Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Our Drive By Tulip Viewing

We've been self isolating for about 8 days now - and after several frenzied days of working on the flower beds, gardens, lawns, etc., our winter deferred maintenance was pretty much caught up.  Then the weather turned on us - suddenly cold and showery.  So a couple more days inside reading and watching the non-stop coverage of the covid-19 virus and we were beginning to get cabin fever.
We decided to take a drive up to see how the tulips were doing around Mt Vernon.  The drive up Highway 9 is very pretty - all along Lake McMurray, then Big Lake, and then out through the Skagit Valley on Highway 20.  The fields still look like lakes after the very wet January and February we've had.
Sadly, the tulip festival (like nearly everything else) is cancelled for this year.  You can see the tulip beds on the right of the Rozengratz sign are not in bloom yet.  It seemed like there were a lot fewer tulip fields this year -none were in bloom yet. 
The daffodils, however, are in full bloom and are quite spectacular even with clouds covering Mt. Baker so we couldn't include it in the picture. Our drive-by flower tour was still uplifting.  We always enjoy the Skagit Valley and it's beautiful farmlands with something growing nearly all the time.
Just before Conway, we found a field covered in Snow Geese.
All the places were we normally stop for lunch are closed, so we had to be happy with Kentucky Fried Chicken from the drive thru window.  Definitely strange times we're living in - like nothing I have ever seen or expected to see in my lifetime.  Hoping everyone is joining us in self-isolating so we can all eventually get back to our real lives.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Mid-Winter Trip to Florida

The dark days of Winter are starting to lengthen now, but we were ready for a break in the dreary days.  We did a mini-home exchange with our friends, Tony and Aleja, from Lake Placid, Florida, and spent the last week enjoying their lovely home in the middle of Florida.
We used our airline miles to fly to Tampa, and then used miles to rent a car so we could drive and explore central Florida.
Aleja, like me, loves plants, and I'm green with envy for the plants she can grow in Florida.  This Papaya tree was dripping with nearly ripe fruit.  The temperature was 80ish the entire week, with a light breeze that made sitting on the patio to eat all our meals wonderful.
Orange harvest is in full swing - even though Lake Placid is the Caldium capital of the world, it has it's fair share of orange groves also.
It is also known as "Town of Murals" - with interesting murals on many buildings.

An example of a Lake Placid mural
Lake Placid, located in the center of the state, is close to many places of interest.  Lake Okeechobee is truly spectacular.  One of the premier birdwatching places in the country, it is also the largest fresh water lake totally inside the United States.  From this viewpoint, it looks like the ocean, with no end in sight.
On the West side of the state, about 80 miles from Lake Placid, is the Gulf of Mexico. We stopped at the Sky Bridge Park on our way back to Tampa to catch our plane home.
Sitting in the sunshine on Tampa Bay, it was hard to imagine how different things were at home.  
We came home in time to enjoy the winter wonderland that the snow had brought, and to plow the driveway to allow everyone to get out. Rain is forecast for tomorrow, so it won't last long - thankfully....