Tulips, and more Tulips

In a normal year, the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival takes place during the entire month of April.  Washington State’s Skagit Valley is the world’s second largest producer of tulips and bulbs, outside of The Netherlands.  There are a couple of large growers who open their fields for the festival; they charge for parking across the street, and tourists are allowed to walk between the rows of flowers, taking pictures and just admiring the beautiful colors of the flowers.  They also sell bulbs, cut flowers, and other festival merchandise (there is a new t-shirt design by a local artist each year, and they get to be collectors’ items).

This year of 2020, the Festival was cancelled, due to the State Shelter-in-Place Order to stop the spread of the Wuhan Coronavirus.  And to make doubly sure that no one got in their cars and drove up anyway, the farmers (probably directed by Festival officials) turned off the “Tulip Cams” that show how the fields are doing, so people can see the flowers at their best full bloom.  Double-whammy for all those who look forward to a trip to see the flowers.

Hubby and I go most years, and I try to get new photos each year.  So here are many of the photos I have taken in previous years.  I hope you enjoy them.

2015

Tulips

2017

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Tulip Fields near Mount Vernon, WA

The farmers in the Skagit also grow daffodils, and they bloom before the tulips.

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Skagit Daffodils

2019 was an exceptional year for the tulips.

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It’s a crying shame that the state government dictated that the tulip-growers of the Skagit Valley were unable to sell their crop this year.  So unnecessary, and so depressing for those of us who need those brightly-colored flowers to show us that Spring has arrived.  We fervently hope that the growers will be back next year.

 

 

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #105-Spring

Spring.  The first sign is the gradually, gradually, lengthening days.  Still awaking in the dark, but driving home from work in daylight.  Here in the Pacific Northwest, Spring is normally pretty rainy (yeah, the  cliche about April showers bringing May flowers that we all know and love).  But we actually love the rain here, because that means Mother Nature waters our yards instead of us doing it.

SpringYard2

Our Japanese Maple trees leaf out, and the grasses are green again.  The rain fills the bird-bath, and sometimes our resident squirrel comes in for a drink.

On my drive to work in the morning, I travel the roads on the perimeter of Paine Field, the Snohomish County Airport.  There are five of these flowering cherry trees, which are actually pretty old.  This year, the flowers were so heavy, the branches were dipping almost to the ground.

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This year, to spite the Government lockdown, I got in the car and drove up to the Skagit Valley in March to take a look at the tulip fields.  It was too early for tulips, but the blueberry vines were just about to start budding.

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Last year, the tulips were in full bloom in April.  It’s a wonder, being able to get out of your car, and walk through the fields of brightly-colored flowers.  Tiptoe through the Tulips, indeed!

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A bit farther west of the tulip fields is the town of LaConner, on the Swinomish Slough.  Salmon swim up the channel, and local sculptors have captured some.

LaConner

And Life flows on, within you and without you…  George Harrison

Link

NO. Absolutely not. No way. Ever.

NO. Absolutely not.  No way. Ever.

The latest “expert” opinion on the Wuhan Coronavirus Crisis, brought to you in all its Red, Communist plumage.  Coronavirus expert estimates how long we will be required to wear masks.

This particular “expert” estimates that we will be required to wear masks when around other people for Several Years. How many of my readers are prepared to go out in public, to work, to shop, to a restaurant, or virtually anywhere, with your FACE, the part of you that makes you Human, covered by a mask, for the next Several Years?  How many of us will be willing to literally never see the faces of our friends, relatives, coworkers, and family, for years to come?

And who will be doing the requiring?  Will the CDC, who has been fudging the statistics for months, issue the proclamation that masks should be required, literally forever?  We all know that Democrat governors and mayors all over the country have been reveling in their power to literally stop their economies in their tracks, by executive orders never sanctioned by their elected legislatures.  And they love being able to decide what kinds of businesses are “essential”, and which are non-essential, thus picking winners and losers (except for the fact that all businesses have been losers in one way or another from the Chinese-introduced virus).

The governor of my state of Washington has made mask-wearing in public Mandatory, State-wide.  Even in small towns in Eastern Washington with few cases.  I am already defying that mandate, and if the so-called expert referenced above is believed by the powers that be, I will defy that mandate also.

I am hoping that this will simply be a bridge too far for most people.  Most of the people in my life have rolled over and played dead for Dimslee, and meekly go about with their masks on.  Not I, said the nearly-retired Patriot.

Lens-Artists Challenge #104-Summer

First, a little musical introduction.

For some reason, this song plays pretty often on my internal tape.

In the summer of 2010, Hubby and I took a three-week vacation, and drove from our home in Washington State to Michigan and back, for a Hillsdale Hostel.  We took the Southern Route to get there, through Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, and Iowa, to get to Hillsdale. and we took the Northers route home, through Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, northern Montana, and Idaho.

The trip to Hillsdale took us by some very beautiful scenery, and the weather was excellent. Well, most of the time it was excellent.  On the first day of driving, we crossed Eastern Washington, Northern Idaho, and Montana, and spent the night in Missoula.  The next day, we drove through a corner of Yellowstone National Park.

This formation is called “Devil’s Slide”, for obvious reasons!  Sometimes I wished I had a geologist along to explain how those layers of rock, which start out horizontal, got tilted to be vertical!  We do know that those rocks started out as layers of sand at the bottom of an ancient body of water.  That’s the Yellowstone River just visible in the foreground.

Next, our journey took us through Wyoming.  On another hot day, we visited another “devil”, the Devil’s Tower National Monument.

Devil’s Tower National Monument, Wyoming

Boy, that Devil sure gets around!  I have always loved that columnar basalt, created when layers of hot volcanic rock cool quickly, into lengths of hexagonal rock.  Washington State has extensive bluffs of that same rock, along the Columbia River.

Next, we drove across South Dakota.  2010 was a pretty wet year, and we saw fields of tall green grass, and cows belly-deep in it.  We stopped at the South Dakota Air and Space Museum, which has a number of old warplanes on the field outside.  I captured this pair of house-finches enjoying the sunshine.

When we crossed the Missouri River into Iowa, the weather changed.  Dramatically. We did our best to outrun a big thunderstorm across much of the state.  This picture was taken through the windshield of the car barreling down the highway.  It was pretty spectacular, and the outside temperature was in the 80s.

We made it to DesMoines just in time!

On the last day before we got to Hillsdale, we drove through Indiana, and made a pleasant stop in the town of Elkhart.  Now, some of you might know what Elkhart was famous for many years ago, and that is brass band instruments.  More than one manufacturer of horns was based in Elkhart, and we found a really fun outdoor art exhibit that celebrates that history.

My internal tape was playing 76 Trombones all afternoon!

We had a great time at Hillsdale, taking classes taught by Hillsdale faculty, meeting people from all over the country, and sightseeing around the area.

On our way home, we took the Northern Route.  We knew we were back in Eastern Washington, when we saw this.  That Devil must have been following us all the way!

Dust devil, wheat field in Eastern Washington

In the Good Old Summertime

 

 

A bittersweet Independence Day

A bittersweet Independence Day

This year of 2020, when we Americans should be celebrating American Exceptionalism-the big difference in America’s founding and history from every other nation on Earth; our great country is riven by rioting, looting, Marxism, ugliness, vandalism—oh, and also a worldwide pandemic of a virus that originated in Communist China.

Instead of the sound of parades, brass bands playing Stars and Stripes Forever, and laughing children; we hear screams, bullhorns, and the rending sounds of toppling monuments.  Instead of praise for the Founding Fathers George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and all the others, we hear praise for career criminals and Marxist fugitives.

The government school systems all across our country have produced a generation of youth who are taught that their country was illegitimately founded by a bunch of nasty bigoted, misogynistic, racist conquerors whose only interest was killing the natives they found here and taking over their land.  They were taught that the founders of America, because most were White and Male, were, by their very nature unfit to govern the population.  They are now being taught that the prime important date in America’s history was 1619, the year that the first “slave ship” docked.  And it is those youth who are now engaging in orgies of destruction, motivated by a so-called “Black Lives Matter” movement whose founders are avowed Marxists who despise America and wish to take it down.

We should be looking to all the manifestly great things that America, as founded, has done for those of us fortunate enough to have been born here, as well as the millions of legal (and too many illegal) immigrants who voluntarily left their own countries to seek a more-productive life here in America.  Those youth who constantly denigrate America should try spending a year or so in Cuba or Venezuela, and then see how they like it, compared to their pretty cushy life here.

This year in America, Summer has been Cancelled, due to the effects of the Wuhan Coronavirus, and the destructive Lockdowns perpetrated by the state and local Governments.  Everyday American citizens have been isolated from their friends and neighbors, schools closed (keeping children from their friends), offices and factories closed (resulting in massive unemployment and business failures), and city streets emptied.  The Virus did not cause this, the Governments did; making Policy at the behest of so-called Experts whose advice changes seemingly daily.  State governors and city mayors have become drunk with power, and they continually increase their decreed control over their citizens.  Most of the people of this great nation have become compliant sheep, going around in masks, and obeying every proclamation from their Masters. Never before in the history of this country has the economy been nearly totally brought to a screeching halt by any disease.  Even smallpox epidemics, and the Spanish Flu of 1918 did not see the total shutdown of the economy, with all its destruction.

The people of America are tired, and angry, and sick of being quarantined.  They see massive “demonstrations” against “police brutality”; thousands of people in the streets, with NO “social-distancing” or mask-wearing.  And when the “new cases” of viral disease spike, they hear NO mention of those mass demonstrations as the cause.

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And this year, perhaps we fortunate Americans should be thinking of those Citizens of Hong Kong, whose previous liberty and prosperity is being taken away by Communist China.  Just this week, the Communist Chinese passed a new national security law, given them increased control of Hong Kong, in violation of the Basic Agreement signed in 1989 when Britain ceded control of the island (perhaps now looking like a bad idea).  Going forward now, the Communists will be in tighter control, and can arrest and detain Hong Kongers at will and take them back to the mainland for “trial”.

The immediate impact is likely to be suppression of an antigovernment protest movement, whose demonstrations, within a comfort zone that protected rights to publicly question authority, were fueled by widespread public misgivings over Beijing’s growing influence.

The increase in the Communists’ power threatens all that has been beneficial about Hong Kong, including its economic freedom and rule of law.  In Communist countries, there is no such thing as rule of law, and citizens can be detained for any reason, for any length of time, with no recourse.  Already, bookstore owners and newspaper editors in Hong Kong have been “disappeared” by the Communists, simply vanishing.  For about 100 years, Hong Kong has been a haven of economic liberty in Asia, and those days are coming to a close.  The US has already declared that Hong Kong is no longer “semiautonomous”, and this declaration means that Hong Kong will no longer be treated as a free trading partner.  The Communists of mainland China are killing the Golden Goose of their own prosperity.

So, on this Independence Day, all Proud American Citizens should stand up and cheer.  Praise this Great Country, sing God Bless America or the Star-Spangled Banner, and be happy that you were born in the United States of America, the

GREATEST COUNTRY ON GOD’S GREEN EARTH

Jenny Durkan, the Mayor of Seattle, is Racist, and Black Lives don’t seem to matter to her

Jenny Durkan, the Mayor of Seattle, is Racist, and Black Lives don’t seem to matter to her

For nearly a month now, activists have occupied a portion of Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood.  Those activists and their hangers-on have barricaded the streets; desecrated the Seattle Police East Precinct and prevented the Police from returning there; broken windows and graffiti-tagged businesses in their “zone”; and allowed multiple shootings and two deaths.  The shooting victims were all Black men.  Do you see the Mayor decrying those deaths, and bringing the murderers to justice?

No, the Mayor is actually sympathetic to the Antifa and other so-called activists’ demands, and, funny thing, the vast majority of those wreckers are White!  For a month, the mayor has let those destructive, law-breaking activists hold part of her city, and has refrained from arresting them all and clearing out their manifestly illegal blocking of city streets.  Even the Black police chief, Carmen Best, has refrained from actually doing anything to remove the occupiers from city streets and let HER police officers back into their precinct station.  She comes out with these wimpy statements:

“Enough is enough,” she said during an impromptu Monday morning press conference with reporters. “It’s very fluid, (and) it’s very unfortunate that we have another murder in this area identified as the CHOP.”

Weasel, weasel, weasel, weasel!  What a total flop that police chief has been.  And the Washington State Patrol has also been complicit to a large degree, willingly blocking off both directions of Interstate Highway 5 going through downtown Seattle every time the demonstrators decide to walk onto the freeway.  I am on the Washington State Department of Transportation’s mailing list for long-haul truckers, and I have seen multiple messages a day noting the blockage of I-5 with no reason given (perhaps they are afraid to tell the truckers the reason they cannot proceed down the highway with their goods).

The White Mayor of Seattle and the Black Police Chief exhibit racist behaviors in their lack of action to bring the murderers of black men, and the occupiers of City streets to Justice.  Do not believe one word they say about Black Lives Mattering to them.  Their actions say otherwise.

Corporations Invite The Fox Into the Hen House

The title of the Wall Street Journal article reads: Firms Seek Government Mask Mandate.  It seems that some companies are asking their state governments to do what California’s Gavin Newsom and Washington’s (sleepy) Jay Inslee have done-issue statewide requirements that all persons wear face coverings when outside their homes.  The Journal says:

Rules vary by state and even by municipality, and some executives have said the issue would be simpler if the government ordered them to require masks so they could tell reluctant customers that they are simply abiding by regulations.

It seems that most big US airlines have been requiring all passengers to wear masks for months, but they would still like the Feds to make it a rule.  They don’t want flight attendants to get into arguments with passengers who remove masks in flight, and

a federal requirement that passengers wear masks in flight would make it easier for airlines to enforce their policies, according to some airline executives and union representatives. “If the government were to mandate it, I think that would help“, Delta Chief Executive Ed Bastian said in an interview with Axios. “If the government mandates it, then you can enforce it.”

Las Vegas casino workers have called on Nevada to mandate mask-wearing.  What a shame, that they have to fear their customers.

The biggest shame is that corporations are literally inviting the government into their companies, to set rules of behavior for their customers.  Normally, most big companies chafe at all the government rules and regulations they have to follow, but obviously not this time.

If I were they, I would be very careful of what they are asking, because once the government has its nose under their tent, they may look forward to more government rules that they did NOT want.

Photos

I have not had nearly enough opportunity these days to get outside with my camera.  So I thought I’d go back to the archive and find some of the photos that I’m fondest of.  Here are some.

Potholes Reservoir, Eastern Washington
Potholes Reservoir, Eastern Washington-site of ancient flood

For some reason, this photo of the Potholes Reservoir has been the most popular photo I have ever posted on my blog.  In my stats, list of “views”, this one comes up the most often.  I remember taking this, when I stopped there on my way to the Tri-Cities for a Pacific Northwest Purchasing Conference.  I went by myself, and gave myself enough time for stops whenever I found something picturesque.

Thirteen Bushtits at once on the suet feeder
Thirteen Common Bushtits on our Suet Feeder, January 2012

In the “lucky break” category, I was fortunate to capture this one, out my back door during a snowy period, which is fairly rare around here.  Bushtits normally travel in flocks, and they just loved that suet.

Mount Rainier over Puget Sound

I have always loved this one, which captures the natural beauty of Puget Sound.  It was taken from the deck of a Washington State Ferry on our way back from Kingston on the Kitsap Peninsula.  I always thought that Mount Rainier looked like it was floating in the sky.

Tranquil bench, Seattle Japanese Garden
Leafy glade with bench, Seattle Japanese Garden

The Seattle Japanese Garden is nearly 100 years old now, and extremely popular all year round.  It is very peaceful, with lots of nice benches where visitors can sit and contemplate the trees and shadows.  So many different shades of green!

ArchForming-Zion
Cliff, with signs of an arch forming. Zion National Park, Utah.

Just spectacular rock formations at Zion National Park.

Cactus-they look like space aliens!
A bunch of different kinds of barrel cactus.

I was actually surprised by how much I enjoyed the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix.  Some of the cacti they have there look almost sinister, like they could break formation and attack you.

Sunset clouds
Sunset above the clouds

This one speaks for itself.

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I learned recently that Rush Limbaugh’s favorite bird is the pelican, so I immediately sent him this one that I took in 2018 in San Francisco Bay from the deck of the Crystal Symphony cruise ship.  Flying in a perfect “V” formation!

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Boats at Marina, Victoria

Taken at 7AM on a Sunday morning, with the calm water, and the boats at the marina inVictoria, BC, Canada.  No two boats are alike.

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Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii, when it was erupting.  We spent an hour off the coast of the Island of Hawaii, watching and listening as the lava flowed into the Pacific.  Real Fire and Brimstone-the power of Nature.

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Walls of Garden

Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island.  You can lose yourself in there.  We first went there on our honeymoon in 2003, and we try to go back as often as we can.

I think the July 4 Holiday weekend will be a good time to get out and drive around our beautiful Pacific Northwest.

They’ve Got Us Right Where They Want Us (with thanks to a Ricochet friend for the idea)

Isolated from friends and family.

Schools closed, so our children cannot see or play with their friends; in fact, being taught to fear their friends.

Churches closed. Movie theaters, retail shops, bars and restaurants closed (these are all the places where we socialize together).

Stuck at home. Working from home, distant from colleagues and supervisors

Jobs lost, so people lose their sense of purpose in life.

Information about the disease itself, and about how individuals should respond to it, inconsistent and unreliable.

Government so-called “experts”, giving contradictory advice on a daily basis.  University computer “modelers” predicting apocalypse regularly, but changing the parameters so nothing is ever constant.

Elderly people in congregate-care facilities even more isolated, forbidden to see their own families, dying alone and in despair.

People required to wear a mask over their face, the one feature of the body that makes a person human.  Unseen: smiles of satisfaction, frowns of concern, kids’ tongues sticking out at their friends’ good-natured teasing.  Seen: lineups outside stores, dozens of people with no faces, just blank masks, Six Feet Apart

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Citizens encouraged by Governments to inform on neighbors and strangers; asked to turn in their neighbors for violations of mask-wearing and physical-distancing guidelines.  Re-creating the East German Stasi secret police in the United States of America.

And to add insult to injury, Summer Events that define the Summer season are cancelled.  July 4 festivities everywhere are cancelled; the Bellevue Arts & Crafts Fair is cancelled; the Seattle Chamber Music Festival concerts are cancelled in person-online just isn’t the same.  Not only do you have to go around wearing a mask, all of your social events are cancelled.  This is criminal, and very depressing to the populace.

They’ve got us right where they want us.  Cowed, afraid of our friends, neighbors, and coworkers.  Looking over our shoulders whenever we are away from home, watching everywhere for the snitches, just ready to call the enforcers to slap us with misdemeanor charges for refusing to hide behind the mask.  And if, as expected, the promised Wuhan Coronavirus Vaccine does NOT make its appearance any time soon, this state of affairs will be UNENDING.

They are Destroying American Society, with malice aforethought.  Be very careful of complying with every government “guideline”-they are leading you to disaster.

Are you ready to cower forever, afraid of an unseen virus that 96% of us, even if we get sick, will survive?  Not I, said the Patriot.

Calling All Citizens of the State of Washington: Defy Tyranny, Resist the Mandatory Wearing of Masks Outside the Home

The governor of the state of Washington, “Sleepy” Jay Dimslee, has issued a Proclamation, making it mandatory that ALL citizens wear face-covering masks whenever outside their homes.  This Edict applies to all citizens over the age of Two Years.  The Penalty for being caught without a mask over your face is a Misdemeanor Citation; as in, you will have a Criminal Record.  And the duration of this Edict is: Until there is a Vaccine against the deadly Wuhan Coronavirus.  Anyone willing to bet on when that might be? 18 months?  Two years?

There are some exceptions to this Mandate.  People with a medical condition that prevents them from wearing a mask are exempt, as are those actually eating in a restaurant.  Those are the only two exemptions.

Now, you parents out there, how many of you think you will be able to make your three- and four-year-old children wear a mask?  And what will you be teaching your children?  Why, you will be teaching them to FEAR Other People!  No, Johnny, when we go out to visit Aunt Mary, we all must wear masks so we don’t breathe Aunt Mary’s air.  Why?  Because we might catch a deadly disease from Aunt Mary.  Or She might catch a deadly disease from Us!

This unilateral Edict from the Holy Governor of the People of the State of Washington is not only unconstitutional (it is not a law passed by the legislature, and it has a criminal penalty, which is outside the jurisdiction of the Executive branch of government), it is practically unenforceable.  I wonder if local police and sheriffs will be happy about having to cite the thousands of Free Citizens of Washington for the crime of going outside the home unmasked.  How many Washington Citizens will be willing to add a new item of clothing to their daily wardrobe, and have to breathe in their own CO2 for at least another full year?

Not I, said the Free Citizen of Washington State.  I am not a Serf, bound to my Master in Olympia, and I will not comply.

Free Citizens, Join Me in Defying Tyranny!  Resist the Mask Mandate!  Stand up for your Constitutional Rights to Freely Assemble.