Tag Archives: Washington


Full Image

This week’s photo challenge is VIBRANT:  (adjective) full of energy and enthusiasm; quivering; pulsating; (of color) bright and striking.

I made this photo last April at Palouse Falls, Washington near Washtucna and Pullman, and Moscow and  Lewiston in Idaho. Below I cropped the image two ways for different looks. I think I still like the full image best. What do you think?

Cropped 1

I took out that glaring bright rock face on the right. I need to learn to dodge and burn in Creative Suite. I was just not able to bring out the texture I know is in the data.

Cropped 2

In this crop I took off the left side to give more attention to the rainbow and the contrasts in the image.


Palouse Falls is magnificent. This rainbow attracted me almost as much. For the close up photo I used for the challenge, I moved to another perspective, and of course zoomed in. You can see more bloggers’ vibrant photos and join the challenge here.


Don’t throw out that letter!

I saved a short stack of cards and letters with photos from the last box of Mom’s hoard. I’d like to share a few excerpts from them. And at the end of this post I have a challenge for you!

Pinedale 2009 079My parents kept in touch with friends they had met while constructing power plants across the US. This “fun little group” of Boilermakers had bought adjacent properties along the Green River near Pindale, Wyoming, and they still all owned their spots when Mom died in 2006. From Sylvia and Don in Valpo, Indiana, December 18, 1986:

“When we’re 70 maybe some of us will meet up on top of the hills in Wyoming, with our campers and watch the moose and elk, grouse, sage hen. Hike down the hill on the tundra with flowers and catch some nice fresh fish from the running streams. We’ll all laugh and giggle about our outdoor privy. And no one will be around but our fun little group. One thing for sure I’m not dressing in a wet sleeping bag from the darn rain. Wasn’t that a kick! We’ll bring blackberry wine for Judy and oh the fun memories we can talk about at the camp fire.”

My daughter made this image in pastels when she was a child.
My daughter made this image in pastels when she was a child.

When my daughter was six years old I had become a single mom, finished college, and worked 2 jobs while trying to find a teaching position. From me, their daughter October 4, 1980:

“Thank you for the birthday gifts. The poem was nice, makes me want to spend more time with KC. Last nite I cleaned house and when I finished the dishes I sat down to paint with KC – but I fell asleep on the floor! (frowning face drawn here) Sometimes it’s not what you do together but the presence of spirits that counts.”

My son turned 18 in November of his Senior year and became quite independent so we let him live on the REBEL, our 36′ Monk built wooden boat, to finish high school. He came home for laundry and showers and we gave him grocery money. From me May, 1991:

“Grad gift for Ricky – we are buying him new tires, muffler, tune up parts, etc. for his car to give him a “running” start. He’s uncertain about summer plans. He is looking for work but has no $. He talks about college here next fall. He’s doing outstanding  running the 3200 in track. Grades are good. Living on the REBEL is good for him.” 

CAU3KHAF-200x200[1]After my son graduated high school I took a year-long leave of absence from my teaching post and really explored the Washington coast line and maritime life. From me, October, 1992:

“I really enjoyed working on the square rigger Lady Washington in September. I was on her in the inner sound near Olympia and sailed her out the Strait to Neah Bay where I presented a workshop for teachers. The ship has asked me to work on her next season for special programs. She was (is a replica) a fur trading cargo vessel and built broad with square sails. She is really not much of a thrill to sail. I much prefer sailing Marconi rigs (triangle shaped sails). 

The marine lab is offering me 20 hours a week next summer to expand my work with the public from 6 hours a week. – A raise, too, but certainly not nearly what I can make in public schools. I seem to be headed for more consulting and writing jobs and work at the lab so it looks like I’ll be able to meet my goal of working part time with flexible schedule and not have to go back full-time fo the school district, although they are obligated to me if I choose to go back. I truly do not miss the job of disciplining public youngsters!

The Native American museum at Neah Bay is preparing to move their artifacts to a new building and they have asked me help put the inventory into the computer. I’ll get to work with the Makah tribal elders and learn the language as they are categorizing artifacts by the native language and in accordance with non-material cultural heritage i.e. familial rights to symbolic designs and sex roles like women not allowed to handle whaling equipment. Such a lot to learn but what an experience! The anthropologist is ready to ask the tribal council to approve a curriculum writing project for me – a first for the museum and for the Washington outer coast which is just now being designated as a National Marine Sanctuary.”

These old letters are artifacts. They’re time capsules. They are reminders of how people connected with each other before we had all our electronic devices to send instant messages. Today’s messages are artifacts, too, but there’s something about going to the mailbox and finding a letter or card sealed in an envelope, addressed to you in a cursive handwriting you recognize as if the sender were talking to you in person, the penmanship and style, the unique voice of that writer. And the choice of stamps, that said something about the relationship between writer and reader. Sitting down with paper and pen to respond to the letter was an event, and then finding and addressing the envelope and a stamp, walking it to your mailbox. Letter writing was a ritual and we need rituals in our lives.

I know I’m not the only one who has found a stash of old letters hoarded away by our aging relatives. I admit I’ve saved many letters, too, though not as many as Mom. My mother kept boxes and boxes of cards and letters. They gave her comfort. Old letters, they get my muse jumping. It’s like a collage of memories collected around someone’s life.

Doug commented:

“I think my mother saved every birthday or anniversary card they ever received from all five children and other relatives, including cards send to me when I was a kid from my grandparents. In fact, we found some that still had $2 bills in them, which they used to give me.”

Any of these excerpts motivate me to write. I’m going to pick one and use it to stimulate a blog post for the challenge I’ve made with bloggers Doug Warren and Pleasant Street starting the end of September.

When they commented on my last post about old letters we decided to challenge ourselves to once a month write a post inspired by some of our collection of old letters or cards or photos. Make the post the last week of each month. Start this month. Tag each other in these posts. Anyone can join us. I’ll set up the challenge the beginning of the last week, just write your post and tag my challenge post to set up a ping back. I hope you join our challenge!

Feature image by bhttp://alexandrajeancoffey.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/letters.jpg

Tree house, garden house, round house, out house, all at Lake Ozette

The tree house that sleeps four, the round house with 2 stories, the garden house, the outhouse. I love the little houses at Lake Ozette in the Olympic National Forest on the Washington state coast. My friend, Don who played bass in my husbands band in Port Angeles, arranged to be the caretaker for the only privately owned dwellings on the lake. He pays rent at $99.00 a year. The owner can never sell to anyone but the National Park. It’s a win-win for all. And I love to go there with him and the band for days at a time in late summer.

path to Lake Ozette from the tree house

I showed you in a previous post https://skybluedaze.wordpress.com/2014/11/27/edge/ part of the board walk,  about 20 feet above ground, that gets you from the tree house to the lake. In the rainy season, anytime except summer, the lake is up to the boards. Otherwise tall brush grows alongside. You can just see 2 canoes in the brush in the bottom of the photo. Here’s the tree house cabin. I stood on its porch to make the crooked path photo looking at Lake Ozette. tree house and canoestree house east side

The cute little bunny looking out the window at us was left there by Don’s niece. I love the bay windows that look out to the lake. Inside are two sets of bunk beds, a chair, a wood stove, and something sort of like a kitchen.

tree house back door

This is the back door to the tree house, the way we get in after a long trek. Standing at the lake you can see the big old Spruce that supports the cabin.

path through the forest

boardwalk to tree house

It takes about an hour to walk from the garden house, at the lake’s edge around a bay, and most of the walk is high above ground on narrow planks. Don and his brother reconstruct parts of the board walk every year, not an easy task. It’s sometimes more sensible to canoe from one house to the other. Once is rained so hard when they were sleeping in the garden house they had to canoe to their car on the dirt road.I don’t have a photo of the garden house. It’s called that because the garden grows there. Its easier to get to, being near the road and having a little lane to drive on. We have to pack our food and bedding into the tree house, balancing on the planks and snapping at my German Shepherd, named Ozette, to keep her from running an knocking into us. Sometimes she jumps off and runs beneath the boardwalk until the dense brush confuses her.

round house

From the garden house I can walk along a creek back to the bend in the road to the round house. That little house doesn’t belong to Don’s property. It’s quite imaginative, having 2 stories and only as big around as a giant ancient Red Wood tree. There is a bedroom upstairs with a double bed. Down stairs is a sweet round cabin room with a stove, chairs, table, and kitchen. I’d like to sleep here where I could hear the creek.

new out house

The round house has the best out house, the newest one in the community of little houses. Even here we use a board walk. The rain forest has so much decaying ground that it’s easy to fall through the forest floor and land knee deep or even 20 feet below where you were standing. And the ground is almost always wet, often running in small streams. Isn’t that a comforting dry porch outside the door?

If you visit the Washington coast in Olympic National Park, I hope you will drive to the Ozette trail head. You’ll pass these sweet little houses but you won’t see them from the road. At the trail head you can hike 3 miles to the beach and the site of Ozette village which was covered several times by mud slides and rebuilt in the same spot for centuries. Then you can turn around and hike back, or walk 3 miles down the beach and take a different trail back, making a nine mile hike, easy to do in a day. I’ll tell you more about that hike in another post.

I feel lucky and grateful to have a friend like Don who takes me to such interesting cabins.