was a lot of snow on the trail to the lower viewpoint and we weren’t equipped for that – though some were and you can see them near the bottom.

We continued up, enjoying views of the jagged peaks of the Tatoosh Range along the way.

A short while later we arrived at the Paradise Visitor Center where we had close up views of the mountain. From here hikers can head up to Camp Muir where mountain climbers spend the night before making the technical climb to the summit. (Not us.)

After lunch and a few pictures we headed back down the mountain. We passed by the road to Reflection Lakes – still closed – but here’s a picture from our trip last year just so you know.

We continued on down the scenic highway stopping for more waterfalls – Comet Falls on one side

Christine Falls on the other.

It was a wonderful day on the mountain made even better with a stop by Copper Creek Lodge just outside the park, built in 1919 and famous for its blackberry pie. I don’t normally take pictures of my food (honest) but I really had to show you this. It tasted every bit as good as it looks!

Is your mouth watering? 🙂

~ Susanne

Benji Wonders

“You weren’t planning on going without me were you??”

– Benji

Memories in Bremerton and a Ferry Ride to Seattle

We were looking for a way to spend a sunny spring day and settled on a drive to Bremerton, where we’d visit the Navy Museum and take the ferry back to Seattle. The day would trigger long forgotten memories that I will share with you when we get there!

We headed south and across the Tacoma Narrows Bridge to the Kitsap Peninsula,

and it wasn’t long before we arrived at the Museum in Bremerton. We were greeted by the sail of the USS Parche (SSN-683), a Sturgeon-class submarine, said to be the most highly decorated vessel in U.S. history, from conducting classified operations between 1976 and 2004.

Once inside we learned the history of the Naval Shipyard at Bremerton. Established in 1891, it was the first dry dock and repair facility in the Northwest capable of handling the largest ships, and expanded into ship building during WW1. During WW2 the damaged warships of the Pacific Fleet including those from Pearl Harbor were repaired here.

The Museum has many exhibits including one depicting life on an aircraft carrier. I imagined walking the narrow corridors

sleeping three deep in bunks and dining on the finest cuisine. And then I remembered – I came close to enlisting!

My step-father was a career man and my best friend’s sister was a Navy nurse. We thought we’d follow in her sister’s footsteps and sign up for the Navy together during our senior year of high school. We’d report after graduation and go through training together – under the ‘buddy system.’ We went to the recruiting office and took the exam – I passed – but my friend failed the math. I waited for her to study and take the test again so we could sign up together. She never did.

Funny how small things can redirect your life. But for a friend’s failed math exam I would have signed up that day and ended up who knows where as a Navy nurse!

After perusing the small but interesting museum we headed outside to the Maritime Park where fountains resembled submarines rising through the water.

We walked the few blocks through Bremerton’s sleepy downtown – a downtown that hasn’t made it out of the fifties yet. Which is okay with me – there’s a place for towns like that.

After stopping by a Flea Market we headed back to the waterfront for lunch.

Then it was time to take the ferry back to Seattle, a sixty minute cruise with amazing views that the Northwest is famous for.

We said goodbye to Bremerton

and headed out through Sinclair Inlet between the Kitsap Peninsula and Bainbridge Island.

Around the first bend and to the right was our first peek at Mt. Rainier – and oo la la – it never gets old!

She grew bigger and bigger to the south as we crossed Puget Sound and the Seattle skyline came into view.

It was a beautiful day and reminded me why I love living in the Great Northwest. 🙂

~ Susanne

Chilling in the Garden with a Kitty on My Lap

I went outside to sit by the stream and before you know it Benji appeared and took his place.  Of course I had my camera nearby (I don’t leave home without it) and got a few pictures of the sweet one on my lap.

After a while I set my camera down and Benji looked straight into it.

Sweet Benji.

~ Susanne and Benji

Photo Shoot with Tiger in the Garden

“Hey Tiger, how’s it going?”

“Well Sue, to be honest with you. I’ve been feeling left out.”

“Really Tiger? Why’s that?”

“You did a story on the garden the other day –  Benji was in it – but I wasn’t.  It seems like you’re always posting pictures of him –  do you like him better or something?”

“Heavens no Tiger!  He just happened to be around, that’s all. In fact I was thinking it’s time to have a separate post just for you!”

“Really Sue?”

“Yes, really Tiger!  Let’s do a photo shoot!  Just make yourself comfortable in the garden bed.”

“Okay Sue,” he said. “I’m ready.  How’s this?”

“That’s great Tiger!  Love the feet!  Only maybe you could relax just a little.”

“Sure Sue,  just getting warmed up. How about this?”

“Perfect Tiger!  That’s a keeper!  Now I just need a head shot!!”

“Something like this, Sue?”

“So handsome!  You still got it Tiger!”

“And it’s only me in this one, right?”

“Yes Tiger.  This one’s just for you!”

“Thanks Sue. I feel better now.”

~ Susanne and Tiger

Unexpected Beauty: The Song of the House Finch

While walking in the garden one morning this week,  I heard the lovely song of the house finch in the trees above.




A common bird in the Pacific Northwest, its real beauty is in its song!

Sharing for the Weekly Photo Challenge: Unexpected Beauty. 

~ Susanne

Morning Tour of the May Garden

I woke early to find the sun rising in the garden.

It shined on the garden beds anchored by the clematis which is still the star of the show.

Other plants are waking up too like this old fashioned fragrant rose.

The strawberry bed is full to overflowing as Benji points out here.  In a month or so we should have some for eating.

Next to the strawberry bed is the picnic table that Bob built last month  –  solid and made of Doug Fir – we’ll be eating here soon!

Opposite the garden beds is the stream  – more of Bob’s handiwork.

I turned it on and enjoyed the beauty and sound of its flowing. Benji joined me to freshen up,

alert to the squirrel activity overhead.

The old bike nearby is being swallowed up in green, more of Bob’s artistic touch.

You might say these ferns are too.  No, he didn’t plant them but he asks me to please let them be. They spring up every year, tall and gangly and I remove the most offensive ones.  Still, the new growth is interesting and beautiful in its own way.

The fence is up along the back and we like it.  Sweet woodruff surrounds the birdbath and the feeders are for the hummingbirds who visit daily.

In the middle of the hummingbird garden is my favorite azalea. Don’t you love the color?  It finally opened this morning releasing its sweet honeysuckle fragrance.

On the other side a thimbleberry anchors the corner. My sister gave me this native and it’s spreading nicely just where I need it to. Soon enough red berries will appear for me and the birds.  The candytuft in front makes a nice contrast.  You never know for sure what will work, but this did and I am pleased.

Well that’s enough for now.  But before I go,  here’s a lovely finch to serenade you with birdsong.

Did you hear it?

I hope you enjoyed this tour of my garden!  🙂

~ Susanne

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