The majestic pileated woodpecker is active and wary. The male of the nesting pair on our land is often seen as a red streak heading either to the feeder for the insect suet or returning to the sanctuary of the big cedar some 10 m. distance. The female has a less prominent red cap. The largest woodpecker common in N. America, they can grow up to nearly 42 cm. in length. Preferring dense mature forests, they excavate long rectangular or oval nest holes in trees. A preferred food item is carpenter ants and guests can often spot them on the feeders by the Inn and hear their slow, and resonant hammering during feeding. I have struggled to get a decent photo as it seems to have some sixth sense in detecting just the exact moment of the shutter release. Over time this fellow has seemed to become more tolerant of our presence, at least when separated by a window.
A relative newcomer to Bellingham, this little tea shop is doing big things. When I want a delicious and healthy cup of tea and good conversation, this is where I go. The owners, Kuros and Sandra, have spent a lot of time traveling the world sourcing good teas and learning about their craft. Both artists, they craft wonderful drinks that soothe the soul and heal the body. Their little shop is incorporated into a fine little art shop as well, usually with works by Kuros and Sandra themselves as well as their talented daughter. Currently, they are seeking to package and sell their blends to a wider market. The Tree Frog Night Inn is pleased to contribute to their Kickstarter campaign. You can check them out at sakutea.com.
For me, it is abundantly clear that the main joy in running our Tree Frog Night Inn is found in my many conversations with guests. We have been fortunate to host a wide variety of people through the years and usually I am lucky to have some extended dialogue with them, either in first greeting them, during one of our social hours, over breakfast, or just in my daily course of activity about the grounds. I always learn something new and stimulating, or find inspiration in their stories and lives. I’ve found that all people are interesting, whether they worked with Walt Disney, played at Jimmy Carter’s inauguration, directed a film showing at our local independent theater, The Pickford, (to mention a few of our guests), or were stay-at-home parents of children just here looking for a little extra sleep. Everyone has a story to tell as well as something to teach me, and common ground is the rule, not the exception. It may be found in experience, through much-loved music or books, in lifelong goals or daily habits, travel, a common outlook on the world at large, or a mutual sense of humor. All are welcome here.
It has been quite the extended winter here in Bellingham, complete with some record cold, snowfall, lots of rain and generous amounts of gusty winds. Nearby, Mt. Baker is nearly groaning under the snow loads and the ground has imbibed its share of water. The cold, of course, is necessary for many plants and animals in our area and will help reduce garden pest populations over the rest of the year. The groundwater will well serve what is likely to be a fantastic growing season. Spring flowers and bulbs are perhaps a bit behind but they already show signs of catching up quickly. Now, the wintry weather mix is nearly past. Soon, the Tree Frog Night Inn grounds will return to their full spring and summer glory, giving respite in the warm, summer evenings sure to come.
Our little inn received two prestigious awards this year. One, from Corp America as a selection in their North American Excellence Awards, is for the Best Boutique Inn, 2017 – Washington. On their website they state that their Excellence Awards, based solely on merit, honor those, “whose consistency to provide exceptional service has been the driving force behind their innovation and commitment to thrive within the sector.”
A second award, received in 2016, was from Lux Magazine as “Best B&B Accomodation.” We were one of only 3 in Washington to receive this recognition which was based on “nominations and reviews made by clients, peers and industry professionals.”
It is certainly great to be recognized in this manner. However, the recognition that most matters to us is that which we receive directly from our guests. It may come in the form of a thankful entry into the guest book, a relaxed look of a guest who leaves here refreshed, or a contented sigh from a breakfast guest pushing back from the table after one of our homegrown and homemade meals. Thanks to those of you who feed us in this way.
Gracing the lawn, just outside the suites of the Tree Frog Night Inn, is this lovely pink-tinged dogwood. Typically, it blooms in late spring and its blossoms linger for weeks. This year, with our warm fall, we were blessed with a second bloom which contrasts with and complements the vibrant fall colors of the foliage. In general, the Bellingham area and our little part of it have offered up excellent fall color this year, as is often the case. It is an excellent time for photography and watching the exploits of the squirrels and birds as they ready themselves for the impending winter.
From the beginning, it was important to us at the Tree Frog Night Inn to build something unique and beautiful in an eco-friendly way. Sometimes, this involved employing old-fashioned, natural methods as opposed to brand new technology. Our interior walls are one such instance. In the Mediterranean Suite, most of the walls are earth plaster covered with naturally pigmented lime wash. The burnishing technique employed in the multiple coats in the Mediterranean bedroom might elicit a feeling of sleeping under a brilliant blue sky dappled with puffy white clouds. The Coast Salish walls are clay with natural pigments, furthering the warm, cozy feeling of the Suite. When the light reflects off some of the naturally-occurring minerals, the walls may glitter, as if suffused with gold or gems.