SoCal Floral Beauty and Allen’s Hummingbirds!

When in need of sunshine and a respite from a wintery spring, we Northwesterners head to sunny Southern California!

When it’s a road trip in April you may very well spend your first 2 days driving through rain in Washington and Oregon.

But seriously, don’t lose heart. Persevere and you’ll be rewarded with blue skies and temperatures in the 70’s and 80’s.

You’ll be surrounded by fragrant floral beauty,

including roses that thrive in the heat.

And if you’re  lucky like I was, you’ll stay where hummingbirds feed, especially the gorgeous Allen’s Hummingbird, which I have never seen in the Northwest.

I still love my Anna’s hummingbirds, but their more colorful cousins nearly stole my heart. I’m so glad my brother shared them with me at his beautiful home. What a treat!

Sharing with Sunday Stills

– Susanne

Sixth Anniversary! My First Blog Post from Tiger’s Corner

I can’t believe it’s been six years since I published my first post on this blog with just a few cat stories in mind. I remember thinking immediately thereafter, “oh no! now what?”

Honestly, I still wonder.

But just when I think the well has run dry something calls me – the kitties – the birds – the beauty of the Northwest – and a post emerges, and that has happened more than a thousand times.

It started with this one from Tiger on April 22, 2016.

“This is the first installment of our new blog and I appreciate Sue for letting me have the first few words.  As you can tell by my picture, I am a handsome fellow.

That’s why she picked me out of the lineup at the cat jail.  Okay, so it really wasn’t a jail.  They called it a cat hotel – without check out privileges I guess you could say.  Either way, it was my green eyes that saved me and my brother Shadow from spending the rest of our lives there.  Only I wasn’t Tiger then, I was Miracle. And Shadow was Brother Love, I kid you not.

Bob and Sue were so kind to rescue us from our sheltered life and let us live with them in a nice big house, surrounded by luscious trees and thick forest with lots of little critters (who don’t stand a chance, by the way.) 

I will let her tell you about all the other wonderful things outside our home like the little framed plots containing lavender and rosemary and strawberries and roses and clematis and vegetables

and oh! the list goes on and on and it is her job to tell you.

As for me, this was only to be an introduction and I have said enough and am tired and ready for one of my many afternoon naps. Talk later.” 

~ Tiger

Having a Chat with the Cat

He’s all ears.

And eyes.

– Susanne and Benji

Looking for Gold, Quartz and Diamond – Hiking on the Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie

We recently discovered a new hike on the Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie River, Camp Brown, in case you wondered. The hike was short, scenic and wonderfully green, with great river access for Bob to practice flyfishing.

While he fished, I enjoyed the scenery, especially Mt. Garfield.

And I focused my camera on the river and rocks, lit up by sunshine on the hottest day of the year.

Sparkly like diamonds I thought.

And I’m sure I saw flecks of gold.

“Look,” I said when we sat down for lunch, “there’s gold in the sand.”

“Fool’s gold,” he said.

“I don’t know about that,” I replied.

I knew there was gold in Washington’s rivers and streams. We’d recently stopped by the oldest mining town in the state – Liberty on Blewett Pass – where gold was discovered in Swauk Creek in 1873.

But honestly, I didn’t really think there was gold in the sand – this was the Snoqualmie River not Swauk Creek – and if there were, the flecks were miniscule. Still, it was fun to dream.

And in my pictures, I saw mostly quartz, not diamonds or gold, as it should be since quartz is abundant on the earth’s surface.

What do you see?

Sharing with Sunday Stills, Quartz and Diamond.

~ Susanne

A Sure Sign of Spring – the Salmonberries are Blooming

Despite the rocky start to spring – we had snow yesterday, and wind, rain and hail last week – the salmonberries are blooming! I found these on the trail recently, on the hottest day of the year when the sun was actually shining, and lit them up from behind. (We haven’t had a day like that since.)

These beautiful berries are native to the Pacific Northwest, growing in the moist and wet forests and near stream banks. They are the berries of my childhood. When I was growing up, we had a huge patch of them near our house and we picked them in all their glorious colors – yellow-orange-red – and ate them on the spot or later with cream and sugar. Yes, we did!

They also used to grow in the Tiffany Park Woods behind our current home, before the woods were razed.

Here’s what they look like when ripening, but gold is only one of their colors.

You’ll also find them in orange, salmon and ruby red though I don’t have pictures of those in my archives. I’ll be on the lookout for them.

Sharing with Cees’ Flower of the Day.

~ Susanne

Summoned by the Hummingbirds

It’s been a cold and rainy spring, so I haven’t been out in the garden much, nor paying enough attention to the hummingbirds. They let me know it.

I was recently summoned from my office on the third floor of our house. I’d let the feeders run dry and a hummer came and hovered in front of the window to let me know. This was a first. My office is on the third level of our house and faces the front yard; the feeders are in the backyard against the fence. The smart little bird knew where to find me.

It took me an hour or so to make fresh nectar and refill the feeders. But the hummers were forgiving and soon back feeding.

Even willing to pose for me.

I do love those sweet little birds!

~ Susanne

An Early Spring Hike on the Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie River

I never cease to be amazed at the beauty of Washington State. Just over an hour away past North Bend we enjoyed these vistas while hiking along the middle fork of the Snoqualmie River.

We started out on the Oxbow Loop Trail with this peek (not peak though there was that too) at the river.

Then we were surrounded by mossy green trees,

Oxbow Lake,

and the craggy peaks of the Cascades.

What more can I say about an easy, flat, two-mile hike through the forest with river and mountain views?

Only that we’ll be back.

And there are many hikes to choose from on the Middle Fork, as Bob seeks to find the best access to the river to fish.

In fact, we’ve already returned since we took this hike at the end of March. I have pictures from last week’s hike to Camp Brown on the warmest day of the year.

But I’ll save that for later.

~ Susanne

Wenatchee Street Art

Last month we visited one of our favorite towns in Washington – Wenatchee, on the east side of the mountains where the sky is always blue and a river runs through it, the mighty Columbia.

We stayed in a new hotel on the banks of the river,

and walked the trail in front as the sun was setting.

It is also an art walk, and sculptures adorn the trail.

Have you ever seen a monkey on a skateboard? You will here.

Or one of my favorites – a big foot known as Ped?

The robin looked like a sculpture but was not – he was merely posing for me.

Next door is the Public Market where you’ll find a spirit of community, local crafts, fresh fruit and restaurants.

Two blocks away you’re in old town Wenatchee where you can shop and continue to enjoy the art.

This one reminded me of something from childhood though I couldn’t put my finger on it. A moth, perhaps? But no – helicopters dropping and twirling under a tree. Thank goodness for the sign – Samaras!

Who says art isn’t educational?

And that will do for now.

~ Susanne

Birds of Coulon with a Shoutout to the Coot

Of all the waterfowl I’ve seen at Coulon Park –

the seagulls

the ducks

canadian geese

and great blue heron.

The one with the greatest numbers gets the least respect from me – always in the background and never featured.

Apologies to you american coot but even your name does you a disservice.

A nondescript bird in grey and black, they flock together unaware they are mostly ignored.

I stopped last week to enjoy the daisies

and found them doing the same.

They seemed happy

to finally get some attention from me.

~ Susanne

Bird Condos for Rent – Excavation Continues

Chickadees continue to move into cavities in the snag and I welcome them.

In the meantime, excavation continues thanks to the Northern Flicker.

Click on pictures in the gallery below to enlarge them.

The rapid rat-a-tat-tat of the pecking resounds throughout the neighborhood, while the woodpecker grips the snag securely, letting the chips fall where they may.

I just hope the chickadees save a room for him.

~ Susanne

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