Shawn and I had a pretty good weekend. On Saturday, he broke in his new mountain bike! Yep, Shawn got a new bike on Friday night. He had had his old one for about 15 years, and frankly, he was spending quite a bit of time (and money) trying to fix it and keep it in working condition. Especially since he really does ride his bike to work pretty often (and plans to keep this habit up even after we move 9 miles farther away), he needed a new bike. So even though it cost more than I was hoping to spend right now, I'm reminding myself that it's quite a bit cheaper than buying (and insuring!) a second car. I'm not going to post many pictures from his bike ride on Saturday, but I am jealous that he got to see this view:
On Sunday, we decided to get up a bit earlier than usual to go to an earlier Mass. After church, we headed down to Ballard. Shawn wasn't able to come with us when I took my parents to the Ballard Locks, and he really wanted to see the salmon. Here's a quick science lesson. Salmon are some pretty darn cool fish. Salmon eggs are laid (and therefore hatch) in fresh water. The young salmon spend their first months or so in this fresh water before eventually making their way downstream and into the salt water of the ocean. I learned yesterday that there are 147 different species in the ocean that depend on salmon as their food source! Only about 1 in every 5000 salmon survive to spawn and lay their own eggs! But here's the really cool part...those salmon out there in the ocean know that when it's time to lay their eggs, they need to get back to the fresh water. So not only do they know that it's time to start swimming upstream....they also know that they need go back to the same fresh water in which they were born! How cool is that?!
So here's where the fish ladder concept comes in. It's already pretty difficult for a fish to swim upstream. But when they suddenly have to make their way through man-made structures like a lock, it's darn near impossible. So at the Ballard Locks (and lots of other places), the engineers have designed fish ladders. They are these sections off to the side of the Locks where fish can "easily" jump from one step to the next. Each step is kind of like a fish tank at a slightly higher altitude. At Ballard, there are 21 steps in the fish ladder, and once the fish gets through it, they've gone from the low level of the (salt water) Puget Sound to the higher level of the (fresh water) Lake Union. At the Ballard Locks, one large "step" of the fish ladder has glass walls so that visitors can watch the salmon that are in there. Here are a couple of the fish we saw yesterday, on their way to the fresh water:
At the Ballard Locks, there's also a really pretty garden area. It has lots of local and exotic plants and flowers. We didn't take the time to go through all of it yesterday, but I wanted to show one specific flower to Shawn that my parents and I saw when we were there. I have no clue what it is (I couldn't find a label), but isn't it unique? I've never seen anything like it:
After the Locks and the fish ladder, we stopped by Cupcake Royale again. Seriously, any visit to Ballard is just not complete without a super yummy cupcake. While there, we decide to wander about a block away...and stumbled onto the Ballard Farmers Market! We didn't know it was there, and it's pretty darn cool. Shawn got himself some organic blackberries. It was a great way to spend a Sunday morning/early afternoon!