Saturday, 17 December 2016

Ice Storm


Overnight it was very cold and this morning, as forecast, there was a 'wintry mix' of sleet and rain which coated everything with a glaze of ice.  Known as an ice storm, this weather creates potentially dangerous conditions on roads and pathways, but on the finch feeder it created the illusion of a beaded shade - like an Art Nouveau lamp!


Even this female Cardinal bird had ice crystals forming on her tail.


The birds were keen to keep feeding as it was so cold.


The ice was thick on the suet feeder too - but the Pileated Woodpeckers were not deterred.


For such large birds they are really quite agile, using their tails to balance while they feed and their strong beaks to break into even the hardest suet block.

Friday, 16 December 2016

National Parks Centenary


David was working in Washington DC today and he called in to the National Botanic Garden where, every Christmas, a railway layout is created with miniature models of famous buildings.


This year is the centenary of the creation of the National Parks Service and to commemorate this, the models along the railroad are all buildings and locations within US national parks.

Many of them, such as the Washington Monument, Library of Congress and Jefferson Memorial are contained within the National Mall, which although in the centre of Washington DC is a national park.

Others are natural locations throughout the US such as the Grand Canyon.







Thursday, 15 December 2016

Pileated Woodpecker


Since the trees near the house lost their leaves we have seen the occasional Pileated Woodpecker but up until now they had kept their distance.  They are the largest woodpeckers found in the US and very noisy.


This morning it was very cold -4, with a forecast of a northerly wind and -10 by the end of the day.  

Hence all the birds were very interested in the feeders and very busy.  We were surprised to see two of these very large and distinctive woodpeckers coming to feed.


With their very big beaks they can make short work of a suet block and they defended it against any starlings brave enough to come near!

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Snaps of Seattle Market

All visitors to Seattle are drawn into the Pike Place Market which is open seven days a week, twelve hours a day.  It is the oldest continually operating public market in the US.  

On our last visit we admired the bouquets of flowers.  This time it was the wonderful wreaths, sprays and arrangements of evergreen, berries and teasel that caught our eye.


(Or, as you may just be able to see in the sign here, which was blowing in the wind, 'Christmas Reefs'!)


The outside area of the market was atmospheric, even in the rain.


The displays of fruit and veg were very colourful.


..and of course the fish..  all the ice was freshly shoveled each morning.  A chilly job for someone!

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Gingerbread Creations


In the foyer of the Sheraton Hotel in Seattle, some extraordinary gingerbread creations were on display.


Each year the hotel hosts a Gingerbread Village with a theme - this year it was Harry Potter.


The rules state that in order to compete, the creations must be 65 percent gingerbread.


These were very large indeed - this one was rather more than life size, and beautifully detailed..


Thousands of individual sweets were incorporated into the designs..



Each of the six huge models was made by a professional chef to represent scenes from one of the Harry Potter books.


The details were extraordinary..






The chefs who had created the models were competing and visitors were invited to make a donation to Diabetes Research and vote for their favorite.


There was also a suitably decorated Christmas tree.


Monday, 12 December 2016

Wow! - Wearable Art Exhibition


Following on from yesterday's blog, here are more of the extraordinary exhibits in the Wow! Wearable Art gallery.  The first few are fantasy bras..



Here is a selection of the many wearable art 'dresses'.. in a variety of materials, some more unusual than others..








I think extraordinary is all that can really be said about these very unique creations!!

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Museum of Popular Culture


Unfortunately another rather grey day in Seattle and so we 
caught the monorail to the Seattle Centre to visit MoPOP - the museum of Popular Culture.


The museum is housed in a very unusual building designed by Frank O. Gehry to evoke the rock n roll experience which is a key part of the museum experience.


In the foyer of the museum is a huge floor to ceiling screen showing videos of live bands, lit as if you were attending the concert in person.


There was an extraordinary musical instrument sculpture - acoustic and electric guitars, hundreds of them.  It rose several floors within the building.  It was very striking but I couldn't help but think how much my Dad would have hated to see guitars and banjos used in this way.


The museum celebrates the life of Jimi Hendrix who was from Seattle as well as the band Nirvana who began their careers locally - we were interested to see that one of their early performances, together with two other local bands, took place at the Moore Theatre where we were last night.  Of course they went on to bigger and better venues all over the world.


Other areas of pop culture celebrated within the museum included a very comprehensive Star Trek exhibit which David enjoyed - more pics another day..


Another exhibition entitled 'Wow'!, was a touring celebration of 'wearable art' based on an annual competition between designers to create one off pieces that were never intended to be produced as clothing but were wearable.  The different materials and designs in this exhibition were extraordinary and I will share more another day.


There was also a comprehensive exhibition dedicated to science fiction films.  Outside the reflection of the Space Needle and the outlines of the building looked fitting for a science fiction exhibit.


Later in the day the needle and surrounding trees were all lit up.