Yesterday my friend Carol and I escaped the sultry 90+ degree heat in Seattle and sat on the beach at Jetty Island in Everett.  This was an adventure of sorts, since neither of us had ever been there before.  Jetty Island is a manmade jetty, just three minutes by a little passenger ferry across the channel from the Port of Everett.  In the summer, the port runs a free 60-passenger ferry to the island.  Everett residents can make advance reservations to secure a place on the boat, but since we were not able to make reservations, Carol and I arrived early and got seats on the first crossing of the day.

The 2-mile long jetty offers plenty of sandy beach, and yesterday’s mid-day low tide exposed even more sand.  Kids and families in neon-colored bathing suits toted equally colorful shovels and buckets for a day of play on the beach.  Running was the order of the day — kids scampered from place to place — it was rare to see a child walking.  The cool breeze and salty air were refreshing antidotes to the heat of the city.

It’s no wonder that Jetty Island was the winner of the 2013 Red Tricycle Totally Awesome Award for Best Family Escape and Getaway.  Visiting Jetty Island had long been on my Summer To-Do List, and we picked a perfect day to discover this unusual place.








Sugaring Season

April 12, 2014

Buckets for collecting maple sap

Buckets for collecting maple sap

I’ve never seen the workings of a maple sugar camp.  I’m surprised that my frugal parents did not ever make the effort to tap the maple trees in the woods and make syrup for our large family.  We were content with Mrs. Butterworth’s.

My sister took me to see this sugar bush near Rachel Lake in northern Minnesota.  The day was too cold for the sap to run, so the camp was temporarily abandoned.  But buckets were hung ’round the maple trees in readiness for the temperature to cooperate and set the sap running.  It would have been fun to see the operations in full swing.  I hope they had a successful season.

Spiles sunk into the trees

Spiles sunk into the trees






The Dearness of Peonies

June 13, 2013

A few photos of peonies from this season’s show:

Pink peony

Pink peony

White peonies from Kitty's garden

White peonies from Kitty’s garden

Peonies by the bucketful, Wallingford Farmers Market

Peonies by the bucketful, Wallingford Farmers Market

Pink peony with weathered fence

Pink peony with weathered fence

Tree peony, petals gone

Tree peony, petals gone

by Mary Oliver

This morning the green fists of the peonies are getting ready
to break my heart
as the sun rises,
as the sun strokes them with his old, buttery fingers

and they open–
pools of lace,
white and pink–
and all day the black ants climb over them,

boring their deep and mysterious holes
into the curls,
craving the sweet sap,
taking it away

to their dark, underground cities–
and all day
under the shifty wind,
as in a dance to the great wedding,

the flowers bend their bright bodies,
and tip their fragrance to the air,
and rise,
their red stems holding

all that dampness and recklessness
gladly and lightly,
and there it is again–
beauty the brave, the exemplary,

blazing open.
Do you love this world?
Do you cherish your humble and silky life?
Do you adore the green grass, with its terror beneath?

Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into the garden,
and softly,
and exclaiming of their dearness,
fill your arms with the white and pink flowers,

with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling,
their eagerness
to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are
nothing, forever?

Watercolor and ink sketch of peony

Watercolor and ink sketch of peony


A bucket of flaming yellow dahlias, Seattle Wholesale Growers Market and Jello Mold Farm

Dahlia detailed

“They brought me a quilled, yellow dahlia,
Opulent, flaunting.
Round gold
Flung out of a pale green stalk.
Round, ripe gold
Of maturity,
Meticulously frilled and flaming,
A fire-ball of proclamation:
Fecundity decked in staring yellow
For all the world to see.”
— Amy Lowell, from “Autumn”

Seattle’s official flower is the dahlia, and this colorful flower is now blooming all over the city.

These dark dahlias are almost black, Jello Mold Farm and the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market — posterized photo

Dahlia from Jello Mold Farm

A bucket full of white dahlias, Jello Mold Farm and the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market

Dahlias in a white bucket

Such variety!

More dahlias from Jello Mold Farm at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market








Diane Szukovathy of Jello Mold Farm checks an order at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market

You have to get up early to catch the action at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market.  The doors open at 6 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and by 6:30 a.m. the warehouse is already a whirl of activity.  Florists and buyers arrive at sunrise for the freshest blooms.  I can image the local growers on the road in the pre-dawn darkness hurrying to get their flowers to market in time for this buying rush.

Seattle Wholesale Growers Market is open to the public on Fridays from 10 – 2 (small fee for admission)

Ready to load up the car with new purchases

The back of another florist’s truck

This has obviously been a good year for our local flower growers, and it is gratifying to see the market flourishing.  Summer is a season of abundance in the flower fields, and inside the warehouse was a bounteous array of choices for bouquets and floral arrangements.  Here are some photos:

The morning sun casts a shadow through the open warehouse door.

Nicole, the front desk manager, greets buyers and keeps the operations flowing.

Oregon Coastal Flowers section of the warehouse

Such an assortment of colors and textures for unique floral arrangements

Deep purple calla lilies lined up for purchase, Oregon Coastal Flowers

Buckets of calla lilies, Oregon Coastal Flowers

Floral lamp shades, J Foss Garden Flowers

Green and orange gladioli, J Foss Garden Flowers

Calla lilies await wrapping

Wrapped and ready to go

Wrapping supplies

A buyer backs up to the loading dock for her purchases

Dahlias in yellow bucket

Sneezeweed assortment in brown wrapping paper


Check out counter

Fallen blossoms and petals on the loading dock

Scabiosa, Jello Mold Farm

The loading dock at 7:30 a.m. — the early morning rush was over.

Bucket of peonies at the U-District Farmers’ Market

Peonies, ruffle after ruffle

“Imagine the hard knot of its bud, all that pink possibility.  Day by day it visibly swells, doubles, until one morning in June, it unfolds, ruffle after ruffle, an explosion of silk.”
— from “Peony” by Barbara Crooker


Flower vendor at Seattle’s Pike Place Market

It’s always a treat to play tourist in my home town, and yesterday I wandered through the Pike Place Market with my niece and her kids.  The Pike Place Market is open year round, but it is especially colorful right now with so many cut flowers vying for your attention.  The vendors were busy assembling gigantic bouquets for sale at just $10 to $15.

Flower vendor and bucket of peonies

This bouquet was selling for $15

Another vendor’s fresh bouquets

Buckets of lupine and irises

Vendor putting together a bouquet behind an array of glorious poppies

Kerchief camouflaged among the flowers

Flower stall through plastic window

Pike Place Market flower vendors

Fallen sweet peas by the vendors’ stalls