Lake Wilderness Arboretum

Recently I wrote a post called Story Walk, about a fun feature in the Lake Wilderness Arboretum here in Washington that lets you read a story while walking in the woods. I was so delighted about this idea that I had to post it first. But the Arboretum itself is so amazing that I decided it also needed a post all its own.

This arboretum was a civic dream in the 1960’s, and after King County donated land that used to belong to a resort, it came into being in the 1970’s. It now belongs to the city of Maple Valley. It’s free to the public daily, from dawn to dusk.

Its 40 acres is divided up into a Rock Garden, a Children’s Discovery Forest, a Legacy Garden, a Perennial Garden, the Smith-Mossman Garden, The Tribal Life Trail, the Woodland Garden, and a Nursery.

Naturally, it is full of amazing flowers and plants, but as you explore, you’ll come across many other features. There’s the Story Walk, of course, but also you’ll find two little free libraries, which thrilled me, as well as a pergola, a pond, a gazebo, a flagstone patio, a play house, and two totem poles.

This isn’t the largest arboretum I’ve ever visited by any stretch of the imagination, but it is quite obviously lovingly cared for. And it’s easy to wander right off the arboretum and into many forested paths to the north, a lovely park to the east and south which includes a lodge and borders a large lake suitable for swimming, a baseball field and tennis court to the south, and a disc golf course to the west.

Here are some of the photos we took on the day. Both of the forest ones were taken north of the arboretum. We hadn’t realized we had gotten lost at the time. But it was still beautiful. Enjoy!

The ultimate form of recycling: Buy my book, read it, and then donate it to your local public library or your neighborhood little free library! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

Plant Panic

I just watched an interesting video, 41 seconds long, entitled, “Scientists Discover Plants ‘Panic’ When It Rains”.

It says that droplets of water, containing bacteria, viruses, or fungal spores, are the main cause of disease spreading among plants. For that reason, when it rains, plants release a protein that causes the plant’s genes to prepare to defend themselves. So it’s kind of like human panic. Red alert, all hands on deck!

Nature is amazing. I’m impressed that plants have this coping mechanism. Anything that allows them to thrive is spectacular.

But it also makes me sad, because one of my favorite things to do is water the plants in my garden. I know I have a tendency to anthropomorphize things, and that’s a bad habit, but as I water my plants, I’ve always imagined them thinking, “Ahhhh, that feels good. Sweet relief. I was thirsty.”

Now I get to think that I’m freaking them out.

The last thing I want to do is cause my plants distress. At the very least, I’ll be directing my water stream at the roots as much as possible from now on, in hopes of maintaining a peaceable kingdom. I’d like my garden to be as Eden-like as possible.

garden-of-eden

Read any good books lately? Try mine! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

Little Free Gardens!

Recently I started a Little Free Library, and it’s been so popular that I can barely keep up with it. I’ve also blogged about Chat Benches, which is another community-building idea whose time definitely has come. From here, a friend told me about another fantastic idea: Little Free Gardens.

According to the website, “The goal of the Little Free Garden project is to foster communities committed to growing, sharing and cultivating food in small gardens, placed in residential or public spaces.”

What a brilliant concept. And it’s simple, really. 1) Build a box, perhaps 4 feet by 2 feet and 12 inches deep. 2) Plant vegetables or fruit therein. 3) Place it in your front yard or in an approved public space, so that the produce can be shared by anyone who wants or needs it.

Not only are you helping to feed others, but you are educating them about the value of fresh, high quality, local food, and encouraging gardening. It’s also a great way to meet your neighbors and build community connections.

What’s not to love about this idea? If you don’t have the time or space to plant a little free garden, please consider hopping over to their website and supporting this organization in its good works.

clases_doctoradoe

Read any good books lately? Try mine! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

 

A Brilliant Backyard Idea

Every once in a while I’ll stumble across a business plan that’s so quirky and magnificent that I just have to share it. When people think out of the box and it resonates with me, I just naturally want them to succeed, because, well, the world needs this product or service. That’s how I feel about Rent-A-Chicken.

In a world where we have become more and more skeptical about our food sources, this is an idea whose time has come. Urban farming is becoming increasingly popular. I love the little garden in our back yard. I savor every tomato, strawberry, onion, clove of garlic, etc. that comes from it. I love that we have blackberries and pears and apples in the park that surrounds us. We have also put up a bat house and are planning a bug house and we plant flowers that are good for the bees and hummingbirds. I like the idea of giving back to the planet while also sharing in its abundance. It would be amazing to have fresh eggs, from well-loved chickens, too.

For the price of the chicken rental (the amount of which appears nowhere on the website, and believe you me, I’ve complained to them about that) you get laying hens, a coop, an enclosed run, food, a water dispenser, delivery, training on chicken care, and a help desk. They’ll even house your chicken over the labor-intensive winter for you, and tag it so you can get the same hen back the following year, in case you become attached (which I’m quite sure I would.)

The thought of city-dwelling parents introducing their children to some aspect of farming makes me really happy. I think raising chickens would make the youth of today a lot more aware of where food comes from. It would also make them see how important it is to take care of our environment.

I also love the idea that there are franchises available for farmers. It’s so much harder for them to keep afloat these days that increasing their ability to bring in extra money appeals to me greatly. Currently, I can’t Rent-A-Chicken in the Seattle area, which breaks my heart. So, area farmers, are you listening? We need you to become cluckin’ entrepreneurs!

Chickens

Like the way my weird mind works? Then you’ll enjoy my book! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5