Feels like summer

We've had summer weather this weekend and I've spent it outside. Yesterday Tom and I rode 40 miles on our bikes in the Skagit County Tulip Pedal, an organized ride along farm roads among the tulip farms. There were not as many tulip fields as I expected-I think we only saw four in 40 miles-but they were spectacular. So many people go up to see them that the traffic came to a standstill in a few places. Other than that, the ride was on open country roads through a few tiny little towns.

I think my favorite town was Edison, where we stopped at a bakery. It's a very small town in the open, flat farm country between the mountains to the east and the Sound to the west. Depending on the direction of the breeze, you can smell sweet hay from the farms or salty, fishy air from the coast. Estuaries and sloughs penetrate far inland, so that as we rode along some of the roads, I'd be surprised to smell the water and then look to one side and see an inlet running between fields. In one of those, we saw a heron tossing its head to force a fish down its long, narrow throat. I don't know how they can do that and breathe at the same time.

Other wildlife (using the term loosely in some cases) that we saw included several bald eagles circling overhead, a flock of snow geese on a field, redtailed hawks (we think), llamas and alpacas, and two hang gliders-motorized!

At the north end of the ride, shortly after passing through Edison, we climbed a short hill and saw a great view of Mt. Baker through an orchard.

After the bike ride, we drove out onto Camano Island and went to the beach. Inspired by the driftwood, old posts, and rocks, I improvised a piece of kinetic art by balancing this crazy, long, curved branch on the tip of a post. It rotated and swung slowly in the wind just like an Alexander Calder. (Do you think the Seattle Art Museum would want it?)

Today I worked in the yard all day. Tom helped me put in a soaker hose and make three new pots of mixed sedum. I love sedum! Now that I've grown several clumps of different kinds, I pinch off pieces and tuck them in everywhere. They start growing right away and they look so interesting when several kinds are crowded together. My favorite things in a garden are usually the diminutive, intricate details. I like to look closely. Maybe that's why I've had such a hard time putting together a total plan or design for the yard as a whole.

This week's dogwood blossoms-the first one shows the last phase before they're fully open, and it reminds me of the way a meditating person holds the middle finger and thumb together.

In another part of the yard, the lilac has more flowers this year than any year since we've lived here. They smell so good. Last year I pruned as many overhanging tree branches away from it as I could, and I dug out a lot of shoots that I didn't want. The plant seems happier, though it will never get enough sun there to really bloom heavily.