Saturday, January 20, 2018

Living a Wild Life

As all of you that follow me regularly know,
I live in the foothills of the Cascade mountains
overlooking Mt. Rainier, here in western Washington State.

We have lots of wildlife and once in a while I get 
lucky and remember to snap a photo! 
Most of the time I am surprised in the moment 
and forget, but my brain-fog lifts every now and again,
and I remember to grab my camera.

 I would like to share some of these moments with you! 

Recently, we had this visitor for a couple of weeks. 
He liked to sit in this tree and hunt. 
I could see him from my living room through the glass doors.
Not much happens out my windows except for the weather
and the occasional small plane, so I am always
excited when we have wild visitors. 

He arrived looking rather thin....
maybe from a long migration. 

Definitely hungry....

Looking around.

Pretty coloring. 
I think he is a Red-Tail Hawk.

You can see how thin he is.

We have lots of rabbits and squirrels,
so hopefully he found a meal.

Kai spies a squirrel on the other side of the fence.

Look at that concentration!
You can see my garden cart and rake waiting for me.

The squirrel nonchalantly digs around, knowing full well
that Kai is on the other side of the fence :)

Such a tease......

One morning I was driving up 
the driveway and had just arrived at the gate 
when I saw movement out my rain-streaked windshield. 

(My plastic enclosed newspaper leans against the post.)

It was a Ruffed Grouse. 

I had heard his drumming for a few weeks. 

He notices me and decides to fly off, and when he did, 
another flew off with him. 

Hopefully there will be little grouse come spring :)

Isn't he pretty? He blends into the landscape so well!

This year we have been blessed with a small herd of elk
that are wintering nearby. 

It's always a thrill to see them. 
They will stay for the winter and once
the snows melt in the higher elevations, 
they will move to higher ground.

These are large animals that can weigh about 400 lbs.
when fully grown.

We drive carefully and slowly, especially
at night.

I recently told you that a pair of Bald Eagles had 
arrived in the area and I was hoping to get some photos. 

I had my chance just the other day.....

A real beauty. 

So graceful. 

Soaring back and forth....

And quickly gone. 

This little Towhee is a favorite of mine.
He lives right near the house and scratches
for insects under the cedar trees.

He and his mate nest on the ground and he sings a reedy song
all spring to announce his territory.

We have these large Band-Tailed Pigeons that live here, year-round, too.
They are as big as a chicken - not like those wimpy
city pigeons! :) They live in large flocks and like residential areas
and parks with big trees to nest in.

This is a female Varied Thrush.
The male is a striking orange and black.
They are about the size of a Robin, but a little stouter.
They winter here and scratch for insects under leaves and
in the fallen needles under evergreens.

They have a very reedy call and are prone to window strikes,
so I have special decals in my big windows and it has
solved the problem.

And who doesn't love hummingbirds?
This little Anna's hummingbird is our year-round resident.
His dark head and throat glows ruby red in sunlight.


We are blessed with a mild climate here year round.
The average temperature is 52 degrees (Fahrenheit),
and it rarely gets hotter than 80 degrees in summer,
and colder than 46 degrees in winter.
(Daily high temperatures)
Of course, there are exceptions to the rule,
but this is the average.

Once in a while we get snow in the lower elevations,
but it doesn't last very long.
We live at 1200 ft. elevation. Mostly the snow
level stays higher than 3000 ft. but because
we are in the foothills, we can get snow
when other areas don't.

Sunset on the Cascade Mountains.

We do get a lot of rain - about 38 inches a year,
but that is mostly in winter and spring.
Summers and fall are surprisingly dry.

Mt. Rainier forms it's own weather and sometimes the clouds form amazing swirls nearby.

Although it can be sobering to realize how
truly wild this life I lead is,
(when coyotes are howling and Ramblin' Man is away
on a business trip)
 I wouldn't trade it for any other place on Earth.

Except, maybe, for a stone cottage in the Cotswold's :)


Thank you for sharing this wild and crazy life with me,
dear Friends! It's all of you who keep me
from being that lone voice in the dark.


Today I am linking with:

Saturday's Critters

Won't you join the fun?

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

A Quiet Weekend

Hello, Dear Friends, I hope you are all 
hanging in there as we start to ascend
 from the depths of winter
here in the North, and the heat of summer
for all of my friends south of the equator. 

I want to thank you for all of your kind and 
encouraging comments on my last post.
It truly warms my heart to have such sweet 
well-wishers and lovely friends. 

I've been winding down after the flurry of activities
during the holidays and the baby shower, 
and have been trying to get
my little cottage in the woods back in order.

I finally put away all of my holiday decorations, but
  I left these tiny twinkle lights behind the curtain,
  just because I liked them :)

They are so pretty at night. 

Speaking of night.......have any of you been 
able to see the Big and Little Dippers? 

They appear right over Mt. Rainier on clear nights 
now, and it is so magical and wonderful 
to see them, especially this time of year 
when the nights are long and all the twinkly 
holiday lights are put away. 

Well, most of them, anyway :)

I found some white primroses at the 
market and planted them beneath my 
'caged' angel. 

We have had a mild weekend with temperatures 
in the 50's and 60's, so I couldn't resist 
going outside to get my hands dirty. 

I can see them from the glass door in the kitchen
and they just make me so happy. 

This time of year we always have cloud drama around 
the mountain. It changes from moment to moment. 

We have two new 'neighbors' - a pair of bald eagles 
that I have seen the last few days, flying through this view. 
(I've failed to get a decent photo of them, yet)

I am hoping that they stay and nest somewhere close, 
but they may just be temporary visitors. 

Although there is not much happening in the gardens
this time of year, I did find a few wonders......



Winterberry and tiny mosses. 

Kai on mossy steps 

Water droplets on bare branches

Male Anna's Hummingbird 

The lacy patterns of winter trees

Misty mornings

Winter sunsets

Contemplating the beauty of nature, even in winter, 
helps to keep me grounded in this world of turmoil 
and strife. 


"A calm and modest life brings more happiness
than the pursuit of success combined with 
constant restlessness."

- Albert Einstein -

Today I am linking with:

Keep in Touch
Floral Bliss
Thankful Thursday

Won't you join the fun?


Monday, January 8, 2018

A Baby Shower for Twins and a Happy Announcement

Hello, Dear Friends, I hope that you 
have been settling in to the New Year. 

I have been thinking of all of you who have
been enduring the bitter winter weather
and hope you are staying safe and warm. 

For some reason, we have been spared the worst of it, 
despite our Northern latitude, here in Washington State. 

It's been cool, foggy, wet, and calm - 
typically 'average' Northwest winter weather. 
Of course, winter has just begun and I'm 
sure we will not be spared for long! 

Since Christmas, I've been busy crafting for a baby shower
for my daughter, Heather. 

Little owls for the little ones. 

Letters to spell out their names.....
Declan and Liam. 

The nursery is gray and white with a 'woodland' theme. 

Painted hat boxes and initials, lined with pretty papers
to stack and fill with little gifts. 

The shower was hosted by Heather's sister, 
Jennie, at her home across 
the Narrow's Bridge. It is an hour's drive away, 
so I left early in the morning, 
packed to the brim with dishes, gifts
and a cake still to frost and decorate.

I had never driven there myself, 
although I have been a passenger. 
There is a section of highway under construction
with limited signage and I missed my exit to the bridge, 
which took me miles out of my way
 before I could turn around. 
I hate driving on highways! 

Living in the country, I am used to slow country roads. 
This particular section of highway is the worst in the state, 
not to mention, under construction with lanes that end, 
lanes not marked, ramps, bumps and barriers. 
This state has been voted 5th in the nation
for the most congested highways. 
It's no lie. 
I nearly had a panic attack. 

But I made it safe and sound, although a bit frazzled. 

Jennie, daughter in law's, Erica and Jenn,
 and I got right to work and here are the results. 


Fruit tray, meat and cheese tray, pastries, skewered donut holes, 
tiny muffins on pedestal, and assorted sliced tea breads. 

Mimosa bar
 (champagne was added to the silver buckets
 once the guests arrived)

The 'cakes' and little owls. 

Jennie found the sweet 'It's twins' decoration 
on-line and I baked the 'deconstructed' cake
and put it together there. 

It's simply a white cake with powdered sugar glaze.

The finished hat-box 'cake' with babies' initials. 
I found the bitty owls in a baby shop. They are finger puppets. 

The ribbon is printed with baby feet and 'baby boy'. 

Favor boxes filled with butter mints. 

Flowers with baby's breath, of course! 

Tiny 'onesies'. 
(There are duplicates of each one)

Sweet thoughts. 

The Mom-to be's comfy chair, decorated with pom-poms. 

Jenn and Erica were in charge of the games and prizes. 


The house soon filled up
 with the love and laughter of close friends and family.......

with sweet generosity for the new mom-to-be.


Just a few more weeks before we greet the new arrivals. 

I'm excited, nervous, and filled with so many emotions. 
Heather and Eric already have l year old Gavin, 
so they will have a 'full house'. 
A dream come true for my daughter, who 
was ready to give up that dream of becoming a Mother, 
and now look at her! 
We are so happy for them! 


Speaking of being happy.....I have some more happy news....

Jennie is engaged! Steve popped the question on New Year's Eve. 

It's beginning to look like a wonderful year! 


Now let's hope that I can keep up with this growing family! 


I think I need a nap now :)

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