Colorful Views at the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

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A few days ago, me and local friends ventured out north in the Washington state to the rural area of Skagit Valley by Mount Vernon, to check out its annual Tulip Festival. This wonderful time throughout April is when the tulip farms are at their colorful peak, growing miles of freshly blooms tulips and daffodils. Designated areas for up close viewing are open to the public, with a small admission charge

For the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival of 2018, there are multiple areas to visit and check out, as I entered the Roozengaarde Display Garden and Fields. Stunning place it is, even with the gray weather and muddy grounds (rained hard the day before). I admired and learned much of the tulip life and care that goes into them. I also took some pictures, of which the fields are shared below (click on each to fully appreciate):

The festival time goes on until the end of the month. The tourism on the weekend can be a bit heavy, especially if the rain is gone and the sun is shining. So, be ready for a slow drive when close and lines at the entrance and foot court. It’s all well worth it with friends and family.

For more info, check out tulipfestival.org.

I meanwhile, also show many great up-close shots of the tulips in their enclosed garden area, of which I will share in another post. Look forward!

– Orion T

 

 

 

The Second Sunset past Seven

The best thing about this new daylight saving time change, is more time to savor a good sunset. Especially, with the warm weather.

So I did, behind the Pile Place Market in the new deck area. The shot above is from my phone, with its last bit of battery life before shutting down.

– Orion T

The Revolving Winter

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I feel there is a little confusion in recent weather changes.

In the Seattle area, we had a little snow in the recent days. Depending on what part, which can range from one zip code to another, can be very little or a lot of a little. Before the snow, there was a mix of sunshine and light rain, which helped push forward some early blooms. Now the air is chill, with predictions of slight temperature raises in the coming days. The snow in and around my area has become a memory, though may return. The blooms meanwhile, seem hesitant.

Just wait and see.

– Orion T

The Long Winter in the Pacific Northwest…

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According to a recent article in the Seattle Times, there were only three full sunny days in Seattle, with mild temperature since October start.

The last of them was a month ago on February 13th, a month ago. The other days have been a mix of gloom and rain. And compared to the prior years, the trees have shown barely any sign of bloom and leafing. I personally miss the cherry blossoms, which would normally bloom in the pics above. But not all is melancholy, for the days here are what you make of them.

There is a feeling of just another natural cycle taking place. Perhaps, the spirit of nature or whatever you believe is in control, making up for the prior warmer years. I feel the need to enjoy whatever is offered. And there is plenty of natural beauty. You just have to look up and around.

But, I really hope the cherry blossoms come around soon.

– Orion T

Picture of Today 4/27/16, Loose Morels

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Just one of the many things one with a filled wallet can buy from the world-famous Pike Place Market in Seattle. And here is an entry from good ol Wikipedia about this unusual and expensive fungi…

“Morchella, the true morels, is a genus of edible mushrooms closely related to anatomically simpler cup fungi. These distinctive fungi appear honeycomb-like, with their cap composed of a network of ridges with pits. Morels are sought by thousands of enthusiasts every spring for their supreme taste and the joy of the hunt, and are highly prized by gourmet cooks, particularly in French cuisine.

Morels have been called by many local names; some of the more colorful include dryland fish, because when sliced lengthwise then breaded and fried, their outline resembles the shape of a fish; hickory chickens, as they are known in many parts of Kentucky; and merkels or miracles, based on a story of how a mountain family was saved from starvation by eating morels. In parts of West Virginia, they are known as molly moochers or muggins. Due to the partial structural and textural similarity to some species of Poriferans (sponges), a common name for any true morel is sponge mushroom.

The scientific name of the genus Morchella is derived from morchel, an old German word for mushroom (this may be another source for the name “merkel”), while morel itself is derived from the Latin maurus meaning brown.”

There is some ominous warnings about the dangers of eating morels at the bottom of the wiki entry..

Morels contain small amounts of hydrazine toxins that are removed by thorough cooking; morel mushrooms should never be eaten raw. It has been reported that even cooked morels can sometimes cause mild symptoms of upset stomach when consumed with alcohol.[49]

When eating this mushroom for the first time it is wise to consume a small amount to minimize any allergic reaction. As with all fungi, morels for consumption must be clean and free of decay. Morels growing in old apple orchards that had been treated with the insecticide lead arsenate may accumulate levels of toxic lead and arsenic that are unsuitable for human consumption”

And now you know, and knowing is half the battle!

– Orion T,

 

 

Picture of Today 2/7/16, the Winter Wonder of Mt. Rainer..

 

Along the 90 freeway to Bellevue over Lake Washington, earlier today…

In the distance, I see Mount Rainier with more snow upon than last year. It’s a beautiful sight, as its surroundings from the passenge seat I sit to the peaks yonder, astound and delight. I love especially how the top seems hidden, leaving little mystery to those who dare imagine the nesting dragons above.

Orion T

Weekend Adventuring in Olympia, Washington

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Check out the Olympia town in Washington State, when exploring the Pacific Northwest.

Olympia a wonderful stop, halfway between the Portland and Seattle cities, close to the 5 and one 101 freeway intersection. This area is also the best stop for food and a stretch when traveling the between the major cities in no particular hurry. You’ll find much to love for any length of time you spend here.

A few things special about Olympia. You will find much art around many corners, more notably upon the walls of allies and businesses. This brings much color and uniqueness to the area. There are also some fantastic sources for literature, with some bookstores I checked out (Browsers Book Store and Danger Room Comics Store). The variety of food is excellent, with the best of it from local businesses. Also, lots of vintage antiques are also visible and up for buying. In between and throughout, you may also notice multiple signs of social activism and awareness with Black Lives Matters signs, climate change awareness, and other messages of modern progressivism. Olympia shows character aplenty in its overall presentation.

For me, it was all about stepping out from the weekday work stress. With a friend as company, I went to explore, and seek interesting visuals, eats, and a little shopping. Olympia did not disappoint, as this was my second visit to the city. Last visit, I barely walked around. This time,we had no particular direction here, other than its main downtown center.

Here are some findings in pictures, with some more notes on the area..

One of Olympia’s prominent buildings, the Old Capitol Building. It’s now the office home of the Superintendent of Public Instruction since 1906. Before in Sylvester Park, stands John Rankin Rogers..twice governor of Washington State, who believed in giving a fair education to “every poor son of the commonwealth.”

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Some up close sculpting on that building. Love the detail here..

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The charming outside of Darby’s Cafe and neighboring local businesses on a 5th avenue block. I love the random little deco touches upon this old building…

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The Capitol Theater across the street from Darby’s. I love the look of this old movie theater, and will look into seeing its inside in a future visit.

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The inside of Darby’s Cafe, to a wall of wild art…

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Above and around inside Darby’s Cafe, a tribute to the Wizard of Oz. The food was quite good too. I had a Brocco Burger (Broccoli, white cheddar, other good stuff) with fries (a bit too much they give) and a root beer float (root beer can be replaced with an alcoholic alternative). All quite good, and filling enough until my trip back to the Emerald City.

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Some art on the side of The Great Cuisine of India restaurant.  Many of the following pics are select examples of the overall mural art scene of the Olympia area.

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The Olympia Rafah Solidarity Mural. from About this from olympiarafahmural.org. “Four thousand sq. ft., interdisciplinary mural with over 200 participants from all over the world. Project celebrates and mourns Rachel Corrie through action. Rachel was born in Olympia and killed in Gaza when run over by an Israeli driven bulldozer in 2003. ORSMP mourns and celebrates the lives of all who struggle for justice.”

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Up close on a select section of the Rafah Mural..

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A mural inside the alley of next to the building of the Old School Pizzeria. A wonderful and very colorful tribute to the imagination..

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The best thing for us comic nerds out there, this old school tribute to the classic Marvel Comics. Located to the side of the Old School Pizzeria. I love this.

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The inside of the Old School Pizzeria is pretty awesome too. Lots of vintage nostalgia all around, and the pizza was pretty awesome too.

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Capitol Lake, with what I think is the Washington State House of Representatives capitol building.

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The lake itself is very serene, and calming for anyone who enjoys a nice walk in the park.

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That’s all for now on this amazing area of the Pacific Northwest. I will be back, with a look at other interesting signs and aspects of this interesting area.

Orion T