Monday, July 17, 2017


Everybody Has Fun

The new Veterans' Memorial Pool has something for everyone. For those brave souls who are not fearful of heights, there are two water slides that provide several seconds of thrills. 

The RED slide on the left is a fast, straight drop to a sudden splashy stop in the run-out pool at the bottom. 

The YELLOW slide on the right, twists and turns as the rider drops more gradually into a big splash in its own run-out pool. On both slides, the key is the further back you lean, the faster you'll go. 

I know. I tried both slides.

Another popular pool feature is this string of floating platforms. The goal is to run across all 10 without being dumped in the water. 

It must be fun for those who try as the line is always long for those waiting to take their turn. For those of us on deck, it's equally fun watching. 

After days of observation, I have decided that it's best not to think too much. Those who are successful tend to just make a run for it. They also tend to be the smaller, lighter children. 

Needless to say, I have no plans to try it.

(He did not make it. Just after this shot, he fell in.)

Saturday, July 15, 2017


Veteran's Memorial Pool

It all starts innocently enough. The towering water feature in the children's splash pool has spray fountains and water guns that shoot streams of water into the ankle-deep pool. Babies and toddlers clad in brightly colored water wings or PFDs and accompanied by their adult caregivers splash and squeal with delight as they repeatedly climb up the steps and then slide down the water slide on the other side. 

Even elementary-aged kids love to play here, one of four features at Walla Walla's new Veterans' Memorial Pool. 

But then, the red and yellow spiral bucket at the top which has been slowly filling with water, reaches capacity and dumps on the waiting children below.

Screams of delight can be heard across the venue.

P.S. I have even seen adults partaking of the fun during Adult Swim. Myself included.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017


Blue Mountain Lavender Farm

In case a trip to Provence in southern France is not in your plans this summer, a short drive from Walla Walla can lead you the next best thing. Blue Mountain Lavender Farm outside of Lowden is a touch of Provence in Southeast Washington State.

Even though I have lived in Walla Walla for going on 30 years, and the Lavender Farm has been in existence 17 years, this was my first visit. I don't know what took me so long because it is indeed a magical place. The scent of lavender permeates the air and today's breeze helped dispel the heat as I walked among the rows of lavender and other colorful perennials. 

In addition to the glorious scent, the gentle strains of music could be heard emanating from the barn, apparently the personal playlist of owner Karen Grimaud's husband who is French. 

While Provence may be 5415 miles away, the views and the smells had me convinced that I was in France.

The farm sits on 20 acres with two acres planted in 25+ varieties of lavender along with other blooming plants. Set among the rows are two vine-covered pergolas where guests may rest in the shade while cutting lavender bouquets to take home.

Or, take a seat in one of these lawn chairs set under a row of shade trees with a broad vista of the rows of lavender and beyond.

Unfortunately, the Blue Mountain Lavender Farm is open for U-Cut lavender harvest only until July 16, although the Farm Boutique is open year-round by appointment. I'll be sure to visit earlier in the season next year to get the full effect of row upon row of bushy lavender plants.

Saturday, July 1, 2017


Motion Pictures
The first annual Walla Walla Movie Crush premiered today, July 1, at GESA Power House Theatre featuring 88 short films aka motion pictures, hence my creative entry into the CDP theme for this month. 

It's a stretch, I know, but necessity is the mother of invention, and since I haven't missed a Theme Day in two years, I had to dig deep for this one.

The film festival is part of a weekend fundraiser for the Red Badge project, a Seattle based group co-founded by writer and "Top Gun" actor Tom Skerrit. The project works with veterans to cope with the traumas of war through storytelling. The Project has been working with vets in Walla Walla since 2014 in a partnership with the Walla Walla Public Library which is the only library in the nation to participate in the project.

These are scenes from two of the 45 motion pictures shown on Saturday in 50-minute blocks each of which follows a general theme. 

Saturday's themes include the following:
 Improperly Vetted; Loners, Rebels and the Dotty; Rights You Are; Unplanned Parenthood; Jock & Jill; Black Lives, Matters; and the Mating Game.

The two-days of short motion pictures began Saturday at noon and ended with the last block at 10:00. The showings resumed on Sunday at 1:00 PM culminating with an awards ceremony at 8 PM. 

The short films were curated by Warren Etheredge, a 10-year curator and host of 1 Reel Film Festival in Seattle.

Thursday, June 1, 2017


Where Nature and Civilization Collide

There is space between a housing subdivision to the north and a strip mall and WalMart to the south where nature still reigns. It is here where a herd of 200+ goats and sheep were recently brought in to thin the underbrush and tame the grass field. 

This is the herder and fence tender who along with his animals 
hails from Lostine, Oregon and travels throughout the area 
in the summer months clearing brush and fields.

For theme day photos by other City Daily Photo bloggers, click on this link:

Sunday, April 30, 2017


A Bee's Feast

Bees, particularly honey bees, have been around for millions of years 
and are responsible for pollinating over a third of our food supply and 90% of wild plants. 

The dandelion, the bane of a lawn perfectionist, is one of the first available food sources in spring 
as bees and other pollinators emerge from hibernation. 
Each flower, in fact, consists of up to 100 florets, each one packed with nectar and pollen.

So remember, the dandelion you save, may feed the bees who may be pollinating part of your next meal.

Fortunately for the bees, I am not a lawn perfectionist, 
so the bees have a large swath of dandelions to feast upon in the early spring. 
And even when I do get around to mowing, the dandelions have been conditioned 
to lie low and avoid the mower.

Bees like honeysuckle, too, but apparently, the throats of many honeysuckle flowers 
are too deep for the honey bee to gather the nectar; 
however, I must have a smaller flowering variety that the bees like 
because they were out yesterday in abundance.

For more "Let's Eat!" photos by other CDP bloggers from around the world, click here.


Love the Earth
Climate March, April 29

Walla Walla is typically a conservative rural community as is most of Eastern Washington state. But because of the presence of Whitman College, a private liberal arts institution, and other attractive amenities in this small town of 35,000, there is a large group of progressively-minded folks. Enough so that +/- 300 men, women and children came together Saturday to march in the defense of climate change, the environment, and science.

The march went off with neither a hitch nor a disturbance as participants strolled peacefully along the sidewalks minding traffic lights and crosswalks with their signs and chants protesting the current administration's stance. 

I was particularly taken by the children as my concern and hence my participation is for my own grandchildren and the Earth which is on loan from them.

The event was co-sponsored by Divest Whitman and Walla Walla Progressives.

Thursday, April 27, 2017


Looking Back, Looking Forward
Sesquicentennial Sculpture 

In December 2012, through generous funding from the Donald and Virginia Sherwood Trust, ArtWalla gifted the bronze sculpture Looking Back, Looking Forward by local artist Squire Broel to the city of Walla Walla as part of their on-going public art project. The sculpture was commissioned to commemorate the Sesquicentennial anniversary (150 years) of the incorporation of the city of Walla Walla. In that same year (1862), President Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead Act into law.

The sculpture references objects and structures that are relevant to the Walla Walla Valley such as a stalk of wheat, a feather, a fish, a wind turbine, an airplane wing, and more. According to the artist, the piece reflects on the impact that educational institutions, banking centers, and industrial development have had on the community of Walla Walla.

"The mask elements point to the process of refinement 
that takes place through community growth: 
simplicity moves toward complexity.

"The cosmic swirl or fingerprint references both the personal and the abstract:
there are always ideas that have yet to be formed, 
and there is also an indelible mark that each of us makes 
on the tapestry on our community.

"The ever-present eye gives recognition to ideas that are greater than ourselves.
It serves as a portal of light and a reminder that we must look back on our history 
as we also look forward to our future."

The base includes artifacts from the 150-year history of Walla Walla. 
They are made as replica castings and castings inspired by the original artifacts.

See if you can find the following: 
arrowheads; military buttons, belt buckle, and insignias all from Fort Walla Walla;
mule shoe; traditional school bell; precious metal ingots from Baker Boyer Bank; 
stones from Mill Creek; engraved brick from the China Building; 
and Sesquicentennial tokens.

In the words of the artist, 
"The sculpture, which is rooted in Walla Walla, offers many levels of engagement, 
and leaves open the possibility for news ideas and understanding."