Category Archives: outside

Herons and Griffons and Water, Oh my!

Today is gray and misty, so I am going to remind myself of the sun we had only a few days ago. Come to the beach with us, won’t you?
great blue heronIt was a gorgeous day in Western Washington. We weren’t the only ones out.
crabOur wirehaired pointing griffon didn’t notice that she’s eleven.wirehaired pointing griffonAnd she was very nice to the much bigger younger dog she met.dog friendsShe would not stay out of the water.wet griffonSomething about that tasty salt water splash.racing griffonShe’s wasn’t alone in that exhilarating love of the splash, either.crazy boysplash downBrrrrrr. I’ll stick to the ground, thank you which I did in that sticky mud flat….great blue heronWhat a day.

Have you been outside enjoying spring?

Seattle Houseboat Tour 2012 – See For Yourself!

Hello, my name is Wendy and I am addicted to houseboat tours.

Every other year, the Seattle Floating Homes Association hosts a tour of houseboats. And I go and I go. This year may have been my 4th, or possibly 5th.

I’m fascinated by the whole scene. They’re all so different, some very quirky, some Architectural Digest. It pulls me in like a giant belt buckle to a magnet. Or rain to Seattle…

I’m sure I romanticize the whole existence like I do with so many other people or things.

I’m the first to admit the reality of living on a houseboat may not be so great. First off, there’s no garage to park in oh, yeah, like when the Hubs filled my side of the garage with tools years ago….

Also, there are beavers to battle for possession of your stuff like the Kid and the Dog. And God forbid, you get less than sober and slide right off your wet, Seattle wooden dock and into the drink yeah, there’s really no comparison here. Brrrrr.

But there is all this to counterbalance that….
So, who’s in for 2014?!

Bainbridge Island Chicken Coop Tour 2012

Bainbridge Island is a perfect spot to get all farm-y or pretend to after your day job.

For the past 4 years, the island has celebrated this urge with its own Tour de Coop, a fundraiser for Helpline House, our local food bank. Lucky for you, in case you missed it, I didn’t. (Click a photo to enlarge.)
Some chicken coops were tucked in the corner of a garden,
and some backed up against the main home. One had its own garden inside, a wisteria plant growing up through the roof.One or two coordinated with a barn on the premises.But they all had two things in common: chickens
and chicken accessories! I love eggs, and the Kid would love to have chickens.But the problem is someone else in the Let the dog in! household would also love to have chickenGuess we’ll just keep enjoying the tour!

Have you gone on a chicken coop tour? Do you have chickens, or wish you did?

Wet camping trip? Try dutch ovens and lemon squares!

Camping is becoming a ritual for our family (now that we can put the kid to work!), and this year we battled Mother Nature to prove it.

Everyone always kids in a totally serious way that summer doesn’t start around here until July 5th, but at my brilliant suggestion we bit the bullet and went camping anyway.

Just to give you an idea of the weather we faced, here’s a headline I read when we got back: “Summer squall downs trees, knocks out power around region.”

And this: Seattle’s total rainfall for June so far is 2.78 inches through 5 p.m. Saturday – which makes it the eighth wettest June on record with still a week to go.

So, we left in a downpour and hoped the worst had passed through. Foolish, yes. Because where we headed ended up with .63″ of rain Friday, .3″ Saturday, and then voila! on Sunday, the SUN came out for us to pack and get the hell outta there before we all grew mold in our private areas.

Our friends fed us martinis and abandoned us left early, halfway through the weekend, which just goes to show it’s all relative because in Juneau, Alaska, yours truly was the prissy camping princess.

It helps that the Hubs is true Alaskan and can tie up tarps at 100 yards. We also ate well and constantly. Here’s his set-up. He’s #1 on the local hunters’ most-wanted camp cooks list…
That was our entertainment, sitting under tarps and watching the Hubs make stew, roasted chicken and braised short ribs.
In case you think I did nothing but growl…
(Ok, probably a fair amount of growling was heard while I sat by our additional, illegal campfire because I was scared if I went in the tent I’d never come out!)
I’ll have you know that I pre-measured ingredients to try to make lemon squares, baked in a Dutch oven. We had nothing else to do, so we were zesting, juicing, stirring, patting, and baking. Granted, I forgot the powdered sugar, but it tasted pretty decent in all our sogginess. Yes, life gave us lemons and we made lemon squares!We couldn’t keep covered enough out there. But, the surprise Jiffy Pop was a huge hit and went pretty well with wine in a box.Like I said, the sun did come out Sunday, thank goodness, so we kept our sanity packed easily and hung stuff out to dry at home.

Ok, Mother Nature, now that you waterboarded us from the sky we’ve paid our dues, all the rest of the summer camping weather will be splendid, right?!

A camping princess can dream, can’t she?


Do you have any tips for camping in wetness?? Would your family stay or pack back up?

On A Beach Walk in Puget Sound

Did you see the Supermoon this weekend? We in the Seattle area actually did, thanks to a rare, cloudless night.

Along with this up-close-and-personal full moon came higher high tides and lower lows, kinda like my PMS’ing a normal teenager, but with weather.

So, won’t you come along with us on our -3 low tide walk in Kitsap county?

It seemed like the low tide took some critters by surprise. We found many of these needlefish or whoever you are, fish that are needly flopping around on shore, near the water’s edge.
The Kid spotted this little guy on shore, gasping for water, I presume. It’s a nudibranch, or known locally only in my house as “Squishy.”Before falling asleep that night, the Kid said, “Mom, I miss Squishy.” Awww. No, we don’t get too attached to anyone around here… *ahem*

Along with Squishy, we found a gunnel which looks like a baby eel but isn’t. The Kid put water in a shell and took these guys on a walk since she wasn’t home and could now be helpful. Gunnel and nudibranch, sounds like a great reality TV show, right?What do many PNW’ers think of when you say super-low tide? Clamming, of course, a sport I’ve never tried I know, don’t faint. But we did see many razor clams peeking out, or necking out, or drying out, or sunbathing, or whatever clams think they’re doing. What are they doing?? Contrary to what you may think, you really can’t spontaneously decide to go clamming. The Hubs tried. Clamming barehanded, not recommend y’all.
Gotcha!
I even recorded his attempting to get this clam by hand. Kids, try this. You will never win, unless you count breaking off the clam’s neck accidentally not saying this happened to us

Of course, the humans weren’t the only ones having a good day. Becca went dog-crazy, got the yippe-skippies, barked at strangers, almost ate no many ducks, sniffed otter tracks, ate rotten crabs, shells included, and best of all except for the stink and me having to bathe her later, did this:She was plum tuckered out by the end. Like the rest of us after hours of sun, sea and fun.We let her lie; she was a sleeping dog, after all.

Did you locals go out at low tide this weekend? Find anything cool?