Saturday, August 30, 2008

Report from the Watcher of Ships

Twice this week when I was driving around downtown I saw the Coho approaching his ferry dock, all big and cheerful and energetic. And I thought there might be ducks coming back. So I went out on the Hook yesterday evening. Ferry not visible, he was over in Victoria. Plenty of people driving out, standing on the rocks to look at the saltwater, then going away again. Three young men came out to fly a fierce kite in the considerable wind, then drove away again.

A timber barge was towed by. This was really startling; I didn't know that this Port ships timber and I can't remotely imagine the little tug and the low low flat barge heaped high with logs heading out from the Strait into the ocean, so where were they going?

Terns diving, with so definite a splat that I kept imagining I could hear them over the wind. No ducks. A little Coast Guard boat pulled up on the public boat ramp, was loaded onto a trailer, then entered the adjacent gate into the Coast Guard station. Surely the station has its own ramp inside the fence? Another mystery.

The usual summer Friday flock of three outbound cruise ships, the third a particularly stylish-looking one whose family (cruise line) I couldn't recognize, logo on the stack unfamiliar and I couldn't get the binoculars to focus on the name on the prow. Turns out (according to the Seattle cruise port schedule) to have been Royal Caribbean Rhapsody of the Seas.

Sunset straight into the strait, but much further south than a month ago. Soon it will be setting over land.

As mentioned: Saltwater watchers, towboat and barge, barge, Coast Guard guys, cruise ships 1 2 3, sunset

Thursday, August 28, 2008


I don't usually notice what not having a TV leaves me out of. But I wish I were there with everybody watching Obama be nominated tonight. It matters. Hunting for an online stream that does not require that I install a new player... aha.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Farjon, the conifer guy, is a Brit, and uses a lot of academic Latin in his book. His botanical drawings are all signed
    Aljos Farjon
    del. 1990
(or whatever year). 'del.'? No online search teased it out, no lists of Latin abbreviations had it, nor mentioned 'delineate' which seemed the best guess. What to do? I emailed G., veteran art teacher, who a few decades ago drew a natural history field guide for Manomet Bird Observatory. He didn't know either.

At the public library this afternoon, there was a big dictionary under my elbow, so I explored the neighborhood of delineate...

delineavit. English Latin. he drew (this) she drew (this). Abbr. del.'

Smiled all the way home, a reference librarian to my bones...

Friday, August 22, 2008

Journey News

In Tucson with mom. Flight had some magic: Crater Lake for the first time. A mystery mountain south and east of it (Mt. McLaughlin, perhaps). Fine close view of Mt. Shasta, and Castle Crags, then in the distance Lassen.

It's a hundred degrees here.

This time the rental car is a Chevy Malibu. The rental car lottery looms large as part of the Tucson experience. Can the old ladies get in and out of whatever car they assign me? "Does it have 4 doors?" I asked. (One time they tried to give me a 2-door Mustang as a mid-sized car to fill up with old ladies. And often they 'upgrade' me to some big honking object no other customers want to drive and that the old ladies can't climb up into.) "Car of the year," said the young chickie at the rental desk. I liked it right away. Well, the Ur-car in my life was my mom's green and white '54 Chevy: drove it, sped it, fantasized in it. 2008 grey Malibu feels just the same.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Reading News

It appears that in attempting to widen the spectrum of mysteries I'm willing to read, I have given myself murder mystery poisoning by reading too many books in a row with a high body count and an excessive ugliness quotient. Ick. Think I will stop and read about conifers for a while; to wit, Farjon's A natural history of conifers. Its British author has informed me in the book's front matter that in Britain conifers are little known but have a very bad image problem having been the subject of much litigation (huh?), and that there are only 630 species worldwide. Really? Just 630 kinds of conifers? Already I feel better. Two things I didn't know, and the book hasn't actually started yet. Also there are a lot of beautiful photos.

Have known no other forest except coniferous forests and mixed coniferous forests all my life, whether Florida piney woods, coastal redwoods, the Douglas fir forests of the Siskiyous, the endless kilometers of taiga stretching away from Great Slave Lake; and duh, a year ago I moved to Giant Conifer Land. It's impossible to think of them as just the angiosperms' outnumbered archaic cousins... We'll see.

Then might read Doris Lessing's new work, and Ellen Gilchrist's new work, then possibly move on to the several juvenile-fiction authors on my list (Christopher Paul Curtis, Lawrence Yep, Cynthia Kadohata, Kirby Larson; lookit that, they're almost all people of color) before resuming mowing my way through stacks of mysteries. If in fact I do resume.

Larry McMurtry said in his Books memoir that he had written something like 250 reviews of novels, and it burned him out for reading fiction. When his editors send him a novel to review, even if he knows it will be a really fine novel, he just sends it back. Can't read it. He's reading history and biography, and expects to keep on with the Great War and its historical environs for the rest of his life.

Monday, August 18, 2008

L111, Isis, the New Baby Orca

The Center for Whale Research has wonderful photographs of the newborn orca, L111. Sometimes we don't know for years what gender a new orca is, but she kindly showed her underside to the camera this week only three days after she was born.

Unearthly Delight

Blueberries from Sunset Berry Farm, on Atterberry Road in Sequim. You can't imagine how good, no really, you only think you can imagine the taste of a handful of blueberries fresh from the fields. The first handful, which of course you eat as soon as you take them from the refrigerator, before putting the little cardboard baskets in a bag and before leaving your money in the coffee can on the shelf,

are astonishingly and perfectly sublime...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Just For the Record

As of August 11, a group of eight or ten Canada geese started flying back and forth around the neighborhood in the evenings, honking on their way from wherever to wherever. What? Is summer over?

Monday, August 11, 2008

That Line from Mirette

With S. in Port Book and News; she was shopping for her granddaughter, who is four. I showed her Mirette on the High Wire, by Emily Arnold McCully. 'It has one of the most beautiful lines ever written,' I told her.

This is it: "She stepped onto the wire, and with the most intense pleasure, as she had always imagined it might be, she started to cross the sky."

Ocean Appreciation

Next morning we were out to the beach at Rialto. Notwithstanding the sign which warns hikers that this is a Wild Coast, there were hundreds of people coming and going, locals and tourists, kites and backpackers and tiny babies and all. We parked S.'s wheelchair at the end of the accessible walkway, hobbled down through the drift, settled her in a lawn chair on the sand. Stayed for hours.

The usual waves in the usual place

Later moved the lawn chair up, so she could work on restoring and extending a cobblehenge that previous beachgoers had left on the last log before the strand. Better pictures here are still locked up in her camera.

West End

Continuing to frolic around with S. We spent the weekend in the West End, beginning by rolling her wheelchair around the accessible bits of the Hoh Rain Forest in the rain, rain, rain, of which all the photos are locked up in her camera because it ran out of juice and we don't have a charger cord. This is the height of the Olympic National Park season, the visitor center was swarming with families sheltering from the rain, or traipsing off into the Hall of Mosses in lightweight ponchos knotted up at the bottom to keep the little kids from being entirely encased and walking in circles on their own gear.

Then out to have dinner in the Quileute Reservation's restaurant on the harbor at La Push, where miraculously the sun came out. What's fresh tonight? Only halibut at the moment. Ok, halibut. But while we were eating a fisherperson came in with a gigantic salmon, flourished it aloft, and then vanished into the kitchen; everyone applauded, and all the diners who hadn't ordered yet ordered salmon. Then we drove over to the parking area on the low bluff between the ocean waves coming in at First Beach and the river mouth, and watched the sun. drop. right. into. the. ocean. between Gunsight Rock and Little James Island.

Sunset, Gunsight Rock at La Push (click for larger image)
Sunset, Little James Island at La Push (click for larger image)

Stayed the night in Forks.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Lupine Heaven

Lupine Heaven on Hurricane Ridge
Lupine Heaven on Hurricane Ridge. Click for larger image.

Rolling around the accessible paths on Hurricane Ridge with S. Neither of us had the camera skills to get the mountain panorama and the flower foreground in balance in a single frame.

The view from lupine heaven. Click for really big view.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Clear. Morning.

Mount Baker. Click for wider image.

Monday, August 04, 2008


Today's view. A little bit fuzzy, so far no fog.
Click for larger image

Sunday, August 03, 2008


Wow. The sky is perfectly clear, the mountains are perfectly clear, the hills beyond Sooke over there in Canada are sticking up behind the green house across the alley — but the fog on the Strait not six blocks away is so thick that the foghorns are going... and you know, I'm not sure I knew we have foghorns. Looking at NOAA chart #18468, I can see one foghorn mapped at the end of the Hook. I wonder where the other one is. I hear at least two.

And yesterday this time, no fog on our side of the Strait, instead there was that sun dropping right to the water. Now I think that what drew me out to the Hook yesterday evening was the unaccustomed sight of freighters passing the bottom of the street. I think the water has mostly been obscured with mists even on the sunny days. And even yesterday there was fog on the water to the north. I couldn't see Victoria, indeed couldn't see Coho when he was within half an hour of arrival; that the big cruise ships appeared out of mists yesterday was hard to pay attention to, since our own water was glittering in the sun all the way to the horizon to the north of west.

Ediz Hook Report

One freighter, three cruise ships. Terns. A perfect sun-drops-off-the-edge-of-the-earth sunset.

Victoria Express coming in (and a second one almost immediately. Does #2 deadhead back every evening? She does a morning run, then the San Juan Islands from Victoria run, but spends the night here. I think.) No sign of Coho, who ought to have been visible by the time the sun slipped beneath the horizon at 8:48 PM. Long talk with a nice woman who was waiting to get a picture of Norwegian Star as she came in close to drop her pilot, and wave symbolically to a friend aboard.

I was too generally contented to bother taking yet another picture of ships and rocks and pilot boat traffic. As soon as the last bright speck of sun was gone, came home, opened the windows so I could listen for Coho. He gave his arrival horn blasts at 9:10 PM.

In violation of customary language, I continue to believe that Coho is a guy ship.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Single Share

Oh, yum. This week's Salt Creek Farm Crop Sheet just arrived in my email. I will be getting "salad, potatoes, carrots, bunching onions, broccoli" in my crate. Actually, as a single share member of the farm, I receive my veg in a large plastic flowerpot, not a crate. I foresee a joyful dinner of potatoes, carrots and broccoli tonight. Unless I munch up the carrots immediately. Wipe out almost the whole works in one meal, why not.