Monday, November 19, 2018

Ingrid Makes Rainbows

Mind making rainbows-
on sunny days
sweep those rain clouds toward you.
on the rainy days
spread that sunshine,
fingertips pushing that light
in every direction
colors blasting forth.

Ingrid has a talent for making rain and making sunshine in her mind. It's a sort of ancient witchcraft, and like most good witches, she suspects she inherited her talent from her women ancestors. Some days she'll only make the rain and some days she'll only make the sun. But on the days her heart can handle it, she'll make both and that is when the rainbows start bursting straight from her brain. 

Friday, November 16, 2018

Fall Foliage Festival Part One: The Foliage!

I love fall foliage, so when I heard there was going to be a week long fall foliage festival at a botanical garden near my house that I had no yet had a chance to visit, I knew I had to go!

The Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden in Federal Way was hosting the fall foliage festival. My expectations of the festival were simultaneously exceeded and disappointed at the same time. The online advertisement for the festival promised pumpkin carving contests, hot fall beverages and artist vendors. When we arrived, we saw no such evidence of any of this except for one, single carved pumpkin sitting in lonely solitude on a foldout table. The promise of hot fall beverages brewed images of hot apple cider in my mind and I was sad there was no sweet-spicy smell of cider wafting through the air as we entered the premises of the garden. 

However, the actual garden was so amazing, I was able to set aside my disappointment at the lack of festivity. Due to it's name (Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden) my expectations were to see a lot of rhododendrons and not much else. Which, given rhodies usually bloom in spring and we are quite far from spring, could lead to a lackluster experience. But it was far from lackluster! This is an amazing garden. I've toured many botanical gardens and arboretums in the Seattle area, and this might be my favorite! It was the perfect combination of wild and maintained. There were the carefully labeled plant specimens we all look forward to seeing and learning about when we visit a botanical garden, but these were dispersed in a wild wooded setting. And although there were many rhododendrons, these were certainly not the only plant to make their majestic appearance in the garden. There were all sorts of lovely plants! And the fall foliage was so beautiful! Fall in the Pacific Northwest really is so beautiful. We've got the mixture of the oranges and reds of changing leaves while still having our noble coniferous trees maintaining their lush green. The rhododendron garden was an especially wonderful place to visit the fall colors since there was more a variety of trees. 

Here are some of the bursts of fall foliage spectacular and wondrous color I encountered during my visit to the garden:

These are the woods that house the beautiful garden. I love all the bursts of yellow dispersed through the woods! 

There is a little pond in the garden!

Sometimes I am curious why money needs to be wasted on a sign that states the obvious.... No walking on the surface of the it!

Take a closer look at this tree. It is pretty trippy. The tree has leaves with two different shapes. I didn't even know that was possible!

Plants and nature are pretty magical, especially when in their full autumnal glory! I was glad to be able to spend a bit of time exploring this magical place!

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Farm Animal Friends for an Afternoon

When I was in San Jose, I had the joy of befriending animals at a little farm. There were some frisky goats and a docile cow, all ready for human friendship. 

When I see any animals so close to foxtails, I get nervous! With dogs, they can cause some serious damage. Maybe domesticated farm animals have evolved better foxtail resistance techniques. This goat seems unfazed to be munching amongst a scattered garden of foxtails.

This goat was pretty free spirited and strong willed. He liked to trot along and do his own thing. He had a trio of teenage girls who were sisters caring for him. At one point, he escaped the gates of the farm and made a dash to the parking lot...ready to explore!

Just look into those eyes! It is easy to tell he is a confident fellow who knows his own mind!

When a goat's free-spirited gusto got too out of the paddock they'd go!

Luckily, a trapped goat still has enough charm to easily lure over a person to give attention.

Sometimes they can also lure over a fellow goat friend who is free. Or, a free goat with a mischievous and sly nature will go and taunt the trapped goat.

I think the pretty cows name is Blackberry. She was sweet and very mildly curious. Mostly, she wanted to chew grass, but then maybe she would see something that would strike her fancy. She would ease her face toward whatever was pulling at her curiosity, look for a brief moment, then go back to chewing.

 She is a noble and proud little lady.

What is it about cows that they always have such kind and gentle eyes. It is sad how such a gentle eyed creature became a huge source of our human food consumption.

There was another little free wandering goat who was a jolly little fellow. He liked to trot around with his ears flapping and his tail held high and proud. He was a little less obstinate than his goat friend and a little more joyous, like a little puppy.

But the cutest part of all....goat-cow friendship time! Few things are sweeter than inter-species friendship!

What is more heartwarming than two sweet-natured creatures of different species enjoying the sun and each others company...?...Nothing!

I really love any excuse to interact with animals because they always make me smile and inspire me. I get to spend time with dogs and cats and bunnies often since I work at a pet rescue and my favorite part of the job is definitely the opportunities to know the animals. But I get less time with beautiful creatures like cows and goats. Just like the animals I know at the rescue, this group of farm animals had a lot of pizzazz, spirit and heart! 

Monday, November 12, 2018

She Waters the Flora, She Waters the Fauna

She collects the water in jars
on the edge of her windowsill
fills her watering can
nurtures the plant and the lamb.

The gentle sheep came to live with her, but he didn't demand much. He curled up next to her on the coldest winter nights, keeping her warm in chill. She gave him water, and hay and encouragement. They were friends, but their friendship was unobtrusive. They both lived together, but also lived their own lives, except for when they really needed someone to be there for them. Like during times of thirst, or times of snow and broken heaters. 

Friday, November 9, 2018

Seattle Chinese Garden Part Three: The Outskirts

On the outskirts of the Seattle Chinese Garden are meadows and small hills to wander through. 

At one point we found a dried up marshy piece of mud that was optimistically named 'Mirror Lake.' The murky sludge did not resemble a mirror, nor did the shallow puddle resemble a lake. But I can't help but to appreciate the rosy-tinted glasses that the namer of this lake was surely wearing.

We found some mysterious fur shedded upon the grassy ground. Could it be big foot fur? We are in the Pacific Northwest after all. One third of Bigfoot spottings are in the Pacific Northwest. Maybe one lumbered down from the forested mountain tops nearby, ready for city life, only to be afraid of the hustle and bustle and the discrimination surely to come their way, so instead, they found a cozy nature spot in the Seattle Chinese Garden.

While we were walking through the grassy meadows, we came upon a dog walking with his human. He was an old hound dog with ears dragging in the grass and nose sniffing the wet soil. He didn't have any eyes, just fur and skin where his eyes would normally be. He's a hound dog though, he is connected to his nose more than even the average dog. Dog's super power is basically their sense of smell, so he may not have had a world of sight, but he had a deeper world of smell. I would love to be able to smell like a dog for just an hour, just to see what it is like. It would be like seeing colors we never knew existed before. It'd be a whole knew way to interpret this crazy world we live in.

Being submerged in such a controlled natural environment of the garden grounds and then emerging into more unkempt wild is a nice contrast. There is something to appreciate in both. Seeing the overgrown grasses and thickets of wild plants make me admire the gardeners of the world even more! 

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Oscar Visits Jack Block Park

There is a little park on the edge of West Seattle that is quite enjoyable to explore if you are dog or human. Oscar and I had a little adventure there just recently.

When you are a human and you visit a place, you don't have much evidence of the people that have visited before you. Unless maybe they have carved their initials somewhere, or they left something behind giving you a clue who they are like a sweatshirt or coffee mug.

For dogs, its a different story. They can smell each other all over a place. A dog who visited a week ago with especially potent urine may still linger in a spot so other dogs to learn about them.

But, sometimes the best way to understand an individual from your species is to actually meet them. When Oscar arrived to Jack Block Park, he immediately had the opportunity to meet a happy little pittie mix. She was sitting under a tree, enjoying the shade, but she politely got up when Oscar arrived. After giving the classic pittie full butt wiggle, the two dogs sniffed each other and were brief and passing friends before each continued on in their own life. 

Next, we walked along the water and looked at the barges. Rumor has it that sometimes there are seals basking in the glow of the sun while on the flat warm surface of an empty barge. I haven't had such luck to spot any though. Oscar may have smelled them though. Seals are kind of the dogs of the sea (barks, big soulful eyes) and it makes me wonder if to dogs they smell like especially briny versions of themselves.

There were a lot of sun warmed sidewalks for Oscar to travail on his walk. He had the perfect warmth underneath his paws and the cool breeze from the Puget Sound ruffling his scruffy fur. He was all smiles during the walk.

The beach area was off limits to the dogs, as you can see by the disappointing sign on the fence next to the entrance. 

Oscar was bummed we were following the rules. He looked wistfully toward the sandy shores. 

Probably he was even more appalled by his banishment from the beach area when he saw other dogs frolicking along the forbidden shores with carefree abandonment. He thought to himself, "Why does she have to follow rules??? Can't she see I'm a rebel at heart!"

At the park, there are also dock areas to explore.

Some people lounge on the dock and catch fish. Most likely, Oscar thought this was a good idea. He'd probably enjoy some fresh caught fish!

Oscar can smell the salty water between the cracks in the dock. Maybe he can even hear the splish-splash of little fish.

There is also a nice place to catch a view of the city. Or in Oscar's case, to pose and look beautiful.

We saw lots of plants too. Oscar was less interested in the plants but I thought they were pretty.

It was just another day of adventuring in Seattle for Oscar!