The mighty Columbia River from Hwy 97 approaching Chelan, WA

“Travel alerts the eye and humbles the hand.  Its final destination is radiance: to be transported . . .”
— Patricia Hampl, Blue Arabesque

“The hunger for wonder is appeased by nothing as it is satisfied by travel.”
— Patricia Hampl, Blue Arabesque

I spent the first few days of this week in eastern Washington (east of the Cascade Mountains) in Chelan at a work conference.  I was able to arrive early, on Saturday, and spend two days there with my husband before settling in to work.  Other than a long-ago boat trip down Lake Chelan to Stehekin many years ago, I had not spent any time in Chelan.  So it was fun to explore.  We drove along the lake shore on both sides of the lake until the roads dead ended.  The area is surrounded by dry hills and mountains, yet water is a central feature of the landscape — both Lake Chelan and the Columbia River dominate the views.  We drove along rural roads dotted with vineyards and orchards.  And even though it was cloudy and rainy at times, we did find plenty of radiance in the fall colors.  My hunger for wonder was appeased.

Here are some photos:

Historic mural in the town of Chelan

Rows of blueberry bushes, Blueberry Hills Farm, Manson, WA

Old farm implements, Blueberry Hills Farm

Radiance in a row of yellow trees at the top of a distant hill, Manson, WA

Small lakes nestled in the hills around Manson, WA

Fall reflections in Dry Lake near Manson

Further along Dry Lake’s shoreline

Grape vines covered with netting

At Atam Vineyard near Manson, WA

Grapes, Atam Vineyard

Golden color in a ravine across Lake Chelan

Picnic tables at Lake Chelan State Park — very quiet this time of year

Lake Chelan with clouds


















The blue-ribbon days of summer!

Hydrangeas in blues and purples

A bush of blue hydrangeas

Garden art: blue plate in a garden gate

I love the blue stems of sea holly


Nothing but blue skies (Just kidding — this is Seattle, after all!)

Chihuly Garden and Glass sculpture brings this quote to life: “There is no blue without yellow and without orange.” (Vincent Van Gogh)

Blue window trim, Post Alley


Sweet blueberries, just picked

Sandra Cintro’s Encontro das Aguas (Encounters with Water) at the Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle

Blueberries and Muffins

July 24, 2009

Blueberries as big as the tip of my thumb

Blueberries as big as the tip of my thumb

Blueberries always bring to mind Robert McCloskey’s Blueberries for Sal, a picture book I read many times to my young daughter.  I remember especially the “Kuplink, kuplank, kuplunk,” as the blueberries hit the bottom of the pail.  This excerpt from Robert Frost’s poem echoes the sound sensations of blueberry picking:

“Blueberries as big as the end of your thumb,
Real sky-blue, and heavy, and ready to drum
In the cavernous pail of the first one to come!”
     — Robert Frost, “Blueberries”

Handful of blueberries

Handful of blueberries

Blueberry batter ready for the oven

Blueberry batter ready for the oven

Fresh blueberry muffins

Fresh blueberry muffins

And what is blueberry season without the taste of muffins?  Here is a recipe for blueberry muffins I copied several years ago from the Beat This Cookbook by Ann Hodgman.

Sugar Hill Blueberry Muffins

1 c flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 c sour cream
5 Tbsp butter
1 c light brown sugar
1 c old-fashioned rolled oats
2 Tbsp sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat eggs with sour cream.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt together butter and brown sugar.  Beat this mixture into the egg mixture. 
Stir in the oats.
Fold in the flour mixture, then the blueberries.
Fill 12 lined muffin tins.  Drop a generous pinch of sugar onto the top of each muffin.
Bake 25 – 28 minutes.  Cool for 5 minutes in pan, then remove to a cooling rack.