Hops on the Vine

Beth requested a picture of our hops prior to being harvested, and as it turns out we caught the vine in August, prior to all the flowers forming fully.  It was good fun pulling the vines down, and they are so fragrant that it was difficult to avoid sneezing!

Ready for Halloween

This neighborhood pumpkin is straining at the vine, and is in great shape for jack 'o lantern carving in the coming weeks.  Elevating it against this telephone pole likely helped with its good shape and avoided rot atop dewy grass.

Belcher Mosaic Glass Company

For a mere four years beginning in 1884, the Belcher Mosaic Glass Company made gorgeous mosaics like this one.  They had a patented technique involving an asbestos sandwich and basically cast the metal in place around the glass pieces.  They called these "metallo mosaics" as seen in this ad from 1887.

This mosaic and many others are shown in the superb Smith Museum of Stained Glass, towards the end of Navy Pier in Chicago.

Cloud Gate

Chicago's Cloud Gate at dawn.  Choosing a level horizon was impossible.  I was tempted to pick the general line of the reflection's horizon, but the result is quite unsettling.

There are numerous excellent vantage points to enjoy this sculpture from.  Some turn the curves into swirls and loops.  Others distort the flagstones of the ground into strange fractal patterns.  Walk around according to taste!

Lots of Hops

We had a large crop of hops this year, and have contracted out beer-making to two different parties. There's understood to be a tax on the finished product, and I will report back on the quality.

White-tailed Ptarmigan

A pair of white-tailed ptarmigans were disturbed by my footsteps as the first hiker up the trail on this day. Unlike grouse, they are quiet and were graceful in their exit. They spend their lives up here in the alpine zone.

Stehekin Valley

Looking eastwards from Cascade Pass, the Stehekin Valley unfurls itself into distant mist. The trail out there drops to the valley floor quickly, and would be a gentle walk over a couple of days from here to Lake Chelan.

Sahale Arm View

Looking southwest from the base of the Sahale Arm glacier, the seemingly endless range of the Cascades extends to the horizon. The closest rock face hosts ice fields that gradually unstick themselves as summer wears on. I heard and saw car-sized chunks falling down the steep slopes to the valley below as the day warmed up.

Cascade Pass

Cascade Pass is best accessed in late summer, as at 5392ft it's quite high, and it would be disappointing to have to turn back for snow. Over the pass (and 27 miles of trail later) is Stehekin at end of Lake Chelan. Hiking one-way would be a massive logistic challenge, as following the hike it would take a 4h ferry and a 170mi drive to get back to the trailhead.

The views are spectacular, and I'll be compelled to share two others from this hike.

Tomato Bounty

Tomato season is winding down as it cools off this autumn.

The surprise winner for flavor this year? A cherry tomato described as being chocolate, seen in the back row. The yellow cherries on our lone grafted plant had a fantastic yield, but were not particularly flavorful.

Lake Kulla Kulla from Mount Defiance

The view of Lake Kulla Kulla was a nice surprise from the top of Mount Defiance.  In the distance is Pratt Mountain, and then Granite Mountain including its retired fire lookout tower.

Above Mason Lake

Mason Lake and Little Mason Lake in the foreground yield to a scree slope up to Bandera Mountain.  It's a much clearer day than on either of the other two trips.  Even better, a more spectacular view awaits!

Delicious, yet unavailable

At Mee Sum Pastry, a series of plates were being carefully documented by an amateur photographer. I asked if I could order this yummy-looking dish. The waitstaff had no idea, and deferred to the manager.

The manager took a long time to try to explain approximately what it was in English, then conceded that even though I now knew what it was, it wasn't yet on the menu so I couldn't order it.

Dinner of Fresh Veggies

It's been a good year for both tomatoes and beans in our household. Beets (with garlic) and a lone cucumber round out the meal. Some feta cheese and good bread, and dinner is complete!

Mt Dickerman

The climb up Mt Dickerman is quite vigorous, gaining 3875ft in 4.3mi. The trail is excellent, and covers a number of different climate zones. It culminates in a spectacular view in the heart of the Cascades.

This is the only view that isn't entirely of other mountain peaks -- it's looking west out towards Marysville. Thick coastal cloud was a concern as we headed out, but fortunately we were able to climb above it.

Sleeping Market

An early ferry crosses Puget Sound at first light. The Pike Place Market is cleared of vendors and is completely washed down, appropriate to the signage "sanitary public market" seen on the buildings facing the Sound.

The few people around are those who have been up all night, and those who have jobs that require the area to be free of vehicles and tourists.