Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A Fine Weekend

It finally happened: the rain stopped. Truly, there was sun in the Pacific Northwest sky during the weekend, and although the temperature changed drastically from a Friday high of 61 degrees F to 80 on Saturday, we won't complain Grace (wink... she and I have been emailing about this confounding weather of ours). Many of the blossoms tilted their heads in rejection of the sudden heat, but nothing could be done, and we headed out early to begin the day's tasks.

First however, let us back up a bit. On Thursday of this past week, as my husband and I were finishing some work in the garden, we walked along the lower path in the southern section. In the distance is a grass, barely visible in the center of the photo to the left, but as we approached the Helictotrichon sempervirens, we were confronted with something quite unexpected.

Remember the California quail I wrote about last week? Now we know from whence he came.

There were three startled beings: my husband moved swiftly afoot, I let out a squeaky gasp, and the California Quail was raising cain with his warning pips while running off. Such laughter! Little did we know this spot had been selected for nesting. My husband gently raised the front of the grass blades with the rake handle so as not to disturb, and there was this discovery: a clutch of 15 lovely speckled eggs.

Back to early Saturday morning before the heat of the day, I picked what lettuce and spinach needed harvesting - 1 lb each. Rinse, spin dry and store. It was time to get ready: our daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren, Megan and Nathan, were coming to visit, and we were looking forward to a fun weekend.

Despite the temperature, there remained a slight cool breeze throughout the day, a wonderful characteristic of Pacific Northwest summers, and once they arrived, much of the day was enjoyed outdoors:

We all walked the paths and enjoyed the beauty, color and fragrance of the landscape; the vegetable garden and raised beds were of interest to our son-in-law as he suggested they might be a better substitute for their too many roses; on several occasions the children and I walked along different paths in discovery of what might lurk around the mature shrubs, dense foliage and evergreens; Grandpa took Nathan down the hill to find a piece of wood upon which he could whittle.

Grandma monitored the grandchildren while playing hide-and-seek in the garden. (I won't tell you that I showed each where to hide, nor will I admit to having finally disclosed (gestured) the area in which the other was hiding following an unsuccessful search. Our garden area is quite large and mature at this stage, and one could get lost in it.). They knew the south side of the garden was off limits.

Megan played Malagueña beautifully on the piano, as well as other songs; we worked on a new puzzle; as we relaxed around the pond in the late afternoon, Nathan did his normal jumping in and out of the water.

Before they left on Sunday, vegetable plants... tomatoes, zucchini, watermelon, cantaloupe, cucumber... were selected, and the children picked a box of blossoms from R 'Graham Thomas', all to accompany them on their journey home.

Ah yes, we told them about the quail and promised they could see the eggs before they left. So before they departed on Sunday, and although we had prepared them, a walk along the southern garden path gave them quite a startling moment as the quail flew from under the grass and into the air. I think they may talk about that one for awhile.