This was the weekend of the Ballard Seafood Fest, our community festival of music, food, crafts, and hanging out. I especially liked Banda Vagos, a hard working mariachi band that played in the afternoon sun. They are 13 strong and were as hot as the weather. You can hear one of their songs here. Wow. Mariachi bands. It's not our parents' Ballard anymore.
It's kind of silly to take pictures of birds in flight with my little camera. It's really not up to the task. But when a curious heron flies over the band concert you just have to try. This heron soared over us in fine and majestic style.
The Locks have concerts on Sunday afternoons and the Greenwood Concert Band is always a favorite. Led by William Blayley, they're quite good and play a nice selection of marches and other music written or arranged for bands. They keep alive the tradition of the town band and have a fine time doing so.
The other day we were patrolling the northern border, that is to say we were doing some more Official Walking. NW 85th Street is the northern edge of Ballard. It's an ugly street designed to move cars along as quickly as possible. That's a real shame because those drivers miss great places like the Wild Mountain Cafe. So, if you're driving on 85th, slow down! Otherwise you'll miss out.
In his mind he's in the jungle and you're the prey. In reality, he's just working off some Friskies.
Southerners make much of kudzu but I find it hard to believe it's more invasive than blackberries. It's a nasty plant with thorns and it will spread with the wind. Blackberries are everywhere in Ballard.
But blackberries do try to make amends. Is there anything better than blackberry pie? Blackberry jam on your toast? Mooshed up blackberries on vanilla ice cream? If there is I'm not sure it's safe to want to know about it.
Ours is a Schubertian household. We have a picture of the poor chap on the piano and the bench is full of lieder. We even have a "Franz Schubert" phlox out in the flower beds, a gift from Mary Lou. This is the only white blossom on the whole plant. All the others are a sort of lavender much like the buds you see behind it. Why is this one white? I don't know. Maybe we should be a bit more of a Mendelian household.
We were doing some Official Walking, that is, walking towards the goal of walking every street in Ballard, when we noticed we were walking past Janet and Kelly's house. We looked in the window and there was Janet! And she'd just taken muffins out of the oven! And we were just about the luckiest walkers in all Ballard that evening!
After the gentlemen were through, this nattily dressed couple took over. We love accordions here at Ballard Avenue. If each day had 30 hours we'd get one ourselves, but between the piano, the recording studio, and the relentless demands of this internet interlude, the accordion will have to wait until the earth's rotation slows down.
Back home in Ballard, it's Tivoli time. Tivoli is the annual summer festival at the Nordic Heritage Museum and great fun it is. There are food vendors selling treats from "back home." Others sell all sorts of Nordic-themed merchandise. Some folks dress up like Vikings and show how they lived back in 1100 A.D. My favorite thing to do at Tivoli is head to the Valhalla beer garden and listen to old Scandies play the accordion. These two gents were mightly low-key about it all but they could sure play.
We spent some time visiting with Engineer Kendall in the cab of the Lewis and Clark Explorer. He's a happy guy. "This is what I was meant to do."
Whilst away from Ballard we rode a train from Portland to Astoria. "The Lewis and Clark Explorer" runs along the south shore of the Columbia River. It's a very scenic trip running through the farms and forests of rural Oregon.
Astoria is a charming little town wedged between hills and the river. Once it was quite a rollicking fishing and lumbering town but now there's little left of those industries. Today much of the town's commerce seems to focus on Portlanders out on weekends. We focused on a brewpub, the Astoria Column, and the Columbia River Maritime Museum. All good and worthwhile.
We see here one of our fellow riders focusing on the engineer's cab of our train as it rested between trips at the Astoria depot.
We removed ourselves from Ballard for a few days, believe it or not, and noted that there was little going on at the Olympia Eagles. But at least the Olympia Eagles have a building. The Ballard Eagles' building is now a huge hole in the ground. Condos and a new Eagles Hall are a-comin', but for the time being, it appears there are slow days for both.