Sehome Hill Arboretum, Marine Life Center and Whatcom History and Art Museum

8/23/12 Thursday at Bow,WA (Mt Vernon Campground-TT)

Since they predicted rain for today, we thought we’d try some rain safe activities in Bellingham. Except the Arboretum was not in a building, but it was free and not raining yet, so we went there to have our lunch. Unfortunately, there were no picnic areas, not even restrooms. Of course, as soon as we got to the top of the hill and started walking a trail, we realized we really should have visited a restroom before leaving Bow.

We also expected signs naming the plants and trees, but they weren’t there either. The trails were lovely, though. It had rained before we came, so rain drops would fall whenever there was some breeze. Beautiful, green, dark forest, so quiet. It’s like they set aside a woodsy site for posterity.

Road on the way up, with trees leaning over

Tunnel created by blasting – so Model T’s could ride through. The rocks looked like they were made of paper mache

John walking down a trail

Observation tower

View of Bellingham from observation tower-might have been a better view 14 years ago, when  our guidebook was written and the trees not as tall.

We had a bit of a struggle finding the Marine Life Center – it’s tucked away at the Harbor Center at 1801 Roeder St. Free and lovely views of local marine animals, including 2 octopuses. Great place for little kids.

Octopus #1 – in his happy colors because he’d just eaten a crab

Octopus #2 – loves people, so happy to stay in the light, when octopus prefer the dark. He even let a little boy keep touching his suction cups, just squirting him with water a few times.

Little boy barely visible at top of tank, touching octopus.

Red Rock crab in octopus #2 tank (their pinchers are stronger than Dungeness crabs’), there may be an agreement between this crab and the octopus.

Spot prawns/shrimp (food for the octopus, but since he only eats one every once in a while they are scavengers, like the crabs, until their time is up).

Green anemone (skylight reflected in water)

Whatcom History and Art Museum is in downtown Bellingham, so we found a spot on the edge of town that didn’t have parking meters, although we only had 2 hours to park there. This museum used to be free, but now costs $8/person, with a special today of $5/person. The Art is in one building, History in another (the Old City Hall). We had enough time for both, but no photography allowed in either. I enjoyed the Art Museum (quilts and Ray Turner oil portraits on glass), John not so much. One quilt I especially enjoyed was of a red rooster with an X near it’s head. Apparently the 2 political parties have had different animals for symbols in earlier times. The rooster stood for Democrats, so a woman made this quilt for FDR, but he returned it saying he wouldn’t be able to take care of it as it deserved. The X was what you can mark on your ballot, next to the rooster, to vote Democratic.

The History Museum had photographs by JW Sandison, the Bellingham commercial photographer, who was 36 in 1910. Many were with his #6 Cirkut camera, by Eastman Kodak. With this camera he could take almost 360 degree photos-amazing panoramas of large groups of people and city buildings. He would set the people in a large circle, equally distant from the camera, so they would appear to be in a straight line in the photo. Darius and Tabitha Kinsey were a husband and wife team where he shot the large format images of trees, men and machinery while she did the darkroom work. Beautiful images. We saw woodworking tools-many of which John has, including a Stanley combination plane. Lots of Victorian clocks, some were really different ones. My favorite was a dragon twisting, holding a glass globe in it’s mouth, where the globe is the clock.

We looked for the Antique Radio Museum, but it had moved and changed it’s name to “Sparks Museum of Electrical Invention”. At 1312 Bay St, Bellingham, it is no longer free, but still just $6/person. We ran out of time, but hope to go there next. They have the largest lightening creating machines in the country.

On the way home we got some grocery shopping done, then while John was cooking liver and onions, I took care of “Twinkie”, for Karen and Sherie.

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About Patricia Elser

I've always loved the loose, flowing, transparent look of watercolors, of Chinese paintings and their calligraphy, but alas, no watercolor classes were available when I was in school, so that interest remained buried until my children were grown. Even then, I was afraid that I couldn't really paint, so upon my sister's advice, I actually started to take classes. I signed up for every class available, determined to learn no matter how afraid I was. I came upon a teacher, Stan Miller, who inspired me, who opened the door to success in watercolor. I love to look at beautiful images. I want to capture them forever. All my life, photography was how I gathered images of the beauty I saw. Thanks to all that photography, I enjoy composing pictures, especially up close. Watercolors allow me to add more of me in their translation of that beauty. My paintings reflect my love for music and dance, with their rhythm and flow. I am fascinated by the play of light, so it appears in my pictures as drama for they are filled with darks and lights. Maybe it's the challenge, maybe it's the beauty, but now, when a work comes together, it fills my soul.
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