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Autumn Happenings

The other day I had the pleasure of a leisurely drive along Highway 101 with a friend. We were headed out west to Forks, where we participated in a beginners' cedar bark basket weaving class taught by Quileute Tribal Elder Phillip Ward. 

When we signed up for the class, I was imagining a very large basket woven by my clumsy hands, and came prepared with several big plastic bags to carry our baskets home in (it does rain a lot in Forks and I didn't want our newly-made baskets to get wet).  I was a bit wet behind the ears myself, as it turns out these were tiny baskets that we made. They were so small that we could tuck them into our pockets or purses.  I was enlightened as I discovered how difficult baskets truly are to weave and I have new respect for the craftsmanship and art of basket weaving.  These little baskets took a lot of concentration and just under three hours to weave.  As we headed home, our little baskets looked quite lovely sitting on the dashboard of the car.

The next day, we enjoyed another creative art with friends.  We visited at their home and while there decorated sugar skulls as offerings to celebrate Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead).  Pictured below are the skulls we decorated in memory of deceased family members. 

We brought the little sugar skulls home and I set them on the mantel of the fireplace to dry.  We appreciate our friends for inviting us over and sharing a tradition with us.

Today I have been out gathering pine cones.  We have a pine cone tree on our property that provides an abundance every year.  Actually, I'm not sure what kind of tree it is.  It's an ugly, brown, half-dead tree most of the year.  Then, in the fall, the tree turns green and produces thousands of pine cones that are perfect for crafts.  I wonder why this tree was planted here and what it's called?  Was it planted because a former owner wanted the pine cones?   

Our neighbor, Brian, came over one day and encouraged us not to think the tree was dead and cut it down.  He explained that even though it looks dead part of the year, it's actually still living and eventually the tree revives and is quite nice.  As you can see from the photo above, the tree is currently in it's lively stage. Give it a few months and it will turn an ugly brown and look half-dead again.

The masses of pine cones are incredible.  Long stems of easy-to-pick small cones sized just right for certain types of crafts.

I gathered a basket full of them.  Now I need to figure out what to make.

It's a beautiful fall day here in the northwest corner of Washington.  I haven't traveled out to New England to see their fall leaves, and I'm not sure that I need to - we have such scenic autumns right here, which is what I noticed when traveling out to Forks over the weekend.  Below are a few photos from my own yard today.

The deer are here every day.  It's not uncommon to see groups of six or more deer wandering through our pastures.  These two deer were just outside the living room window where I was standing when I took the photo below.

One last photo -- this is so lovely, look at how the light and the color of the leaves is reflecting off the glass doors inside the house. The warm glowing colors of autumn are a gift from nature.