Life and Maintenance in the December Garden

While the rest of the country has been hammered by winter, here in the Great Northwest I’m still working in the fall garden.  Nothing major of course,  just the ordinary maintenance that life requires.

Our home is surrounded by evergreen trees – mostly Douglas-Firs and Hemlocks – and while I love the privacy and bird habitat they provide, they drop their cones year around;  you’d think we’d be living in a forest.  But despite thousands of cones releasing thousands of seeds, few if any result in new trees.   Still they are messy.

The other day I found hundreds of them littering our deck and yard after a windstorm the night before.  Bob usually does the cleanup but I was  looking for an excuse to go outside – there’s something therapeutic about fresh air and physical labor, no matter how minimal.

So out I went and filled up the pail with cones a couple times over.

I wasn’t alone.  I turned on the stream and was joined by the cats who like the flow of water and also my company.

Benji found the catmint still blooming and stopped for a snack.

Tiger wandered about at his own quiet pace, dining occasionally on the grass.

After things were tidied up and my outlook significantly improved I went inside, looking forward to surprising Bob with my efforts.

It was a good day in the garden.

~ Susanne

Happy Anniversary Tiger!

“Can you believe It was six years ago this month, Tiger?  Sorry I don’t remember the exact date.”

“What’s that Sue?”

“When we brought you and Shadow home from the cat hotel. Only you weren’t called Tiger then, your name was Miracle.  And Shadow was Brother Love – may he rest in peace.”

“Of course I remember Sue. We thought we’d never get out of there!  It really was a miracle wasn’t it?  But I’m glad you changed my name to Tiger; I needed a fresh start.  And I’m glad for the time Shadow had with us in Paradise.  He loved everyday he was here.  But I’ve always wondered – what convinced you to come and get us?”

“Honestly Tiger, you can thank Bob for that.  He’s the one who decided we should go and take a look when we heard about your plight.  But once we met you it didn’t take much convincing. Your beautiful green eyes seemed to speak right from your soul into ours.  They still do.”

“Aw shucks Sue.  Thanks so much.”

“You’re welcome Tiger. Happy Anniversary and may there be many more to come!”

~ Susanne

P.S.  For more about how Tiger came to live with us, check out the posts below from the earliest days of the blog.

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

The day after Thanksgiving we went for a drive to Federation Forest and found the evergreens dusted with snow. It was an unexpected but pleasant surprise.

It was also a surprise to find the gate to the park locked. But no matter; we left our car by the side of the road and were welcomed into the woods by the resident ranger. And though the trails were covered in snow it was mostly dry and crunchy beneath our feet.

This was only our second time to Federation Forest; the first time was earlier in the spring (here) when wildflowers adorned the trails. No wildflowers this time but there was a quiet mystery as the forest rested in the snow.

In addition to old growth Douglas-fir, Western Red Cedar, Sitka Spruce and Western Hemlock, we enjoyed glimpses of the White River, which flows from Emmons Glacier on nearby Mt Rainier.

It was a wonderful walk in a winter wonderland.

For Sunday Stills, ‘Chills.

~ Susanne


The White Stuff

None currently in the Great Northwest.  No snow that is.  So for Cees’ Fun Foto Challenge I had to look elsewhere for white and found it to be in short supply.

But then I remembered the picture I took in Carmel last month of the white cabbage butterfly.

And the snowberry out front,  a native plant here in the Pacific Northwest whose little berries do indeed look like snowballs.

Still looking for white I found these trees standing out from their surroundings

and this one on my walk at Coulon Park, waving at me as if to say, ‘I’m here, include me too.’

And finally because I really do love the white stuff I’ll close with some pictures of Benji enjoying the snow earlier this year.



And that will do..

~ Susanne

A Tale of Turkey Day from Long, Long Ago

You may remember this Thanksgiving story from long, long ago…

* * * * * * * *

When I was growing up my favorite part of Thanksgiving was not the turkey. Neither was it the dressing which is my favorite today but wasn’t then. What I remember most are the hors d’oeuvres and the wine flips and the trip downtown for football. I’ll explain.

First the hors d’oeuvres, which is not only the hardest thing to spell, but also may be too grand a word for what we made. We started with crackers, then applied, even squirted on, the cheese. Next we added tiny meats like salami and pepperoni, which we followed up with olives and pickles, then used a toothpick to hold the tower together. We placed them on a tray and delivered them to our guests in style and when it was empty we ran back to the kitchen to build the next batch until all the components were gone. Tasty little treats they were.

But dinner was not yet, for while the turkey was in the oven, my sisters drove us to Seattle’s Memorial Stadium for Turkey Day, to watch their high school football team, the Chief Sealth Seahawks, play in the championship game. And I – a mere little sister – got to tag along with them and their friends. I loved every minute I was in the presence of those confident teenage girls and couldn’t wait to be their age.

The ride home was exhilarating if we won, as we shouted out the windows to the losers driving by, “Seahawks Rule!” Whatever the kids from other cars would yell back, we would always counter with, “who won the game?” and that would silence them.

I remember the year Chief Sealth lost to the Roosevelt Roughriders, 10 to 7.

The ride home was quiet and we rolled up our windows. But by the time we made it back home, the sting of the loss was over, the turkey was ready and its fragrance filled the air. As we ate our dinner, mom pulled out the special beaded wine glasses and filled ours with 7-Up and a splash of wine, turning our drink a lovely pink (promise not to tell.) Next year we said.

~ Susanne

Of Cats and Gardens

I couldn’t pass up the chance to share a few of my favorite photos in response to Sunday Still’s Photo Challenge.

I’ll start with a picture of sweet Benji on my lap in the garden. Yes, it’s the same one that made it into the 2020 International Cat Care Calendar and I anxiously await my copy.

It was tough explaining to Tiger why I didn’t submit a picture of him too but I think he understands. Next time.

The roses have gone to sleep now but they were so vibrant earlier this summer.

The bees are long gone too now that their work is done.

But the hummingbirds remain and I continue to feed them.  They are grateful as am I.

~ Susanne

Close up on Hydrangeas

Even as we count down to winter there is still much color to be found in the fall garden; look no further than the hydrangeas.

~ Susanne

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