Thursday, August 31, 2017
I believe my last post was back in June when we were getting ready for my oldest daughter's wedding. Is that enough excuse to be gone so long? It did take a lot out of us and we were tired for weeks after...But I think we're over it now!
Summer is always a busy time on the farm and this one is no exception. Western Washington is known for its massive rainfall, but we do have very dry summers and things are definitely suffering the lack thereof around here. Our low flow well is struggling and we've put ourselves on water-watch!
A close friend of his (pic below) is Pam (no, not me, it really is called Pam). I picked this one out especially, not just because we share a name, but it is my favorite hue in flowers - shades of yellow, orange & red! Sunset colors!
Canning season is upon us and we're working hard, even though our own garden is kind of puny. A friend 'down the valley' let us pick their green beans and we put them up.
This time as we drove & walked around, we discovered something new to us....Cat Feeding Stations! I saw this little birdhouse-like structure (and a shiny black crow exiting....) and wondered what it was. There are actually about 3 or 4 of them along the big rock jetty in Westport and they are cat feeding stations for abandoned cats!
Sounds like a great start to a poem...The sleek & stealthy feral cats, dining upon the many wharf rats, stopped to feed at little cat houses and soon gave up the eating of mouses!!
Hmm. Maybe I should stick to my day job....farm wife!!
The Himalayan is a big, succulent soft berry (my favorite) and grow all along the back of our orchard fence. We have some of the Evergreen around here, too. They are a firm berry with a completely different flavor and hold their shape well for canning.
Today my daughter and I are canning tomatoes from Jean's AMAZING garden!
There is a long dock along the seawall protecting the marina from the ocean and we had walked out there and I snapped this with my new....SMART PHONE!!! Yes, I have finally joined the ranks of, well, everyone else on the planet and now have a smart phone. So far, it holds true and it is actually smarter than I am, so I try to leave it alone....
I've a bunch of other things going now, but shall save them for another post! I'll just leave you with this....
I was standing at the sink, doing a few dishes (ok, a lot of dishes), and feeling just a bit sorry for myself (health issues I mentioned earlier) and doing a bit of praying. "Lord, I just want to be able to do my work...serve my family....take care of stuff on our farm...." And I realized that, standing there at the sink doing dishes, I was doing just that. Sometimes I don't see all the good things the Lord has done for me when I'm busy concentrating on the not-so-good. It brought to mind
Wednesday, June 14, 2017
In the last couple of weeks my toaster, Kitchen-Aid stand mixer and the daughter's laptop all bit the dust. Last night the septic system decided it's ready to be pumped.
Okay, okay. Of course, we are thrilled for her and even for ourselves as her intended is a fabulous young man.....but emotions are running high and did I mention we are...well....stressed?
Deep breath. Sigh. In a house full of chronically ill people, a big event seems even bigger.
I just realized that the viewing tower is shaped like a lighthouse when I took this picture. I have been there many times and never realized it before. Duh!
It was a nice day, though the mosquitoes were fierce in the shadows. One fun moment....We were basically the only people around but then a young couple with two little girls came up the steps and in view of the battery. With a sudden intake of breath and a quick rush forward, one little girl said.....it's a CASTLE!!!!!!!
Pretty close, I'd say.
We had a close encounter with a bald eagle who swooped out of the sky to snatch up a caught-and-released trout from about 15 feet in front of us! Beautiful, but definitely startling!
On that note I shall sign off and go...eat...Jello.
Saturday, May 20, 2017
We also celebrated my son's birthday...complete with balloons, confetti, noisemakers and hats. He's 31, by the way. His request was Esther's Orange Marmalade Cake from the Mitford Series of books by Jan Karon! If you make one, you'll keep making them, I warn you!
Mushy food is the theme this week and today's
special is Chicken Pot Pie! Yes, even if I have to be propped up in the kitchen, we still eat
homemade food. If I were totally honest,
I would have to say that today I probably would
have eaten store-bought, if the darn store
weren't so far away. A 40 minute trip in,
major hike through Walmart and a 40 minute
trip back sounds as difficult to me today as
contemplating the Boston Marathon!
My computer has been my companion whilst recuperating, so I have new recipes to try. This Lemon Cake was divine (and soft!). We put Lemon Curd in between layers and a light glaze on top.
Recipe found here:
A few of the rabbits are having litters and the chickies are totally feathered out so I'll take pictures of animals next time.
Thursday, May 4, 2017
In between all the 9,764,321 little details involved in getting ready for this special event, life has the nerve to continue happening!
I had naively believed that, why of COURSE I can handle a vendor space at our large Country Chicks Spring event.....
The hubby figured a clamming trip was just the thing! We could 'get away' and 'enjoy the beach'. Fancy words for....let's get up before daylight and drive for an hour and a half and hike a mile to the beach, then dig like crazy for cold, wet clams! Last dig of the season, so off we went.
Three morning clam digs and 90 harvested razor clams later, we were all 'rested up' and came home. Can you say laundry, dishes, housework, animal chores, lawns to mow? When does the 'rest' begin?
Did you know that you can make a really delicious meal in one skillet if you really don't want to do any dishes?
The people at the beach were a bit on the strange side. This fella wouldn't even speak to us.
A couple days after we got back (today) we had a group wedding-invitation-making gathering. Six adults, five kids and we made a big dent in the work, but haven't finished yet (of course).
People no more than headed out than our beautiful sunny (80*) day turned absolutely black & stormy! Hail the size of quarters, thunder & lightning....and one HUGE strike!
This is just after trying to make breakfast a day or so ago and, being unable to locate the pan spray for the pancake griddle, I say, "I need the....spray...paint! No. SPRAY paint. Spray PAINT. Hmmm. Spray? Paint?"
"STOP SAYING THAT!" says my alarmed younger daughter. "Oh, I found it!" says I. The...PAN SPRAY.
On that note, I shall stop this post. And maybe go lay down for a bit, lol. May the fourth be with you. And your brain cells, too!
Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Dave & I had a
I basically suffer from agoraphobia/panic
disorder and find travel to be difficult and
a self-contained home-away-from-home
to drive relieves a bit of stress for me.
Anyhow, I digress. This 'new' to us camper van has not been without its...shall we say 'kinks' to be worked out? (The kids have threatened to ground us if we call for help again!)
We did pretty well this trip and managed to get home without too much difficulty....
Bennett's Fish Shack where they serve THE MOST DELICIOUS fish and chips in the world. (My world, at least!) Oh. Man. It. Was. SO GOOD! I mean, just look at it!
(Be sure to click on the picture and make it bigger so you can really
I could eat it again right now, even though it's 8:30pm and I had dinner at 6, not to mention they're only open on weekends.... We're talking fresh halibut and beer-battered cod here. Tartar sauce, french fries. (Great. I just talked myself into a snack before bedtime!)
Then we thought of coffee and dessert! (Yes, food rules our lives.) On our way toward home, we remembered the historic Tokeland Hotel. Alas, it was CLOSED when we arrived, but the proprietress was outside and when we explained that we were looking for coffee & dessert, she invited us in anyhow!
Katherine served us warm Marionberry Cobbler with ice cream for Dave and whipped cream for me.
We chatted like old friends over our tasty repast, discussed my daughter's upcoming wedding and Katherine's recent loss of her husband and how hard it was to keep up the old hotel alone.
She enjoyed hearing about the wedding plans and suggested that since she was our new best friend, we should invite her...which we did!
As we left her vintage establishment and stopped to pay our bill, she refused our payment, saying it was her 'random act of kindness' for the day!
What a wonderful finale to our day out! There are still lovely people out there, for sure.
In case you wonder if our camper van gave us any struggles on this trip....yes it did! When we were about 10 or 12 miles still from home, it sputtered and died (it's done this before, I'm afraid). Now, we live OUT. I'm talking, rural and lonely two lane road with no shoulders and very sharp corners! We panicked, calmed ourselves, called home to warn them that we might need assistance. PRAYED it would start again...and it did! We limped into our big town (pop. 775) and made it to the gas station to add more gas. You see, it sat with old gas in it too long and when it got low (quarter tank) it started sputtering. We have now fixed that, but I'm afraid we'll have to sneak out next time we plan an adventure! Wonder if Bennett's Fish Shack is open nights.........
Saturday, March 18, 2017
It's been a long winter here in good ole Washington. First, we had a fair bit of snow.
And then it rained. It snowed some more. Did I mention that it snowed? And then rained?
Zen the Shetland Sheep thought it was just fine. We thought it made chores a bit chilly.
The goats insisted on kidding and the kids added up. More chilly chores.
I bought a milking machine and finally convinced myself to learn how to use it in self defense.
I think I missed my long winter's nap. Wonder if it's too late?
Saturday, December 31, 2016
Winter has hit the Pacific Northwest in a more, well, winter-like way than usual! We've had snow & icy temperatures more often, which I'm enjoying to the fullest!
Well, except for today, since I've got a nasty cold bug and the trip to the barn for evening chores sounds exhausting at the moment!
Our Christmas Country Chicks event went
Today I made a nice Broccoli Cheese Soup, since I have a cold and it sounded comforting. It's really easy to make: Boil a pot of broccoli florets until they're as done as you like them. Drain them and set aside for a minute.
In a separate kettle, melt a cube of butter. Remove it from the heat and whisk in a half cup of flour. When it's totally smooth, whisk in a pint of chicken broth and a cup of milk.
Now you can return it to the heat and stir until it's bubbly and thickened. I added about a cup of grated cheddar and a cup of smokey swiss cheeses (you can choose your own favorite) and a handful of frozen bacon bits.
Next you can toss the cooked broccoli in and stir. I like my soup a bit thinner, so I added another pint of chicken broth. You can thin it with more milk, if you'd rather. Either way, it's delicious and will put hair on your chest! (wait...what?)
Feel free to season it with pepper & salt to taste.
Eat up, we're not making dinner tonight. Can you say....toast and hot cocoa? I told you I have a cold!
Ripley the cat races through the house and flings himself against the sliding glass door repeatedly when he sees Tippy, the ouside cat. Eventually he settles down....wherever he wants to, often in my crafting room.
I think I shocked a visitor recently when I mentioned that, yes indeed, we do milk the goats twice a day, every day!
So far, two of our milkers have freshened (given birth to kid goats) and each had triplets! That means I go to the barn at 8am and again at 6pm or so to milk Shiloh and Merrieanne, and then bottle feed six hungy babies!
Isn't this a beautiful picture of the snow on the trees? I was thinking about the first snow of the season on the forested hills outside my kitchen window: The snow illumines each tree, changing the forest from a green mass to hundred of unique individuals. I imagine that God sees us that way - where I see a crowd, the masses; God sees each unique individual illuminated.
Meet Mortimer, the bull calf (heart on forehead) and Harriet the heifer! They are sweet little babies and growing like weeds!
A little black goat came along, too. She had suffered from starvation at a previous home and arrived in very poor condition, nearly unable to stand and with very little interest in life. I broke out my arsenal of goat remedies and I'm happy to say, she is very gradually improving! In her emaciated state, she was not worth a nickel, so I named her Bad Penny!
Farm life changes continually, and at the same time it stays very much the same. Animals and chores come & go and we tend to do the same kinds of things over and over through the years.
Well, I've caught up for now and it's about time for chores again, so I'll stuff my pockets with kleenex, and take my aching self down to the barn. Imagine how good that woodstove is going to feel when I'm done with chores and can collapse in my recliner for the evening again!