Monday, August 29, 2016

Country Roads

We always enjoy summer in the Pacific Northwest - where we can take off on the motorcycle and in any direction, find a country road to travel. 
So many country roads follow the section lines - so 90 degree corners are the norm.  Great for motorcyclists!

The farmland in the Stillaguamish Valley always offers great views of farms and barns.
I love barns, and our rides through the farmland of Snohomish County show a variety of barns.
Farms, Barns, winding roads, mountains in the background - perfect motorcycle times!
Now I need to get back to my postcard campaign to promote the sale of our Georgia property.  Our home there has many of the same features of our Washington property - rural farmland, lakes, rivers, recreation.  We decided this year that it was time to sell that property.  At 70+ we are getting travel weary.  So if you are looking for a lakefront property in the south, check out our Georgia property:  Furnished home on Lake Eufaula for sale.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Motorcycle Ride Through the Snoqualmie Valley

On a beautiful August day, there is really no place finer than the Pacific Northwest.  We take advantage of as many of the dog days of summer as we can on the motorcycle.  There are scenic rides to the West, the East, the North and the South from our home.
Yesterday, we headed South.
Some sort of bike/walk was taking place near Machias on the Centennial Trail so we saw trail guards at every place the trail crossed the road.  Lovely day for a bicycle ride also!
We took River Road from Snohomish to Monroe
and then Highway 203 to Duvall
and then through beautiful bottom land farming country
and into Carnation, where we had lunch.
It was a great ride, but we really appreciated all the shade on Woods Creek Road on the way home.  The gauge on the bike said 90 degrees as we left Monroe heading home.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Jam, Jam and More Jam

First step:  Fight the thorns, slopes, bugs, heat, to pick the big blackberries that are so abundant and so seedy that most people reject them.  I spent most of the morning picking berries along the edges of our property and ended up with about 2 gallons of berries.
Years ago, I found a really great device for removing the seeds - It's called a "Squeezo" - The berries go into the hopper, and then are squeezed by pushing them through an auger - where the juice comes out through the screen, and the seeds are pushed out the end.
It's messy - so I set up outside on the picnic table to do the squeezing.
I ended up with enough juice for two batches of jam.  I use the same recipe for all my jams - I first of all ignore all the warnings on the pectin package that says "DO NOT ALTER THE RECIPE".  I use eight cups of fruit,
which I pour into my biggest saucepan - which covers about the bottom two inches of the pan.
I add one package of pectin for low sugar jam, and mix it thoroughly into the fruit.  Bring the mixture to a full boil on high heat.  Then add 8 cups of sugar and stir in until it is all dissolved, returning it to a full boil.  Boil for one minute.
This recipe makes approximately 4 quarts of jam - sometimes 3 or 3 1/2 - so I get an assortment of clean jars in various sizes and fill them with the hottest water I can get out of the tap and leave them in the sink while the jam cooks.  I put the lids I think I'll need in a pan of water and let them boil while the jam cooks.
When the jam is cooked, I empty the water out of the jars and pour the jam into them.  I carefully clean the top of each jar and put the lids on as tight as I can and turn the jar upside for a couple of minutes. 
This makes all the jars seal for some reason.  If I valued my time at anything, this would be some very valuable jam.  But there is the entertainment factor to consider - I really enjoy making jam!