Calling all bug aficionados!

23 09 2008

I photographed this critter near the Sunken Garden at Butchart Gardens this past Thursday. After some quick research, I’ve determined this is not a Canadian soldier (which is what we call every long legged bug we come across anywhere). He has those little antennae that stick out on his back like this Crane Fly here, but I think it it most likely is Elephantomyia westwoodi. Any bug aficionados care to enlighten us and verify or dispute my claim?

Learn about the interesting history behind the gardens here. Click here for a list of what was in bloom during our visit.

NOTE: Be sure to click on “PREVIOUS ENTRIES” at the very bottom of the screen to see more posts in September!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.






Butchart Gardens, Passel #2

23 09 2008

The parade of flowers continues…words simply cannot describe how over the moon I was to be photographing in that garden all day long…flitting from flower to flower to flower just like the insects I encountered…would someone please please please pay me to do this every day?

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Butchart Gardens, Passel #1

22 09 2008

Thanks to Baker-Watson of Fish and Frog—Turtle and Blog (and a frequent visitor to this blog) I now have a name for my huge collection of vacation images….a passel of photographs! Thanks, Baker.

Here is (mini) Passel #1 with images from Butchart Gardens in Victoria, British Columbia. We couldn’t believe how much was still in bloom in the Pacific Northwest. I shot almost continuously from 11:00ish a.m. until the shuttle came at 4:45 p.m. We only stopped to grab a very quick lunch at Butchart’s Blue Poppy Restaurant. The salad we shared was garnished with sunflower sprouts—baby sunflower seedlings about 2+ inches high that tasted like sunflower seeds…very tasty. I must admit I had a brief twinge of guilt eating them—that handful we consumed will never reach their full sunflower glory.

I shot over 4 gigs of photos in this one garden. Now that’s a passel of photos!

Plant Identification:

#1 is a Cleome or Spider Flower
#2 is a Japanese toad lily (Tricyrtis affinis, possibly)
#3 is the back side of a Japanese anemone, I believe
#4 is a Lace-Cap Hydrangea

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Visual and aural overload at Pike Place

22 09 2008

Color (and how). Noise (a bit too much). Flowers (unbelievably cheap). Neon. Bustle. Shops. Cars. People, so many people. Flying fish. Fruits. Vegetables. Grains. Tea. Coffee. Trinkets. Seafood. Shouting. Singing. Music. Purses. T-shirts (bought some). Jewelry (ditto). Breads. Pastries. Antiques. Street performance. Restaurants. Chocolate. Cheese. Crafts. Jellies. Jams. Visually and aurally overwhelming. Happy 101, Pike Place!

Learn more about Pike Place Market here.

Learn about Pike Place Fish here.

Take virtual tours here.

Learn about the neighborhood here.

Ooooh…love the colors on the “Taste Pike Place Market” website here.

Check out local resident Phil’s Pike Place Market blog here.

And read Seattle Times food writer Nancy Leson’s review (complete with photos and videos) here.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Cabin in the woods

22 09 2008

One of our favorite treats during our recent vacation was a night’s stay at Jim and Anne’s cabin in a park near Mt. Rainier. We headed to the cabin on Friday morning, September 12, stopping along the way for huckleberry ice cream (which is delicious, by the way). Learn more about huckleberry harvesting in the Cascades here. In the first photo, Sue tries out a chair fashioned from snow skis at the ice cream store in Enumclaw. (If you have a hankering for this type of furniture, check out Snow Shack and Snow Source.)

Michael and I kept Sue quite enthralled, if somewhat frightened, with our stories of “when, not if, Rainier (an active volcano) blows…” She was pondering the possibility of it blowing that very night. We told her to relax. At least her best friends and mamma were with her and her last supper was huckleberry ice cream. How bad is that?

Some time ago, Michael and I had seen a documentary on tv hypothesizing the outcome of such an event. I did some further research and found these articles:

Vocanologists keep wary eye on Mount Rainier
Mount Rainier will blow, that’s a given. (How’s that for an opening line?)

Under the Volcano—the danger of living near Mt. Rainier

Hmmm…now that I’ve done this research, I’m rethinking how good that huckleberry ice cream was after all!

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Photos, second row: Sue sits on a bed on the enclosed porch. What a view we had in the morning! The cabin was built by Anne’s father and grandfather when her father was a teenager, so it’s over 70 years old. It’s a beautifully rustic cabin with modern conveniences, of course, such as electricity, a detached bathroom and shower, and appliances. I found lots of things to photograph within the cabin itself, such as the blue bottle still life by the living room window (3rd row, right). Fifth row: Wanda climbs the ladder to check out the sleeping alcove in the cupola. Next, I photographed her “hiking” shoes by firelight. Those city girls just sure do hike in style, don’t they?

After settling in, Anne and Jim lead us on a hike up to Goat Falls, which runs down the hill past their cabin. Sue had to keep Wanda from her “mushroom tipping” tendencies because she knew I would be coming up behind them, photographing everything along the way. Apparently, Wanda has an aversion to wild mushrooms (not to mention snakes).

Later, Jim and Anne prepared a wonderful dinner. After a great night’s sleep, the next morning Sue and Wanda wanted their photo taken at the outhouse, which, thanks to the modern conveniences, we did not have to use. And yes, Sue is acting—not really utilizing—the facilities in the photograph toward the bottom!

The trip to the cabin, hiking to the falls, and staying overnight in that beautiful cabin was a really nice and unexpected treat, thanks to our wonderful hosts, Anne and Jim!

And in the “how away far was it” category—I am happy to report that this trip was a “one-hat” trip, since I finished a “special order” crocheted black hat as a gift for Anne en route. Learn more about my exclusive “how many hats trip measurement system” here.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





If it’s Thursday, this must be Bloedel.

21 09 2008

On our first full day of vacation, Sept. 11, Jim and Anne took us to the Bloedel Reserve, formerly the private residential estate of Prentice and Virginia Bloedel, now a public access 150-acre nature preserve and garden, and home to about three hundred kinds of trees. We were blessed with perfect walking weather while we toured the second growth forest, ponds, meadows and gardens. There are several gardens in the Bloedel Reserve: Japanese Garden, Moss Garden, Reflection Garden, The Woods, The Glen, the Waterfall Overlook, and the Bird Refuge. (Do check out the Bloedel Reserve website link listed above; you’ll find breathtaking photos shot overhead throughout the park and in different seasons!)

The Visitor Center is in the French country house on a bluff overlooking Port Madison Bay near Agate Pass. The Glen, home to perennials, bulbs, and wildflowers, also hosts more than 15,000 cyclamen plants, one of the largest plantings in the world. I especially liked the Japanese Garden with the beautiful Japanese maples beginning to change into their fall colors, and the brilliant green grass stepping stones surrounding the rock and sand Zen garden.

Row 1: A shot of the first solitary tree in the reserve next to a photo of Sue for scale
Row 2: A multitude of spores on the back of a fern plant
Row 3: Sue’s mom, Wanda, and her sister-in-law, Anne; a friendly wood sprite perched atop a tree stump; leaving the Japanese Garden
Row 4: A tiny frog Michael spotted in the Moss Garden; yellow yet-to-be-identified wildflowers
Row 5: Heather border at the main entrance
Row 6: Grass stepping stones and brilliant yellow foliage in the Japanese Garden
Row 7: The rock and sand Zen garden
Row 8: The tea house in the Japanese garden; another shot of the Zen garden
Row 9: Mischevious wood sprites peep through a large uprooted tree trunk
Row 10: Jim, Anne, Wanda, and Sue pose on the bluff at the Visitor Center overlooking Port Madison Bay
Row 11: Hydrangeas in bloom; geometric-patterned patio at the Visitor Center
Row 12: Sunlit foliage near The Woods

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

UPDATE: Well, lookee here! I posted this today and just received a nice and informative comment from the Executive Director of the Bloedel Reserve. Thanks, Richard!

“The yellow flowers are Kirengeshoma palmata — a plant from Japan known as Yellow Waxbells. It’s related to Hydrangea. The last photo looks like Magnolia, possibly Magnolia dawsoniana if it was the tree adjacent to the pond above the waterfall. Thanks for the kind comments…”

Richard A Brown, Executive Director, Bloedel Reserve





Lavender, shopping, cheese, wine, a whale, and yet another sunset

21 09 2008

On Wednesday, Sept. 17, we left Bainbridge Island (again) and drove toward the city of Sequim, in Clallam County on the Olympic Peninsula. When Michael and I first visited Sequim a few years ago, we kept pronouncing it like it is spelled—“See-quim.” A local corrected us and informed us that it is pronounced “Squim.” On this visit, we found that Sequim has grown by leaps and bounds.

We visited the Sunshine Herb & Lavender Farm, whose gift shop is open year round. We bought a few lavender gifts for our pet-sitters, Debbi and Regina. I photographed Sue and her mom, Wanda, outside the shop in one of the many purple chairs.

Many other lavender farms, like Purple Haze Lavender, Ltd., were already closed for the season. We were able to shop at Purple Haze’s shop in town, though, and I picked up one of our favorite lavender products, Purple Haze Salad Dressing (it’s really, really good stuff!).

We did some shopping in town at Over the Fence, a really neat garden and home store, and Heather Creek, a home accents shop in a shabby chic cottage setting. Heather Creek’s friendly proprietor, Mary Patricia Cain, fell in love with Sequim on a visit five years ago. She said that her husband was so drawn to the area that he told her he thought they were supposed to live there. This surprised her, since he is more left-brained than right. She agreed, and the family went back home, sold their house, and hightailed it back to Sequim. Everything fell into place as it was apparently meant to be! I can relate—Michael and I had the same thought when we visited the area three years ago.

We picked up all the trimmings for a picnic from the Dungeness Bay Wine & Cheese Shop—Oregon Blue cheese with pomegranate sauce, really yummy brie, pretzel crisps, and wine—then bought green grapes, bread, and pesto spread from Safeway. We drove to the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge, not far from the Dungeness Spit. After a picnic in the car, we got to see a baby gray whale swimming in the ocean. It was Sue’s first real-life whale observation! (Many thanks and hats off to Carol, the local resident who told us some details about the baby whale). I did shoot some images of the whale with my longest Nikkor lens (80-400 VR), but they’re more record shots than anything, so I apologize in advance for the less-than-stellar images!


We then headed to Port Angeles to catch a late afternoon ferry to Victoria, British Columbia. This photo was shot from the ferry just as we sailed into the harbor in Victoria.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.