Were They Once Beloved Toys?

Yesterday, when I found these toys in the rubble of the house foundation that was recently unearthed in the Greenbelt, I got teary. Who were the children who had lost these toys? Had they cried when they realized they were missing? Were they once beloved toys?

Then I became puzzled. When I moved into this neighborhood in 1973, I had been told that there once had been a house in the lot behind mine; one that had burned in the 50’s. Even though this foundation is not directly behind my house, I have assumed it is the house that I was once told about. These toys had not burned, so had the house not burned either? If not, what had destroyed it?

The foundation has probably been covered by blackberry vines since sometime in the 60’s. Did the toys show up on the lot after that time? Had they been thrown over the embankment by inhabitants of the home above it? No one on this neighborhood even knew the house existed, so I will probably never know the answers to these questions.

I brought the stuffed animals and doll into my house and cleaned them to the best of my ability. The transformation was remarkable!

Tomorrow, we will be holding another work party in the Greenbelt. Twenty students from an Environmental Science class at the University of Washington have signed up to participate. I wonder what we will find as we continue our endeavor to return this piece of land to the beautiful forest it once was.



Daily Prompt: Perfume

I have been working so much in the Greenbelt that I have neglected my own yard. Last week, I temporarily changed my priorities.

Yesterday afternoon, I spread cedar chips in the walkways. Their smell is like perfume to me.

Red currant shrub-to-be and cedar chips
Elderberry shrub-to-be and cedar chips

Note 1: The flower petals are falling from the magnolia tree above.
Note 2: There is no part of this area that is finished but I hope the photos gave you a glimpse of what it is becoming. 

Daily Prompt: Perfume

Roots, Roots and More Roots

I laughed when I read that the April 26 Daily Post prompt was Roots. My life is filled with roots. I even dream about roots.

Our local GreenFriends group has taken on the responsibility of restoring four lots in Seattle’s Greenbelt. That land has been overrun by blackberries and ivy for decades. Part of our job in phase one of the project is to remove the blackberry vines and their root-balls.

The City of Seattle Parks Department staff cut down most of the blackberry vines in March. There are now thousands of canes sticking up from the ground. They lead us to the root-balls.

Raking up the debris makes it easier for us to see the canes and to dig out the root-balls.

Once we dig them out we put them on racks so they can dry out.

I suspect that blackberry root-balls will be in my life for years-to-come.

To read more about this project go to Greenbelt Restoration Project Update

The Magnificence and Wonder of Nature

When I attended Amma’s programs at MA Center Chicago last summer, I walked to their big echinacea field. I found the flowers fascinating. I loved how unusual they looked at each stage of development and was particularly intrigued by the spikes in the center of the flower.

Soon after returning to Seattle, I decided to purchase some echinacea plants for my own garden… and a microscope. When I looked at the flower under the microscope, I gasped; my eyes beheld the magnificence and wonder of nature. (Click on the galleries to enlarge the photos.)

Daily Post: Spike

Weekly Photo Challenge: Earth

A Treasure for Me

I laughed when I saw that today’s Daily Prompt is Chuckles. I also thought of the old saying “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” That is exactly how I feel about dandelions this time of year.

Two days ago, I saw this strip of dandelions near my home. It was at least 50 feet long and maybe more. Throughout the winter, I have been going to the grocery store to pick up lettuce that is going to be discarded. I feed it to the worms in my vermicomposting bins. The worms seem to be losing their enthusiasm for the lettuce, but they love the fresh dandelion greens.

The problem with the dandelions in this field is that it is part of light rail property and is completely fenced in. I have no way to access it, so I have to be satisfied with using the dandelions in my yard and the few that are on the street side of the fence.

Even though I know that it is important for me to focus on what I have, rather than what I don’t have, I have no doubt that I will still look longingly at the treasure that is beyond my grasp whenever I pass this field.

Daily Prompt: Climbing

In India last year, I discovered a plant that Indians call “spinach.” It climbed the walls of many of the Amritapuri gardens. We could eat it right off the vine, or put it in salads, or cook it. I loved it and decided to do my best to have it in my garden this year. I know we don’t have the heat that India has, but thought it might grow at a slower rate.

It was easier for me to identify the plant than I thought it would be. One of my friends even grew it here last year. The plant’s name is Red Malabar. It is a different species (basella rubra) than spinach (Spinacia oleracea L.) but is often referred to as spinach even here. I ordered the seeds and planted them in containers in the house two weeks ago. So far none have germinated.

I re-looked at the packet and noticed a label: “Over-packed due to low germination.” This morning, I noticed that the label also says GERM 56%. With Seattle’s lack of heat plus such a low germination rate my endeavor may be doomed, but I hope not!


Daily Post: Climbing

Another Greenbelt Adventure

When I learned that today’s Word Press Daily Prompt was “Record,” nothing came to my mind. Hours later, it occurred to me that I am recording the work my friends and I are doing in Seattle’s Greenbelt, in part by taking photographs!

From time to time during the last few weeks, I have been digging out a carpet that has been buried in the Greenbelt for decades. I discovered the carpet on a day I was trying to remove blackberry root balls and couldn’t get a shovel to go into the ground.

At that time, I scraped away some dirt and saw this.

When I removed more of the dirt, I found what was keeping me from digging. It is hard to tell from this photo, but what you are seeing is a dirty carpet.

Earlier in the day I had noticed this:

I had uncovered a scrub brush in the Greenbelt the day before, so when I first saw this piece of plastic I thought it might be another brush. After finding the buried carpet though, I realized that what I had thought might turn out to be bristles was actually part of the unraveling carpet.

The carpet was big and heavy. In some places it was three layers thick, so I didn’t know if I would be able to move it enough to free it from the roots, blackberries and ivy but I kept at it.

Yesterday, I finally succeeded in freeing the carpet and rolling it up.

It is too heavy for me to move so that will have to wait until there is a group of people who can take it away. Hopefully that will be tomorrow when a city work team comes to cut down more of the blackberry vines.

Moments after rolling up the carpeting, this caught my eye.

That will have to be a project for a different day!