Gardening where the sidewalk ends

Little Sprout May 14, 2009

Filed under: digressions — greenwalks @ 10:55 am
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Six years ago today, our one and only baby was born, changing life forever in ways I could never have imagined. A wise friend once told me, back before I became a mom, that having children “opens doors in your heart you never knew existed.” I can definitely say that has been the case for me.

Happy Birthday to my sweet, spunky, energetic, creative, opinionated, elephant-memoried, sugar-loving, tree-climbing princess. May your path always be lined with gold and pink petals.



Skywatch Friday – Another Tree April 23, 2009

Filed under: digressions,sky — greenwalks @ 9:02 pm
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I just can’t seem to resist putting a tree in my sky shots. I know there are plenty of great sky views with no trees in them, but I seem not to look up unless I’m examining branches, a canopy, leaves, twig-borne flower petals, or other arborific views.

Park Tree Through Monkey Bars

Afternoon sky through unknown tree and red monkey bars at Meridian Park playground, Seattle, WA, USA in April, 2009. Head over here to see the many lovely and varied views of the sky from all over the world this week.


Ice Cream Weather (An Off-Topic Rave) April 8, 2009

Filed under: digressions — greenwalks @ 10:01 pm
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This past week of summer-like temperatures in Seattle has definitely been good for the town’s ice cream hawkers as well as gardeners, I would think. A relatively new addition to the gourmet ice cream purveyor’s club here is Molly Moon’s in Wallingford. We tried it out the other weekend (when it was freezing out, but we didn’t care and weren’t the only ones – it was packed anyway) and I was blown away by both the design of the tiny storefront and its wares.

First of all, great logo, great sign:

Molly Moon's sign

Another exterior sign, the letters that have been cut out of it are inside:

Upside down ice cream sign

They’re not kidding here – once you’re indoors, the scent of the freshly-cooking waffle cones would not allow you to order anything else:

Come get your waffle cones

These were the only free seats we saw the whole time we were there, lovely simple hewn blocks of wood, complete with character-ful cracks:

Wood block seats at Molly Moon's

This sign just had me grinning – I love when businesses actually take their waste-production seriously and take real steps to reduce it. 100% compostable everything, woo hoo!

Molly Moon's compostables sign

Amazing chandelier made of wires, binder clips and paper. You could probably make one at home if you were really arty:

Light sculpture at Molly Moon's

The flavor decision was downright brutal. I thought my brain was going to explode. How did they choose so many of my all-time favorite but hard to find ice cream flavors? Balsamic Strawberry, Ginger, Honey Lavender, Mandarin Chocolate Sorbet, Salted Caramel,Thai Iced Tea… those were just the front-runners. The winner? Salted Caramel by a nose. Delicious!

Salted caramel on a waffle cone


Beach Bound March 31, 2009

Filed under: digressions — greenwalks @ 4:31 pm
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We’re heading to the Washington coast for a few days. My family nearly always went there for spring break when I was growing up – I remember it as wild and stormy, often soggy, occasionally boring and mostly magical. Now I am passing along this tradition to my daughter, I hope she enjoys it and isn’t too jealous of her friends who are heading off to warmer climes.

I’m debating about whether or not to take a laptop – it would be kind of nice to have a few days’ break from the 24 hr. news cycle and I know it would be hard to resist the temptation to spend half of the vacation looking at garden blogs. Then again, I hate to get too behind, it’s hard to catch up!

Hope you all have a good rest of the week.

Moon snail shell (partial)

(Moon snail shell, Discovery Park beach, Seattle)


This Land Was Made For You and Me January 19, 2009

Filed under: digressions — greenwalks @ 11:50 pm
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The indomitable almost-90-year-old Pete Seeger, Bruce Springsteen, and Woody Guthrie’s greatest song, all coming together to celebrate this historic time in our country.

Happy Inauguration, everyone!

(OK, if it had “land” in the title, can I count this as a garden-related post?)


Playing Tag January 18, 2009

Filed under: digressions,edibles — greenwalks @ 11:30 pm
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I was never that into the game of tag as a kid. I hated being “it” and there always seemed to be an element of social aggression in that and many other playground games. My daughter must be a chip off the old block, since she doesn’t like these sorts of games either, and in fact often decides to opt out of playing them.

So when I was first “tagged” in the blogosphere, I totally flubbed it. There was only friendliness meant, but I couldn’t figure out if I wanted to do it and pass it on, hemmed and hawed and delayed, and in the end just lamely replied via a comment (sorry, Susan of The Bicycle Garden!) This time, I am going to do it right. Well, sort of. It seems that I am never quite able to play by the rules…

So, thank you to Aerie-el from Gardener’s Roost for inviting me to join in the game of “Photo Tag.” The rules are to go to the 4th folder in your computer where you store your pictures, select the 4th picture in that folder, explain the picture, then tag four people to do the same.

My digital photos are stored in alphabetically-ordered folders and are a big bone of contention in my household – there are way too many of them on the poor old computer and it’s getting very slow and sad as a result. Sorting through and archiving them is a big project for a quiet day that never seems to happen. I wonder if anyone else is in the same boat here? Digital cameras make it so easy to accumulate a frighteningly large number of images – I need to be more ruthless with my deletions but so far I’m not doing too well.

The 4th folder in my picture files is from October of 2006, when my folks made a long-anticipated trip to Italy and France and we went over to their place to do a few house and yard chores while they were away (kind of a miracle, given than the help almost always flows the other direction!). One of the things they asked us to do was to pick up and sort by variety the windfall apples that had accumulated since their departure. Our daughter, 3 1/2 years old at the time, got totally into the apple retrieval job – she was small enough to fit under the dwarf trees’ branches and could reach apples that were hard for the big people to get to. So, in the 4th photo of my “Apple Pick-up” folder, here she is all bundled up on a crisp fall day, about to go get another armload of fruit.


(Note the “footies” on the apples, a very labor-intensive but usually successful pest-protection method they started using a few years ago and that I have mentioned in a few previous posts.)

As for the final rule of this game of tag, I am going to steal an idea from another commenter on Aerie-el’s site and not designate the next four folks. If you have read this far and would like to participate, please consider yourself tagged!


Snow Mini-Saga January 14, 2009

Looking back to last month and re-hashing our snow stories is still a big topic here in Seattle. I bumped into a neighbor in the grocery store yesterday and we had to exchange our tales. Anyone from a truly snowy winter climate would be laughing their tuchus off at our wussiness, but for us the nearly two-week siege of sub-freezing temps and unseasonably immense snowfall really shut the area down for quite a spell. The city of Seattle’s snow/transit response is currently being questioned quite heavily – the Mayor at first gave the city a B grade (when most citizens would agree that it deserved more like an F-), but is now admitting that there needs to be a better system in place for next time something similar occurs.

During that time (late December), schools were canceled, bus service slowed to almost nothing, roads were iced over, and people like me who live on steep hills were basically trapped. Even walking was treacherous, as many home- and business-owners did not clear their sidewalks and nobody knows to salt or sand.

Normally, I would have just stayed in our nice warm house and come out only to build an occasional snow creature with my kid. But, as it happened, I had a previously contracted music gig that required me to head into the city center every day for the four worst days of the blizzard of ’08.

Never a great snow driver at the best of times, having to head in with a borrowed musical instrument in the back of the car added to the stress level quite a bit. And when I got to the bottom of our hill and hit the brakes oh so gently and found that I had hit ice and was slooooooowly sliding against the light into a major intersection just as a bus was coming down the hill towards me (the car finally stopped before it got to scream time, but it was closer than I’d have liked for comfort!)… well, that didn’t help my nerves too much either.

As the days went by and musicians’ stories piled up (hours waiting in 25 degree cold for buses that never came, buses that wiped out and had to be emptied of passengers, car wrecks, long frigid walks from miles away), I started to wonder why we were all risking our lives and limbs to provide what seemed like a non-essential service. But the concert presenter was adamant that they had never canceled a show for any reason, so they were not about to provide that option to us.

One evening, heading home as the passenger of a Michigan native who was totally unphased by all the weather/driving, we went right under the aftermath of a really scary accident,  a bus that had skidded out and punched through the retaining wall, leaving it hanging out over the freeway. Miraculously, nobody was killed, but seeing that struck a chill into my soul and I decided at that moment that I would have to figure out how to avoid driving home the next night after the concert at 11:30pm in the blowing snow and darkness.

My solution was to find a discounted rate at a hotel near to the performance site, so that I would only have to walk two blocks after the first concert, and two blocks back the next afternoon for the repeat performance. Yes, it felt a little ridiculous to pay for a hotel just a few miles from my own home, but these were crazy times and crazy methods were necessary!

As it happened, my hotel room was fairly low to the street and right on the corner, so it had one rather unlovely view of the freeway, but out the other window it overlooked Freeway Park, Seattle’s 1970s attempt at city beautification through use of gigantic concrete blocks. I’ve always found it kind of ugly, but in the snow it looked lovelier than usual.

Freeway Park

Pre-dating the official park is the Naramore  Fountain by George Tsutakawa, a Japanese-American artist and sculptor who designed many pieces of public art and is most known for his fountains. For images of some of them, click here. I really enjoyed having it right out my window.

Naramore Fountain by George Tsutakawa

After installing myself in the hotel and admiring my snowy view for a while, I had to get ready to go play some music. I strapped my big boots and gaiters on over my concert clothes and tromped through the falling snow to Town Hall, one of Seattle’s most venerable buildings. Formerly a Christian Science church, the building was repurposed in the late 90s as a civic center and concert space. Its programming spans many genres and it is well worth a look at their calendar if you live in or near Seattle (or even if you don’t). My snowy night-time walk over was kind of magical, the streets were deserted, it was like wandering around a dream city.

Spooky Seattle Snowy Street at Night

Town Hall Sign at Night

This is turning into not so much of a “mini” write-up of my small saga, so I think the rest will have to be a Part II. Suffice to say, I still have all my fingers and toes, no frostbite tales here!