Beautiful Ballard Locks

by Beth Shepherd
( August 28th, 2015 )

Beautiful Ballard Locks in the northwest corner of Seattle. Opened in 1917, the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, are a link for boats between the salt water of Puget Sound and the fresh water of the Ship Canal, which connects eastward to Lake Union and Lake Washington.

Tourists and locals enjoy watching the parade of sailboats, motorboats, tugs, barges and yachts passing through, as the locks’ water levels are adjusted to allow their safe passage. Nearby is the fish ladder, built to allow salmon to pass between fresh and salt water, and to navigate the locks. Glass panels below the water line make it possible to watch the fish as they swim through the ladder.

Just north of the locks are the Carl S. English, Jr. Botanical Garden, a lovely place to stroll. And lastly, the Visitor Center, which features displays on the history and operations of the Lake Washington Ship Canal.

Sunset at Ballard Locks

Island Chief Seattle tug at the Ballard Locks

Ballard Locks Bridge and boat view

gears at the locks

Ballard gardens

Sea Storm and seagulls at the locks

Kayakers in the locks

Tug boat in the locks


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Take the road less traveled, Beth

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The Great Zucchini Races of 2015

by Beth Shepherd
( August 27th, 2015 )

This past Saturday, Miss Lellow Submarine was pitted against many fine souped-up “cars” in the Great Zucchini Races of 2015. Now in it’s second year, the Great Zucchini Races are an annual event (I hope!) in Seattle’s Central District neighborhood.

Central District Seattle Great Zucchini Races 2015

Little Bird and I went to pick out our zucchini at our Friday Farmers Market. Where else can you get a giant zucchini for only $1?

farmers market

Money was exchanged and we took our squash home. Only 24 hours before the big event.

Buying a squash

Saturday, August 22. We walked a few streets down from where we live to join in the festivities. People were gluing, embellishing, and gussying up their squashes like nobody’s business. The creativity I saw was awe inspiring!

Squash car construction

And the people—lots of people, neighbors all, playing, eating, and prettifying their zucchinis in anticipation of the BIG RACE.

people at zucchini races

Our entry? Miss Lellow Submarine (yes, LELLOW). Isn’t she simply gorgeous?

Miss Lellow Submarine

We placed her on the table, heavily laden, with many delightfully decorated squashes.

zucchini contest entrants

Apparently, the judges thought she was—all that—because she was awarded the Most Glamorous Squash award (shhhhh…each and every contestant won a prize). How cool is that?

Lellow Submarine Most Glamorous Squash

Here are a few examples of the competition: Mrs. Aloha zucchini
Dragon squash contestant

Pattypan zucchini flair

Finally, the time had come. The Great Zucchini Race was ON! Two by two they mustered to the top of the ramp. The zucchinin race is on

Ready. Set. Go!

Wonder at the zucchinin races

One hot rod went a loooong way…we are talking a block!

Winner by a block in the zucchini races

Finally it was our turn. Little Bird and her buddy Izzy climbed up to the back of the ramp.

Ready to roll

Off they went, speeding down hill. And…she’s down. An illustrious, albeit short-lived, career.

And she's down

Nevertheless—prizes for all.

Squash race prizes

More eating. More playing. And then time to pack it in and head home. Until next year…

Heading home after the races


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Saying goodbye to an old plum tree

by Beth Shepherd
( August 21st, 2015 )

The garden is growth and change and that means loss as well as constant new treasures to make up for a few disasters.

~May Sarton


Greengage plum tree


We reached the end of an era in our yard and garden last week. Our Greengage plum tree came down. It had been showing signs of stress for awhile and we made the decision to remove it. I scheduled to have a tree company come out, all the while fretting about how hard it would be to watch them cut it down. When they arrived, they needed a place to park and put their equipment, so I offered to relocate my car around the block. When I got back five minutes later, the tree was gone.


I asked the two guys who removed it, if they could save any remaining plums and they told me there weren’t any. And, as they dug up the roots, they said that many of them were split or dead.

It’s true that without the plum three there, there is more light in our tiny yard and we can see more of our garden. The plum tree had bee situated smack in the middle and blocked our view of the plants  surrounding it.


Even though there were more reasons to remove it than keep it, I loved our unique tree. Greengage plum trees are not very common and I was sad to see it go. But its time had come.


I will miss…

Delicate white flowers in the spring

Greengage plum tree blossoms


The tree’s crooked, time-worn stance and the architecture of its branches in winter

Plum tree in winter


And of course…the plums

Greengage plums


Those amazing Greengage plums

Greengage plums cut


I have wondered if the removal of the poplars was the cause of the plum tree’s demise. Too much root damage from grinding the nearby stumps and roots of the poplars. But no matter the reason, the tree was no longer producing fruit, appeared to be stressed because it was sending up more and more suckers farther afield. Then there were the hornets who came to feast on the abundance of aphids. I was admittedly reluctant to remove this sweet old tree, but hornets were the last straw.


My close friend and gardening companion, Carrie, reminded me (more than once) to look at this change as an opportunity for more garden creativity. She’s right, of course, and I do enjoy imagining, designing and planting anew, but I know I’ll also squirrel away a few memories from the days when our garden had a Greengage plum tree.


The yard without its plum tree

Yard


The rest of our garden…

August in Our garden



And if you want to read more about all things Pampers, follow me on Facebook, Twitter or RSS/email.


Take the road less traveled, Beth

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