Three Things Thursday

Thanks to Nerd in the Brain for the weekly challenge Three Things Thursday:

three things that make me smile: an exercise in gratitude – feel free to steal this idea with wild abandon and fill your blog with the happy

three-things-thursday-badge-new

Lavender Festival

Last week several of us from Franke Tobey Jones visited the lavender festival held by:

Blue Willow Lavender Farm
10615 Wright Bliss Rd KPN, Gig Harbor, WA 98329
253–225–9030

I’ve been wanting to attend a lavender festival ever since moving out here, so I eagerly signed up for this trip. Here are three things I learned.

(Click on any photo to see a larger version.)

(1) So Many Varieties!

I had no idea that there are so many varieties of lavender. The farm featured several rows of different varieties, all labled:

varieties of lavender

(2) Not all Lavender is Lavender

Some lavender is white:

(3) Lavender is Used in Many Ways

The gift shop contained so many items that use lavender: soap, body lotion, essential oil, flavoring for food and drinks. I bought some tea:

lavender tea

Bonus

Lavender fields

lavender fields

© 2016 by Mary Daniels Brown

Three Things Thursday: Northwest Trek

Thanks to Nerd in the Brain for the weekly challenge Three Things Thursday:

three things that make me smile: an exercise in gratitude – feel free to steal this idea with wild abandon and fill your blog with the happy

three-things-thursday-badge-new

Trip to Northwest Trek

Earlier this week we took a trip out to Northwest Trek near Eatonville, WA, USA. A facility of Metro Parks Tacoma, Northwest Trek focuses on both flora and fauna native to the Pacific Northwest. Its main feature is a 450-acre free-roaming area, containing meadows, forest, and wetlands, where many non-predatory animals live with only minimal human intervention. Visitors ride trams around the area to view the animals in their natural habitat.

I usually concentrate on the animals, but this time I decided to look at some of the plants as well. Here are three of my favorite things from this visit.

(Click on any photo to see a larger version.)

(1) Salmonberry

(2) Roosevelt Elk Bucks

Elk bucks

Look at these six big guys lounging around. Right now their antlers are growing to make them attractive to the females come mating season. Antlers are covered with a substance called velvet. If you were to touch the antlers now, they would feel like soft velvet rather than the harder substance they will later become. But please don’t touch these growing antlers! They can grow as much as one-half inch per day and are suffused with blood vessels. If you were to touch them, you could feel the animal’s pulse as blood feeds the growing velvet. Because of the large blood supply, even a small tear in the velvet could cause the bull elk to bleed to death. That’s probably why these bulls are content to sit around instead of risking a possibly fatal nick to their antlers.

However, this bromance will end at about the end of July, when hormones begin to surge at the beginning of the rutting season. Then there will be fierce competition among the guys to attract the females. After mating season ends, the antlers will fall off. Then next spring the whole process will start again.

My thanks to my husband, who happened to be on the correct side of the tram, for letting me use this great photo.

(3) Red Elderberry

red elderberry

Red elderberry bushes grow along stream banks, in swampy thickets, in moist clearings, and in open forests. These bushes are common along the coast of the Pacific Northwest. The small red berries are not palatable and can cause nausea when raw. However, the cooked berries were an important food source for native coastal peoples. The berries are still used to make elderberry jelly or elderberry wine.

 

© 2016 by Mary Daniels Brown

Three Things Thursday

Thanks to Nerd in the Brain for the weekly challenge Three Things Thursday:

three things that make me smile: an exercise in gratitude – feel free to steal this idea with wild abandon and fill your blog with the happy

three-things-thursday-badge-new

Usually I feature things that interest or amuse me in these weekly postings. And of course I’m grateful for things that interest or amuse me. But this week I decided to focus on the “exercise in gratitude” part of this challenge’s definition.

Here, then, are three things for which I am especially grateful.

(Click on any photo to see a larger version.)

(1) Nature’s Bounty

(2) My Family

My Family
My Family

(3) The Beauty of the Earth

 

© 2016 by Mary Daniels Brown

Three Things Thursday: A Lesson in 3 Trees

Thanks to Nerd in the Brain for the weekly challenge Three Things Thursday:

three things that make me smile: an exercise in gratitude – feel free to steal this idea with wild abandon and fill your blog with the happy

A Lesson in 3 Trees

It’s amazing what you’ll notice once you start paying attention.

(Click on any photo to see a larger version.)

(1) What does that tree remind you of?

sloth tree

This tree reminded me of a giant sloth, complete with hanks of shaggy fur.

(2) How big is a Giant Sequoia?

Giant Sequoia

This big: And still growing!

(3) Where do pinecones come from?

formation of pinecones

Why, they grow on trees, of course.

Have a good week of looking at the world around you! Let me know what you find.

© 2016 by Mary Daniels Brown

Three Things Thursday

Thanks to Nerd in the Brain for the weekly challenge Three Things Thursday:

three things that make me smile: an exercise in gratitude – feel free to steal this idea with wild abandon and fill your blog with the happy

three-things-thursday-participant

Beautiful Purple Iris

The record-breaking warm temperatures we had last week brought lots of people, including us, out to visit local parks. We are lucky enough to live within walking distance of Tacoma’s main park, Point Defiance Park.

Point Defiance Park includes many separate gardens, including Northwest Native Plants, Iris, Rose, and Dahlia gardens. Last week’s warm temperatures also brought out spring seasonal flowers in abundance, such as the iris pictured below.

Since my favorite color is deep purple, I was delighted to find these three beauties in bloom:

(Click on photos to see a larger version.)

Until next week, I wish you all well!

Photos © 2016 by Mary Daniels Brown

Three Things Thursday

Thanks to Nerd in the Brain for the weekly challenge Three Things Thursday:

three things that make me smile: an exercise in gratitude – feel free to steal this idea with wild abandon and fill your blog with the happy

three-things-thursday-participant

Last Saturday was the first non-rainy weekend day we’ve had in a long time. The absence of rain and a temperature in the high 50s brought lots of people, including us, to the beach area of nearby Point Defiance Park. As we walked along the beach, we watched a dog swim out to fetch a ball thrown into the water and four children work a see-saw made of a flat log placed perpendicularly over a round log at the water’s edge.

Here are three things from our walk. Although there was no rain, the day was overcast, so these pictures are somewhat subdued. (Click on any photo to see a larger version.)

(1) Long Live Harry Bosch

A couple of weeks ago Amazon Prime released the second season of its show Bosch based on the mystery novels of Michael Connelly. When I tweeted that we were spending the day watching all 10 episodes, I received a message from Connelly’s web master offering me a Bosch ball cap.

Bosch hat: front

Our walk on the beach was my first opportunity to wear my spiffy new cap. Fans of Michael Connelly’s Los Angeles Police detective Harry Bosch will smile at what’s on the back of the cap:

Bosch hat: back

(2) Horsetails

Vegetation is beginning to break through. These things that look like striped asparagus are the earliest growth of horsetails:

horsetail sprouts

Later the stalks will branch out and look more like what they’re named after. Here’s a photo of some plants that are further along and have already begun to stretch out:

horsetails beginning to leaf out

Horsetails love wet areas. Here are a few more interesting facts about horsetails from Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast by Jim Pojar and Andy MacKinnon:

(a) Ancient Romans ate young common-horsetail shoots as if they were asparagus. They also used the shoots to make tea and as a thickening powder.

(b) Common horsetail is one of the most widespread plants in the world and often turns up as a bad garden weed.

(c) Common horsetail was the first vascular plant to send up green shoots through the debris of the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens.

(3) Fog Bells?

We’ve seen these things in Point Defiance Park before, right near the water’s edge, but aren’t sure exactly what they are:

fog bells?

All we can figure out is that they may be fog bells. Here’s a close-up of one:

possible fog bell: view from below

It looks as if the curved pieces swing back and forth, allowing the protruding rods to strike the clapper (the thing that looks like a long fire extinguisher).

A Google search turned up no information about these things. I did, however, discover that fog bells have been used since about 1850. If that’s what these things are, fog gongs might be a more appropriate term.

If anyone knows what these are and how they work, I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

In the meantime, have a good week.

© 2016 by Mary Daniels Brown

Three Things Thursday: Welcome, Spring!

Three Things Thursday, the purpose of which is to “share three things from the previous week that made you smile or laugh or appreciate the awesome of your life.”

three-things-thursday-participant

I’m not a gardener myself, so I’m not as knowledgeable about flowers and plants as many other folks. But I don’t have to be a gardener to appreciate the flowers that mark the arrival of spring, those reminders that our dreary winter will give way to warm weather and bright patches of color.

Here are three such signs of spring we’ve observed around town. (Click on any photo to see a larger version.)

The rhododendrons, Washington’s state flower, aren’t quite in bloom yet, but this daffodil nearby means that it won’t be long:

daffodil

I’m pretty sure this flowering shrub is an azalea. If it isn’t and you know what it is, please let me know in the comments:

azalea

Purple is my favorite color, and purple iris is one of my favorite flowers. Aren’t these beautiful?

purple iris

Have a good week!

© 2016 by Mary Daniels Brown