Tuesday, September 27, 2022

September 2022


The old deck is gone, and Tony is here to begin the final stages of replacing the deck. Finally, the demolition is done and the building part begins.

So nice to have a professional working on this project! When working with an old log house, it takes part construction expert and part artist. Tony is both, and thankfully willing to drive 500 miles round trip and stay with us until the project is done.

Ron and I are back at work - first chinking between the logs and the deck.  Then on to Home Depot with a sample of the decking to match the color so we could do railings and the stringers under the deck and steps and the new chinking painted.  I spent a lot of time masking the deck boards so we could paint the chinking that extended to the decking.
The front of every riser had to be painted, and I soon realized that it would look terrible if the sides of the step supports weren't also painted.  I bumped my head several times painting the upper ones while I worked under the deck to reach. But the good news is the deck is complete!
So in the midst of the driest summer on record (less than a half inch of rain in 95 days) there are forest fires even on this side of the mountains, and a helicopter did a dip in our lake for the first time in my lifetime!

Apple butter in work.  I've been experimenting with making candy too:  Aplets and blackberry gummies. In a flash of inspiration, I wondered if I could dip the gummies in chocolate to make chocolates with blackberry or apple centers.  They turned out pretty good, but I'm still tweaking the recipe.

Meanwhile, while summer temperatures and dry weather persist into Fall, the fall crocus let us know that fall really is coming.

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

A Busy August


The deck replacement project begins with removing all the old railings. We were getting ready for our builder/son, Tony to come to do the replacement work.

Railings, decking, steps all removed.  We can still keep working by removing the stringers, but after a week of hard labor, we are ready for our expert help.

Even though lumber prices are down from the astronomic levels of a few months ago, this little pile of material represents nearly $8,000.  Building anything isn't cheap!
Meanwhile - harvest season is upon us.  I have a pattern where I pick one day and preserve the next. To use the native blackberries (which we have an abundance of) it is necessary to remove most of the seeds.

This is how many seeds are removed from about a gallon of berries.  I get enough juice to make about 8 pints of jam from that many berries.
I use some of the blackberry juice to make gummies and some of the gummies are the center of chocolates.  These don't last long.

The fig tree is really starting to produce.  It took several years for it to have a single fig, but now it is really making up for the slack years.  So far, I've been dehydrating them, but think I'll make some fig newtons if it ever cools off enough to do some baking again.

The pantry is starting to fill up, but there's still room for more blackberry jam and pickles and OCD that I am, as long as there is produce, I'm on it.  I'm thinking it would be fun for all my canning and preserving friends and relatives to have a "Pint Jar Exchange" where we get new ideas and try new things that others are creating at this time of year.

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Flowers and Critters around the Lake

Wild flowers are beginning to reseed themselves

And the lilies come back year after year, so we have a sea of color all Spring, Summer, and Fall without planting.

Roses also come back year after year
As do lilacs
So many flowers - impossible to choose a favorite.
On to the critters:

And all the water fowl:

So much to see around here - I guess I'll leave the gardens and orchard for another post.

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Motorcycle Ride in July


Now that we once again have a motorcycle in Washington, we are retracing some of our old rides.  This is one of our favorites.  Going through the back roads through Machias into Snohomish, and then out the Snohomish River Road to Monroe.

On a sunny day, we have lots of shade from trees along the road, and sweeping views of the farmland along the Snohomish River.  The whole Cascade range is in view along the way.

In Monroe, we stopped at our favorite restaurant in the Tye Plaza, which is now a Mexican restaurant.  Apparently in the years we didn't have a motorcycle and didn't stop there for lunch, it changed hands and menu.  The outdoor seating and view are still the same, and the food was delicious.  This is a Chimichanga and salad, which I can recommend.

Coming back through the Pilchuck River valley along the Centennial trail through more farmland and nurseries.
The view from Swartzmiller Rd overlooking the Pilchuck River is one of our favorites.  The mountain on the right is Mt Pilchuck, which overlooks our small town.

Even on mostly canopy roads, it was getting warm by the time we got back, so I'm ready for my daily swim.  Summer is great!

Saturday, July 2, 2022

Annual Family Gathering at the Lake

 We waited through a very wet and cold spring for a nice day in June when the family gathered for a picnic at the lake.

Although the water was still cold, we barely saw the children as they spent most of the day in the lake.

Boating in many forms - paddle boat, kayak, rowboat, floaty.  It was a great day to be on the water.

Some food was involved.

And some fishing...nothing like making a fisherman for life like catching a nice big fish.  Grandpa Tony knows how to catch them!

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Update June 2022


In the interest of minimizing how much weeding I would have to do with yet another tamed bank, I ordered a 15 yard load of bark.  It was enough to spread over all of the flower beds by the house, and I even had helpers for part of the job.

Once the tractor and rake areas were done, I spread the last half of the huge bark pile using the wheelbarrow.  It took me a few days, but things really look great with iris in bloom.
I was so happy with the bark project, that I ordered another 15 yards for the garden area.  Then began a monumental job of weeding raspberries.  Most of the rest of the garden was mostly weed free, but I had horribly neglected the raspberries and the creeping buttercups had taken over.  They have roots about 18" deep and were twined around the raspberries so in places I had to dig up raspberry plants to remove weeds.

So nice to look at the raspberry patch and see it neat and tidy.  Since raspberries will thrive no matter the weather, I expanded the raspberry patch by about double, so I may have to do a U-Pick next year. 

We did take some time to visit the kids and grandkids and great grandkids in Eastern Washington on one of our rainy June weekends.  Sara took Sammy and Addy for horseback rides while Eliza and I took a nice long walk in the hills.  Addy's comment on being walked around the arena on the horse: "Can this horse go FASTER?"

Finally, sunmer has arrived, and we're looking forward to a family gathering at the lake this weekend!