Friday, July 27, 2012

Mountain Goats

IMG_1936SusanToday’s hike on the Elwha Trail (a few miles from Hurricane Ridge Visitor’s Center/Olympic National Park) was very exciting—we ran into nine mountain goats.  Not native to the Olympic Peninsula, the goat herds are expanding and creating a bit of havoc.  The males can be very aggressive and a hiker was killed last year not too far from our trail.  We came upon this group unexpectedly and took as many photos as possible.  When they started moving towards us, we gave them a wide berth and headed out.  They are beautiful animals and their long white coats really stand out in the alpine meadows.

Another treat was a large marmot.  He looked very ancient and unafraid of our picture taking.  I think he posed for us about 20 minutes.

IMG_1952SusanFridays are shaping up to be the weekly hiking day.  I have a regular group of fun gals to hike with.  Besides looking at the gorgeous scenery, we talk and laugh the whole time. 

(Photos courtesy of Susan Hamman and Barbara Brooner – two hiking buddies who love to take pictures and are very good at taking them.)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Saturated Paper

IMG_2519Tuesday through Thursday last week were devoted to a 3-day watercolor workshop instructed by Kay Barnes.  Entitled “Saturated Paper” the course objective was to get you “loose and spontaneous”.   (I am talking about watercolor, remember.)  After designing and planning the painting, this approach gives the artist freedom when it comes to handling really wet paper and making corrections during the process. This is accomplished by making dense puddles of paint with a wet brush to wet paper, making the paint run and move. Exactly what I needed to get me away from the tight and contrived painting I was producing.  We tackled the subject of koi fish using explosive color combinations.  For a first try, I think my painting turned out pretty nice (see photo).

IMG_2506The workshop was held in the Straitside Studio a few miles from home.  The studio was once an indoor swimming pool—the owners filled in the pool and remodeled the space into a light and airy retreat.  Expansive windows open to a view of the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  Besides the occasional workshop, a small group of artists living on the North Olympic peninsula who share a common love of the watercolor meet once a week to share ideas, tips, techniques and constructive critiques.

I am signing up for another workshop to be held in September.  This one concentrates on reflective light. 

Sunday, July 1, 2012


My blog originated January 2010 with the intent to maintain a journal of our travels and our retirement lifestyle.  The intended audience was (1) for my husband and me, (2) friends and family, and (3) individuals surfing the blogs for common interests (new friends).  An unexpected byproduct was improving my writing skills and creativity.

I enjoy reading other blogs for new ideas, information and a different perspective on how others choose to exist.  Some individuals will write a daily account of their day.  It is fun to “live” that life by reading the daily posts.

Here are a few of the blogs that have me coming back day after day:

serendiptousSerendipitous – like a daily quote calendar.  Always a pretty photo and a short quip.  Written by a teacher in the New England area.  Nothing mind blowing, but a nice way to start the day.

The Gardener’s Cottage – an over 50 lifestyle blogger who has great style (home, gardening, and fashion).  She follows the Project 333 plan for fashion and buys most all her clothing second hand.  Very inspiring.

Stephmodo – Lots of creative ideas for everyday living.  Plus, Stephanie and her husband (and they have three small kids) bought and restored a medieval stone cottage in Beynac, France.  They live in Seattle and visit France occasionally—they rent the cottage for a reasonable price.  All a great read and I have no idea where she finds the energy and time to get this all accomplished.

Zero Waste Home – I became very aware of overflowing landfill issues when we moved to the Olympic Peninsula.  This blog is a true motivator to survive with less and reduce our carbon footprint.  A little extreme at times, but hey, sometimes that is what is needed to change our ways.

TheLastWildernessThe Last Wilderness – Lots of photos and information about kayaking and interesting places on the Olympic Peninsula.  We truly love nature and being in the great outdoors.   You can tell this guy feels the same way.

Wikipedia definition:  A blog is a discussion or information site published on the World Wide Web consisting of discrete entries ("posts") typically displayed in reverse chronological order so the most recent post appears first. Until 2009 blogs were usually the work of a single individual, occasionally of a small group, and often were themed on a single subject. More recently "multi-author blogs" (MABs) have developed, with posts written by large numbers of authors and professionally edited. MABs from newspapers, other media outlets, universities, think tanks, interest groups and similar institutions account for an increasing proportion.

Many blogs provide commentary on a particular subject; others function as more personal online diaries; yet still others function more as online brand advertising of a particular individual or company. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, Web pages, and other media related to its topic. The ability of readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important part of many blogs. Most blogs are primarily textual, although some focus on art (art blogs), photographs (photoblogs), videos (video blogs or "vlogs"), music (MP3 blogs), and audio (podcasts). Microblogging is another type of blogging, featuring very short posts.

As of 16 February 2011, there were over 156 million public blogs in existence.

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