Tuesday, April 28, 2015


Asparagus once rivaled the Walla Walla Sweet Onion for farmland, but with the closing of Green Giant and other local canneries, few commercial fields are planted with this springtime delicacy. Fortunately there are several local farms that still grow the crop to offer fresh asparagus this time of year.

Sunday, April 26, 2015


Self-seeding white violets populate my garden each spring.

And this is the lady
Whom everyone loves,
Ms. Violet
in her purple gown

Or, on special occasions,
A dress the color
Of sunlight. She sits
In the mossy weeds and waits

To be noticed.
She loves dampness.
She loves attention.
She loves especially

To be picked by careful fingers,
Young fingers, entranced
By what has happened
To the world.

We, the older ones,
Call in Spring,
And we have been through it
Many times.

But there is still nothing
Like the children bringing home
Such happiness
In their small hands.

Saturday, April 25, 2015


Citrus, aromatiques, liquors--tools of the craft cocktail

Paella pans (actually used) as art along the wall of the adjoining dining room

Two views from inside out . . .

 . . . and from outside in.

Friday, April 24, 2015



Not everyone who lives in Walla Walla drinks wine. I, for one, don't. But I do like a good cocktail now and again. And one of the best places for cocktails is Jimgermanbar in beautiful 'downtown' Waitsburg, a mere 25 minute drive from Walla Walla. With a population of  just over 1200 people, it is Walla Walla's nearest neighbor to the northeast, not counting Dixie of 190 residents. Did I mention I live in the middle of wheat country?

This place is so popular with Walla Walla locals as well as wine tourists looking for a something other than wine, that if you don't have reservations, it's good to get there early--say by 5:00. You still might be lucky to get a seat at the bar. Light floods the space until later in the season when the hops grown outside in galvanized water troughs provide much needed shade from the hot Eastern Washington summer sun. But on the spring afternoon I was there, the sun felt good and gave a warm glow to the row of bottles on the sit-up bar. 

While the counter to ceiling bar is fully stocked with brand name booze, that's not why you travel to Waitsburg for a drink. It's the craft cocktail that is measured, poured, and shaken by hand and then presented as the work of art it is. My treat was sitting right in front of the bartender's work station and watching the magic happen.

Abracadabra . . .Tah Dah! A gin-based citrus-y drink that tasted as good as it looked. . .
and it's red!

Thursday, April 23, 2015



I took a different route home tonight after sorting books for AAUW, and was pleasantly surprised by the sight of this luminous glass chandelier hanging in Reed Center on the campus of Whitman College.

 Not one to pass up a good photo op nor a spectacular piece of art, I went inside.

I wasn't disappointed. This two-tiered red and yellow blown glass chandelier is by Dale Chihuly, a world renowned glass artist from Seattle. I learned that the sculpture is a relative newcomer to the campus having been installed just last summer and dedicated in September.

The piece was commissioned and paid for by an anonymous donor. A very generous and beautiful gift, I'd say.

See the video of the dedication of the sculpture: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KWlEbHKZ5Ig

Read more about Dale Chihuly: http://www.chihuly.com/learn

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


Graveyard Shift

Not actually a steam shovel, this excavator and workers dig well into the night to complete this first section of road work along Alder, one of Walla Walla's major downtown business streets. Apparently, unanticipated water main replacements caused this late night crunch to keep the project moving forward in a timely manner.

 *This is a reference to the classic children's book by Virginia Lee Burton first published in 1939.

Monday, April 20, 2015


This is a picture of . . .
A. a bad toupee
B. a dirty string mop           
C. decaying fungus in my garden
D. my dog Bear after a romp in the creek

(The correct answer is C.)

With many old, large trees growing in my yard, fungus abounds especially in the spring. The two pictures below show the first outward sign of this fungus as it emerges from the soil. After a few days, it grows so tall that it topples over and turns into a stringy, slimy mess.

Here a cluster of flower-shaped fungi are in different stages of decay.

Unlike the other fungi that grow in clusters, this toadstool fungus grows by itself straight out of the gravel driveway. Isn't nature amazing?

Sunday, April 19, 2015


"Racers, start your engines."

Walla Walla is a great place to ride a bike. With miles of rolling country roads surrounding the town, the biggest choice a road rider has is which direction to go. And if you're a mountain biker, the Blue Mountains are in our back yard with endless dirt roads and single track trails for all levels of bikers. And there's even an annual USCF event for the serious racer--the Tour of Walla Walla which draws competitors from all the Pacific Northwest states and California.

The Tour of Walla Walla is what's known in the bicycle racing world as a 3-day, 4-stage race. In layman's terms that means over the course of three days (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) riders compete in two road races, one time trial, and a criterium--resulting in one champion.

These photos are all from the criterium race on Saturday morning where I volunteered as a corner marshal. The start/finish line is on Main Street in downtown Walla Walla.  Racers ride on streets closed to vehicle and pedestrian traffic in a circular course the equivalent of 0.9 miles which includes eight corners. Depending upon the racers USCF category, each criterium race lasts 30, 40, or 70 minutes. There are eight separate races with the first race starting at 8:20 AM and the last race starting at 1:45 PM.

Here the pack of Men's Category 3 riders race down Boyer Ave which bisects the campus of Whitman College, a private liberal arts college.

For more information: http://www.tofww.org/

Saturday, April 18, 2015


Distinctive * Approachable * Whimsical * Delicious * Playful * Affordable

"These are wines crafted by women, for women, that can stand on their own."

I didn't write this copy; it's from their website. But after reading it, I am ready to give their wine a try. I was simply smitten by the red lips logo.

Friday, April 17, 2015


 What do they have in common?

In the early 1900s, James Otis Kenyon was a struggling dentist in the nearby town of Milton-Freewater, Oregon. Fearing competition when a new dentist moved to town, James burned his competitor's office to the ground. As a result, his wife left him and moved to Walla Walla never speaking again of her husband and father of her two sons, who presumed their father had died.

Fifty years later, the grandson Stephen Otis Kenyon discovered his grandfather living a quiet life on the Oregon coast. The father and sons were happily reunited and together celebrated the birth of his first great-grandchild, Muriel. After his death at 101, a second great grandchild was born, Samuel Otis Kenyon.

Today, in honor of four generations of Otis Kenyons, the family returned to the area to make wine. The label bears the silhouette of James Otis Kenyon along with burned edges that harken back to the infamous past of the winery's namesake. The winery has two tasting rooms--one on Main Street in Walla Walla and another on the west side of the state in Woodinville.


It's a great weekend for wine tasting WW style

Thursday, April 16, 2015


I hope their loves lasts at least as long as does the scarring of  these trees in WW's Pioneer park.