Wisdom from Cats in the Garden

I wandered in the garden one morning

and found Tiger and Benji apparently at odds.

It was mostly Tiger who needed cheering up.

“Hey Tiger, you handsome boy!  How are you doing?”

“Oh I don’t know Sue.  I don’t feel very handsome.  Did you notice the carcass in the yard?”

“Yes Tiger, I noticed.  A mole.  Great job!”

“It wasn’t me Sue.  Benji caught it. That boy is fast!  You should have seen him out here in the lettuce this morning.  It was brilliant.”

“He knew just when to strike and brought the beast down without a struggle.”

“That’s great Tiger,’ I replied.  “The mole was destroying the garden and needed to go. I’m happy Benji took care of it.  So what’s the problem?”

“Don’t you see Sue?   I  used to be able to do that.  Not anymore.  Let’s face it.  I’m finished.”

“Oh Tiger, you mustn’t think that!  You did your part. It’s time to let the boy do the dirty work.  Who wants to kill moles anyway? They’re not good for eating.”

“You’re right about that Sue. But I just feel so useless sometimes.”

“You’re not useless Tiger!    Your presence alone keeps the varmints away.  Honestly, I love how you wander in the garden and enjoy the moment.”

“You remind me to stop and take time to smell the roses.”

“And the lavender.”

“And the bounty of the garden. Did you notice the raspberries are ripening?”

“And look!  Our first year for thimbleberries!”

“Yes Sue, I noticed.  And how about those strawberries? They really smell good!”

“Indeed they do Tiger!  Youth has its place, but if everyone ran around in a frenzy all the time, hunting and wild-eyed,  how would it be? There’s got to be some mature felines to provide guidance and wisdom to the young.  You’ve got a lot to give.”

“Aw thanks Sue.  I could give Benji a few tips alright.   I don’t really feel like hunting moles anymore,  though I may be up for an occasional vole now and then. Mostly I’d rather be here where I am, in the garden visiting with you.”

“You and I are more alike then you know, Tiger.”

~ Susanne

In the Zone

Sorry if you have to work today. I think I shall stay right here.

In the zone.

Happy Friday.

~ Susanne and Benji

Silver Falls at Mt Rainier

We were looking for someplace to escape the heat this week and decided on a trip to Mt. Rainier National Park.  There’s always something new to discover at the Park and this week it was Silver Falls. On our way to the Falls, we enjoyed views of the Mountain around every corner.

This one from Inspiration Point.

This one at Reflection Lakes where we got to see the mountain twice

and framed in evergreens.

Along the Stevens Canyon Road we continued toward Ohanapecosh Campground and the trailhead to Silver Falls. Turns out it had everything you want in a hike.

A good trail  through towering old growth forest.

Bridges over streams and brooks.

The roar and occasional glimpses of the river through the trees.

And the gorgeous falls at the end, where according to the National Park Service website, “the clear, icy and swift Ohanapecosh River tumbles over Silver Falls as it flows from its headwaters in the glaciers and snowfields on to the sea.”

Ahhhhh yes.  I can feel the cool air even now.

Move over Sol Duc. I think I found my new favorite waterfall hike.

~  Susanne

Disabling Spammy Comment Likes

Most of you won’t need to read this post as it applies only to those who regularly comment on my blog.  I woke this morning to notifications of a spammer ‘liking’ comments on my recent posts.  The name starts with ‘id’ and is followed by randomly generated letters.  I assume they wish to trick you into visiting their site.  I did not and  I wanted to spare you as well.  I reported the matter to WordPress and they were already aware of the issue and working on blocking this activity.  Their workaround for now is to disable comment likes which I have done.    (You’ll find a check box that controls this under Sharing Options.)

I decided to write this post as I’ve been helped when other bloggers have warned of specific spammer activity.

I still welcome your comments on my blog and will respond as always.  But for now I won’t be able to ‘like’ your comment in order to thwart the pernicious ‘likers’.

Isn’t blogging fun?

~  Susanne

A Summer Sunset

Though summer doesn’t arrive till Thursday the weather couldn’t wait and we reached 85 degrees today.  Along with high temperatures expected all week,  the summer solstice will also bring the longest day of the year.  In Seattle that means a whopping 16 hours of daylight, with sunrise at 5:11 a.m. and sunset at 9:10 p.m.  It rather makes up for those dark, dreary days of winter, don’t you think?

And what better time of year to enjoy the sunset!   Driving home last night while the sun was setting we could tell it was special so we swung by a new spot to watch it.  These pictures were taken at 9:20.

Look closely and you’ll see the Seattle skyline far off in the distance and Lake Washington shimmering to the right.

I only had my phone with me so the quality of the pictures could be better. Still the sunset speaks for itself.

Looking forward to returning to this spot to enjoy more sunsets of summer with real camera in hand.

~ Susanne

A Camper, Submarines, and Poulsbo

One of the nice things about shopping for a camper is that it takes you to places you might not otherwise go. Take yesterday for instance. We’d found a trailer for sale in Seabeck and wanted to take a look. Located on Hood Canal, we knew we could get there by going north and taking a ferry across Puget Sound,  or south and around on the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.  It would be a fun day whether we got the camper or not.

We opted to go south and over the Bridge.

The seller wouldn’t be home till later so we stopped for lunch in the charming town of Poulsbo. Founded by Scandinavian settlers on Liberty Bay over 100 years ago, Poulsbo has kept its proud heritage alive. Nicknamed ‘Little Norway,’ its historic downtown has colorful shops and eateries while its waterfront has views of the Bay, a pavilion and boardwalk.

After a lunch of fish and chips and a bit of shopping it was on to Seabeck  to check out the camper. Along the way I saw a sign which I thought said,  ‘underwater war games.’   Really?  Of course I’d heard of Bangor before and was vaguely aware that submarines navigated the deep waters of Hood Canal. Still it gave me pause.

We met the friendly couple selling the camper and I learned that both of them worked at the Naval Base nearby. In fact when I asked the wife about the badge she wore, she said she worked at the ‘top secret’ naval station.  ‘Top Secret,‘ she said.  Another reminder that in the midst of our paradise lies a fleet of nuclear submarines and ballistic missiles.   I guess as long as they’re just playing games nobody gets hurt?

The Kitsap Naval Base was created in 2004 by merging the former Naval Station Bremerton with Naval Submarine Base Bangor. You can see the restricted area near Poulsbo on the map below.

But we were there to see the camper. It was a beauty and well maintained by the nuclear submarine mechanic husband. Unfortunately it was too big for our needs and our truck, to which we were unable to hitch it. So after a stop for dinner we headed back home over the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, without a camper, but having had a fun and interesting day nonetheless.

We will continue our search for the perfect camper wherever that may lead us. Another day, another story.

~ Susanne

Kanaskat-Palmer and the Green River

It’s camping season and sorry to say we are fresh out of campers. We sold our last one a year ago thinking we were done with hauling our sleeping quarters into the woods of the Pacific Northwest, and all over the country for that matter. But now as summer approaches we have had second thoughts and are busy searching for the perfect camper, a trailer this time we think.

In the meantime we’re enjoying day trips and today visited Kanaskat-Palmer State Park, set on the banks of the Green River.  After a short drive on the Maple Valley Highway, we were there and soon wandering the trails through lush forest with wildflowers blooming and berries ripening.

There’s nothing like being in the woods, unless it’s being near a river, which is where we headed next.

If we only had that camper, we’d still be there tonight in one of the cozy spots in the deserted campground.

In the stillness of the woods,  by the glow of the campfire, looking forward to waking up in the morning and having our coffee by the fire.  What could be better?

~ Susanne

Tiger on a Rainy Afternoon

A little TV, followed by some light reading makes a cat plum tired out.

That’s Tiger on a rainy afternoon.

~ Susanne

Cape Disappointment

I’ve already posted about our trip to Long Beach on the southern coast of Washington.  But I would be remiss if I left out our visit to Cape Disappointment on the southern tip of the Peninsula for it was here that the great explorers Lewis and Clark reached the Pacific Ocean in 1805.

Commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson to explore the unknown western part of the continent and to find a water route to the Pacific, they left Camp River Dubois near St. Louis, in May of 1804.  They would venture into uncharted wilderness never before seen by white men, documenting their route, encounters and trade with Indians, and their scientific discoveries of new plants and animals.

We visited Camp River Dubois once and saw a replica of the keelboat they took on their Expedition.

I don’t intend to document their entire journey here.   (Thank goodness.)   Suffice it to say they traveled over 4,000 miles across the North American continent with no communication or support from the outside world.  It took them 18 months by keelboat, canoe, horse and on foot,  to arrive at the westernmost point of their journey,  Cape Disappointment in November of 1805.

“Ocian in view! O! the joy!” William Clark wrote in his journal as they neared the Pacific.

They hunkered down for weeks in stormy weather on the north side of the Columbia at Dismal Nitch (the name alone should tell you something) and Station Camp. After exploring Cape Disappointment they voted to cross the river and set up their winter camp at Fort Clatsop where game was thought to be more plentiful. After a long, rainy, winter they left Fort Clatsop to make the trek back to civilization, arriving in St. Louis in September of 1806.  Now that was some road trip!

We drove the few miles south from Long Beach to visit Cape Disappointment where things looked much as they had in Lewis and Clark’s day

The forest at Cape Disappointment is one of the fastest growing in North America.  Often shrouded in mist and fog,  Sitka Spruce, hemlock, and pine thrive in the mild temperatures and plentiful rain.

Two lighthouses guide mariners through the treacherous river bar near the entrance to the Columbia, known as the ‘graveyard of the Pacific.’  We stopped to walk the trail to the North Head Lighthouse, the newer of the two, built in 1898.

The Cape Disappointment Lighthouse was  built in 1856 and is the oldest one operating in the Pacific Northwest.  You can take a short trail to the lighthouse from the nearby Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center.

We visited the Interpretive Center which provides an overview of the Corps of Discovery led by these two men, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark.

I would love to follow in their footsteps someday, and trace their journey from St. Louis to the Pacific,  if only by car.  Until then I will close with a quote from Thomas Jefferson.

I hope you enjoyed this overview of Lewis and Clark at Cape Disappointment or at least were inspired to create some special journeys of your own!

Happy Travels!

~  Susanne

Still Soaring

This is Benji and even though I am a full-grown cat I will never be as big as Tiger.

But it doesn’t matter.

In my dreams I still soar.

Just like before:  https://catsandtrailsandgardentales.com/2017/03/19/in-my-dreams-i-soar/

Only better.

~ Benji

Oysterville on Willapa Bay

Travel back in time for absolute peace and quiet to the historic town of Oysterville. Located on the north end of the Long Beach Peninsula, Oysterville faces east on Willapa Bay, where generations of Chinook Indians once camped and gathered oysters. The first white settlers arrived in 1841 and the town was established in 1854, making Oysterville one of Washington’s oldest.   The bay was rich in tiny native oysters which were harvested and shipped to gold-rich San Francisco, where they ultimately sold for a dollar a piece.  When the oysters ran out so did the town, leaving only quiet streets and quaint houses, along with a store, school and church.

On our recent trip to Long Beach, we drove the 20 minutes north to see the tiny village just before sunset.

Oysterville was placed on the National Historic Register in 1976 but is still a community of privately owned homes. We walked the couple of blocks through town to Willapa Bay where the oysters had once grown so richly.

Willapa Bay is one of the most pristine estuaries in the United States and the second largest on the Pacific coast.  It’s also home to the Willapa National Wildlife Refuge,  established in 1937 to protect migrating birds and their habitat.  We visited the Leadbetter Point Unit of the Refuge on the tip of the Peninsula the next day.

We found what seemed to be a vast emptiness of tide flats and grasses on the bay side. Actually, the mudflats teem with worms, clams and crustaceans creating prime foraging for shorebirds.

We missed the best birdwatching opportunities which occur during the fall and spring migrations. And sections of the Refuge on the Pacific Ocean side were closed to the public to protect nesting snowy plovers.

So much more to see at the Willapa Wildlife Refuge!  Now that we’ve discovered it we’ll return again on our next trip to the Long Beach Peninsula.

~ Susanne

Inspiration in the Clouds

I went to the park today and found everything and everyone happy and festive in the warm sunshine.  There was the heavy scent of ripe grass evoking childhood memories and a little truck with its driver dispensing ice cream bars.  Children ran and jumped and climbed and twisted in the playground while uniformed boys played a tidier game of baseball in the diamond nearby.  I was there to walk and made my way around the path encircling much of the park and soon I noticed the clouds above.

Thick and curdled. Together and alone.  Pulled apart and strewn about. Each lap revealed new shapes and sizes, new angles and accents as the clouds stayed put or drifted in the sky, brilliant in white and full of inspiration to imagination.

A child’s project?  Cotton balls glued to a poster of blue, the green tree stamped in after.

No, let’s move the trees above the clouds where they belong.

Or better yet,  remove all the trees; the clouds and blue are enough.

But something more.  A moon perhaps – I think it was – a tiny green orb hiding in the gap.  Look for it.

Inspired to imagination by the clouds.

~ Susanne

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