A Halt to the Work at the Tiffany Park Woods

Too little too late.  The beautiful Tiffany Park Woods are nearly gone, the birds and wildlife already evicted, the native flora disappeared. Still, I was heartened to know someone is paying attention to the promises made by the developer when they obtained the permit to raze these woods and replace them with 97 houses.   According to a story in today’s Renton Reporter, “a stop work order was issued after inspectors found two protected trees were removed from the site.”  I wondered why all had gone quiet.

“In order to lift the stop order, the developers will have to meet conditions set upon by the city, including paying a fine and replacing the two removed trees with 12 other trees. The city will decide on the types and locations of the trees at a later date. In addition, if the developers remove other protected trees once the stop work order is lifted, the city will revoke their permit and cease all construction.”  ~  Renton Reporter 6/28/17

There is some justice after all.

I visited the Woods earlier this spring before the work began to document their beauty.

For the last few weeks I have also documented their destruction, which has been far more difficult to observe than I had imagined.

I watched a panicked red-headed woodpecker fly to a large Douglas Fir in my yard (to take up residence I hope) after the large trees around him came down.  And I have never seen a sadder looking deer than this one recently taking refuge in a tiny patch of remaining woods as trees were felled nearby.  I hope he made it safely to a new home.

For several years, friends of the Tiffany Park Woods fought against this project and lost.  What they won were concessions from the builder including a tree retention plan as conditions for the permit. The work stoppage may only be temporary, but if it results in the saving of a few more trees, then it is worth it.  I’m glad the developer is being held accountable for the terms that were agreed upon.

~ Susanne

Rhapsody in the Clouds

Clouds.  If you live in the Pacific Northwest it is likely that you have seen them, perhaps more often than you wish. But have you really seen them? Tonight I looked up and found them awesome and full of splendor.

So the next time you go outside, look up.  And marvel.

~  Susanne

Awakened by Chain Saws

It’s the beginning of the end for the Tiffany Park Woods. The logging has begun.

Honestly I didn’t venture into the woods often though others did: neighbors, dog walkers, and boys playing army.  I suspect most of these grew up in the neighborhood and knew the woods like an old friend.  Still, I loved knowing they were there and enjoyed the peaceful backdrop they provided to my home and others. And I appreciated the visiting birds and deer who lived there.

For the past few years many tried to have the woods preserved but to no avail.  The twenty-two acres were sold and a large housing development would take their place.  So we have been waiting.

Finally this morning we woke to the hum of the chain saws telling us the work had begun.  The distant whine of the saws will grow louder each day until most of the woods are gone.

We’ve been promised that the trees in back of us will be retained as part of a wide buffer against the houses that will be built.  We’re thankful for whatever trees remain.

But we will miss the full loveliness of the woods we once enjoyed.

~ Susanne

Road Trip to Wenatchee

One thing I like about living in Washington State is its diverse geography.  Here on the west side of the Cascade Mountains you can easily see why Washington is called the Evergreen State with its thick stands of Douglas fir, mossy temperate rainforest and plenty of rainfall.  But head east and cross that dividing mountain range and you are in a sunny land of gold and brown, of orchards and ranches, and wide open spaces besides.

This week we made the trek to the other side over Stevens Pass, headed east for Wenatchee.  We follow along the Skykomish River and take in the views of dramatic Mt. Index.

Further up the road we stop by Deception Falls and are awed by the powerful water crashing down and inches below us under the footbridge where we’re standing.

We cross over a dry Stevens Pass (elev. 4,061 ft) where skiing is done for the season but snow patches still remain.  On the other side we find the Wenatchee River flowing heavy, deep, and wide with snowmelt .

After lunch in Leavenworth we arrive in Wenatchee and find another mighty river flowing.

Roll on Columbia!

The terrain changes from the dark green of the Cascades to the brown and gold and rust of the foothills flanking the Columbia River to the east.

The Columbia is the largest and most important river in the Pacific Northwest and when measured by discharge into the Pacific Ocean, the largest in North America.  It starts north from British Columbia, flows down through Washington State and forms the border with Oregon on its way to the Pacific.

Ohme Gardens

We take in Ohme Gardens in Wenatchee, which stands in stark contrast to the dry surrounding hills.  The land was originally purchased by Herman Ohme in 1929 for an orchard and included this dry and craggy bluff.  Herman and his wife Ruth, decided to turn the land into their own paradise complete with evergreen trees, rock gardens, pools and stone features.  After many years in the family, Washington State Parks purchased Ohme Gardens in 1991.

We tour the gardens stopping to admire the flowers and pools and to rest on stone benches.

It’s hard to imagine the amount of labor needed to turn this desert bluff into a lush alpine garden, but it was a labor of love for the Ohmes; transplanting evergreens, hauling native stone and replacing desert sage with alpine flowers and ground covers.

After a full day of travel and exploration we stop for the night. The next day we visit downtown Wenatchee and take a walk along the Columbia,

finding interesting sculptures like this one called PED.

After a bit of shopping we’re ready to head back to the west side, this time over Blewett  Pass, where golden hills and farms and orchards and ranches eventually give way once again to the Cascade mountains and home.

~  Susanne

A Summer Day in May

Summertime and the livin’ is easy here in the Pacific Northwest.  After the longest rainy season on record, summer arrived with gusto this week with temperatures in the seventies and eighties.  We poor, cold, and waterlogged natives embraced the sunshine and are soaking up the long overdue rays while they are here.

That includes me as I head to Coulon Park in the heat of the day where I find the irises in bloom and bright as the sun,

and these walkers blending in with the green.

The view of Rainier to the south was striking as always..

but the Olympics floated in the haze somewhat ghostly to the west,

reminding me that I will welcome the cleansing of the next refreshing rain.  I am after all, a  true native.

~ Susanne

Cedar River Trail and the Big Birds Beside

Today was overcast but just right for a morning walk along the Cedar River Trail.

The river was flowing gently while reflecting the flowers and trees alongside its banks,

and the ducks were enjoying the flow.


It wasn’t long before the Big Birds came into view. The Trail meanders along the river and through Boeing’s Renton Plant, home to the best selling commercial airliner of all time, the 737.  (Did you know a Boeing 737 takes off or lands somewhere every two seconds?)

The Boeing Renton Factory opened during the 1940’s and produced the B29 Bombers used during World War II.

When I was growing up Seattle was known as the Jet City and everyone knew someone who worked at Boeing. Boeing is still the largest private employer in the state of Washington.

The 737, which went into production in 1967, is still manufactured at the Renton plant and can be seen lining both sides of the river.

We talk with a guard who points out the 737 MAX currently under construction, distinguishable by the unique ‘pincher’ on the end of its wings.

We follow the trail to the south end of Lake Washington and stop to enjoy the views.

On our return I see this tree in spring dress and am reminded it is just getting warmed up..

and will light up the trail in the fall.

We’ll be back for the show.

~ Susanne