October Surf

After months of prep and painting we finally gave ourselves permission to pause on the house and go for a much anticipated surf vacation. A mini trip to the Washington coast was exactly what we needed. We had roughly scouted out where to go, and decided on Grayland Beach state park…just south of where we would surf in Westport.

Friday afternoon Matt picked me up from work in a SUPER full car and we headed to the coast with no visibility out out windows. Camping in a mini cooper is quite a feat. But hey, when you only have one vehicle you work with what you have!

A mere 2.5 hours later and we were in Westport! First stop: a surf shop to get the lay of the land. We inquired about boards and surf breaks and then went to check out the jetty.

What a great spot! It was cloudy and foggy that afternoon but the weekend forecast was for warm, sunny weather. And SO MANY sand dollars! You could not go more than a few steps without reaching for another one!

Our campsite was great and had easy access to the beach. Next time we may try out one of the yurts.

Day one of surfing was fun, but hard. The current was pushing pretty hard south and the surf was really mushy and fast. It was exhausting to get yourself out far enough to catch a cleaner wave. We both had a great time though and were totally wiped and sporting sunburned faces out when we headed to dinner.

Sunset from our campground. We drank tea and watched it go down…and saw A GREEN FLASH! This elusive phenomenon has been on my family’s hit list for YEARS and we finally saw one!!! So cool!

Sunday was a down day and thank goodness…we were exhausted! We decided to explore the area and took a drive up to Moclips and the other seaside towns to the North. We stopped for clam chowder and ice cream in Ocean Shores before heading back to Grayland for a long beach walk.

Monday was the highlight though. After an ok breakfast at the Blue Bouy we stopped by the surf shop for boards. We grabbed two long boards and hit the road.

We got to the beach and saw exactly what we were hoping for: clean, easy, long breaks with no current. Beautiful!

I spent the morning catching wave after wave while Matt struggled with the other board. At lunch we swapped and then he was having all the success! Eventually even getting out to the “real” lineup at the back and catching big green waves like a pro! It was incredible to see how far we have come! Unfortunately I did not have better luck with the second board either. For some reason neither of us could catch a wave on it even though it was a bigger, longer board. The balance we could just not get down. Goes to show that we need to try out boards before we buy as they are NOT equal!

We surfed until nearly 5, showered and headed back to camp for the sunset and dinner. What a sunset it was! Probably one of the top 5 of my life. Seriously, how spectacular is this?!:

What a wonderful getaway. No cell service, awesome waves and only a few hours from home. We are already itching to go back!

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Fall is in the Air

I added another layer of blankets to my side of the bed. A headlamp is needed for flagging down the bus for the morning commute. Plus, our chickens are all in bed by 7…summer is quickly wrapping up.

Thank goodness the house painting is too. We are officially DONE with all the high up extension ladder parts (2 coats), and nearly done with a second coat on the rest as well. My back is thankful for that. Last weekend we went to the fair.

Matt picked up some odd jobs at the winery next door and we are making plans for what comes next, but right now, we feel ready for a break. A weekend surfing should be happening soon, then a weekend away to Port Townsend. We are ready for snuggling down for the fall.

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Weekend Getaway to Roslyn

Do you remember the 90s TV show, Northern Exposure? Well, I don’t, but now am inclined to go find some old episodes! This past weekend we spent two days exploring the mountain town of Roslyn. It is an old coal mining community, home to Washington state’s oldest saloon, AND was where Northern Exposure was filmed.

Matt had been talking about a weekend trip to Roslyn ever since he drove through en route to his bachelor party camping trip. Since there is always a weekend between our birthdays we decided to celebrate this year with a short adventure out to the town. Spattered with the remnants of fall color, a perfectly blue sky day, followed by a rainy foggy (ie: epic color for photographs!) day it was perfect. We stayed in an airbnb (our first) and had a great experience.

Day 1 was our exploration day. We first walked the town of Roslyn, scouting out places for dinner and breakfast, and taking photos of the old buildings.

From there we ventured up towards Salmon la Sac and along the shores of Lake Cle Elum. We found a great place to pull off the road and shuffle down the slope to investigate the lake bed. It was beyond stunning. Bright gold leaves dotted fall along the shores, back dropped by mountains of dark green fir trees. The sun was out and the sky perfect clear blue. We wandered the shores then sat for awhile. When we looked up, we noticed an array of clouds rolling in (fast!) from the West. The predicted Sunday weather system was coming. It made for some spectacular photos.

After a trip to Cle Elum for decongestants and a rental movie (Chef. I recommend it.) we found our way to dinner at The Brick. This cool old saloon is literally a cornerstone for Roslyn and has quite the following across the state. We snagged a table and saw the last 10 minutes of the WSU football game (Go Cougs!) and chowed down on nachos and a philly cheese steak. At 5:30 it was pitch black and I was totally wiped out with a headache and sleepiness (yay for being sick on vacation right?). We drove back to our cozy room and hunkered down for the evening. Shower, movie, chocolate peanut butter pie. Sleep.

A downpour of raindrops woke us up around 3 am, and we used it as an excuse to make it a long slow morning. We lazed in bed, watched the Disney Robin Hood on Netflix and finally made our way to breakfast around 11. The Roslyn Café did not disappoint. I had biscuits and gravy and Matt tried a house specialty: a waffle filled with bacon! We lingered over coffee and watched the rain.

We took the raniy afternoon to drive the rest of the road to Salmon la Sac. Stopping at numerous viewpoints, campgrounds and Cooper Lake to just take in the scenery. We only saw a dozen other cars. Along the shores of Lake Cle Elum were some of the most spectacular views of fall color I have witnessed in the PNW. Not golds and oranges and reds of typical fall leaves, but bands of lichen and moss and other groundcover that swirled intricate patterns of red and brown and bright green as far as we could see. Outlined with golden trees and dark green firs it was breathtaking. My camera got a workout trying to capture it without getting soaked!

What a trip. Relaxing, beautiful, and exactly what we needed.

Fall Happenings

IMG_0923[1]A lot is happening in our little island life. Most obviously is the now prominent project overtaking our living room. Remember at the start of summer when we so carefully had the ceiling re-finished and everything painted and “done”? Ha. Done is never done when it comes to a house. The leak below the exterior door reappeared while cleaning the deck (that IS done!) and so we shuffled the priority list to replace the door. And while we are at it, why not make it a wider door?

After 3 estimates and lots of YouTube videos Matt decided to tackle the project himself. He is doing a great job. At this point the project is only open from the inside of the room but we are ready to install the new header and open up the door on Sunday. Next week we should be putting the room back together, have a nicely hung new (warmer!) door, new insulation and no leak!

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Last weekend I attended my friend Diane’s bachelorette party. It was fun, but I am feeling old when I would rather just go to bed at 9 o’clock than just be heading out to the bars. All in all it was a good celebratory weekend though. Tonight we head off to Bellingham for the wedding!

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Also new to our house is an antique cabinet that we have been hunting on Craigslist for MONTHS. The guy selling it was WAY overpriced in his expectation for it’s value. I have bought a lot of antiques on Craigslist and am good at spotting deals and fair prices. No wonder this one sat for 6+ months. It was too $$$. After 4+ phone calls and lots of detail about how much we wanted the cabinet we came to a price agreement that we could live with. It was still higher than it is “worth”, but worth it to us. Mainly because it is only 14” deep. You would not believe how hard it is to find a shallow cabinet! Plus it is the perfect design for our dining room. It is happily in place, filled with our dishware treasures and makes the room feel SO much bigger! Here is a preview from when were were loading it up:

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We also had a milestone for the family: Grandpo’s house sold. It is the end of an era but the beginning for a new family that has big plans and so much love for this cool house. On Sunday we ventured to Tacoma to take one last swim in the pool and hot tub before keys turn over to the new owners.

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Our garden is winding down. The last of the ripe tomatoes were picked and we are dehydrating them to store in olive oil. Yum! Last night we feasted on grilled eggplant from our garden, garnished with tuna, capers and cherry tomatoes. Yum!IMG_0930[1]

Overall life is good. We can feel the pace of things slowing down with Fall in the air. Traffic on the island is reduced by more than half. It is quiet and calm and cool at night. We are thinking of soup and bread and starting up the fireplace. It has been a great summer.

Sunset 4:27

Yep, you read that right – Wednesday as I waited for my bus “sunset: 4:27pm” wandered across my phone screen. 4:27 pm. Welcome to the wintertime downside of living in Seattle.

This week it got cold. The cold that we have been hearing rumors about. I knew that it would be pitch black by the time we got home, and it was freezing cold on the dock, so I hatched a plan to make this random Wednesday a little more special. I stopped by a coffee shop to pick up a latte and hot chocolate, and then met my sweet husband down at the water taxi dock with treats in tow.

This simple surprise made our sunset commute special. The sun was down before we even loaded the boat, but our hands were warm and hearts appreciating life and love.

When the power goes out…

Months ago we set up a dinner date with our friends Benny and Lana. Both of our schedules are so busy, that our first available date as over 2 months out, so we put it on the calendar for November 2. Low and behold, November 2 we would have massive winds bringing our first power outage of the season. No lights, no oven, no heat (at first). Turns out it was not only the island that lost power, but 95,000 customers across 5 or 6 counties. Benny and Lana lost power, we lost power, and so we decided to postpone our dinner date.

Too bad I had stuck a birthday cake in the oven 10 minutes before we lost power. I decided to just see if it would bake on residual heat, and come up with plan B for dinner. We still have the ability to cook since our stove is gas. No power meant no computer…ie: no way for me to do homework! We had no way to charge our phones so we limited our use there too. It was peaceful stepping back from our typically plugged in life.

Matt and I spent the day setting up our gas fireplace (success! We had heat again!), walking around our property to assess damage and plan our next project. We also walked alongside our neighbors property (the lot we hope to buy) with more enthusiasm and certainly than we ever had. It turns out that the night before, Matt met the neighbor who owns it! He was much nicer than the previous house owner made him sound, and he assured us that when he is ready to sell (not yet) we are first in line. It is so nice to have some clarity around the property and no more worries about it falling out from under us!

Our plan B for dinner involved going to town for pizza to eat in front of the fire by candlelight. Romantic no?

We took our time getting to town, and drove the long way along the Westside highway. The fall colors were out in full force. That drive really feels like the country…rolling hillside farms overlooking the water straight west into the sunset. Beautiful.

Our pizza was great, and the cake turned out too! It was nice to take a breath and slow down. Losing power reminds you of what is really important, and how much noise our electronic distractions really make.

A Foggy Autumn on the Homestead

This past week we had fog. And by fog I really mean FOG. Fog so thick that some days the island never came out of it. Seattle was encased nearly all day long. On the water taxi, we would leave the somewhat clear sky behind and charge full speed into a bank so thick that we could not see the dock until we pulled up alongside. FOG.

My Monday the fog passed (and the foghorns all night long) and we are in the full glory of what PNW autumns can bring. Clear blue skies, streets full of colorful leaves, and cool crisp temperatures threatening frost. We trek to the city bundled up in scarves and vests (and new boots!) and are relishing our cozy warm house in the evenings. Now it is back to chilly and grey, but dry.

This past weekend we fully embraced the fall season with the annual cider pressing party at my parent’s house. We pressed gallons and gallons of cider (forgot to count a total # before people starting taking them) but we have at least 6 gallons in our freezer for the year. It was a perfect day: dry, slightly warm, and full of fun people and food.

On Sunday we came home early to tackle our own homestead project while the sun was still out. Project: garden makeover! A previous owner had the amazing foresight to deer fence a large rectangular garden full of rich soil. The not so epic part? Putting a huge X gravel pathway through the whole thing. A pathway is nice, but an X is a horribly inefficient use of space, not to mention it is impractical if you hope to reach to the back of the bed. So goodbye X. We pulled out all the plants (massive, old sage covered ¼ of the usable space!), dug roughly 3 lbs of potatoes and have started removing gravel. We plan to pull out all the brick borders and gravel and plant a compost cover crop this winter so that we are ready to roll this spring. Next year this garden will rock!

This week ihas been busy. Classes, work for my graduate internship, Dad’s surgery, my birthday, preparing to be in Houston next week, more homework, needing to clean the house…all while longing to be out in the garden. The weeks are flying by and we need to get started on some winter projects…primarily building a chicken coop!

I have to give my sweet husband a shout out. He has been such a trooper through all my schoolwork and crazy busy schedule. He has spent a ton of time cleaning the kitchen and delivering an awesome dinners to me while I was stuck in front of the computer in class and school meetings. He even made an apple crisp. As well as we handle school + work + life, we are both looking forward to June when that equation gets a little simpler after graduation.