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THE TURKEY’S NOT THE ONLY THING THAT WAS STUFFED

I trust that everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Ours turned out pretty good…so good that we had it on Thursday AND Friday. Our friend Linda H. came over on Friday and joined us for dinner, bringing a home-baked pumpkin pie with her. The turkey was not as good as it had been in previous years. It was a tough old bird, or as my Aunt Grace used to say, “like a yard bird”. But it was good enough, and so were all the sides. I ate way more than I should have, and then did it again the next day!

Linda and I took a walk at Randall Park again the Friday before Thanksgiving, just to check up on our ducks and geese. As soon as we got out of the truck, they were immediately all around us. We told them that we didn’t have any corn for them that day, but the next time we go there we promised we would bring some. 

Our Randall Park Duck Friends

The pond was partially frozen over. The poor little ducks were just sitting on top of the ice or swimming around in that freezing water. It makes me feel so bad for them, but I know they are used to it and are well insulated. Still, I can’t imagine being in that cold water!

A group of American Widgets arrived to the pond right before we left it to walk around the park. They are so cute, and they tend to all stay together in a group.

Randall Park Pond Happenings

There were several ducks at the park with different, unusual colors. A few of them appeared to be completely black. One had a black head, motley brown body, and blueish-green back. So pretty! I suspect they are just more of the Mallard duck hybrids.

A Black Duck

A Brown Duck

A Mallard Duck

This guy was quacking so fast his lower beak is just a blur

This fellow had some beautiful blue-green feathers

When we got back from our walk at Randall Park, we had a covey of Quail show up in the front yard to forage underneath the feeder. We have seen this group a few times this fall, so we are hoping that they continue to come throughout the winter. (I had to shoot this video through the blinds, so that is what the blurry lines are).

The hummingbirds have been steadily coming to their heated feeder. I know they appreciate the semi-warm nectar when it is so cold outside. It is actually only about room temperature, but that’s better than being freezing cold! I have had at least two coming to the feeder still, and I know because I have seen them both appear at the feeder before taking off on a wild chase.

A Hummer Thanksgiving

A couple of years ago, my cousin Lorrie sent me some framed pictures of birds as a “just because” gift. I have them hanging up around the puzzle room where the computer is located. When I sit at the computer I can look over to the left a little bit and look at this one in the picture below. I love the little saying it has on it. We should all remember this: it doesn’t cost anything to dream, so why not go big?

PARTING SHOT

We had a little snow predicted for yesterday and today, so we got our snow tires put on the truck Monday morning. I am sure glad that we did because we have about 2 1/2 inches of snow right now, and more predicted for the upcoming few days. While all the snow was falling, Summer Girl was quite unconcerned because she was inside asleep on top of the big bed.

Snoozing Kitty

Look at that cute little smile!

Join me every Wednesday or Thursday (barring any unforeseen circumstances) for more from the Southerner in the Northwest.

MISCELLANEOUS

Since I wasn’t posting back in the summer, I have some pictures and video that I’d like to share with you in this post.

Back on June 26th, Linda and I took a walk down at the Yakima Arboretum. We had a late end to winter due to unusually cold weather, so things were still in their Spring blooming mode in mid-June. The trees were especially beautiful, with one in particular standing out above all the rest. We came across this one while walking in the Maple Tree section of the Arboretum.

STUNNING MAPLE TREE

Walking up to the tree, we could tell that it was different from the others in that section. But it was only upon closer inspection that we saw just how magnificent it was. The leaves were several different colors, sometimes having two or three colors on a single leaf.

COLORFUL LEAF

We searched the tree for an identification tag so we would know the name of this beautiful specimen. We finally found it, and it was identified as Sycamore Maple “Eskimo Sunset”. I think that’s a very appropriate name for it since it had so many color shades going on.

THE MANY COLORS OF THE SYCAMORE MAPLE “ESKIMO SUNSET”
ESKIMO SUNSET MAPLE TREE SEED TAGS

Also on our walk we came upon a Ginkgo tree. This has always been one of my favorite trees, but if you plant one just make sure it is a male tree. The female Ginkgo tree produces a small fruit that smells absolutely horrible! You would think a gang of cats invaded your property and decided to make it their latrine of choice. The Ginkgo tree originated in China and was present in Washington state millions of years ago, but then became extinct in North America. However, the tree was brought back to North America sometime during the 1700’s. In 1932 a tract of rare petrified Ginkgo trees was found near Vantage, Washington. The specimens have been preserved in the Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park. Linda and I visited this park not long after we moved to Yakima. It was fascinating to see what was left of the trees, now mainly logs and stumps. But it was also sad to see that they had to be contained within cages to keep people from stealing them.

If you would like to read a fascinating article about the Ginkgo Petrified Forest, go to this link–> here. This article explains how the trees were petrified and also gives a little history about the geological formation of the surrounding area. Click on the “History” link on that page to learn even more. There is an Interpretive Center at the park where rare pieces of Ginkgo, as well as other trees, are on display.

GINKGO LEAF AT YAKIMA ARBORETUM

In late June we took a trip to Leavenworth, Washington, which has a hiking trail that we love to go on whenever we are there. It’s just outside of town so we don’t have to drive very far, and there are always other people around so we aren’t in some remote, deserted area. Here are a few pictures I took on our walk on the trail. I have no idea of the names of these plants, but they sure were pretty.

In August we made a trip over the mountains to the Seattle area to visit Wendy & Robin and Emily. We finally got to see Emily’s new condo, and took a short walk around the area. I got this picture of the Seattle skyline from near her condo. I have always loved to see pictures of the Space Needle. I can remember when I was in the 6th grade, another girl and I made a scrapbook of Seattle for a class project, which included pictures of the Space Needle from magazines. Ever since then, I had dreamed of going to the Space Needle, never believing that I ever would. But soon after we moved to Yakima, we did just that. And it was everything I thought it would be and more. So it just goes to show you that dreams do come true.

SEATTLE SPACE NEEDLE

We stayed with Wendy and Robin while over the mountains, and it was so nice to sit outside on her patio and watch the birds come to the birdbath, which was about two feet away from my chair.

One final picture from the summer has to be a picture of a bird. This little guy was a young robin that frequented our yard. He would sometimes come up onto our back porch. Fortunately, Summer was inside when he did this, or else he would have met her blades of death.

PARTING SHOT

Since I didn’t have a garden this past summer, Summer Girl and I had plenty of time to engage in our favorite pastime…sprawling out under the tree in the shade.

SUMMER GIRL’S FAVORITE POSITION

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WINTER PUTS IN AN APPEARANCE

WHAT’S GOING ON

On Tuesday as we were having our coffee, I happened to look out the front window, whereupon I exclaimed to Linda, “It’s snowing!” Yes, indeed, that white stuff was coming down from the sky. This is a bit early for us to have snow, although the mountain passes have been inundated with it for a couple of weeks now. Tuesday is my usual day for going to the grocery store, so I hurried up and got ready. By the time I got home, it had stopped snowing, but it did stick while it was coming down. A portent of things to come. Linda took a walk to Kissel Park while I was at the grocery store and took some pictures for me to put in the blog. Here they are.

Usually the leaves are all off the trees by the time we have snow, so these pictures were especially pretty with the fall colors.

I think Linda did an excellent job with the pictures. She also took one showing our back yard with our two flamingoes, Fanti and Mingo, trying to stay warm.

The temperatures have steadily been getting colder over the past week. A couple of days ago I took this picture of our Drinking Gourd hosta, showing its beautiful fall colors.

GIZMO

When Linda walks at Kissel Park she sometimes meets up with her walking buddy, Dennis. Dennis has a special needs Pug doggo named Gizmo. He walks Gizmo around the park in a baby stroller, letting him out for a few minutes so he can walk around some and do what dogs do. But Gizmo is barely able to walk, hence the stroller. Below is a picture of Gizmo in his stroller.

Dennis and his wife got Gizmo from the Pacific Pug Rescue located in Portland, OR. It is amazing what they have done for little Giz so that he could enjoy life despite his special needs. Dennis told me the specific syndrome that Gizmo has, but it was one of those long, unpronounceable words so I don’t remember it. Needless to say, it is a ton of work taking care of him, but when Gizmo is down at the Park, everyone stops to see how he’s doing. Sadly, it seems that Gizmo hasn’t been doing very well lately, but we hope that he continues to hang in there.

DENNIS AND GIZMO

ANNIVERSARY

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that today (Wednesday, Nov. 9) is our 24th anniversary. It doesn’t seem like that long ago when Linda took the trip across country by herself in her little Toyota (which was stuffed to the gills) to move to Lumberton. Here’s a picture of us in our little house a few of years after she moved. I don’t seem to have any earlier pictures of us on this computer because we put them on disk years ago. But oh my, we were so young back then! That day 24 years ago changed both of our lives forever. We have had tons of good times and not too many bad times, and I can say that these have been the happiest years of my life (so far).

APPLES

In case you didn’t know, Washington state is a big producer of apples worldwide. There are apple orchards all over the place here in Yakima. Other fruit is also grown, such as pears, apricots, cherries, and grapes. But apples are the top farm commodity produced in the state. We like to get our apples from Johnson Orchards fruit stand. They have a huge variety of apples during the season, and it seems like every year there are more new ones available with names we have never heard before. This year we happened to get a new apple called the Lucy Glo apple. It was a surprise to cut into an apple and have it look like this below. As always with anything we get from Johnsons Orchards, it was delicious.

PARTING SHOT

Sleeping on the big bed in a sunbeam…Summer Girl was in kitty heaven! So much nicer than having that white stuff coming down.

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BACK INTO THE SWING OF THINGS

I no longer want to ride my bike since the weather has slowly been turning cooler here in Yakima, so Linda and I have been walking more. The first week in October we took a walk down at Tahoma Cemetery, mainly to check on the Japanese Garden there and see what, if anything, had been done to it over the summer. We were pleasantly surprised to see that someone had planted a lot of shrubs and flowers around it. It looked so nice!

Very few of the trees had started to turn color then as we were still having some unusually warm days for that time of year (October 5th). I did see one that couldn’t make up its mind whether to turn color or not.

A couple of weeks ago, we took a walk down at Randall Park. The weather had gotten a bit chillier so I wanted to go check on the ducks and geese at the pond. We hadn’t walked at Randall in quite some time. When we got there a large group of ducks greeted us. We apologized to them for not having any cracked corn because we haven’t been able to find any. They understood. We made our way over to the pond and we were glad to see that it was crystal clear, without that awful scum that was on it last year. I took a pretty good “reflection” picture.

The ducks on the pond were having a good time swimming around in the bright sunshine.

We left the pond and walked over the little bridge to the woodland area. The little creek that runs under the bridge is still completely closed up. We think there must be some beavers who are damming it up. The bushes and trees in that area are thriving, though, so I guess it isn’t harming them any.

Leaves and berries in the woodland area were starting to turn color so I got a few pictures of those. The berries looked to me like blueberries, little lemons, and tiny apples (they aren’t).

This past Sunday we got in the truck and drove the few blocks down to Tahoma Cemetery to take another walk. For some odd reason, all of the front entrances were still closed off. We didn’t want to take the longer drive to the back entrance, so we decided to instead walk at Calvary Cemetery (which is right next door). It had been a long time since we walked at this cemetery because it doesn’t have as many nice old trees as Tahoma does. It does, however, have a lot of rose bushes, so I was able to snap a few rose pictures while we took our walk.

Since Halloween was this week, I decided to share with you a picture I took of one of the Delicata squash that I grew this summer. It’s only about an inch and a half long, but it looks like a tiny pumpkin!

I admit I have been remiss about taking pictures since I took the summer off from doing the blog. I am starting to get back into it, though. I got this cute shot of one of my hummers at the feeder the other day. I just adore my hummers!

PARTING SHOT

Summer Girl was appropriately named because she really loves the summertime. One of her favorite things to do is wallow around in the dirt, which is why we have a gray cat in the summer instead of a black one.

Join me every Wednesday (barring any unforeseen circumstances) for more from the Southerner in the Northwest.