The Fast Draw

Raise Your Sights

I found an old sketch book of mine. The first half of it is filled with drawings that I did back in the spring of 2014. David and I had taken a trip to Spokane for a family reunion and were on our way back home to Port Townsend. I decided to pass the time by sketching in a book that my dad had given me. I wanted to see if I could capture the changing scenery of Washington. It was quite a challenge for me. As we drove, I would try to hold these fleeting images in my head and sketch as much as I could remember.

Looking through the pages, I really began to miss that familiar landscape, having driven that stretch of I-90 my countless times over the years. The land changes so drastically as you move from east to west. When you’re in Spokane, you see Ponderosa Pines everywhere and outcroppings of exposed basalt. This eventually gives way to the Scablands, a stark landscape with an interesting geological history of multiple mega-floods that scoured the land during the last ice age. Then you come to the Cascade Mountains where the pine trees quickly get replaced by fir and cedar. My sketches stopped there. I can’t remember why. Did it get too dark to see? Maybe. All I know is that it left me with a wanderlust; a feeling that hasn’t visited me for a while. I wasn’t sure what to do, so I thought to share these drawings with you!

Mirrors, Moss and Miniatures

I knew it was there and I had always meant to go.

Plans were made but, mother nature intervened each time with bouts of nasty weather. One time it even snowed! I couldn’t seem to make it to Bloedel Reserve, a botanical garden on Bainbridge Island. Another time I made plans to go there for my birthday. We rented a room so the day could be spent at the reserve before going to dinner at Mossback, a favorite restaurant of mine in Kingston. As we drove toward Bainbridge Island, the sky darkened and raindrops began to fall. It rain hard for the next two days. We went straight to the restaurant where we spent about four hours eating and drinking in their Rabbit Hole cocktail lounge. A good time but, let me tell ya, it was no walk in the park!

The years passed and thoughts of going to Bloedel faded.

 

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“Light…Wind…Action!”

The time is late July.

The sun is heating up the land and the sea and, as it sits overhead, the directness of its rays reach down and hold you in place. If asked what you’re doing the answer better be, “Not much.” It’s obvious you’re not getting anything done today. Just admit it.

 

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This is How We Get In

How do you take a lovely family visit and make it into something that seems dark and unsure? You go for a walk in the woods!

This last month my sisters and their families gathered at a house that is tucked back on Blue Mountain Road just off of Eaglemount. The last time we were there was four years ago. It’s a favorite for all. They even have tunnels and slides that kids (and grown-ups with good knees) can crawl through to pop-up at various other places in the house! Pretty cool. Another great thing about this spot is that you’re acres away from any neighbors. If they’re around, you don’t see them, just the dirt roads that lead to…?

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A Scenic Drive-By

We spent a really great weekend in Roslyn, WA celebrating my sister’s birthday. It was my first time there, but a favorite place of hers since she and her husband started dating 28 years ago. Thanks, Colleen, for inviting all of us to that special town tucked into the east side of the Cascades!

 

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Into the Outside

The rain seems to be following me.

Gardenkeeping is away from Port Townsend, but not away from the soggy skies. I’ve gone off to one my favorite places, the Bay Area in Northern California.

I flew out on one of the first nice days in Seattle thinking it was a good start for a vacation, but then, as we’re descending into Oakland, the pilot announces that the descent will be a bumpy one because of the rain and clouds! It’s hard to not feel personally responsible, “Yup, that’s me, the one walking around with a rain cloud over her head.”

 

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Hold your tongue…

…and repeat after me,

“Apples!”

For those of you with kids you’re probably already having this kind of fun. It’s autumn and the kids have gone back to school. The rest of us can probably remember some of the sing-song word games from our playground days.

Sally had a steamboat,

the steamboat had a bell,

when Sally went to heaven the steamboat went to

Hell-o operator….

It goes on for a while like that. These are the rhyming games that kids teach each other: Clapping games, hopscotch and jump rope. It was fun and, as far as I was concerned, if you could swear, all the better!

Another sign of autumn is the apple harvest.

It starts in August and goes through to November. Here in Washington it’s the state fruit. Most of the apple production comes from the central part of the state where, according to the Washington Apple Commission,  primarily eight varieties are grown. These are the names most of us are familiar with: Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Gala, Fuji, Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Braeburn, Jonagold and Cameo. A couple of those I regularly munch on, but I was pleased to read that there are 2500 varieties grown throughout the USA and more than 7500 around the world! Here are just a few that I found. See if you can guess where they’re from:

  1. Akero
  2. Ambrosia
  3. Antonovka
  4. Api Etoile
  5. Ard Cairn

OK. That was just a quick peek at the A’s. Were you able to guess some?

Here are the answers:

  1. Scandinavia
  2.  Canada
  3. Russia
  4. Switzerland
  5. Ireland

I love apples.

Reading the descriptions of these distant trees puts me in a dreamy world of old orchards tended by those who know what prizes await them. I want to smell the leaves, the fragrance of the fruit, the crisp rare air. Some varieties are described as having a pineapple-like flavor or being reminiscent of bananas. One has red flesh while another’s skin goes black in storage! Then we get to the different uses. Do you want to bake them or make sauce? Some are best eaten fresh or they are good for storage. And then there’s cider…

Here in Port Townsend, backyard apples are grown for all of these things, but it’s hard cider that is putting us on the map.

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Elemental Landscape

Earth, water, sky.

Last Friday night the waning full moon made a spectacle of itself as it rose red over Port Townsend Bay. Who isn’t stopped by the moon putting on such a show? It’s a time when our vision of the world is made simple by the absence of the sun.  It’s sky and water, the beach our only reference with its driftwood and grasses. The moon fixes it gaze upon the night and holds us still for this moment.


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