Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Wind Storm at our House in the Forest

When we built our house two years ago, we debated taking out more trees.  I posed the question on Facebook about whether we should take out enough trees to make a good solar site for our south facing roof, and the tree huggers came out of the woodwork.  Partly because of that reaction from the general public, we left more trees than was prudent.  Last night we paid the price for that decision!
When we returned through a ferocious wind storm last night from an evening of playing cards with friends in Mt Vernon, we were happy when our motion sensor light came on and we knew we had power.  Then we noticed the tree that had fallen on the house.
As soon as it got light this morning, I went out and took pictures, and it didn't look much better in the light of day, but at least it hadn't leaked overnight.
The tree broke when it hit the house, and the top landed on the back side of the house.  At least it missed all three of our skylights!
A friend recommended Chad White, Evolution Tree Experts LLC,  (425 754-4196) and they were able to get out today to deal with the tree.  Chad arrived with a crew of five men, the sharpest chainsaws I have ever seen, a bucket truck, a chipper, and a powerful blower.  We can highly recommend this company!  They did a super job of getting all the branches, the tree itself, and all the debris removed without further harming the roof.  They even put a tarp over the four puncture holes that we discovered when the tree and debris were removed.
We ended up with a pile of firewood and a pile of woodchips that I will use to mulch my flower beds.
We have the Wayne Perrigoue, our builder, coming out in the morning to assess the structural and roof damage, so hopefully, it will soon be "like it never happened".




Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Nurse Logs on My Morning Walk

When I went out on my walk today, I started to notice all the nurse logs and stumps and just how beautiful they are.
It makes me wonder what this area looked like to the original explorers who saw these massive trees before they became nurse stumps.
A long time ago I read that when Lewis and Clark saw the huge trees in the Pacific Northwest they assumed that the soil was very rich.  As you can see from the roots on this tree, they can cling to nearly anything and thrive.
As the stump rots, all kinds of little nooks and crannies are created to make habitat for little wild critters.
Eventually, the old tree is completely gone, and only the above ground roots show that it ever existed.
All the nurse logs, are also great for providing fun places for children to explore, play hide-n-seek,  and build forts.

Friday, October 27, 2017

A Visit to Key Peninsula

My sister and her husband have a new place on Key Peninsula, and we haven't seen them or my step-father, Dick, for a couple of years, so today we took a pleasant trip in the fall sunshine down to visit.
We decided to try to avoid the traffic mess of Seattle and Tacoma by taking the ferry from Edmonds to Kingston, and then following Hwy 16 down to Purdy, where we turned onto Key Peninsula.
It took nearly three hours to go from our house to theirs, but it was a very pleasant drive.
There's nothing prettier than Puget Sound on a pretty day.  We saw the sailboats, ferries, container ships, and beautiful fall colors everywhere.
Mt. Rainier was out in all her glory on the south, and Mt Baker was shining white on the north, as we headed toward the Olympic Mountains to the West.
My ageless sister had a serious painting project in work.
Dick is looking great at 91, and Scott was as entertaining as always when we went out for lunch.
We went home via the Tacoma Narrows bridge,
where we got the very best view of Mt Rainier.  It was another picture perfect fall day and ideal for a nice jaunt around the Pacific Northwest at its prettiest.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Signs of Fall

The leaves have been vibrant this year.  The oak trees that have been planted in rows everywhere are pink, red, and orange.
Vine maple vividly displays orange and yellow.
My row of blueberries is mostly red, with some bushes turning mostly yellow.
We are savoring this time of colorful beauty, knowing that we are about one wind storm away from bare trees.
Our first wind storm yesterday left our driveway littered with needles and leaves from the Cedar and Maple trees that line our driveway.
It's been a banner year for pumpkin and squash.
Oh oh, what's that I see on the tree next to the bird feeders?
I guess it's not only people who are storing up for winter.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Juicing, Drying, Preserving

It's that time of year - the garden is winding down, but there is still a lot of work to do.  I don't do any canning any more - but I do preserve a lot of what we grow.
We have five different apple trees, all different varieties.  Since we can eat about a single pint of applesauce in a year, I had to figure out something else to do to try to preserve them.  Drying is the ticket for us!  When we travel, it's nice to have a big jar of them for snacks.  Most of the grandchildren prefer dried apples to fresh ones.
I save containers all year to store dried apples.
My son and daughter-in-law gave me a juicer for my birthday, and I've been enjoying experimenting with it.
Today I used cucumbers, kale, carrots, beets, grapes, tomato, and apples for my juice.  I make juice about once a week, and make enough to freeze some for when I don't have so many veggies and fruit to choose from.  This was the best mix yet! I drink about 4-6 ounces every day, and keep enough in the fridge for a few days at a time.  I haven't done a juice diet yet, but am thinking about doing that for a few days.

I put the compost that results from juicing out for the birds. 
This year I've had some beautiful annual flowers, and with the extended dry weather, I've found many seeds that I can store for spring when I'm ready to plant annuals again.  I'm also saving bean seed from my Kentucky Wonder beans and all the various squash plants that have produced so abundantly this year.  



Friday, September 15, 2017

Trying to Save the Rhodies

I've lived in Washington for most of my life, and I can't remember a stranger weather year:  wettest winter and spring on record, followed by driest and hottest summer on record.  Luckily, we have an irrigation system to the garden from the lake that is mostly underground.  I've had to clean out the foot valve at the end of the dock a couple of times as the lake level has gone down and the valve ended up on the bottom in the mud.  But by diligently watering nearly every day for a couple of hours at least, the garden has thrived.
We've had a lot of meals that were just veggies from the garden stir fried together.
But the water only goes as far as the garden, and we have about another 1000 feet of driveway to the road.  Years ago we found a Rhodendron farm in Marysville that was going out of business, and we bought several rhodies for the entry.  They've grown and gotten absolutely beautiful over the years.
They are really drought resistant, but this year was more than exceptionally dry, and they were starting to look really sad.

Ron rigged up a 50 gallon barrel in the tractor bucket, and brought it to where the water ended so we could fill it.
We brought three loads of water to them and hope that will be enough to keep them alive until we finally get some rain.
Our summer is winding down now, and for the first time in several months, they are predicting RAIN - not just a 10% chance of scattered showers, but real rain.
I'm ready!





Saturday, August 12, 2017

Flowers, Fruit, Veggies, and Visitors

In the Pacific Northwest, summer is when we meet ourselves coming and going.  The days are long, so we don't sleep much, we cherish every day of sunshine, and sometimes think wistfully of winter when we can slow down.  The true sun worshippers live here - when the sun shines, we can't bear to waste a single minute inside.
A wonderful variety of flowers are in bloom 
My sister, Molly, introduced me to dahlias and gladiolas many years ago, and I can't imagine summer without them.
I used to dig the bulbs every fall and replant in the spring.  However, one year I didn't have time to dig them, so I mulched them good, and they have continued to come back year after year without digging.
Most of my flowers are in a swath along my garden fence, but I've moved a few to the front of the new house.
I've added a few new colors this year and planted some along the front of the new house.

When I choose bulbs in the spring, I usually forget what colors I've picked, so it's always interesting to spot new blooms and marvel at their beauty.
My friend, Karen, gave me a bunch of lily bulbs this year, and they just might be my new favorite flower.  They have come in a variety of gorgeous colors,
My entire garden is engulfed in the wonderful aroma of lilies this year.
With the spectacular weather we've had this summer, my garden is overflowing with produce.  The corn should be ready next week, and I already have 8 quarts of pickles in my pantry.
Wild blackberries are ripe, so I'm fully into my jam making season.
And it's the perfect time to enjoy some of our stunning parks and beaches with visitors.  Our granddaughter, Sara,  her husband, Dan, and their wonderful little munchkins came to visit last week.
We started in Granite Falls at the annual car show, "Show 'n Shine" and then went to Deception Pass State Park for a picnic and some beachcombing.
It's so much fun to watch a toddler choose rocks and sticks to collect. Even Grandma brought home a new rock collection.
We love summer!