Sunday, July 28, 2013


Earlier this month, I wrote about a jalapeno pepper plant we acquired at a book reading.

There have been further developments. Today, upon close inspection, I saw that where 10 days ago there were blooms, now there were several peppers at various stages of maturity.

A couple are well along.

Several others are yet tiny.

One still has its dried flower clinging to it.

It remains to be seen how large they will get, or what we will do with them.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Busy Bees

Yesterday afternoon, while I was watering the garden, the usual assortment of bees were busily buzzing around in the lavender. One in particular caught my eye — she was carrying a bright orange accumulation on her back legs.

Getting a photo was tricky. The bees don't stay in one place for more than a few seconds. and their route from flower to flower seems pretty random. Additionally, with the camera set on Macro and zoomed in, the area framed in the picture window was fairly small and locating the bee I wanted to capture was somewhat hit-and-miss.

Nevertheless, I snapped several pictures and got some acceptable images.

In fact, there were not one, but two bees with visible loads of pollen. This photo was completely serendipitous.

This morning, I was again watering the garden. Among other things, we have a couple of pumpkins over by the fence, near where some California poppies have volunteered to plant themselves. And what I observed there told me where the orange pollen came from.

There were two bees being extremely industrious among the poppies. Not only did they spend about twice as much time at each flower compared to the lavender (which made it easier to photograph them), sort of walking around inside the bloom to collect as much pollen as possible, but they also would visit the same flower more than once.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Gig Harbor and Bremerton

Yesterday's trip to Gig Harbor started out overcast. The sun didn't start to show itself until around midday. But when the clouds had finally burned off, we were able to see Mount Rainier, some 60 miles away. Whenever I see the mountain, it never fails to inspire a sense of awe.

We also had a good view on the ferry ride from Bremerton to Seattle.

Because the weather was cooler than expected, we interrupted our perusal of the arts fair to visit the Harbor History Museum. The museum has obviously benefited from a fruitful fundraising effort. The building is very new and modern, and the signage accompanying the displays is nicely designed and well executed.

The chronology and content of the displays was typical for a small, local history museum. First there was the customary nod to the native peoples and their culture, then on to the white settlers, logging, maritime industry, education, and the advent of the automobile.

Out back was a restored one-room schoolhouse.

Tim commented that he would not have wanted to be the student seated nearest the stove.

In a fenced area next to the schoolhouse, there appeared to be a facility for restoring old boats.

The museum also had a juried art show on display, the 14th Annual Juried Maritime Art Exhibit. There were some really nice pieces. I would have liked to take some photos, but I didn't think I should. But you can see two pieces from the show here and here.

In conjunction with the arts fair, there was also an event called Chalk the Harbor, wherein individuals were provided with colored chalk with which to create sidewalk art.

This one was by far the best we saw.

After we left the museum, we went back to the arts fair and made a couple of purchases. We don't have need or room for more mugs, dishes or plates, and we certainly don't have room for more wall art. That pretty much leaves just things we can put outside.

On our way back to the car, I snapped some pictures of colorful flowers.

For the drive back, we chose not to go back via I-5, but instead headed west on Highway 16. Before boarding the ferry in Bremerton, we parked and walked around downtown a bit. The day had warmed up significantly, and these fountains were very popular.

Downtown Bremerton also features some fun public art.

The two parts of this next one are diagonally opposite each other at an intersection. I didn't get the visual joke until later, when we drove by on our way to the ferry.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Gig Harbor Day Trip

Today, Tim and I drove over to Gig Harbor. Neither of us had ever been there. I had the (mistaken) impression that it was farther away, but it was only an hour drive. (My sense of distance is still somewhat influenced by having lived in south Everett for more than 15 years. Depending on the direction I am headed, I can either add or subtract 20 to 30 minutes.)

Our primary destination was an arts and crafts fair, but we also visited the local history museum.

For our return to Seattle, we headed west/north towards Kingston, but once we hit Bremerton decided to catch the ferry there.

I took a fair number of photos, and I will write a more complete account and post more photos tomorrow.

For now, here is the panorama I took of the marina at the harbor.

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Blue Room

The spare bedroom no longer looks like the inside of a cave.

As you can see, I decided the bed was in the way.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Pepper Plant

Some time ago, Tim and I went to a book reading by the author of The Drunken Botanist. (Previously, we had attended a reading promoting one of her previous books, Wicked Bugs.)

At the reading, there was a drawing for several flats of plants discussed in the book. Our ticket number was drawn for one, which included a mint plant, and rosemary plant, and a jalapeno pepper plant. We duly repotted them, and when the weather turned warm enough, set them outside in the backyard where they seem to be doing reasonably well with daily waterings.

Today, while giving the garden its daily watering, I noticed that the pepper plant had a few blossoms in various stages of maturity. They tend to droop down, so I positioned my camera underneath to get a better view.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Beginning Ceramics

So, even though I earned my AA degree in Graphic Design last month, I registered for one class this summer. Mostly for personal interest and recreational purposes. And to get me out of the house a couple times each week.

I decided I wanted to do sometime completely non-computer-related. The choices for summer quarter are somewhat limited, but I settled on Ceramics I.

The summer quarter is only 8 weeks long, as compared to the usual 11 weeks during the regular school year. Today is the beginning of the fourth week — already nearly halfway through the quarter.

Beginning today, we will learn about throwing on the wheel. But first, we learned about three other ways to make pottery — pinching (more can be done to refine the piece than is shown at this link, but this shows the basic method), coiling (you can smooth the outside of the pot to hide the coils, as well as the inside), and slab construction.

Here is a picture of my pinched bowl on the shelf, waiting for its first (bisque) firing.

I also have a two coil pots and two slab pots underway, but they are not ready for bisque firing yet.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Recycled Sign Art

The other morning, I was out riding my bike on an errand. My route took my up Linden Avenue, which has been undergoing a major facelift over the last year or so. This has included straightening, repaving, reconfiguring street parking, and adding sidewalks and dedicated bike lanes. The project is pretty much done, so far as we can tell. I think all the orange cones and barrels have finally been removed.

As I was riding north, I noticed that some fun art installations had been added, utilizing old traffic signs.

A couple of evenings later, Tim and I ventured up the road during our post-prandial stroll, and I took the following photographs.

This is the first one, farthest south.

The next series featured the backs of the signs, with a variety of painted images.


This series features cut-out house shapes.

Each of these animal silhouettes incorporates pieces from a variety of signs in their construction.

The red dots appear to have been cut from stop signs.

The back of one of the signs, showing the original functional side.

Representations of some of our urban wildlife.

Green “trees.”

An homage to an old amusement park, long gone.