Better Than Provence

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We traveled all the way to Provence last year with the hope that we would see lavender in bloom. We saw fields of poppies and lavender with ever so tiny purple tips. I could only imagine how beautiful the fields would be in about two or three more weeks.

I had no idea that lavender blooms in Washington and Oregon every spring. It’s a long drive or a short plane ride from California to see these wonderful sights. The people are friendly and most everyone you bump into is there to see the lavender too. Being a transplant from Santa Cruz, I’ve got begonias growing in my backyard. I was surprised that they would grow in such a warm climate but they seem to thrive here. I think there will be lavender in that same backyard next spring. It will be like a little piece of Provence, Oregon, and Washington for me to enjoy almost all of next years summer season. Some times one of the best places you can be is in your own backyard. You can make it into, anything you like.

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Gardens of Flowers

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Last month I went to the 25th Annual Spring Garden Tour held by the Soroptimist International of the Sierra Foothills. I was going to rank the gardens as I had appreciated them. After thinking about that for a while, I came to realize that it’s not really fair to rank these six gardens, as each garden has its own personality, just like the people do, that tend them. I have, however, decided to share some photos of the garden that I liked most of all.

This garden sat up on a hill in Grass Valley, California. It was host to an aviary with happily singing finches and canaries. The butterflies appeared blissfully happy, and with every step that I took, I would find a lovely surprise in the form of some sort of flower that I had never seen in its particular color. You could tell that the people who grew this garden had spent many hours laboring in it. I would  have liked to have had the time to sit out in it with a glass of wine in my hand to just drink in all the sights and colors of this magical place. I can’t imagine daily living in that environment. Well, I can imagine it, but I think the best way to see the garden would be to fly through it. No tending, no trouble, just sheer availability to loads of wonderful flowers. Oh to be a butterfly, just for one glorious day. Imagine…  

 

 

Sunny Skagit Valley

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We took a little tour of the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival in Washington State this last weekend. We were so lucky to find sunshine and acres upon acres of beautiful flowers. We began by crossing the Salish Sea on a twenty car ferry to Lummi Island for a short stay and a meal at The Willows Inn. The sun was setting and the evening was divine.

We took a couple of walks on Sunset Beach, where it occurred to me, that we had been on Sunset Beach in Hawaii just a couple of weeks prior. Both places are uniquely lovely and well worth spending extended time at. One has soft golden sand and tiny shells while the other has incredible stones from the San Juan Islands. We visited family at Lake Whatcom, ate at EATS in Bellingham, cruised down Chuckanut Dr. to view the oyster farms, walked to Whatcom Falls, and ate at Seeds while taking a short tour of La Conner. I shouldn’t forget the blueberry ice cream. I’m not a great lover of ice cream, it always makes me thirsty, but this was wonderful. Maybe because it’s made locally and is fresh. I always thought that I needed to go to The Netherlands to see the bulbs in bloom. I was wrong. This place is well worth seeing. I’m removing Holland from my list. 

Corner Stone

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A couple of weeks ago we seized the opportunity to go over to Sonoma with some family members and share a day in the sunshine, which was very hard to come by at that time. We went to Corner Stone right outside of Sonoma for lunch and a little wandering through the gardens on that lovely day. The place is rather new and is a really great place to go to relax. I’d say that they have a little bit of everything there with their shops, gardens, restaurants, distillery, etc. There really is something for everyone there.

As Spring approaches, we should step out and find those places that are unique and worthy of our wandering. You never know what you might find in your own backyard, so to speak. 

The next blog will show you the big reveal of the kitchen remodel. It is nearly finished and I am loving the new space. It reminds me of Santa Cruz. That’s a great way to begin and end every day.

 

 

Nothing Marginal About It

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A couple of weeks ago we were in Maine and took a walk along one of the prettiest shorelines that I have ever seen.  I’m quite used to walking along the West Coast but I found the East Coast walk simply charming.

We couldn’t have asked for a better day to take the paved one mile walk (The Marginal Way) from Ogunquit to Perkins Cove.  I don’t think these photos do it justice but I wanted to share them anyway.  Should you ever travel to Maine, you really must look this place up and take the walk.  I finished our walk wishing that the path was twice as long.  I suppose we could have walked it twice but why spoil a splendid moment?  Is there any place that you would like to return to?  I am very sure that I will return to The Marginal Way with the hope that I can spend a lot more time, next time I am there.

Island Lava Flow

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We went to The Big Island last week.  I didn’t see many bugs, maybe because it was rather windy while we were there.  What we saw on our last day there was a magnificent flower.  I’ve seen lots of hibiscus in my life but none as beautiful and eye-catching as this one.  I believe it is called Lava Flow and you can imagine why.  I was so excited to get a shot of it and then I realized, it had a companion.  As I raised my camera, I found this gecko, with attitude, lounging on this amazing flower.

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Hanging Out on the Hibiscus 

I like geckos; don’t get me wrong.  I just wanted a shot of the flower without the locals hanging around.  I left for a bit, came back, got a good shot and then wondered…where did the gecko go?  

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Snacking on the Blossoms

He was on the new blossoms.  Lunching on them!  He looked pretty proud of himself too.  Geckos have it made.  They live in Hawaii, hang out all day, and get to eat gloriously gorgeous food.  What more could you want?  C’est La Vie!

Little Jewell

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Not too long ago we took a cruise to Alaska.  It was more than I could hope for.  There was wildlife everywhere, the food was great, and everything about the trip was memorable.  We stopped in Skagway and went on a tour at the Jewell Gardens while there.

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New Uses for Old Things

I have the most amazing handblown bowl from the tour.  From where we were sitting, it looked so much smaller then when it was delivered to my home.  I see it everyday and remember our amazing trip to Alaska.    

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Open Air Rooms

Skagway was the last place I expected to see amazing gardens.  Alaska seemed an unlikely place to find glass blowers, these gardens, and a tea shop all wrapped up in one.  It made me realize what one can do with a little creativity and a passion for what they love. 

Gives New Meaning to the Flower Bed

Gives New Meaning to the Flower Bed

If ever in Skagway, I highly recommend touring this place.  I don’t think it would have stayed in my memory, like it has, if I had only happened upon it and just strolled by.  The tour made it all the more worthwhile.  I’m not sure about global warming but there was not as much snow in Alaska as I was expecting.                                      Go see Alaska before it melts away.