Thursday, June 30, 2016

Garden Update

It's time to see what's happening in my garden.  I won't show the torn up areas where I'm attempting to eradicate the buttercup -- you only get to see the nice bits.  All these photos were taken just this morning.

The roses are going strong.

The blueberries are starting to ripen -- there were more ripe ones, but I ate them.

I am doing my part to save the bees.  This one is busy harvesting the toadflax.

The lupins are blooming.

And here are more roses!

How did that horned toad get on my arbor?

The new annual bed is doing well -- soon the cosmos and petunias will bloom alongside these marigolds.

The mophead hydrangea is doing very well despite some dry, hot weather of late.  It's about five feet tall by eight feet wide.

The mallows are opening.

Ooh, look, a fairy!

Of course, Truman believes that he is the most elegant thing in the garden!

And he's probably right.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Morning Walk with Sketches

For today's morning walk, Truman and I stayed close to home.  We headed up 130th to the Olympic Hills Elementary construction site.  Along the way, we naturally came across yet another Little Free Library stand.

Next we spotted a somewhat different attempt at front yard decor.

We also spotted this fabulous palm tree.

At the construction site, I found a view for a quick sketch.

Truman didn't care for the noise, so we moved along to a quieter spot where a backhoe was sitting idle.

After finishing the ink drawing, I debated whether to add color.  It's always a good idea to take a photo of the ink drawing before potentially ruining it.

Except for not making the cab tall enough, this drawing turned out pretty well.  I decided to go ahead and add color, which I think also turned out okay.

And that was it for our morning adventure.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Neighborhood Exploration: Lake Forest Park/Shoreline

The Lake Forest Park neighborhood to the north of mine is lacking in sidewalks in the residential areas, so Truman and I restricted ourselves to the five or so blocks of sidewalks that do exist around the elementary school.

Our first stop was Pfingst Animal Park, a small green space alongside a stream which has a couple of artistic embellishments.

Metal flower sculpture


Then we strolled down the sidewalk, where we found this well-dressed scarecrow.

Our most exciting view was of these elephants and rhinos -- life size -- right in someone's front yard.  I did a Google search to see if there was any info on this unusual lawn decor, but came up empty.

There's a small bear hanging out next to the baby elephant in the back.

That was all we found in our short walk.  Next, we drove over to Shoreline to check out the farmer's market there.  Truman was delighted to find a food truck dedicated to dog treats.

He also liked the food truck that was intended for humans.

Finally, a random chickadee, for no particular reason at all:

Speaking of birds, I did check up on the ospreys at the Fill this weekend, and they seem fine.  No sign of chicks yet but should be any day now.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Jackson Park Trail (plus a sketch)

Nicole told me there was a walking trail around the Jackson Park golf course, which I didn't know about, so yesterday Truman and I checked it out.  We hoped there might be sketching opportunities there, but we did not find any.  Oh, well, at least we got some exercise.

This sculpture at the parking lot entrance, called "Bloom", for instance, is too complex for me, and I also don't like sketching other people's art.  We admired it and moved on.

At first, the trail was nice and level and woodsy, which we enjoyed.  However, we soon encountered small hills that required some effort to get up -- the path was crushed gravel, there were steps in areas, and it was hard to get Truman's stroller up them.  He had to get out and walk at times -- oh, the horror!

Nicole heard there were pedestrian bridges, which I thought might be sketch-worthy, but the two we found (going over Thornton Creek) turned out to be chainlink fence-lined concrete slabs.  UGLY.

We did pause at a madrone tree that might have been nice to draw, except at this point of the trail, the traffic going past was fast and noisy and unpleasant.  So we moved on.

I thought perhaps we might get some decent views of the golf course to sketch, maybe of a water trap -- but this was the best view I found.  Neither Truman nor I were impressed by it.  After two miles of slogging up and down gravel hills, we stopped moving on, and went home.

Once we returned home, Truman expressed his delight in the chance to cool off in his pool.

Finally, completely unrelated to the above adventure, a sketch!  I had to go to Group Health on Capitol Hill for an audiology exam, and their waiting room window overlooked an old church across the way.  I wound up waiting 20 minutes for them to come get me, so I whipped out my travel sketch kit and entertained myself.  (The watercolor was added later at home.)

Turns out I have some hearing loss (!) in my right ear, which probably goes a long ways towards explaining the ringing (tinnitus) I have in that ear.  Oh, well.  I suppose it goes with the territory called "Getting Older"!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

A Short Sketch Outing

Yesterday afternoon Nicole and I ventured to the Washelli cemetery for a little sketching, accompanied byTruman, the Dog Who Doesn't Like to Go for a Walk.

When people see Truman in his stroller, they sometimes assume he's an elderly dog, or a lame dog, and are surprised when I say he is only four years old and perfectly healthy.  Then I explain that what he has is a psychological condition -- he only likes to walk towards his home or towards the car, and refuses to walk away from them.  So he has his own personal limo and his own personal well-trained chauffeur to pop him into his stroller to take him on the outward journey, and when we turn around, he gets out and runs back to the house or car, pulling the well-trained chauffeur all the way.

I suppose I could take him to a trainer to break him of this habit, but truth to tell, I rather like taking the stroller along, especially on sketch outings, as it has lots of storage for all of my gear.  So it all works out!

The stroller also gives him a comfy place to sit while I'm sketching.

All in all, I'm happy to play chauffeur for the Dog Who Doesn't Like to Go for a Walk.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Neighborhood Exploration: Pinehurst

On Sunday Truman and I went on another neighborhood exploration stroll, this time to Pinehurst, which is just west of our own neighborhood, between us and the Northgate mall.

One of the first things we saw was yet another Little Free Library stand.  People leave books for others to take at these tiny boxes.  During our various explorations, we've seen one every 10-20 blocks.  This one was guarded by a pelican!

Not too far off we found a colorful rooster, not guarding anything.

Next we checked out the Pinehurst Pocket Park, a lovely shaded spot with picnic benches and a tractor (sort of).  On a plaque we found the story of a fellow who used to give the neighborhood kids a ride on his tractor:

And here is the little replica tractor statue:

Truman waited patiently as I did a quick sketch of the tractor:

Then we continued our explorations.  I liked this pergola a lot:

Look -- another Little Free Library!

On these strolls, I try to find the one house that I would most like to live in.  This was the one!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Sketch Recon plus Return to the Fill

Sketch Recon

On Friday Tru and I went on a reconnaissance mission to Washelli cemetery -- it's my job, as a retired person, to check out various locales around town as potential sketching spots for my friends.  This place proved very promising, with some lovely landscaping, a few cool statues, and several intriguing buildings.  It was such a huge place that it took a long time to drive around, so I had time for just one drawing at a little pond.

Will have to go back to draw some more.

Return to the Fill

Access to the Montlake Fill main trail has been blocked on weekdays, and the latest news is that this may continue into mid-July.  On Sunday I went to see what had been happening there -- construction is beginning on a new wetlands area.  The main trail was open, with a whole lot of "Access Prohibited" signs along the way, like this one:

This bunny ignored the signs.

The signs, along with a new rock buffer zone, appear to be designed to keep people from straying off the main trail and into the meadows.

Truman checked out the new buffer zone:

The bird life seemed undisturbed by all this activity.  The Marsh Wrens were chattering away as usual.

The Red-winged Blackbirds were much in evidence.

The Osprey pair were still on the nest.  Whew.

We also checked out the site for the new wetlands, which is a former parking lot.  There we found a really big pile of mulch:

It should be interesting to see the progress on this wetlands over the coming months.