Saturday/ King Leonardo

It’s Caturday— and may I present my favorite picture of Leonardo, the Burmese cat that my brother and sister-in-law used to have.
Leonardo lived out the last of his nine cat lives some years ago, reaching a grand old age of 17.

Leonardo striking a regal pose. This photo is from 1997, taken with the same Olympus D-320L that I had mentioned in yesterday’s post. Most modern Burmese are descendants of one female cat called Wong Mau, which was brought from Burma to America in 1930 and bred with American Siamese. Originally, all Burmese cats were dark brown (sable), but now they come with coats in a wide variety of colors. [Wikipedia].

Friday/ got my bookstore fix

It was lovely outside today (76°F /24°C), and I walked down to the Twice Sold Tales bookstore on Harvard Avenue.
I browsed around in the store but did not buy anything this time. (It’s just fun to look at all the books, so mission still accomplished).

Sunflowers (Helianthus, from helios, Greek for sun) is a genus comprising about 70 species of annual and perennial flowering plants in the daisy family Asteraceae. Before blooming, sunflower plants tilt during the day to face the sun in order to gain more sunlight for photosynthesis, a response called heliotropism. Sunflowers are thought to have been domesticated 3,000–5,000 years ago by Native Americans who would use them primarily as a source for edible seeds. [From Wikipedia]
The plywood boarding is still in place at Twice Sold Tales, a little curiously. Maybe the owner likes the artwork with the cats on. (The cats inside are still there, as well). I like the T-Rex sign, myself. The sign on the door says that the store is not buying books right now. Seattle fire marshal ordered the store to stop piling up so many books inside. (It makes it harder for fire fighters to navigate the inside, and for customers to get out).
The little plaza by the Capitol Hill Light Rail Station is in good shape: no graffiti and no trash lying around.
This 20-foot tall public art sculpture of silent speakers in the shape of an X (or a positive sign on its side) is part of the artwork commissioned for the AIDS Memorial Pathway (AMP) project, a tribute to the missing narratives of women and Black people lost to the AIDS crisis. It is called ‘andimgonnamisseverybody’.
The artist is Christopher Paul Jordan (b. 1990), and he used bronze, aluminum and stainless steel.

Sunday/ a little rain

There was a little rain on the ground this morning, and still enough to hear it patter down the gutter from the roof, as I opened my back door.

Sticky blobs of rainwater, magnifying the fine stripes on the dark burgundy leaves of my ‘Black Adder’ phormium flax plant. The dry lawn grass below should start to green up now that the rain is coming back.
September should bring some 2 in. of rain.

Friday/ the national flower of Mexico

Summer is dwindling, and so are the flowers to be found on my neighborhood walk. Still, I got these two beautiful dahlias tonight.

Centuries ago, dahlia tubers were grown as food crops by the Aztecs. This use of the plant largely died out after the Spanish Conquest of the Aztec Empire (1519-21). The dahlia was declared the national flower of Mexico in 1963.

Monday/ the scent of a rose

The weather people say we will stay below highs of 80°F (26°C) into next week, so the summer’s really warm weather is behind us.

I found this rose near the Thomas Street Gardens here on Capitol Hill tonight. It smells divine. Red and pink roses have the classic ‘rose’ scent. White and yellows often smell of violets, nasturtium, and lemon. Orange roses often smell of fruits, violets, nasturtium, and clove. Rose oil was probably first made in 10th century Persia. Today rose oil comes from Bulgaria, Morocco, Iran, Turkey, and more recently, from China.
[Source: Dr. Leonard Perry, University of Vermont, ‘Roses and Their Fragrance]

Thursday/ damage from the Dixie Fire

The Dixie wildfire in Northern California has now torched 500 square miles.
More than 100 homes and much of the downtown of Greenville (pop. 1,000 or so) have burned down.

I wanted to see what the historic Gold Rush-era Sierra Lodge on Main Street used to look like, and found it on Google Streetview.

2009 Google Streetview picture of the Sierra Lodge on Main St. in Greenville, Ca. 2021 Operations Chief Jay Walter passes the Sierra Lodge as the Dixie Fire burns through the Greenville community of Plumas County, Calif., on Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2021. The fire leveled multiple historic buildings and dozens of homes in central Greenville. (Associated Press Photo/Noah Berger)
I marked the location of Greenville on this map. By Friday Aug 6, the Dixie Fire had become the third-largest wildfire on record in California.  [Map by the New York Times © Mapbox © OpenStreetMap]

Saturday/ das Krallenwuschel

Here is a cute cat picture for Caturday, as ailurophiles like to call Saturdays.

Aw. This grumpy cat with its stormy eyes, referred to as ‘dieses Krallenwuschel’ (this fuzz ball with claws), was wandering around in the Friedenau neighborhood in Berlin, and picked up by the Polizei (police). The feline is unchipped, and the police are looking for its owner.
[Picture posted by German newspaper Tagesspiegel @Tagesspiegel on Twitter]

Sunday/ a hollyhock

The city of Seattle had 83 °F (28 °C) today.
It’s been steady as it goes temperature-wise, with no rain. (A smidge of rain fell early Tuesday morning).
We might see 90 °F (32 °C) on Friday, say the forecasters.

These beautiful hollyhock flowers are from 18th Avenue here on Capitol Hill.

Hollyhock flowers (genus: Alcea). The genus of about 60 species of flowering plants in the mallow family Malvaceae, are native to Asia and Europe. The single species of hollyhock from the Americas, the streambank wild hollyhock, belongs to a different genus. [Source: Wikipedia]

Saturday/ it’s a damselfly

Damselflies (Afr. waterjuffer) are similar to dragonflies (Afr. naaldekoker), but they are smaller and have slimmer bodies.
Most species fold the wings along the body when at rest, unlike dragonflies which hold the wings flat and away from the body (for that ‘airplane’ look).

Look! a little dragonfly, I thought, as I watered my flowerbed today. It’s actually a damselfly (1 ½in. long): a female white-legged damselfly (Platycnemis pennipes). They are predators, like dragonflies, and eat other insects. 
Damselflies and dragonflies belong to an ancient insect group called Odonata. Their prototypes are the giant dragonflies from the Carboniferous Period, some 325 million years ago.

Wednesday/ blue sky, white clouds

The woodpeckers were back this morning. Only a few of the mahonia’s berries remain.
There was a beautiful blue sky and white clouds overhead at 5 this afternoon.
We’ve been lucky thus far this summer here in Seattle: no smoky air from the wildfires.

The northern flicker (Colaptes auratus).

Tuesday/ the apocalypse is now

Every year that summer that rolls by here in the Northern hemisphere now, I think: just let it be over (summer). When is it over (summer)? Of course: then next summer comes.

There’s the mega- forest fires, burning out of control under an extreme drought here on the west of the United States. Flooding in Germany, Belgium & The Netherlands, and now in China. Videos on Twitter tonight of dozens of cars washing away in Zhengzhou; a subway entrance collapsing; people trapped inside a subway train car, the water chest-high (12 people dead in the subway, reports Aljazeera).


Sunday/ the year’s first rose

It has been a tough summer for gardens here in the city, with that heat wave at the end of June.
The leaves on the long shoots of my little rose bush got scorched, but a beautiful red rose has bloomed on the lower one, in the shade.

Saturday/ the woodpeckers are here

The pair of northern flickers (Colaptes auratus) that I sometimes see here around my house, came by late this afternoon.

The woodpeckers were looking for insects in the bark of the Douglas fir for a while ..
.. and then settled for some of the bluish-black berries on the mahonia at the base of the tree. Humans can eat these berries as well, but I will leave them for the birds.

Friday/ dinosaur chit-chat

I found this display of two chatty dinosaurs on a rock by the sidewalk close to 18th Ave.

The friendly and chatty little orange guy on the right looks like a parasaurolophus (say ‘para-saw-rolo-fuss’). They lived some 76 to 73 million years ago. They could rear up on their large back legs to reach higher for leaves and tree fruit (they were herbivores). Parasaurolophus should watch out for the grumpy (stuffy?) deinosuchus— a dinosaur relative of today’s alligators, that lived 82 to 73 million years ago. They were capable of killing and eating dinosaurs much larger than themselves.

Monday/ and now it’s summer

It was the first full day of the astronomical summer in the Northern Hemisphere.
We are just shy of 16 hours of daylight here in Seattle (sunset at 9.11 pm).
It was warm today (89 °F/ 32 °C), but there will be a little respite tomorrow & Wednesday, before the day temperatures go up again.

Daisies that I found on 12th Ave, here on Capitol Hill.

Saturday/ daisies & their little look-alikes

There was a half inch of rain yesterday in the city, and there will be a little more rain tonight.  The flowers are from my walk after dinner last night.

White daisies (genus is Bellis or Chrysanthemum) with their yellow centers, a spiral matrix of stamens.
The daisy flower does not just bud, blossom, and die like most other flowers. Rather it performs a daily routine of “sleeping” at night by closing and “waking” in the morning by opening up again. Because of this unusual trait and the whorled appearance of the flower, the daisy was given the Old English name ‘dægeseage’, meaning literally “day’s eye.” [From Merriam-Webster dictionary].
Some of these pretty little flowers look like daisies, but they are not: they are chamomile. Chamomile is a herb plant with relaxing benefits and a pleasant scent, used to make chamomile tea which can promote relaxation and help with getting a sound night’s sleep.

Saturday/ poppies

It was a very pleasant 67 °F (19 °C) when I went out for a walk today.

These beautiful corn poppies (Papaver rhoeas) are soaking up the sun. I found them on the corner of 20th Avenue and Republican Street.

Sunday/ ‘red’ irises are not red

Just as efforts to create a blue rose have stymied growers and plant geneticists, so have efforts to create a red iris. The flower has almost no red pigment naturally.
– Barbara Whitaker in a report called ‘The Hunt Continues for the Holy Grail: A Red Iris’ in the NYT, in 2006

Irises come in every color of the rainbow, but not in a true red. I found these ‘red’ ones here in my neighborhood.

It felt like summer today (76 °F/ 24 °C), but we will drop back to cooler weather tomorrow.

Beautiful bearded irises here on 17th Avenue. What color are these? My phone camera makes them look a little redder than they do in real life. ‘Red’ irises are invariably shades of wine, brick or reddish brown.

Wednesday/ a flower named for the physician of the gods

The shrubby peony plant has long been cultivated for its large showy flowers, and it’s easy to see why. This one comes out of my friends’ garden.

The peony (or paeony) is a flowering plant in the genus Paeonia. The word peony comes from the Old English peonie, and originally from the Greek paiōnia, referring to Paiōn, the physician of the gods in Greek mythology.

Sunday/ flowers of the heath

an area of open uncultivated land, especially in Britain, with characteristic vegetation of heather, gorse, and coarse grasses.

It’s the month of May, so the rhododendron flowers are blooming here on Capitol Hill. These plants belong to Ericaceae, a family of flowering plants, commonly known as the heath or heather family.