Category Archives: Farms and Gardens

Stellar Alpacas because really alpacas!

Stellar Alpacas

I was pretty excited to read that Stellar Alpacas was having a Open Ranch (think open house) this weekend. I mean who doesn’t love alpacas?! Stellar Alpacas at 27810 16th Avenue East in Spanaway has 54 alpacas though two were off today. I learned how to tell if an alpaca is pregnant! If she is pregnant and a stud male is introduced she will spit at him and try to kick him. The average pregnancy is 11.5 months.

The folks that own the farm are delightful and the man was walking one of the alpacas around. Visitors were allowed to touch them, though they don’t like their faces touched. There was a refreshments stand with free cookies, water and sodas. And a small bag of carrots was only $1. Of course the carrots were for the alpacas. The videos below provide a chance to hear them chewing. There is also a small store with delightful socks, sweaters, yarn, hats, gloves and more made from alpaca fiber, some from right there on the farm. The ranch has a website.

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A Barn at Fort Steilacoom Park

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Steilacoom Barn

Western State Hospital for the Insane, later shortened to simply Western State, opened in 1871 and soon after included a farm with animals. The farm included several barns and this one, near the entrance to the dog park in what is now Fort Steilacoom Park in Lakewood, is one of them. The farm workers were patients of the hospital and the farm supplied much of the food for the hospital. The farm closed in 1959.

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I went in the evening and there was a lovely sunset and a flock of geese.

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Variations on the Floral/Grange Building at the Washington State Fair

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Four Apples – Prizma

One of my favorite buildings at the Washington State Fair is the Floral/Grange Building and of course while dear husband and I were enjoying the fair I took a bunch of photos there. I thought this time I would try editing each of the photos with a different photo app. The four apples above were made with the Prisma App (a new one for me)

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Washington Fair Grange – Brushstroke

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Washington Fair Grange – Tomatoes Mobile Monet

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Washington Fair Grange – Carrots – Photolab Cartoon

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Washington Fair Grange – Onions Toon Camera

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Washington Fair Grange – Kaleidoscope

Washington Fair Grange – Pixlromatic

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Washington Fair Grange – Pears and Grapes – Photolab Light Boken

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Washington Fair Grange – Photolab Pen & Ink Photo Lab – Pen & Ink

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Washington Fair Grange – Glaze

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Washington Fair Grange – Tintype

 

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Washington Fair Grange – Living Planet

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Washington Fair Grange – Distressed FX

 

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Washington Fair Grange – Photosplash

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Washington Fair Grange – Sparkle Post

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Washington Fair Grange – Juxtaposer

Percolator 2.4 (2.4) Grind: Extra Fine (Average Circles & Effect: Auto Adjust), Brew: Circles (No Pic & Full Blended Circles), Serve: Black (Clear Tone & Paper Cup Texture)

Percolator 2.4 (2.4)
Grind: Extra Fine (Average Circles & Effect: Auto Adjust), Brew: Circles (No Pic & Full Blended Circles), Serve: Black (Clear Tone & Paper Cup Texture)

Waterlogue 1.3.1 (72) Preset Style = Bold Format = 6" (Medium) Format Margin = None Format Border = Straight Drawing = #2 Pencil Drawing Weight = Heavy Drawing Detail = Medium Paint = High Contrast Paint Lightness = Auto Paint Intensity = More Water = Tap Water Water Edges = Blurry Water Bleed = Average Brush = Fine Detail Brush Focus = Everything Brush Spacing = Medium Paper = Watercolor Paper Texture = Medium Paper Shading = Medium Options Faces = Enhance Faces

Waterlogue 1.3.1 (72)

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Washington Fair Grange – Photoshop Pro Antique Oil

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Washington Fair Grange Photoshop Express – Bright

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Washington Fair Grange – PicMonkey

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Washington Fair Grange – Be Jealous – PicLab

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Washington Fair Grange – Enlight Urban Paintsplat

Swan Creek Park Community Garden

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Swan Creek Park in Tacoma, WA is the largest community garden that I have seen and I’ve been to many. All of the plots except one (there is always one!) were full of produce and/or flowers. It was an interesting range of plants including tomatoes, squash on a lattice frame, corn, peppers and flowers. The entire garden is protected by a black chain-link fence and I had the sense that the gardeners would not suffer fools gladly.

There was also an environmental art show going on and had I more time, there would be more photos of that.

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The Hobbit Hole and Year 7

The Hobbit Hole in Port Orchard

I was pretty delighted to hear there is a Hobbit Hole in Port Orchard and I finally got to see it at the Brother’s Greenhouse. It is really well made and I actually got into it. The rest of the nursery was pretty great too, plenty of stock and helpful employees. They even had free cookies! We picked up some charming plants for the front porch.

And oh my gosh, I can’t believe I’ve been working on this one time impulsive blog project for going on seven years now! It began in 2010.

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Acton Nature Center

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I suspect I visited the Acton Nature Center when it wasn’t at its best. The weather was that special hot that it gets in Texas in the summer and many of the plants were suffering from a long dry spell. But it was still great! The Acton Nature Center is located at 6900 Smoky Hill Ct., Granbury, TX 76049 and has been around for more than a decade. Because of the heat, I didn’t explore the entire center, but I did venture to the butterfly gardens which was lovely. There were a couple of butterflies and a huge lizard, as well as an air conditioned structure used to view birds (that day it was cardinals and hummingbirds).

The volunteer was very welcoming and informative and suggested walking the loop down near the pond, which was wooded and a tad cooler. Sadly the pond wasn’t there! I’m sure it will be back after some rain.

I’d love to go visit in the Spring when the wildflowers are blooming and it is cooler. The volunteers that have created this center should be very proud of their efforts.

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Lake Granbury Master Gardens Demonstration Garden

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The Lake Granbury Master Gardeners Demonstration Garden is a lovely blooming oasis even though the Texas heat wasn’t offering the most hospital environment. Those clever gardeners are well aware of their climate and have adapted to it. I was greeted by a cheerful volunteer who let me know that there was beauty to be had, even though the sun was drying everything up. And I did find beauty. There were some huge red flowers, a hobbit hole, a water feature, butterfly bushes with butterflies, a very wonderful arbor with squash (I guess it was squash) hanging from the top, plenty of honeybees, a cardinal, lots of art and darling walking paths. The Lake Granbury Master Gardeners work with  the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. I’d like to go back for a springtime visit!

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Purple Geranium Greenhouse

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When I went on the University Place Garden Tour one of the volunteers gave me a list of some of the local gardening centers. One of these centers was the Purple Geranium Greenhouse at 12615 47th Ave E, Tacoma, proximate to Canyon Road and 120th Street. Although it is close to my house (about 20 minutes away) it felt like a drive in the country. I was pleased to see that it was a well stocked professionally run gardening center on a lovely site. Their prices were righteous and my IMG_7391questions were answered right away.  Of course it is less extensive than the big centers (Watson’s, Molbak’s, etc.) and there is almost none of the decorative items, but really that just makes it easier. I toured the place, took some photos, got some advice and purchased some plants in about 30 minutes. When I stopped for an iced coffee afterward the cashier asked me what I was up to today and I told her I went to the Purple Geranium. She gushed that it was the best place around to buy plants!

Do be aware that they have a limited season (April 1st to August 1st) and limited hours, so check out their Facebook Page before going.

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The University Place Garden Tour 2016

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Most years I manage to go to the University Place Garden Tour which is spearheaded by The University Place Historical Society (UPHS). This year the theme was “Spring into Summer,” and there were five gardens and the Curran House. Each garden had several docents that were amiable and  knowledgeable. The gardens varied significantly. One was a farm like setting, one was packed with flowers, one had hidden art and a stunning view, one had 100+ rhododendrons and one was a reclaimed barren lot. It was really a delight to visit each one with my friends and daughter. Lunch was an unexpected bonus.

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PowellsWood Gardens, Federal Way

imagePowellwoods Gardens is a wonderful garden that you have to know about to find. The three acre park is located at 430 South Dash Point Road, Federal Way, WA.  My first reaction was that the air felt oxygen rich and it was so green, gardens surrounded by tall pines. There are seven separate gardens and a lovely little pond. There is a private house and an open to the public garden room with chairs to rest, a bathroom and a table with a honor pay box ($5 per those over 12).

The variety of flowers so late in the season was a nice surprise and the little rabbit made me smile.  Monte Powell purchase the site which is 40 acres altogether in 1993 and after much work the gardens were first opened to the public in 1999. I plan to go visit again at other times of the year to see what additional treasure I can find. More information can be found here.

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