My sincere appreciation goes to all of you who stopped by and left comments, emailed, or in some other way expressed your thoughts and good wishes for my 10th Blogiversary. It's been wonderful hearing from so many of you who don't ordinarily comment. I know you're out there lurking because I'm something of a lurker myself, but it's been nice to get a bit of a head count. And to those of you who write every day...thank you for your friendship. You've all been so sweet with your kind words.
Here's what I appreciate about you, my blogging friends: You answer my quilting questions. You give advice and instruction on quilting-related matters. You suggest corrections when you see errors. You weigh in with your opinions on fabric choices. You help identify flowers when I don't know them. When we travel, you tell me stories about local areas and memories brought to the fore by certain places. Oh and let's not forget, you've pointed me in the direction of some really great quilt shops. When I blogged about my father's death and our troubled relationship back in January, you offered up such kind and supportive comments. In fact, your support and encouragement is what keeps me coming back day after day, year after year, and so, I thank you for all of that, and so much more.
But, I promised you a winner for today, and a winner you shall have! Spinning the random number generator, I come up with:
Congratulations, Carolyn! I've sent you an email, so check your inbox!
Okay, so with that business taken care of, I've been considering how to write this post because I have so, so much to tell you. I'm thinking I'll write about our day trip to Mt. Rainier National Park on this post, and then catch-up on the Saturday stuff. It means a rather long post with lots of pictures, so get yourself a cup of something and settle in. Let's have a nice long chat this morning, shall we? And let's just start with the mountain. You've seen the sunrise views from our home where Mt. Rainier is visible, but let's just get up close and personal for a change.
Here's something I want you to know about Mt. Rainier: It's elevation is 14,411 feet, and so it's a huge mountain. And it isn't a national park for nothing. Still, you'd expect something so immense to be visible from miles away...and it is...visible from our house some 200 miles away. But when you drive up to it, you have to be practically right on top of it before you can see it! Here, we were just about 20 miles away. You can just see the tippy-top there.
But not to worry...we reached the park. Bump in the road...sorry.
Make sure all your teeth are still intact before proceeding. And even once inside the park boundary, you can't see the mountain for the trees. It's no wonder Washington is known as the "Evergreen State."
Finally, after driving for some time, we could get a little glimpse out Mike's window from time to time.
And as we drove along, we saw these signs. These didn't make a lot of sense since the rock wall was to our left, and not to our right.
On the other hand, there was a cliff to our right, so if you drove off the road, you might die this way:
We first stopped off at a trailhead for several different trails. Believe it or not, almost all the trails were still covered in snow and impassable. We could have walked here out to a waterfall, but we decided to continue on. We wanted to see if the wildflowers were in bloom. (Spoiler alert: they were!) This is the wide river bed of the Nisqually River.
I took a couple of videos you might enjoy. Here's the river. Turn up your volume and listen to it roar! If you can't see the video, then click right here.
We walked just a little farther. I wanted to see this bridge, which was basically a log with a hand rail.
Standing on the log, it gave us quite a thrill. I made another video here. Hang onto your camera. And if you can't see the video, then click right here.
Here's a little information about the river.
At the top is a glacier. Here's a little information about it, and you can see how much it has receded.
This next image was taken near the lodge at "Paradise." You can see the glacier better in the picture below. Take a good look because I don't think this glacier will be around for much longer.
Before reaching Paradise, we stopped off to view Christine Falls, and I took another video. If you can't see it, then click right here.
Finally, we reached Paradise. Even after entering the park, it's quite a distance to reach this first point. The park is huge, and we entered through the Nisqually entrance.
There, we were thrilled to find the wildflowers blooming away. If you want my opinion (and why wouldn't you?) the wildflowers of summer are the best reason to visit Mt. Rainier National Park. We saw fields of lupine and paintbrush.
This appeared to be a type of heather, but the flower was quite different from what we grow in our garden at home.
So after taking in the wildflowers, we sat in the bed of our truck and ate some lunch. This was our view between bites. Incidentally, that wrap I'm eating is something I made ahead to take along. It's a recipe for Curried Chicken and Apple Wraps from Giada deLaurentiis...a favorite of mine.
Okay, and so coming back to the present, this is how we spent our Saturday...doing what else, but picking cherries!
Smitty was trying to decide whether to catch a mouse or climb the cherry tree. Hanging with dad in the branches seemed like a good idea. On the other hand...mice.
There are so many cherries, we easily picked a 6 quart bucket in just a few minutes. We chose only the most ripe, and there are still many, many more. These will keep me busy today. I'll be canning them in a simple syrup. My plans for the rest are to make some barbecue sauce, sweet cherry pie filling, sweet cherry chutney, and possibly a sweet cherry pie. Oh yes, and Black Forest Preserves, which is divine over ice cream.
While I was waiting for Mike to bring the tractor around, I took a little walk around to see what's blooming. The echinacea flowers are finally opening.
The deer have done their best to eat all the roses, but they've missed quite a few this year. This rose bush has bloomed and bloomed and bloomed. It's very fragrant.
There is a zucchini nearly ready for harvest. Hopefully, it didn't grow to the size of a baseball bat overnight. One never knows with zucchini.
The beets are getting close to harvest time. I'll use these mostly to make pickled beets...a family favorite...but we'll eat plenty of fresh ones too. I could start harvesting the greens for sauteeing and eating. They're good in salad, and they also make good pesto.
Some of the sunflowers are heading up. This is one of the giant sunflowers. It's as tall as I am now.
I was thinking I was ready to start sewing this together, but then realized there is still work to do at the top and bottom of the quilt. Here's the picture from the pattern cover. You can see there is some applique and embroidery work to do.
Also, I finished off the 11th of 12 snowflakes. I needed to add the beads, and then rinse out the Sticky Fabri-Solvy. This one was done almost exclusively in metallic floss.
And then I traced out and colored the next "plate" for Pieces of the Past. I'll get started on that this morning.
The only machine sewing I did was to make yet another mask for a friend. She lives in New Mexico, and so I selected this fabric I purchased years ago in her home state.
And that brings you up to date on the goings on here at the Three Cats Ranch. If you've read this far, you're probably ready for a nap with Smitty.
Today I'll be canning cherries and making plans for tomorrow's canning extravacanza. (Did you see what I did there?) If there's time for sewing, I'll be working at sewing together the sections for "And On that Farm." McKenna Ryan: You know that means tears and cursing. More on that later. Thanks for reading. Busy day ahead. Time to get going.