Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year: Hopeful horizons for 2011

Bellingham from Samish Ridge

I feel as if we opened a book about great ocean voyages
and found ourselves on a great ocean voyage:
sailing through December, around the horn of Christmas
and into the January Sea, and sailing on and on

From "Voyage" by Tony Hoagland

Last sunset of 2010

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Late night cozy

29 degrees and falling, but who cares, as long as the fireplace is stoked.'s a natural gas fireplace. These buds could care less about esthetics though, on a night like this. 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Off the beaten path

A brief break in the weather and a jog through Whatcom Falls Park was the draw today. And as this rainy December closes out 2010, the creek's flow to Bellingham Bay seems more relentless with each outing.   

Surprisingly, less than 200 or 300 feet down the Lower Gorge Trail from our routine Waterline Bridge crossing to the west, straight ahead instead of an abrupt left turn, Casey and I were treated to a new bend in the creek and an impressive new torrent.

Sometimes it takes venturing out just a little - a right turn instead of a left - to be awestruck, or even pleasantly surprised.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas cute on a couple of counts

Just Vic and a stuffed puppy, but a stuffed puppy with a history.

Purchased by friends 15 years ago and rescued from a collection in a flooded basement this week, this black and white cuddly may not be a total replication of our real live version, but check out the cuteness.

But it's the thought that counts, and Casey will be carrying it around the house soon enough.


Sunday, December 26, 2010

Tree glitter on interurban trail

Each year on the Whatcom Falls interurban trail someone takes the time to trim a random evergreen. Always a little sparse - although much more elaborate than Charlie Brown's version in A Charlie Brown Christmas effort  - it's a fixture each holiday, season in spite of the weather, to welcome in each new year.

A nice touch though at the end of a hike.

Christmas at Marsha's

After all the Yuletide buildup and hubbub has subsided, an escape to Marsha's house to see Christmas out is always a welcome conclusion to this holiday for Casey and Stella. Our guy just kicks back and enjoys the peace and quiet with the grownups. Of course, it doesn't hurt that he's spoiled bigtime by Marsha and her mother DP. And Stella – she’s probably still under a bed somewhere back at the house.


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Napping by a techno fireplace

When it comes to a roaring fire in the fireplace, neither Casey nor Stella can resist taking time out of their busy schedules for power naps, even if the ambience is pure screensaver. 

Friday, December 24, 2010

Far cry from last month

Two days from Christmas, with temperatures in the mid-fifties and winds howling out of the southwest, last month's blanket of snow at Thanksgiving seems downright nostalgic.

One of these years we'll get the timing right for a white Christmas. It's always a long shot, but it could happen.  

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Low-profile at a Christmas get-together

(The truth is, this holiday get-together is doesn't seem like the end is in sight. And with the new rug there's not near enough snack fallout to keep me enthused.)

(It won't be long now...ya think?)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Summer's secrets on the first day of winter

Our nearby greenbelt on the first day on winter shows very little promise for living up to its name, and little evidence remains of blacktail deer that use it for a rest stop when the foliage is full. An occasional rabbit venturing out of its warren is all that's left of neighborhood fauna.

At least with one exception.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Dark eve winter 2-fer

The shortest, darkest day of the year since 1638, is that much darker in Bellingham tonight with the sky conditions over town being reported as broken variable overcast ceilings at around 5,500 feet, and forecasted to remain that way all night.

There may be a heaven of diamonds shining down through the night somewhere, according to the Annie Lennox lyrics for Winter Wonderland, but not here. But we'll stick around until 12:17 am to see if we'll get a peek at the first winter solstice eclipse in 372 years. The next shot at a 2-fer like this - December 21, 2094, but it should be just as overcast over the southside. 

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A big-time break in the weather, and a canine crooner

Crisp, cool, and absolutely gorgeous, there was no excuse but doing a little off-leash time on the interurban today.

And it really paid off on the hike to Marine Park when Casey made a new friend that sent out nothing but good vibes. Sometimes you never know with a Blue Heeler, but Dooder, from Kansas, was special and just wanted to play...and sing.

Casey's pretty smart, but as far as we know he can't carry a tune.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Peace Dog and Friends

Casey the Peace Dog was at it again as he joined members of the Veterans For Peace Chapter-111 freeway blogging over Interstate 5 in solidarity with the Veterans For Peace White House Stop These Wars action on Thursday Dec 16th in Washington DC.

Christmas wish fake out

Our boy was pretty excited yesterday morning when he saw this white stuff. Sadly though, it was just a substantial coating of hail from a passing thunderstorm.

Hang in there, Casey. There's still a few days to go before Christmas - and you still might get that Frisbee toss in the snow yet.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Whatcom Falls Park trails during let up in weather

With rainy conditions letting up for an off leash walk on the interurban trail on Monday, the aftermath of continuous rain and flood warnings were everywhere, but Whatcom Falls Creek was a cut above and hasn't been this swollen and torrential for sometime. 

The weather wasn't going to hold for long but we took advantage of at least somewhat dry conditions with mottled skies.

This break wasn't going to last for long though, and flood warnings throughout the State were going to continue.
It can still be beautiful, but wishing for snow at Christmas isn't out of line and Casey wouldn't care when the white stuff came. Bring it on.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Let's get going

With the sun breaking out this morning, at least for awhile, Casey grab his leash and went for the door. This is his routine if he knows a walk is imminent - grab the leash, get everyone moving, keep the momentum going.

Today he is so right, with showers and cooler temperatures forecasted for the rest of the day.

(So what's the holdup?)

Suet for some tiny drop-ins

It looks like a small squadron of tiny bushtits are the first samplers of our wild winter bird suet this year. Not a lot of takers this December - we're assuming it's due to the very wet last couple of weeks.

The word usually gets out though, and in no time at all the occasional Steller Jay will be forced to slum it and socialize with the rest of our feathered transients.  

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Easy, delectable, holiday cranberry sauce

Victoria's Cranberry Sauce


9 cups cranberries (fresh)
3 cups sugar
the zest of two oranges
1½ cups orange juice
1½ cups filtered water
3 tablespoons lemon juice

Wash and pick over cranberries (discard bad ones).

Combine cranberries, orange zest, sugar, orange juice, water, lemon juice.

Bring to a boil in saucepan (stir frequently).

Reduce heat to a low boil/simmer and cook for 15 minutes.

For canning - Process jars in a covered water bath canner for 15 minutes. This cranberry sauce base is enough to make 10 small jars for gifts and hook the recipients for good on your holiday recipe.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Fairhaven holiday shimmer

An early evening stroll through our favorite part of Bellingham, the Fairhaven District, leaves no doubt there's a feeling of Christmas in the air.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Rainy day funk

Yesterday was definitely an indoor day with constant downpours raining out neighborhood excursions and Frisbee tosses. Look who's totally jazzed about sorting through strings of Christmas tree lights. 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Shine on, John

Has it really been 30 years today? And for almost that long this Lennon sketch in black ink has had a place of prominence in our home. Visible in the entry way, it continues to brashly define our politics to unwelcome solicitors.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Birthday boy gets a burger

What do Mary, Queen of Scots, Baseball Hall of Famer Johnny Bench, NBA great Larry Bird, linquist/activist Noam Chomsky, singer/song writers Harry Chapin and Tom Waits, and actress Ellen Burstyn have in common?

Why they were all born on December 7th and of the notables that are still with us, none of them are likely to have celebrated this milestone with a birthday hamburger.

Three years ago today Casey was born on a farm in Kellogg, Minnesota, and the rest is history. So what better way is there to celebrate with our
favorite carnivore on his special day than to treat him to a hamburger from Old Town Cafe? At least we know it's naturally raised, grass fed beef.

Enjoy it while you can, kid. You deserve it. But it's back to the kibble and Natural Balance tomorrow.


Monday, December 6, 2010

Holiday Port Festival 2010

The Port of Bellingham once again this past weekend hosted the Holiday Port Festival. Probably more than most we're saps for Christmas and this year is no different - no sense growing up too soon.

All weekend the cruise terminal was filled with high school, middle school, even elementary school performers, including clan dancers, jazz ensembles, swing choirs and much more. Enough to pop a Christmas vein.

Chorale groups like the Squalicum Storm Singers (above) filled the upper Dome Room with renditions of pure seasonal nostalgia yesterday afternoon and we soaked up every verse over high-risk mochas with our friend Carolyn.

Next stop, the annual ginger bread house silent auction, sponsored by - are you ready for this - the nearby BP refinery. Has to be part of a commitment we suppose "to making it right" - of course. 

Entries from every age group were displayed for this competition. Our personal favorite, God help us, the Ginger Bread Coffin. (Is there a not-so-deep yuletime message here?)

RIP Mr. Ginger Bread Man 

Horse and wagon rides, fire truck rides, art activities, crowds, chamber orchestras playing Christmas standards, crowds, and of course Santa Claus - the festival is always an overload for the kids - of all ages. Just the way it should be.