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


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


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

Last Friday morning I realized that I had not done a post for 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.” I don’t know how I forgot to do it, since it’s one of the things I most look forward to in my week.

However, I’m back this week with…

A Walk Through the Woods

We live within walking distance of the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. All we have to do to get there is cross a road and walk a short path through the woods, and there we are, on the edge of the parking lot and about a block from the zoo entrance.

Last Saturday was a beautiful day here in Tacoma, WA, USA, and so we took off for a visit to the zoo. We saw lots of interesting things there, both animals and plants, but what I’d like to show you this week is three interesting things I noticed while walking the path through the woods.

1. Fiddleheads

fern fiddleheads
Fern fiddleheads

I think these are sword ferns. You can see why the new fronds growing out of the center of the plant are called fiddleheads.

In the Stephen King novel The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, a young girl gets lost on the northern end of the Appalachian Trail and wanders through the forest for several days. One of the things she eats to survive is fiddleheads.

But I don’t suggest that you go out and get some of these to boil up for dinner. Check with a local naturalist before consuming anything you find growing in the wild. Better still, just don’t eat anything you’re not absolutely sure about.

2. Two Trees

two trees
Two trees

The tree on the left, with the shaggy bark, is an evergreen, most likely a Douglas fir. It grows straight and tall, with spindly branches at the top that drape down. The tree on the right is a madrona—or, alternately, madrone—which often grows at an angle to reach any open space of sunlight beneath the evergreen canopy. Madronas are all angles and elbows as they send out lots of branches in search of sunlight. They are much shorter than their evergreen neighbors.

Perhaps these differences are what allowed these two trees to snuggle up so closely while growing. Douglas fir and madronas often grow near each other.

Madronas grow along a limited stretch of the Pacific coast, from northern Oregon up to southern British Columbia. They are easily recognizable by their brownish-red bark that peels off in thin sheets.

3. Hemlock? Cedar?

unknown tree
Do you know what this tree is?

I’m still trying to figure out what tree this is. I will have to go back and look at the bark more closely.

When we touched the brownish areas on the leaves, a very fine brown dust wafted off. The bluish berries near the ends of the leaves resemble those of cedar trees.

If you know what tree this is, please let me know in the comments. It grows in Point Defiance Park in Tacoma, WA, USA.


Cover: Plants of the Pacific Northwest CoastPolar, Jim and Andy MacKinnon. Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast: Washington, Oregon British Columbia, & Alaska
Revised edition, 2004
Vancouver, British Columbia: Lone Pine Publishing
ISBN 978–1–55105–530–5

Our Community’s Newest Resident

We live next to Tacoma’s big Point Defiance Park, and we get a lot of deer who come into our neighborhood to eat. They’ve become very tame. I had heard that one of the females had a fawn, but we hadn’t seen the little guy—until today. His mom parked him next to someone’s house while she was off grazing.

Most people here don’t like the deer because they eat their plants, but I think they’re cute. And who wouldn’t love this little guy. Hubby got this great photo:


Then at dusk the mother and fawn walked across our back yard. This is the best shot I could get with my phone in the low light, but you can clearly see what’s happening:

fawn nursing
fawn nursing


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