San Rafael Valley, AZ ~~ Photo by Bill Haas

Saturday, August 27, 2011


Again.  Although the Sierra is still my favorite mountain range, the Cascades have earned a special place in my heart.  Maybe because this range of (we hope) extinct (or at least inactive) volcanoes is so in your face when the skies are clear and blue.  Mt. Baker, Mt. Adams, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Rainier, and all the way south to Lassen are peaks that on a clear day, one can see for miles around.  And they are stunning in their white-cloaked majesty.
For the folks who live in the shadow of Rainier, you can often hear, "The mountain's out?  Ho-Hum. What's this?  Our ninety-third hour of Summer?!!!  "Big deal!!  But what do I know?  I'm just an awestruck tourist!

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Does anyone know what these curious little plants are?  The leaf structure resembles that of an anemone (noticeable when the second photo is enlarged).

Shimmering in the sunlight and their beards fluttering in the breeze, they reminded me of miniature garden gnomes -- tiny, feathered sentinels for the colorful treasures in the meadows around them.
Common Buttercups

Owl's Clover
Bear Grass
Delicious Lupine that filled the meadows with the scent of Nehi Grape Soda!
  All photographed at the foot of Mt. Rainier.

Sunday, August 21, 2011


My sister, brother-in-law and I enjoyed a warm, sunny day at the Scottish Festival that has landed at the Enumclaw Expo Center every July for 65 years.  It's huge!  And, from all over the world, it draws clan members, pipers, dancers, game challengers and dogs to play, compete and party.  In case you haven't heard, Scots do like to party hardy!
 First, the Parade of Clans...

...that also included "families" of Celtic breeds and Northwest kennel clubs
Isn't this black and white dog the spitting image of the dog in the "For Better or Worse" cartoon?
This is John McBride, pipe major, whose soulful, goose-bump-producing bagpiping starts the festivities.  John does not have a tan line.  I know.  I hired John to play his pipes at my sister's surprise 50th birthday.  Of course the women in attendance asked ... and were visually enlightened!

Celtic Breeds Agility Trials
Celtic Breed Stuffed Shirt!
We Robertsons shake our heads in did Clan Robertson suddenly become Clan Donnachaidh (Don-a-kee)?  We stopped at the clan tent and inquired.  Apparently "Donnachaidh" is the Gaelic spelling/pronunciation for "Robertson."  Ask me?....they shoulda just let it be -- in plain ol' king's English!  (Obviously, they didn't ask me!)
 A traditional pipe band from Canada ~~

A co-ed band, but the drummers were *all* girls.  WOW!  These lassies could swing and twirl their pom-pom drum "sticks" like the Rockettes swing their legs and were the absolute finest keepers of the cadence!
A rocking Australian band called "Brother" -- guitar, bagpipes, drums, and ... say WHAT?  A didgeridoo.  An *amplified* didgeridoo!  It was fun to watch this non traditional band  treat us to a different, foot-tapping, energetic sound....

... and to watch the young and old audience respond to its primal beat.  You could almost "be there" if you click here:
This guy...not so much!
Lots of men in kilts...
Lots of umm, er, zaftig women in princess garb!
Yes, Enumclaw is smack dab in the middle of a dairy-producing, cow country region.
I don't care how it's labeled, it's not Scottish food!
Practicing for tomorrow's competition -- so nimble and sweet.
These flirts were corralled inside the beer garden doing what they do best after tossing cabers:  drinking a good ale and oogling the babes...
...including my sister, who stopped and flirted right back after they referred to her as a "hottie."  Discerning folks, those Scots!!
Little "hotties" in training, cooling off next to the misters -- *water* misters.
Cross-eyed ... or just cool?!!
Hope you had fun people watching too!