Archived Posts from this Category
Archived Posts from this Category
After years of stagnation in house and yard, we made progress in the garden, and the flower beds are much neater and prolific. And now, we are making progress in the house, as evidenced by the (recycled/reclaimed) green carpet in the living room that should help us keep a little warmer this winter. The piano and other furniture, having been moved for the carpet laying are now dust-free, and decluttered. Continue Reading »
As Autumn begins in the Pacific Northwest there are certain things that we expect such as smoke from scattered wildfires and a gradual shift from the dark greens of the surrounding forest to a golden hue as willows and indian plum trees at the margins respond to the fading light. There are some things that, year after year, come as a pleasant surprise – the last few sunny, warm days when the sky feels close enough to touch and the occasional burst of bright color from the bigleaf maples that are native and the many sweetgum trees that are the tree of the decade for landscapers of commercial properties.
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Summer is almost gone, in our world. Astronomically, we have at least another month. Realistically, two weeks. If we are lucky, an “Indian Summer” in October for three or four weeks before the clouds close in permanently and the rains wash all the remnants of sunlight away.
A week ago, I was in “Beautiful British Columbia” — on Vancouver Island, enjoying the company of friends and my mother for a few days. Unfortunately, pictures that I took were few and didn’t really show much. But here is a quick travel itinerary!
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More garden progress, and activities, and fun!
Yesterday (Tuesday) we kid-sat for my friend Reyna. Her kids are a LOT of fun. I didn’t take pictures because we were so busy, but trust me. There doesn’t exist a cuter entering kindergartner or a more capable big brother. We played Bocce Ball, “Spy Alley” and watched Rocky & Bullwinkle as well as reading a story, digging in the garden for worms for the turtle and playing with Lucky. And harvesting (and eating immediately) the lovely red huckleberries in the back yard.
We also wandered in the garden a bit. I wrapped the fabric I bought for the chair cushions around two of the smaller forms and safety-pinned them in place. I used an older pillow cover I made for the biggest cushion and put the chairs out in the garden.
[Good pics of the chairs will have to come later, I apparently took pics of everything in the garden but the chairs! For the moment, the chairs are almost visible in the second photo below.]
Today (Wednesday) we harvested enough plums to make jam tomorrow, put a few more sticks through the trellis to help the beans grow into the sun.
Tom going for plums:
And then, in the evening…
yes! the first carrots of the growing season.
Finally, we got some sugar-pod peas that the deer had spared long enough for them to grow.
And then Tom made stir-fry with our fresh veggies, kale and some left-overs. It was nice and simple. And very, very yummy.
It was a good couple of days.
I have been doing things in fits and spurts the last few days. The unsettled, rainy weather doesn’t help my energy levels, but has meant that I am forced to be a little more restrained in the garden. So, the hip that has hurt for over a week has had some time to rest and heal.
There is still a lot to do! But in between extended sessions of Babble and reading lots of news articles, Grant and I managed to do a lot.
Pitting and freezing pie cherries (ten pounds!) on Tuesday and hanging out with teens, quick trip to Mt. St. Helens on Wednesday (more teens), recovering on Thursday, canning on Friday and today spray painting three more chairs. We did a quick — and somewhat sloppy job on the chairs, but it’s good enough for this year and will extend the life of the chairs considerably. You can see the missing slats on two of the chairs, which will be covered with cushions anyway.
Here are a few pictures.
Mt. St. Helens: the mountain showed only briefly that day, while I was driving so I got no pictures of it, but I did get one of the kids and Grant took one of me.
In the picture above, you can see how low the clouds were at the Johnston Ridge parking lot! Occasionally they would lift enough to see the tree line looking the other way (at the mountain), but never enough to see the crater.
CHAIRS! Same colors as the wicker chair, but we decided to give each one its own flavor.
For reference, the wicker chair:
The two plain chairs:
yellow and blue … there is a theme going on here!
And finally, the one painted when we knew we were running out of paint…
Or, sort of — the four chairs are all different in personality, and will all look good together in the yard, whether in the veggie garden or up near the house.
And then, to make things nice, Tom baked a peach and marionberry pie last night which I am enjoying as the pictures upload. The peaches were last-minute purchases at our favorite farm/fruit stand, Madrona Grove which is at Building Earth Farm and the marionberries (as well as the raspberries yesterday) are from our local Spooner’s stand. There are also Spooner’s farms in places like Puyallup — kin to the local family!
I think I am teaching Grant a lot about just getting things done. He is a great worker and does things to the best of his ability. He naturally has a strong work ethic and follows directions well. He is learning to make jams, to clean, to work in the yard and garden and to find a balance between work and play (he is still very much about play, of course!). Part of parenting is helping your children learn how to do things. I have discovered that not all children are coachable — our other son does not take direction from me at all — but all children seem to learn by example. So… when I can, I am up and “doing” and when I can’t I try to model patience and how to make the most of whatever the day offers.
Wednesday I was not able to walk very far at all, and you can just see the top of one my crutches in the picture of me. But I was able to drive, to walk a little ways on paved paths, and to visit with our friends. What do I hope Grant learns from that? That one should be honest about limitations and still do as much as possible!
By the way, one last plug for someone else: On the way home, we stopped at the 19-mile House on Highway 504. It is a wonderful, home-style restaurant with good food. We stopped just for the cobbler, which I was told was very good, and to take a break from the car. The service was friendly, refills on coffee and cocoa were free, and the view was beautiful. If you are headed to or from the mountain, it’s a good place!
it’s strawberry season
It was a very wet week. Apparently we have already surpassed, halfway through the month, the previous record rainfall for the entire month. I had an unexpected chance to sub for a friend on Friday, and it went from raining sideways to full sun in half an hour. Yesterday was similarly wet, rainy-snowy-haily alternating with dry spells. Today, mostly dry and at the end sunny!
The garden is slowly returning to life. I didn’t get pics in the front yard today, but I caught a few in the back. Check out this years’ first glimpse of unfurling trilliums!
And a couple of others: shelf fungus under the bat house, huckleberry and ferns reclaiming cedar stumps.
Tonight we are dining on potatoes, leftovers, fresh veggies. Our last winter grocery box pickup was today. There is a lovely hazelnut pie for the fellows’ dessert, bread, crackers, and delicious veggies from kale to carrots. I have so enjoyed our monthly packages of lovely treats! Now looking forward to the opening of the farmer’s market and the weekly fruit truck at Madrona Grove.
Chicken soup on the stovetop, simmering away. Love the smell of garlic, chicken, herbs… a wonderful backdrop to a late winter afternoon. Today has been alternately sunny and rainy, warm (for the time of year) and chilly enough that the rain changed briefly to snow. We are on the lookout for snow overnight as well, but I am hoping mightily that it will miss our neck of the woods… last time I subbed for the same teacher there was a two-hour delay. Would not bode well if we had a repeat!
Hoping that the car will be fixed sooner than Friday so I can put myself back on the sub rolls, but thinking if I have a couple extra days at home I can make a little more progress on organizing books and boxes. It doesn’t seem that I do much on my days at home, but this morning I looked at the small desk in the bedroom and realized that in fact I have cleared about half of it. And my “interview folder” is pretty much up to date, as is my website now.
I don’t know what will be happening over the public schools’ Spring Break — had hoped to take a short car trip, but with the price of gasoline and the need to actually grow some of our own produce this year (prices for organic foods are so high!) I think I will have to focus on planting and staying local instead.
The end of Winter. Today was the day we changed our clocks, which used to be a sure sign of Spring. But I am not overly optimistic. I think potato planting will be late this year.
Tonight, while the frogs sing, we are dining on chef salad. Bib lettuce, heirloom carrots (purple, white and orange), celery, hard boiled eggs, roast turkey and huckleberry vinaigrette. For the fellows, add local cheese…
Oh. And homemade potato chips.
Yep, life is pretty good.