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Archive for the ‘Nature’ Category

After leaving the scarecrow-riddled Remlinger Farms property in Carnation, you may turn south and see a sign that announces an alpaca farm. If you follow the signs and happen to turn down the correct driveway, you find Cascade Rose Alpacas.

Alpacas are naturals in front of the camera. They seem instinctively curious, and while not huge fans of being petted, they do trot right up to the camera and pose.

The tiny store onsite sells food for $3 a bag so if you lean over the fence these llama cousins are hoping you have treats. A man on a golf cart thought I had treats and barked at me to put my hand through the fence to feed them. It was my camera that the alpacas wanted. Evidently the alpacas will poke their heads through the fence to reach snacks and get stuck.

I failed to get pictures of the big, brave dogs who live in the pastures with the alpacas. Some were mixed breed, some were white, and three enjoyed some dog cookies that I keep in my car for canine friends and relatives.

Look at that grin!

Each alpaca has a unique personality and look.

They have such fabulous hair! I began to walk towards the tiny gift shop intending to see what treasures it held, but the man on the golf cart told me not to go inside because there was a tour group in there.

Someone said the mini-paca was just a few weeks old.

Alpacas are wonderful creatures. This was a fun diversion on an autumn day. Their teeth, I’m told, are designed so they don’t pull up grass by the roots. Their glorious chompers, extreme fluffiness, and big hair are endearing traits that complement their inquisitive, welcoming nature.

Always make time for alpacas.

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©2019 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

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Above the tower — a lone, twice-sized moon.
On the cold river passing night-filled homes,
It scatters restless gold across the waves.
On mats, it shines richer than silken gauze.

Empty peaks, silence: among sparse stars,
Not yet flawed, it drifts. Pine and cinnamon
Spreading in my old garden . . . All light,
All ten thousand miles at once in its light!

Full Moon, Tu Fu

I love taking snapshots of the moon, especially through trees. Watching this full moon come up on the unseasonably hot first day of spring has been amazing. The trees provide theater, curtains, flirtatious framing.

Here in the Seattle area, not long after freezing temperatures, we experienced 78 degrees yesterday, our hottest winter day on record. Today was equally toasty, and perhaps the last of the dirty snow hiding in the corners of the yard finally melted.

Happy worm moon! Happy spring! חג פורים שמח

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14For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”

Esther 4:14

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©2019 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

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Today on January 1st, 2018, we were blessed with one of the most beautiful full moons I’ve ever seen. I ran out onto the dock of Log Boom Park in Kenmore, Washington to try and capture the glory of the moonrise and light.

Looking down the dock to the south. This is at the northern end of Lake Washington, which divides Seattle and the Eastside.

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Phalacrocoracidae, commonly known as cormorants. There were also many ducks.

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The gargantuan full moon soars over the horizon.

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The color seemed unusual for this time of year, such a rich and buttery yellow-orange.

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And once again, the roosting birds, who seemed completely unfazed by the frigid temperature.

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And now we welcome the new year. Full of things that have never been. -Rainer Maria Rilke

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©2018 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

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Blood Moon 8-20-16

WOW. I was just coming home from the store and had to stop to take pictures of this gorgeous rising moon. I couldn’t quite get a steady shot, even balancing the camera on a fire hydrant, but you can see why I was in awe.

We aren’t due for another blood moon yet, but this looked more like one than some of the actual lunar eclipses we’ve had recently.

As I was taking photos, a woman walked by and asked if I’d seen the setting sun also. I hadn’t. She said that tonight it, too, was blood red. We wondered if it means something…

(Update: the news said  this was caused by fires on the Olympic Peninsula.)

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Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years… -Genesis 1:14

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©2016 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

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Bothell Fire KING 5

Bothell Fire, July 22nd, 2016 from KING 5 News

Yesterday, in the early morning hours of July 22nd, several explosions were heard in the area of 102nd and Main Street. Neighbors looked out their windows to find the historic Mercantile Building, which was being expanded into multistory apartments, engulfed in flames.

Morning traffic reports warned drivers that State Route 522 was shut down near Kaysner Way. Nearly 100 firefighters from Bothell and neighboring agencies including Kirkland, Northshore, Woodinville, and Redmond converged on a three-alarm fire that was being spread by wind.

If you know Bothell, Washington, you probably think of its quaint downtown core before you think of the bigger name stores further north and east. Rows of older buildings line Main Street for blocks with, for the most part, no separation between them. Banks, pubs, a clothing store, a furniture store, art galleries, antique shops, and various eateries create a small town feel despite massive new construction nearby.

Midday a trip down 522 showed warning signs that something was wrong.

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Power and internet were knocked out in parts of downtown by the fire. Crews worked hard to restore service.

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The fire continued to smolder. The stench of burning building blanketed the air. Note the crane at the left. More on that soon.

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Today crowds gathered downtown to make sense of what had just happened. Bothell Public Works had an eductor truck on Main Street. These vehicles are like giant vacuums and are often used to clean out storm drains. There was a great deal of foam and debris to clean up and the Sammamish Slough is just down the hill.

I’d heard Alexa’s Cafe was damaged but am not sure. So far I haven’t heard the same about the Three Lions Pub immediately to the right. It was open and looked intact.

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Looking east down the north side of Main Street.

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Seeing this sale sign made me realize how hard some of these businesses are going to be fighting to stay alive. Some might be done for.

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Approaching ground zero on the southwest corner of 102nd and Main. This is what’s left of the Kozy Corner Cafe and the poor trees around it.

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This is (was) the Mercantile Building, recently rechristened The Mercantile as its interior was gutted and rebuilt to support the residential units on top of it. Most locals agree this is where the fire started and many suspect that it was arson although there have been no official reports to that effect yet. The bridge and senior center nearby are okay.

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Fires are strange. Some things burn, others don’t. This particular tree actually looked less singed than others despite the intense heat right next to it.

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The crane being used on The Mercantile project melted.

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Bothell Fire still had a truck on scene.

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Note the melted Honey Buckets.

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Someone I was talking to said, “look at the bushes behind us.” Despite being across the street, the bushes were crispy, including the rhodie to the left.

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Looking up Main to the east towards Sundance Energy, which I originally heard was destroyed, then heard was saved.

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The driveway to the back of the Logsdon Building was closed. Lynn Logsdon, the dear woman who owns the building, was kind enough to fill me in on the conditions of some of the buildings around hers. Hers, despite being right across the street, was unscathed. I know that prayers often go out for the safety of this place.

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From the west side, the First Lutheran Church with its beautiful cross appeared to be undamaged.

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Walking around the block, I found a crowd gathered at Sundance Energy, which is temporarily operating out of a different location. Across the street is the Frontier building which sounds like is a loss. I was surprised to see the two propane tanks on the front of that trailer intact given some other damage farther north on the property.

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From Sundance, which is uphill from 102nd, you could see the roof of the Mercantile Building.

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The landscaping along Main was decimated and the Wells Fargo signs melted.

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Note the damage to the trailer. I’m not sure what the charred pieces are in the background.

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The Mercantile across the street.

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The roof is just a mess. It’s obvious how hot the fire was.

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The front of Sundance’s property looks like an ebony moonscape.

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Nobody’s going to be using that picnic table or… barbeque (?) again.

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Sundance will need community support to get back up and running. They are housed in older buildings that I’m amazed weren’t lost.

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There appeared to be pry marks on the door, likely from the firefighters’ entry.

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Sundance wisely had some literature about their services on a table. Note how the table is warped and pitted from the heat and embers.

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The roof on this back building was damaged more than the others.

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Wow. This recycling bin was a significant distance from Main Street. It could have been moved, but it seemed to be in its logical place next to the dumpster.

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Zulu’s was one of the businesses damaged by the fire. Two other area businesses are donating their proceeds on July 25th and 27th to help them and the Kozy Corner. Some of us lookie loos decided to go in for a beverage and one woman bought jalapeno poppers for the group. Strangers might not normally talk to each other in this area, but today, we were family.

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The Frontier building. Note the van from the disaster recovery company and the damage along the right roof line. We discussed how many under 30 might not know what that blue and white box is for other than recognizing it as something Dr. Who rides around in.

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Everything is closed. Don’t even try. Police and security are maintaining an active presence on this stretch.

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More charred remains from the front of Sundance Energy.

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Bothell Public Works had multiple vehicles on scene and by all accounts did a knockout job during and after this event. It’s not just Public Safety who handles emergencies. Public Works is always close behind.

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Looking out at Zulu’s deck with its awning still curiously intact.

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Water damage inside Zulu’s.

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Zulu’s had the best view of the Mercantile’s roof. There are hot spots to the right and left.

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Upon closer examination, Zulu’s tent was pitted with holes from the fire.

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The Mercantile’s roof looks like it was hit by a bomb.

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Fried foliage, cooked crane.

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The view to the west over the fence at Zulu’s.

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A lot of businesses have had to air out their buildings.

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One little pot of fake flowers was still standing behind Sundance as if in defiance of the fire.

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People of all ages gathered to talk this through and see the smoke. We all probably went home smelling like it too.

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Wells Fargo was damaged as well.

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The first evidence that something was amiss at First Lutheran.

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A closer view. But they’re coming back tomorrow.

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Being a Public Safety-Public Works hybrid, I remain amazed at how quickly my cohorts can mobilize and organize at times like these.

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Still working hard 38 hours after the place exploded. We literally have some of the best first responders on Planet Earth here.

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Good job. Often passed by without a second thought, we are reminded of how important our fire hydrants are at times like these. Some have stood as sentinels for decades.

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It’s just not something you see every day. Soon after, a couple of Bothell firefighters came walking up the street and we all gave them a hearty round of applause. I wish we could have done the same for the Public Works crews inside their sweepers and Vactors.

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It’s therapeutic to meet people and compare notes. You can tell who the engineers are.

Per my education I instinctively listen for those who seem to know too much about the particulars. We don’t know that this was arson, but some arsonists like to return to the scene to gloat over their work or brag about their knowledge. There are different motivations for arson and various types of arsonists, but a small subset experience a high similar to sex from setting fires. I considered those deviants, the thrill seeker type, the revenge seekers, the wannabe heroes, and the profiteering types after being here.

I realized later I was in behavioral profiling mode, noting who was where and how they were feeling. All seemed like concerned locals or business owners. No one stood out.

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Singed beauty.

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One man pointed out that besides the obvious damage to Wells Fargo, the ATM had bubbled.

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The remaining highest point of the Kozy Corner. Two women told me how they’d just moved their bridal store business out of the upstairs and some friends moved into that space.

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It was surreal to see only the O in the open sign left and hanging down in front of a dangling TV.

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More survivors.

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Returning to the antiques store, which did have to be aired out, there was no trace of smoke inside. It was strangely normal compared to the carnage just outside.

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The first booth I walked into had this Fire! Fire! book front and center. There’s some irony. The proprietor confirmed that the book was coincidentally in that spot before the fire started.

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Now this is appropriate. How firefighters protect people and property.

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These “open for business” banners were everywhere. Some businesses stayed open late because of the people roaming downtown to see the fire. I strongly suspect that Larry and Susie Ormbrek of Sign Up, Sign Co. are behind the speedy production and distribution of these banners.

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Bothell is a well-loved place with a lot of supporters. Mills Music, by the way, survived. The clothing store space, Banner Bank, and another building adjacent to the Kozy Corner are said to have water damage even though they look okay from the outside. A wall of the Kozy Corner is tilted towards the clothing store as well.

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It is truly amazing how much of Main Street was saved. Two or three blocks could have been lost had it not been for some epic teamwork. The damage is stunning as well, but it could have been exponentially worse. The fact that it was contained as well as it was is a testament to the training and caliber of our local fire departments.

Please patronize local businesses and keep an eye on the Bothell Chamber of Commerce website for fundraisers and ways to support the community. They have this posted already:

Day of Support for Bothell’s Kozy Corner Cafe and Zulu’s Board Game Café
Beardslee Public House and Wildwood Spirits Co. would like to announce
a Kozy Corner Café and Zulu’s Board Game Café Day of Support July 25 & 27. 

All profits from Beardslee Public House on Monday, July 25 and all profits from
Wildwood Spirits Co. on Wednesday, July 27 will be given to the owners of the
Kozy Corner Café and Zulu’s Board Game Café to help them rebuild. 

Twitter has continual updates and some jarring video.

There is a GoFundMe page for the Kozy Corner, whose staff is now unemployed.

Bothell has a long road back to normal but they’ll stay afloat. They always do, as a community and city, as this mural suggests. Whether all of the 20 or so businesses impacted by this fire do remains to be seen.

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Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end. -Scott Adams

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©2016 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

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Gorgeous and spellbinding.

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Clouds

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On the way home tonight I was in awe of the dramatic clouds sailing across the domed canopy of the sky. Somehow the heavens felt bigger as I watched these gargantuan airships hover over the hurried traffic of earth.

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Last night we had some astoundingly heavy rain spells. Before and after there were moments where the sun stabbed through the storm clouds in a brilliant contrast of light and dark. That weighty but thrilling electricity heralding a storm clung to the damp air.

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At times the skies looked like portals to a land beyond. You can imagine yourself running through the clouds, keeping up a furious pace so you don’t fall through. But if you do, you know that you will fly.

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The wind has been busy this week. This restless weather seems to be signaling some sort of shift, like some massive blessing is about to rage forth from the floodgates of heaven in measures we can scarcely comprehend.

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What do you see when you look at the clouds? I see freedom. I see hope. I’m reminded that no matter how lofty our aspirations, God is infinitely greater. The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands said the Psalmist.

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How often as we race about our lives do we fail to look up? The sky is above us all the time, swirling and churning in a perpetually changing display of magnificence. Yet sometimes I fail to look up. When I do lift my head, I am released from the moment’s worries and just want to feel the sun or rain or fog on my face to remind me I’m alive. Going about our daily routines to pay the bills, we become numb, jaded, laser-focused on ensuring our own survival instead of trusting that our Creator is in control.

In the beginning He created the heavens and the earth.

He said, “Let there be light” and there was light.

He saw that the light was good and He separated the light from the darkness.

He said, “Let there be a vault between the waters” and He called the vault sky.

It’s all far too deeply embedded in our souls, all too beautiful to be some random cosmic accident.

When you walk outside in the driving rain with your face turned towards the stars and your bare arms outstretched as wind envelops you and thunder pulsates, every cell in your being exults in the power, the genius, the deeper magic, as C.S. Lewis called it, of a Creator who knew exactly what He was doing.

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©2016 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

 

 

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