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

Shades of Blue: Part 3

I’d better pick up the pace with these spring themed posts or I’ll still be working through May photos after the 4th of July. 🙂  Today you get to see Ryan and I out in the neighborhood looking signs of spring, roaming the beach skipping rocks and finding interesting driftwood/seaweed combinations. To keep things interesting you also get to peek at one eclectic corner of our garage…

Earth Day 2017

If we do not permit the Earth to produce beauty and joy, it will in the end not produce food, either. — Joseph Wood Krutch

I hope everyone took a moment today to appreciate, acknowledge and protect the earth around us.  Happy Earth Day all.

Dogs are our link to paradise…

Dogs are our link to paradise. They don’t know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring–it was peace.

Milan Kundera

My goal for today was to write an Earth themed post for the Weekly Photo Challenge but I’m still in the previously mentioned photographic dry spell and unless I wanted to recycle another forest related image my options were limited to new product shots for our Etsy store and Finn from last weekend.  Hmm…

My next thought was to look for quotes that contained both the words “earth” and “dogs” as a way to tie my one new shot to the challenge but all I found were hundreds of dog quotes.  Don’t get me wrong, I love a good dog quote but what I really wanted was one perfect quote that brought these two things together in a way that made it seem like this was my plan all along.   Like I set out to take a shot of Finn lounging on the grass (earth) to illustrate my carefully prepared essay.

Now it’s posting time and I still don’t have a beautiful mother earth essay but I do have a dog photo, a quote that speaks to me and a story about Saturday afternoon on our grassy hill.

Many of you know we adopted Finn as a rescue dog.  He’d been facing doggie death row, was afraid of everything, could barely tolerate people touching him and any sudden movement or new interaction set him off into fits of barking.  Anything to keep the fearful object/person/smell/animal/car far away but the one thing he relaxed for was looking at John, Ryan and I together.  It’s been a long road for Finn as we’ve slowly introduced him to new people, a few kind dogs, several trainers and his friend and walking buddy Colleen.  Basically anything we could think of to give him a chance at a normal life and the opportunity to just be a dog.  He’s slowly become comfortable in the backyard but last weekend was the first time he successfully relaxed in the front yard.  Yay Finn!  He was with us for hours as we tried to reclaim flower beds from weed-pocalypse 2017 and dutifully followed me around and around when it was time to clean up the buckets, clippers, yard waste bins and rakes.  We were both tired, the sun was out, the grass was dry and the little hill in our backyard looked like a nice quiet place to sit and catch our breath.  For a few special minutes we were not bored, we were at peace.

Posted as part of the Weekly Photo Challenge:  Earth.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Symmetry in Seasons

There is in all things a pattern that is part of our universe. It has symmetry, elegance, and grace – these qualities you find always in that the true artist captures. You can find it in the turning of the seasons, the way sand trails along a ridge, in the branch clusters of the creosote busy of the pattern of its leaves. We try to copy these patterns in our lives and in our society, seeking the rhythms, the dances, the forms that comfort. Yet, it is possible to see peril in the finding of ultimate perfection. It is clear that the ultimate pattern contains its own fixity. In such perfection, all things move towards death.

Frank Herbert, Dune


In our yard early Hellebore flowers are my first signal that winter has turned the corner and spring is on its way.  These blushing white blooms look a little worse for the wear after pushing their way through last summer’s leaves but in the words of Frank Hebert there is symmetry in nature’s pattern. Each season comes in time and while blooming summer perfection inevitably moves towards death it also gives life and nourishment for the new season’s beauty.

Posted as part of the Weekly Photo Challenge:  Symmetry.

Travel Theme: Garden


This isn’t a traditional garden picture but March in the Pacific Northwest is a challenging time everyone who loves the outdoors. It’s cold and damp 90% of the time with a few brief stretches of sunny weather that give us all spring fever but send pollen counts into the double digits.  Instead of a photographing the wet and weedy mess of a garden we have today I thought I’d post one last shot from our front yard before the excavator got to work digging out stumps and moving rocks boulders.  This photo was taken about 10 months after the Public Utilities District cut down our large cedar trees and shows how aggressively the native ferns and salal expanded with additional light, water and space to grow.

Posted as part of Alisa’s weekly Travel Theme:  Garden.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Three

Michelle’s latest photo challenge asks us to use a three picture posting style to tell a story through images.   This is a technique I’ve enjoyed in the past and when you have a son with a flair for the dramatic composing a visual story is a fun way to pass the time.

Today, with three images,  I’ll show you how we spent a winter snow day.  School was cancelled but since I was working from home Ryan needed something to keep him busy…

Three - 1

He started the morning threatening me with snowballs.

Three - 2

So I decided he could shovel the deck for a little exercise.

Three - 3

After a long lunch and some relaxing on the couch his reward was lots of heavy snowflakes and the perfect conditions for sledding.

A Word A Week: Violet


One of the things I love about Heather is its determined nature, blooming right on schedule no matter the conditions.  This little plant flowers in my front yard every winter providing bright spots of color in a season filled with green, brown and white.

Posted as part of Sue’s A Word A Week:  Violet.

iPhoneography Monday: 1-13-14

iPhone Monday 1-13-14

Yesterday I sat down in our wet backyard grass and decided I wouldn’t go back inside until I found something interesting to photograph for today’s macro challenge.  I’m happy I took a few minutes to look at things from a different angle because I had completely missed how pretty this little mushroom was until I saw it from the ground up.

Posted as part of Lens and Pen by Sally’s weekly Phoneography Challenge:  Macro.

Our Landscaping Project: Progress Update


Writing an updated post about our big landscaping project has been on my to-do list for several weeks (months) but hey, life is busy and I rarely make it to the bottom of a list.  I didn’t think I would be posting anything today but when I saw that the Daily Prompt was Progress I realized I was out of excuses.  Here is a look at what we’ve been working on this fall.

I know my last project post said we were postponing painting until the end of September due to weather but our surprise stretch of heavy rain was followed by weeks of unusually heavy fog and as a result we couldn’t finish painting until early December.  I couldn’t believe how much moss grew on our roof in just one week.  The short days and cold temperatures left a very small work window in each day but Hans kept going as long as he could and I’m happy to say most of the body of the house is a clean, fresh gray and our newly trimmed windows are sparkling white.  Our front and back door will soon be a beautiful navy blue and the porch is complete with a new set of stairs connecting to the driveway.

Our drafty old car port is now officially a garage with insulated walls, garage doors on the front and double sets of French doors on the back opening to a patio.  We still need to paint the interior walls, hang shelving and apply frosted panels to the glass for security but it feels great to have a covered place to park again and somewhere to securely store all of the outdoor tools.

Most of the landscaping is finished in the front and you can see John’s favorite little sub-alpine fir-tree at the top of the pictures above.  This tree was harvested by permit in the Cascade Mountains and will slowly grow to a relatively small 20 feet.  It’s planted off the front corner of our new porch to add a foundation point and a little screening from the street.  We spent another very wet Saturday driving from nursery to nursery picking out the last of our plants and one October weekend was the time to get the fir, 12 compact laurels for our new hedge and several flats of heather, bergenia, dwarf mugo pines and viburnum.  We selected winter, spring and summer blooming varieties in hopes of some year-round color and I can’t wait to see the full effect as everything settles in and starts to grow.

The side yard was an unplanned project but when our excavator said he could clear the brush and boulders so we could access the back yard without going through the garage we said “ok”.  We were able to reuse the huge granite boulders in the front yard as focal points but we didn’t have time to figure out a permanent landscaping solution for the newly cleared side of the house.  As a temporary fix I ordered a few yards of crushed rock to spread along the side of the house and under the front porch for the winter.  I though sod was heavy and now I know 8 yards of crushed rock is heavy too, especially after a rainstorm.  We have a little more to shovel but the mini-mountain is almost gone…

We have a good list of details to finish in the spring when the weather warms and a winter worksheet that includes more lighting and new door hardware but I am really happy with our progress so far!

If you are new to Northwest Frame of Mind and want to follow this project from the beginning please take a look at my earlier posts in the series:

Daily Prompt:  Weekend

The First Days Of Our Landscaping Project

Our Landscaping Project:  Week Two

Our Landscaping Project:  Week Three

Our Landscaping Project:  Week Four

Our Landscaping Project:  Weeks Five and Six

Travel Theme: Winter


When I read Alisa’s latest post announcing “Winter” as her weekly travel theme I knew I wanted to wait until December 21st and take a photo of the first day of winter.   December 20th brought our first snowfall of the year but we were still officially in Fall so I waited… Of course today has been a very stereotypical winter day here in the Pacific Northwest with thick cloud cover, light rain and very little daylight.  The snow is gone and I was left without a clear winter-like image for this post.

Finally I decided look for one of our winter blooming Sarcococca hoping to find some early flowers.  If you look closely at the center of this photo you might be able to see the tiny white buds beginning to form surrounded by the larger berries.  In a few weeks this shrub will produce a beautiful scent and if the weather permits we will be outside to enjoy it.

Posted as part of Alisa’s Weekly Travel Theme:  Winter