Friday, May 31, 2013

Right on schedule

We may not have been hearin’ the cottonwoods whisperin’ above lately, but evidence abounds that these neighborhood giants have been doing a number on the scenery and local sinuses.

While Casey was leading me around on a walk earlier this week their puffy white seeds were everywhere, and after light to moderate winds, flurries left seed drift versions reminiscent of Currier and Ives originals. 

As much as Casey was nosing around in this snowfall-like litter it’s lucky he’s not allergy prone.       

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A flexitarian's guilty pleasure

On our return via the North Cascades Highway, after our sojourn to Methow Valley’s Freestone Inn, we were lucky to have perfectly timed a lunch stop at Marblemount’s Buffalo RunRestaurant

A quick look at the lunch specials was a dead giveaway to what we could expect at this landmark dining establishment, where most of the specialties consisted of entrees prepared from the meat of almost any wild animal with a face. Buffalo, antelope, ostrich, venison, elk, kangaroo. You name it; BR will make a burger out of it.

If this wasn’t unique enough, the restaurant’s atrium, viewable from the dining room, contained virtually swarms of hummingbirds, flitting around feeders and amazing visual to accompany our annual buffalo burger with fries and coffee.

And I’m sure it wasn’t the first time our waitress had heard it, but I couldn’t help telling her that we sure hoped hummingbird burgers weren’t going to be a new menu item the next time we were in town. (Can you imagine how many you'd have to catch?! Sorry.)

Buffalo burger with sauteed mushrooms and Swiss cheese, with fries and coffee


Sunday, May 26, 2013

Favorite weekend image

With a little nudging Casey allowed for this photo op in Winthrop, Washington. If he was a little taller he would have probably preferred the cowboy side. He's a good sport though.

A final shot of winter

On a getaway to Eastern Washington we were surprised by snowfall in the higher passes of the North Cascades Highway. Of course nothing should really surprise us, in May, on that stretch of highway. Oh yeah, the forecasts were calling for 85+ degrees and high clouds during our stay in Mazama, thirty miles downhill, but it’s spring in the Cascades and Methow Valley. 

Casey was beside himself while checking out his first real accumulation of snowfall in over a year and a half. So we cut him some slack while he was taking it all in. As you would guess he didn't want to move on any time too soon.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Full Circle Stella

OK. Just where exactly does Stella Girl start and stop do ya suppose?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Short period of adjustment

Look who's making himself right at home. At first we weren't quite sure how quickly Casey was going to adjust to our small sofa's new sun room location. After hearing him whimper near it last night, like he had the "guilties" for even thinking of curling up on it, we had to actually cajole him into hopping up and checking it out. 

What a life.  

It won't be that easy of a transition for Stella. For house cats, change is never a given.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Lucky link

Not exactly a serendipity sighting, but a glimpse of an out of place lump on a manicured lawn during an evening walk became a link in a chain of events that resulted in a much needed, though totally unexpected happy ending. 

After a close up and personal inspection we found a trembling Stellar Jay chick, seemingly uninjured and wishing his complaining parent across the street would do something.

It seemed like the best option would be to let its frustrated mom figure it out, so we moved the youngster under a nearby shrub, out of the plain site of predators. Then, after letting a neighbor know what we were up to, we moved on, hoping for the best.

Well, the chick’s mom couldn’t coax the kid airborne, so a call was made to the local Wildlife Rehab center which recommended that the chick be admitted. And by the next morning we got great news, that, in spite of the odds, our little critter was doing nicely, up and squawking for food with other feathered foundlings. We needed that. 

With any luck at all, our rescue project should be up and annoying the neighborhood crows in no time. 

Friday, May 17, 2013


It won’t be long and our wild grass will be “as high as an elephant’s eye.” Well, at least as high as the eyes of the guy that tags along with Casey most every day. And today it seemed like we could have actually watched it grow, while a bumper crop of dandelions were providing stiff competition for territorial rights.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

New bloomers

After a hike and some front yard Frisbeeing, Casey is posing and panting in front of new bloomers, Korean lilacs on the left, competing with lavender rhodies on the right. Just as impressive today was a noticeable influx of honey and bumble bees. Kind of a relief actually...we were starting to wonder when they were going to show up. Keep 'em coming.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Nonplussed snacking

It’s been a while, but it was just a matter of time before the cul de sac would be treated to another sighting of one of our black-tailed does showing up on a solo raid, this time in the middle of the afternoon with very little fanfare. In fact, only a pacing Stella the house cat alerted us to this stately lady helping herself to whatever new growth she fancied. 

A front-door napping Casey missed most of the excitement – either that, or he couldn't have cared less. And our visiting snacker seemed just as unfazed, as Victoria moved in closer than usual for these shots. 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mom's Day(s)

Victoria and Casey overlooking Saturday's packed Farmers Market 

This Mother’s Day weekend wasn’t frenetic by most standards, but it was certainly full, starting on Saturday with a trip to the Farmers Market, packed with shoppers, musicians and people watchers, and ending last night with Hot Damn Scandal’s tour kickoff at Boundary Bay Brewery.

After sleeping in and resting up this morning, a Sunday holiday dinner at D’Anna’s, a favorite local Italian restaurant, put a capper on Vic’s special day. Pasta, a carafe of Montepulciano, and a shared tiramisu with our firstborn, Joe, to celebrate his birthday a couple of days early, turned out to be the perfect two-fer for wrapping up a full weekend commemorative for our favorite Mom.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Canines by committee

Stopping by the new neighbors always seems to bowl Casey over.  

Just three or four blocks away from our house is a veritable mini-farm, a well-maintained yard enclosure containing chickens, goats, rabbit and gerbil hutches – and I’m sure I’m leaving a species out. These little guys appear to be pygmy goats and come running whenever Casey comes near the fence line. He's got to think they're the homeliest dogs ever.

In case you’re wondering, there are no ordinances against keeping and raising farm animals in the city limits of Bellingham, as long as they are properly fed and enclosed. In fact, this same urban farming practice is allowed in larger cities like Seattle, which imposes a restriction of eight chickens, properly enclosed.

Concerns though about predators - like foxes, coyotes, raptors - limit these barnyard animals’ roaming to daylight hours. It wouldn't take any time at all for one of them to become an entree.   

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Hug hog

Casey couldn’t bear not being the center of attention when grandkids Kaya and Silas were on the receiving end of affection from papa Joe at the end of a long yesterday. 

Here our incurable love junkie unabashedly managing to squirm his way into the middle of another group hug. He knows no shame. And of course there is probably nothing you'd like better than 55 lbs of Border Collie ending up in your lap. Right?

But as far as Casey's concerned you gotta do what you gotta do.


Tuesday, May 7, 2013


It must be possible, with a little patience, to actually watch the wild grasses and dandelions grow and thrive in our corner greenbelt. By this time next month Casey and I will be restricted to the trails, as this flora reaches heights of four to six feet, nurtured by a steady dose of intermittent May rain showers and enough sunshine to convince ‘Hamsters that summer will arrive, in due time.

Until then, getting from point A to point B just depends on the next critter that Casey decides to chase.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Shade at a premium

Sultry, above average temperatures for this date caught most of us locals off guard. The airport recorded a high of 76 degrees, about 15 degrees above normal, and apparently we’re in store for a week more in the 70-80 range. 

There are natural escapes from the heat – creeks, lakes, parks, and the tunnel at the Sehome Arboretum ridge. A poor substitute for the beach but not too shabby for a quick break.      

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Thriving fence climber

Like everybody else we’ve been concerned about vanishing bee populations and keeping tabs on when and how many are returning this spring to work their magic. But thanks to our Montana Clematis we’re not quite ready to invest in nano bee technology. This Rubens variety seems to be doing OK, flourishing actually, and also seems to be a honey bee magnet.  

Friday, May 3, 2013

Things are looking up

Things are really looking up. Can't you tell by the smile on this tuckered out Border collie?  After all, in the words of our grandson Silas, “It’s the freakin’ weekend!”

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Almost a picture perfect day

A nearly perfect afternoon for a hike almost ended in a tragedy, of sorts, as we were heading back to the Whatcom Falls trail head. Casey was exploring off-trail on his own, when during a quick over-the-shoulder glance I noticed him pouncing, after a double take, on a life form in the grass. Several yards away, as I rushed to mediate whatever, all I could see at that instant was a frantic rustling, and paws heading it off.

Then I saw, and then heard, a frightened chipmunk – my first thoughts were possible opossum, rat, or snake. It was on its back in a defensive position, cute as hell actually, and wishing it was anywhere but an inch away from the muzzle of an amazed Border Collie. The little guy’s screams were heartbreaking, but I had Casey by the collar quickly enough to prevent accidental, even instinctive bloodshed, and then watched as it righted itself and crawled away into the nearest thicket. If it had worn tiny chipmunk pants, believe me, they would have been full.

Relieved that there were no casualties, we headed home, but the kid and I will hear those mini-shrieks in our dreams. Having watched Casey chase squirrels for years, I’m still shocked that he actually snagged something other than a Frisbee. 


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Cautious optimism

It seems like the flowering cherry tree blossoms are long overdue for being dispersed to the four corners of the neighborhood by April showers associated with blustery frontal activity. We've always been able to count on their arrival. So far so good though, and from the looks of our 10-day forecast, not only will the blooms be shedding on their own, but Bellingham will be basking in mostly clear conditions and 70+ degrees by midweek.

We are cautiously optimistic - it is May in the NW after all, but it looks like it's time for Victoria to get her tomatoes planted. But let's not get overconfident and jinx it.