more yard happenings

while visiting, joan asked if there are hydrangeas in seattle. i told her i hadn't seen many, but wasn't sure  when the blooming season is. a few days later i walked over to check out the pink rhododendrons in an unexplored corner of our backyard and found 3 blooming hydrangea bushes! can't wait till they're in full bloom!

we also got our first harvest from our raspberry bushes. we got a couple of handfuls from our first pick, but i'll bet by now i could get another handful. i ended up throwing them into a bowl with some blueberries and and a peach from our produce box for a delicious snack with cream (or course).

another fruit in season- cherries. it's cherry mania up here. stands popping up on the side of the road, people talking about the batch they picked up from their farmers market, pulling over at the sight of every neighborhood tree with ripe fruit to steal a few. oh yes, it's that time up in the northwest and we are participating in full. i swear, i rarely ate fruit until i moved here. and now, it's a daily thing. too bad they're getting a major trimming from the food pyramid!

we had a busy weekend, and i can't believe it's monday again and i have full a work week ahead. on saturday we went to mighty o donuts, which is a bit of an institution here. they make vegan and organic donuts and have been nationally recognized by the press. i personally missed the fat. i eat donuts rarely enough that i'll opt for the trans fat in order to have a delicious donut, full of fat as intended. we also finally made it to our neighborhood wine store. they do mimosas and croissants on sundays, but we ended up just buying a bottle of syrah for a friend's birthday bbq. and then we headed to dinner at anchovies and olives in capitol hill. it's an italian inspired seafood restaurant, and i loved the vibe. i loved the look of all the employees, and i thought the decor was just fantastic. i still can't completely jump on the seafood bandwagon, but they had some great plates to offer. i'd like to check it out again as their menu changes on a daily basis.

enjoy this week! we'll all get through it knowing we've got a holiday weekend just up ahead. woohoo portland! here we come!


produce box #2

we got our second produce box, and i swear, it's like christmas morning when i get to haul that thing home and open it. this time we got: 2 large yams, 1 bunch of carrots, 1 cucumber, 1 bunch of broccoli, 2 avocados, 1 lb. zucchini, 1/3 lb. snap peas, 3 peaches, 3 nectarines, 1 pint of blueberries, 2 large tomatoes, and 1 bunch of red leaf lettuce. i'm going to be making stir fry this weekend, but haven't yet decided what to do with the rest. last time i ate the fruit with cream. it was divine. i imagine there will be a lot of fruit and cream throughout the summer. yummy! we did decide that after we return from the independence holiday we're going to increase our delivery to every week. everything is so delicious we just can't make it last!

check out our tomatoes. the weather here has been ridiculous- record lows across the board. i'm surprised these guys have hung in so long, but am still not confident they'll fully ripen. we'll just have to wait and see. in the meantime i'll be enjoying the organic tomatoes that come in our produce box!


i'm a husky!

here it is folks, my new school id! now i just need to figure out what i do with the space that says "affix enrollment validation here."


by the way...

for those of you i told to try the mailing announcement, i apologize. looks like you can just email that one post to yourself or others, rather than getting new post announcements. looks like you'll just have to keep checking back!


san juan island

the weather held out for our san juan island adventure! considering we had 3 boat trips in 3 days, i'm very pleased we missed the stormy waters. we took a ferry from anacortes (about 1.5 hours northwest of seattle on fidalgo island) to friday harbor of san juan island. of the san juan islands (san juan, shaw, lopez, orcas), san juan is the furthest from seattle and is actually right next victoria, b.c. it also is the most populated and has the largest town- friday harbor. (photo of friday harbor by joan holmes.) we drove off the ferry and four blocks to our bed and breakfast, harrison house suites. this was a great place to stay as it was right in town and an easy walk to many places.

after checking in and unloading we headed state for lime kiln state park. we went to see the lighthouse, but ended up catching the whales! the lighthouse is actually the whale research center and naturalists/marine biologists are there all day long tracking the various pods and transients. (photo of lime kiln lighthouse by joan holmes.) it was pretty exciting to catch a glimpse of them before our boating excursion. (i actually caught this pic of mom cookie and juvenile offspring oreo just as my camera ran out of batteries.) 

the next morning we walked into town and took a tour through the whale museum. all the guides call this place a "must-see," but i thought it was pretty grim. the museum has several fetuses in jars and is mainly focused on educating visitors about the species that have gone extinct and which are endangered. they even have a plaster cast of a baby whale that washed up on shore after starving to death. really glad i paid $6 to see that. after the museum we had a fantastic lunch at the bluff, which overlooks friday harbor. (photo from our lunch spot!) and then, we were off for some whale-watching with san juan safaris. i was extremely nervous about getting motion sick, but 3 dramamine and all the excitement kept my stomach and brain pretty well tricked. i didn't even bring my camera on the boat, because i knew it would be impossible to get any decent pictures. however, the "whales" (we learned that orcas are actually porpoises) did get VERY close to the boat. it was incredible. there have been 7 orca births this year, and we probably saw 2 or 3 of the new babies. the several hours on a boat were definitely worth it, and this is a must if you make it out to the san juans. our final morning on the island was spent at pelindaba lavender farm. now this was an educational experience! apparently lavender is an excellent cleaning product and is antibacterial. you can use it on your pets to deter fleas, on your plants to kill aphids, on skin burns, as a bathroom and kitchen disinfectant, and on and on. it was pretty incredible to learn about all of the qualities and uses of lavender. (photo of lavender fields from joan holmes.)

next we had planned on visiting san juan vineyards, but we had already tasted their wine at one of our dinners (it was a great cab franc!) and didn't feel like tasting at 10am. so, instead we headed to the little road bee farm. now this place was pretty creepy, but we mustered up the courage to walk around. still, it was interesting to see the hives. they also have very vocal chickens and an incredible orchard. we bought some honey, but i haven't gotten a chance to open it yet. and then we ferried back to anacortes and arrived just in time for a stormy drive back to seattle. oh summer, why must you evade us?

next we're headed to portland for the independence weekend. we're also thinking about going to the olympic peninsula for some rainforest hiking. i'll be starting summer school in about a month, and shortly after my term we'll be back in denver for a quick visit. and by the time we get back, summer will be over and i'll be back in school! wowza!


check out seattle metropolitan's list of "100 reasons to love seattle"


produce box update

i picked up our first produce box today! we ended up swapping the 1/2 lb of red grapes for 1lb of roma tomatoes and the bunch of kale for 2 zucchini. we also added a loaf of bake at home sourdough bread, 16 oz of butter and 6 oz of blueberries. the blueberries were cheaper than in our grocery store, so that was a given. bread was about the same price and the butter was a bit pricier. overall, our box would have cost about $44. had we bought all those organic items in the grocery store, it would have cost $40-$50, so it looks like we're right on target! but, this week i had a coupon for $15 off, so it was less than $30! woo hoo! i'm most excited for the butter!


seattle makes my feet hurt

the thing that has changed the most in my life since moving to seattle is probably the amount of walking i do. i walk every day, often more in a day than i would do in a week in denver. i probably walk 10-15 miles a week, excluding dog walks and regular walking around the house/office. when visitors come, it's more like 20+. it's just a part of life here. the vast majority of people have bus trips and walking in their daily commute. unfortunately, my feet were not built for so much wear and tear. somehow, evolution did not favor me on this point. my feet are constantly in pain, and as a result, my knees and hips are often in pain. i once worshipped the high heel. now, i wear flats everywhere. and not just any flat, ugly supportive flats. flats with built-in orthotics that cost $200 and still leave my feet swollen and throbbing after a 3-5 mile day. i have gone to see my podiatrist 4 times now in the last 2 months. apparently, my feet are unusual to even him. i've gotten orthotics that took 6 weeks to make because they had to keep sending them back to increase the arch support. and so this is my life as a walker. it essentially prevents me from becoming a runner and doing most other forms of exercise that involve use of my knees. too bad i hate yoga and can't commit to buying a swimsuit and using a pool on a regular basis.

anyways, the point of all this is that over the weekend i was reminiscing about my beautiful shoe days and was inspired to create an homage to my once passion. (on the left is a picture my dad took of my feet. large center is a painting by a once alzheimer's patient i worked with. right is a picture of my wedding shoes. and small right center is a card i bought- close-up above.)

something else i did over the weekend was the urban wine tour (please note the tour is actually 3 hours)! it was incredible! we visited ward johnson winery in interbay, the wine outlet (which has another location a few blocks from our new place!), and laurelhurst cellars in sodo. much of the tour included food pairings (amazing cheese, nuts, meat and fruit). i bought a bottle of syrah (usually one of my least favorite varietals) called randall harris. one of the best wines i've tasted and the bottle cost $8. i never would have even considered trying it if i weren't offered the glass on the tour. anyways, seattle also offers a number of food tours, so it's worth looking into the next time you visit.

a garden update... sadly, our strawberries have been ravaged by the squirrels or birds. we are considering taking the plant indoors, but aren't sure how well it will do. however, i was very excited to finally see some little tomatoes coming in! lots of them! and our apples have almost tripled in size since i last checked! i guess all this june rain has its benefits! (i learned that june is a typically gloomy month here and the estimated unofficial first day of summer is july 12th. cliff mass recommends that events be planned for late july through august. come visit!)

and most importantly, on saturday my niece lilliana turned 5 months old. i got her this little at a home goods shop in seattle (one of my favorites). it comes in a bag that is sewn closed, so you have no idea what it will say until you buy it and cut it open. i'm pretty thrilled with the result... it says, "mysterio predicts i will be a dount tycoon"!

stay tuned for the verdict on our soon to arrive produce box!


that's SO seattle

we've finally done it... this week our first box of organic, local (mostly- some of the fruit can't grow here), sustainable produce from full circle farm is scheduled to arrive! this week we are getting: 1 bunch spinach, 1 bunch brocolette, 1 bunch kale, 1 bunch carrots, 1 cucumber, 1 bunch green leaf lettuce, 1 bunch spring onions, 1 bunch baby white turnips, 1/2 lb red grapes, 4 valencia oranges, 3 nectarines and 3 yellow peaches. YUM! they also have a green grocery and we can customize our box with special orders. this week i think we are going to add the bake at home sourdough bread since we didn't bring any home from san francisco. other organic and local items available: milk and cream, tofu, eggs, cheese, butter, honey, tea, coffee, juice, chocolate, grains (like risotta and farro), fresh pasta, nuts, meat, and speciatly vinegar and salts- hello aged balsamic vinegar and truffle salt!

my friend maureen in denver turned me on to this. she is trying a csa (community supported agriculture) program in her area. i also have another friend in denver that is trying a different program that is very similar to full circle farm box. look up the options in your area. it's very affordable and surprisingly convenient- many deliver straight to your door!

here is a neat article by cook local that will give you lots of great info whether you're in washington or elsewhere.

just because...

check out sammy and frankie on the greatest blog of all time. you're glad you clicked, aren't you?


a san franciscan holiday

we spent memorial day weekend in san francisco, visiting my friend sophie. as soon as we got there we began exploring golden gate park. we eventually made it to the bridge and did some major walking. sophie had never walked the bridge, so it was a new experience for all of us. later that night we went to foreign cinema, an outstanding restaurant that shows foreign films while you dine. it was an amazing experience. the next day we headed to the tippy top of sonoma mountain for some grapevine pruning. it was HOT and hard work! we decided to get lunch at this little roadside cafe called the fremont diner, which is apparently critically acclaimed. it was darn cute and delicious! on our final day in the city we mostly just walked around and revisited some of our favorite neighborhoods. overall, it was a busy and exhausting weekend! next up: whale-watching around the san juan islands!

we have made NO progress in getting the house together, but the garden is looking spectacular! we have amazing dinner plate-sized poppies and beautiful peonies in bloom currently. and, great news, one of our strawberries is starting to get some color!

looks like i'll be starting school in july. most of my credits transferred, but i will need to take one extra class over the summer. i will graduate with the rest of the class, and i'm looking forward to meeting some of my cohort a little bit earlier than expected.

stay tuned for our island adventure and the progress of our produce!