Thursday, July 26, 2012

Chihuly Garden and Glass. The Pike Street Market in Seattle, Camera Batteries and Driving in Big Cities

Today we took a day trip to Seattle, which is about 60 miles north of Olympia on I-5.  I knew we wanted to see the Pike Street Market but did not know what else to go see.  So we turned to our friend Google typed "what to see in Seattle WA."

Among the many attractions was one that sounded intriguing called the Chihuly Garden and Glass Exhibit that is within the shadow of the Space Needle.  This was a real lucky discovery for us because we had never seen anything like it.

Dale Chihuly is a glass blower/glass artist who has broken (now that's an interesting choice of words on my part) all the rules of glass blowing. He has innovated where others fear to tread.

This building houses the exhibit.  Much of his work emulates objects that he has seen in everyday life.  I think you will enjoy the photos.

Here the artist recreated in glass what he saw in the basket to the right.  Pieces about 3/4ths of this size were on sale in the museum shop for between $6,000 to $8,000.

This is a ceiling.  Young viewers who bend more easily than do I were looking at this artwork while lying on their backs. 

On our way out of the exhibit we stopped to talk with one of the guards and we asked him how often the pieces are cleaned?  We expected to hear something like once a year.  Turns out that the pieces are dusted or cleaned with forced air, and each evening one piece is selected for a complete cleaning.  Gee.  I wonder is that company is insured?
 Sandy's favorite piece.
And then my camera battery died....................

Chihuly's artwork continued into an outdoor flower and vegetation garden.  It was truly stunning.  But you will just have to visit Seattle to see it. 

I also could not get any photos of the Pike Street Market either.  My camera battery is not available at drug stores.  But Sandy and I like the one here in Olympia better.  Pike Street Market is too crowded and has way too much crap for sale. 

We had lunch at a wonderful restaurant and then headed home.
We did ride the monorail, which enabled us to get from our parking lot to downtown and the market. 

Seattle is a big city with a crowded downtown, rush hour traffic and lots of congestion; and it remind me that I prefer to drive in less populated areas.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Farmer's Market and Second Growth Forests and Wood-Fired Pizza

Here in Olympia the city has created a permanent structure to house the local farmers market which is open Wednesday through Sundays year round.  When I first read about it I expected to find an open parking lot with lots of tables and tents.  Boy, was I ever surprised when I found the building.  Sandy and I went there Sunday.  We purchased fresh peaches, apricots, raspberries, apples, baked goods and organic meats.  So far, everything has been mouth watering.  Here is what the market looks like.

About second growth forests.

Much of the area around Olympia was logged in the late 1800s.  The forest trail we took for a hike this morning is north of the city  in an area logged in 1890.  Some of the bases of those original-growth trees still remain.  Before being cut, these were trees that had grown untouched since before the west coast was settled.  They were virgin forests. 
The stump above is what remains from when loggers cut the tree in 1890.  When the loggers cut this tree they had to climb eight to ten feet off the ground to get above the large base.  They would cut notches and wedge in a plank called a springboard on which they would stand and use their saw.  Two men would use a hand saw to fell the tree.  As time passed, the stump became a "nurse stump".  The roots of the hemlock tree that started to grow on top of the stump formed intricate patterns as they reached to the soil.  Many natural grafts have joined the roots together.  (Source of this information was a small plaque across from the "nurse stump".)

 Our path in the forest

 Some astilbe plants on the edge of the forest.

About wood-fired pizza.

After our hike we drove into downtown Olympia for lunch at this pizzeria with a wood-fired oven.  It was an outstanding meal.

Thursday we will go visit Spokane and the Pike Street Market.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Mount Saint Helens and Mount Ranier

We went looking at active volcanoes today.  Actually, we knew that Mount Saint Helens is considered an active volcano, but we did not know the same is true for Mount Ranier.  From Wikipedia:

Mount St. Helens is most notorious for its catastrophic eruption on May 18, 1980, at 8:32 am PDT,[2] the deadliest and most economically destructive volcanic event in the history of the United States. Fifty-seven people were killed; 250 homes, 47 bridges, 15 miles (24 km) of railways, and 185 miles (298 km) of highway were destroyed. A massive debris avalanchetriggered by an earthquake measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale, caused an eruption, reducing the elevation of the mountain's summit from 9,677 ft (2,950 m) to 8,365 ft (2,550 m) and replacing it with a 1 mile (1.6 km) wide horseshoe-shaped crater.[3] The debris avalanche was up to 0.7 cubic miles (2.9 km3) in volume. The Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument was created to preserve the volcano and allow for its aftermath to be scientifically studied.

The scooped out area near the peak is a result of the 1980 eruption.

Mount Ranier is much more majestic, rising to a height of 14,411 feet.  It, too, is considered an active volcano. 

The drive into Mount Ranier National Park was beautiful with lots of towering trees and lush vegetation. 

Ferns were all over the roadside.

We spotted this beautiful waterfall, but I forgot its name. 

An avalanche area.
And on July 19, there was still snow at about 4,000 feet. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Walking in Olympia's Neighborhoods

I've gotten back to my regular walks and have seen some interesting stuff.  First, the control of vehicle traffic here in Olympia is very pedestrian friendly.

There are speed bumps everywhere, and slower speeds than I am accustomed to seeing.  15 MPH is typical on residential streets and in the commercial areas it is between 25 and35.
There are innumerable round-a-bouts.  We haven't seen so many of these since we drove in Ireland.  This one is on our street and is the smallest round-about we've ever seen.

Near to our rental cottage is an unusual park. In addition to a large fenced in area for dogs....
.... is this area for Small/Shy Dogs
Sunrise Park also has a large fenced in area for private flower and or vegetable gardens. 

Each plot measures 5 x 12 feet and can be rented for the season for $25.  Gardeners get a combination to the  locks on the fence, tool shed and water supply.  There are some impressive small gardens.

The climate here in the Pacific Northwest is perfect for flower gardening.  My walk around the neighborhood tonight will give you an idea of the many beautiful flowers and yards.

Tomorrow we plan to go see Mount Saint Helens.