Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Our House (Post 1)–Weekly Tour/Entry

Sequim FoyerSetting up, decorating and maintaining our home is a treat for us.  Some people agonize over the purchase of furniture, selecting appliances and placement of their belongings.  Not the case for us.  We get excited about the prospect of new surroundings.  Whether it is in our Fifth Wheel RV or our new sticks and brick home located on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. 

In the past, we have hired an interior decorator to select colors and furnishings.  In fact, we became good friends with the owner, Katie, of our favorite design store, Spencer-Carlson in Kennewick, Washington.  Love her ideas and help—highly recommend.  This time, though, we decided to take off on our own (save a few coins and Katie is just too far away now) and we are pleased with the results. 

With the exception of a few more small details, the dressing up of our new home is complete.  We gave a lot of thought to our purchases.  The furniture style and our house interior selections (wood flooring, tile, paint colors, etc.) suit our personalities and daily living.

Sequim FoyerThe first post for the “Our House” series is appropriately, the foyer.  The foyer is small, so the amount of furniture is kept minimal.  A decorative table holding a colorful floral arrangement.  (The table is a favorite with three elephants holding up a leather tabletop with their trunks.)  There is a small painting to greet visitors.  A functional rug to wipe their feet.  The drapes are simple cotton with a burlap texture and color (great buy from Pottery Barn).  A small bench may be a possible addition in the future to encourage everyone to remove their shoes. (It will need to be narrow and not very wide, if we get one at all.)

In our previous home, the foyer was large and required lots of furniture and accessories to fill the space.  We both felt it was excessive for the amount of use the room received.  The entry in our new home we both agree is right-sized.

With the beveled glass in the front door and large side window facing south, the space is often filled with light.  The side window is usually open letting in the good smells of wildflowers and berries from the nearby meadow and of evergreen needles from the forest of Douglas fir.  We picked a light hickory flooring throughout the house with the exception of tile in the bathrooms and laundry.  The wood makes a clean, bright look in every room.

Excited to invite you into our home and give you a little tour over the next few weeks.  Hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Friday, September 23, 2011

A Little Climb, Please

IMG_1977You could tell we were hiking a steep ascent on our hike yesterday by watching Susan’s trail mix package puff out more and more as we gained elevation on the trail.  An estimated 3,500 feet climb.  Our trail of choice this week was Marmot Pass (Upper Quilcene trail) out of Quilcene, Washington.  And it was well worth the 1-1/2 drive from Sequim.

IMG_1982This trail had it all with old growth forest, a rushing river complete with waterfalls both from side creeks and spectacular ones on the main river and swirling mist circling the mountain peaks overhead.  Although we saw a few animals, it was the mushrooms and fungi that stole the show.  The growth in the picture is “chicken of the woods”.  Looks like it should be in a tropical sea with its brilliant color.

We did not get started early enough to make the full 10-mile trip, but the six miles we completed was perfectly fine.  Just the three gals this week (me, Susan, and Mary); Kathleen was not able to make it this week.

Did I mention the Olympic Peninsula has over a hundred day hikes?  Mike is hearing about all these great hikes and he is ready to take on a few.  Alrighty then.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Visit from Ma Mere, Mon Step-Pere, and Ma Tante

IMG_1946Translation – we had a 3-day visit from my mother, my step-father, and my aunt!  I am practicing my french for a future visit to Quebec or someday France.  One can dream.  (My French-speaking readers – please correct me if I am getting this all wrong—at least I am trying.)

IMG_1944A great visit this weekend from my family.  We did the grand tour the first day of our new home, the Sequim area, and ate lunch at the John Wayne marina.  In the car.  The weather has been wonderful the last two weeks; but of course, our visitors had to experience overcast weather and some sputtering rain.  Ack!

The next day we headed up to Hurricane Ridge.  Clear, but cold!  The view was magnificent, as always.  Back down the mountain, in Port Angeles, we stopped at the Camaraderie Winery for some tasting and purchase of a few bottles.  What a pretty little winery. 

IMG_1950We ended back home in Sequim to sit on the deck (with the fire going for the first time) and had a fun time enjoying each other’s company.  Cooked a tri-tip on the BBQ, made up a new salad recipe (not bad—romaine lettuce, walnuts, feta cheese, pears and a light honey dijon mustard dressing).  Ate way too much.

A great visit!

[Oh, and mom brought tomatoes from her garden.  So good!]

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sol Duc Falls

Olympic National Park has two hot springs within the park. Sol Duc Hot Springs is one of them; the other is Olympic Hot Springs.  The Park literature describes a legend tells how the springs were formed from the duel of two dragons over a boundary dispute. The duel took place on Boulder Peak and ended in a draw. The dragons crawled back into their caves, and their tears of mortification formed the hot springs we enjoy today.

IMG_1935Well, okay.  So much for the hot springs, maybe Mike and I will enjoy the hot pools another day, today our group of hiking ladies drove on past the Springs to Sol Duc Falls to walk the 6-mile trail along the river and maybe, just maybe, catch a glimpse of a few salmon making their way up the river.  We had a party of four today including me, Susan, Mary and Kathleen—all residents of our little Sunland community in Sequim.

IMG_1940We had great weather, but the trail took us over bridges soaked with mist from the falls (Sol Duc Falls in the picture on the left), and through thick old-growth Douglas firs (dugfir, as the locals would say) allowing brief shafts of sun to reach our path.  So, what I am telling you is the forest is somewhat dark come rain or shine.  Really quite beautiful with the moss draping over all the branches.  We had a cushy, mossy seat on a nurse log to eat our lunch next to the rushing Sol Duc River.

We also stopped at the short Salmon Cascades trail leading down to a wooden platform overlooking the Sol Duc River.  The platform is positioned for the viewer to watch the salmon swimming up the river twice a year (late summer and spring).  The Coho salmon are now making their return from the Pacific Ocean to spawn up the river.  Thrilling to watch the fish hurl themselves up and over the falls and turbulent water (downriver from the big Sol Duc Falls).  The salmon negotiate more than 50 miles of river, rapids and pools to reach Salmon Cascades before continuing to quieter pools.   Lots of photographers positioned with tripods and huge telephoto lens ready to capture the salmon leaping up the rushing water.  The salmon were too quick for me—I was not fast enough to capture that perfect picture.

This hike deserves a return visit especially with Mike.  Cannot wait to take him back up there.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Cutting Garden

IMG_1929Yesterday, my “first Sequim friend” Kelley and I made a date to attend the annual Opulent Art Show at the Cutting Garden not too far from our home on Woodcock Road.  This was my first visit to see the The Cutting Garden and I was anxious to see what all the hub-bub was about.

What a neat concept.  They have rows and rows of large, colorful flowers for you to cut and arrange into a centerpiece for your home.  The grounds and “farmhouse” are also landscaped and arranged for events from weddings to an art show like today.

IMG_1931The Opulent Art Show at The Cutting Garden featured Sequim and Port Angeles artists of several media including painting, photography, jewelry, glass, mixed media, fiber arts, and music. Such talented people in these parts.  Kelley and I spent a splendid (and very warm day for Sequim @ 80 degrees) afternoon enjoying the gardens and amazing artists with live music.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Would You Like to Come for Dinner?

DinnerHaving new friends over for a sit down dinner is a relatively new activity for us.  We have had BBQ’s and holiday dinners at our previous homes for old friends and family, but having new friends over for appetizers, main course, and dessert is not something we did often.  The meals we have planned in past have involved “old” friends; some we have known since childhood.  Everyone serves themselves, they never hesitate to take seconds and no one is concerned about the subject of conversation.

So, to say the least, there is a learning curve for making our new acquaintances feel welcome and comfortable in our home for dinner.  And honestly, we are having fun trying.  Here are some things that need work:

  • Food preparation timing.  We need to allow more time for chatting and snacking on appetizers before the main meal.  We are used to family arriving hungry and the main course better be ready soon or a riot will soon erupt--And why would we need to chat, dang man, I have known you too long already.  Let’s eat!
  • Keep the portions small.  New friends are not going to gorge themselves around someone new.  Again, a whole different story with family.
  • The conversation does not require a download of your complete past.  I get nervous and rattle on.  Relax.  Seriously, the family knows your history and they do not want to discuss it over dinner, either.

New friends if you are reading this, please know the dinners will be a pleasant past-time and we want you to return.  We are enjoying your company.  Old friends and family—we are ready for your visit, some big meals and raucous conversations!

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