Friday, June 28, 2013

Rings . . .

He has been appearing in the blog lately.  Yes, we are getting married (today).  Wish us joy and happiness.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 97

Kaysersberg, Haut-Rhin, Alsace, France

Pictured above is the town of Kaysersberg in Haut-Rhin, Alsace, France.  Like many cities with roots in medieval times this one has the buildings crowded close together and the streets look to be somewhat crooked and winding not the straight lines that today’s city planners would lay out in grids.  The postcard is a current day card published by Les Editions du Saute Mouton.   I especially liked the bright red roofs and the half-timbered buildings.  According to my friend who visited this area recently, many of the buildings are colorfully painted.  

Alsace or Alsace-Lorraine is located on France’s eastern border touching Germany and Switzerland.  The area is known for grape growing and produces high quality white wines.   The Lorig family originates from very near this region on the German side of the border with some persistent oral history rumors that at least part of the extended family actually came from Alsace.  We do not have any documented proof of that at this time. 

The entire area is rich in history dating back to prehistoric times when nomadic hunters inhabited Alsace.  Later, about 1500 BC the land was cleared and cultivated.  By the time of the Romans in 58 BC it had been established as a center for viticulture or the growing of grapes and the consequent production of wine.  Militarily Alsace is strategically placed and has changed hands several times during wars and conflicts.  It was annexed into France and has been known as Alsace since 1918.  French is the official language although about 40% of adults also speak Alsatian.  The population is nearing 2 million. 

Thanks to my French friend for sending the card.  For more interesting details about Alsace see:

The photograph below was taken by Adolphe Braun and shows a young woman in the local Alsatian costume.

Woman in costume from Alsace, ca 1890s

The two stamps below were on the envelope and are from a new series of French stamps depicting animals in art.  The stamp on the left shows a female goat reclining the one on the right a serpent.  There are several other animals in this series.  They are pretty works of art and it is a wonderful idea to put them on stamps.

Monday, June 24, 2013

SSCC Arboretum and the Seattle Chinese Garden

 A view of the Chinese Garden from the Arboretum

Here are two more local gardens that I had never visited before a few days ago, the Seattle Chinese Garden and adjacent to it the South Seattle Community College arboretum.  They are located in West Seattle.  

 Of the two, the Chinese Garden is much newer and not yet completed; however, there is a visitor center and gift shop with maps, a model of what it will look like eventually, and a helpful attendant to answer questions.  In addition to the Spring Courtyard seen in the photos above the Chinese Garden complex will also have a 75 ft tall pagoda and a tea house.  The community of Chongqing, China, a sister city of Seattle, in part funded the garden and Chinese architects were used to design the buildings.  It truly does feel like stepping in another world upon entering the garden.

The South Seattle Community College arboretum was established in 1978.  Some of the areas are currently closed for renovation, and one area was in process of improvement.  It is divided into sections of different plants; for instance, one area is for tropical plants, one for roses, one for small conifers, a rock garden and another for native plants.  There are nice benches in shady places and pavilions so it is possible to sit and enjoy the gardens or just have a rest.  A small brook runs through it making a pleasant gurgle.  

Most of the plants did not have tags and we unable to identify all of them but here are some pictures from the SSCC arboretum.

This colorful Japanese maple tree is one of the first things to greet the visitor of the SSCC arboretum.

 Day Lilies



 Another variety of Japanese maple


 The natural looking stream that flows through part of the arboretum

 Pink Dogwood

 Orange roses

 Canterbury bells


 Rose bud

Two toned single petal roses

 One of the pavilions with benches and a courtyard

This looks like a miniature Gorse

Both gardens are open to the public and free with donations accepted at the Chinese Garden.

For more information check out these links:

Friday, June 21, 2013

Postcard Thursday, 88, update

 Paris, Vieux Montmartre

My French friend often visits flea markets looking for old cards and will mail me vintage cards and modern cards with wonderful notes explaining what the pictures are about and always trying to find interesting, beautiful, colorful stamps to put on the envelopes.  All of which I very much appreciate and love receiving.  Recently while in Paris he found this reproduction of an old postcard and very thoughtfully sent it to me.  The view is from Montmartre and shows part of the church, Le Sacré Coeur that was featured on 25 April 2013 as the Thursday postcard, 88.  Editions Emmanuel Gill of Paris reproduced the postcard and has several other different collection categories.  This card above is labeled “Collection Paris Vintage.”  To see some of the other cards visit the website at:


Thursday, June 20, 2013

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 96

Aerial view of Kristiansand, Vest Agder, Norway

The postcard above shows an aerial view of the city Kristiansand located in Southern Norway and the county capital of Vest Agder.   Normann, a company that has produced many picture postcards of Norway, published the card.  The photograph is by Fjellanger Widerøe.   Widerøe is a well-known company that takes aerial photos of Norway.  They began taking this type of picture as early as 1934 and have over 3 million photos in their archives.  Normann is just one company that has used their images.  The photos taken by Widerøe are not only used for postcards like the one above but also used by the public and private sectors, anything from real estate to public roads, law and architecture. 

A distant cousin, John Galteland, sent the card to me when he visited Norway in 1996.  Many branches of the extended family of Mikal Alfsen Hornnes came from the Setesdal area of Norway where Krisitiansand is the main city.   When Lil Anna took a trip home to visit Norway in 1907/1908 she mentioned staying in a hotel in Kristiansand and meeting her mother there.  

The city takes the name from King Christian IV who founded it in 1641.  The “sand” refers to the sandy headland where the city was built.  The coat of arms for the city is based on a seal dating from 1643 that has the Norwegian lion, the Royal crown and a tree.  There are thick woods near the city, the crown signifies the King founded the city, and the lion was used as a symbol for the country.

For additional information see:

The stamp on the card is quite pretty also.  It shows an operatic scene with the famous Norwegian singer, Kirsten Flagstad (1895-1962).  She was a soprano who was especially renown for her dramatic Wagerian roles.  In 1932 she played Isolde in Tristan und Isolde for the first time. The following year she sang minor roles but in 1934 she sang the parts of Sieglinde in Die Walküre and Gurtrune in Götterdämmerung at the Bayreuth Festival.  In later years she performed several other roles from Wagner’s Ring.  Many critics said she had “the voice of the century.”  Her career included several years with the Metropolitan Opera in New York.  Even after her retirement from the stage she continued to give concert performances and make recordings. 

See: for more about her.


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Lake Dorothy

Lake Dorothy

This week we returned to the Alpine Lakes Wilderness area near Stevens Pass, Washington with Lake Dorothy (sometimes written as Dorothy Lake) as our destination.  The hike afforded two options; a 4 mile round trip to the lake and back or a 6 to 7 mile round trip continuing around the lake for a couple more miles before turning around and starting back.  Both options had nice picturesque places to stop for lunch and views of the lake. 

The sign at the trailhead says it is a 1½-mile hike to the lake but the hiking book says 2 miles.  The hike up, up being the operative word, was fairly steep especially the last section.  We started at 2200 ft and ended at about 3000 ft for an elevation gain of approximately 850 ft.  

The trail is difficult because it is rocky, has lots of exposed roots, and climbs all the way with jillions of stairs!  I find the stairs to be more difficult than switch back paths mostly because the steps are not uniform and it puts a lot of strain on the knees and upper legs both going up and coming back down.   A trekking pole is an asset and in some places a necessity.   Another must have is some type of bug repellent.  The day we went there were swarms of bugs every time we stopped to rest. 

 Stairs, stairs, and more stairs

The lake was indicated on this sign as "outlet spur"

This hike had more wildflowers than most of the others we have gone on thus far.  We counted 30 different kinds including bog orchids and another wild orchid called Twayblade.  Bob saw a Cascade or Tiger Lily but I did not see it.  We did see lots of columbines, marsh marigolds, queen’s cup, lily of the valley, trillium, vanilla leaf, bunchberry, salmon berry, thimbleberry, foamflower, arnica, goat’s beard, wintergreen, twisted stalk, fairy bells, and many others.  The deer ferns were so much fun to look at because they start as a long tall stem with a tightly curled top that gradually unfolds to the frond shape.  

A deer fern poking up between other plants.  The photo below shows the spiral opening to form fronds.

Ferns growing in the crevasses of the rock

Twayblade orchid
The Twayblade is a very tiny plant in the orchid family approximately 1 1/2 inches tall.  

Bog orchid
The bog orchid grows to about 5 or 6 inches tall but the flowers are very tiny. 


Star Solomon’s Seal

Queen’s cup

Marsh Marigold

 Mountain Ash in bud, almost ready to bloom

Twisted Stalk

 We think this may be Louse wort


Goat’s beard

The trail has lots of old trees like this one that Bob is leaning against.  Part of the trail is a boardwalk with stairs.

Camp Robber’s Creek

Camp Robber’s Creek comes down forming a waterfall and joins with the Miller River a short distance from where this picture was taken.  The sound of rushing water from both Camp Robber's Creek and Miller River can be heard well before it is possible to see them.  Glimpses of the rivers can be seen through the trees from the trail but it is not until one is standing on the bridge that crosses the torrent that they can truly be seen in their beauty, force, and roaring water sound. 


Miller River

Time to find a convenient place to sit and eat lunch before starting the return trip.

The Benchmark

One last look at this very pretty lake before leaving.