A Covid Tale and a few more Skippers

Okay, I didn’t mention that I’ve had Covid the last 10 days. It came as quite a surprise. I woke up with a sore throat, felt lousy that first night, and the rapid test confirmed it the next day. Felt like a combined flu and cold with aches and pains, congestion and fatigue my main symptoms. I’m so thankful it wasn’t worse.

I’m feeling much better today and getting bored being housebound. I ran out of the test kits and expect more in the mail today. Once I test negative, I’ll be free to go out again. (I may still go out masked, even if it’s positive, since after 10 days you are not considered to be contagious.)

You may have noticed my blogging has continued throughout my illness. I’m happy it’s kept my mind off things. I’ve been hanging out in the backyard with my camera; the birds and the bees don’t mind.

Yesterday I showed you the little butterflies in my garden, known as skippers.

I took those pictures with my older camera – the Sony RX10; I’ve been using it lately, so I don’t forget how.

But I also took pictures of the skippers with my new camera, the Panasonic Lumix, FZ300 – what a difference a longer zoom makes!

So here they are again – close-up – courtesy of the Lumix.

Cute little buggers, aren’t they?

~ Susanne

Moth or Butterfly?

I wondered as I watched them flit from flower to flower in my herb garden.

I’d assumed they were moths, and I was wrong.

“Butterfly or moth? There are ways to tell them apart. Butterflies generally have long, smooth antennae that are rounded on the ends, while most moths have thick, feathery antennae. Moths also tend to have larger, fuzzier bodies than butterflies. Most moths fly at night, while most butterflies fly during the day. Because of when they’re active, butterflies tend to be more colorful than moths, but that’s not always the case. 

You can see another difference when they’re resting: most moths flatten their wings out over their bodies, while most butterflies raise them up and against each other. And although both butterflies and moths develop in a chrysalis, most moths also spin a protective cocoon.”

https://animals.sandiegozoo.org/animals/butterfly-moth-and-skipper

It turns out these little flyers are called ‘skippers,’ of the group ‘Lepidoptera’ that includes all butterflies and moths. At one time they were considered to be a third category within the order but are now considered butterflies, of the distinct family Hesperiidae.

I suppose a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. Still, a ‘moth’ doesn’t get the same respect as a ‘butterfly’ does, so I was happy this little skipper is a butterfly. Regardless, its a welcome pollinator in my garden.

~ Susanne

Still Soaring After all these Years

From the early days – In his own words

“This is Benji, and I’m not what you call a big cat.  From the beginning they called me the runt of the litter. (No thank you for that.) Sue even doubts my birthday – much too small to be that old, she said, and the vet readily agreed.

But when I’m asleep, I show them all wrong. In my dreams I soar!”

And now – a little older, and a little wiser – he’s still soaring!

~ Susanne and Benji

Hiking in Paradise – Nisqually Vista and Myrtle Falls

We covered a lot of ground in Paradise last week for the short amount of time we spent at Mt. Rainier; just one night at Paradise Inn gave us access to many wonderful hikes without the crowds.

We managed to take 3 of them – two short ones the first day and a longer one the next (Snow Lake which I’ll save for later.)

First up was Nisqually Vista.

Nisqually Vista

This easy paved trail provides great views of the mountain and meadows filled with wildflowers.

(Pictures in the galleries can be enlarged by clicking on them.)

It also leads to views of Nisqually Glacier.

Mt. Rainier has 26 glaciers, more than any other in the conterminous United States.

Nisqually is the most visited and longest studied glacier on the mountain due to its proximity to Paradise.

I found this simple definition of a glacier on the USGS website –

Glaciers form where more snow falls than melts over a period of years, compacts into ice, and becomes thick enough to begin to move. A snow patch becomes a glacier when the deepest layers begin to deform due to the weight of the overlying snow and ice.”

Notice how massive the glacier must have been in ages past by the size of the valley surrounding it. The bottom of the glacier is hard to discern (at least to me) due to the extensive debris cover. Still, you can see the snowmelt flowing out of it which is the source of the Nisqually River.

Afterwards, we checked in to Paradise Inn and took our second hike of the day after dinner, just before sunset.

Myrtle Falls

The trail to Myrtle Falls – easily one of the best in the park – starts behind the inn and provides fabulous views of the mountain and meadows, along with a gorgeous waterfall

Staying overnight allowed us to see sunset cast its beautiful glow on the mountain.

“The hills are alive with the sound of music!” I thought.

And not a bad backdrop for a wedding, either.

~ Susanne

Hey there! It’s International Cat Day!

I couldn’t let the day go by without celebrating these two wonderful felines, different as they are!

Tiger the senior, a sweet boy if not a bit clueless.

“Who me, Sue”

“Yes, Tiger, you. But don’t change, I love you just the way you are.”

And Benji the upstart, who always makes me laugh.

“Who me, Sue? Why?”

“Because I never know where I’ll find you. Which makes life interesting!”

“So Happy International Cat Day to you both! Extra treats are coming your way!”

~ Susanne, Tiger and Benji

Summertime in Seattle means the Blue Angels!

You know that summer has arrived in Seattle when you hear the jets overhead!

The real show is at the Hydroplane races today, but we caught the Blue Angels practicing over Lake Washington yesterday at the end of the Cedar River Trail.

Sharing with Sunday Stills.

~ Susanne

Waking up with the Mountain – A Night in Paradise

Location – location – location.

Look closely and you’ll see the Paradise Inn where I spent the night earlier this week.

Yes, I know. I’ve posted about Mt. Rainier again and again; twice in the last month alone! But this is wildflower season and to make sure we’d beat the crowds, I booked a night at the Inn and got to wake up with the mountain.

Now, I’m not normally an early riser but when the light started coming through the window, I jumped at the chance to get the early morning light and was out of bed by 5:30.

(I passed Bob in the lobby – he IS an early riser – and saw the look of shock on his face. ‘Who are you and what have you done with my wife?!’)

I said good morning-goodbye, then hurried outside with my camera.

I was out for an hour or so and had the trails mostly to myself save for a few other photographers. I didn’t venture far from the Inn – I didn’t have to – all this was right behind me.

After taking too many pictures I returned for a latte and drank it outside with this view of the Tatoosh Range.

The Inn is a classic.

Built in 1916 it’s a quaint and rustic place to stay – and the only place to stay other than Longmire. The room was small but comfortable.

The food was another story! We’d hoped to have a nice meal in the dining room. Unfortunately, the boiler went out the night before, so we had our choice of hamburgers or hotdogs from the grill outside. Let me just say, they were adequate, so we didn’t starve. Uh-huh.

I’d do it again just to wake up on the mountain.

I’ll have more stories to tell from our visit including two hikes and more wildflowers. But this will do for now.

~ Susanne

Monday in the Garden with the Cats and the Birds

Heat wave’s over – hooray! I prefer my blue skies with a few clouds.

After the longest string of high temperatures in Seattle history (mid-nineties 6 days in a row) our normal summer weather has returned.

This morning I sat in the backyard with my latte, enjoying a cool breeze as the sun rose above the trees.

I was hoping to see the hummingbirds feed but they’ve been in short supply this summer. Perhaps the intense heat has kept them hidden away during the day, as it has me.

I saw them last night in the trees above when I had the sprinkler going, their silhouettes reminding me of a circus performance.

Afterwards they came down to feed.

This morning I hid in the shed hoping to see them up close but the cats blew my cover.

Those little birds are smart and feed after I’ve turned my back and walked away.

Not that they’re afraid of me exactly. They know where to find me when they need a refill and come and hover to get my attention. (Not when I have my camera in hand, unfortunately.)

The largest bird that visits my garden is actually the most skittish, hiding in the shadows until the coast is clear.

He drops down to wash his food in the birdbath and I clean up after he’s gone. I don’t begrudge him; all birds are welcome in my garden, even the crow.

~ Susanne

Happy Caturday from Benji!

You may have seen this one before but it’s one of my favorites.

Happy Caturday from Benji! 🙂

~ Susanne

The Ultimate Road Trip – Down the Oregon Coast

My dear hubby and traveling companion mentioned recently that he’d like to take a trip down the Oregon Coast.

“It’s been a while,” he said.

I laughed.

Actually, it hasn’t. We went twice last year; and every year before as long as I can remember.

My reply: “How about this fall?”

Why not, it’s a classic!

Just cross the bridge from Washington over the Columbia River and you’re in Astoria, ready to take the scenic route on 101 for the next 364 miles!

The hard part will be deciding where to stop and for how long. You’ll be tempted by every beach and small town you see and there’s an endless supply of both.

Click on pictures in the galleries to enlarge

Don’t forget the lighthouses, unique and beautiful. You have 11 to choose from – here’s a few.

And what’s a trip to the coast without stopping at the Oregon Dunes, “one of the largest expanses of temperate coastal sand dunes in the world,” according to the U.S. Forest Service website. Enjoy the views from the overlooks, take a hike or two, or if you prefer, rent a dune buggy!

And while you’re making your way through paradise don’t forget to enjoy the sunsets over the Pacific.

I can hardly wait.

Sharing with Sunday Stills.

~ Susanne

%d bloggers like this: