Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Is winter coming early?

The weather experts are calling for 40 mph winds and snow. Even though it's raining, I still am holding out for snow!
I guess time will tell!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.                                                                     ~Albert Camus

Monday, October 31, 2011

Project Elf Completed

Just in the nick of time, I put the finishing touches on Aizia's elf costume so she could wear it to work today!

I had a lot of fun making the embellished felt Christmas tree appliques and hand stitching them to the felt skirt and vest I made. I also made the elf shoes to cover her athletic shoes.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Final Harvest Before the First Frost

The expert weather prognosticators are calling for the first frost tonight. So I took a couple of hours this sunny afternoon to continue my garden beds clean-up and brought in the last of the produce.

I found 2 medium zuchinni, 2 oversized cucumbers, three handsful of greenbeans pods for drying (to save the seeds), 2-1/2 cups of unripen cherry tomatoes, a trayful of green roma tomatoes, a bouquet of yellow zinnias and orange ganzia flowers, and a small windowbox of fresh baby salad greens.

Hiding in the branches of the species dogwood tree in the corner of the backyard hangs a hardy non-stop begonia. Long after the lobelia and brachicomb had withered away, this plant is still going strong. I will be curious to find out if the frost finds it hanging in the tree.

Yesterday, I cut the last of the roses. Although, they are all loaded with buds, I have my doubts they will have a chance at blooming. I will savor the fragrance of these beauties sitting above my kitchen sink.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

I am a railway convert!

Portland Union Station tower as viewed aboard northbound train.
 I have recently become a 'travel by rail' enthusist after one too many trips down the I-5 parking lot in stop-and-go, never-get-into-third-gear, four-hours-between-Mt Lake Terrace-to-Tacoma drives! And then, only to get caught in Portland traffic's headaches, too! I've also done the math, and when traveling alone, it's more economical to travel by rail.

I can catch the morning south-bound train at 8:45a and be at Portland's beautiful Union Station just as my brother-in-law is getting off of work at 3:30p! Talk about convenient timing! And even better, I was able to spend the day stitching, reading, blog surfing, and watching movies instead of having my eyes glued to the brake lights in front of me! I loved it!

Inside Union Station I found a huge, clean and comfortable place to await my train.
Beautifully shiny benches throughout.

Coffered ceilings, marble tile walls and floors.

Almost time to board!

I love the old, old luggage carts still in use today. These were in Union Station, but the Fairhaven terminal had beautiful, old carts with wooden spokes! These were an anacronism in a lobby of neon signs.

On the way home Monday morning, I snapped alot of pictures on my iPhone and jotted down a few thoughts extolling the virtues of this train trip.
Although the day started out foggy, soon the sun broke through and I enjoyed some beautiful autumn colors. 

On this journey there were heavily wooded stretches alternating with beaches. The coastline had some sandy beaches but mostly it was wild and rocky.

It's a mixture of farmland vista between cityscapes,

notice the full moon in the left hand corner

waterfront homes (some magnificent, some quaint),

waterfront parks,


and had quick glimpses of industrial parks and busy railyards.

We paralelled more than one lush green golf course,

passed along suburban areas, gaining quick glimpses into town life, people walking dogs, jogging, hanging clothes to dry on lines in backyards outlined by picket fences.

I saw Park & Ride commuter stops, urban softball complexes,  a small airport, sailboats

ships and shipyards.

It was a wonderful journey of rural vistas and water views, diverse areas of city, urban and industry. But most of all, it was relaxing! 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I Love You, Sis!

"In thee my soul shall own combined the sister and the friend."
                                                                                                           ~Catherine Killigrew

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A quick peek into a my garden this morning. I tiptoed outside in my robe to capture these pictures on my phone and was surprised by the joyful sensation of cold morning dew covered grass on my bare feet that made me feel like a little girl again!

My shady corner within the spa enclosure.
The three baskets have grown together into one floral mass and the fushias continue to bloom, bloom, bloom!

I was pleased to note the smell of lots of flowers still lingers. The nights may be lengthening and getting pretty cool but it still looks like summer in the yard. I've been really good about watering and fertilizing my pots and baskets this year so they have repaid me in millions of blooms this year. The pots in front of the garage door have also grown into a solid mass of green and mixed blooms. The long boxes of African Daisies along the front walk have taken over the area under the livingroom window, and the front porch pots have never been so lush-you have to push through just to get to the door!

Green beans peeking through the lattace of the privacy screen.
With the faith of a child our toddler planted a seed.
I took a quick look around the back yard this morning as it's been several days since I've been outside to look at my gardens. I've been working in the kitchen lately, putting up the harvest. Yesterday's labor of love included 18 quarts and 9 nine pints of nectarines and they join the 10 quarts of Aizian-style Plum Sauce made the day before.

Now I'm heading back into the kitchen to process more Italian Prune Plums before heading to eastern Washington today to visit my sister in Carlton and help bring in the honey harvest. My daughters are joining us this year. It's going to be alot of fun!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Apricot Chutney

My own special recipe for Apricot Chutney...yum!
Tally to date: 7 quarts & 19 pints

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

It's Gonna Be A Great Year For Blackberries!

Sunday evening, on the walk home from dinner at Mom & Dad's we ate dessert:
These are the first of our local wild blackberries this year! Three weeks of sunshine after a mild winter and very wet spring, we are going to have a bumper crop of blackberries this year! Hope the dry weather holds!

These a few of the berries we picked last night. They are bigger than the tip of my thumb! Bigger than a quarter!

Dressed in heavy jeans, armed with my "come-hither", the pruning shears and buckets, we picked over 5 pounds in less than an hour, and that included the walking time there and back!

What's a "come-hither"?

A "come-hither" is an invaluable blackberry picking tool. Version 1.0 was a wire coat hanger from the dry cleaners that had paper dowel as the bottom rung. I removed the paper dowel, and duck taped it to the wire arms that had been folded together, so that the hook was at the top of the stick. This one was dubbed the 'spider stick' as it was used to clear the spiderwebs that blocked access to the juiciest of the berries. (Spiders are pretty smart! They know the bugs will be after the berries as soon as they ripen!)

Version 1.1 is a long wooden dowel with a large cup-hook screwed into the end of it. Much sturdier, a bit longer but still lightweight. Helps to clear spider webs, lift thorny branches and pull down those big clumps of berries that stay just out of fingertip reach!

You've heard the saying "If your knees are not green by the end of the day, you haven't spent enough time in the garden"? Well, I'm paraphrasing it to "If you don't have seeds in-between your molars, fingertips are not purpley, your hands and arms not itchy and scratched, then you haven't spent enough time in the brambles!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Ha! Tongue-in-cheek Birthday Wishes aka Pie In The Sky Dreams

A photo of a recent desktop sticky note conversation:
Brent responds, "You know I can't deny you anything! Act surprized when you open it, k?"

If you can't read the link, here's another photo of where it leads:

If only it were a princess cut. *sigh*  I'd have to take him up on this!

Boy, I can think of alot of other things I could do with a million dollars before I'd wear it on one finger!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Dad's Workshop

Exciting news at Dad's place across the street. We are making huge steps towards Dad's new workshop.

Foundation frame set and level

Fill dirt for foundation form with enough leftover to grade surrounding soil away from building

A tidy delivery!

After shoveling and compacting the area within the frame.
We are ready for the big day!
Here it comes!
At the start of the pour...

The Dads provide supervision.

Looking pretty good!

Brent directs the flow

All hands on deck!

Almost there...

"Hmmm, we seem to be a bit short of concrete."
 Driver scrapes out every last cement cover nugget.
"Who has a Plan B?"

"Hey, what if..."

Some quick thinking and "This might work"

With several concrete stepping stones buried in the center of the pour, it looks like we might have enough!
 After several more passes with the skree and some smoothing around the edges, the job will be complete.
"Here's to a job well done!"