Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Moon and Mars

Mars is the closest to the Earth it gets in its orbit. The little red dot to the right of the moon is Mars. It looks a bit brighter with the naked eye - my camera doesn't really like night shots. This was taken through a break in the clouds. I like the way the moon highlights and colors the clouds.
Here in Forks, we are sky watchers again. The sky, when clear, is so beautifully bright with stars. We can see constellations we haven't seen for a long time, and enjoy the heavenly entertainment whenever we can - weather permitting.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Rialto Beach

Rialto Beach, just north of LaPush, on the Pacific Ocean, about 20 minutes west of Forks, looking north and west to sea stacks and headlands.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Hungry Bluejay

This Stellars Jay was one of six that were hungrily attacking our feeder the last few days, in preparation for the storms that we are wading through right now. Two-thirds of an inch of rain has fallen in the past 12 hours or so.
The Stellars Jay is the blue jay of the western United States, but has all the attitude of his Eastern US cousin. They are so fun to watch, although their attitude doesn't always bode well for the smaller birds. The jay is large enough that he sometimes has trouble with smaller feeders. Ours is a medium-sized one that the ravens can't balance on (it swings from a shepherds hook). The jays have discovered that they can reach the seed from the hook if they lean a little. They are learning to balance on the ledge of the feeder, some better than others; and, there is always the seed that falls on the ground. The little birds are pretty good at sneaking their bites at the seed in, avoiding the jays, and taking the seed to the nearby tree to eat.
We keep black sunflower seeds in the feeder right now. It seems to go over well with the birds here.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Rialto Beach Sunset View

Our son, Michael, visited us for Thanksgiving, and we all went to Rialto Beach, about 20 minutes west of Forks, and just north of La Push (which is on the Quileute Reservation). This is him atop the beach flotsam watching the sunset. He suggested I use this one for this site. We both like the silhouette look to it.

This is what he was looking at - James Island and sea stacks on the left and sea stacks on the right. James Island is at the mouth of the Quileute River at La Push.
I'll post more pictures from Rialto Beach this week.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Building burns

The DSHS (Dept of Social and Health Services) building burned on Friday. It looks to be completely gone. You can see through the building - what is left of it - to the other side. It was probably empty of people, thankfully, because of the Thanksgiving holiday. It went up quickly. Located near the center of town, and across the street from the hospital, it received a lot of attention from the firefighters. The first sign we had was when the power went out - as if a switch was thrown. We could see the great column of smoke from our house. The DSHS building is next to the PUD (Public Utility District) warehouse. Only part of the town lost power, and it came back fairly soon - meanwhile, we had breakfast out.
In a small town, a building burning like this is rare, since there are so few commercial buildings.
Fire is especially feared here, since we are surrounded by forest, and downtown is compact .
These smaller pictures are of a couple of the engines that responded, and a piece of the blackened frame - what little is left. You can click on the pictures to make them larger.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Next stop... Hawaii?

This was taken at the overlook of the beach at Kalaloch (pronounced clay-lock), on the Pacific Ocean, along Highway 101, looking west. The logs on the beach were thrown up by waves, probably during a storm since the logs are full size trees - some of them bigger than a person is tall. The beach you see is under water during high tide. We watched the logs being tossed during a minor storm, the waves rolling them over and over and knocking them together with a boom that can make you jump, piling them up. The waves come to the bottom of the cliff that is the overlook, and the spray during a storm can come up to the overlook.

We spent part of Thanksgiving driving to pick up one of our sons at the Greyhound Bus Station in Olympia. This is a stretch of beach that you can see from the highway. We pull off and stop when we make this drive for a breath of very fresh air and a blast of ocean beauty. This is only about 35-40 minutes south of Forks, and is also the home of a resort with cabins on an overlook that we will probably stay at during a storm - just to watch the storm.

The thumbnail photo shows some people walking on the beach to show how big the logs on the beach are. The thumbnail is looking to the north along the Pacific Coast, with headlands, sea stacks, and wandering beaches.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Logging mural #2

Another of the logging murals in downtown Forks.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Mama squirrel

This mama squirrel stopped by to munch on a little fern leaf one day. She kept a close eye on me, but enjoyed her fern frond. She could move very quickly.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

local carvings

Woodcarvings outside a local home. The roses are carvings that are in several places around town. The bear looks like a Den's Wood Den carving, but I'm not sure.
This was taken during the summer, when things were flowering.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Expectantly waiting

In the parking lot at Outfitters, heads and ears perking up at every person who walked out of the doors, but quietly - no unseemly barking. :~}

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Indecisive tree

We're sitting inside in front of a nicely glowing fire, listening to the wind blow and the rain pelt the skylights as yet another storm system moves through the area. Our rain gauge shows we have gotten 2.5 inches of rain since we set it up yesterday afternoon.
This group of trees is growing out of an old stump. There appear to be at least three species of tree growing here, evergreen and deciduous, as well as moss, ivy and fungi. A little slice of rainforest in one little spot.
We took this picture at the Rearing Pond.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Posing at the pond

This gentleman was at the Steelhead Rearing Pond, on a support pole for the netting. I think he may have been looking for a way in. You can see the guywires for the netting . He stopped and watched us, from far enough away that I had to zoom in to get him at all. I wasn't very quick, and only got the one halfway decent shot from the car (it was raining, so we didn't get out this time). He watched us for a little bit, then flew away, in disgust for the invasion, maybe. These cranes frequent the rivers here for the trout and salmon runs, as well as the other "goodies" they find in our waters. A very wet climate brings out lots of species. There is a lot of good fishing here.
There was a kingfisher of some sort flying around under the netting; we could tell by the beak. He must have found a hole somewhere; but, he seemed to be in no hurry to get out either. We saw fish jumping all over the pond. Mmmmmm - lunch! ;-}

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Fast Running River

After the storm let up a little yesterday, and while we didn't have power anyway, we took a drive down to the Bogachiel Steelhead Rearing Pond to see how the Bogachiel river was running. It was running very high. There's a path beyond the rearing pond that you can take to the river. It normally doesn't come up quite so closely - as the trees that look to be growing in the river attest. The river is also a bit muddier than usual. All right, "a bit" is an understatement. It was roaring past us, rushing to the ocean. It's so otherwise quiet that the river sounded extra loud. The Bogachiel is one of the rivers that gave Forks its name - from the forks where three rivers combine - the Bogachiel, the Calawah, and the Sol Duc.
We like rivers and oceans, beaches and waves. The sounds they make are so soothing.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Stormy and dark day

This is the parking lot/wading pool of Forks Outfitters/Thriftway, with a truck water-skiing its way to a parking space.
Today was the third (fourth? fifth?) straight day of stormy weather here. This piece of the storm, with high winds and driving rain, put out the electrical power for a little over 12 hours here today. I'm not sure how widespread the outage was, though it was the Forks area. It started about 4:30 this morning, and our power came back on at 5:20 this evening. I think all of Forks is back now. The stormy season has BEGUN!
When we have power outages, which are not rare, it is usually the whole town, which includes the main street of businesses. The only ones who do business have a generator. The grocery store in town, Thriftway (which is also Outfitters Clothing and Ace Hardware), has a generator that gives it the ability to sell, but it also has an espresso stand that gets especially busy on these days.
The only restaurant that is open during outages is the hospital coffee shop - which feeds a lot of people on outage days, I'm told. As we drove around today, looking around, we spotted one of the local espresso stands open as well.
Most cooking is done with electricity here - very few people use anything else. There are no gas lines, and propane is available, but electricity is fairly inexpensive here (compared to other parts of the country we have lived in). Most houses are all electric here, I believe, though quite a few of us use wood for at least partial house heat.
We use the fireplace insert to warm the house, so we stayed toasty warm as long as we stayed inside. Going out meant getting soaked in a matter of moments.

This is the entrance and espresso stand at Thriftway (through a rainy windshield). During a power outage, lights and a neon OPEN sign can be very warming!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Veterans Day, Uniforms and 100th post

These are old uniforms from the armed forces of the USA. The woman's uniform was worn by a local woman in WWII. I chose to use these pictures today because it is Veterans Day here in the USA, a day to honor those who have served in our armed forces, and who are presently serving as well. Three of our sons have served in three branches of the service - Navy, Army, Marines, one still is serving.

To all who have served in the US Armed Forces, and are now serving:

Thank you for your service and your sacrifice, from two very grateful citizens of the USA.

These uniforms are hanging displayed in the hardware store downtown, Forks True Value Hardware, that has been in business for... okay, I don't know how many years, but it's a long time. The local woman gave her uniform to be displayed, to make some use of instead just hanging at home. The store has old and interesting things, some antiques, hanging at the top of the warehouse-height walls, 20 or so feet high (about 6 meters), and arranged so that you can see everything if you just look at the right angle. When I asked if the items have stories, I was told that he could probably come up with a story for most of them for a willing audience, and some might even be true. :~} I asked if I could take pictures, then wandered around doing just that for about half an hour. I'm going back though. I'll be posting more pictures from the store, possibly with stories, possibly with true stories.

A Brief History of Veterans Day
Veterans Day, formerly known as Armistice Day, was originally set as a U.S. legal holiday to honor the end of World War I, which officially took place on November 11, 1918. In legislature that was passed in 1938, November 11 was "dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be hereafter celebrated and known as 'Armistice Day.'" As such, this new legal holiday honored World War I veterans.
In 1954, after having been through both World War II and the Korean War, the 83rd U.S. Congress -- at the urging of the veterans service organizations -- amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word "Armistice" and inserting the word "Veterans." With the approval of this legislation on June 1, 1954, Nov. 11 became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.

After a couple more changes with dates and Congress and then a return, November 11 is the date every year we honor those who have served and do serve in our military.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Downtown logging murals

This is one of six murals painted and placed in frames of a downtown building. I don't know the story behind the making and placing of them, but do enjoy them when we go by. (I'll have to learn the story and relate it with a future picture of one of the other murals. )
This is a scene that can still be seen today - a loaded logging truck going down the road, although you won't see anyone sitting atop the logs anymore.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Summertime dahlias

This picture was taken during the summer,
of the abundant dahlias growing around
the car wash sign on the main highway, 101.
With the freezing nights we had last week,
all of the dahlias are blackened stems,
and I enjoyed looking back at the beauty
they produced this summer.
The dahlias grow beautifully here - in a lot of gardens.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

All That Money?

ATMs. Automatic Teller Machines. This is just one of several here in our small town.

They're everywhere we go anymore. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it is such a telling (pardon the pun) thing. Instant money, instant food, instant gratification.
In retirement, we are finding that we are slowing down, waiting for more things, taking more enjoyment in our surroundings, taking the time to see and hear and experience. It's marvelous what you can enjoy when you just take the time.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Sitka Spruce slice

This log is smack dab in the middle of downtown Forks, the Logging Capital of the World, as the sign says.
The sign says, "This Sitka Spruce log came from a tree which was 11 ft. 8 in. in diameter, or 37 ft. 1 in. in circumference, and 256 ft. tall. The tree was already 259 years old in 1776 when the Declaration of Independence was signed. Sitka Spruce is native to the fog belt of North America's West Coast."

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Local election day

Today is a local election day - many city, county and state issues being decided today. This is the ballot envelope. We are in an area where all voting is done by mail or direct dropoff only- no voting booths.
Forks City Hall. This is the dropoff point for Forks if you don't want to put the ballot in the mail, or if you do your voting on the last day and want to be sure your votes are counted. This is also the courthouse, the city jail, the mayor's office, the police department, the vehicle registration department, the property tax assessor, and the water department. [Did I get them all?]
The dropoff slot inside City Hall for the ballots, just outside the court door. As you can see, it has many different uses. That may be a reason for the blue envelope - easier to spot.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Cape Flattery pathway

Two more pictures of parts of the pathway to Cape Flattery, a couple of flatter portions, with beautiful forest and undergrowth surrounding.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Cape Flattery pathway

This is a piece of the pathway to Cape Flattery - yes, this is actually pathway. The pathway had some ups and downs, and not all of the pathway looked like this, but more than this piece was rooted in, well, roots. It isn't an easy path, but it is beautiful.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Brilliant mushroom

We have been having clouds and rain today, and we stayed inside. All this rain produces lots of mushrooms, and it's mushroom gathering season. Not this one, though. According to the Mushroom Identification guide at , this is Amanita muscaria · Fly Agaric or Fly Amanita. NOT edible, but a pretty red in this one, and a brown older one below. The red stands out in the lawn!
We'd never seen this type of mushroom before, so couldn't resist getting a couple of worm's eye views of them. I left the little leaf on the red one for perspective, then noticed the fly on the side - probably waiting to warm up enough to move.
The bottom one looks like it could be a gnome house! I can just picture a little set of stairs going up around the stem, and windows opening on the sides.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Cape Flattery Blues

This was taken on our weekend to Cape Flattery. It is actually a shot of the coastline on the Strait of Juan de Fuca, looking eastward. We love the layered look.
This was almost my post for the Theme Day of the Colour Blue, with a title of "Pick a Blue, Any Blue."

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Theme Day - The Colour Blue

November Theme Day - The Colour Blue

This photo is from our trip to Cape Flattery. It is the Hunters' Moon on the rise, taken using the night setting on the camera, which produced the blue.

These are the Daily City Photo websites that are participating (due to time differences around the world, some sites may not have posted yet) - come on in and see how many versions of the theme are expressed:
Boston (MA), USA - Cleveland (OH), USA - Philadelphia (PA), USA - Arlington (VA), USA - Cape Town, South Africa - Portland (OR), USA - Sequim (WA), USA - Selma (AL), USA - Arradon, France - Petaling Jaya (Selangor), Malaysia - Stockholm, Sweden - Singapore, Singapore - Wassenaar (ZH), Netherlands - Phoenix (AZ), USA - Seattle (WA), USA - Toulouse, France - The Hague, Netherlands - Moscow, Russia - Fort Lauderdale (FL), USA - Kyoto, Japan - Tokyo, Japan - Saint Paul (MN), USA - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - Stayton (OR), USA - Maple Ridge (BC), Canada - Detroit (MI), USA - Crystal Lake (IL), USA - Port Angeles (WA), USA - Cottage Grove (MN), USA - Nelson, New Zealand - Bandung (West Java), Indonesia - Greenville (SC), USA - Hyde, UK - Radonvilliers, France - Albuquerque (NM), USA - Nashville (TN), USA - Manila, Philippines - Port Vila, Vanuatu - Saarbrücken, Germany - New Orleans (LA), USA - Bellefonte (PA), USA - Melbourne, Australia - Hobart (Tasmania), Australia - Forks (WA), USA - Wichita (Ks), USA - Barton (VT), USA - St. Louis (MO), USA - Joplin (MO), USA - Chandler (AZ), USA - Quincy (MA), USA - Setúbal, Portugal - Inverness (IL), USA - Christchurch, New Zealand - Toruń, Poland - North Bay (ON), Canada - Le Guilvinec, France - Chateaubriant, France - London, England - Minneapolis (MN), USA - Naples (FL), USA - Norwich (Norfolk), UK - Sydney, Australia - Austin (TX), USA - Mumbai, India - Boston (MA), USA - Santa Fe (NM), USA - Menton, France - Monte Carlo, Monaco - Paderborn, Germany - Montréal (QC), Canada - Jackson (MS), USA - Stavanger, Norway - Orlando (FL), USA - Grenoble, France - Cheltenham, UK - Forks (WA), USA - Mexico City, Mexico - West Sacramento (CA), USA - Silver Spring (MD), USA - Weston (FL), USA - London, UK - Jefferson City (MO), USA - Ocean Township (NJ), USA - Belgrade, Serbia - Paris, France - Shanghai, China - Montego Bay, Jamaica - Montpellier, France - Saint Louis (MO), USA - Wailea (HI), USA - Rabaul, Papua New Guinea - Auckland, New Zealand - Evry, France - New York City (NY), USA - Nottingham, UK - Las Vegas (NV), USA - Oslo, Norway - Minneapolis (MN), USA - American Fork (UT), USA - Cypress (TX), USA - Haninge, Sweden - Trujillo, Peru - Trujillo, Peru - Melbourne (VIC), Australia - Saint-Petersburg, Russian Federation - Durban, South Africa - Brussels, Belgium - Anderson (SC), USA - Budapest, Hungary - Wellington, New Zealand - Prague, Czech Republic - Saigon, Vietnam - Ystad, Sweden - Miami (FL), USA - Seoul, South Korea - Hong Kong, China - Melbourne, Australia - Baziège, France - Greensboro (NC), USA - Sharon (CT), USA - Kajang (Selangor), Malaysia