More Fall Glory in Purple and Gold at Soos Creek Botanical Garden

I don’t mean to overdo it with the fall themed posts, but glory surrounds us this time of year in the Pacific Northwest and after a visit to Soos Creek Botanical Garden yesterday I had to share a few more pictures with you if only for the purple and gold.

Soos Creek Botanical Garden has several strolling gardens and I focused on the Carlmas Long Borders promenade, starting at the Schaefer Pond Garden.

I walked the sweeping lawn between the two mixed borders, absorbing the color and fragrance along with the fog and morning dew, not knowing what I might find tucked in among the trees and shrubs;

like roses still in bloom!

After my shoes were soaked through from the grass – yes, it was worth it – I walked the gravelly trails behind the borders.

I was especially smitten with the hydrangeas, not only with the flowers but with the purple leaves!

Or was it lavender?  Either way, I can’t remember seeing leaves in such a beautiful shade of purple before!

We have Maurice Skagen to thank for the garden, whose Norwegian ancestors purchased the initial property in the late nineteenth century. Additional land was acquired over time and in the 1980s, Maurice toured England and Japan and was inspired to create “stroll gardens.” A number of rare plants were purchased during these trips and others were added from nurseries around the Pacific Northwest.

The 22 acre garden is open to the public free of charge (donations welcome), Wednesday – Saturday through November 3rd, and will reopen again next March. For more information check out their website:

~ Susanne

Cute Cat, Messy Bed

Happy Saturday from Benji, the cute one who lives with us.

~ Susanne

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Places People Visit

On our road trip to Yellowstone last month we stopped by a number of places we might not otherwise visit.  In Eastern Washington, it was the tiny town of Zillah for a look at the Teapot Dome Service Station, a charming piece of Americana.  For those of you unacquainted with American history, the Teapot Dome Scandal of the 1920s involved bribery and corruption in the leasing of oil reserves and was the most serious government scandal in the U.S. before Watergate.  The gas station built in 1922 was a nod to the scandal, though the real ‘Teapot Dome’ was the location of one of the leased oil reserves  in Wyoming.

We stopped by Craters of the Moon (the one on earth in Idaho) where we hiked trails in the blazing sun over lava encrusted landscape;

including to the top of a cinder cone where the air was dry and windy.

We visited the Grand Tetons,  surely a destination in itself, but for us a drive-thru and overshadowed by its neighbor to the north,

Yellowstone National Park, our final destination and the best of the best places people visit.

In response to Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge – Places People Visit  CFFC.

~ Susanne

Fun with Tiger and Benji

“Really Benji, did you have to run him out of the room?”

“What do you mean Sue?”

“You know what I mean Benji. Tiger was sitting there minding his own business,

until you came along and ran him off. Can’t you give him a break?”

“But he was in my chair, Sue.”

“Actually it’s my chair, Benji.  I just let you use it.”

“Well it was time for my bath. I always take my bath in the chair.”

“Tiger can have it in the middle of the night when I’m sleeping on the bed.”

“That’s awfully kind of you Benji.”

“Thanks Sue.  That means a lot coming from you.  Oh.  And could you turn out the light on your way out?  It’s time for my nap.”

“Sure Benji.”

~ Susanne


I hope you enjoy these fanciful jellyfish as much as I did today at the Pt. Defiance Pacific Seas Aquarium.  I thought they’d be a nice fit for the Sunday Challenge at ‘Travel with Intent,’ where this week’s word prompt is Blue.

~ Susanne

All Ablaze at Seattle Japanese Garden

I can’t remember the last time I visited Seattle Japanese Garden at the Arboretum – maybe never?   But what better time than during the annual Maple Festival when the Garden is ablaze with color.

~ Susanne

Green River Gorge and a Walk through Nolte State Park

After yesterday’s dreary rain I thought we might be trapped inside until next April when the rain should stop. Fortunately today was clear so we took advantage and headed out to the Green River Gorge. We stopped for breakfast in Black Diamond, and after a short drive were at the remote one lane bridge.  Built in 1914 150 feet above the Gorge, it provides spectacular views.

We parked the car and walked onto the bridge to see this view facing east.

Facing west you see a waterfall directly beneath you if you know where to look.

The view is even better in the winter when there’s ice in the Gorge and more water flowing.  And with the leaves gone you can see the platform above the falls.

Someday we might hike the trail to the bottom but not this time.  Okay, maybe never.  It’s still unclear to me exactly how you get there and just how safe it is.

Instead, we’d do our walking on more level ground at nearby Nolte State Park through native forest on the shores of Deep Lake.

We set out on the trail through woods,  ‘lovely, dark and deep.’  Yes I’m borrowing from Robert Frost as I can think of no better way to describe them.

The air was fresh and damp and the forest full of life, rich and mysterious.

I came across a lacy cedar and upright maple, intertwined as if dancing.

Can you see it?

And this giant Doug-fir stood watch, solid and alone as it had for perhaps hundreds of years.

We continued on toward the lake and noticed the leaves beginning to show their fall color.

Soon we were back where we started, refreshed and rejuvenated. And though the sun chose to remain hidden until we made it home, at least it didn’t rain.

~ Susanne


Let me say first that I mostly prefer the box – take comfort in the box, do not as a general rule,  ‘think outside the box,’ because well, who likes uncertainty?  I majored in accounting and liked very much how things fit nicely on both sides of the ledger, added up, balanced out and everything was governed by rules at the same time – perfect!

Once I was on a project which was run by a team of consultants and we had to participate in team building exercises, which were possibly my most unfavorite thing to do.  We were given two toothpicks and asked to make a triangle out of them.  And no, you couldn’t break them.  Huh?  Not possible I thought to myself.  It takes three lines to make a triangle, that much I remember from my most hated math class – Geometry. Once you got it, you were to indicate that you had, then we would discuss.  I pondered. I squirmed.  I watched others who seemed to get it.   At some point I must have mimicked something they were doing and they said, ‘ she got it” though I really DIDN’T.   I just wasn’t about to volunteer the information, ‘hey I’m stupid here,’  and so we proceeded to discuss what the exercise was all about and what it meant to ‘think outside the box.’

Okay, just for the record,  at some point,  I finally GOT IT – though not on my own.  The table was the base, you raised the toothpicks like a teepee and voila!  you had a triangle!

Apparently this not fun, team building exercise which I thought was to teach me to ‘think outside the box,’ taught me instead how we are all different from one another, think differently,  learn differently, and need one another to get through.  But it also taught me how much I like being in the box.  And how much I hate puzzles.

And so I slip this story in, just under the wire, in response to Lorna’s prompt over at Gin & Lemonade,  Puzzle.

~ Susanne

A Sunset Over Dinner

If you follow my blog you probably know by now how much I love sunsets.  So here’s one from last night taken after our anniversary dinner at Redondo Beach on Puget Sound.  It followed a few rainy days and so was a welcome sight even with all the clouds.

~ Susanne

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

Of all the pictures I took of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone,

this one’s my favorite.

~ Susanne

Benji Update

I’m happy to report that Benji is back to his feisty young self after a week of recovering from an infection and cellulitis.  (Here’s the story of his trip to the vet in case you missed it.)

All that remains is for him to grow back the bit of hair that was shaved  – though even without it he’s adorable. He’s been extra affectionate (as if that were possible) and sticking close to me as his way of saying thanks for helping him through the toughest times. This morning he kept vigil from the window ledge as I took my shower.

That’s my boy.

~ Susanne

More Wonders of Yellowstone

I hope I’m not boring you with my posts on Yellowstone National Park but this may be my most comprehensive tour yet!   First of all, did I tell you that Yellowstone sits in the caldera of an ancient supervolcano, and the same forces that caused it to blow 640,000 years ago are still active, giving rise to thousands of geysers, hot springs, mud pots and fumeroles?

Well maybe I did – but a picture’s worth a thousand words. So here’s a few more, starting with the most famous geyser of them all, Old Faithful.

Old Faithful is in the Upper Geyser Basin, which contains the majority of the world’s active geysers. During the summer you’ll find forecasted eruption times and it obliges every 90 minutes or so. Faithful, huh?

Our first day in the park we saw it erupt under cloudy skies.

Our last day in the Park we saw it again, rising straighter and higher while the crowds gawked.

Magnificent indeed. But there are many other geysers worth seeing including Riverside Geyser, which I happened upon just before it woke up – lucky for me since it only erupts every 6 hours.

It shot a plume of water high in the sky for the next twenty minutes (much longer than Old Faithful by the way) and without the crowds!

What a treat!  The thing about Yellowstone is, it never disappoints.  There’s always another stop, another basin, more boardwalks, and you think it can’t get any better, but it does, again and again. Just like this stop at colorful Artists’ Paint Pots,

where we saw Blood Geyser, surrounded by red stained rock from the high concentrations of iron oxide in the water,

and colorful hot springs dotting the landscape.

And at Biscuit Basin we found bubbling Fountain Paint Pot,

a few more wild geysers –

and perhaps the bluest hot spring in the Park – though there are many vying for that title –  Sapphire Pool.

And lest I forget the fumeroles (those vents in the earth spewing gas and steam) here’s Red Spouter, a fumerole during the dry summer months, a hot spring or mud pot during the rainy season.

Finally I’ll close with the largest hot spring in the Park, and third largest in the world,  Grand Prismatic Spring,  370 feet in diameter and 121 feet deep.

Across the Firehole River in the Midway Geyser Basin,

you take the boardwalk until you see color emanating from a vast,  mysterious steam covered area.

The sign says you’ve reached it,

but you are only on its outer edges, the pool itself seems far away and hidden from sight.

You wish you were a bird flying over that magnificent pool, so you could see its hidden blue depths, but must content yourself with the colors of life teeming around the edges.  And on that note, I will leave you pondering.

Thanks for coming along on this tour of Yellowstone. There may be yet another post waiting to emerge. We shall see.

~ Susanne

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