The sun was shining, it was relatively warm and dear daughter and I escaped to the Pacific Rim Bonsai Collection in Federal Way. There were very few rhododendrons in bloom, as was to be expected, but that was good because it let us really focus on the bonsai. We left with a little fern, a lovely scarf and two cute magnets.
Van Lierop Bulb Farm at 13407 80th St E Puyallup, WA 98372 is one of two bulb farmers left in the Puyallup Valley and it is closing its door on May 15, 2013. I stopped in today and it made me kind of sad because the store seemed rather empty. The fields are full of daffodils poised for blooming.
The way cool Hat ‘n Boots Roadside American Art is located in Oxbow Park in the Georgetown Neighborhood of Seattle. Oxbow Park was created in 2003 and at the end of that month, Hat ‘n Boots were installed there. The art was fully installed by the middle of 2005. The art was originally part of a cowboy themed gas station, “Premium Tex”, that was built in 1954. The hat was over the gas station office and the boots were the restrooms (black for the guys and blue for the girls). The station closed in 1988 and fell into disrepair.
The park also includes a community garden, a children’s play area, some nice artistic touches and grassy picnic areas. It was pretty busy on this cold and foggy Saturday.
The Nisqually Delta is one of 23 National Wildlife Refuges in Washington State and the only one in Thurston County. Today I went to visit because I had to get out of the house and into the sunshine. Dear husband got up extra early and opted for a nap and dear daughter was under the weather. I was afraid that the eagles would carry away the dogs (and it turns out they weren’t allowed anyway), so I went alone. I was surprised to see that the visitor center was open and there were only a couple of parking spots available.
The dairy barns above were built in 1934 as part of the large Brown family farm that had been on the site. The eagle below was perched on a tree near the barns. One of the highlights of the hike was an older man with a very nice telescope showed me a Northern Shrike, an unusual bird for this part of the country. Apparently this charming little bird will sometimes eat other birds! Live and learn.
I go to Molbak’s at 13625 NE 175th St., Woodinville, WA 98072 whenever I’m in Woodinville, which isn’t all that often. It is one of the largest nurseries in the Puget Sound with indoor and outdoor areas, gifts and a cafe.
The Dometop Community Garden is really something! Located in Roger’s Park at 3151 East L Street, it has amazing view of Mt. Rainier. The garden was created in 2011 cooperatively with the Eastside neighbors and Metro Parks. There is water throughout the raised garden beds and when I stopped in one of the organizers was watering the individual gardens. It was a pleasure to chat with her. The plots themselves are gorgeous and well tended. Scattered throughout there are bits of whimsy and cheerful flags flapping in the breeze. There is a real pride of ownership here. Perhaps my favorite area was the small field of huge sunflowers planted in a boat
There is a great website that shows the garden being developed. http://tacomadometop.com/mckinley-hill-community-garden.php
And this site details all of the area’s community gardens and farmer’s markets. http://www.growlocaltacoma.com/
I’ve always wanted to see a mushroom farm and I was delighted when Ostrom’s Mushrooms at 8322 Steilacoom Road SE, Olympia, WA 98513 offered tours as part of the Pacific Northwest Mushroom Festival. The tour began with the plant manager (I think it was the plant manager) showing up how they create the soil out of mostly straw and then how they add the mushroom spores attached to millet. He walked us through each step of the multi-day process. The mushrooms grow in large beds which are stacked one on top of another about seven deep with about a foot clearance between each one. The pickers climb moveable steps and go from the top bed to the bottom. It sounds like very hard work.
Driving back from an estate sale, dear husband and I stopped at the seasonal produce stand at the northwest corner of South 72nd and Waller Road where Pipeline Road East cuts through at a diagonal. They had a bunch of fresh, local fruits and vegetables and some that they brought in like pineapples. Oh, and flowers, those too. We came away with wonderful raspberries and tomatoes and green beans and walla walla sweet onions. We also treated ourselves to old fashioned sodas (black cherry for him, blood orange for me).
I’ve been wanting to go to the Sequim Lavender Festival for years, but it seems like I always have had a conflict. But this year was looking good. Except that we left rather late and traffic into Sequim was awful and I we ran out of time. The festival downtown was great with more lavender stuff then I’ve seen for a long time. Next year I’ll go earlier in the day and right to the farms. Live and learn.
Bunratty Castle and Folk Park in Killarney, Ireland was my idea of a perfect way to explore history. The castle was built in 1425 and restored in 1954. Visitors get to explore most of the castle, using tight, twisting steps. Folk Park consist of village buildings from the 19th century including farm buildings, a mill, church, homes, school and stores. We had a chance to visit with the mill worker and other members of our group were scolded by the school master.