Our Seattle Neighborhood
The northeast area of the city was modest, a swath of former suburbs that supported middle-class standalone homes edged by small yards. I don’t know where the wealthy neighborhoods of Seattle are; they're probably closer to downtown. This one was nice, though. The neighbors were pressed close together but in a comfortable way. It had a bit of a San Francisco feel in that the architecture styles looked random. Someone with an original World War II era cottage could sit next to a post-modern house, next to a craftsman style house, next to a Cape Cod, next to a shipping container house, next to a Tudor, next to a Victorian. In my home town, there's no place I can see variations in construction style thrown close together quite like that.
That evening in the northeast corner of the city, we checked out more of the local life. Oddly, there didn't seem to be squirrels, rabbits, chipmunks, or dogs except on a leash.
We saw only two cats roaming, both shy and hiding from us after they grew aware they'd been noticed. Of course, we were in a city but with so much greenery around, I expected more wild animals.
Plant life abounded. The residents of our Seattle neighborhood used their herb gardens as a form of landscaping, as Diane had mentioned, and their plants were bigger than on the East Coast. I'm not sure why. Rosemary grew in bushes, four feet tall and about that wide. Daisies were often six feet high. Dandelions grew two to three feet. As far as the dandelions are concerned, I wouldn't be surprised if east coast lawncare practices have encouraged the survival of varieties short enough to not get killed by lawnmowers; we've eliminated the bigger ones and permitted the small ones to flourish.
That doesn't explain the other types of plants growing so large around Seattle, though. The cause might simply be that it's a great environment for growing plants.
Here were the fruit plants in our three block walk to Cloud Coffee:
RaspberriesCloudberriesCherriesApplesArtichokeStrawberries mixed with wild strawberriesSquash or pumpkin (too early to tell)
Diane noticed these herbs:
SageVariegated SageThymeRosemaryAlyssumLavenderGoldenrodEchinaceaRussian Sage
All of this was on top of other landscaping oddities, such as flowering vines we didn’t recognize, bamboo groves, butterfly bushes, ivy, and plenty of ferns. Again, we saw all of this in three blocks. We don't have as much variety of cultivated types in Frederick. We do have a few gardens, though, and if you look around our neighborhood, you'll probably trip on a rabbit. Or a fox. It's nice to have foxes around.
As far as the people of the northwest, I found them business-like but friendly. It is easy to understand the economy of a large, port city. Seattle has industries like aircraft manufacturing nearby because it's easy to transport components in and out. It's got technical companies like Microsoft and Amazon AWS. The northwest is a reasonable place for businesses based on importing. Even better, the surrounding lands aren't vulnerable to wildfires. So far. There are hills, water, a ton of plants, and rich soils full of volcanic ash.
Oh, the volcanoes. Mount Rainer looms, beautiful but deadly. Mount Saint Helens killed people forty years ago. Mount Baker, Goat Rocks, Glacier Peak, and Indian Heaven are all active. All of them sit reasonably close to the Seattle Fault or the Tacoma Fault.
Nothing will happen in our lifetimes, I'm sure. But I've thought that before.