Tuesday, March 31, 2009


There have been quite a few deaths in this past week and a half, and those are just the people I've heard of. In total, the deaths that have reached me are nearly twenty. One was a plane crash in Montana, killing 14 instantly. Another was the slaughter of a pregnant mother and her teenage son. Still another, the aging mother of two dear friends. I know thousands more have breathed their last on this earth, and I can't know them all. Perhaps many reading this post today have experienced a loss recently. Or maybe one that feels recent because the pain is so fresh. In memory of these loved ones lost until our Christ comes again, I post a shot of a memorial placed on Mt. Hope, a cemetery located on a hill on the western edge of College Place. I don't know who these adorable animals were placed here for, but may they represent the thoughts and memories all of us hold dear of so many we have had to bid goodbye. May they never be forgotten.

Monday, March 30, 2009


I love this time of year! The daffodils are finally showing themselves after a long summer and winter of rest. These flowers don't last long...just a few weeks...so I enjoy them immensely while I can. They are often the second bursts of colour to announce the arrival of spring in the WWV. The first are crocus plants, which are usually different shades of purple, and tulips closely follow these yellow beauties. Then the lilacs will bloom, and the dogwood trees, and finally, at the very end of spring, as we dash right into summer, the roses. I'll make sure to capture each of these as they happen...welcome to Spring in Walla Walla!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Stately Homes 2

Another of the fabulous homes that have been here in Walla Walla for over a century. That may not seem old to some of you - those whose countries have been thriving since the years were only triple digits - but for us here in the Pacific Northwest of the United States, a hundred years is a long time! We're just little infants, but we enjoy our relatively recent history as well as you enjoy your ancient histories. For more information on this series, see yesterday's post.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Stately Homes 1

I hope to collect more photos of the beautiful homes around the WWV and post them here for you enjoyment. To begin with, we have this fantastically regal residence on Palouse Street, if I remember right. Isn't it gorgeous? And yes, real people still live here. It's not a museum, bed and breakfast, or law office. There are many houses of this sort around Walla Walla, built by affluent newcomers (mostly) during the 19th century.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Skywatch Friday

This is somewhat of a cheat post...it's not actually a photo of the WWV. All you CDP purists out there are cringing now, I know...but bear with me. I thought this was one of the most beautiful scenes I've ever seen, and it's not too far from the WWV - just a couple of hours. Husband and I were on a trip headed East, and as the sun flung its last golden cords of warmth toward Baker, Oregon. Baker isn't normally a place I enjoy, but this view is enough to change my mind. And for good. This photo proves that even if you get tired of fields and small hills, a relatively short drive out of the WWV will open up worlds of beauty to you.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


This old-school phone booth, complete with working telephone, resides in the lobby of the Marcus Whitman Hotel, one of the most iconic edifices in the WWV. If you look closely in the letters, you can see the telephone mounted on the wall inside the booth. I'll get an outside shot of the hotel up here soon, but for now, here is a glimpse at the inside. Perhaps I'll show more inside shots later, as well. Located in downtown Walla Walla, the Marcus Whitman Hotel is the number one place to stay when visiting the valley. It is luxurious, that's for sure, but their basic rooms are reasonably priced. They also have honeymoon suites and will give you package deals that include tuxedo strawberries (the berries are dipped in both white and dark chocolate to look like they are wearing tuxedoes) and champagne, or, if you prefer, sparkling apple cider. It's a lovely pampered night. Though the hotel restaurant doesn't have a reputation for the best food in the valley, it is gourmet, for sure! (Though vegetarians beware...you'll probably be eating either greens or pasta. The selection for herbivores is rather limited here.)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Spring in the Valley

The fields are turning green, the skies are bluer - when it's not raining - and the breezes are getting warmer every day. It's definitely springtime in the valley. This scene is the predominate view along the highway heading out of Milton-Freewater to the south. This road leads to the Interstate, which in turn leads one East to Boise, Idaho, or West to Portland, Oregon.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Purple Beauty

I couldn't resist another spring shot. I'm so excited to see the first bulbs proclaiming life exists beneath the damp and rotting last-year foliage. These are crocus plants - always the first to show their true colour in the spring. Once you see your first crocus of the season, you know it's officially springtime. I love that there are two yellow ones daring to be different on this beautiful purple plant. The colours together are stunning.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Springing to Life

I finally got around to cleaning out my garden and trimming my rose bushes. Yes, I know, I'm rather late, but the weather was finally beautiful enough for long enough to make me long for a bit of fresh air and my hands to smell like gardening gloves. Okay, maybe not the latter, but it was a beautiful day, the temperatures were around 60 degrees Farenheit (15.6 degrees Celsius/Centigrade), and the birds were all excited, too. So I grabbed my rake, the trash can, and my gloves, and went all out. I'm not quite done, but I made a sizable dent in how the yard looks. And...I found THESE! I have no idea what kind of plant they are, but they were hiding under a bunch of dead leaves from last fall. They're about as long as my pinky finger and as big around as my thumb. I was excited to find these little guys...anyone have any guesses as to what they are? If not, we'll find out as they continue to grow...and finally bloom! I'll post more pictures as the season progresses.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Spring Weather

Believe it or not, that's the sky on the other side of the window. It's been grey and rainy this week, mixed with a bit of spring breeze and smiling sunshine. At this particular moment, it was sprinkling and the sun was still fighting the clouds. It did eventually win.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Drumheller Co.

Downtown Walla Walla is full of old buildings with original lettering and signage still visible. The Drumheller building is one of them, located on Alder Street, just one block south of Main Street. I tried to research more about this building that is currently used as office space and small businesses, I was fairly unsuccessful. One website said the building was constructed in 1904. Another I found had a photo that claims to have been taken from the top of the "newly constructed" Drumheller Building, looking down South Main Street. That makes me wonder if Alder used to be Main Street before what we now know as Main Street was named such. Anyone know anything more?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Skywatch Friday

Earlier this week we got a bit of spring weather...it seems to be holding steady, and it's a welcome change! Grey skies trade off with sunshine, and the breezes tend to be warm, but occasionally drop to cooler temperatures again. Just to remind us that it's not QUITE spring yet. This is a shot at the Highway 11 turnoff for Old Town Freewater, a cute little downtown type area that used to be the hub of the town of Freewater (since combined with the town of Milton to create Milton-Freewater). The sky was beautiful!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

St. Patrick's Church

I realized when I took this picture that had I taken it just a couple of days earlier it would have been perfect for Tuesday - St. Patrick's Day. Unfortunately, I'm not that clever and didn't think of it. This is one of the most iconic buildings in Walla Walla, a close second, I'm sure, to the Marcus Whitman Hotel (which I hope to post here soon). It is the Catholic church of St. Patrick, and it is a fabulous building. Inside and out it is beautiful, and it always makes me look whenever I drive by.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Walla Walla Colthing Co.

Though I've never been in this store (the prices are probably too high and they are also obviously not geared for my age group or size), their display window always showcases stylish clothes. Right now they're very "early spring" style, in both colour and type of clothing. It's the Walla Walla Clothing Co., and sadly, their website offered no insight to its history. I did, however, find two very different reviews of the place. One was fairly compilmentary, and the other was...well, not. Based on the second review, I'd guess my estimation of the contents of this shop is pretty accurate. The store is located on Main Street, right in the heart of downtown Walla Walla.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


It's lunchtime in downtown Walla Walla, and the business folks are heading out to their favourite lunchtime diner of choice for a bite to eat before tackling the afternoon. These folks are waiting at the corner of Main Street and Second Avenue in front of Baker Boyer National Bank's main Walla Walla building. There are a lot of bank buildings in towntown Walla Walla, and all of them seem to be on this corner! They are beautiful buildings, that's for sure. Also, note the green street sign and lamppost - just perfect for St. Patrick's Day!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Quite a Scare

Disclaimer: This is going to be a longer post than usual because I'm telling a story. If you aren't interested in reading my commentary, the above creature is a western screech owl, common in the WWV.

One thing I love about the Walla Walla Valley is the wildlife. It isn't at all surprising to see hawks and herons anymore - though I still love to discover them. I've even seen a couple of bald eagles down by the Columbia River. Deer are quite common, too, especially in the warmer months in the evenings. With so many fields to explore and munch through, they are a constant sight while the crops are growing. While exploring in the hills and mountains surrounding the valley I've stumbled upon elk, as well, which was my first sighting of them in the wild. (They are large!) One thing that is difficult to sumble upon, however, is owls. Though they are common in the area, as stealthy, nocturnal animals, it takes a bit of looking and knowing where to do so to spot them. Last March we got an up close and personal glimpse of a western screech owl...purely by accident.

Our house has two wood stoves, and we only use one regularly. The one that is nelgected for most of the year doesn't have a cover on the chimney top. Apparently it is common for owls to end up in chimneys because they see a dark hole when it starts getting light, and they dive into it, hoping for shelter until night falls again.

That is exactly what happened last March. We were eating breakfast one morning and heard a faint scratching. Quietly approaching the chimney of our wood stove, we put our ears to the pipe and listened. We heard it again. I tapped on the metal. The scratching stopped. Two days in a row this happened, and we quickly determined what had happened.

One of the mornings, when my husband was still upstairs getting ready for the day, I heard a shuffle that was a bit louder than the scratching. I jokingly called up the stairs, "Hey, I think the owl fell into the stove. Hahaha!"

Emboldened by my joke and my husband's chuckle, I went to the stove and pulled open the doors.

There, sitting on the ash left from previous fires, was a grey and brown lump...with HUGE yellow and black eyes glaring at me. (See the above photo.)

With a gasp and an adrenaline-pumped squeal, I slammed the doors and called back up the stairs, "Um, heh heh...the owl actually DID fall into the stove, dear."

After a call to our local Audubon Society, a gentleman came to our house that same day and rescued the poor starving owl from the confines of our stove. Upon speaking with him we felt terrible for not calling sooner...we'd assumed (until he'd fallen in) that the owl was leaving at night to get food and simply coming back. Apparently...he wasn't. The poor thing was in our stove for nearly a week and could barely fly when he was set free. Fortunately the bird's rescuer assured us that he would be fine, since there was a field next to our house where he could eat before trying to fly elsewhere.

Isn't wildlife amazing?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Christmas in March?

No, not really. But this beautiful multi-coloured pile of brush is actually a dump pile of abandoned Christmas trees. How they get here and who puts them there remains a mystery to me, but every January you can hike between Rooks Park and Bennington Lake and find this unnatural bird and small animal habitat in an unused waterway. I wish I could post the aroma this pile gives off...it's lovely! Closing the eyes and taking a deep breath will almost convince you it's still Christmastime.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

All Good Things

Another bulletin board find. I have no way of knowing if the same person who did this was the same person who created the artwork in Thursday's post, but it would seem they were done at the same time. I found them at the same time, and they are both done on the same size and colour of paper, in crayon. Among so many overwhelming posters, flyers, and information, this really stands out. It's simple, beautiful, and easy to understand.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Skywatch Friday

Since I was driving, my husband grabbed a quick shot of this gorgeous sunset as we went flying down the highway after work. The sky looks ominous, but the sunlight is resisting the oppressive dark clouds, in effect offering a brilliant show of tangerine and lemon.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A Great Day

I've been making some great finds around the Walla Walla U. campus and hope to keep up the trend. Today's post was found on a campus bulletin board. In the Bible, Psalms 73:26 says this:

My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Whoever posted this smiled while doing it. I'm passing the smile on to you...what will you do with it?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

A Proper Geocache

My husband and I joke that it's not a proper geocache unless there's a skeleton at the site. No, we've never found any human remains (that we were able to recognize as such), but there was a day that we found four in a row that were located near the site of some animal's last breath. This one at Bennington Lake (see Thursday's post) was no exception. The shape of this skull makes me think it was a deer, but the teeth look almost too sharp to belong to a simple herbivore. Though once again, I am no expert. Anyone want to venture a guess? Oh, as a side-note, we found peices of the rest of the skeleton a few yards away from the tree.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

A Closer Look

I'm not enough of a horticulturalist to know what this is in its winter brown attire, but it caught my eye as we passed by on our Saturday afternoon walk at Bennington Lake (see Thursday's post). The contrast with the grey-blue sky and its coordination with the field behind it demanded attention...so I snapped a shot! If anyone can identify this plant, kudos to you!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Skywatch Friday

Though the composition of this photo could be better, this is the first time I've ever captured a bird of prey with my camera. Or any camera, for that matter! I wish I could have zoomed in more, but my little point and shoot won't get any closer than this. I believe this is a hawk, common to the valley, as the many fields provide plentiful feeding grounds for them. In the foreground is a nesting box - or what's left of it - a common sight in parks with acreage such as what surrounds Bennington Lake (see yesterday's post). For today's skywatch, we're watching not the sky itself, but what occupies it.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Bennington Lake

Bennington Lake is a man-made reservoir located south of Rooks Park on the east end of Walla Walla. In the winter the water level gets quite low, so the activities of choice shift from fishing to throwing sticks for Fido. On a beautiful Saturday (beautiful for the end of February!), my husband and I decided to take the dog for a long walk. We needed the exercise. So we grabbed his GPS (for some geocaching) and headed to the lake. Several walking paths and trails circle the lake, and on the north side lead to Rooks Park. We didn't make it to Rooks Park (that would've been approximately 6 miles), but we did walk around the entirety of the lake, including the beds of mud the recent rain created. We guesstimate we walked about 3 1/2 -4 miles. On our walk we encountered several people on horseback (they were smart - only the horses get muddy that way!), a lot of dogs walking their owners, and a few kids, some walking, some on bikes. Quite a crowd was at the lake, but as we moved to the far side, we were alone a majority of the time and were able to spot a couple of hawks, and, though none of them were visible, we did find some evidence of owls and deer. As you can see in the photo, spring is on its way...the fields are ready, and so are the trees! It was a lovely walk, and we were very glad we did it...in spite of being exhausted afterward!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Save Faith

Some of you may remember an earlier post I did of a stone about this size and shape that I discovered in the crook of a tree on the Walla Walla U. campus. That one read simply: "Pure." This one I recently discovered sitting on top of a walkway light in a different part of the campus. I don't know who is writing these or why...and how they're choosing where to place them. But they make me smile. And I don't even know their meaning.