John, Dad and Ben baling hay

John, Dad and Ben baling hay

























“August Bank Holiday – a tune on an ice-cream cornet. A slap of sea and a tickle of sand. A fanfare of sunshades opening. A wince and whinny of bathers dancing into deceptive water. A tuck of dresses. A rolling of trousers. A compromise of paddlers. A sunburn of girls and a lark of boys. A silent hullabaloo of balloons. ”
— Dylan Thomas, from Quite Early One Morning

On the beach at Golden Gardens, Seattle

On the beach at Golden Gardens, Seattle

Kids on Rialto Beach, Olympic Peninsula

Kids on Rialto Beach, Olympic Peninsula

Diving platform, Green Lake, Seattle

Diving platform, Green Lake, Seattle

Oh, these summer days.  Dylan Thomas says “The memories of childhood have no order, and no end.”  I love how he describes the August Bank Holidays of his childhood.  How apt and evocative are his poetic words — so full of summer life.  I wish I could write like this!


Simple Pleasures

July 31, 2014

“Simple pleasures feed our essential selves:  listening to music, being outdoors, seeing a loved face at the door, laughing all the way, knowing we did our best work, wearing clothes softened by age, reading all day, watching a flight of wild geese, running for home, and breathing deeply. . . . Such soul food has been at our fingertips all along.  We overlook ‘ordinary’ joys completely when we overextend our reach into the world of things.”
—  Marietta McCarty, How Philosophy Can Save Your Life: 10 Ideas That Matter Most

Sun and water, the simple pleasures of summer

Sun and water, the simple pleasures of summer


Foretelling Summer

July 8, 2014

“When you can put your foot on seven daisies, summer is come.”
— Traditional proverb

The true signs of summer:  bare feet and seven daisies

The true signs of summer: bare feet and seven daisies

Another icon of summer:  the lawnmower

Another icon of summer: the lawnmower

Summer is really and truly here.  These daisies tell all.

I really prefer those other daisies, the tall ones, so common and taken for granted.  I try to make them look especially pretty in my photos.





The Nature of Summer

August 30, 2013

Keeping cool

Keeping cool

“The summer came and went quickly, which is the nature of summer for people who are not children . . .”
— Jim Harrison, Brown Dog

I don’t mind the passing of summer because autumn, which follows on its heels, is my favorite season of the year.  I love sweater weather.

“We have become accustomed to the summer.  It has acquired a certain eternity.”
— Henry David Thoreau, Journals, July 5, 1852

Sunset over Elliott Bay from the beach at Golden Gardens

Seattle has just experienced its driest August on record, and as of today, we’ve had 46 consecutive days without rain.  We still have a way to go to match or beat the standing record — a 51-day dry stretch.

But what a summer!  Weather expert Cliff Mass comments on the psychological discomfort we are feeling due to the seemingly endless sunny days: “Seattle residents unaccustomed to a record-breaking stretch of sun and warmth are reacting with guilt, anxiety, and discomfort. I cannot count the number of emails I have received by folks asking when the accustomed clouds and rain will return.”

Too much of a good thing, I guess.




First taste of homemade blackberry jam on toast

I picked enough blackberries from the bushes in our yard to make my annual batch of blackberry jam.  I use a recipe given to me by my friend and colleague, Shirley, who has perfected her jam-making talents over the many years I’ve worked with her.  Everyone at work looks forward to Christmas when Shirley gives each of us a jar of her homemade blackberry jam — a welcome taste of summer!

I put my jam in the freezer, so I don’t worry about sealing the finished product.

Here’s Shirley’s recipe.

Mix in a large kettle:

  • 5 c mashed blackberries (okay to leave seeds in)
  • 1 box Sure-Jell
  • a little dab of butter or margarine

Cook on high until boiling, then add 5-1/2 c sugar all at once.  Cook on high until the jam comes to a full rolling boil, and then continue cooking for 1 minute more.  Remove from heat and ladle into sterilized jars.

Makes about 7 cups.

Lots of ripening Himalayan blackberries

Some of the vines had a single ripe berry at their tip!

Picked berries and stained fingers

Jars of jam

Pyramid of jam jars

Tasty bite








“I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.”
–Alice Walker

Pale purple gladiolus

A purple trio of geranium flowers

Purple pansies all in a row

Purple poppies

Lovely magenta poppies


Somewhere between purple and red, knautica macedonica

Plum-colored hydrangea


Clematis vine

Late season lavender

Fuchsia-colored foxglove, purplish pink

Purplish-pinks and blues of sweet peas

Plums, Pike Place Market

Bing cherries, Pike Place Market

This concludes our walks along the color wheel.  Hope you enjoyed the rambles!

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