Saturday, July 31, 2010

A blue to remember: Soothing cool

A blue hydrangea not to be ignored

This backyard flora was at a time-critical stage yesterday, more than a memorable blue, a gradation of color that would never be seen again.  It needed to be experienced - just wish the shutter could have done it justice. 

Friday, July 30, 2010

Creekside Hike, or Enjoy the video, Deborah Kay

Bellingham has some great urban parks, some of them off-leash varieties for letting semi-dynamos like Casey "air it out".  We hiked to one of our favorites today,

Our trek took us along Whatcom Creek Gorge to our destination, a community park established in 1908 with much of the trail and stonework completed courtesy of FDR and the Works Progress Administration in the 30s and 40s. 

Stops along the way were spontaneously Casey, except for the park fish hatchery.  He would have preferred to skip that side-trip altogether.  And imagine if you will the sweat we worked up...well, the sweat I worked up...and also what some guy, walking through the woods carrying on a running commentary with a Border Collie, must have looked and sounded like to the other hikers.


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Waiting for the Big Show

With a half hour to go before sunset, Marine Park seemed like the perfect place to enjoy a late picnic on the beach, getting ready for the "big show".

The best seat in the "house" for a change, the only thing left to do is cue the orchestra for the overture.
It won't be long now.

Are you guys watching this?

The Bellingham to Victoria ferryVictoria 2 (right)

Never expect  a curtain call, but always well worth the wait. 

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Casey boy,
As you cope with REM-sleep flux 
Are you chasing Frisbees, on your terms,
Executing airborne 180s?

Or eye-balling a half-ton of buckskin, haunches high,
Crouching for an imagined nip of heel or toe,
In awe that the filly pays you any attention at all.

Is Sally impressed with maternal pride,
As you shadow her moves in perfect harmony,
Her lea wingman encircling foals and yearlings?

Do you miss her today, boy?
Or are you just dreaming of a romp through the greenbelt?
Come on, wake up, kiddo. Let’s go find that squirrel.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Look, Ma, no churn

With an overly attentive Casey by her side, Vic has just finished up one of her pet-projects - homemade butter, made with raw cream from a local organic dairy, Jackie’s Jersey Milk. No store-bought version can compete.

These chunks of butter are cut into sections, wrapped in foil and wax paper, refrigerated or frozen, and ready to use for months. The downside, if you can call it that, this time-worn process ruins us for having toast with breakfast almost anywhere else in town.

Pass the sourdough will ya, Ma.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Happy Birthday, Harry

Once again a group of friends gathered for the annual birthday recital hosted by our favorite, local virtuoso Dr. Harry Ison.  86 years-old this week and still headlining, Harry shared Cole Porter, Mozart, Beethoven, and even a few pieces of his own - gifts we were lucky enough to receive again this year.

The final piece on the program each year is Harry's rendition of Harold Arlen’s “Over the Rainbow”, his mother’s favorite song, played in her memory as if it was a caress, for inspiring him as a child to love the piano.

For a couple of minutes anyway, dry eyes were at a premium, and goosebumps, out of control.

Thank you, Harry.  And many happy returns. 

Firehouse coffee klatch with Birthday Boy

Gene, Jim, Harry, Carolyn, Patti, Debera  and Casey (center) 
Vic (right)
The weekly coffee klatch regulars with our "service dog" the day after Harry's birthday concert. Today, espressos all around at The Firehouse Café in Fairhaven.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Hydrangea macrophylla from the "Church of What's Happening Now"

It’s becoming far too difficult to ignore our pink hydrangea plants as the summer starts to slip away. Started from a clipping "lifted" from a block in the Madrona District of Seattle, they continue to flourish and multiply, likely due to the mother plant's proximity to St. Therese Catholic Church - or the "Church of What's Happening Now" in the words of our good friend Marsha.

 Or perhaps not.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Saturday night fever and three scoops

Packed house at Mallard Ice Cream

After a full day in the sun on Saturday, Casey et al are standing in line at Mallard Ice Cream for ice cream cones at 9 o'clock at night.  Life in the fast lane!

We earned those sugar and waffle cones today - vanilla chocolate chunk, espresso Heath, butter pecan.

Life is short though, so eat dessert first... where and whenever you can.
                                    Or at least while the night is young.  Right, Case?


Ever hear of a thimbleberry?

Rubus parviflorus (Thimbleberry)

Spotted this in the woods this afternoon and didn't think it was quite the right color for a salmonberry (well, after we googled it anyway).  It did fit the description of a thimbleberry though.

So much for thinking this Rubus was just a trendy name for a boutique, cafe, or quilt shop.   

Friday, July 23, 2010

Blazing a new trail

Our interurban trek today started out with the usual sightings - joggers, hikers, potential four-legged friends or foes - and ended up with an off-trail excursion that we'd probably never locate again. In fact at times I was beginning to wonder how easy or difficult it was going to be finding our way back.
Each side trail seemed denser than the one before, but that didn't seem to faze my scout. The herding skills may be buried (or scrambled) deep in some genome cache, but this boy is a natural in the woods - and fearless - which is why we don't venture too deep.
After almost an hour of trailblazing and working up a decent sweat, Casey and I headed for home, and dinner.


I kinda think we were here.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Lovable trait

Did I hear Frisbee?

If you want to get a Border Collie’s attention, just say a magic word or two, or phrase – Frisbee…bye, bye…outside? Some times it’s easy to pique their attention – other times, not so much. They’re kind of like us actually, but they can pull off at least a semblance of interest with a head tilt that steals each photo op. It wouldn’t be near as cute if we tried it.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Outdoor table for two and a half

Dinner with Nona Victoria

With an evening breeze wafting down Samish Ridge and a temperature in the high 60s it was much too nice to eat indoors.

Vic preferred a Bordeaux over the chilled white, other than that we were on the same page with the entrée and ambience…and Casey felt he was free to panhandle for pasta scraps on his own terms.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

First bloom of "Plain Jane"

Biltmore Hollyhock (Alcea)

It's been said that some flowers are sad, some are happy, and some, like the hollyhock, are "plain, honest, and upright." That might be true, but we were just happy to see the debut of the very first bloom of the year.

From the looks of things, the full sun and regular watering is going to be paying dividends all summer. Now we're waiting out the hummingbirds, who'll think the alceas are anything but plain.

Monday, July 19, 2010

You got to have friends

Strangers are just friends waiting to happen.  Rod McKuen

That might be a bit of a stretch for Casey on an off-leash trail, where possible intimidation lurks around every bend for our rescued former farm dog. But today, up pops, or more accurately bounds, Henry, a playful Goldendoodle, and Casey took to him right away.

After hanging with each other and sharing the trail, with submission and conserving energy never being an issue, we think our guy will even be looking forward to seeing Henry and his mistress Pat again soon.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Lucifer's got a home

The backyard “arboretum” got a new addition Saturday. We’ve long admired this summer bloomer and found it at the Farmer’s Market.

They're all over the neighborhood, and at last we know the name of this sultry perennial - Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’.

And Casey, not that impressed.

Those Gee's Bend Ladies would have been proud

A local quilting group in Bellingham has been cranking out quilts for the Whatcom Hospice for a few months now. Vic heard about the need and joined in the effort.

Now all of her colorful projects go to this worthwhile program, with the rest of us looking on at home and perfectly comfortable with each stage of the process.

Samples of recent contributions to the Whatcom Hospice Foundation (left)

Casey, with Vic's latest quilting effort

Friday, July 16, 2010

70 degrees and holding on the Bay

Late afternoon on Taylor Dock was ideal for taking in the sights on the Bay. The Alaska Ferry, getting ready for its Friday departure for the Inside Passage to Anchorage, was the most obvious and drew the most onlookers.

The weather is continuing to cooperate with the our fair skies and low 70s that keep us all in town each summer. And there's no change in the forecast for 10 more days.

The Taylor Avenue Dock and Boardwalk, a walkway completing a more than quarter mile “missing link” from downtown to Fairhaven on Bellingham’s popular South Bay Trail.
Casey's on the outside looking in - again - at another of Bellingham's many coffee shops, this time Adagio's. Poor guy. So far the only espresso place that we've been allowed to have our boy join us is Book Fair Cafe at Village Books. (Where else?..He'd love Paris.)
He'd still rather go downtown with us and people watch any day than stay home.