March 2023April 2023 May 2023

04/29 - Dungeness Dike and Rising Waters

We were back at the Dungeness Dike to check out the rising river. The whole point of replacing the old dike with this new one was to let the river flood freely. Well, it's working. The waters were much higher and the flood waters deeper. The fields were full of mustard. Hawks and eagles were about. We'll see how high the waters get when the spring melt starts in earnest.

A new branch of the Dungeness River

Old Towne Road and the Olympic Mountains

Higher waters


Higher water here as well

Some of the new dike

A future forest

Open fields

Mustard and mountains

More mustard

And even more mustard

Following the path of the old dike

Further along

Through the fields

Mustard flowers and forest

A spring scene

Maple flowers

Some kind of hawk

Yes, a red tailed hawk

More along the trail of the old dike

More forest

Welcoming forest

Mount Baker in the far distance

Keywords: dungeness, eagle, spring

04/24 - Little River

It's spring, and the Little River Trail is loaded with trilliums. We walked out for an hour, to the second bridge, and trilliums lined our way. The Little River Trail starts on DNR land and heads into the national park, so things keep getting better and better. It's still early in the season, so we expect to see more trilliums and lots of other wild flowers as the season progresses.

A trillium not far from the trailhead

The Little River

More trilliums

A piece of the trail

Another trillium

Another bit of the river

Rushing water

Another view

And another

Yet another trillium

An a happy pair

Blue river

A trillium patch

And another

And yet more

Keywords: flowers, little river, spring, trillium

04/21 - Spring Progress Update, Elwha Edition

We walked from the parking area at Madison Falls, up along the Elwha, to a bit past the Altair Bridge. We were pleased to see more trilliums and a few columbines in bloom. We're a month into spring, but it still feels like we are behind. Still, it's nice to see a few of our favorites return.


A trillium

Another trillium

A columbine leaf

Even better, a columbine

The trail, perhaps a bit greener

Another trillium

The Elwha River

Another sign of spring, a mushroom

Back along the road

More forest

A country road

The Elwha from the Altair Bridge

A view of the misty mountains

Maple branches

Along the Elwha

Yet another trillium

More of the trail - Is it greener?

A mossy rock

Along the trail

Another columbine

Yet another columbine far from the main cluster

More misty mountains

Keywords: elwha, flowers, spring, trillium

04/20 - Seattle Downtown

Seattle is much quieter than we remember it. Granted, we were wandering about early in the day, but downtown is no longer as bustling. Perhaps it was the cold, dank weather and a spring that has been all too slow in coming. Perhaps it was COVID and people working from home. Perhaps it isn't cruise season yet.

We checked out Pike Place Market which was still quiet. We bought some ramps and frisee. Ramps are a type of wild onion and special spring treat. There are signs of spring, out in the country and in town.

A Seattle street

Light traffic and careless framing

Another quiet street

Pike Place Market, still setting up

Sosio's is on the left.

The market, still calm

Sosio's always has a great display.

Another view

Pure Food Fish

Early morning

Another quiet corridor, but this was is almost always quiet.

The Public Market sign

Westlake Center

Keywords: seattle, spring, weather

04/19 - Seattle View

On our last trip into Seattle, we stayed at the Hyatt Regency for the first time. It's a relatively new hotel near the convention center. It met our basic requirements of cold, dark and quiet. The HVAC worked properly. The room was quiet. It was dark at night. Our room was well layed out and very comfortable. It also had an amazing view of Seattle, Lake Union and the Cascade Mountains.

Bustling Seattle, still building

Towards dusk

Even darker

Much darker; Note the three cranes in this view.

Full night

The next morning

The Cascades

Early light

Eerie light

Seattle has lots of antenna triplets.

Later in the morning


Another look

Keywords: seattle

04/18 - Dungeness Dike and a Denizen

We've been walking the new Dungeness Dike. The fields west of the new dike will someday be forest. We saw a variety of workers including a group from the Washington Conservation Corps hard at work mulching the hundreds of saplings. We've also been watching for signs of spring. Things have been getting greener and the yellow mustard is in bloom. On our way back, we saw a coyote. He was minding his own business, but he decided to watch us from a bit further away. We're a predator species too.

A dramatic sky

The new course of the Dungeness

The green fields

The very young forest

Along the path of the old dike

Mustard in bloom

More mustard

And even more mustard

This is what spring should look like.

Maple flowers

More maple flowers

More of the green field

Maple flowers are not showy.

Heading back along the new dike

The new forest again

The new dike

Some lupine

Towne Road, now part of the river

That coyote

The case of the curious coyote

We must have spooked him or her.

From the distance

Skunk cabbage

Keywords: dungeness, spring

04/16 - Dungeness Highlands

We've been hiking the Dungeness Highlands as we call them. We start at the parking lot near the sign in area for the spit, but we head south along the bluffs and follow the trail east across the road. We almost make a loop, but at the picnic table overlooking the highlands we turn around and head back.

Spring is progressing, albeit slowly. It was a cloudy day which actually makes it easier to see things. Clouds and a gray sky add a lot of character to a landscape.

Along the bluff


A forested stretch

A glimpse ahead

The vista south

A mixed sky and field

More of the field

The trail itself

Some spring color, but not much green yet


Another field

On our way back

More of the trail

An almost dry pond


Along another field

Heading back

Back on the bluffs

Some currant blossoms

Keywords: dungeness, spring

04/14 - Elwha Flower Followup

We took a short walk south along the Elwha from Madison Falls to check out the slow progress of this years spring. We didn't get all the way to the Altair Bridge, but we did see some emerging columbine leaves, a few trilliums, a few flowers and an interesting bird.

A toad lily

Columbine leaves

The Elwha

An interesting bird

Another look at the Elwha

Flooding along the trail

The road otherwise

Still lots of snow in the mountains

More flowers - violets

Yay, a trillium

And another

And another, not yet in bloom

A young trillium

Another columbine leaf

And another

Those little yellow flowers we never look up in our plant book

The mules are back in town!

Keywords: elwha, flowers, spring, trillium

04/12 - A Steam Oven Cheese Souffle

We recently made a cheese souffle in our Anova Precision steam oven. We were really impressed with the results. There isn't a lot of info available on using a steam oven to make a souffle, so we figured we'd post what we learned here.

To start with, we used an ordinary souffle recipe with butter, flour, milk, cheese and eggs. We've had good results making puddings and custards using steam, so we expected to get good results making a souffle. If nothing else, steam ovens transfer heat more effectively than even convection ovens since steam carries heat better than dry air. They can also delay browning. When we make puddings or custards in a regular oven, there's a tradeoff between getting the thing cooked through and having the top too roasted. We use a 100% steam setting for puddings and custards, but we wanted our souffle to brown on top, so we compromised with a 60% steam setting.

We had also read that souffles work best when the heat rises from below, so we set our oven to use its bottom heating coil. The downside of this was that this is the least powerful heating element in our oven, so it took a full half hour to get up to 350F which is about as hot as the oven can get using only that element. Next time, we'll heat the oven using convection heating and switch to heating from below.

We gave our souffle about 20 minutes. We could see it rising almost immediately, and then we could see the top browning. We had never had a souffle rise as nicely as this one. When we took it out, it stayed inflated for a while, at least until we dug into it. All told, excellent results, now strictly an internal matter.

Our best looking souffle ever

Keywords: food

04/11 - Trilliums at Dungeness Spit

There was a good low tide, so we took a short walk along the Dungeness Spit. Walking the spit itself was rough with pebbles, rocks and soft sand. We didn't get very far, but we enjoyed the sea, the sand, the driftwood and the sense of heading out to sea while still dryshod.

The real treat was the Primitive Trail from the entry station to the descent to the spit. It is early spring, and it is finally starting to look it. Even better, there were trilliums. They're our big sign of spring, and there were lots of them along the trail.

Early spring


Along the Primitive Trail

Another trillium

Yet another

A lush trail after a too long winter

A glimpse of the Spit

Along the Spit

Another look

Driftwood horizon

Out to sea

Back to the bluffs

A stony stretch

A look back along the Spit

Back along the Primitive Trail

A hidden trillium we missed on our way out

More spring green

Green, green, at long last green

More trilliums lurking

A trillium in a sea of green

You can tell we're excited about seeing trilliums.

We're also relieved to see so much green.

A closer

Keywords: dungeness spit

04/09 - What's Happening at the Dungeness Dike?

There have been a lot of changes at the Dungeness Dike and Towne Road. The old dike is gone. There's a new dike instead. A good chunk of Towne Road is now part of the Dungeness River. The good news is that the new dike is open for walkers and explorers and parts of the old dike are now foot trails.

The new dike near the parking lot

A chunk of the old Towne Road underwater

More of the new dike


More wetlands

Young forest

A heron

More of the new dike

Heading towards the river

Further along

The old dike is gone, but there is still a trail.

More of the trail

It's a very basic trail for now

Forest scene

Returning along the new dike

A forest in the making

Old Towne Road

Keywords: dungeness dike trail, trails

04/05 - Signs of Spring - Elwha to Altair - Trilliums and Columbines

Our search for signs of spring took us to the Elwha River. We parked near Madison Falls and followed the road past the mule camp where we saw our first sign of spring: the mules were back. That was promising. We headed onto the detour trail and saw our first yellow violets of the season along with some of those pale pink flowers that bloom so early. Then we saw our first trillium. It was the only one we saw, but we're pretty sure more will follow.

Further down the trail, we saw the skunk cabbage with its faint smell of sulphur. We checked out the river from the Altair Bridge. It was relatively low. The snows have not yet begun to melt. We could see snow on the peaks, some of it fresh.

On our way back, we spotted another sign of spring. We saw our first columbines. To be fair, we saw their leopard spotted leaves. They weren't ready to bloom, but when you are desperate for signs of spring, that's close enough.

Yellow violets

Little pink flowers

The harbinger trillium

The trail

The river

The road

Skunk cabbage

The river from the Altair Bridge

Currant flowers

Snow covered hill across the river


Flowing water

Columbine leaves

Another columbine leaf

Another leaf

White flowers and

blue flowers along the road

Keywords: elwha, flowers, spring, trillium

04/04 - Signs of Spring - Cherry Blossoms at UW

This has been a long, cold, rough winter, so we've been seeking out signs of spring. We checked the UW web site and saw that the cherry blossoms were at peak bloom. There was no way we could resist. We drove into Seattle and explored the Quad. It was full of cherry blossoms and people marveling at them. We had thought that selfie sticks had gone out of style, but the Quad was full of them. Even better, it was full of dark gnarly trees with clouds of pale pink flowers.

It seems like spring is finally coming even as a cold wind still blows now and then. It was worth driving into town for a taste of the still incoming season. We're in less of a hurry now, but we're still seeking out signs of spring.

Keywords: flowers, seattle, spring

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