Friday, October 28, 2011

{this moment} - goofy leaf collector


{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

{Inspired by SouleMama}


Thursday, October 27, 2011

The next big thing and a request for help/advice

I have been working on a plan to update our livingroom for a while.  It is very much 70’s with glued on mirrors on the walls and an old cast iron fireplace that may or may not be safe.  Our gas company sent us a letter saying that they would pay for over half of the cost of replacing our fire place, and so I thought that while we were ripping out the fire place anyhow, I wanted to update that whole wall… which I think in turn will update the whole room.

So enter my pencil and drawings again.  Just like in the garden, I need a picture in my head of what I want and then go on to figuring out how to get it.  This is the plan…

From this:


To this:


  • I want to find some faux brick to extend the look to the opposing wall and then paint the brick white.
  • I want put in a new wooden mantel that is larger and is also based in the center of the wall (the current one is not even centered over the fireplace… which is weird.)  I am currently thinking a really dark stain, but it could be painted white also.
  • I want to put in a fireplace that doesn’t stick out into the room. 
  • Because the fireplace is higher up in the wall (and that isn’t likely to change) then putting a ledge shelf under the fireplace.  I am really not sure how we would do that.  I was thinking or mirroring the mantel, but I don’t think that a wood shelf under a fire place (even a gas one) would be a good idea. 

I do need some help though!  How would someone make faux brick inside the house that doesn’t stick out farther (or much farther) than the brick already in place?  And what kind of shelf would be safe under the gas fireplace (there is a small brick area between the fireplace and the wood floor so there can be supports that connect with that brick and nothing will be going into the floor).  And how in the world do you get the mirrors off the brick and the wall?  It’s seems like they are superglued up there… do I have to break them?

Any help you could give me would be great!  Thank you!


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Spontaneous Gratitude for a long tired week

It’s the day for it.   Winking smile

(History of Spontaneous Gratitude can be found here.)

Today I am grateful for the peas coming up in my winter garden: 


Parking lot Amanitas:


Sweet 8 month 2 day baby who is very close to walking:


My current happy place:


And two sweet boys enjoying their first bath together:


I love this blessed life!


Friday, October 21, 2011

“and now you are a grown up”

The landmarks for being a grown up are all messed up in my head.  My 21st birthday was mixed with my college graduation and raising my 3 year old, my 18 birthday I was nearly 7 months pregnant, and my 16th birthday, instead of my license I got shipped across the country.  It’s not a pity party for my lost youth, but I have never had that “and now I am a grown up”  feeling until I turned 30.  And I had three kids by that time!  But being a collector of moments, I discovered lately that little things make me feel much more grown up than the those bigger landmarks ever did. 

Recently we have put some time and effort into the interior of our house.  For the first time in my ‘adult’ life I own a bedframe.  I don’t just have a mattress on the floor.  A real, honestly to goodness, cool looking wooden bedframe.  For the first week we had it I couldn’t stop saying “I feel like such a grown-up!”  And tonight… instead of my nightly organic dark chocolate from Theo I decided to try Dagoba milk chocolate instead.  It was gross!  Way too sweet and almost slick in texture.  I now understand my dad saying over and over again “when you are a grown-up you may like dark chocolate” which was his favorite for as long as I can remember (I was born when he was about my age now, come to think of it).  I couldn’t imagine ever liking that icky bitter stuff anymore than my children can imagine enjoying a square of my Theo now.  But here I am, enjoying the pallet cleansing taste of 73% cacao with orange and almonds to wash away the sticky sweet of the (very good quality) milk chocolate. 

I find that I can enjoy the things I missed in my younger years better now too.  Ok… that made me sound REALLY old, but honestly.  I was SUCH an uptight young mama.  I was so worried that at any moment someone (anyone) would come and take my precious baby boy away from me and I would be left with a hole in my life forever.  It made me a very organized person, for which I am grateful… but it also made it so there is a mental block between me and truly enjoying anything.  I always have to be doing something productive.  And when I wasn’t… when I was, say, watching a show on tv, or enjoying a bath, I would slowly feel guilt weasel it’s way into my heart and I would have to spend the rest of the day making up for the fact that I took an hour to relax.  My parental rights were never in question.  But even so, I always felt like taking time to enjoy myself would result in all my inhibitions disappearing overnight and the concept of complete meals, clean floors, and regular bedtimes would fly out of my head and I would be left a shell of a mother who was only after time for herself. 

Fast forward 12 years:

Today I took a nice warm bath.  I let the laundry pile up.  Not for long.  I am still OCD about having a clean house (esp now with the crawling baby in full on ‘search and destroy’ mode), but those moments are precious to me.  I feel their lack when I don’t take them often enough and I understand their value. 

Does that make me more of a grown up? 

I have no idea. 

I know that I like dark chocolate and I have a really nice bedframe. 

Only grown-up’s do that right?


{this moment} - Not hiding good enough


{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

{Inspired by SouleMama}


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Décor for Autumn

I have been working hard on getting into the spirit of this dark and dreary season for this last week. I put some special thought into today and this morning in our workboxes the kids got a note that said their first task for our school day was to decorate the house for Autumn! I turned on Pandora’s “Children’s Halloween” playlist and we listened to “Purple People Eater” and “Monster Mash” as we put up our favorite seasonal decorations. We pulled out Autumn books, candles, and other fall décor and then we went and picked the pumpkins from our garden and added them to the ones from last weeks pumpkin patch field trip.


  Alex set to work making these beautiful bats out of cardstock and we spent quite a while getting them just perfect on the front door. (Check out my love of paper Halloween decorations here and here.)

IMG_3824    IMG_3831-1

I pulled all the things out that I thought would go well in the entry way shelf and put them up there.  I also added some ornamental pumpkins to fill in blanks.

In the school room Cyan and Logan were hard at work putting the new seasons décor on the nature table!



This is our workbox wall.  Many people have asked me about the tubs.  They are the Trofast system from Ikea.  They work amazingly well with the Workbox System and if we ever stop using them for school we can always move them to another room in the house and store something else in them!  (I currently have them in Cyan and Logan’s room and then these sets in the school room.  They really are fantastic!)

Our book basket was another thing that was revamped today (top rt of the white framed workboxes).  I added all our seasonal favorites and a few magazines that I have saved up over the years.  We have the October copy of Sunset, Martha Stewart Kids, and a book installment called “For the Love of Pumpkins”.  Books that got added included Elsa Beskow’s Christopher’s Harvest Time, Too Many Pumpkins by Linda White, Grandfather Twilight by Barbara Berger, and Autumn Story by Jill Barklem. 

It was a great start to a good and productive school day and we made hot cider and watched “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown” after we were finished with our school day.  There was no time for seasonal blues today!  Winking smile


Happy Autumn!


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Ways to beat those Winter Time blues!


I am making this list for myself.  I decided to share it as an afterthought and am excited to do so, but it may not fit anyone else's lifestyle or choices.  I just happen to feel better when these things happen.  So here it is!  I hope it helps someone else battling this type of depression out there:

#1: Music.  Whether you love gospel (I am seriously enjoying Third Day right now) or rock (Amy Lee rocks my world!) or anything in between turn it on and turn it up.  Unless you are trying to hold a long and deep conversation it will most likely infuse you with a driving beat, a need to move, and a bit more of a cheery attitude by the time you turn it down. 

#2: Get lost.  A good book, a TV show you used to love but haven’t caught up on, a garden plot that you can dig up in the rain… whatever will take you away for an hour or two so you can come back refreshed.

#3: Warm food.  It always makes me feel better to have warm food in the winter.  Summer is for smoothies, ice cream sundaes, and BBQ burgers on the grill.  Winter is for roasted veggies, hot oatmeal for breakfast, and tea or hot cider any time at all. 

#4: Get outside every single day.  Rain or shine.  Buy a good umbrella and decent shoes.  Put the baby (or toddler) in the stroller and cover them up with a nice blanket.  If you need to, give them a critter warmie to help them stay warm while you take a nice brisk walk.  (A cup of rice in a old sock will do the trick as well.)  You don’t have to be going anywhere… but the outside air will do you good and make you feel more alive every time.  Even if it is just around the block.

#5: Keep your feet warm.  I have noticed a serious decline in my mood when my feet get cold.  I keep socks on and most of the time slippers or shoes, even in the house. 

#6: Take your vitamins.  Vitamin D is shown to be low in most people who live in northern climates (like Seattle).  It does many things but one is regulates mood elevators so keep that on hand for when you feel down.  St John’s Wart is proven to help battle depression and ease symptoms of despair.  Both of these are on my daily regimen for all 9 of the Winter months we have here in the Pacific NW.  (I so wish I was joking.)

#7: Chocolate.

Research tells us that 14 out of any10 individuals likes chocolate.”

~ Sandra Boynton 

If you just can’t pull out of it (or have only been taking your vitamins for a day or two and want a quick fix) try chocolate.  Seriously.  Chocolate contains tons of the chemical in our brain that helps up feel loved and satisfied.  Even though it is a temporary fix, a chunk of dark chocolate can help the scary feelings go away.  Just be careful not to go overboard and make sure you get GOOD chocolate!  A Hershey bar may taste good but the calories are not worth the tiny amounts of actual chocolate (and good feeling chemicals) that you would be getting.  The idea is to make you feel better!  Not help you gain 10lbs. Winking smile 

#8: Enough sleep.  When the weather takes a turn for the really dark and dreary it seems that all I want to do is sleep.  But real sleep, good sleep, often eludes me as I think of all the undone things I have to do in my head.  (The baby doesn’t help this year, but this has been an issue for as long as I have had SAD.)  Taking a bath before bed, a warm cup of tea, and making sure I actually go to bed when I am tired instead of just cuz I am feeling blue are some of the things I do to battle this issue.  My morning workouts really help with this issue as well.  For some reason, if my body moves a lot each day, I sleep better.

#9: Turn off the screens.  I know this seems silly when the weather is so crappy outside, but when I find myself in front of the computer every time I turn around I know I am starting to get depressed.  I try to turn to something beautiful instead.  A piece of artwork (wet-on-wet water color is awesome!), or some new food creation is what works for me most of the time.  What pulls you into the creative?

#10:  Most of all, know you are NOT alone!  So many people battle this in our society of northern-living indoorsmen.  Many people don’t get outside every day to do anything but walk from one interior to another.  It’s bad for our bodies and just not natural, but it is part of our society and most definitely ‘normal’. 

I hope this list helps you!  It needs to be posted to my brain right now but it will definitely help me.  Smile

Many Autumn Blessings!


Monday, October 17, 2011

Tis the season…

Nope.  Not the Christmas season… but the season of seasonal depression.  Yup.  I’ve got it too.

I wasn’t thinking I did.  But then I looked back on the past month and realized that I hadn’t taken any pictures during the three incredibly infrequent visits we have with family visiting from CA.  Not one.  I spent lots of time even at one venue, taking beautiful pictures of flowers and didn’t take pictures of my kids, or my visiting family.  Something is up with that.  Like slowly, over the last 45 days, the creativity has been sucked out of me.

It’s getting dark here.  It’s dark when I wake up to go workout and it’s dark by dinner time.  And when Daylight Savings hits it will just get worse, getting dark about 4:30pm.  And the rain!  It’s already been raining for three weeks.  I need to get outside more, but it’s hard with the baby and the rain.  Honestly I could make hundreds of excuses… but they are all just that.  Excuses.  My brain likes to make them this time of year, because my body is depressed and devoid of…. something. 

Time for the St John’s Wart and the Vitamin D.  Time for regimented daily walks whether it’s raining or not.  Time for gardening more than ever, and for art at the dining room table for the hour we get of direct sun in our NE facing house.  Time for warm soup for dinner and lowering screen time.  Time for winter routines that make us less prone to feeling like the dismal days outside have to be dismal inside too.  I have a plan in place, ready for action.  The punch cards were just the start of the lovefest I wanted to produce around here over the next few months.  But I need to get started earlier than I thought.  And I need to start with myself.


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Help Please! Punch card…

There is a new item on my fridge.  It is a behavior punch card.  It has been there for 5 days and it’s making big changes in my house.


I made these out of desperation when my kids were nagging each other to get their chores done because I had said they could watch a library movie after they were done.  It sounded horrible and was making me seriously grumpy, which is never a good start to any day, let alone a weekend day where it should be all fun and giggles. (Notice they sit next to our chore charts on the fridge.)


I quickly went into Word and printed out these punch cards on cardstock so that each of them had one.  The activity was aimed at Logan, who had been talking in this horrible tone to his siblings and would not follow any of their requests without parent intervention.  But the older kids decided they wanted one too. 


The rules are printed on the back.  They are very straight forward.  The one rule that is not on there is that you cannot petition a punch for yourself.  You must get one from someone else.  This works esp well when we are not here and Alex is babysitting.  I came home today from a quick trip to the library and the kids were raving about how great each other were and the wonderful ways in which they helped each other.  lol….

For treats, I went to Target and stocked up.  Just small, simple things that I don’t feel bad about giving them often.  Organic fruit snacks, mandarin orange cups, tiny boxes of yogurt covered raisins, glow sticks, and puzzles from the Dollar Spot to put in a basket for when they get their whole cards filled out.

Already the positive reinforcement is helping Logan have a better attitude.  :)  They can’t wait to earn more punches and are even helping each other get their efforts recognized.

I looked around the net for ideas that were similar to this:

~*~ This adorable punch card is for good deeds!~*~ (I totally would have used this had I seen it before I made mine!) 

~*~ This one was for TV time.  Another great idea! ~*~


Friday, October 7, 2011

Mise en place ~ Seared mushrooms, roasted peppers, onion jam

A recipe I have used for the past several weeks that I love is the caramelized onion jam.  It came directly out of that Whole Living Magazine article I raved about in this post


Caramelized Onion Jam

From Whole Living Magazine

Makes 1 1/2 cups

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 lbs onions thinly sliced (this is about 4 med sized onions)
  • 1/2  cup of water or low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tea sugar
  • Course salt

In a medium pot, heat oil over medium heat and cook onions, covered, stirring occasionally until translucent, about 15 minutes.  Add water, vinegar, and sugar and cook uncovered, stirring, until onions are caramelized, about 30 minutes more.  Season with salt.  Let cool completely.  Can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

I also was thrilled with the idea of cooking mushrooms and having them ready to drop into whatever meal I wanted.  The boys and I LOVE mushrooms (Don and Cyan give theirs to us… so the more the better!) so I set about to make a recipe for seared mushrooms.  In Whole Living they added liquid to the mushrooms making more of a braise.  For me, I am usually adding my mushrooms to liquid sauce or soup, so I didn’t want the extra liquid.  This is what I came up with.


Seared Mushrooms

  • 1lb of whole mushrooms, sliced (I used oyster, button, and baby portabellas)
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 tea course salt


Place a bit of olive oil in a hot pan and add enough mushrooms to cover the bottom of the pan.  Sear on one side and then flip the mushrooms until seared on both sides and soft.  Working in batches, cook the rest of the mushrooms this way adding olive oil and salt to each batch as you go.  Place in a jar and allow to cool completely before you put them in the fridge.  Use within 1 week.

The last cooking ahead recipe I have for you today is roasted red peppers.  Using this guide I happened to find (no pictures… just cool info) I decided to store my peppers in extra virgin olive oil instead of water and vinegar.  I am so glad I did!  Their flavor is much better and if I remember not to oil the pan when these are added it saves me even another step for a future meal.  :)

Roasted Red Peppers

  • 4 red bell peppers, cored and cut in half
  • 1 tea course salt
  • olive oil, enough to cover

Place halves of peppers face down on a broiling pan.  Place in the broiler until the skins are black.  As soon as you pull them out of the oven, transfer the peppers to a large paper bag and close, leaving for 10 minutes.  (This steams the peppers so the skin falls right off.)  As soon as they are cool enough to handle, peel off the skins and slice into very thin strips.  Place in a jar and add a dash of salt each time you add a layer.  Cover with olive oil and allow to cool completely.  I have always eaten these within a week, but I am guessing that they can be stored for longer.


I used about a half cup of these and added them to my Roasted Tomato Sauce I already had in the fridge.  Then I tossed in a scoop (ie: Large standard spoon, heaping) of Caramelized Onion Jam and 2 scoops of Seared Mushrooms…  I put it on top of spaghetti squash with baked (from freezer) turkey meatballs.  It was SOOOOooooo good!!  (My turkey meatball recipe was adapted from here.)  My kids ate it all and had seconds.  That hint of super sweet red bell pepper was a perfect layer of flavor.  I could have just eaten the sauce by itself! 

Happy cooking!


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Preserving Food - How to keep ginger

I LOVE fresh ginger in every recipe I can put it in…. but my family doesn’t.  With a 4/1 ratio that makes ginger an uncommon guest at our dinner table.  So I had to find a way to store it so it wouldn’t go bad between infrequent uses. 


I discovered that if you freeze it in useable chunks it is very easy to grate or slice as well!  So for the last few years I have been using this method.  I freeze the ginger in chunks in an airtight plastic bag (the airtight doesn’t matter near as much once it is frozen.  It’s pretty hardy stuff.).


When I want to use a piece of it I take it out and hold it in the palm of my hand for a few seconds to melt the skin so it is soft enough to peel off with a peeler or a knife.


Once it is peeled it is easy to grate or slice for whatever use you want! 


I grate it up as small as I can with my micro planer.  This is a handyman's woodworking tool that has been modified for kitchen use.  It is used for hard cheeses, zesting, and ginger grating!  I love the thing!  When it is grated like this you can measure it and add it to any recipe.


Ginger, squash, and carrot soup topped with caramelized onion jam that was made ahead and waiting in my fridge.

If you are an infrequent user of ginger as I am this tip can really save you money.  Ginger in the freezer can be kept for an entire year!  :)


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Grains - the gateway drug

Have you ever thought about the evolution of food in our society?  Fast Food Nation touches on it, Omnivore's Dilemma talks quite a bit about it, and even Super Size Me talks about it. 


Then the Paleo Diet and the Primal Diet pops up.  Everybody thinks it is SUCH a novel idea to eat like that… but really, it’s just one way to make sure you get ‘real’ food in our society where food is used only for it’s parts.  A society in which food is usually a placebo for real food, real taste, and consequently, real nutrition

Now the idea that we can’t get real food without eating purely in the produce section is a bit disturbing, but I’ll be honest, I am finding it more and more true.  Heck, yesterday I spent a half an hour looking at baby food and realizing that after those first foods that are nothing but ‘bananas’ and ‘peaches and water’ you VERY quickly get into the foods that *I* would classify as junk. 
This is the ingredient list for “Chicken Noodle Nutritious Dinner”


Now if we look at that and know what most of these things mean then you do see that many are added vitamins.  But I find it scary that at 8 months old our babies are already starting to get deconstructed foods.  Broken down foods.  Foods that are only used for their parts and not as a whole.  (Seriously, egg yolk solids?)

I honestly believe that whole foods is the answer.  Not necessarily never breaking down foods at all, but breaking them down as little as possible with no chemicals.

The French eat much more fat than we do.  So why were they not dealing with the heart disease and obesity problem that we do?  The Japanese eat more starch than we do as a culture and yet they experience many health benefits in their culture that have been sought after for hundreds of years.  Think of the book “Japanese Women Don’t Get Old or Fat”.  Even though that is not technically true, it seems true to our culture where gaining weight as you get older is a fact of life and obesity is now posed as an ‘epidemic’.  I honestly think that in both of these cultures, their health success has to do with a high ratio of whole, complete foods.  They do not take everything out of their sour cream, add in corn solids and whey powder and then call it ‘low fat sour cream’.  I’m not sure that a Frenchman would call that ‘food’!

I feel like that has been the same issue with grains.  When we take the whole grain or refine it just slightly (ie: Something you could do by hand that is now done by machine for convenience due to the sheer volume that is needed) then I honestly do not think grains are bad.  It is the breaking them down for their parts that is bad.  Husking and grinding are all you can do to a grain and if you do much more than that you are altering the entire process of food… not just in your body, but in nature.  The grains no longer have the same chemical properties, so why is it that we think that our bodies will treat them the same?  Diseases like heart conditions, obesity, and type 2 diabetes did not develop with the beginning of agriculture.  We did not see a steep rise in these types of diseases until we refined grains and sugars to completely unnatural degrees, making it impossible for our bodies to know what to do with all of the disproportionate ingredients we were giving it.

This is my own personal conclusion after studying Paleo and Primal diets for the past several months. That grains are not bad, they are merely a gateway drug to so many other processes that are dangerous for our health.  Eating whole, unrefined grains does not pose a risk to our health.  In fact, it can be part of a very healthy diet.  However, for those that think that the best form of wheat is Wonderbread… yes please.  Go Paleo.  Make a change that will impact your life forever.  Search out and choose to eat a huge variety of meats and vegetables and you will feel like a million dollars (esp if you pair it with Cross Fit or P90X which many people have discovered already).  However,  if you have a healthy diet.  If you do not have huge weight fluctuations and if you are a basically active person who enjoys the occasional piece of Dave’s Killer Bread.  Well… even then Paleo would not be a bad change, but I am pretty sure that it would not be the huge benefit the new diet dictocrats are selling it as.   

Personally, I hope this fad lives on… I hope that the trend to get fit, eat real food, and lots of variety becomes more than a fad and becomes a lifestyle that is seen as American…  but in my mind, the line between ‘grain’ and ‘corn on the cob’ does not matter so much as the choice to eat food for the whole package, and not for it’s prospective parts.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Answering questions from readers and authors

To answer an email: I store all of my cooking ahead recipes in mason jars in my fridge. I do not use plastic in my kitchen as much as possible.  I have two old glass pickle jars that I like the shape of and I use those but most of my stuff goes into mason jars with the plastic lids (that do not touch the food) that you can find in the canning section of any grocery store.

To respond to a comment: Ronna Welsh, who’s kitchen was the inspiration for the article “Perfectly Prepped” in Whole Living Magazine wrote me and requested that I direct all of you to her amazing website:  On her site are many more ideas along the same mise en place lines for those of us that this type of cooking resonates with. Thank you Ronna for sharing your work with all of us! (For those of you located in NY she has workshops as well.)


Mise en place - Mirepoix

No, I didn’t change my blog to French.  In fact these are two of the 12 French words I know.  lol!  But mirepoix is something I have been making ahead for the last several weeks and I wanted to give it a mention here.

This mixture of diced celery, carrots, and onions is the basic start of any soup and of many other recipes as well.  When cutting some mirepoix for the third time one week I decided that it would be added to my weekly mise en place.



For best results include equal portions of the three ingredients and if you are working on soups I would consider adding some fresh parsley into the mix  (I have some in my garden that I added to two of the three recipes that called for Mirepoix this week).


Store in your fridge for up to 10 days.

I do not have a food processor, or this process could be made much easier… but a good sharp chef’s knife treats me well and within minutes I had my own jar of mirepoix to add to my ‘grab and go menu makers’ in the fridge.

One recipe I made with it was basic chicken soup.  This is as simple as recipes come and it was made in about 10 minutes with basic ingredients that I keep on hand just for days such as the day I made this one (ie: days where you think “Seriously? Didn’t I just feed you???”)


Simple 10 Minute Chicken Soup

1 quart of chicken broth (homemade or store bought, I have used both here)

2 cans chicken or 1/2 lb cooked, diced chicken meat (I have used both here as well)

2 cups mirepoix

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped fine

1 - 2 teaspoons chicken base (bullion or reduced broth packets)

2 cups cooked small pasta noodles (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste

Put it in a pot, get it hot.  Cook until onions go clear. (If you used dry noodles cook until noodles are soft.)  Eat and enjoy! 


Sunday, October 2, 2011

New for T shirts for Luke


I found these two second hand shirts for $.50 each and decided it was the perfect time to snaz them up with some decals!


My plan is to match them up with some baby pants made out of my maternity tees.


They should be perfect for my little crawler!


Saturday, October 1, 2011

The best dahlia this year

I have a tradition of taking pictures of dahlias each fall.  I didn’t have any in my garden this year so I had to go to Pt Defiance Dahlia garden to get my yearly dahlia fix.  :)


This is my favorite.  What a beautiful flower!

This are other ones I got that day that I just love:



And some of the local wildlife:




Here are other dahlia predominate pictures from previous years:




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