Millersylvania – What’s in a Name?

We’d seen the sign many times – Millersylvania State Park – but with a name like that we didn’t expect much.  We were wrong – the park had everything!

A peaceful lake for fishing and swimming.

Tiny tables for picnicking.

Trails through old growth cedar and fir trees

and on boardwalks through wetlands.

Private campsites begging to be filled with happy campers.

Just an hour and a half down the I-5 corridor, the park was donated to the state by the Miller family in 1921.  Buildings were constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in 1935 and include kitchen shelters, cabins, restrooms and an Environmental Learning Center. With 8.6 miles of pedestrian trails and 7.6 miles of biking trails, what’s not to like?

We’ll be back.

~ Susanne

Birds and the Bees and the Flowers and the Trees

You’ll be seeing more of my backyard during these stay at home orders;  and fortunately there’s always something new with the birds and the bees and the flowers and the trees!

I’m especially thankful for the hummingbirds that call my garden home. I love to watch them from the garden shed as they drop by to feed.

I like to think they don’t see me but these glances tell me otherwise.

Still, I think we trust each other. I keep the feeders full and the water flowing – they let me take their picture.

Today I watched as one darted from branch to branch of the Douglas Fir tree, enjoying the fresh new growth of the needles.  I saw the bees doing the same thing and wondered – do they think they’re flowers?

My research tells me that in fact, these tender needles are edible and full of Vitamin C – just as advertised by Euell Gibbons.  😊 ‘Ever eat a pine tree? – many parts are edible!’

I didn’t try them but am told they taste like citrus.   And I couldn’t find a definitive answer as to what the hummingbirds were after.  Moisture? Insects? Sap? Or could they possibly eat the tender tips like we can?  I don’t know and they’re not talking.

But I do know what they’re after in the stream.

A dip and a splash and a drink.

~ Susanne

Some Days Are Like That

Has quarantine got you down?

And you feel like you just can’t take it anymore?

Some days are like that.

Hang in there.

~ Susanne and Benji

Today’s Fragrance in the Garden

The clematis continues to climb high in the sky but its beauty is not in its fragrance.

For that you must look closer to the ground – to the cool colors in the herb garden

– especially the lavender.

And the sweetest scent comes from my favorite azaleas –

the fragrance of honeysuckle.

~ Susanne

Looking for Rainbows in Hawaii

We didn’t realize it then, but timing is everything.  By some fortuitous planning, we managed a trip to Hawaii in February, completely oblivious to what we’d face upon our return – pandemic, lockdown, and stay-at-home orders.

So for Cee’s On the Hunt for Joy Challenge I thought I’d go looking for rainbows in Oahu.  Here’s what I found.

Sandals!  Aren’t they fun?  We called them zories when I was a kid, without the bling of course.   Later on we called them thongs till that took on a new meaning and now we call them flip flops. At least I think we do, who can keep up?

I found rainbow colored sailboats near Ala Moana Park, with Diamond Head and the Hilton Rainbow Tower in the background.

I passed the tower on a walk to Waikiki Beach –

and found a bird in the lagoon lit up by its reflection.

As I continued my walk there was a cooling shower followed by a rainbow in the clouds.

In fact there were many other rainbows on our trip – including this one over the harbor. No wonder Hawaii calls itself the Rainbow State.

But my favorite comes from our first trip to Hawaii years ago. Taken from a dinner cruise as we celebrated our anniversary and perhaps a promise that we would return.

I’m glad we did.  But for now we stay at home enjoying the memories. Timing is everything.

~ Susanne

A Story of Tiger from the Early Days

This happened some years ago after I first came to live with Bob and Sue.

I’d just finished my bath and was relaxing on the desk under the fading light of winter sun….

when I felt a strange tingling in my neck and had the sense I was being watched.  I turned around and saw two black eyes peering at me through the window.

zoo bear raccoon saeugentier
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I kept my cool but Sue came unglued and began yelling and waving her arms.

“Bob! There’s a raccoon on our roof!”

So there really were raccoons.

The next thing you know Bob’s pumping up the BB gun, running outside and firing away to scare off that old bandit.

But I was left wondering – what else was out there?

You see, up till then I’d been an “indoor cat.”  I even hate the name, no offense to the rest of the kingdom. In all my previous lives, I was never allowed to go outside – not even for a short walk in a fenced yard.  Never allowed to hunt in the wild like our ancestors did or jump high in the air to catch a winged creature.  (Just for play of course.)  Instead I had to content myself with the stray spider in the house, the slow moving housefly or worse yet, the taunting of crows and squirrels through the window.

Well, I thought, this raccoon may set back my efforts to ever get outside.  Still, I determined to wear them down and day by day, I stood by the door with sad eyes and cried.  I made promises to stay inside the fence  (uh-huh) and to always come when called.  And as the days grew longer and the sun grew brighter and the squirrels began running frantically to and fro, Bob and Sue FINALLY opened the door.  And for that I will always be grateful.

~ Tiger

Flower of the Day – Clematis

Every May she wakes up in the garden, climbing, determined and exuberant, making everything beautiful in her path.

For Cee’s Flower of the Day: Clematis.

~ Susanne

Green River, Rain or Shine! And Steelhead Sighting!

Don’t get me wrong, I prefer shine.  But regardless of the weather there’s nothing like a walk along the Green River to cure what ails you!  And yesterday we were rewarded with a Steelhead sighting – Washington’s State Fish – making it a perfect hike!

It had been too long since we’d ventured out.  Perhaps the rain had gotten to us.  Or maybe it was the quarantine blues.  Whatever it was, we shook it off yesterday and headed to Flaming Geyser State Park, stopping short of the entrance but finding easy access to a river trail nearby.

Now the thing about walking in the woods is that the rain doesn’t seem to bother you.  It’s filtered by the treetops and moss before it falls gently to the ground keeping everything lush and green – at least if you live in the Evergreen State.

I could have sworn we were in the rainforest, with so many trees wearing moss and ferns

including this zombie, which I wouldn’t want to meet in the dark.

We made our way down to the river where we watched it flow in perfect solitude.

 

And then – after Bob mentioned what a good spot it was for fishing — we saw a giant Steelhead jump!  A first for me!

Too bad I didn’t catch him in the video but trust me, it was three feet long if it was an inch!

So I wondered – is it a Salmon or a Trout?   According to what I could find online, it’s technically a Rainbow Trout but spends much of it’s life in the ocean, returning to spawn like a Salmon.  To learn more click here.

And in case you were wondering –  Washington State Parks will be reopened again next week, complete with services and parking and fishing too – hooray!

~ Susanne

Ready or Not

It turns out the first Earthquake I experienced in Seattle, happened on April 29th, 55 years ago! Sorry to say I am old enough to remember, please don’t hold it against me! 🙂

Cats and Trails and Garden Tales

It’s 4th grade and I’m at the school that looms large in my memory.

We’re sitting on the steps under the overhang of the building,  a covered entryway somewhere between in and out.  School hasn’t started yet and it’s almost 8:30.   I’m with my best friend Joyce and we’re playing a game called ‘Safety Sam,’ my mom’s invention.

No props just pure imagination and we’re preparing to go on a trip to somewhere and pack our invisible bags.

And then the low rumbling begins.

And the ground starts moving.

Back and forth.

‘Safety Sam’ is the name of the game and we quickly jump off the steps and run outside to the playground.

Mrs. Halgramson is there blowing a whistle, and early arrivers are gathering together and many are crying which I find strange.

‘Our house is cracked, and things were falling off the shelves!’ they say.

To me…

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Rise Up! : Sign Language Version

Check out this inspirational post from my friend Pete. A beautiful song of encouragement in sign language!

beetleypete

My step-daughter Emma works here in Norfolk in a school for children with special educational needs. Because of Coronavirus, she is currently working from home on teaching projects. She decided to use her sign language skills to help and inspire the kids at the school, many of whom have great problems with communication. She worked hard to create a sign language version of the popular and inspiring song, ‘Rise Up!’

I don’t normally make such requests, but on this occasion I am asking all of you, wherever you live, to share this blog post on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and on any other social media platform you are a member of.

Sign language is international. and so many people trapped at home during the current lockdown may be thrilled and inspired by Emma’s video. Let them know it will all be over soon, and that one day they will ‘Rise Up’…

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