Thursday, July 22, 2010

Campfires and Hiking

Tucked in the Mt. Baker Snoqualmie National Forest, the Excelsior Campground near Nooksack Falls became my home away from home for the weekend.It was our annual Common Ground camping trip with 25 friends from Whatcom, Skagit and Island Counties and more than 35 joining in for hiking and steak dinner on Saturday. What a fun group we had! We went to Nooksack Falls for some sightseeing.
Then we hiked the Bagley Lake Trail around Bagley Lake near the base of Mt. Baker.
Even though it was the middle of July, we soon discovered that a good portion of our trail was covered with snow.
It was sunny and warm so we didn't let a little snow stop us, and later we all had a great time playing in that snow.
The evenings found us all gathered around the fire pit for campfire-karaoke, wild dancing around the fire, roasting marshmallows to make S'mores and great conversations. One night, trying our best to keep our feet dry, some of us even ventured down to the shore of the Nooksack River to observe constellations and the Milky Way Galaxy in the very dark summer sky. Here are more pics from this year's camping trip.

So much fun was had by all that we're already looking forward to next year's trip.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Beat the Heat

Here in the Pacific Northwest, we are more known for our rain storms and cool marine air than heat waves, so it's no real surprise that we struggle to cope once our temps reach the upper 80s and lower 90s. So, what do we do? We head over to VanderYacht park and join the crowd playing in the Nooksack River. There's Torrie, just coming to shore after swimming out to fetch his new red ring.

We meet up with our friends Buddy and Kriss at the park.

Torrie found some Golden Retrievers to swim with.
How wonderful that river felt. It's a great way to beat the heat!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

My Spitfires

My Spitfire nasturtiums for this year's Seed GROW project are growing - but they sure look puny. They are not yet even beginning to look like a vining, trailing plant. When compared to the giant, deep green leaves of other clumps of nasturtiums in the gardens, these Spitfires have small leaves and their stems are spindly. Those other, non-Spitfire nasturtiums have formed showy clumps of plants with giant, colorful flowers. Yet these Spitfire, not even beginning to form buds. Apparently slow growing, I'm curious if our growing season here will be long enough for them to even bloom.
I picked this beautiful armfull of giant snapdragons from plants that managed to survive last winter.

Soon ready for harvest, the fava beans are forming sturdy, long pods.

The romaine lettuce is beginning to form huge heads. I can't wait to try this red variety.
Looking so stressed when first set out, even the tomatoes are managing to grow and produce. This is one of the Mortgage Lifter tomatoes. I'm not sure if those black marks on the edge of the leaves and top of the tomato are a sign of blight or signs of the extreme stress the plant suffered when first planted out in the garden, but I hope this tomato will be tasty once it ripens.
These radishes sure look tasty!
With an average high temperature of only 58 degrees for the month of June, my gardens have managed to slowly grow. Now, suddenly (finally!) we are having a heatwave with daily temperatures in the 80s and even a few days promised to be in the 90s. Let's see if those Spitfires start looking better now that it's summer here in the Pacific Northwest.
I'm growing Nasturtium "Spitfire" for the Seed GROW Project. Thanks, to Renee's Garden for the seeds.

Monday, July 5, 2010


Celebrating the Fourth of July with friends with a BBQ in Ferndale, we were also invited to join friends from Island and Skagit Counties at their beach BBQ the very next day. It was the fourth of July weekend, so why not attend two barbeques in two days? This is where we were, on this beautiful beach enjoying an afternoon and evening on a beautiful summer day.Complete with friendly games of horse shoes, badminton competitions, golf balls being hit from the yard onto the beach below, paddling around in the bay in kayaks, great food, great conversations, plenty of music and dancing on the lawn and a bonfire in the fire pit on the beach in the evening, a wonderful time was had by all.
Many thanks to Will for so generously welcoming us and sharing his beautiful home with so many friends.
What an absolutely beautiful day we all enjoyed.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

When the Concert Ends

What a lovely view over the bay as the concert ended at Boulevard Park. In the park enjoying the classic rock tunes performed by one of our local bands, the Walrus, with a group of friends, this weekend was no exception.
In full bloom, giant plumes of heliotrope blossoms graced one side of the trail we walked along to reach the park. How pretty!
Walking to the top of Taylor Dock after the concert, I was curious who M. White was.

And if M. White knows that they are loved.

Friday, July 2, 2010


About a month ago, the knob broke off of our espresso maker, rendering it completely useless. The machine wouldn't turn on, wouldn't turn off and it would no longer froth milk. Turns out, it was some sort of little plastic gear inside that had broken, and there was no way to repair it. I considered not replacing the boken espresso maker because, I had a back-up French Press and a backup Melitta Coffee Maker also on hand in my kitchen. So for two weeks I made the morning coffee with the French Press. Perhaps a little on the lazy side because two weeks was about how long it took me to grow absolutely tired of cleaning the coffee grounds out that coffee maker, so next I pulled out the Melitta coffee maker. The Melitta coffee maker was certainly easier to clean - about all there is to it is to pull the fiber filter out and toss it in the garbage, but unfortunately, regardless of how many spoonsful of ground coffee beans I put in the Melitta filter, I found the Melitta coffee disappointingly weak. So, off to the espresso coffee maker store I went!
Now, as of this morning, we're back to having those wonderful hot, foamy, chocolately, frothy cafe mochas.
Absolutely yummy, I think they taste better than at the coffee shops!