Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Summer Adventures

I've been a traveling, working, fruit picking fool of late.
I have so much to catch up on that I'll first write a bit, then just splash in a BUNCH of pictures.

Last weekend (not this last one but the one before) G and I went on one of our hikes.  I'd bought a new book on Pacific Northwest berries and was eager to see what was out there for us to pick and prepare. Canning season is upon us, after all, and even though it's much more common to just buy a jar of jam at the store, I get a kick out of picking and canning my own stuff.  I can also control what goes into it.

I filled a little pack full of tart summer apples and used some mint from my garden to check out one of the recipes. The neat thing about my berry book is that it works in small batches.  A cup of this, a cup of that, and a cup of this makes about a pint of this... that sort of thing. I love the mint apple jelly I made. I'm going to have to make some more.  Oh, don't worry, there's lots of apples out there for the stealing gleaning. 

Fresh Mint

tart summer apples

Not a lot of juice, but they were free..

The ingredients

Ta da!

Last Friday, I went to Leavenworth with my good friend Joy.  I love my women friends! I am lucky to be surrounded by women who support me and who let me support and build them up too.  Anyway, Joy and I went up to Leavenworth and picked blueberries at a small farm called Roots. Nice people. Their son owns J5 Coffee downtown. We got almost 14 lbs before the heat drove us out. Less than 10 miles away is the Carlton Complex fire, so there was a heavy scent of smoke in the air. We still enjoyed ourselves and walked around their flower gardens too.  The owner said that if there was an award for most determined pickers, it would be us! 
Smoke from the Carlton Complex fire

Flower garden

See the bee?

Joy and me!
Those mountains are usually stark and clear

Berry fields

Half the haul

Dem blueberries tho!

That afternoon, I headed for Dayton, Wa to help my sister move. G stayed home because he worked on Friday and because Eleanor is so old and she needs medicines twice daily that we can't easily find a sitter for her.  I know, I know.  But what are you going to do? 

My sister's daughter is 3 now, and really chatting up a storm. She has great manners, saying please and thank you with no reminding.  She goes to daycare where she has learned to count and say ALL of her colors in Spanish.  I am over the moon about it.  I love how she doesn't even really try hard to recall the names. Pretty awesome.

Moving is hot and dusty work. I'm a bit bruised and there may still be an antique bedspring stuck in a spiral staircase. But the rest is moved out. I bet I could've gotten that rail off but it was over 100 degrees and people don't tend to have air conditioning here.

Anyhoo, after the work came the good stuff: visiting. I love visiting my relatives. There are quite a few as my Grandfather's Grandfather, Christopher Marll, homesteaded in Columbia.  Grandpa had 6 siblings and Grandma had 9.  Yeah, lots of relatives.  You have to do a genealogical chart before you get a date in Dayton.  If you're me that is.  Reason 6,748 that I married G. Yes, this reason isn't even in the top 1,000, but I still enjoy it. My aunt and uncle live at my grandparents house now that they have both passed on. They completely remodeled- something that was long overdue.  It looks wonderful and homey and they retained all of the touches that remind any family member who has a memory of before just who lived here and how much love lived and still lives in this place.  Uncle Steve is farming and Aunt Karla is quite busy keeping him in line and keeping them afloat. I saw four different relatives just in a short stop out to their place. Neatest five acres in Columbia County.

My uncle also has this old brown Ford that was my grandpas.  I keep trying to get him to sell it to me and this time we pinky swore that when he was done with it, I could buy the old thing.  Shhhhh!  Don't tell my husband.  That thing guzzles gas.
Wheat for miles. This is during a little storm

Out Patit Road

After the storm

He looks more like my grandpa every time I see him.

As I often do when I'm in Dayton, I snagged my old friend Orinda and we went to coffee.  We went to school together, 6-12 grades, though she's been in Dayton since she was born.  Ori is the heart of the class of 1991.  I think people just sort of fly into town, find Orinda to say hello, and then go about their business.  She's neat, too. One of those people who just makes you feel happy from hanging around them. Like she's made of love and it floats around in a little halo around her head.
We were "dragging the gut" and ran into Del and Krystle Avery. Del went to school with us and he and Krystle got married a few weeks after graduation.  They're a neat, fun couple and have two awesome kids.  Carrie- on the left- is Del's "little sister", and she happened to be visiting from Alaska.  Mini-reunion!

I couldn't leave town without snagging some apples. I can't sleep worth a crap when I'm away from G, and in general I've got some pretty bad insomnia, so after 5 hours of sleep, I got up on Sunday morning and zoomed over to my cousin's house.  With another relative (we're not that stealthy, nor am I unwanted, I just wanted to be considerate) I picked all the good apples I could reach from an old golden delicious and scooped the rest from the lawn into the trash.  My cousin doesn't like doing that part so that's the courtesy I extend for stealing his apples! I sent him a text too, that said 'Please don't shoot me! I'm in your yard picking apples! Let me know when you get up."  I think he got a kick out of that.  But seriously, let country people know it's you before you go fruit picking on their property.  Good advice right there.


Amber waves of grain

I was happy to see everyone and happy to come home to my husband and cat.
He makes me want to sing Pharrells "Happy"

There are wildfires about 15 miles from Ellensburg, and the smoke is faint because the wind is blowing it away from us. For now.  But I still had a happy reunion and was back to work this morning.

This week? Maybe I'll get some blueberry jam made. Maybe a little apple butter, though golden delicious aren't the best for it.  I'll take some pictures for y'all. :)

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