Wednesday, September 20, 2023

The Drought Is Over

 And the heat is on.

When it rains enough to get wet under the Western Red Cedar that hangs over our patio, natural umbrella that it is, we know that we have at last had real rain. That's good. It got cold too, only 54 degrees here at noon. That's not so good. We turned the furnace on. 

We did go for a walk this morning and I did appreciate the coolness while walking.

The long range forecast looks like lots more rain soon, like next week when we are finally planning to get away to our family cabin in Rockaway on the Oregon coast.  There's an outdoor family wedding late Saturday afternoon that might be threatened too. We may have waited too long. Summer is over. 

Yesterday was still nice. We went to our friend Dede's senior living home for lunch.

Dede is 96 and still going strong. She wanted to have us come and share lunch with her, using her points, no charge, while she could still use them. We had a wonderful time talking, meeting some most lovely staff people, and strolling through the flower garden. 

In the evening we arranged to meet Jill, Irene, and Jake at Red Robin for a dessert fest and to say goodbye to Irene. 

We had a good time laughing and talking and eating mud pie and fudge lava cake and little hot doughnuts with dipping sauce and complimentary french fries too. Irene will be moving into her dorm at Western Washington University in Bellingham on Thursday. I think Jill will have a sad drive back home that day. We will all miss her but we are excited for her as she begins her next life adventure. 

Raindrops on roses. 

The sun has just broken through. Maybe it will warm up a bit. Time for lunch.

Saturday, September 16, 2023

What A Beautiful Saturday!

I think this is about the most perfect weather  we could have.  It's 78 degrees at 4:00 under a clear blue sky. It's a day to just enjoy.

After a leisurely start and PT done this Saturday morning we were off to the farmers market at the Des Moines Marina. There were flowers and food and crafts and people to exchange friendly comments with. I noticed I mostly just took photos of flowers - of course. 

We resisted the luscious baked goods, but did by some beets, corn on the cab,  and small cucumbers. 

Then we sat and had coffee and a treat and just enjoyed the beauty of the day and the setting.

I called Irene to see if she could join us for a bit of a walk on the pier. They just live up the hill from the marina. 
She came. She didn't seem all the thrilled, but we need time with her while we can. She leaves on Thursday for Western Washington University and she said she has been packing, and unpacking, and repacking, trying to decide what to take. She said she doesn't plan to come home until Thanksgiving. She is obviously ready to move on with her life. Good for her. 

We came home to have lunch on the patio on a perfect afternoon. Now my PT is done, I've wrapped a little gift I bought for Irene - yes, she'll have to endure us once more before Thursday - and I still have a little more time to sit on the patio and read before our 5:30 Sounders match coming to us from Dallas. Tom has gone to fetch the take-and-bake pizza, our common dinner time soccer match meal.

There is college football on the TV as I type. Both of our state universities are blowing away their opponents. 

Did I mention it's a wonderful day?

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Crops and Cautions


Sedum Autumn Joy

 There were lots of little jobs this week.

On Monday, of course, we cleaned house and I did laundry. Tom does all of the heavy work, but I did the dusting and sorting as well as the laundry and refreshing flower bouquets, so by lunch time I was worn out enough to skip any other exercise, except for PT, of course. there's always PT. 

On Tuesday we had our Zoom meeting and then we walked and I got my mile. 

Then we made pesto.

We harvested much of our basil, ground it up in the food processor with walnuts, grated parmesan cheese, and olive oil. I put it in small containers and it went into the freezer. I use it mostly for chicken pesto pasta with vegetables in the cold months. 

On Wednesday I got in my 6 miles on the stationary bike, and then we inspected and refreshed our earthquake/emergency kit. We'll pick up a few things at the store Friday and then it will get tucked away in the shed until next September, when 9/11 reminds us it's time to renew it again. 

With more time to go we harvested the rest of poblano peppers and the first picking of our sauce tomatoes. The tomatoes go into the freezer whole in zip lock bags for sauces and stews. I roasted the peppers and then diced them to freeze for dishes like shrimp and grits. 

Jake stopped by in the afternoon to visit a bit and pick up the last of the cider from the freezer that we made at the cider bee last year. Gotta' make room for the new stuff. 

I got a 1.2 mile walk in today. It was hard. This afternoon I had an appointment at the dentist to get my crown installed, but, alas, I forgot to take my antibiotic, so now it is postponed until Monday.  With an artificial aortic valve, precautions must be taken. 

It's kind of like the earthquake kit, you prepare, hoping you won't need it. 

Sunday, September 10, 2023

September Changes

 With a little bit if rain and cooler temperatures, things are greening up here.

Tom has to mow the lawn more often now,

There are still flowers to pick.

There are a couple of fun things in the garden, another Brugmansia bell, and finally a bloom on the LifeSaver plant. 

I have been trying to stay active, alternating walking and working out on my stationary bike. I have been able to maintain walking a mile and am up to 6 miles on the bike. It's a struggle, but I persist.

After our last outing with our garden club, a few of us oldtimers realized our group had gotten way too big. We emailed and Zoom met and I drafted a letter to the members, and then we realized that we sounded very unfriendly, settled down, emailed each other some more,  and then I drafted another, much friendlier letter, which has now been approved. I just finished updating my group email list and will send it off soon. All of this has kept me busy too. 

On Saturday we attended a 90th birthday and garden dedication celebration. An old friend of ours is a rhododendron collector, and knowing that his years are numbered now, found a home for his beloved mostly dwarf rhodies in a local botanical garden that we visit often. 

And now I think I am caught up on blogs and business, my walk is done and my morning round of PT,  and it's time to have lunch and get ready to watch football. It's the season and home opener for the Seahawks.  September is well under way. 

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

The 2023 Annual Phosie-Gertie Family Picnic.


Our annual clan gathering on Whidbey Island was a little smaller this year since we had had a big celebration in July for Tom's brother Dave's 80th birthday. 

The weather was iffy, heavy clouds and chilly, so we did most of our gathering inside. It didn't rain, however, and we had our traditional flag raising and anthem singing and our official photo outside. 

We also did our "honoring" outside. 

Jill organized the "youngsters", a small bunch this year, to present the regalia to the elders. 

Jill and Scott were inducted into the "50's"  club, as our "youngers" are not so young anymore. 
Martha and Jan were awarded the Saddle Shoe Award ( family cabin history, an insider joke) for planning the original Phosie-Gertie Picnic 50 years ago, and many others since then.

A benefit of having our kids all grown up is that they can now do all of the work. :-)

We skipped the games this year in favor of eating and lots of visiting. The food was abundant and delicious. The visiting was relaxed and continuous. Those Grandmothers, Phosie and Gertie, were even included in the conversation. They would be proud. 

Another Phosie-Gertie Picnic is now in the record books, and summer can wind down. We noted, though, that the cabin is fully booked by family through the month of September. Lazy days can linger here on island time. 

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Some Good, Some Not So Good


Asters are good, a beautiful cut flower, long lasting, in shades of pink and blue and purple, here jazzed up with bright marigolds.

Bad car service is not good. Our little red Chevy Cruise was starting funny, so Tom took it to the battery guys at Les Schaub. They said the battery was ok. So what was the problem? Tom took it to our Chevy service guys, who said the battery was bad, but then couldn't seem to contact us even though they had our cell phone and land line numbers. It sat there for most of a week before we finally got the battery changed. And by the way, "There's an oil leak." Fed up, Tom brought it home and called another Chevy dealer. They found the oil leak, bad gaskets. They had the car for more than a week - lots of labor involved in changing all of the gaskets. We "bought" the car back last Friday - $5000- and as I drove it home during rush hour traffic, I was soon in a cloud of oil smoke. No good place to turn around, I drove it the three miles home. Monday morning we had it towed back to the Chevy service where they were very apologetic, paid for the towing, and have diagnosed the problem as a bad oil cooler. It is getting fixed and we might have it back this afternoon. I'm not holding my breath.

That same Friday afternoon I participated in a brain study, and over at our KP clinic I answered a bunch of questions and drew pictures and was asked to remember things and solve things. I scored 27/30 and passed. I'm "normal". That's good. I just wish my normal was a little better. 

We have been enjoying fresh home grown tomatoes now, with many more to come on into September. With home grown basil and fresh mozzarella cheese, caprese salad is so good. I'll be having lots of tomato and cottage cheese lunches too. 

The plum tomatoes are coming on too. I'll be freezing them whole in plastic bags for soups and stews. If there are lots I'll make tomato sauce. 

Our two poblano pepper plants and producing well. Today Tom picked some of them and I roasted and diced them up to store in the freezer.
I kept the four biggest ones. I will attempt once again to make chili relleno. So good!

I am enjoying the cooler weather. We had a tiny bit of rain here overnight. We need more, but cooler is good. 

Update: Our Chevy is fixed and back home in the garage. Many apologies were offered. 
BTW, that high service cost was mostly labor and sales taxes. Gotta pay working people a living wage, and those taxes help support our schools. Almost makes it acceptable. :-/

Sunday, August 27, 2023

Garden Touring Again

 Our garden club, which is associated with the larger organization, Northwest Perennial Alliance, also meets once a month to do our own thing. Each month has a different organizer. For this month I was asked for advice, and I said, " Let's go somewhere where they water. We have enough of our own dried up gardens." And so we chose Powellswood, a private garden open to the public for a small fee. 

We had a guide, the head gardener, a young man who fairly recently was just a learner himself and didn't even know what a horticulturalist was. Now he is one. He was a fun guide.

This property has been gardened for about 30 years and has gone through many changes. We hardly recognized it from when Tom and I were there many years ago. It's in a ravine, wooded, and you would hardly know it is surrounded by the city of Federal Way. 

Get ready for a photo dump. 

Listening to our guide, surrounded by the sunny color boarder,

Transitioning to another "room".

And down to another level.

There's a pond back in there but it is now filled with vegetation. 

This is the pond, filled with boggy plants.
Transitioning again, to a shade garden. 

And then we are in the forest. 

Observation deck with views of the tamed in the foreground, the wild behind. 

Heading back to another room in the cultivated garden, and a place to sit and visit until it's time to go to lunch. 

The view from my bench where I sat under the cherry trees. 
Then back on the patio where we began, and where with better light, I couldn't resist a few more photos. The final flourish: succulents, palms, and bananas.

Then we went to lunch. There were 17 of us. The wait for our food was long but the restaurant staff managed us well. Trying to carry on conversations with that many people with my hearing loss was exhausting. I was happy to be home, but also happy to have gone, shared more beauty,  managed the walking and stairs, and connected with gardening friends.