Sunday, August 24, 2008

Poo Poo Point Trail

On Saturday we hiked Poo Poo Point Trail which begins behind the stadium of Isaquah High School. The trailhead is not easy to find; you have to walk about a quarter of a mile behind the stadium, taking one of the trails leading east,away from the stadium. First you will pass the trailhead for the Adventure Trail; that is not the one you want if you are headed to Poo Poo Point. We made that mistake and walked about 10 minutes before meeting someone with a map and discovered our error. We DID eventually get to signs to direct us UP, UP, UP Tiger Mountain to Poo Poo Point where we hoped to see para gliders launching off the side of the mountain. No such luck, but the view of Lake Sammamish was breathtaking and we really felt a sense of accomplishment to see how high up we were once we walked out of the woods. From the para gliding area if you take the trail about 5 minutes south you come to a small meadow (kind of made us want to break into Sound of Music) and this lovely view of Mt.Rainier. For us it was a moderately difficult hike. Even with poles the downhill can be taxing on a person's knees. It is 4. miles each way. Although we met people along the way I would not call it a crowded hike. It certainly was a quiet trail; not even a lot of birdsong, just an occasional airplane overhead. Nary a toot from a train was heard; they say the Poo Poo name comes from the sound of trains in the valley below. So we get back to our car, look up towards where we had hiked and of course, we see para gliders!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Waning Days of August

Our vacation and family reunion in July seem so distant. I feel like August has just steamrolled over me. The garden in August is rich with the smell of lilies or dead possums; yes, we have experienced both. Last Saturday found us frantically hauling a dead possum from under our shed, digging a shallow grave in the vacant lot next door and burying said possum in a shallow grave sans ceremony. PHEW! You do not know stench unless you have smelled bloated, rotting possum flesh in 80 degree heat. That was a nasty, nasty job and I am so glad we discovered and dealt with the source of the stench before our Sunday BBQ which was held to celebrate the arrival of Honey Girl, home for three weeks from Chicago.

August found us tying up the loose ends of summer projects. My industrious husband tiled the tub-surround walls and installed a new shower door.

The icy water painting on the opposite wall is also his work. As well as this painting:

And while he has been tiling and painting, I have been refinishing those end tables,
attending two days of workshops to prepare for teaching; one that sapped my enthusiasm (shall remain nameless), another (Love and Logic re: classroom management) made me smile, kept me alert and seemed practical/useful. I also have made about 15 home visits to incoming kindergartners and I am both excited and a bit daunted by all the new, young enthusiasm that is headed my way on the first day of school. I have had children read to me, do cart wheels for me, hula hoop for me, count their lemonade stand money for me, introduce me to their pets, their grandparents, their siblings.

But today I gave to family pursuits: I went shopping with my daughter, our family of three went downtown to see the movie Bottle Shock (very good; especially if you are interested in wine. Even if not,this is an easy, happy movie to see.) Then we went to the open house of our dentist's office. He just remodeled his 17th/18th floor space. It is a spectacular penthouse office with lots of great views and a roof top garden. Oh, and he's a GREAT dentist! Lastly we enjoyed ice cream from a new shop closer to our own neighborhood.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Tremendous Tomato Plants

When he is not in his treehouse, my nephew, Tanner, just might be helping his mom in her garden. Lisa's tomato plants are eight feet tall! Pacific Northwest gardeners like myself are all agog at tomato plants that are that robust. Lisa lives on a woodsy piece of property that once belonged to our maternal grandfather in Northeastern WI. The fence around the garden is to keep the deer out, they come right up to the windows of their house and eat her flowers at night. You've got to be a tenacious gardener to put up with bold critters munching on delectable plant life when your back is turned. More likely, Tanner is taking a dip in his pool to beat the heat.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Tanner's Tree House

My nephew Tanner has this awesome treehouse. To be honest; it is more my brother-in-law's treehouse; he has put an incredible amount of energy and ingenuity in creating this haven above the forest floor. My guess is that at some point Tanner is just going to push his dad out and say, "Hey pops, this is my roosting place, doesn't the sign say Tanner's Treehouse?"

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Fair Experience

What visit to Wisconsin would be complete with out a visit to a county fair? I'm not foolhardy enough to do a state fair like Diana, but a county fair, we were up for that!
At the request of our kind host and hostess, Honey Girl and I donned aprons and put in a couple hours of scooping ice cream for the Dairy Board's booth. When in the country do as the farmers do, right? It really WAS a fun, and certainly unique vacation experience. But seriously, scooping cement would've been easier. We cringed every time someone said "Vanilla" because it was the most 'brick like'. I got a slight case of the giggles at one point because I felt like Lucy in the I Love Lucy t.v. series where she is trying to keep up with an assembly line and bad goes to worse in a hurry. Fortunately the crowds thinned and we got to create our own sundae with strawberries, chocolate and caramel. Don't ever expect a vacation in WI to be low fat!

View slideshow

"PULL KELBY, PULL!" we cheered. See the fierce determination in his freckled face? I couldn't believe he had that much muscle and energy left in his 5 year old body. We had walked around the Farmers Market in the morning, arrived at the Fair at noon and here he is, a couple hours later in the heat of the day, in a Pedal Pull which is a kid version of a Tractor Pull. The kids are grouped by their body weight. He was in the 40 to 60 pound group. The trailer that he is pulling has a weighted load. The box on the trailer measures the distance that it is pulled until the child stops pedaling. Kelby came in 2nd!! So what did he and ALL the other pedalers get; ice cream from the Dairy Board booth of course!

Soft bunnies and colorful roosters and so many other animals to see. The barns are always my favorite part of a fair.

Friday, August 08, 2008

A Coffee Shop Meeting

At Alvora's
Originally uploaded by mtnester.

Look, it's Diana who gave up a Saturday morning and cruised over Wisconsin county roads and negotiated one way streets and wound up and around the innards of a parking garage and then with a hop and a skip (OK, I'm embellishing) found her way to the front of the Inn on The Park, our agreed upon meeting place. Yes, Diana of Piffle! What fun to meet a fellow blogger in real time! Her hair is an enviable glossy auburn and her eyes smiled hello before she even said a word. Talk came easy and she even put up with meeting family members that I dragged along. Now I fully expect that she tote her 'family unit' out to the great Northwest for a visit.

Madison Farmer's Market

I have SO many photos of the Capitol and the square around it that I really didn't need another one. But what else can you do but say "Cheese!" and "Smile for the camera!" when you see a sign like the one in the top photo. Then there is the stately beauty of the capitol building at the end of State Street, and the disciplined lines of bountiful veggies in the market stands, and the farmer himself wiping the sweat off his brow, and what about those crazy gourds?

Thursday, August 07, 2008

The Rural Life

View slideshow of Lodi WI

I'm back from Wisconsin with over 200 photos and I am having a heck of a time paring it down to a reasonable number to capture the memories. Impossible, I know. Anyway, this slide show is Lodi WI. I really intended on including a few shots of Madison but that did not happen. I keep forgetting that in BigHugeLabs you cannot edit your slideshow once you hit publish. My sister Lynn and her family live in Lodi. She lives on a street with beautiful old Victorian and craftsman style homes, each one with it's own distinctive porch, windows, and fancy trim. You sit in the swing on the front porch and everyone who passes by waves or says "hi" and the municipal pool is free and so refreshing although as you can see in the slideshow we were about the only ones in the pool as it was only about 75 degrees out. The entire time we were in WI the weather really was not as humid as I recalled and twice we had those summer storms where the rain comes down in sheets and thunder in the night that startles you at the edge of your dreams.