The War of All Against All…

or How the Governments Multiplied Their Power by Destroying the US Economy to Fight the Wuhan Coronavirus

The United States has seen epidemics of new and old diseases many times in the past.  The so-called Spanish Flu infected 500 Million people worldwide between 1918 and 1920, claiming between 17 and 50 million lives (figures vary, because governments around the world censored their information reaching the public).  Abot 105 Million people were infected in the United States, with 500,000-850,000 deaths.

In 2009, the Swine Flu Pandemic infected 700 Million to 1.8 Billion people worldwide, with about 250,000 deaths.  The US had about 12,000 die from this flu.

In neither of the above pandemics did the United States Government, and State and Local governments, nearly completely shut down their economies to fight the Pandemic Flu.  Travel restrictions were instituted, and the population was advised to stay home if ill, wear masks in public, and avoid large gatherings.

It is estimated that about 45,000 people die of influenza and its complications in the United States each year.  Flu Season is prepared for regularly, the population (especially the elderly) is urged to get their “flu shot” each year, and life goes on.  Symphony concerts, football games, and rock concerts are held everywhere during flu season, and life goes on.  Thousands die of flu every year, and the so-called Press pays little attention.

This time, and this Wuhan Coronavirus, are different.  The world watched, and took notice, in January when news came of a contagious, deadly new virus in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.  It was supposed to have originated in a Chinese “Wet Market”, where exotic animals are sold, alive and dead, for food and medicine.  There were rumors of medical personnel in China dying of this virus.  Rumors also flew about the Chinese Communist Party suppressing news of the virus, and “disappearing” doctors who tried to warn the wider world about it.

Soon, those rumors were confirmed to be true, and the rest of the world began to take serious notice.  The virus spread within Wuhan and its surrounding territory, the the story of brave Ophthalmologist Li Wenliang, who tried to warn the world about this new virus, and was subsequently silenced by the Communist Party, and died of the virus.  Stories emerged about heavy-handed Chinese methods of trying to contain the virus, including welding apartment doors shut so inhabitants could not go out (stories and pictures exist of this).

It took the UN Agency, the World Health Organization until March to declare a pandemic existed, and that organization and its Director General did their best to minimize the effects, and play down the role of the Chinese Communist Party.  Over the weeks, it came out that the WHO has been under the thumb of the Chinese Communist Party for years.

Europe and Asia suffered the most, and the news was filled with stories of how hospitals in Italy and elsewhere were overwhelmed with Covid patients. [editorial comment: I wonder why that name just grates on me? Every time I hear it, I cringe].  The first “country lockdowns” were seen in Italy, with everyone required to remain in their homes, not leaving except for “essential” activities like food-shopping; stores and factories shuttered; travel forbidden.  You may want to check out this story of how Chinese companies are buying up Italian ones-no wonder Italy was so badly affected. Soon many countries were locking down their economies, and closing their borders.

In the US, President Donald Trump instituted a ban on travel from China in January, and of course it set off the wailing dogs of the Leftist Press, bemoaning the travel ban as discriminatory and unnecessary.  The first case of the virus was actually found not so very far from where I live in Washington State; the man, who had traveled from Wuhan, China, before the ban, recovered and returned home.  And also in our area, a nursing home in Kirkland was the first incidence of virus spread among residents of a long-term-care facility.  The disease has been found to disproportionately affect the very elderly, especially in congregate-care settings.  There were many deaths.

In February, the first state-wide lockdowns started.  The San Francisco Bay Area was almost totally locked down, businesses closed, travel forbidden, and the people confined to their homes, supposedly to “flatten the curve”, and prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed.  Only “essential” businesses were still permitted to operate, but the definition of “essential” varied by State, and by locality.  The lockdowns were supposed to be only short-term, until the hospitals had time to increase capacity.  The Navy sent two hospital ships to New York and San Francisco, so care for non-virus patients so the hospitals could concentrate on virus patients.  Neither ship saw much use, and they were withdrawn.

Schools and colleges closed, and students were sent home.  K-12 students were advised to engage in “distance-learning”, but many school districts had no experience with this, and teachers had no idea how to do it, so most students got little education at the end of the year.  Parents who lost their own jobs, were now forced to stay home with their kids. Parents who could work from home, discovered that they now had two jobs-their own, and “school teacher” for their kids.

One feature of the anti-virus lockdowns was the requirement that hospitals stop all “non-essential” care; non-essential included joint-replacement surgeries, cancer surgeries, diagnostic radiology services, and all other non-emergency care.  These so-called elective procedures are how most hospitals make their money, and when they were no longer allowed to do them, their revenue suffered.  Many hospitals laid off doctors, nurses, and other personnel-in the midst of a pandemic!  And some hospitals were forced to close their doors, reducing the total quantity of care for many communities.  Numerous people, afraid to go to hospital emergency rooms, died at home of heart attacks and strokes that might have been treated if they had called for help.  How many more cases of cancer will grow worse, because the people were denied diagnostic exams?  That may not be known now for years.

Most localities closed all their bars and restaurants, throwing millions out of work, and contributing to the increase in the unemployment rate from the 3.5% in January, to 15% in March.  State Unemployment offices were inundated with claims that, despite Federal money, were delayed when there were simply not enough people to process them.  All travel being forbidden, decimated the airline industry, and the big aircraft manufacturers.  Many parts of the economy simply shut.  City streets were deserted.

State Governors had been presented with a kind of power they had never had before.  The Feds took the advice of infectious-disease “experts” who had never seen an infectious virus like this one, and so they simply closed the economy, to stop the spread of the virus.  But those who run these government agencies knew nothing about making policy, and their jobs and livelihoods were never in danger.  They were so far “above” the man or woman on the street that it never occurred to them that they might be doing more harm than good.  The news stories emphasized how deadly the virus is, and how you need to protect yourself and others whenever you leave your home.  And all the efforts to stop or slow the spread of the virus, have been demonstrably unsuccessful.  The virus continues to spread.  People still get sick, and some die.  But the War of All Against All is perpetuated by Government.

Children have been denied the right to go to school, learn English, math, and science, and play with their friends.  They are not allowed out of their homes, except for the back yards (if they have one-kids in big cities don’t).  Kids who were eligible for low-cost or free lunch at school cannot get lunch.  Children are now being taught to be afraid of their friends.

“Social Distancing” is the new Mantra-stay away from all those other people, because they might carry disease and death!  The economy has partially re-opened, but stores everywhere install plexiglass barriers at checkout stands, so the clerks don’t get infected by their customers.  Many State Governors have enlisted Businesses to be their “diktat-enforcers”.  It is now mandatory for everyone age five and over to wear a “face-covering” or mask whenever they enter a building other than their own home.  Businesses who allow un-masked customers in their stores can be fined, or their store closed.

Society itself is being destroyed.  Every person is being taught, over and over, to distrust EVERY other person.  Government, in its heavy-handed response to the Wuhan Coronavirus, is proceeding to tear down the foundations of society; ripping the people away from their friends and acquaintances, and destroying businesses on a daily basis.  Here are some news items. gleaned from various places, showing

The War of All Against All

Virus Takes Heavy Toll on Stores

The outdoors store Land, Sea, And Sky, which sells telescopes and binoculars, closed in March and had its employees working remotely.  Once it reopened, it chose to keep the store closed and conduct transactions on the sidewalk.  They chose, because they have high-risk employees, not to allow customers back in the shop.

The [record] store stopped allowing customers to review albums in-store.

Truck stops will now require all their customers to wear masks.  The coronavirus has made life on the road more challenging for truckers as they contend with new requirements and restrictions.

In a Wall Street Journal article, outside meetings are shown.  There is a picture of seven adults in lawn chairs in a circle, all wearing masks, sitting six feet apart.  Outdoors.  The article says that some people may still feel anxious about meeting in groups, even outdoors.

Headline: Fauci, Powell warn of fresh risks to Lives, Economy, if virus spirals

Health experts say mass adherence to basic guidelines is sorely needed.

Due to safety protocols, many colleges aren’t alowing parents in dorms, or, in some cases, even on campus.  Move-in dates have been staggered over multiple days, to allow students to keep distant, with specific time slots allotted. Some schools are limiting the number of suitcases students can bring with them, asking that everything be shipped ahead to reduce trips in and out of the residence halls. Many students will be tested for the virus immediately upon arrival and quarantined as they await results. [Premise: Everyone is assumed to be infected]

About return to schools: Even if the numbers allow them to open, teachers and staff members will have to distance themselves by at least six feet from each other and from children.  Students in third grade and higher will be forced to wear masks.  [effects: children will not see their teachers smile, or their friends either]

...the American Federation of Teachers, the second-largest education union, threatened “safety strikes” if reopening plans are not to their liking.

On net, therefore, the value of online public school is much lower, especially for young children, than the value of in-person public school.

Summer school has informed some districts’ plans.  In Norwalk, Conn., as soon as someone at a summer school tested positive in July, the building shut for three week-days of disinfection, plus the weekend.  All six people in the infected person’s group quarantined for 14 days.

Headlines on Wednesday, July 25:  Pandemic Lockdowns Clip Sales at Gucci; Altria Sees Pause In Smoking Slide, Shift to Cigarettes [people locked down at home are smoking more]; Closures, Costs, Dent McDonald’s Profit; Starbucks Loss Worst in Decade; Mondelez Snack Sales Suffer From Measures to Fight Virus Overseas; L Brands to Lay Off Hundreds.

Virus Cases Slow, but States Struggle.   Headline sounds like it is trying to demoralize us.

There have been numerous stories of citizens in big cities “snitching” on their neighbors.  New York issued a phone number for a hotline, for citizens to report others not in compliance with Government Mandates to wear masks and “social-distance” from others. There is now even a word to describe snitches, they are called “Karens”.

Here is a picture from one of my Ricochet friends, of signs she found around her neighborhood one day.  Governments are creating a mini-Stasi, the East German Secret Police that kept tabs on all citizens.

Karens

Below are some very pithy comments from a bunch of my Ricochet friends, who are in general smarter than the average bear.

As we’ve navigated this pandemic, I’ve seen indicators and warnings (term of art, in my previous life) that we’re all getting played across the board by this pandemic reaction and mitigation efforts. What I am saying is not that there should be no mitigation or protection efforts. I’ve stated my preferences of the start point for protecting the vulnerable before, and early on in this grift.   [Boss Mongo]

 

Progressives are pushing a “no risk” solution, which of course is not “no risk.” It goes like this: Do whatever it takes to ensure that no one dies; OK someone died, but let’s now do whatever it takes so that no one else dies; OK someone else died, but now do whatever it takes so that no others die; (wash, rinse, repeat). This maximizes, not minimizes, total losses. And yet it is being sold as the way to minimize loss. It sounds like a wonderful aspiration: we all work together to keep us all alive. But in practice, it is the best way to assure that more people die — if not as a direct loss to the disease, then as an indirect loss due to the response to the disease.  [Rodin]

 

Governments, businesses, organizations, and people have imposed or implemented many virus transmission mitigation efforts, including closing businesses, schools, churches, public events and social activities, preventing travel, forcing people to remain physically distant from one another, and building physical barriers to separate people from one another, including extra walls, face masks, etc. These virus transmission mitigation efforts have and will continue to impose significant costs on society and on individuals. “Costs” that are not just monetary, but also medical, psychological, and social.  [Full Size Tabby]

 

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced tonight that he has authorized the city to shut off water and power at homes and businesses that continue to host large parties and gatherings, “in flagrant violation” of health orders:

“Starting on Friday night, if the LAPD responds and verifies that a large gathering is occurring at a property, and we see these properties re-offending time and time again, they will provide notice and initiate the process to request that DWP shut off service within the next 48 hours.”  [ontheleftcoast, but I had already seen this info]

 

This next part is something I copied myself from the KOMO Seattle Web Site.  There is a well-known U of Washington group whose prediction/projection “models” of the virus spread/containment inform the governor of Washington state, who has said that the massive restrictions will stay in place “until there is a vaccine” for the virus.  In my opinion, this is evil.

SEATTLE – Washington state will likely need to reimpose stricter stay-home orders and business closures by October amid a projected increase in the state’s death rate from coronavirus, according to a new University of Washington study released Thursday.

The study says the stricter measures will be needed when the state’s daily death rate reaches 8 per million, and may be similar to those imposed at the start of the pandemic in March and April, including closures of nonessential businesses and expanded stay-home orders.

However, if face mask usage were to increase to 95% of the state’s population, the stricter measures could be delayed by six to eight weeks, the study concluded.

The new study by UW’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation also found that America’s “rollercoaster” approach to COVID-19 is worsening the effects of the pandemic, and that the nation could see nearly 300,000 deaths by Dec. 1 unless there is a wholesale increase in mask-wearing.“We’re seeing a rollercoaster in the United States,” said IHME Director Christopher Murray. “It appears that people are wearing masks and socially distancing more frequently as infections increase, then after a while as infections drop, people let their guard down and stop taking these measures to protect themselves and others – which, of course, leads to more infections. And the potentially deadly cycle starts over again.”

The study forecasts a total U.S death toll of 295,011 by December if mask-wearing does not increase – an increase of 137,000 fatalities over the current total of 158,000.

However, if 95% of the people in the U.S. were to wear masks when leaving their homes starting today, that total number would decrease to 228,271 deaths, a drop of 49%, the study projects. And more than 66,000 lives would be saved.

There is no possible way that those modelers can have any kind of certainty about any of the above statements, and just the thought that they can impose strict stay-home orders on the Citizens of Washington State on such flimsy evidence is appalling!  And, what if there never is a vaccine?  What if the virus just stays around?  Will the people let the State run their lives forever?

Spot Inspections Rise as Officials Seek Covid-19 Safety compliance.

Governments in the United States are pitting each citizen against every other citizen.  Mask-wearing is said to “protect you from others, and others from you”.  Government is creating the ultimate low-trust society in the United States, and that will ensure that the United States as Founded, will disappear.  If each American is taught to be deathly afraid of each other American, how can anyone ever have some semblance of a normal life?  Governments and the Press are already getting us prepared for the “new normal” of remaining socially-distant from our former friends and coworkers, obsessively washing everything in our environment, including ourselves, and suspicion of every place other than our own homes.

Governments have destroyed Sports, both professional and amateur.  My husband goes to an athletic club to play squash; the club was hard-closed for five months!  Even now, the club is open, but he can’t play with another person on the court, or even take a shower after hitting by himself.  This is cruelty!  I wonder if all those pro football season-ticket holders will be keeping those seats, if they are not allowed to watch the games in person?

They have destroyed the performing arts (see my post on that subject from June).  Our tickets for Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra were worthless, since all the 2020 concerts were canceled.  At least the organization got our money.  Will they survive?  Unknown.

In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, entitled “Want Schools to Open? Get Serious about Outbreaks”, former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb and a co-author say these things:

[low-income children] These are the children whose futures will suffer most from keeping schools shut. The country chose the short-term benefit of reopening un-essential businesses over the long-term benefit of ensuring children could be educated properly. [This is manifestly BS.  Who are they to deem any business un-essential?]

…trying to open schools doesn’t mean pretending Covid poses no risk to children, a move that only sows distrust among parents [as if that statement didn’t sow distrust itself]. Closed schools in the spring protected many children from Covid [impossible to prove]. This deliberate sheltering means we don’t know all the consequences of the virus spreading widely in children [assumption that the consequences would be dire].

And possibly the worst part of all this destruction is that the People, from very early on, have been compliant, obedient, Sheep.  Notice how easy it was for most US Citizens to be herded into their homes, and ordered to stay there.  Like dogs, who drool on their masters and obsequiously do their bidding, the American people allowed themselves to be ruled by their elected officials, with next to no pushback.  Even now, six months later, there is still very little clamor from the people, demanding to be let out of their pens and go back to productive work.  The Powers are saying that it might be necessary for further lockdowns this year-where are the cries from the cowed, compliant masses?

The “Healthcare Emergency” that started in February is now over six months old, and Governments everywhere still have their boots on the necks of all citizens.  Most cities are enforcing mask requirements and insisting that people stay six feet away for all other people.  Bars and restaurants are still closed, or only partially open. Fear literally permeates the entire country.  Adults are prevented from meeting their friends outside, and in many places, even in their own homes!  No one’s life is safe from government mandates anymore.  Unemployment is still stubbornly high, and many people will soon exhaust their benefits.  Governments say, “don’t worry, we will take care of you, and protect you from that nasty, killer Virus”.  But most people don’t want the government to take care of them.  We want the Government to let us get back to work, and play.  We want our children to be able to play outside with their friends, and go to school to learn.

Most of us don’t want to be at war with everyone else.  We need to start fighting back against our own governments.  They are truly Drunk with Power, and need to be stopped.  Starting with the local level.  Tell your Rulers that you will elect new officials who see their citizens as adults who can make their own decisions, instead of as children who need to be controlled by their betters.  We need to Reject the War of All Against All, before we are All ruined.

Lens-Artists Challenge #109 Under the Sun…Around the West

The same Sun shines on us all.  Everyone on Planet Earth gets their sustenance from the same Sun.  That Sun shines over Alaska, as well as over the Hawaiian Islands.  I spent two years in Minneapolis in grad school, and I especially appreciated that sunshine in Winter, when it was bitter cold.

In 2016, Hubby and I went on a cruise to Alaska with Hillsdale College.  The sun shone on our ship, the Crystal Serenity.

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That pool looks pretty inviting, doesn’t it?

When we got to Skagway, the sun was shining, and it was about 70 degrees out.  A beautiful day, surrounded by mountains.

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Now that I look at this photo, it looks like the ship is about to run right over all those vans in front of it.

And on the way home, among the Gulf Islands of Canada…

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This is actually an intersection of two perpendicular streams of water, and that makes for some treacherous cross-currents.

Farther West, in Hawaii-

The sun shines a lot in tropical Hawaii, and it was pretty nice while we were there.  But it’s often prudent to have shade available.  These beautiful ladies were doing their traditional hula dance for us.  They just looked so happy!

HulaLadies2

Yeah, it’s almost a cliche, but they were delightful to watch.

In 2014 we went to Arizona for another Hillsdale function.  Arizona is even hotter than Hawaii in the summer, and the sun shines most of the time.  When you think of Arizona, does cactus come to mind?

Forest of Cacti!
Forest of Cacti

When you think of the Pacific Northwest, does “rain” come to mind?  Yes, but the sun does shine too around here.

Mount Baker, seen from San Juan Ferry
Mount Baker, seen from San Juan Ferry, Puget Sound, WA

There may be “nothing new under the Sun”, but when it shines, we go outside to enjoy it.

 

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Lens-Artists Challenge #107 Winter

Lens-Artists Challenge #107 Winter

I like Winter.  I went to Minnesota to grad school in the early 1970s, and I quickly decided I much preferred winter to summer (98 degrees, 98% humidity-ugh!).  In Minnesota, winter is bitter cold, with temperatures as low as -45 at night, but the sun is shining most days.  There’s no more beautiful sight than the sun making the snowy scene sparkle like diamonds.  I regret that I have no photos from that time, but the memories linger.

In the Pacific Northwest, where I was born and raised, and live now, winters can be predictable-gray clouds, rain, and gloom most of the time.  But, as I heard somewhere, no one ever died shoveling two feet of “partly cloudy” off their doorstep!  In Minneapolis, we would hear regularly about people coming home, drunk, at 2AM, and falling asleep on their porch and freezing to death.

We do, however, get snow sometimes, and when we do, it turns our neighborhood, and our city, into a winter wonderland (and a driving nightmare).  I tend to go outside with my camera, starting with my own backyard.  2019 was actually a good year for snow.

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This avian visitor is a Varied Thrush, and he has an insect in his beak.  We have two pairs who visit the yard pretty much year-round, as they live in the mini-forest to the west of our house.

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Our Song Sparrows are also frequent visitors.  I end up refilling our bird feeder often in winter.

We can tell how much snow we get by checking out the stationary objects in the yard, and measuring the snowcaps.  We got the concrete pagoda for a wedding present, and it does hold quite a bit of snow.

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That’s a bird-bath in front, and our Japanese Maple on the right.  And out the front door:

Icicles

Those icicles are pretty, but an indication of trouble with the gutters.  We got that fixed earlier this year.  You can see that when it snows here, the sky stays normal, Pacific Northwest gray.  We natives are used to it, but our local university was a pioneer in the diagnosis and treatment of Seasonal Affective Disorder, or Seattle Depression.

At least once a year, we try to get up to Leavenworth, just on the East side of the Cascades, for their weekend Tree Lighting ceremony.  Now Leavenworth, a “tourist trap” that made itself into Washington’s Bavarian Village, does things up proud in the winter, with all the buildings, and trees downtown, strung with colorful lights.  To get there, you head east on US Highway 2.

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And when you get there…

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Leavenworth Tree Lighting-Before

 

I also have my little camera in my work bag, just to capture unexpected beauty in mundane things.  On my way to work, I drive around the perimeter of Paine Field, the county airport.  Who would have thought that a simple concrete-block wall would look this interesting?

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And when I got to work, it was still snowing.  When I went out for lunch…

ParkingLot-work-2019

In October of 2013, we drove to Las Vegas and back for a Ricochet meetup.  On the way back, we drove by the Grand Canyon, and Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks.  It was just gorgeous at Bryce.  Those red-rock features look majestic with their snow caps.

Rainbow Point, Bryce Canyon NP
View from Rainbow Point, Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah.
Natural Bridge, Bryce
“Natural Bridge”, Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Mother Nature likes winter, too, and makes such beautiful landscapes for us to see and appreciate.

 

 

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Lens-Artists Challenge #106-Autumn

Autumn has always been my favorite season.  Warm weather does not agree with me, and I prefer the crisp air of autumn to heat and humidity.  Here on the West Coast, we don’t have the hardwood forests found on the East Coast, but we do get some of the fall colors.

We went to Victoria, BC for our honeymoon in October of 2003, and a friend gave us an idea of where to stay.  We booked a room at the Inn at Laurel Point, where we had a wonderful view of the famed Inner Harbour.  We could watch the little harbor-taxi boats plying their way across the water.

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Water taxi, and tall ship. Victoria Inner Harbour

And we were fortunate to be right over the pretty Japanese-style garden.

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Pond and Garden, Inn at Laurel Point

Dusk is a particularly peaceful time of day in this autumn environment.  We had the special treat of watching the float-planes land, right opposite our balcony.  That’s the only route from our Washington State home to Victoria that we haven’t taken yet.

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Harbour Air Plane landing at Sunset, Victoria Inner Harbour

Seattle’s Kenmore Air has regular service to Victoria, and we might just take it someday, if the border opens again.

In the morning, we often take a walk around the neighborhood of the hotel.  Not too far away is the Inner Harbour Marina, where there are all kinds of boats docked.  Some are day-sailers and power boats, and there ere even some houseboats. That wooden boat with the square stern is a houseboat.

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Boats at Marina, Victoria

On our honeymoon, part of our package tour was a trip to the famous Butchart Gardens.  The gorgeous fall colors are at their best, and we try to go there whenever we celebrate our anniversary in Victoria.  The gardens never fail to display their showy colors, and inspired design.

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Valley Garden
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Japanese Garden Path
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Fountain

Literally, beauty wherever you look.

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Walls of Garden

In our own Cascade Mountains, we get some fall colors, even with our preponderance of evergreen trees (not for nothing is Washington called the Evergreen State).  Just over Stevens Pass, in Chelan County, is the Tumwater Canyon, on US Highway 2.  We drive this way many times during the year, because we love to go to Leavenworth on a day trip.  Along the Wenatchee River, if you get there at exactly the right time, you can see the brightly-colored trees reflected in the water.

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Fall Colors on the Wenatchee River, west of Leavenworth, WA

I am happiest when the autumn air is crisp, the leaves on the trees turn yellow and red, and I can be out in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

Even right near my home, autumn makes its appearance.  This beautiful red-leafed tree was found in the parking lot of our local Costco store!

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And every year, I notice this line of trees right behind our house, on the property of the Silver Lake Water District.

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Autumn-I can hardly wait until it gets here again.  Simple pleasures, close to home.

 

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Tubers

Tater

NO, not That Kind!

This kind!

Tubers-2

Tubers-1

On Saturday, Hubby and I took a drive from our home in Everett, over to the East Side of Lake Washington, and up to the town of Snoqualmie, via Fall City.  In July, the Snoqualmie River there is about three feet deep and pretty slow-moving.  The kids put their inner-tubes in the water upstream, and just leisurely float downstream.  It was a cool, gray day, but they were making the most of it.

It’s pretty hard to believe that, just a short distance upstream, you find this:

Snoqualmie Falls

Snoqualmie Falls.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

South Dakota Sights

For all you Ricochet members who are planning to go to the SD Meetup in September, I thought I’d do a little post with some of the photos I took when we visited on our way to Hillsdale Hostel in 2010.  We didn’t visit all the places Randy has found, but we did catch a few.  One place we visited then, that nobody knows about or wants to visit this year, is the Music Museum at the University of South Dakota in the town of Vermilion.  Get out your map, and try to find Vermilion.  You haven’t seen “off the beaten path” until you have been there.

Anyway, here are pictures of some of the places on Randy’s list.

That’s Devil’s Tower National Monument.  We spent half a day there, and walked the entire trail around the base.

MtRushmore

Obviously, Mount Rushmore.  And for you geology buffs, on the back side of Rushmore:

RockLayers

I was fascinated by the layers of this rock, and their out-of-kilter appearance.  The power of Nature.

Air-Space

This is only a small taste of the aircraft found at the Air and Space Museum.

Some more flying things at the museum!

 

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.

FlowerTree3

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.

SkagitBlueberries

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!

IMG_0284

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

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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

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #103-Surprise

A surprise is something unexpected, exciting, thrilling.

Animals

On our Hillsdale College cruise to Hawaii in 2018, we had a few hours in Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii.  We were taking a rest in a pleasant little shopping center, deciding where to go next, when I happened to glance at a tree behind me, and saw the big snail.  I got out my camera to take his picture, when I noticed, on the opposite side of his tree, a little green lizard!  I never would have noticed him if I hadn’t been zooming in on the snail.  And I’m pretty sure neither knew the other was there!

I also got a big kick out of this sign we saw in a coffee shop right by the dock where the cruise ship’s boat let us off.  How many places do you know where kids who misbehave are offered this?

CoffeeSign

Mongoose?  Someone at that coffee-shop has a great sense of humor.

 

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