Dear daughter and I went to revisit the Himalayan Blue Poppies at the Weyerhaeuser Rhododendron Gardens in Federal Way before they completely faded away for the season. In the United States, these poppies only grow in parts of New England, the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, so we are lucky.
While we were they we checked out the adjoining Pacific Bonsai Museum, which we had been through a half dozen times. This time though there was a really great exhibit titled Natives. Per the brochure “each display in Natives is a composition of four artists — the bonsai artists, the kusamono artist (Young Choe), the ceramicist (Victoria Chamberlain) and the visual artist (Iuna Tinta)”. In case you don’t know (I didn’t) a kusamono artist creates potted arrangements of wild grasses and flowers in unique pots or trays. So each display has a bonsai, a companion kusamono (accent), the ceramic art (often using minerals from the depicted region) and a visual piece of art, all of which are centered around a particular place. It is a marvelous exhibit and worth some real time. The exhibit runs from April 8- October 8, 2017 and more information can be found here.
And, of course, there are some photos of the blue poppies and other foliage from the gardens.
My friends and I had a meeting at the Cedar River Watershed Center in North Bend, King County recently and I was delighted to discover a teal colored Rattlesnake Lake. Random facts:
When the Masonry Dam was put into place 1915, it flooded Rainy Season Lake which became Rattlesnake Lake.
The small town of Moncton was flooded by Rattlesnake Lake which was a surprise to the builders of the dam and to the residence of Moncton. There is a terrific slideshow of the town slowly flooding here.
There are no rattlesnakes near Rattlesnake Lake, in fact there are no rattlesnakes on this side of the Cascade Mountains.
Rattlesnake Lake and Rattlesnake Bluff got their names from the tall plants that had been plentiful in the area. When these plants dried, they had a rattle sound when in a breeze.
The color of the lake is because of the glaciers.
There is a top notch education center at the Cedar River Watershed and the meeting room was great too!
The green roof at the visitor’s center was so interesting.
It was raining, again. We have set all records for rain this year! (so, so tired of rain!)
Auburn has some terrific public art and today I braved the cold rain to capture two of the best. The delightful piece is called “Gear Ball” and it is by Jenny Ellsworth. It is made of truck parts and is part of the Auburn Downtown Sculpture Gallery.
Greg Bartol and Deborah Drllevich’s Silverware Ostrich earned the People’s Choice award in 2015. It is a great piece from a car drive by, but I’m so glad I got out of the car to really take a look at it. It is made out of silverware!
More about art in Auburn can be found here. I plan to go back when the weather turn nice (hopefully soon!) and see all the other pieces!
Dear husband and I were recently in West Seattle and I took the chance to check out some folk art, roadside attractions. The first stop was at 5274 44th Ave. SW, Seattle, WA and that home had some wonderful tree carvings in the front. Dear husband especially enjoyed the fairy hanging out on the chimney. The roadside attraction info can be found here. This is a private residence, but the art can readily be seen from the street.
The second stop was the nearby Walker Rock Garden at 5407 37th SW, Seattle, WA. I remember going to see this rock garden more than 20 years ago when it was open one Mother’s Day. I was so impressed. Here are some older photos from when I begged a peek. The amazing rockery was created by Milton and Florence Walker and the property has since sold. I’m not sure of any future plans, but it would be so wonderful if it was again opened up to the public on special occasions. The roadside attraction information can be found here and there is an Atlas Obscura entry, with some good photos, that can be found here. This is a private residence and not open to the public.
I was up well before the break of dawn driving down Highway 99 and went past the Daffodil Motel at 7909 Pacific Highway (Highway 99) in Milton. So I stopped to take a photo of the terrific vintage sign featuring a daffodil and the promise of free movies.
So I have this new app called Roadside America: Your Guide to Offbeat Tourism Attractions. While visiting Renton today, I turned on the app and found an Office Park Stonehenge. It is made up of five concrete block structures that are a nod to the original Stonehenge in England. This Renton Stonehenge is on a grassy knoll surrounded by a traffic circle at SW 21st St., Renton, WA. and there isn’t much information to be found on it. There was also a lovely art piece featuring a nun with bread by the entry door to the closest office building.
The gallery includes a couple of photos of the more famous Stonehenge which I visited in the Summer of 2014 with a People to People group. And there is a map of all the United States Stonehenges and there are a bunch of them!
So I say to my dear husband, “let’s go up to Bell Square on what is probably the most hectic shopping weekend of the year” and oddly he agreed. Neither of us are big mall people, but he likes to see the upper end merchandise so he can later look for it at estate sales and I wanted to see Snow Flake Lane. At 7 each evening there is a show with singing and dancing. The night we were there, there was a Seahawk, #72, Michael Bennet. The Snow Queen was blowing bubbles with her wand, so I figured that was the promised snow. But then snow flakes appeared in blue and green on the walls of the shopping centers, so I figured that was the snow. But then it really did snow! Well, maybe they were fine bubbles, but it looked like snow and it was cold enough for snow, so snow it was. The children were delighted! The streets were so very crowded, but everyone was in high spirits. We spent sometime afterwards in the mall to give the parking lot a chance to clear out. Really it was a lovely evening.
Dear husband and I wanted to stretch our legs today so we went to the West Hylebos Wetlands Park in Federal Way. Our intent was to walk along the boardwalk path, but we turned right instead of left and ended up at Marlake (that’s what Google Maps says it is called). It is really a beautiful spot and some of the surrounding area must have been an orchard at one point because we found plum, pear and apple trees, as well as grapes and blackberry bushes. The blackberries and plums were delicious! The lake itself has a dock with a bench on it to contemplate life. Many of the trees leading up to the lake were actually labeled and my favorite was a ginkgo tree. Such lovely leaves. The park really is a perfect place to take a walk.
On an amusing note, the handwritten sign that greats visitors asks us to protect the wetlands and no dogs (I get it), bikes (still get it) or Pokemon (what?!). I’m not sure what damage the not really there Pokemon could do. Perhaps they meant no Pokemon players. But there were a bunch of players and they were all respectful and having a good time with their families. Perhaps the highlight for me was that I won my first gym (it’s a game thing) and let out a yell of victory. An older teen smiled at me and we talk about the game for a while. He even set it up for me so that I could really win the gym since I obviously don’t know what I’m doing. I love that the game gave two very different people a chance to visit and work together. What fun. 🙂
To go to the World of Tomorrow at the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, you would take the Bubbleator. It was a Plexiglas covered elevator that provided the riders (up to 100!) experience what it would be like in a bubble because of the way the light was refracted. The Bubbleator had originally been installed for the fair which the KeyArena Building is now, and it was later moved to the Seattle Center (Armory) and then taken out of that building by 1984. Wikipedia says “While boarding the Bubbleator, passengers were commanded by an ethereal female voice to “Please move to the rear of the sphere”, or the “Martian type” male elevator operator would say, “Step to the rear of the Sphere” in a creepy sci-fi type voice. The soundtrack for the Bubbleator was conducted by Attilio Mineo and released as Man in Space with Sounds.“
The top part of the Bubbleator was purchased on bid and is now at a private residence in Des Moines. Dear husband and I stopped by to see it and snap some photos, but of course left the owners to their privacy. It’s not easy to impress dear husband, but he really liked this one! (and he also liked the Hobbit Hole from the day before.) It had been a greenhouse, but appeared to be empty when we went by though I hear that it might be a recording studio. There are some photos of it here and here. To see it in action see this news report. And there is a heartwarming story here.
To celebrate our wedding anniversary dear husband and I took the Seattle Duck Tour, which translates to after years of asking I wore down my husband and we went on the Duck Tour. Part of the Duck Tour includes a brief dip into Lake Union. Houseboats are cool because they are houses that float! I mean seriously how great is that. They have been on Lake Union since the late 1800s and there is so good information about them here. Of course the most famous of the Lake Union houseboats is the one featured in the movie Sleepless in Seattle. We got a glimpse of that though it was far in the distance. Anyway the tour was a blast and we saw parts of Seattle that weren’t that familiar to us. And the nice people that run the tour told us about relatively inexpensive parking, so that was a bonus.