July 31, 2008

Western Tanager

These aren't great photos but this male Western Tanager didn't stick around long. He had a female companion but she was very shy. His brilliant colors really stood out against our pine tree. But I was shooting through a picture window (which could use a wash) and didn't have time to do anything but point and shoot. Still, he's a beautiful bird.

July 30, 2008

The I.D. Revisited - Briefly

This past weekend friends M & A stayed a couple nights with us while making there way back down from the Canadian San Juans to their home in Oakland. We spent a relaxing afternoon strolling through the International District.

A visit to the International District should include certain things. Visit a bakery. There are several. We've been to Piece of Cake in the past and love the red bean cakes and rolls. Not pictured are the rolls in which they stuff red bean paste rather than run it through the rolled up pastry like pictured. There are more sweets than savories here but I'm never disappointed. They also sell breads and cookies packaged up on big shelves. I always salivate over those shelves but buying one item from the case helps with portion control - a very difficult discipline in the I.D.
Gotta wash down the red bean rolls with something. We headed to Oasis Tea Zone for bubble tea. There's bound to be a flavor or style you like here. This day I had a coconut milk tea with tapioca. Mmmmmmm.
S tries to decide on a book in the cavernous Elliot Bay Book Co..
We discover a glass works store and stop to watch glass blowers at work creating wonderful pieces.

It was really hot just standing next to the room. I don't know how these guys could take that heat that was actually pouring from the room. There was on floor fan but I hardly think it did much.

July 28, 2008

Me-Kwa-Mooks Park Revelations

My plans to go explore the tide pools on the Kitsap Peninsula as part of my birthday weekend fell through, way through, to the other side of the planet. I would not be denied, however, and found refuge in the very low tides at Me-Kwa-Mooks Park along Beach Dr. So I got my fix of mucking about in the sand and squish looking for critters and other such specimens. S didn't feel the need to slime up her Keens so she soaked up the sun on a bench up high while I gingerly stepped from soggy mass to encrusted rock, bending here, squatting there, peering under rocks (which I immediately and delicately replaced after observing the tiny eco systems living beneath), and swishing aside various forms of water flora to get a better look what might lie beneath. That was swell of her to wait for me. She was with me in more than spirit but not in slime and that was OK. It was nice that she hung out close by so I could share my discoveries.

I discovered plenty. Here are a few shots of the critters I spotted. I love that I can spend time exploring tidal life only yards from someone's house. Well, I can't say that I love it. Maybe I feel really lucky that this sort of nature is available to me but I do prefer to explore it in a more remote setting. You can read a bit more about the park in the West Seattle Herald.
Usually you see plenty of dead crab parts and sometimes, but dead and empty, crabs. This one, however, was very much alive and full and wasn't budging. Just waiting for that tide to come back in and carry him to safety, far from the seagulls. And below you can see some of the growth process of the barnacles found everywhere.

This is the view from where S sat and waited. Two other curious tidal explorers can be seen.

I followed this hermit crab for a while. As soon as I picked it up it retreated into the shell.
The main bodies of each of these two crabs were about the size of a quarter. Neither was in a mood to be picked up so all I did was snap pics. I like their colors.

July 22, 2008

Walk Six Miles - Get Pastry

Walking to the farmer's market on Sunday is quite respectable at 6 miles round trip. Let's not forget the hills that go UP on the way home. This week we treated ourselves to goods from flying apron bakery. Vegan, wheat and gluten-free and drop dead delicious! Don't let the vegan part fool you, these are baked goods. Eat them sparingly. However, you won't find butter, lard, shortening, etc. so that is healthier than conventional pastry. I also don't see any refined white sugar in these two items either. Another plus.

The point - go up to the U-District to their bakery or catch them at a farmer's market. Really good stuff.

Ginger Wheels

organic brown rice flour, organic garbanzo bean flour, organic rice milk, organic evaporated cane juice, organic safflower oil, organic molasses, organic ginger, organic cocoa powder, organic cinnamon, organic cloves, aluminum-free baking powder, sea salt

Apricot Thumbprints
organic brown rice flour, organic garbanzo bean flour, organic safflower oil, organic rice milk, organic evaporated cane juice, organic Turkish apricots, organic lemon juice, pure vanilla extract, baking powder, sea salt

July 21, 2008

A Quick Run to Uwajimaya

Going to Uwajimaya is like going to an amusement park of Asian food.Got Miso? Need Pocky?
Bubble tea at Oasis across the street to energize before walking back to the opposite end of downtown.

July 17, 2008

Biking the Green River Trail

This summer I got a bike. I haven't had a bike since I was in Junior High/High School. The bike is a basic hybrid, built for comfort, but with plenty of gears to get me up and down the Seattle topography. Seattle is a great place to learn about bikes. Plenty of bike shops and folks who live to bike. I'm not sure I will ever be one of those folks (I'm a pedestrian/hiker to the core) but I'm really enjoying the bike. Check out this metal sculpture of three cyclists. I look just like this when I ride.

We've been riding on the Green River Trail lately. It's 19 miles of paved trail with little change in elevation because it follows, you guessed it, the Green River. The trail winds through industrial parkways, neighborhoods, and the backsides of shopping centers. But there are plenty of parks, potties and picnic tables along the way. On any given day you might see Great Blue Herons skulking around in the river, or rabbits hopping in and out of the blackberry bushes. It's a great trail for bird watching and bird listening. Wildflowers, butterflies and dragonflies too. It's great that there is so much flora and fauna tucked between generic looking office buildings and resource sapping golf courses. You might even spot an osprey. The light was really bad on this particular day but still, it's an osprey.
You're never sure what you might see. Along the way you can spot affordable waterfront property. This one comes with some appliances.
Technically, the GRT begins at Cecil Moses Memorial Park and we've begun the trail there in the past. But I prefer to begin further south at Bicentennial Park in Tukwila. From here to the Riverbend Golf Complex in Kent you're pushing 15 miles round trip and that's pretty respectable as far as I'm concerned. And this ride is much more scenic than the stretch between Cecil Moses Park and Bicentennial Park. The golf course is a good place to turn around but you can certainly go farther on the GRT then hook up with the Interurban Trail and ride all the way to Auburn. Someday. I'm new to biking and I'll get there little by little.Crossing the river to the west side because of the detour. This is looking south. This is the second bridge between our starting point and the golf course.
Looking north, in the direction the river flows.
I was traveling lightly this day, only carrying a Nikon Coolpix in the pocket of my cargo shorts.
I think this is going to be a bountiful blackberry route in another 4-6 weeks.
Heading back to the GRT, looking to the east side of the river.
Yes, a beaver dam. I did catch sight of a beaver on one trip. Clearly, there's more than one.
Total distance traveled (in kilometers) as recorded by my Cateye Enduro 8 cyclometer, an early birthday present from S. A very good ride.

July 16, 2008

Oregon Country Fair

Finally made it to the Oregon Country Fair. It's very similar to the Solstice Parade only MUCH bigger. It was really different, as fairs go. Everyone was really, really nice. No one pushing or shoving or saying things under their breath. The weather was very hot and sunny but most of the fair is shaded! I was very surprised and very happy about that. The setting is very pretty with parts of the grounds running along a river. Many of the merchants have been at the fair for years and have permanent stalls. Many merchants have built tree-house like structures over the stalls and they live up there for the few days of the fair.

Five of us (Me, S, K, A and N) piled into the car for the 12 mile ride from Eugene to Veneta. Only $5 to park all day. Things at the fair are surprisingly organized. I guess I shouldn't be surprised. After all, this is the 39th year for this event. Still, sometimes you get to a fairgrounds and it's just bedlam. But this was great.

By the way, when in Eugene, stop in at Allann Bros. Coffee on 5th. We hit it both days we were in town.There was so much good food at the fair. Had delicious falafel that wasn't dry and bitter. Had wonderful juice drinks.
Had a decadent dessert dish of coconut ice cream on top of sweet, sticky rice. One is all you need until next year's fair. Very rich. Shared a Frisco Chicken sandwich which is one of the must haves if you go. Saw more stilt walkers in one place than ever before. Nabbed a couple of cool t-shirts. Visited with M & A, old friends of S who help run a tie-dye booth.

I've included some general shots. My personal people shots will remain personal. Not everyone likes to be on the Internet.

I'd like to go next year and plan on attending some of the classes and staying for some of the shows.

This is why you need to wear sunscreen.