Sunday, December 24, 2006
Sadly, the recent windstorm was not kind to the black pines. These trees completely blocked this entrance to the neighborhood. A second entrance was partially blocked. The wind blew from the south and, as one might expect, virtually all the fallen trees point to the north.
The black pines that faced the wind without an upwind deflector didn't hold. Those in north-south rows did reasonably well, but those in east-west rows fell hard. Smaller trees were more likely to survive, but the larger, more mature trees had too much sail area.
Based on the way they fell, the black pine has a shallow, broad root system. The trees that were pulled up showed roots that rarely went deeper than a foot and were typically half that. The roots were barely deeper than the sod. The breadth of the root system wasn't enough to compensate. It's not clear if the root depth is natural or is a consequence of the soil structure. The soils around here are generally poor. The glaciers scraped off most of the soil and pushed it elsehwere. When they retreated, they left sand, gravel, and clay. The builders added just enough topsoil to allow the plants to survive. But I would think that twenty years of growth would have given the trees deeper roots. The black pines are also denser than the native trees. As I look at the firs and cedars, they have a more lacy look to them. Stands of them get very dark, but individual trees are more open than the black pine. The successful trees bend with the wind and let it pass.
There will be a faction in the neighborhood that wants to replace the fallen trees with the same type. I will lobby for native trees that have shown they can withstand our blustery days.
Saturday, December 23, 2006
I should have taken more photos. The damage was -- is dramatic.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
We've just come out of a long, dark period. A major storm blew through the metropolitan Seattle area a week ago - Thursday night, 14 December 2006. It started with a few hours of pouring rain, almost three inches - an amount we normally get in a month. This was followed by strong winds - sustained at 50 mph. Trees started falling.
Although our home was not hit by anything falling, there were hundreds of thousands of homes without power as trees struck power lines. Ours was one of the many dark ones. We spend Friday thinking power would be restored shortly and we could resume our normal lives for the weekend. Not so. We finally had power restored Tuesday morning. Fortunately, we have a fireplace, but we had to source firewood from friends and neighbors. The furnace was inop (electric fan for circulation), but the hot water heater worked (natural gas). Washing the dishes has never been so popular. We dug out our camping gear - sleeping bags, flashlights, lanterns, and so on.
Once power was restored, we quickly forgot the hardships and returned to our normal, posh life. Lights, heat, computers, music, and garage door openers. As the Horsey cartoon (Seattle P-I) says, there's a thin line between civilization and nature.
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
The bathtub is in our summer cottage and the spiders just appear. It's not like there are masses of webs on the ceiling, with thousands of wannabe Charlottes angling and dangling for a chance at pictorial fame on Blogger. No! The ceiling is quite finished and well maintained. So from whence come all these spiders? Inquiring minds want to know!
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
It was a long flight that arrived in Seattle around sunset. Because we were coming in from the southeast, the view was fantastic. I don't know if the pilot planned this (thank you!) or if we were just lucky, but we flew right past the north face of Mt. Rainier on our descent. We must have been around 15,000 feet because we were only looking down slightly on the 14,410-foot mountain.
Friday, August 25, 2006
Quite a meandering introduction, eh? But you have survived to the point: the valley is scenic. The Red Hook Brewery and the Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery are at the north end of the valley. Somebody decided it would be a good place to run a balloon. The winds are generally northernly (out of the north), so they start at the north end of the valley and drift south. The balloons are surprisingly silent (except for the roar of the propane burners) so that I'm often tempted to start a conversation as the balloonists float over my backyard.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Monday, August 21, 2006
Friday, August 18, 2006
I can't figure out where all these dimpled rocks come from. This photo is from the Pacific coast on the shores of Washington (state). Look up Cape Alava, WA in Google Maps. These rocks are pounded and rolled by the tides of the Pacific. Cape Alava is exposed to storms throughout the year, so the rocks become round. But many of them have these large dimples. The dimples are golf ball-sized and a few inches deep. What causes them?????
I haven't posted in quite a while. I challenge myself to fix that.
Sunday, July 02, 2006
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Update: removed spurious and lurid apostrophe. (Blush)
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
Saturday, April 29, 2006
In reality, the rainbow was more nearly circular. This image was taken as three exposures on my cell-phone camera, then merged with Photoshop Elements 4 using a perspective merge and advanced blending. This explains the kink near the peak of the rainbow and the spreading of the curve (divergence from circular). Initial attempts to merge the images had major discontinuities in the sky and rainbow, so I kept playing with the Photoshop options.
Odd, isn't it, that I take out a cell-phone to take a picture. A few years ago, that would have gotten gee-whiz responses, but now it gets yawns. Now if only someone could invent a roof that looks good and doesn't leak.
Saturday, April 15, 2006
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
I was inspired first by the London Daily Photo blog and the Paris Daily Photo blog, but I have come to understand just how challenging that can actually be. This bouquet is in honor of the reliable souls who bring us the daily photos. And a fond memory of Tiny Tim.
Sunday, March 19, 2006
Update: Forgot to provide a title.
Saturday, March 18, 2006
Monday, March 13, 2006
Update: We are standing around 6000 feet (about 1000 feet above Paradise) and looking up the 14,400 foot mountain.
Saturday, March 11, 2006
Eric, the host of PDP, has a special listing of photos he has received in honor of his first anniversary, and I encourage you to have a look!
Tuesday, February 28, 2006
I was in the office of my boss, having a routine 1x1 meeting with him. The first rumble hit and it was like a heavily loaded cart rolling down then hallway - just a loud rumble. A few seconds later, a louder rumble with a distinct floor motion hit. I asked Gene (my boss), "Is this an earthquake?" "No, don't be silly." By the time he got the "...lly" out of his mouth, we were both standing in the doorway of his office, looking at each other, because the third rumble hit and hit and hit. It seemed to go on forever. There was a fellow outside Gene's office, sitting at his desk and staring up at a light fixture that was swaying back and forth. "Gee, you really ought to get away from that and under your desk." "Huh? What?" he said as he watched the fixture sway. It seemed to go on forever, but it probably lasted five seconds of so.
Gene and I walked around the floor to inspect any damage and to ensure that anyone needing help or attention got it. Luckily, we were in a new building so most of the damage was to items that slid or bounced off desks to the floor, and a couple of bookcases that weren't properly secured to the walls. I waited around until the official all-clear announcement. I had to wait until the city bus lines started running again.
The bus ride was a little strange. The city was silent, nearly still. The route for the bus I needed took me into the Seattle Metro Bus Tunnel. I must say it is a bit odd to ride through a tunnel in the aftermath of an earthquake. No obvious damage - the engineers had checked it out before re-opening it, of course - but one feels like the ultimate gambler to go below the earth after an earthquake.
Next day? Back to work.
Note: it is normally a bad idea to stand in a doorway during an earthquake. Much wiser to get under a table or sturdy piece of furniture that's away from glass windows. In this case, the door was a sliding door rather than a swinging door, so the response was reasonably safe. A conventional swinging door tends to flap in harmony with the earthquake (literally), slapping you out of the way should you attempt to interfere with its path. Avoid doorways, head under a table or desk.
Monday, February 20, 2006
Thursday, February 16, 2006
The plaque reads as it says. Kirkland, WA.
This is the valley of the Sammamish Slough and you're looking north from the north side of Redmond, WA. The Slough is to your left. In the distance you might be able to make out the Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery, but I rather doubt the visibility is good enough. The Columbia Winery (must be over 21) is nearby and so is the Red Hook Brewery. Yes, we have all the conveniences here.
Friday, February 10, 2006
Thursday, February 02, 2006
This is to be someone's basement. The rain will drain, the ground will dry, the cement will pour, the foundation will harden, the house will go up, and the happy people will move in. Seattle - we can survive anything!
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Monday, January 23, 2006
Although I saw Mt. Rainier from Redmond this afternoon, this photo is from January, 2003, and was taken in the alpenglow from Longmire.
Sunday, January 22, 2006
The eagles? We saw about 15. They were relatively low in number because the high water level in the river washed downstream the salmon carcasses that the eagles normally eat. A month ago, we would have seen five times as many eagles.
Saturday, January 21, 2006
Flowing in from the left (from the east) is a small salmon stream that has been restored. The stream shows as a wiggle in the map. As you might imagine, a salmon stream has salmon in it. Salmon like wandering, cool streams so the stream was recently de-channelized: they put the bends back in, dropped some logs in the water to create snags, and planted saplings on the banks to shade and cool the water in the summer. We hope the salmon will return and prosper. They come all the way through Lake Washington.
More precisely, they come from Puget Sound into Lake Union and Portage Bay, through the Lake Washington Ship Canal, through Lake Washington, and into the slough. Pretty impressive. But these guys are stragglers compared to some of the other salmon that head up the Columbia River.
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
So what does one do when the weather is not quite perfect? We go outdoors, of course! We spend a lot of time out of doors. We're not dim, we do come in out of the rain (mostly), so we find indoor-outdoor things to do -- like Dutch Oven cooking. Here's our troop running a Dutch Oven cooking contest on an iffy day in the Fall. You're looking at over a dozen ovens cooking away. The little gray spots are charcoal briquettes nicely heating everything around them. It was difficult to get a shot of the ovens without too many people in view - a lot of people spent time near the coals for the warmth.
The ovens contain entrees and desserts. Enough to feed an army. That's the only problem with a contest like this - each participant is cooking enough for about five people to eat. It's a burden that I shall bear....
Monday, January 16, 2006
Sunday, January 15, 2006
Moral of the story: take the spares with you.
Update: the image displayed in this entry looks odd, but click on it, and the "original" (?) looks fine.
Friday, January 13, 2006
This photo was taken in Mt. Rainier National Park in May, 2005.
Update: Oops. The record rainy city is not Spokane, but Centralia.
Sunday, January 08, 2006
Thursday, January 05, 2006
On the eastern shore of Lake Washington, facing west toward Seattle, is the home of a local business man. While it can only be seen from the water, the house is spacious, boasting an underground parking lot, a private beach, a movie theater, and it is rumored to have a bowling alley. Bill and family lived in a smaller house a bit to the south while the main homestead was under construction - barely a few doors down. I used to share a zip code with Bill, but now he's moved to Medina and I hardly ever see him any more.
Wednesday, January 04, 2006
Our image today centers on a Quaint American Custom associated with ice hockey. Attendees to the Seattle Thunderbirds ice hockey games are able to buy foam pucks, each numbered uniquely, from vendors as they enter the rink. This lovely automobile has a "sunroof" - there is a window in the roof that can be opened. Between two of the hockey periods, this auto is driven out onto the center ice as shown and all the happy attendees throw their foam pucks at the car, hoping to be the first to get their puck into the car via the sunroof. The winner's name is placed into a drawing to win the car at a later date. The failing pucks are swept up as the car is driven back off the ice and play is resumed. A curious demonstration of sportsmanship in North America.
Tuesday, January 03, 2006
Sunday, January 01, 2006
Notes: El Capitan is to your left; Half Dome is visible in the center distance, and Bridalveil Falls is to your right. The Merced River runs down the middle of the valley. It's about 3pm or so in the afternoon.