Law Enforcement Memorial

State of Washington Law Enforcement MemorialWe visited the Law Enforcement Memorial on the Washington State Capitol Campus.

The inscription says, “Their duty was to serve. Our duty is to remember.”

The monument has the names of law enforcement officers who lost their lives the line of duty in Washington. Sadly, 275 law enforcement officers have been killed in the line of duty since 1854 when Washington was still a territory.  The memorial is in a tranquil spot overlooking Capitol Lake and the Puget Sound with a view of the Olympic Mountains.

You can learn more by visiting the Behind the Badge site.


Capitol Lake


Today’s weather: Cold and rainy in the morning but warming up to the upper 40s.

A copy of a copy can be a beautiful thing

One of my favorite Michael Keaton movies is Multiplicity. In it, the main character Doug decided that he needs more bandwidth and finds a doctor that will clone him. Unsatisfied with one clone he adds a second. But then his clones get in on it and make a copy of a copy. Things start to go really awry at this point.

But I digress.

It’s been said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and the Tivoli Fountain on the Olympia Capitol Campus is that times two. It’s based on the Tivoli Fountain in Copenhagen, Denmark which itself is a replica of a fountain at Villa d’Este, near Rome. The original fountain is the work of Pirro Ligorio, a 16th-century architect.

The fountain in Copenhagen was built by Fritz Meyer of Copenhagen. Peter Schmidt, then president of the Olympia Tumwater Foundation saw the fountain during his visit to Copenhagen in 1949 and believed that the Capitol campus needed a similar feature. The foundation, Schmidt and Meyer all had a hand in bringing the fountain project to fruition. I am always impressed by the sheer force of will that can bring a project together.

The fountain was rededicated in 2017 after extensive repairs. You can learn more about the fountain and other public art and memorials on this Department of Enterprise Services website.


Today’s weather: About 45°F mid-day. Looks like rain and — eek — snow is coming our way this weekend. We enjoyed this dry-ish spell while it lasted. A warm front would be welcome. 😉

Winged Victory Monument

One of the many things to see on the Washington Capitol Grounds is Winged Victory. Created by artist Alonzo Victor Lewis (1886 – 1946), Winged Victory honors veterans of World War I. It was dedicated on Memorial Day in 1938.

The impressive Winged Victory Monument depicts the goddess Nike, also known as Victory, hovering protectively over four figures, a sailor, a soldier, a marine, and a Red Cross nurse. More than 21,000 U.S. Army nurses and nearly 1,500 U.S. Navy nurses served in military hospitals in the United States and overseas during the war. There were 116,516 U.S. deaths during World War I.

There are four inscriptions on the monument:

  • East facing side: “To the memory of the citizens of the State of Washington who lost their lives in the service of the United States during the World War 1917–1918”
  • North facing side: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friend”
  • West facing side: “Their sacrifice was to vindicate the principles of peace and justice in the life of the world”
  • South facing side: “They fought to safeguard and transmit to posterity the principles of justice, freedom, and democracy”

Winged Victory
Winged Victory in 1938 [Photo from the Washington State Digital Archives]
Public art has the remarkable ability to present a multilayered story adding historical and cultural dimensions to the public spaces that we use every day. You can read more about the importance of public art in this monograph.

Lewis was a painter before he became a sculptor and he created a fair bit of controversy by painting the prizefighter Jack Dempsey. You can read more about Lewis here and here.

If you have ever wondered how monuments are cared for over time, the Washington Department of Enterprise Services provides a fair amount of detail about the upkeep of this monument and other monuments and public art pieces on their website.


Today’s weather: cold again today. Woke up to temps in the high 20s today. Proof that you can’t be lulled by random 50 degree days in February. Winter is not done with us yet!

What time is it?

We went to see the newly refurbished Territorial Sundial in front of the Washington State Library, the Joel M. Pritchard Building, on the Capitol Grounds in Olympia. It was just reinstalled in early January and rededicated on January 30, 2018.

Territorial Sundial in Olympia WashingtonThe sundial was originally dedicated in January 1959. Sculptor and metal artist John W. Elliott (1883-1971) created the sundial with bas-relief panels depicting Washington’s history.  (Elliott also redesigned the Washington State Seal that appears on the state flag.) Originally installed in the 1950s, the sundial was in need of a number of updates. University of Washington emeritus professor and sundial expert Woodruff “Woody” Sullivan was a consultant on the project.

A sundial is made up of a flat plate and a gnomon (pronounced something like nomen). The gnomon is the part of the sundial that casts the shadow.

Want to learn how to read a sundial? There are handy instructions near the Territorial Sundial on the Capitol Grounds. Or check out Just Energy’s page.

Reading the Territorial Sundial in Olympia WashingtonDid you know that you can make your own sundial out of paper? Check out You can also buy a pretty cool pocket sundial on Etsy.

You can keep up with everything happening on the Washington Capitol Grounds by following  Enterprise Services on Twitter and by following the Washington State Capitol Campus Visitor Services on Facebook. You can also sign up for email updates.

The Washinton State Capitol Grounds are beautiful and even in February, several things were in bloom. It’s a fun walk with lots to see and mountain and water views.

Shine on!


Today’s weather: In the low 30s again this morning — warming up to the 40s — and cloudy but no rain. We did some yard work today and it wasn’t too bad.

Get thee to the Farmers Market!

Farmers Market

It’s Groundhog Day (Marmota monax) and you may be wondering if there are any groundhogs in Washington. From this range map it looks like we might have some in the upper northeast corner of the state but none in the Olympia area. And yes, Punxsutawney Phil saw his dreaded shadow so 6 more weeks of winter according to lore. Yay. I am going to don my “Wake me when winter is over” hoodie and grumble a little today.

Where were we? Ah, yes! The Olympia Farmers Market. If you ask anyone in Olympia about places to go here, they will mention the Farmers Market.

The Farmer’s Market is a large indoor/outdoor market that is going into its 43rd year. There are farm vendors, artisan foods, crafts and entertainment. The website has a lot of information about the vendors and you get a good idea of the breadth of offerings. It’s huge and it may take you a couple of times through to see everything. It’s a great place to walk through and you will certainly find something to delight you.

My favorite thing from the Farmers Market so far is the Kiwi Berries. I had visions of putting them on salads but I think we just ate them all right out of the container.

And if your brother wants you to pick up some apples, better get some details because the number of varieties is a tiny bit overwhelming in the fine state of Washington. 🙂

Located at 700 Capitol Way N in downtown Olympia. (360) 352-9096

Hours: Open every Saturday through March, 10 am-3 pm and then Thursday-Sunday, 10 am – 3 pm, April to October. There’s plenty of parking. Don’t forget to visit the demonstration garden on the east end of the market.

Spring is coming — it might just be taking the scenic route.


Today’s weather: more rain: surprise, surprise. But! It cleared up in the afternoon with temps over 50. Woohoo!

A special shoutout for Groundhog Day (affiliate link). Buy the movie and resolve to make a fresh start every day, even when it feels like the same thing over and over again.

Sylvester Park: End of the Oregon Trail Marker

End of the Oregon Trail marker in Sylvester Park, Olympia

Stop by Sylvester Park in Olympia to see the End of the Oregon Trail marker, dedicated in 1913 by the Sacajawea Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. You might wonder, “How did this get here?”It’s probably an example of good old-fashioned marketing and seizing an opportunity to lend historical importance to the area. It helps that there was not a set path for the Oregon Trail. And it was the idea of Ezra Meeker who eventually made the trip by plane, train and automobile — and covered wagon. Meeker was an advocate of preserving the history of the route.

Location: Capitol Way S and Legion Way SE, Olympia, WA 98501. Hours: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the winter and 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the summer.

There are free concerts during the summer months in Sylvester Park. The concerts are held every Wednesday at 7 p.m. Check the Olympia Downtown site for details.


Today’s weather: cold and wet with high winds in the morning and a power outage most of the day in our neighborhood.

Eld Inlet and Mud Bay

Eld Inlet

We have started to pull over and read all of the historical markers and interpretive signs that we come across. We recently checked out the one at Eld Inlet and Mud Bay.

Interpretive sign at Eld Inlet

Eld Inlet is about 6 miles long and is located at the southern end of the Puget Sound, between Totten Inlet and Budd Inlet. (What’s an inlet?) The southern end of the inlet is Mud Bay. If you drive by at low tide, that’s exactly what it looks like.

Interpretive sign at Eld Inlet (detail)

Although originally called Friendly Inlet by Peter Puget (he probably deserves his own post), it was later named Eld Inlet after one of the midshipmen on the United States’ Exploring Expedition, Henry Eld.

Driving on Highway 101 in this area you can see the outrageously large and rather comical group of metal cattle sculptures created by area artist Gary Vig.

J.B. Jackson would have loved them.



Eld Inlet

Today’s weather: Rainy and cold and in the 40s. The temps were not really that different but it felt colder. It did clear up for a couple of dog walks.

Building community and inspiring a love of reading: Free Little Libraries

Griffin Fire Station

Free Little Libraries (LFLs) are small libraries that can be found in front of homes, businesses and in public spaces. The idea is to build community by sharing books with your neighbors. Watch this great explainer video to see how LFLs work! These little libraries vary widely in terms of size, style and decoration. As of November 2016, there were over 50,000 Little Free Libraries registered worldwide — in all 50 states in the U.S. and 70 countries! — including more than a dozen in Olympia.

The Little Free Library at Griffin Fire StationLocal residents and the Friends of the Olympia Library sponsored a Little Free Library at the Griffin Fire Station on Steamboat Island Road. We checked it out recently and even picked up a book. There was a good selection of titles and it was easy to find and there’s easily accessible parking out front.

Some Little Free Libraries also serve as seed exchanges. Some have taken the same concept and built free pantries to share food items. The Little Free Library organization recently gave away 100 LFLs to police stations. And the U.S. Girl Scouts have installed 500 LFLs!

Coming soon! A second Free Little Library on Steamboat Island. We are putting up our own Little Free Library. We plan to have a seed exchange and a game exchange.

Today’s weather: I didn’t notice any rain until after 12 noon and then it was off and on. I have three categories of rain: light rain, raining cats and dogs, and please make it stop or I’ll need to build an ark. Today was really a light rain day and totally manageable. Also, not as cold and in the 40s around noon.

Burfoot Park

The beach at Burfoot Park

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Burfoot ParkWe checked out Burfoot Park, a Thurston County Park. This 50-acre park includes saltwater beach frontage on the Budd Inlet near Boston Harbor. From the park, you can see the Washington State Capitol and the Olympic Mountains. The park is right off Boston Harbor Road and is clearly marked.

There’s a large green space with picnic tables and playground equipment. With a few parking areas, there is plenty of parking. The park includes three picnic shelters that can be reserved online. One of these is really in the woods–not your typical city park shelter. There are also bathrooms with sinks and flush toilets. Nothing fancy but an upgrade from port-a-potties and outhouses. We also saw several joggers running the perimeter of the green space.

Dogs are permitted but need to be licensed and on a leash. For everyone’s safety and comfort, please observe leash laws even if your dogs are friendly. Burfoot Park is open year-round, 9am-dusk.

There are several marked trails: we took the trail marked “Beach.” We could not find a trail map at the park, but I’ll update the post when I find one.

Location: 6927 Boston Harbor Rd NE, Olympia WA 98506

Difficulty Rating: Beginner+
I am truly a novice hiker and parts of this trail down to the beach and back were challenging especially because it was wet and a bit muddy. I noticed a couple of hikers had poles and that seemed like a good idea. I recently started the 9-minute workout from the New York Times, so a couple of muscle groups complained. We saw small children to senior citizens during our visit. 

What to see: Definitely worth the trip down to the beach. Even with low visibility, we could see the Olympic Mountains.

How long does it take: We walked down to the beach and back at a leisurely pace in about 40 minutes, taking time to enjoy the beach.

We are trying to visit every city, county and national park in the Olympia area this year. It’s beautiful here! Get outside!


Weather report for Jan 2: 35°F and cloudy at 11 am. No rain!