Happy Halloween 2018

Many of you know Halloween is John’s favorite holiday and the planning, preparation and decorating for this year’s display started months ago.  A close look might reveal some familiar elements from previous years but somehow he managed to out do himself and present a completely new environment for this spookiest day of the year.

 

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Autumn Color in the PNW

The Reds and Greens of Autumn

The trees are about to show us how lovely it is to let the dead things go.Unknown

Autumn Color in the PNW

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers”– L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

Autumn Color in the PNW

“Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all.”– Stanley Horowitz

Autumn Color in the PNW

“A fallen leaf is nothing more than a summer’s wave goodbye.”– Unknown

Autumn Color in the PNW

The Last Few Days of Summer

There is a time in the last few days of summer when the ripeness of autumn fills the air. Rudolfo Anaya

Even though the calendar says we’ve passed from summer to autumn the few weeks between September 21st and the middle of October always feel like an extended summer in the PNW with subtle shifts in light and leaf color our only cues that change is indeed on the way.  Mornings are darker, the sun sits lower on the horizon and colors move from all encompassing green to warmer reds and oranges while daytime temperatures rival the best our summer had to offer.

We’re in one of these perfect periods now and I’m trying to ignore the fact that it will soon come to an end so I can simply relax, live in the moment and enjoy the best of both seasons.

We Will Welcome Summer’s Ghost

We know that in September, we will wander through the warm winds of summer’s wreckage. We will welcome summer’s ghost. Henry Rollins

Sigh, “summer’s wreckage” is a pretty fair description of my yard and garden today.  The peak heat of August has passed leaving a tangled mess of overgrown branches, dry, burned leaves and wilted flowers in its wake.  Even the forests look like they need a rest from the hustle and bustle of summer.  Early September is always busy here with back to school activities and new routines take precedence over yard work so inevitably the mess outside lasts until a crisp October weekend when I tackle it all and try to prepare for winter.

If the flowers are still blooming it’s not really time to pull them, right?  That’s what I’m telling myself this afternoon looking at the ghosts of flower pots past hoping I can stretch them out a few more weeks…

The Scent of a Lake in the Mountains

Nothing is more memorable than a smell. One scent can be unexpected, momentary and fleeting, yet conjure up a childhood summer beside a lake in the mountains. Diane Ackerman

My favorite childhood summer scents all conjure up memories of water.  Fresh, salty and earthy they all say summer to me. Lake water mixed with mountain air brings back hiking and camping trips and salty air places me immediately on an Orcas Island beach building driftwood forts while listening to gentle waves rolling across tiny pebbles.

A third water based scent memory is also one of my favorite new words, petrichor.

  Definition: “A pleasant, distinctive smell frequently accompanying the first rain after a long period of warm, dry weather in certain regions.” (Oxford English Dictionary)

Even though the Pacific Northwest is known for its wet weather the truth is we rarely see rain in the summer so I most associate petrichor with the scent of sprinkler water bouncing off hot earth under a bright summer sun.  To this day Petrichor still means fun, splashing, and if we are lucky, popsicles and ice cream.

Do you have any favorite summer scents?  If so please share below!

The view from Ebey's Landing on Whidbey Island, WA

Summer is the Annual Permission Slip…

Summer is the annual permission slip to be lazy. To do nothing and have it count for something. To lie in the grass and count the stars. To sit on a branch and study the clouds.   Regina Brett

The view from Ebey's Landing on Whidbey Island, WA

For the second summer in a row our traditionally beautiful August has been smothered with smoke from wildfires burning across the western United States and Canada.  After weeks of air quality alerts and directions to remain indoors with closed windows the noxious smoke is starting to dissipate leaving me longing for missed hiking opportunities and lazy summer days at the beach filled with sunshine and a good book.

Whenever there was a break in the smoke we literally ran for the hills so I do have a few new mountain photos to share, stay tuned, but I had to dip into the archives for a pretty summer day at the beach…

 

Mountain wildflowers in Washington State's Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park: Colorful Mountains and Meadows Filled with Wildflowers

Mountain wildflowers in Washington State's Olympic National Park

It’s August in the PNW and that means every day we have available is spent outside enjoying the natural beauty that surrounds us.  This year our summery blue skies have been filled with a toxic mix of wildfire smoke from around the world ( Siberia, Canada, Washington, Idaho and California) but with some careful planning and a lucky stretch of wind we had a clear day to visit one of my favorite places in the Olympic National Park.

If you’re in the park I heartily recommend the drive up to Hurricane Ridge.  Views from parking lot are amazing, the lodge is filled with great information and knowledgable rangers and there are a variety of trails for all levels of hikers.  We spent our 20th anniversary hiking to the peak you see at the top of this image, whew, and this year we returned to enjoy the lower section of the trail while gazing up at the peaks, relieved we’d already climbed it so we could stop awhile and literally smell the flowers.

I’ll post more photos from the day soon but today I hope you enjoy our moment of zen in the meadow of flowers along the trail to Klahhanie Ridge.

Blue pond at an Oregon farm.

Fresh Berries and Lazy Summer Days…

Better than any argument is to rise at dawn and pick dew-wet red berries in a cup.  Wendell Berry

While I appreciate the sentiment behind this quote and am sure I’d thoroughly enjoy a summer dawn with fresh picked berries I can also vouch for the fact that they are great in the late morning straight from a farm stand and wonderful in my afternoon wine glass. 🙂

All photos are from a lovely long weekend in Oregon with my sister, her husband and my sweet niece, Sophia.  Sophia sipped her fresh grape juice while the rest of us tasted our way through fantastic wines from J. Christopher and Ponzi wineries.

 

Porthole view on a Washington State Ferry

I Knew Who I Was This Morning…

I knew who I was this morning, but I’ve changed a few times since then.” Lewis Carroll

A quick scroll through my posts makes it pretty clear my approach changes from day-to-day.  Sometimes I want as little to no change and other times I enjoy playing with color and shadow to create something new from my original photo.  There is a time and place for each view here and usually I know which look I want to go for but this morning I ran into a little dilemma. Too many choices.

I’ve gone back and forth with these six images all day trying to pick my favorite and finally decided to just give up and post them all.  If you have a chance to click inside the gallery to see each image full size I’d love to hear if you’ve got a favorite!  Each photo is labelled for easy voting and I’ve included a poll below so we can all see the results.

The final image is the original, unedited photo for a good before/after comparison.