The Knitting Nurse

Rambles and Travels

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The Fort Worden Rhododendron Garden

Each spring, the rhododendron garden at Fort Worden State Park  becomes a welcomed and much anticipated oasis of color. There are some monstrous rhododendron specimens and some new. I it was developed in 1986. 1200 species of rhodies call it home.  It makes for a lovely lunch break stop on a work day.

There’s a well thought out distribution of bloom times.  Some plants are now dropping their flowers and some have buds that are closed up tightly.  Smaller, newer plantings are in place to replace the older as they die off and also fill in spaces and the edges.

Moving to the Pacific Northwest introduced me to the delicious variety of rhododendrons. The scent grabbed my nose, leading me through.

Enjoy! There are a lot of photos –



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Balanced Stones on the Beach

A sunset walk on the beach worked wonders to soothe my eyes after a day of computer work for school. North Beach, here in town, is a fine place for just that. I started at about 6 o’clock.

Just a hint of a warm glow washed the bluffs and sand.

The sinking sun washed Mt. Baker in a painterly way.

Have you seen a Pacific sunset?

Walking back I noticed something I couldn’t believe I’d missed. Balanced stones, seemingly someone’s calling card, were everywhere.  The glare of the setting sun must have hid them while walking west.

A lesson to be learned?  One may miss the details if looking in one direction only?

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A lovely walk at Anderson Lake State Park

Fall is here. Thank goodness! It’s my favorite season. Gone are the dry, hot days.  I celebrated with a stroll through a local state park that is one of my favorite retreats.

I noticed further out west the other day, towards Port Angeles the maples are changing to yellow. Here, more east, it’s just barely starting. A few yellow leaves lay scattered on the forest floor. This park has grand, noble maples under which I often stand and gawk.

The lake’s been closed to use due to a toxic algae bloom, a shame as it would make for a lovely, quiet paddle. Instead, I enjoy reflections and on this day, cormorant and heron activity from the shore.

This spider built a large web across the trail. I managed a limbo underneath to spare it.

The quiet enclosure of trees was just what I needed.

I’ll bring you golden leaved photos when able—


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Farm Tour day one

It’s farm tour weekend here in Jefferson County, WA.  Sat., day one, was rainy and cool. We visited a couple places within stone’s throw of home.

Wilderbee Farm is a lovely little place that grows and sells lavender, blueberries, u-cut flowers, and pumpkins for the fall and is now building a building for making and selling mead.  They have many hives on the property as well as hens and sheep.  Their gift shop is a great stop for lavender-infused products and wood-craft gifts. Check out their website for sun infused photos.

These are a rare breed of sheep called British Soay. They originated in an archipelago of islands in the Outer Hebrides off the coast of Scotland. This remote place protected their genetics.  It’s thought they are relatives of man’s first domesticated sheep.  They are sturdy, hardy, agile and great mothers. Interestingly, they molt in the spring and their fleece is hand plucked, not shorn. They also lack a flocking instinct and will scatter if herding dogs attempt their duties.

Rams and Ewes have horns.



We noted an extra squawky hen carrying on.  One of the owners declared her a Bantam and suggested we avoid them if considering backyard hens.  He instead recommended Buff Orpington as they are docile and very quiet.

Chicks might be on the agenda in this household this spring…heads up!


The setting is lovely!


Do  stop in if you are in the area.


Next stop was Rosebud Ranch, literally through the woods from home.  The raise Alpacas.

Tucked into the trees is a pretty little farm. I can’t find a dedicated website but you can reach the owner via this information.


Here you see a few alpacas being guarded by their lone Llama second from the right. She is a diligent supervisor and protects the flock from intruders.



Alpacas are adorable, fuzzy things that make very warm fiber.



An exhibitor spun in a tent of her wares.  On site they had woven blankets and rugs, yarn  and a blacksmith with beautiful items for sale. Having a huge trip coming up, I refrained from spending.

Tomorrow we’ll visit our favorite farmers market vendors, Max and Chris from Onatrue Farm here in town.

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Jefferson County Fair-Draft Horses, Kid’s on Horses and Other Critters-Part 1 of 2

I grew up a 4H’er, Saddle Clubbin’, FFA (Future Farmers of America) kind of a gal.  We didn’t have a farm (man if my dad had let me) but I did have horses.  I was steeped and stewed in horses. The county and state fair were  summer highlights.

I missed the Jefferson County Fair, this year, due to a road trip.  Which cued my memory…

Last year year I took some pics and a video I’d yet to share.

The draft horse pull and horse show were the highlight for me.   The announcer did a fantastic job sharing info on the draft horses’ training, their weights, and the stories behind their handlers as well as histories of the breeds.  Sadly, working horses are a waning presence.  I applaud the breeders choices to preserve the breeds and the art of working them.

Interestingly enough, last night I watched a PBS special documentary by Martin Clunes (Of Doc Martin fame) involving him having his two young Clydesdales trained (and humorously himself). It was beautiful, as anything filmed in the lush, green English countryside is.

A trailer for the first episode:

The horses are so majestic.



And big.  Those are hinders are built to work.


I remember about 6 teams competing.  One team was young and green and were shy at the hook ups to the sleds. I remember the announcer explainng how the handlers have to carefully decide at what weight amount to stop at in order not to dishearten the horses if they fail to pull the sled.

This handler came out of retirement for this contest, I remember.


The games portion of the horse show involves barrel racing.

There were speed demons:


And wee ponies loping through:


A casual moment caught. I remember sitting just like this.


The animal barn is a must-see for me.



Chickens were not allowed at the fair that year due to some sort of avian flu concern. Theses chicks had special signage certifying them as healthy.






Sweet faced, squeaky clean calves:


And an impressive assortment of rabbits.


And cats. Seriously. There is a cat club with a whole building dedicated to them. The felines all had cages uniquely decorated.


Educational posters taught me quite a bit:


I had a ball at the fair. Up next…stuff in jars and handwork.




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Spring Walking – Today’s Amble Through Town

Like a cat batting at a mouse, Mother Nature toys with us. Must’ve been over 50 today. A long walk through town I took under a clear, blue, sun-drenched sky.


Weather report (and the friendly guy walking past me on the bike path with a small, rambunctious terrier) predict cold, windy,rainy weather moving in later this week.

One thing I’ve learned, being new to the PNW, is to run with these blue-bird days because they may not return for awhile.  This winter’s been abnormally warm and clear.

Today, I met a friend for a walk to the library. After catching up, we parted ways and I continued up to the Uptown portion of town to my favorite bakery (Pan D’Amore) for coffee and a cinnamon roll.

Signs of spring abound.

Ornamental rhododendrons are blooming, the wild ones are not.






I think this is a camellia:




Cherry blossoms give a heady scent to the air. I’m a total sucker for them.




Here you can see some on the hillside above the lagoon.  The plume in the center is the paper mill.  The Olympic Mountains line the horizon.




The clock tower on the Jefferson County Courthouse is still the tallest structure visible on Port Townsend’s skyline.





Such a beautiful building.  When I went in for my plates and registration there was NO one waiting.  Real people answer the phone.  Can you imagine?  I was floored.



Walked past one of the marinas on the way home.  My phone died.  I wasn’t able to snap pics of the boatyard and its smallest of sailboats to giant commercial fishing boats being repaired.

I also couldn’t photograph the blackbirds in the marsh, the busted up boat that’s entertained beach-playing kids for a year or the two eagles chattering and soaring above.  There’s a whole lot to take in during these walks.

I’ll continue to share my new backyard with you.  I’m rather fond of it.



Welcome to My New Backyard – Fort Townsend State Park

Hello from  Port Townsend, WA.

In one week it will be my new home.  I flew up a few days ago to look for a new place to live. Massive stress this detail’s been.  Today it all came together – I found the right home.

Needing some stress relief, a walk I took in Fort Townsend State Park just on the edge of town.

This is a pithy explanation of the park’s history.  You know I like to get into details.  I’ll learn and share more in the future.

Built in 1856 by the U.S. Army, Fort Townsend’s purpose was to protect settlers.  Fire destroyed the barracks in 1895.  WWII employed the site as an enemy-munitions defusing station.  State Parks took custody in 1953.  6 miles of hiking (and biking on some) trails wind through mostly large trees (I noted Cedar and Douglas Fir.)  The main (?Parade Grounds?) terraces and open space are kept mowed.  Interpretive signs along a trail show photos of the buildings that once stood.  There really is not much left. I noted a few stone foundation rocks.

Craving beach time, I arrived just after high tide and walked the beach maybe a half-mile until thick brush up to the water stopped me.

Here’s  a tiny (can’t quite figure out how to get ’em larger) panorama of the bay from the beach.  The paper mill is on the left. You can see the steam rising. Indian Island is on the right horizon.


The beach I ambled along:


Interesting to compare beach-combing finds to CA beach finds.  Lots of gorgeous, green rocks I noted and granite, lots of it:


Have you seen Big Leaf Maples?  I discovered them last year when up in this area.  With leaves up to 12″ wide, they display bold, bright yellow leaves in the fall.  They are glorious right now despite seeming past their peak.

How’s this for scale?  I have huge hands:


They pop against all the green:



Spent, browned leaves carpeted the trail in places. Made me think of the leaf piles and leaf-houses we made as kids.  The houses involved raking up rows of leaves to make outlines of rooms. Pretty creative, eh?


Looking down on the forest floor I spotted many different types of mushrooms.



A violet (?) of sorts:


Cedars – new to me:


Tomorrow I’m headed to another park about 45 minutes out of town.  Or maybe I’ll hike in Olympic  National Park.  Choices…