August Already?!

Where is the summer going? On one hand we have had a lot of time at home. Our weekends have been less busy (no weddings this summer!) and we have enjoyed the slower pace of external commitments. On the other hand we have been SO busy with never ending house projects. Some updates:

House & Painting:

Oh how I want to be painting! We are so close. 90% of the scraping is done, so it is on to caulking, repairs and paint. We have been lucky (?) to have so much dry weather for this particular project but the hot temperatures have made progress really slow. We are making plans to reorganize rooms in our house. The dining room and office will swap, which means we are reassessing our furniture and on the lookout for a new, smaller, cuter office desk. We spotted one on craigslist but were too late to get it. Fingers crossed!

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Garden:

The hard work this spring is really paying off! We are hauling in greens and beans every day, and the tomatoes are ripening fast. The Spanish beans did so well this year. We are picking ½ lb every other day and eating our fill. I hope we can save some to freeze! Squash is slower than I anticipated. Perhaps we need to hand pollinate next year. Overall it was a great first year in the real garden. For the next growing season the focus is building up our soil. It is awful and will do so much better next year.

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Work:

Work is going well for me. I am enjoying projects and leading my team in Seattle. I manage to work from home about once a week and that is a nice balance. The commute into Seattle is wonderful on the new water taxi. The ferry terminal on Vashon is under construction for at least the next year and that makes driving off a bit more inconvenient. Earthquake upgrades are worth it though!

Food:

Our garden veggies are the star of our meals these days. Lots of chard or kale cooked with bacon or made into curry. Salmon on the grill, lots of beans. Caprese salad and eggs are staples too. I have been experimenting with homemade ice cream more and am always on the lookout for recipe inspiration for new flavors.

Cats are great. Rats in the attic are slowing getting picked off one by one with traps. Chickens are doing well too, though are now confined to a smaller run instead of free ranging the yard. We just got fed up with all our plants being ripped up and dirt strewn everywhere.

Travel:

Ah, summer getaways sounds so nice. Right now we are focusing on pausing for concerts in the park and quick trips to the lake to swim. We don’t have any plans but as soon as the house is painted we are taking off for a surf trip to the coast. Making plans for Kauai in November too…

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This past weekend we took a day to celebrate our anniversary in a special way in Vantage, WA. It was 107 degrees but we had a ball and lots of fun images to share. More details to come very soon!IMG_5960[1]

That is pretty much a wrap! We are slowly making friends on the island and that is really, really nice. Hard to believe we are approaching our 3rd wedding anniversary next week!

Lake Retreat

Sunday was hot. We rode our bikes to the Vashon strawberry festival, watched a parade in the shade, then biked home to enjoy rootbeer floats in the back yard. Followed by a hike to the beach at the old gravel mine park. More hot and sunny but much needed not-working-on-the-house time.

Sunday was even hotter. Couch couch for breakfast but it was too hot even to drink coffee. I was watering the garden and we were brainstorming indoor projects when it hit me: we should go to the lake! Matt’s parent’s lake property is a 15 minute ferry ride + 15 mile drive west of us. The thought of cool water and shade and jumping off the diving board sounded so good we dropped everything in favor of fun.

I texted Rebecca and she showed up with her son, Eli. Snacks packed, sunscreen and towels in the car, and we were out the door and in line for the next ferry. (I somehow managed to also throw together a cooked ice cream base and get it chilling so we could have fresh ice cream post-swimming!)IMG_5558[1]

Across the water and through the Kitsap Peninsula and we were at Tiger Lake! An afternoon of swimming and sunning was just what we needed.

Homemade ice cream before bed was not too shabby either.

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Five Years Ago

July 10, 2010 was a day that changed the course of my life. July 10 was a Saturday that year, the perfect day for a date to the West Seattle Day’s street fair. The day that Matt and I met.

Fast forward five years and we are married, moved to an island to OUR house, waist deep in house and homesteading projects, well-traveled, tan and still just as giddy in love.

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Happy five years of sharing lives, my sweet Moose husband.

July 4th

The 4th of July: a pinnacle of summer fun. Lemonade, fireworks, BBQs, lawn games, maybe a campfire all come to mind. For many of us the the PNW this has not been the record for the 4th. The weather forecast usually promises sun about 10 days out, and then ends up being drizzly and 60 degrees on the actual day. Not ideal.

This year was an exceptional exception to this Seattle “rule”! We were camping at the family lake property on the Kitsap Peninsula and it was between 85 and 95 all weekend long. Perfect for camping sans rain-fly, running around in swimsuits and lots and lots of water time. The lake water was super warm and clear this year, and we spent hours splashing around like big kids. Paddle boating, swimming, water Frisbee toss, and making good use out of the neighbors floating raft with waterslide and diving board.

We chowed down on hot dogs, fire roasted corn and s’mores (and steamed broccoli because we like to get our veggies in!) and then were treated with a surprise apple pie! The neighbor, Mike, brought over a fresh-out-of-the-oven homemade apple pie, complete and homemade vanilla ice cream and a shaker of extra cinnamon! What a treat!

It was a spectacular, HOT 4th of July!IMG_5018[1] IMG_5163[1]  IMG_5175[1]IMG_5059[1]

Scraping Away

Tyvex suits in 90°+ temps is not fun. Matt can attest to that. He spent most of last week scraping the west side of our house, and this weekend I donned my suit and mask to help spot on the ladder/scaffolding work. The good news: we got the west side scraped, HEPA vacuumed and all cleaned up. It is ready for caulk, repairs and paint!IMG_4856[1]

This week we are tackling the south side of the house. We have already gone through ¾ of a roll of plastic sheeting, 2 rolls of blue tape and so many hours of work. But we are making progress! Scraping out house in prep for paint is a slow process because there is some residual lead left from last time the house was scraped. We are following all the protocols for safe removal and taking out time to get it right. It will feel good to not have peeling paint.

Let me tell you. We are ready for a camping break for the 4th of July.

Solstice Strawberry Jam

A few weeks ago, I came home to Matt running frantically around the kitchen in the midst of his first jam making experience. He had run out of jars, was confounded by the amount of sugar in all the recipes, had way more berries than pectin…you can probably see it. I jumped in the car to procure more jars (thank goodness town is only 5 minutes away).

When I returned the scene was much calmer. The jars we had were filled, and the jam was the perfect level of sweet. We washed the final few, added the jam and off to the freezer they went. Fresh picked strawberry freezer jam round one was a success!

IMG_4546[1]As I mentioned, that was a few weeks ago. We have already plowed our way through two jars of this delicious treat; using it on toast, ice cream, in lemonade or milk…it is seriously awesome. So when the opportunity to pick more strawberries came up we jumped on it.

June 21: summer solstice. We picked another 18 lbs of bright red Shuksan berries on a weekend trip to Whatcom County. The season is winding down and the berries are smaller, but still oh so sweet and bright. IMG_4788[1]

We drove back to the island, took care of the chickens and sat down to an evening of hulling berries and watching Netflix. 18 lbs is a lot of berries, and we already had 17lbs made into jam, so we froze half of these. Today Matt turned the rest into round two of freezer jam. This time around we had enough jars, the right amount of pectin and a lot more confidence. Our freezer is full of sweet, solstice goodness.

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