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As I said in the last post, we always enjoy the birding at Lost Lake and in the Okanogan Highlands. I am not equipped to do good bird photography but I always have to give it a try. Someday, I’ll buy a good long lens……

Our favorites are the Common Loons that nest on various lakes throughout the Highlands and also in Ferry County. Their mournful cries elicit a sense of another time and place. The black and white plumage is absolutely stunning. They are unique among birds because they have heavy, solid bones that allow them to dive deep in search of fish to eat and feed their young. Being so heavy, it is difficult for them to take off. They need a long body of water and Lost Lake is small for them, forcing them to circle the lake multiple times to gain altitude in order to clear the tree tops. Their feet are far back on their body so they barely walk and you will nearly never see them on land except for their nests which are at the water’s edge. Loons are curious about boats, maybe because people fish from them? If I sat quietly in my kayak, sometimes a loon would paddle right in front of me. What a treat!

At Lost Lake, breeding success for loons is threatened by the presence of Bald Eagles. In fact, most ducks and geese have given up nesting there. The eagles manage to nab most all of the baby loons, geese and ducks. What a quandary. It was obvious when the eagles were perched in the tall trees, that the loons were quite nervous, calling back and forth to each other.

This joyous occasion was held at Skalitude Retreat Center in Smith Canyon, not far from Carlton. The natural setting was the perfect place for the rustic decor carefully chosen by the couple and their good friends. It was also perfect for camping, lawn games, playful puppies and high energy children. Celina and Jacob chose to have their ceremony in an aspen grove with a handmade backdrop adorned with rosehip garlands. They walked to the site together, ahead of their friends and family. In the spot they chose, their loved ones created a unity circle out of stones they carried. The loving couple pledged their vows to each other in the circle with their three month old puppy at their feet. The vows were written on birch bark collected by one of their friends. All of their food was locally sourced from farmers they know. It was an amazing day.

Click on the first image to see all of the images as a slide show.


This is not a regular post for My website, is having some issues that I just can’t deal with during this busy time of the year. So you can expect to see more wedding photos here til I can get it resolved. Maybe by November!

And Happy New Year to you and yours.

xmas card 2016

To the mountains. The season to visit is short and seems shorter each year. Maybe because of aging and the sense that time flies ever faster each year, or maybe because of the impact from fires on our small community. Whatever it is, I always feel like I don’t get enough time in the mountains. So on Friday I left at noon, knowing it would be a long drive and I’d not have too much time, but it was worth it. The dogs were ecstatic to play in the old snow and I relished the early summer mountain wildflowers – some so similar to what bloomed here months ago and others much different. The weather was cool and there was a little bit of rain. We didn’t care.

The dogs really enjoy running and playing in snow. They take turns being the chaser and the chasee but Luna gets to decide when it’s game over.

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The flowers and the views were outstanding. Swainson’s and Hermit Thrushes sang from the tops of trees and under the brush.

We spent last weekend in Virginia to attend Ken’s niece’s wedding. It was a GORGEOUS wedding in a beautiful setting – Riverside on the Potomoc. Wonderful photos from the wedding can be seen at Natalie Franke’s blog.

The photos here are from the time we spent exploring the countryside in between wedding events. Ken and his brother Carl and I were not directly involved in the planning or the wedding party so we had some spare time to enjoy the Virginia and Maryland countryside. The weather was cool and cloudy unlike home where it’s been unseasonably warm and sunny. We walked around historic Leesburg where we stayed for the weekend. We visited Ball’s Bluff Battlefield regional park and enjoyed a lovely walk in the woods to the shore of the Potomoc River and learned a bit about the battle. We crossed the river on White’s Ferry, a cable ferry quite unlike the Washington State ferries we are used to. And we walked along the C&O Canal along with hundreds of others. It was the date of the annual Sierra Club 25 and 50 mile walk that took participants all the way to Harper’s Ferry. We did not go that far. It’s a great place to walk or bike or bird with a nice path overlooking the unused canal and the deep hardwood forest.

After all the wedding events and staying up too late and over indulging, we were ready to come home. It’s always good to get away and travel often makes me appreciate what we have here ever so much.


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