June 4, 2013
“I leave this notice
on my door
For each accustomed
I am gone into the fields
To take what this sweet hour yields.”
— Percy Bysshe Shelley
I take most of my out-of-town guests to Whidbey Island for hiking at Ebey’s Landing. The journey itself is half the fun as it involves a ferry ride and a drive along country roads with old barns.
The hike itself is pretty spectacular no matter which season I take guests there. The trail is a pleasant loop, up a bluff, and then along the beach on the way back. This past weekend the landscape was as green as I’ve ever seen it.
June 3, 2013
Spring is proceeding at breathless pace, and one of my favorite places to savor the fresh colors and blooms is Bayview Farm and Garden on Whidbey Island. I mark my calendar each year so that I remember to make the trip there when the laburnum arbor is in full glory. The cascading flowers of Golden Chain give the impression that you are sitting under a floral waterfall. The double arbor alone makes Bayview Farm and Garden a worthy destination, but of course, the rest of the nursery is also full of visual treats.
“Fuchsias are among my ninety-nine most favourite flowers. . . . I could go on for hours, and probably shall, one day, about their white petticoats and their crimson ruffs and the incredible grace with which they dispose themselves.”
— Beverley Nichols, Sunlight on the Lawn
March 29, 2013
I have a memory of acid-green tree bark.
Two years ago, while a passenger in a car traveling to Coupeville, Washington, I remember seeing this most unusual color on the trees lining Madrona Way. So on my recent trip to Whidbey Island, I was determined to find them again so that I could photograph the amazing bark.
I did find the trees, the Pacific madrone or madrona, along the winding Madrona Way, but the trunks exhibited a burnt sienna color — no acid green. Could I have mis-remembered? Looking for more information, I came across this Seattle Times article which describes some of the more amazing attributes of this native tree: it’s a “broadleaf evergreen tree” (we think of evergreen trees as having needles) with “bonsai’d branches.” It’s a “cliff hugging” tree, so the winding road along Puget Sound was its natural habitat. And then the article mentioned “pistachio” colored bark. So it seems I might have I remembered correctly after all.
The Times article also introduced me to the local artist David Harrison, who frequently features the madrona tree in work. You can see some of this paintings here.
And here are my photos:
March 20, 2013
This past Saturday I went on a farm tour with the PCC Farmland Trust to see the new lambs at Camelot Downs on Whidbey Island. This was my second visit to this small, organic sheep farm. (You can see an earlier post from February 2011 here.) This year there were 22 lambs, a sure sign of Spring.
Gary and Lois Fisher, owners of Camelot Downs, raise two old breeds of sheep — Romney Marsh and South Down whose heritage strings back to Colonial days. This was their last weekend in their winter coats. Shearing would take place this week.
“The new lambs all have the same little bony body, the same strange combination of fragility and resilience, the same jumpy immediacy. On their suddenly vast green grassy playground, they perform from time to time a startling leap, all four legs in the air, a quiver along the tensed back, a sudden blowing off of the synapses, for no real reason and always followed by a look of bemused horror. Why did my body do that? What is this sensory, jerking, stuttering of which I am a part? Where’s my mother?”
— Adam Nicolson, Sea Room
August 24, 2012
When I have company from out-of-town, I like to take them to Ebey’s Landing, one of my favorite hikes on Whidbey Island. This loop trail provides a perfect slice of Pacific Northwest life — a ferry ride to get there, expansive views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains, bucolic rural scenery, and a beach walk. It’s not too strenuous, and a breeze keeps you cool even on a hot, sunny summer day.
We experienced a special treat on this most recent hike — a plein air artist was working on a landscape in oil pastels. I always love to see artists at work.
June 24, 2011
While we were on Whidbey Island, we stopped at the Bayview Nursery to see the laburnum in bloom. They are stunningly displayed in two arbors. To walk through the golden arches is enchanting.