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Jewell's Blog

Ramblings from the Puget Sound


Driving Hwy 101 part 2

Category: Stomping Grounds | Posted: Sat Mar 27, 2010 5:36 am

I may not love communting, but the drive is beautiful and usually relaxing. This morning the Olympics were breath taking so I pulled over and tried to get a picture in the early morning light.


Driving to work ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )


Olympic Mts. ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )

Last week-end we went up to the cabin. I was supposed to be getting away from the TV and distractions to get some of my homework started. The evening was overcast, with blue spots in the sky. Guess that is supposed to be normal for most of the world. The Olympic Mts. were standing out crisply that day as I traveled along.


Olympic Mts. ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )

With so much sky, grass showing chartruese green and brown left over from winter I couldn't help myself. A short side trip up the Skokomish Valley was the doctor's order for spring fever. Nothing like seeing fields of green grass. The geese were resting in a field and cattle were spotted about the pastures.


Skokomish Valley ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )


Skokomish Valley ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )

I continued up to the Hood Canal. The water was smooth and the day was winding down nicely. It was comforting to see the woods and feel the quiet of being out of town.


( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )





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Reflections and a Cabin in the Woods

Category: Stomping Grounds | Posted: Sat Jan 23, 2010 8:06 am

Last week-end we slept, read, played with our new netbook (with no wi fi) and did a whole lot of nothing. The beginning of each year tends to put some of us into a time of reflections. I haven't had much time this last two years to spend relaxing or reflecting, just too busy. When we do make time for ourselves the Cushman cabin is where we go to sleep, read and fix way too much food from old family recipes for fruit cobblers, crisps, and barbequed lemon chicken. There is no TV reception, cell service or telephone. We have spent most Thanksgiving dinners at the cabin since we became its caretakers. It just feels like the right place to be.


Cabin in the rainforest ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )

It is hard to believe that we have had our cabin for six years. I have always looked at gettinging the cabin as finally having my three bedrooms and two baths with 1500 square feet of living space. Sure, it took the combination of two small houses to accomplish, but for some unknown reason I have never desired to have anything but a very small house (in town house is 800 sq. ft., cabin 700 sq. ft.). It fits us.


My sweetie, David and me ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )

The great recession started impacting us in 2008 which was the worst and we thought we would have to sell the cabin, but the real estate bubble had popped and no one was buying, so we took it off the market. 2009 began to show glimmers of promise, but still had huge uncertainties that were just a "fact of life". There was only one of us with a permanent job. With 2010 we have hope and a renewed respect and understanding for how much we have and how lucky we are. Life doesn't give certainties. Our little cabin in the woods is our little piece of the "good life" to enjoy when time permits.


moss grows so big in the rainforest and I am always amazed ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )


( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )


Kota at rest...its the rain on the tin roof, we all relax ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )

Rain on the tin roof makes it impossible to stay tense. The gray-green rainy days with moss "leaves" the size of your thumb, newts, nuthatches, red squirrels, deer and a wide variety of woodpeckers and wildlife enriches our overly busy lives. Even the dogs relax. Sleeping with a warm wood fire and the gentle drumming of moisture falling from the trees and mist is a massage for the soul.


We call them red squirrels, but common names aren't "book names". ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )


lot surrounding the cabin where the deer sleep when we and the dogs aren't here ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )

Our first three winters we heard cougars or bobcats screaming as they chased each other through the early evening mating. The first time I heard the scream I thought someone had dumped a poor kitty. I opened the back door and called, "kitty, kitty". A large cat screamed again. Realization struck. It wasn't under the house but out in the surrounding area and bigger then I first imagined. A hasty retreat to the interior of the cabin with heart pounding I knew that was no ordinary kitty.

Oh well, my days of taking in strays had past and it was time to get back to a book. Yes, life has been kind to us even in the hard times. We get to visit a little piece of tranquility often enough to slow our minds and try for a more reasonable pace of life.


Nurse log with huckberries, lichen and moss ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )





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Driving Highway 101 Part 1

Category: Stomping Grounds | Posted: Sun Nov 15, 2009 10:04 pm

My daily commute is along a small northern piece of Highway 101. This Highway stretches from Capistrano Beach in Orange County, California and follows much of the Pacific coast north. From northern California through Oregon it hugs the coast line for a wonderful vacation drive. It wraps around the Olympic Peninsula (Olympic National Park and Olympic Forest) in Washington state and ends in Olympia, WA after touching the Pacific Ocean, running parallel to the Strait of Juan de Fuca , and along parts of the Hood Canal, and Puget Sound.

My daily drive is a small part of this winding trek that starts in Olympia, WA heads north touching the Puget Sound in various places. The section of 101 that I am most familiar with is the stretch from Olympia and the Puget Sound to Hoodsport, WA along the Hood Canal; part daily commute and part week-end retreat.

My drive is often started with a sighting of a resident Peregrine falcon that sits a light pole along the freeway in town. He waits, feasts and harasses the pigeons, crows and small birds that live in, around and under the freeway dividers and underpasses on the west side of town. This area is multiple lanes, multiple exits. Raccoons, deer, and opossums often litter the sides of the highway unfortunate victims, so its never an area I would think to take more than mind pictures. Great blue heron and an occasional eagle will be seen going to and from the Sound, local lakes and estuaries as they pass overhead.

Along Mud Bay, just getting out of town, I often see a mature bald eagle. There was one week were our paths crossed everyday as I drove 60 plus mph down the road and an eagle flew across the freeway looking to its fishing grounds for breakfast. It was spring so chicks probably needed constant feeding and I probably wasn't seeing the same eagle each time, but I felt like I was. I felt lucky for such a serendipitous event to happen so many mornings in a row.


Fall fog - our version of a sunny day ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )


Mud Bay barn in the fall fog ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )

There are also great blue herons often flying or stalking a meal in the water and air along this stretch. There is a very large heron rookery at Nisqually Delta. It is hard to believe these big birds build their nests high up in trees. The picture here is of a young one in a pond next to the road at Mud Bay. He paid me no mind when I accidentally honked my horn trying to reach the camera, or my seat belt alarm went off. All the noise from a local bakery (Blue Heron Bakery) bead shop and restaurant have desensitized him so even a clumsy photographer like myself could get a picture.


great blue heron by roadway - Mud Bay ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )

Deer frequently feed along the road sides. One year there was one that had a big white patch on its side. These deer with usual markings are shunned by other deer. I guess no one wants to be next to a target when hunting season begins. A small horse ranch provides fields of color through out the year. Fall colors, misty morning colors, spring lupines, and Shasta daisies. Stopping anywhere along the road can let you peek into the mossy woods.


November gray - horse pasture ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )


Native Shasta Daisies flowering in Novermber? ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )


Misty woods along 101 ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )
This foggy autumn morning there were huge brown big leaf maple leaves, mushrooms and lichen. Water runs everywhere in the Sound, especially through our three wet seasons. We might call ourselves the Evergreen State, but grays and browns haunt western Washington most of the year. If you don't get outside and find the beauty, the short days and dull colors that predominate will hide the beauty of small things like mushrooms and lichen.


Big leaf maple in November ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )


always mushrooms after the rain ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )


tree lichen ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )


fall creek along 101 ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )


November woods 101 ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )

There are hundreds that get out and enjoy the out of doors in a variety of ways. Salmon fishing pulls men out at early hours seven days a week as they fish the salmon runs. Kennedy Creek always has a number of people out seeking the salmon. Smoked, baked, roasted yuuummm, I do love salmon. This picture was quite early and cars were beginning to line 101 and side roads as fishing tackle and poles were hauled from cars and trucks. Soon the fish will be finish their fall run and the gulls and eagles were dine, like the fishermen.


foggy Kennedy Creek - tides out ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )


one of many fishermen salmon fishing at Kennedy Crk. in November ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )


Salmon fishmen at Kennedy Creek - fall, tides out ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )





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McDonald's Roses

Category: Stomping Grounds | Posted: Sun Nov 15, 2009 9:07 pm

Yes, I eat at McDonalds. And yes, sometimes I don't appreciate the small things that are put out there for us to see. This morning after a hard frost, and even harder rains all week, I just couldn't ignore what was in front of me. Who would think that McDonald's had such a beautiful assortment of plants. I was upset with their pruning methods for their rushes in the spring. These roses were gorgeous. I hadn't noticed them earlier in the year. (We have so many things blooming they get overlooked) Here are just a few of the McDonald roses (I feel very conspicuous taking photos in the parking lot, but they were so pretty on a cold foggy morning).


( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )


( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )


( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )


( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )


( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )


( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )

Some are miniatures, some look like the new hardy shrubs, some may be teas. All were still lovely after the first frost of the year. It's too bad my camera doesn't really catch the differences of red to light pink. Wish I could grow such beauties (no mildew!).





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Looking for Fall Flowers and Color About Town

Category: Stomping Grounds | Posted: Sun Oct 11, 2009 11:29 pm

The weather had the feel of fall with the first frost of the season and partly cloudy skies with the sun shining brightly. The perfect fall day as the sun starts to ride the southern horizon casting shadows throughout the day. I wanted to take pictures of fall color and flowers, but there are none in my yard so the boardwalk was to be my destination .... eventually.
David and I went about our Sunday chores of visiting Home Depot for kitchen light bulbs and a new hens-n-chicks for me. Even the parking lot had some fine fall color, red trees and flowering bushes. The best is a tree with yellow leaves and red berries. Simply delightful to the eye.


Fall color ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )


( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )


( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )


( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )


( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )

Then it was to the Dollar Store for a few Halloween items, and the spices for the kitchen. Coming home we stopped at Bayview Grocery Store to get some chowder for lunch. We ate on the boardwalk at the outdoor tables. The chowder was hot and warm in the hands a perfect compliment to the brisk cool air and sunshine. The harbor seal's head was bobbing out in the sound only viewed once before it dived and a tour boat stopped to inform the touring crew of some interesting history and block our view of his hunt. I hadn't realized that a regular touring service was stationed at the port. Told David I would like that for a birthday present. Then there were photos to take. Capturing the moment. The planters still had a few colorful surprises. I especially liked the vibrant nasturtiums paired with the purple petunias. Must try that next year in the yard. A surprise was seeing some delphiniums blooming and tall even if they were a little faded.


( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )


( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )


( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )


( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )


delpheniums ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )

We hitched a ride around to the other side of the board walk and enjoyed the planters and water crystal clear in the high tide. The grasses were delightful and I consider where I could plant the grasses I have kept for years in pots. They aren't something you can just plop into the ground and later move in my experience. I am seriously considering a possible permanent placement but will wait a while longer before deciding. My yard has changed so much over the years no fast decisions that I will later kill myself trying to fix. It is so pretty seeing the grasses down at the port. I would like to make a little venue to mimic the plantings along the water.


( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )


( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )


( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )


dwarf pampas grass ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )

There are of course more planters and plantings to view before heading home.


( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )


( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )


( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )


( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )


( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )


( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )


( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )



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The Sound and Olympic Mts.

Category: Stomping Grounds | Posted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 1:09 am

Everyone feels that they live in the best place in the world. I feel this way. Here is a little picture of the a local creek/inlet I commute past. Someday I will stop on the way to work and take pictures of the fishermen line up at low tide fishing for salmon along with the bald eagles and seagulls that frequent this area during the fall and spring fish runs. (Most of these pictures are from the fall after a good rain when moss and mushrooms are at their best.)

Moss and Mushrooms (Kennedy Creek) ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )


Kennedy Creek/Inlet ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )


Old pilings/dock at Kennedy Creek on Eld Inlet ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )

The state parks are being sold off, but most of this one is still public. It is full of people around the summer solistice because of the minus-minus tides. People can get far out into the tidelands for clam and oyster gathering. These pictures are during a mid tide around the equinox.


Hood Canal from Potlatch Park ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )


Oyster Shells at Potlatch ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )


Native Blackberries ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )


Salmon from fall run ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )

From the Sound/Canal to the Olympic Mountains. The Olympic Mountains are a temperate rain forest. I think it is truly a magical place that makes my heart light. I always think of fairies and nomes and magically beasties. But my imagination is a bit over board.


Walk in Olympic Forest ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )


Walk in Olympic Forest ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )


Moss-Didn't know there were so many different kinds and sizes ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )

But the many, many lakes aren't bad either. This is Lake Cushman where we escape to on the week-ends.


Lake Cushman and Olympic Mts. ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )


( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )


Lake Cushman and Olympic Mts. ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )

Sometimes we just get up early and return home on Monday mornings instead of Sunday afternoon. Here is the sunrise from one of those mornings.


Sunrise in the fall ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )

Just another small part of the world. :)





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Olympia Washington

Category: Stomping Grounds | Posted: Sat Jul 25, 2009 7:39 am

Olympia is the capital city of Washington state. It is a small city at the southern most tip of Puget Sound so the inlet brushes up against downtown much of which is built on fill from dredging the bay. We enjoy going to the boardwalk to look at the boats and to visit the Farmer's Market. Durning salmon runs in the spring harbor seals can be seen feasting on the salmon from the boardwalk.


Public Docks at Olympia Boardwalk ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )


Old float and docks for freighters - downtown Olympia ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )


( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )

Today there was a group of kids getting sailing lessons. It looked like it turned exciting.


Farmer's Market from the outside ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )


Farmer's Market from the outside ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )


Farmers market public garden ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )


( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )


( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )

The state capital grounds are a lot of lawn and open spaces.


WWI monument at Capital grounds ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )


State Capital (Legislative) Building ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )


Fountain at Capital ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )

The capital gardens are almost non-existent due to budget cuts and the loss of the Capital Campus Greenhouses due to damage from the last earthquake and settling of the building.


Captial gardens ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )

An older territorial building and park downtown.


Downtown ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )





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