Trowbridge Chronicles

The text and paintings on The Trowbridge Chronicles are taken from the illustrated journal of Violet Trowbridge, a shrew that once lived in a village deep in the Olympic Rain Forest. Each new post will represent a portion of Mrs. Trowbridge’s journal.

Monday, January 30, 2006


Some of Mrs. Trowbridge's journal pages were quite whimsical. This is such a page.

Wherever she went, Mrs. T would write and sketch life in the rain forest. In this sketch she captured the dashing Phinneas Toad and his lovely wife and dance partner, Lily Paddington. Every year Phinneas and Lily are the stars of the Frog Hop, a grand event that is attended by hundreds of frogs that hop in from far and wide.

Phinneas looks so dashing and Lily is always the essence of glamour. Who could be more elegant on the dance pad than Phinneas and Lily? Okay...maybe George Hamilton and Edyta Sliwinska, on their best night.

Saturday, January 21, 2006


Mrs. Fernwood lives just down the lane from Mrs. Trowbridge. She grows wild flowers and herbs in her garden, then sells them to the market in Huckleberry Hollow. On her way into the village she often stops by Mrs. T's cottage to give her a bag of Cat's Claw, which helps grandma's arthritis. I decided to post a detail from this journal page so that you could get a better look at her brush work.

The flowers growing in Mrs. Fernwood's garden include Douglas Spirea, Foxglove, and Olympic Rockmat. The Rockmat are the little white flowers growing in the window box to the right of the door. The Olympic Rockmat are endemic to the Olympic Mountains, found nowhere else on earth. I saw my first Rockmat clinging to life on the summit of Mount Townsend.

All of the flowers that you see in Mrs. Fernwood's garden can be found in the Olympic Rain Forest, except for many of the herbs that she grew, some of which were native to other areas. Can you find the Cat's Claw growing in her garden? The answer is on the home page of my web site:

Mrs. Trowbridge would spend several days at a time in the high meadows sketching wild flowers in her journal. This is a closeup that she sketched of the Olympic Rockmat. As you can see, there are not one, but many flowers growing in a dense conical cluster.

I photographed this excellent example of the Olympic Rockmat on Lillian Ridge in the Olympic Mountains. It grows in rocky areas near summits. It's always a thrill to come upon a plant such as this knowing how rare it is.

Sunday, January 15, 2006


This page from Mrs. Trowbridge's journal includes a touch of romance. It surprised me a bit when I first read it. Shrews and pink nighties? Somehow I just can't put the two together. But hey, I'm not a shrew. What do I know?

Mrs. T liked to paint flowers on the vases in her cottage. I put this page under my microscope and identified the flower on the night stand pitcher as an orange honeysuckle. That's a Monkey flower on the large vase behind the bed. I wish you could see the small details better.

She usually did a tight pencil drawing, then put a watercolor wash on top of it, but sometimes she would let her pencil drawing stand alone. Such is the case with the drawing of their bedroom on the bottom of the page.

If you would like to know how the Trowbridge Chronicles came to be, click on the Story of Trowbridge Chronicles.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


Mrs. Trowbridge wrote and sketched many pages in her journal documenting her trips to the sea. On this page she sketched one of the many games that they played on the beach. If you can find a map of Olympic National Park in Washington State, you can actually follow the route that Mrs. T and her family traveled from Wild Rose Creek, down the Quinault River to the ocean. I couldn't find a suitable map online, but you can see images of the wilderness where she lived by going to Google Image and typing in "Olympic National Park". Huckleberry Hollow, where Mrs. Trowbridge lived, is on Wild Rose Creek, in the Southwest section of the wilderness.

She wrote in her journal that the only problem with snail races is that a single one hundred yard snail race can take up most of the summer. And you thought baseball was too slow.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Here they are...the Trowbridge Chronicles. After several years of keeping this illustrated journal hidden away in my attic, I have decided to post the pages in bite-size bits over a long period of time. They were written and illustrated by a tiny shrew who lived a long time ago in the Olympic Rain Forest. To read more about how I found the chronicles, click on "the Story of the Trowbridge Chronicles". Click on the image to get a closer look at Mrs. Trowbridge's delicate watercolor renderings.

I chose this page first because Mrs. T spoke often about how her husband's teas and cakes had so much FLAVOR. I wish I could have sampled them. You won't find fiddle fern tea at Starbucks...only in Huckleberry Hollow.