Monday, July 30, 2012

Summer in the Country

With real summer upon us, we have been pretty busy and haven't been very good about posting blogs.  This is the year that everything in our world decided it needed attention.  From the roofs on the house and garage to the carport to the landscaping to stain on the house - it all screamed for attention at once.  So we have been busy trying to get everything back in order.
As you can clearly see from the "new" stain, this really needed to be done!  Ron finished the south side yesterday.
When some of the grandkids came to visit on Saturday, they even helped me with pruning.
They actually have good eyes for seeing which branches to remove as we cut the big Rhododendron back.  It was trying to take over the lawn.
Even little Colt demanded a turn.  All I had to do was guide them to the next bush and keep an eye on their decisions.
They helped me decide where to put our Halloween kitty.
They we all took turns driving around looking to see what was blooming and fruiting in the garden and the trails through the woods.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Garden Update July 2012

Suddenly, the raised bed where I mixed the "quick compost" in May is looking a lot better.  The beans have reached the top of their trellis and are climbing back down and putting out blossoms.
I intended to get a picture of the grape clusters and scared the bird off this nest in the vines which about scared both of us to death.
The apples are looking really good even though I didn't do that great a job of thinning blossoms.  I thought I had severely thinned them, but as you can see, there are still plenty to mature.
Even with this small section of edible pea pods, we have plenty for our use now.  Squash were slow, but they are forming squash now.
I'm picking raspberries every other day and making jam and freezing berries for winter.
Oh, and the lovely flowers that are blooming:  My favorite clematis is in full bloom.
Lilies in several colors
And dahlias are finally starting to bloom also.
Definitely my favorite time of year!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Some work, some play

I decided I had way too many flower beds.  So my solution was to expand my iris garden and salvage all the poor iris plants in a small weed bound flower bed on the other side of the driveway.  Luckily, I have a rotovator on a small Kubota tractor, so I was able to till another path alongside the original flower bed.  When I had trimmed and planted all the iris I used the last of my bark to cover the entire area.
While Ron mowed, I weeded the big dahlia garden.  Then I went into the garden, picked raspberries, and weeded some more.
The peas were starting to fall over as they had far over reached the top of where I had string, so I added a couple more loops of string to this raised bed.
Squash are finally starting to put out blossoms.  I discovered a couple of Kale plants that survived the slugs, bunnies and deer also.
Beans in the second raised bed are starting to climb, so I may actually get some beans this year.  I finished off my day Tuesday picking raspberries, leaving yesterday free for a nice long bike ride.
We left early, heading South and taking the back roads to Monroe.  It is a perfect motorcycle road, winding along by a few farms, lots of forest, and rivers and lakes.
For several miles, we looked over Lake Roesiger before we came to Woods Creek Rd.
 Woods Creek tumbles through this pretty farm.
The blueberry farm on Woods Creek Road.
Taking the back road between Carnation and Fall City, we enjoyed the Carnation Marsh area, then views of the flower farms and Tall Chief Golf Course.
Final destination - the beautiful park at Snoqualmie Falls.
The park is wonderful - so many species of native flora, 
and lots of interpretive signs.
It was a beautiful day - riding in shirtsleeves all the way back, smelling the smells, breathing the fresh air, and glad to be on the bike and not in our hermetically sealed temperature controlled car. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Summer is Finally Here

 When our son and his family visited on Saturday, we spent most of the day flinging ourselves into the lake.  

 It was a perfect summer day - temperature around 80, lake warming up finally, and clear blue skies all day.  The first real weekend of summer since we all know that summer in Washington starts on the 4th of July.
Ron and I pumped up the float a few weeks ago, and it has been weathering storms ever since.  Now it is ready for a bit more air, but we still enjoyed it.
Sunday, Ron and I rode the bike all day.  Starting on Burn Road with its wonderful views of Mt Pilchuck.
Along Pioneer Highway between Stanwood and Conway, we smelled the wild roses in places, the dairy farms in others, and finally the grain mill that smells like fresh oatmeal as we neared Conway.
Through the farmland of the Skagit Valley where most of the fields are marked for the non-farmers to see what crops are growing.
When our friends visited from Alabama a couple of years ago, we asked what was different than they expected of our world.  They answered unequivocally, "All the agriculture".   It really is amazing and wonderful to see all the beautiful soil and lovely growing crops.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Changing Seasons in Summer in Washington

When our grandchildren, Jesse and Sara visited in June, we had a few nice days where we could get out and enjoy some of the wonderful places along the coast.  This is Admiralty Point on Whidbey Island.

Ron and the kids looking out over the sound from Ft Casey State Park.
We were able to get out and work on our maze - which was originally intended to be a Christmas tree farm.  We were never around at Christmas to sell trees, so it is now becoming a maze.  The kids have hopes to open it to the public at some point and they work diligently every summer to keep it trimmed so we can drive the golf cart around in it.
It is actually shaping up nicely.  We gave it a test run last fall when we set up a treasure hunt for the younger grandchildren.  They had a grand time wandering the maze.

A few days later, we had a quick storm blow through - it took out our power for 22 hours.  Huge waves tore across the lake, and branches were ripped from the cedars that overhang the lake on the other side.  It rained so hard we couldn't even see all the way across the lake.

Same scene on the 4th of July - Weather spectacular - swimming and lake enjoyment begins.

Children can be entertained for hours catching the tiny stickleback fish and looking at them before releasing them back into the water.
It was a happy 4th of July - My favorite holiday of the year!