Gary Stonemetz and his Pink Ladies

Last week, we paid a surprise visit to Gary in his orchard late in the day. He had just finished spraying and we found him cleaning his tanks on a cloudy evening.

This time of year, his days are long. Production manager at Johnson Foods in Sunnyside by day, Gary makes a bee line to his orchard in the afternoon and works into the night. His pink ladies are the best I’ve eaten and true connoisseur that he is, Gary’s never gotten tired of them himself.

He pointed out hail damage from a couple weeks ago. A direct hit and a sideswipe left its marks.

The weather’s been especially wild this year, with a late cold spring shouldering well into summer and a very late freak frost; another week or two of heat wouldn’t hurt to sweeten things up. Gary holds off picking as late as he can, hoping to harvest by the beginning of November. But when the first big freeze threatens, he calls in the pickers and it’s a race to the finish.

Howard is a big fan and unabashedly grabs an armful of these beauties whenever he drops by.

The two of us head to Seattle with a load of goathorn peppers and a couple dozen apples, and Gary’s back on his tractor.

Tardy Spring / Tardy Fall – Revealed

With the last posting (directly below this one) I promised a return with evidence that like this year’s spring, so this fall is late by a few days.  The comparison below of the blossomed cherry trees at the southeast corner of 46th and Corliss were taken one year apart.  The top of the two on March 27, 2008 and the bottom of the two one year earlier, where the budding is further along and the petals are dropping.   This flowering comparison is followed by another from Sept 27, 2008 (on the top of the bottom two) and at the bottom, one year earlier.   The difference here is subtler than with the blossoms, but real enough in the reds of the turning leaves.  I will not name the types of several trees that appear there at the northeast corner of 46th  and Burke in hopes that a reader will respond with their names.  Another reason is that I don’t myself known the names.  So, if you can, please help both nature and me.

(Tapping these pairs with a mouse will make them bigger.)

One day more and I returned to the northeast corner of 44th Street and Wallingford Avenue to repeat a tree I first notice many years ago for its brilliant fall color.  I tagged it the “Flame Tree.”  However, today, Monday Sept. 29, 2008, it was still in the summer greens seen here direclty below.  Below it and two years ago, on Sept. 27, 2006, the Flame Tree was far into its fire.

Folks This Fall Is Tardy

I found this tender sign of fall at my feet late this afternoon while shuffling from my car seat to the slabs of granite that pave our front walkway off the street.   Folks, this year’s fall is late.  And I can prove it – but not tonight.  Tomorrow perhaps.  Since I have been walking that same Walllingford Walk for more than two years I can bring in last years pixs from this day – or tomorrow – and show examples of a landscape that has knitted for itself an autumn dress about a week more developed in 2007 than now.   This was true of Spring as well.  Our cherry trees were a about a week late with their blossoms this year, when compared with 2007.  I may have proved that one earlier with this blog.  For now I do not remember if I did, but will check it out soon for you casual readers.  If I did not put the blossoms of spring – 2007 and 2008 – in earlier I will include them as well – with the “fall” preview – probably tomorrow.

(To enlarge the photo tap it with your mouse.)


Lakeview Cemetery with Jean Sherrard & His Shadow

A good number of Walt Crowley’s friends formed a circle around his memorial headstone – a flat and yet risible plaque lying on the grass –  this afternoon (9/21/8) to share memories of Walt and scatter a few of his ashes in the vicinity of the plaque.  Some of Walt probably drifted near the Thomas Prosch plaque, which rests so close to Walt’s that they are bedfellows now for eternity.   This was meant to be, and it was historylink historian Paula Becker who first envisioned it so last year and then suggested to Marie McCaffrey, Walt’s widow and now his successor as head of Historylink, that it would be most appropraite to put the two of them near one another.  Since Prosch could not be readily moved this meant putting Walt – his plaque – near to Thomas. And so it was done.  Thomas Prosch was another historian/journalist whose typed 1901 manuscript “A Chronological History of Seattle” was a most important source for the construction of historylink – its many earliest essays on subjects of Seattle history.  Jean (of this blog) took photographs of all those who said something and he has included some of these directly above.

After the memorial while returning to the car, I noticed Jean’s shadow on a headstone and so recorded it, and then also turned the camera left for a few more shots that fit into this panorama.  It includes a few degrees more than one-fourth of Lakeview Cemetery.  The center of the pan looks to the northeast.  The cedar tree, in the shadows on the far left, is at the cemetery’s summit.  Pioneer Doc. Maynard is buried at its base.  I might have investigated the name on the far side of the big stone on which Jean’s working shadow was caste, but I did not think to do it.  By late afternoon this Sunday, Lakeview was showing the beauty that lured Victorians to cemeteries for their weekend leisure and reflections on mortality.  The site of Walt’s and Prosch’s plaques is about fifty or sixty yards directly behind me.

Walt and Marie’s plaque reads brilliantly, “Walt Crowley 1947 – 2007 Husband of Marie McCaffrey  Co-Founder of Historylink Citizen of Seattle To learn More Visit, ECV  Marie McCaffrey 1951”  A close-up of the plaque is included with Jean’s photographs printed above.

The Pope, Paris & Paradise

(Note to reader:  What follows is a response to Berangere Lomont’s photos of the Pope’s visit to Paris, especially the one (reduced above) that shows the Pope looking towards her through the green glass of the Popemobile. You can now find this view and her other photographs of the Pope’s visit full sized below, or later in this site’s archive. )

Dear Berangere,
Like Celeste of the Women’s Century Club, here in Seattle, I also love your Pope and your Paris.  While the German Pope is relentlessly strict in his orthodoxy, it is claimed that he writes a good dogma. And this Pope is a little less forbidding under the City of Lights, although his walking guards throw some shadow on that. They seem to be worrying like stooges working their way through purgatory. But that can’t be helped, for the world is not so perfect as the Popemobile.   And the Pope certainly looks fit in his Popemobile.  With the fold-out curbside video screen in your photograph one can see the Pope coming and going — omnipresent.  How many of these devices did they use in the 5th Arrondissement alone? It may help us wonder what compensating attractions they used in medieval processions, not having these curbside Deus Ex Machines? And it occurs to me that anytime the Pope does a mass in an outdoor stadium they may be useful – fourteen of them – as Stations of the Cross.  Whether ex cathedra or inside the cathedra, I think what distinguishes any Pope from the rest of us is something more clinging.  They dress the best.  How long do you suppose the Vatican has been filling its pope closets with the nonesuch of outfits made from surpassing fabrics by the ruling class of seamstresses and tailors?  For centuries.  Take off any Pope’s clothes and there is probably not much to prefer. But without the evidence of a Pope with no clothes who can know? Writing now about myself only, as humble as my wardrobe is, every part of it is clean, machine washable and stamped with a free pass to paradise, which I’ll use only if I cannot make it back to Paris.


Emily Nuchols, our champion for the Snake River sockeye salmon that, she notes, “travels further and climbs higher than any other salmon in the world,” has sent two glimpses of the conditions at Camp Muir, at 10,000 feet, which is the jumping-off place for most early morning attempts on Mt. Rainier.  Throughout August we posted photographs from Wallingford that looked in the direction, at least, of Mt. Rainier from a corner that was a few houses from Emily’s – at the beginning of the month. We did it in support and anticipation of her climb scheduled for August 25-26.  During the month she moved to Portland, perhaps to be nearer those wild sockeye, for Emily is the communications manager for “Save Our Wild Salmon.”   (You can find and/or review that daily Mt. Rainier watch in the archive of this blog, as well as other pictures of Emily and some of her supporters.)

The two snapshots included here show, above, Emily with her climbing team – she is behind the red section of their banner – and, below, Emily alone with the wind and the Cowlitz Glacier.  Emily explains. “When we left Camp Muir at 2 a.m. and started our first traverse across the Cowlitz Glacier the wind was blowing so hard we had to brace ourselves with our ice axes at each step.”   In the dark the Salmon team made it over that ridge behind them – Cathedral Rocks – and beyond that over Ingraham Glazier as well and then onto the rock cleaver so appropriately named  “Dissapointment” for so many.  There, still in the night with flashlights (on their heads I assume) and 60 mph winds pushing against them, the guides put a stop to it, and turned the team around.  Still their effort raised $20,000 for Save Our Wild Salmon.  Our congratulations to the Salmon for having friends like Emily and her team.  And our apologies to the Salmon, for they are still for eating.