Alissa let me know she's added a few new dates - she'll be teaching her workshop on Oct 4 or 5 (sorry this had wrong dates when first posted - 4th and 5th are correct!) in Ballard. Check out her flyer here.
In the fall and spring, Monroe, WA, is the spot to observe some of nature's delightful weirdness. Small birds called Vaux's Swifts (pronounced "voxes") use a local chimney as a roosting spot during their migration.
Not just some birds or a few birds but A LOT of birds. Last night's count was over 10,000, all descending at dusk within a few minutes into a single large chimney.
The birds put on a group aerial display that is beautiful and strange and sort of even slightly magical even though it's just a completely explainable natural phenomenon. Taking a trip to Monroe to see the swifts is something I look forward to every year.
You can see it any day at dusk during migration, but once during the fall season, Monroe makes a fun community event of it, with informative displays, a bird chat, spaghetti feed, crafts for kids, more. If you are free this Saturday, consider checking it out!
And if you can't make it this weekend, it's still worth a visit on a non-event day. See the Monroe Swifts site for the most recent count and to learn if the swifts are still flying.
A little Fresh-Picked-style post right now up on the Slow Food Seattle site. Some very cool events coming up in the Seattle area this month, including a free fermenting class, free nature walk with beer brewers, symposium on native food systems, talk on uncommon apples, cheese & cider celebrations and more. Check it on out.
Located in the Bellevue/Kirkland area, Bridle Trails State Park is big: almost 500 acres and with 28 miles of horse and hiking trails. State parks have taken a major hit financially in recent years, and a local group, the Bridle Trails Foundation, was established by some local interested citizens to help maintain this area as a public space.
As a bonus, the group puts on a lot of community activities. My very first mushroom walk in 2009 was a free one they offered, and then in July of 2011, I headed back for this free nature photography class taught by Andy Held. The class was helpful to me, as even after having my DSLR for a over a year, as I had by this point, I was still really rusty from my years away from photography. Also Jim Erckmann, who had taught my mushroom class and often leads the park nature/botany walks, was there to help me identify some plants that were new-to-me at the time. A twofer. Preview gallery below and full gallery with captions here.
Check out the Bridle Trails Foundation site for their upcoming events. In August, they have a presentation on coyotes (with free hot dogs!) and a botany walk. Also keep an eye out for the fall mushroom walks. I will admit I went to a second one with a different teacher that was not as good as the 2009 one listed above, BUT it's free and so as a starting point, I think it's still worth it.
I might have shuttered Fresh-Picked but, as promised, I am still unable to resist telling people about interesting events. Here's one!
Alissa Allen teaches classes in making mushroom and lichen dyes (mycopigments). I took her class in 2013. I will admit I haven't actually taken the next step of making a mushroom dye, but there is often an extended incubation period for me between interest and action. Sometimes years.
Images and some Vines from that event are above (complete gallery with captions here), and if you are interested, you can sign up for her event on October 8 in Eatonville. She'll have a special guest - Liann Finnerty - there to talk about silk design and everyone will get a silk scarf to practice on. The class I attended was great, very informative, and this is a pretty unique opportunity, so worth taking a look!