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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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.
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).
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.
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!
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.
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THE SOUTHERNER IS BACK!
I’m back, my friends! As you may have noticed, I took the summer off from blogging. The reason I did this was to give myself, and you, a break. I was beginning to feel like my blog posts were the exact same, year after year. Also, I promised Linda I would do more to help her with taking care of the yard since I didn’t have a vegetable garden to speak of this year. So, on Wednesdays when I usually did my blog, I watered the front yard instead. We hand-water all of our plants because we don’t have a sprinkler system, and it doesn’t make much sense anyway to have a sprinkler running when it is 90 to 110 degrees outside. The water evaporates in mid-air! The Eastern Washington area we live in is High Desert anyway, so sprinklers just aren’t something we could justify. We decided when we moved in to hand-water instead, and it has worked out just fine. Below are some of our flower pictures from this past summer.
Last fall, Linda moved some of our roses from the front yard around to the side yard across from where I grow our lettuce. That area gets some shade in the hot afternoons, so she thought they might do better. And they did! The one we noticed the most difference in was the Mom Rose, which had always done poorly in the front yard. This year it had the most beautiful blooms, as evidenced by this picture below.
We also moved one of my peonies last fall to a sunnier spot in the front yard, and it did amazingly this year! Actually, all of our flowers seemed to be especially beautiful this year, and we think it is because we had a much cooler and wetter start to the summer.
We did manage to get a couple of trips in this summer. One was our annual (except for during the height of Covid) trip to Leavenworth, WA, for my birthday at the end of June. This was our first pleasure trip outside of Yakima since September of 2019, so we were extremely ready for it. We always spend just a couple of nights there because for us, that is enough of being away from home. Of course, since it was Leavenworth (which is known for its microbreweries and all-around beer culture), there was a fair amount of beer-drinking, as well as pizza-eating. We took a nice hike on a nearby trail one morning, and it was so nice to have some different scenery for our walk. All in all, it was a very welcome and enjoyable vacation.
Then, in August, we went to the Seattle/Tacoma area for the celebration of Wendy and Emily’s birthdays. First, we stopped off at Emily’s new condo (she got it right before Covid, but we hadn’t seen it until now). What a beautiful home she has made! So tidy and neat, tastefully decorated, just perfect for her. Being the Disney freak that she is, Emily decorated one wall of her condo with some of her collection of Mouse Ears (picture below). We were so glad she was able to get moved in and settled before everything went south with the pandemic.
After going out to lunch with Em, we headed to Wendy and Robin’s condo. We finally got to meet our doggo-nephew, Zorro. What a good boy he is, indeed! I may be a bit biased (being the aunt and all that), but I think he is just gorgeous. He is such a well-behaved dog, and smart, too! The entire time we were there, I only heard him bark a couple of times, and there was no jumping up and slobbering on us. (LOL) Every time I look at his picture, he makes me smile.
On birthday day, we had a nice walk with Wendy and Zorro down to Chambers Bay. It was a beautiful, clear, warm day, and the bay was sparkling in the sun. Later that afternoon, Emily arrived and we sat around on the the back patio watching birds, squirrels, and bunnies…and watching Zorro watch them. After a while we had our cocktail hour and the two birthday girls opened their presents. Robin cooked us all a wonderful supper of roast chicken, which we enjoyed with a cucumber/onion salad and some French potato salad. After dinner, we all had a slice of each of the birthday cakes that Emily had brought (gluten-free and dairy-free, of course). They were made by a bakery near where she lives and they were so cute. The little one was a carrot cake (which I think is my favorite cake ever), and the other was a lemon cake with cream cheese frosting. Absolutely delicious! So we had a very enjoyable weekend with family…talking, eating and drinking.
Back in Yakima, things returned to normal which means not a whole lot going on. My “garden” was an absolute bust this year. In the back garden area, I only planted two tomato plants, two squash plants, and one jalapeño pepper plant. One tomato plant did not give me a single tomato all season long. In fact, a tomato never even started to form on it. Amazing! The other tomato plant gave me only a handful of very tiny tomatoes about twice a week, until it stopped producing in September. My zucchini plant put out about four zucchini fruits, but all of them failed to mature except for one, which was still very small when I picked it last week. The other squash plant, a Delicata, produced four small squash, each about the size of a tennis ball. The jalapeño gave me a total of ten peppers all summer long. I had planted three Shishito peppers and one banana pepper in the front yard, and those plants did a bit better. The Shishitos produced enough peppers for me to sauté a pan full three times, and the banana pepper plant produced about five peppers. So, needless to say, next year I am not going to plant anything unless it’s in a pot.
The volunteer tomatoes that came up on their own over by the side of the house produced way better than the ones out in the actual garden. But they didn’t go great guns, either. The tomatoes that I got off my last harvest before we pulled the plants up (below) is the largest harvest all summer, and it was only enough to fill a large mixing bowl. Sad!
You, like me, might wonder what is to blame for my poor garden harvest? The primary answer is the weather. We had a very late Winter, and when Spring finally showed up, it was an unusually cold one. All the plants got a late start, and since Yakima’s growing season is very short even in a good year, things just didn’t have enough time to mature before the days started getting shorter and the nights cooler. Linda spoke to the owner of Johnson’s Orchards a month or so ago and he said that in 45 years of growing pears here in the Yakima Valley, he has never seen them do as poorly as they did this year. I’ve been seeing similar reports on Facebook from others as well. Hopefully, next year will be better.
Below is a short video that I took of some of the insects I observed this summer. The butterfly is a Coronis Fritillary.
Summer Girl had a typical summer of just lazing around doing nothing. When I would water the front yard she would sometimes rouse herself and come out there to keep me company. One day she had an encounter with a couple of Scrub Jays, and I just had to video it because it was so cute. They were all about trying to annoy her, and she just couldn’t be bothered!
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