Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Palouse Falls

A couple of hours from Walla Walla, through a tiny town called Starbuck (it consists of about one farmhouse and a barn), there is a place called Palouse Falls. Though this time of year it is a pretty miserable walk - as you can see, it's all in the sun, and there are no trees - once you find a place in the shade to relax down by the river, it's wonderful. Taking off one's shoes and socks is a must - soaking them in the water is something that can't be missed after a hike like that. The river itself is down in a small canyon, and the parking is up at the top. So the hike down takes you to the water, and then if you go from the spot pictured here down around a bend in the canyon walls, you'll come to the major waterfall of the area. I'll show you that tomorrow.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Keeping an Eye on the Sky

Our neighbourhood has several cats. I'm still not sure which ones belong to which home, but they frequent our front yard in an effort, I think, to torment our dog, who is in the backyard behind a fence. On this grey and dreary day, this particular cat had taken up watch on the roof of our neighbour's shed. Either he was enjoying the stormy weather, or was making sure he could keep track of what the sky was doing.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Calling to Collect

It is now a week into official summer here in the United States, and the bees are still buzzing happily around, collecting pollen and nectar to turn into honey for us to enjoy. You can see the dusting of pollen on this bee's underside if you look closely enough. Local honey is something we in the WWV enjoy regularly. It's good for your seasonal allergies to ingest local honey, because it helps your body build up immunity to the pollen that floats around relentlessly each spring.

NOTE: I don't know what is going on with Blogger's scheduled postings, but I had scheduled postings every day for the last week, and it didn't actually post any of them automatically. I had to go in and manually publish them each day. (In some cases I was a day or two late.) Is anyone else having this problem?

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Watching You

This is a close-up of the Great Blue Heron I showed you in flight on Thursday. I managed to snap this shot before he got a bit nervous and took off upriver. For more information on these birds, see Thursday's post (scroll down...).

Friday, June 26, 2009

Skywatch Friday

During the spring, the skies in the WWV are glorious. I've mentioned before that I LOVE spring clouds, as they are so different from the clouds in any other season. Perhaps that is something unique to the WWV? Does this happen where you are? Are the spring clouds different than clouds in your other seasons? What I especially love is when the sun shines through in a rare fashion, creating patterns of light in the sky that just beg to be captured, but simply cannot be. I've done my best here...a photo of a springtime sky in the WWV.

Go and check out more Skywatch images at the Skywatch Site!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

In Flight

This is a Great Blue Heron. We were walking along Mill Creek with our dog and got a bit too close for comfort for the large bird. In this picture you can also see the evenly spaced steps in Mill Creek, which I explained in Monday's post. Great Blue Herons are large birds (I'll show you a close-up this weekend), with wingspans of between 5 1/2 and 6 1/2 feet. They are also very elegant and beautiful birds. There are many of them in this area because the land in the WWV is often marshy and wet, and herons like to feed in this kind of terrain.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Snake Grass

Do you have this where you live? I don't know the scientific name for it, but I grew up calling it snake grass, so that's what I know it as. Each of the segments you see comes apart fairly easily, and then goes back together. The joints, loosened by being pulled apart, move more easily, and you can make the grass slither like a snake. It also sounds a little bit like a rattle snake when the breeze blows through a clump of this stuff. Its texture is rough and ridged, not at all smooth. I've often thought it resembles bamboo, just not as smooth, and definitely not as tall! (This grows to only about two feet tall, max.) Here's a picture of a little clump of snake grass:

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


This is a Merganser. I believe it is a type of duck, but one that isn't as common in these parts as the mallards I've shown you on a few occasions. There were several of them around some rocks in Mill Creek when my husband and I were at Rooks Park over the weekend. (Credit to my husband for this photo.)

Monday, June 22, 2009

River Snorkeling?

On a walk through Rooks Park on the eastern outskirts of Walla Walla this weekend, my husband and I saw these two gentlemen playing in the water. The one in the black shirt was fishing (we actually saw him catch something later), but what the other was doing we couldn't be sure. He would stand about knee-deep and stick his face into the water, wearing a snorkeling mask. We never did figure out what he was doing. This is Mill Creek - one of the main waterways through the towns in the WWV. Many years ago, the city built Bennington Lake, a reservoir a mile or two upstream from Mill Creek (if you could walk straight from where this photo was taken, you'd run into it) to help control the flooding that had happened on multiple occasions. They also widened Mill Creek, and as a result, the river looks like it has steps, such as the one you see here. They are evenly spaced, creating a not-so-natural look, but it's fun to listen to, as there are multiple small waterfalls. As you can see, the water isn't very deep, either. Some places toward the middle get deeper, but it would be difficult (though not impossible) to swim underwater here. (Credit to my husband for this photo.)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Natural Power

Another shot of the many hundreds of windmills on the hills surrounding the Walla Walla Valley. They produce quite a bit of power, and I've been told by an engineer that even though they seem from a distance to be turning at a comfortable pace, the tips of the blades of these windmills are spinning at close to the speed of sound. This is a hazard for birds, as well as not being as efficient as they could be, so the newer windmills spin at a slower rate. Each blade on these windmills is, from my estimates, over 60 feet long. Anyone from this area know the exact length?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Beginning of Fruit Season

I've been seeing these trees along the highway for the last week or so, and finally managed to get up close to one to take a picture. The bright juicy redness of these delicious-looking cherries make me hungry just to look at them. It's fruit season - probably one of the best parts about summer. And here in the Walla Walla Valley, we know a lot about fresh fruit. U-Pick orchards are very popular in this area, and I hope to do some blueberry picking in a few months.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Skywatch Friday

This was the sunset last Sunday from Highway 12 just a few miles outside of Walla Walla. It was a fabulous evening.

Go and check out more Skywatch images at the Skywatch Site!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Celebrate the Rain

This past Sunday was commencement at Walla Walla U. It was an overcast morning with chances of thunderstorms, and though we didn't get any thunder or lightning, the valley sure got soaked! I loved the collection of umbrellas across the lawn where they hold the ceremony each year. It's called Centennial Green, as it was dubbed in 1992 when the school celebrated its 100th year. It may have been raining, but that didn't subdue the celebrations and cheering! Congratulations to the WWU class of 2009!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Closer Look

So...this is the closeup promised in yesterday's post. Is this a poppy? If not, is it a relative? Whatever it is, I love the orange and yellow blend of this small flower. This was taken on a walk along the Little Walla Walla River over the past weekend.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Natural Still Life

This is another scene from our walk along the Little Walla Walla River this past weekend. There were several different kinds of flowers along the river (actually, I think where we were walking was at one point part of the riverbed, but the water has reduced significantly). Some were yellow, others were orange, some purple, and even some deep blue. These were some of my favourites. I believe they are poppies, but I'm no expert. Feel free to correct me! Tomorrow I'll show you a close-up of one of these beautiful blooms.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Little River

Over the weekend, husband and I went on a short walk next to the Little Walla Walla River. We intended for it to be a longer walk, but of course the sun came out (before and after the walk it was overcast and cooler), and we kept getting stickers in our shoes. We took our dog, and she went for a dip in the water (unintentionally, but she liked it). This little portion of the LWW River passes through northern Milton-Freewater. There is a fence to the right, up the hill from what you see in this picture, but off to the side of the fence is a dirt "road" of sorts that leads straight down to the water. Not sure what they hope to accomplish with the fence. The bridge you see back in the distance is the bridge that this painting I showed you a while ago is on. It's a beautiful piece of artwork!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Spring Fields

Sadly, another quick through-the-window shot. It's not beautiful, but it does at least give you an idea of what the WWV looks like when the fields start their growth spurt in the spring. I don't know what is in this field, but I love the deep green contrasted with the sky and clouds above. This particular field is along Highway 11, south of Milton-Freewater.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Corner

I've posted a couple of photos of the Marcus Whitman Hotel previously. One was of their old-time telephone booth, and another of their antique chandeliers. Here is another interior look at some of the architecture of the beautiful lobby. This shot was, like a few others I've posted, taken by my sister. The lights you see hang above the check-in desk, which is quite a ways from the main front doors of the lobby, so you get a flavour of what the hotel's grandiose-ness is like long before you encounter any staff. It's great!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Skywatch Friday

I spotted this cloud pattern while walking from my car to my office earlier this week. It really struck me, and I couldn't help but snap a couple of shots of it. I added the edge of a nearby tree for some added interest to the shot.

Go and check out more Skywatch images at the Skywatch Site!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Next One

The roses and peonies are the next flowers to bloom. These were brought as decoration to the baby shower my office and my husband's office teamed up to have for us about a week and a half ago. They were beautiful and they smelled so sweet! I had them on my dining table and when we got home from work and opened the door, a very pungent, sticky-sweet aroma greeted us. This bouquet of flowers has, unfortunately, passed on to the next phase of life: the compost heap. But I sure loved them while they lasted!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Fun Find

While taking the scenic route home the other day, I happened upon this entry gate. The land is beautiful this time of year - very green and lush and inviting. Apparently the size of the place isn't quite satisfactory to the owners. If they'd rather not be so sad about their lack of a "real" ranch, they can trade me places. I'd love to live here!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A Common Sight

This time of year, the Walla Walla Valley looks like this a lot. Of course, we have our sunny days, too, like today, but the clouds are never far away. This is a view of our very green Blue Mountains with the threat of rainstorm hovering overhead. I just love this view, and I could look at it all day. Fortunately...sometimes I get to! The Blue Mountains border the valley along the eastern edge.

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Burger Hut

For a while now my husband and I have been wanting to try out this little place in Milton-Freewater. It's near (as in, across the street from) the high school, so I'm sure during the lunch hour this place is packed! They sell everything you'd expect from a burger place: burgers of various kinds, pop, milkshakes, fries, onion rings, ice cream, etc. But they also have fish sandwiches, grilled cheese, mozzarella sticks, nachos, and more. Though I wasn't terribly impressed with The Burger Hut, it wasn't a complete waste of money or time. Unfortunately we weren't able to try a burger because they don't have vegetarian options, so we settled for onion rings and mozzarella sticks. The sticks were pretty good, but the onion rings left a little to be desired. The service was great, though, and we got our order very quickly...though that could be because we were one of two people there.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Another Bird

Since we're on a bird kick here at WWV Daily Photo, I thought I'd finish out the weekend with a Mourning Dove. I stopped to take a picture of the gorgeous green (though perhaps currently misnomered) Blue Mountains, and this little guy posed for me just across the street from where we had parked. The field and hills made a fantastic background for this rather blah little brown bird. These are common birds here in the Pacific Northwest United States, and perhaps you have them where you live? I can't say for sure why they're called Mourning Doves, but they do coo a bit like they're crying. They have a soothing, soft call, and are cute little birds, even if they aren't as colourful as their larger relatives, the ducks.

Saturday, June 6, 2009


Could this beautiful male Mallard be the father of the babies from yesterday's post? It's possible...but there are plenty of ducks in the park. This guy was waiting around near the table where we were eating at the park, in hopes that we'd take pity on his quite obviously "starving" self and drop some food. We didn't, and he gave up. It's hard to refrain, but if you feed one, you'll soon have a crowd of them honking and quacking around you, and it starts to get oppressive. I love the little curl in this one's tail.

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Little Family

Here's a closeup of what the kids were finding so interesting at the park in yesterday's post. They eventually made their way down to where we were sitting enjoying our dinner, and I managed to snap a few quick shots before they floated away down the stream and under the bridge. I just love spring babies!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Spectacle at the Park

Tuesday night my husband and I had dinner in the park. We'd packed burgers, heated them up at the office, and then grabbed some fries from a nearby fast food place before heading to the park. This is a popular park in the warmer months. It's Lion's Park in College Place, and it's one of the best places to spend a sunny Saturday afternoon or a cool summer evening. As we ate, we watched these kids running around the stream. The boy in the yellow shirt and the girl in the pink had been wading, and were wet up to their waists. But all of them found something extra special to observe that night: A mama duck and her TWELVE ducklings. Tomorrow I'll show you a closeup of part of the little family.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Elvis 2

The second portrait of Elvis on the cement wall along Highway 11. This area is largely unused. It's just gravel and dirt, and it's roughly the size of a large living room, so it can't be used for much. Plus, it's on a busy corner along the highway. The only use I've seen of this area is for parking cars that are for sale. Currently a green minivan that used to be used for some sort of party services is sitting there, the owners hoping for a miracle that some poor college student will want it. If you'd like to see the first portrait of Elvis, and read more about this art, see yesterday's post.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Elvis 1

I don't know who painted these, but there are two beautiful portraits of "The King" on a random cement wall just outside of College Place. Any time you drive from Milton-Freewater into WW/CP, you see these two paintings, and I've wanted to stop and get photos of them for months. Finally, I did. Up close they are even more phenomenal than just glancing at them from the highway. I'm not even sure why the artist chose this spot. Perhaps they live in the house at the top of the wall? Perhaps they got tired of seeing the ugly plain cement wall every time they drove between the towns? I don't know, but I wish I could tell the artist that they did an amazing job. Tomorrow I'll show you the second one, which is located just to the right of this one.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Unique to Walla Walla

Though the gentleman who owns this bird (not pictured) doesn't live in the WWV any longer, he did live here for quite a while. He's here visiting his kids, and since my husband and I are friends with one of his sons and daughter-in-law, we happened to be visiting Saturday night when he stopped by with his famous parrot, Rascal.

Rascal is 12 years old and has lived with Danny and his family since the bird was 6 months old. I'm told he will live to be anywhere from 85-105 years old. Since most people don't carry a parrot around everywhere they go, Danny and Rascal have been in the local paper several times. Danny takes his bird everywhere. The bird is trained not to poop inside, and Danny knows when the bird needs to go and takes him outside. The bird also comes when he's called, responds to a sharp "NO!" and knows what "stay" means. He's a gentle bird and has only ever bitten one person - Danny's daughter-in-law, which Danny explains is because the bird is very jealous that she took away one of the bird's "boys."

On occasion, I have seen Danny shopping in a store with Rascal on his shoulder. I've also seen Rascal waiting outside a restaurant, perched on a newspaper dispenser, squawking at passers-by and scaring them to death! I've also seen Danny feeding Rascal part of his burger, and, my favourite, I've seen the bird clinging to the chains of a playground swing, while Danny pushes the swing back and forth. Rascal loves it!

Pictured here is one of Danny's other sons, cradling Rascal like a kitten. The bird doesn't care - he just lays there and enjoys having his feathers ruffled and his head and neck scratched. I actually got to hold this gorgeous animal, and felt very privileged.