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Dawn Chorus, A Serenaded Stroll

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28 Sept 2016

Yesterday was Day 2 of my new habit (hopeful thinking) of early morning walks. This little spit of sand I live on comes with a wondrous open air concert hall, where I am serenaded by feathered friends as I explore the streets. The crows provide the comic, chatty interludes.

We have a quickly growing population of feral bunnies and I notice several folks put veggies out for them. While photographing a pair of Northern Flickers tending to their power pole nest, a funny little cat stalked me from the shrubs below. For about a block, I couldn’t take one step without almost being tripped by this scoundrel. I finally told it to go home and was so surprised when it immediately headed up the closest driveway.

Along the way I spotted 2 lighthouse sculptures, a driftwood fence and two creative driftwood raised bed gardens. Oh, and a beautiful “lady” in the flowers.

As I admired a colorful and cozy front yard garden nestled under a pair of cedar trees, I almost missed seeing the orange cat perched on a bird bath. Perhaps it was overly confident that a bird might miss seeing it too and  stop in for morning ablutions.

 

A kindly crow pointed the way, seconds before I spotted a stealthy raccoon, who froze when he saw me, then raced into the woods. My last visual treat was a deer and his shadow nibbling some grass in the glow of the rising sun.

Off for Day 3 and another sunrise serenade!

 


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September Skies & Life Notes

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A Good Start

…began at the end of August when I broke with solitude for a wonderful visit with my cousin and his girlfriend. Jimmy, Darcie and I strolled around Westport, had a bite to eat and I gave them the 5-cent debut tour of my almost completed Turtle (homemade wooden mini-camper). It was a joy to share The Secret Garden and send them home with some raspberry plants.

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September kicked off with a little road trip to meet one of my Alaska sisters in the Seattle area for 3 days. There was a lot of laughter and cussing at the map app as Laura and I  navigated around Auburn for 2 days. We managed (without the damn app) to figure out how to take the Sounder train from our airport hotel into Seattle to check out Pike Place Market. It was so good to be with my sis, but we were both a little creeped out about being in such crowded places in the violent climate of our world today. Sad but true. (12 photos)

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Back To Solitude And Some Nature Nurture

The rainy season has begun here on the Washington coast, which means many thick foggy evenings and mornings, but also rainbows!

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The temperatures are between the high 60’s and mid 50’s, hovering only about ten degrees between day and night. (Was 74 on Sunday!) On some days the skies are a solid blanket of light grey from dawn to dusk, horizon to horizon. Other days are bright blue with cool cloud formations that develop into stunning sunrises and sunsets. (12 photos)

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In many of my sunrise and sunset photos there are black dots or clear silhouettes of birds. During spring and summer it was a mix of ducks, geese, pigeons, doves, starlings, sea gulls, eagles, crows and Northern flickers.

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Sunrise, crows & moon

The birds seem to travel on an mapped out skyway. In the morning they fly into Westport along the eastern skyway, and at night they fly out of Westport along the western skyway. So as I step out of my door and look to my right (over The Secret Garden) in the morning, the skyway of birds cross the sunrise. To my left in the evening, they cross in front of the sunset.

By now, in early fall, I’m seeing mostly crows and a few sea gulls. Early morning crow migration from their night time roosts, plays against the background of calm pastels or vibrant oranges, pinks and purples of the rising sun. As the sun begins to set, the crows make their way back to their slumber party among the inland trees.

I can’t help but wonder why they never stop to gaze at nature’s colorful background for their journey. Of course, I wonder the same thing of fellow commuters when I seem to be the only one to pull out of traffic to take in the wonders in the sky.

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Thanks for your patience. Peace out.

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Raging sunrise

 

 


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Alaska Travels; Downtown, Up On Mountain, Botanical Garden

Although my cold lingers and we both feel worn out, mom and I are still getting around to see the sights.

Downtown Anchorage:

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On a mountain above Eagle River:

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At the Alaska Botanical Garden in Anchorage:

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Alaska Travels: Accidental Mushroom Hunter

 

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As with my writing, my photography takes me where it will. As soon as I set out for the back woods at my parents home on my arrival in August, there they were; mushrooms of every shape, color and size. Mom and I and the dogs took a walk in Peters Creek Park, and there they were, not only at the edge of the woods and deep inside the understory of birch, cottonwood and fir trees, but we could hardly walk the paths without tripping over mushrooms. Our visit to Homer was the same. I found mushrooms, not only in and around Homer, but in the lush green, moss-covered land around the cabin, and even on the beach-side cliffs.

I’m a researcher at heart. I like to KNOW about things, from every angle possible. I strongly dislike posting photos of plants, weeds and other discoveries, without naming them. That extends to mushrooms, but on this topic, I found myself lost in a sea of too much information. I did spend hours attempting to identify my fungus finds, but finally gave up, leaving the naming to the professionals.

Here are a few favorites and I’ll get over to post the rest on my photo blog soon.

 

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Alaska Travels: Revving Up and Winding Down

Sunset last night, from my parent's deck, Eagle River, Alaska.  Phall Photos 2014

Sunset last night, from my parent’s deck. Eagle River, Alaska.
Phall Photos 2014

A week from today I’ll be catching a ride home on another big metal bird. Yes, I’m 55 and still amazed that those things can carry us through the sky. Of course, the miracle of electricity still boggles my simple mind too. No, no, don’t try to explain them! I NEED every little miracle I can claim 🙂

Up and Down

So, I’m revving up to wind this visit down. It has been one of my best trips home (I always say this, because the present one IS always the best one!). The lists that mom and I make just grow longer, as my days here grow shorter. Sure, we got a lot done the last 2 months, but man, there’s still so much to do!

And Up and Down Once More

One way or another, I’m heading home on the 29th and am very excited to see my Centralia family; 2 adult children, 5 little grands, cousins, aunt and uncle. There are some special friends I’ve been missing too. And then there is my beach gypsy cave and secret garden awaiting my return to Westport. From social to solitary again. At last. The solitude lures me more every day, no matter the love and joy I receive in the presence of family and friends…

A Traveling Clan

Dad will be flying “home” to Kentucky to see his ailing sisters and brother for a few weeks, on October 1st. Four days after he returns to Alaska, mom will leave to spend the winter in Arizona with my youngest sister and her family. We should own Alaska Airlines by now. The sister that I have had the longest (not allowed to say “oldest sister”) and her husband spend the coldest winter months at their condo in Costa Rica. Some how, some way, I have plans on making it over there this year. A girl can dream 🙂

Swing over to http://phallphotos.wordpress.com/homer-alaska/ to see some slide shows from our trip to Homer, if you have a few minutes. No metal bird needed for this tour!

Traveling On,

Patti


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Alaska: Picture Snippets

Once in awhile the bug hits and I have more than a caption-worth of words for some of my photos. These were taken in the last day or so. Their more like snippets of stories, rather than full blown stories. Hence, the weird title

P1170078I am not a sun worshiper. This umbrella used to block the sun, in addition to the huge one over the table. The chickadees kept flitting past it, so I thought I’d try to snap a photo of their shadows going past. No such luck. However, I did capture a large moth’s shadow.

P1170082 Speaking of moth’s, this one came for a visit at my table. I took some photos, then it simply disappeared! I sat my camera down and as the lens closed the moth jumped off…he had hopped from the table to my camera lens.

P1170089Another visitor, a chickadee, I believe. They come each evening, between 7:30 and 8:00 to gather seeds from the feeder. My folks put all the feeders away when the bears wake up, so as not to attract them to their yard. I risk it all and have one clandestine feeder and one suet tray. Please don’t tell my dad…or the bears.

P1170084When mom and I took Sophie back to my brother’s house, I learned something new. I learned about Larch trees. My brother has a row of them at the front of his property and I went to explore what mushrooms might be growing beneath them (none).  The tree is a deciduous conifer, meaning that it sheds its leaves (needles) in the fall. It has hard, waterproof wood and is often used in building boats. It smells wonderful, but the best thing was the feel of the needles. They are very very soft!

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Here is Sophie…watching the birds, begging me to get off the deck, and trying out all the seats in mom’s car. She really really wanted to come back with us. It took all three of us to get her out and get Cee Cee in.

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On the way home from Michael’s house, I pulled in to take photos of these awesome weeds. That’s when mom told me that her and dad had rented the house we were parked behind, when they moved back to Alaska in the mid-80’s. Weird, I never knew that and we’ve driven by it a million times. Anyway, cool weeds, huh? Fireweed.

P1170109 My parents rented this house in the mid-80's P1170110Last, but not least, a fresh bouquet of mom’s sweet peas for my sister, Michaela (1964-2012). She gets store-bought flowers from dad in the winter and fresh flowers out of the garden from mom in the summer.

P1170092I hope you enjoyed these snippets.

Patti