Friday, September 30, 2011

Enjoying the Fruits of Summer

We are in love with a simple new to us way of enjoying fruit.
I can't wait to try it with apples!!

The best part is, it's like eating pie, without having to flute a crust (still working on that, wondering if i'll ever be able to make a new looking fluted crust in my lifetime) or pre bake your pie dough.

In France, they call them galettes, but i call them tarts.
Make your favourite pie dough.
Roll it out on a sheet of parchment.
Move parchment to a baking sheet and sprinkle a small amount of your favourite cookie or cake crumbs on the dough, leaving about 2 - 3 inch border from the edge.

 We make orange nutmeg shortbread from Grand Central Bakery's cookbook for our galettes, simply because we like having those around too. :)

Next, mix up some pie filling with fresh fruits--shorting the sugar if you like and
adding your favourite spices.
Here we used cinnamon, sugar, a little clove, and nectarines and peaches.
Arrange the fruit over your crumbs on your pie crust.

 Fold the edges of your crust up over the fruit, leaving a small uncovered area about the size of a tea cup saucer.

Bake as you would a pie...

Ain't it peachy?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Gig Harbor: Wilkinson Farm City Park

 Under a five minute drive from downtown Gig, between the residential areas and Hwy 16, located on the Cushman Bike Trail, is the Wilkinson Farm City Park.  Today, 17 acres, of the original purchase by this pioneer family, have been dedicated to open space by the city of Gig Harbor.  On the grounds, along the trails through the woods, you will find an original barn (erected 1914) and a few out buildings.

a holly grove

There are also beautiful green lawns surrounded by apple trees to have a picnic on.
What a beautiful place for an old dairy farm!

Historical signage

The best feature of the property was the community gardens on site!
Gig Harbor has many talented gardeners out there!

Love this sign!

What a great idea for plant markers in a maritime community garden!

Tomorrow, i'll show you a few more sites around town.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Gig Harbor, WA

Since we're falling into a bit of a routine here with the school year starting, i'm figurin it's time to start catching up on the blog here a little bit.  We've had some great adventures this summer and i'd love to share some pictures with you.

First up is Gig Harbor, WA.  It's a town nestled on a bay about a 40 mile drive from Seattle with gorgeous views of the water and island topography with Mt. Rainier as the backdrop.  Fitting of this area, you're first views of Gig Harbor come when you cross Sturdy Gertie (the Narrows Bridge).

Gig Harbor taken from Finholm Hill Climb

Gig Harbor residences from Uptown

View of Downtown Gig from opposite shore
 The first day we were there, i focused on gaining my bearings.  After finding the Chamber of Commerce and picking up a couple maps, i drove around locating a few of my areas of interest.  Most of the area is residential, and we're not talking like any kind of middle class residential spots either, so i was a little nervous to be walking around looking for things like lighthouses and such if it looked like i had to "trespass" on property.  The driving out there is easy and gorgeous though.

I had just enough time to investigate the Finholm Hill Climb.  A family by the name of Finholm has a market in Uptown.  They are long time residents of the area.  Behind their store is a huge parking lot with a set of stairs that heads up the cliff there.  It's in the style of an urban park--along the sides of the stairs are beautiful weeping cedars and fir trees with rhodies and such.  It's worth the climb to get views like these.

The town is full of little shops from bakeries to whole foods grocers to women's boutique clothing and knick knack shacks.  They even have a cafe with a pottery painting store in it. 

Tomorrow i'll be back with a few little field trips i went the surrounding parks.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Welcome to Washington, Mr. President!

We had an exciting weekend this weekend!  On the calendar of events was a Knights of Veritas sword fighting demonstration and Tolkein Tea at a local book store, but also a Comet and Asteriod presentation at the Boeing Museum of Flight. 

Yesterday, we arrived at the Boeing and saw a whole mess of law enforcement officials and barricades everywhere.  Something in my brain dislodged and reminded me that i had heard that President Obama was coming to Seattle for fundraising events this weekend.  Boy, did we pick the right day to head to Seattle or what?

And of course, all i brought was my cell phone camera.  Grrrr!
Air Force One (Boeing 747) Pres Obama on approach
 It was one of those days that wasn't supposed to be a school day, but ended up being more educational than most of our school days at home, where we sit and learn the basics of math and English.  Those are the days that rejuvinate my love of homeschooling!

We arrived just in time for the comet class, but when we heard that President Obama would be arriving in 50 minutes, Cookie decided she wanted to skip the comets and wait for the President. :)

We talked about the security that we saw around the area (bomb squad dogs, law enforcement from every town within a 60 mile radius, cops driving by checking license plates of big vehicles, etc.)  We talked about the relationship between the president's security and our country's well being, the presidents that have been attacked in recent years, the Obama family, and the riggers of being a president of a whole country and how that compared to the schedule of our head bacon bringer, Moose. 

The most intriguing part of our discussion was the decoy mechanisms that the Secret Service uses for the president.  Cookie loved the idea that they basically play a shell game with the president and his planes and cars.  :)

Air Force One (Boeing 747) parked above the tail of the B-17
 Once the plane landed, we headed inside for something to eat.  I never imagined the motorcade these day would pass by so close to spectators.  I felt so bad, because from where we were standing to view the plane's arrival, we would have been able to see President Obama face to face.  Apparently, he even rolled down his window to wave, because we heard that there were a few people who had seen a really nice picture of the president from someone's camera.  Rabbits!

From the cafeteria, we were able to see the motorcade for a distance--how things have changed in the few years.  The president's motorcade included, but was not limited to, an ambulance, a bomb squad, and numberous unmarked vans.

In the museum, we were able to see video footage of Pres. Kennedy dedicating NASA.  And Cookie Monster was thrilled to brave the soggy weather to see a former Air Force One (Boeing 707) on display from the Lynden Johnson era. 

Once we returned home, we heard on the news that the President Obama was leaving Seattle.  There was a bit of a delay because of an emergency medical flight arriving the same time he was to depart.  Thankfully, that give me enough time to shake another piece of information from my tired ol' brain.  When "W" was president, and came to Seattle, we could see his plane from our deck.  So Cookie and i headed out with a proper camera and binoculars in hand this time.

And we were rewarded with Air Force One flying right over the roof of our home!!

Air Force One (Boeing 747) Pres Obama

Hope you had a fruitful visit to the Seattle area, Mr. President, and we wish you a
safe journey home to your family.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Rescued From Goodwill

August was a good month for treasures at G'Willys.

I found this really neat crocheted piece at the G'Willy in Gig Harbor while Cookie was in dance camp.  I must have walked around with it in my arms for an hour trying to decide whether i should get it or not. :)  Having that debate with know the one where you say, "oh i could do that," when truthfully, you don't even know what kind of crochet this is. :)

 I haven't decided whether to use it as a throw yet.  I put it down on our hardwood floors in our living room and i think i actually squeaked.  It would make a dashing rug...Moose said he would never walk on it though, so that could be a problem should he want to get to his chair in the living room. :)

I also found this little throw last week.  Made from a bunch of busy nine patches sewn together.  It's a tied bound quilt.  Right now it is doing a wonderful job of covering our potatoes and keeping them from getting green. :)
 After that, i think i may use it as a cover on our ottoman.  I've been using old tablecloths to do that now, but it kinda creeps me out when people put their feet on them.  All i can think is, "hey, i eat off that tablecloth sometimes!" :)
Found this little sack for Cookie Monster.
Thought it would make a lovely library bag.
It came with the tags still on it; apparently it was from a children's clothing company in Illinois called Apron Strings.  I wonder if it housed a sweet little summer dress in it?
Maybe someday i can contract my mom to make Cookie's initial to replace the "L" on the bag.

There'll be more another day, as i still have to wash up some of the other finds.
Just been running out of time between schoolin' and irish dancin'. :)

Hope you all are having a great week!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Contents of my Dream Home

I have been having this reoccurring daydream lately.  Moose told me about a co-worker that has planted a portable demonstration garden in the back of an old pickup.  What a cool idea for community outreach, eh?  That got me to thinking....

What if you build a chicken coop in the back of an old pickup?  You could drive it around the paddocks and leave your chickens to free range for a few weeks. 

I think an old truck like this might work...
1961 Ford Econoline Pickup
This one recently sold in Ontario for $15,000CAN.  Of course, i need one a little less. :)  And obviously the truck would need to be turquoise (my favourite colour.)  We could paint the coop white.  Maybe built in the Bavarian style.  With some red shutters and window boxes on it. :)  Can't you just imagine a little chicken ramp out the back with a mess of barred rocks run down it? 

Moose is gonna panic when he reads this. :)

My curiousity about different trucks led me to a neat website, Old Parked Cars.  It's a blog by a few friends that as far as i can tell are from Oregon, and they take pictures of some of the old cars they see around their town.  They also take reader submissions.

Lots of neat trucks on there!

Maybe i'll need to have a couple different trucks with coops built in the back.  Like this Chevy truck...painted cherry red!!

Tuesday's Garden Look-See

We've had a couple of good harvests from the garden the past couple weeks.  That last burst of hot weather a couple weeks ago did the tomatoes good.  We are seeing more yellow and red out there...hoping to sustain them till the end of the month.  Work with us, Mother Nature!

Here's today's harvest in time for dinner:  green beans, cherry toms, and a couple of carrots for Cookie Monster.  Should be quite tasty with tuna melts!

This year's potato harvest of bittersweet.  Out of a ten foot section of Red Chief potatoes we grew a whole whopping 5 spuds.  It has to be our mistake though, because the Yellow Finn seed from the same seed company grew about 15 pounds from 10 feet of seed.
Bring on the au gratins!!
This week is supposed to be another mild fall week.  Sunny and in the mid to upper 70's.  Not typical Seattle weather, but we'll take it!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Back to (Almost) Normal

Today, our family left and we miss them terribly already (especially Cookie Monster, who was with her Granny and Grandpa for 4 weeks!)

School starts tomorrow...officially. 

Oddly enough, just as some of the public school kids around here have to interupt their school year because their teachers have decided to strike...after already working 7 days without a contract. 

Summer had its last hoorah here last week and we actually had our one and only 90 degree day of Summer 2011. 

Hoping you all have a great week!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Experiments with Bread :: To Seed, or Not To Seed

 With a little time to myself this week while the Cookie Monster is at Grandma and Grandpa camp, i have to resort to things such as experimenting with the house bread recipe for cheap entertainment. :)

We love a certain kind of nutty-seeded bread around here, and being that it is in every grocery around here, it is quite easy to get lazy and throw a couple loaves in the ol' shopping cart each week.  However, at $5 or more a loaf, that could eat up my crafting budget. :)  Time to replicate this as best i can at home, eh?  I've perfected my preferred signature design for a loaf...that little swirl at the end reminds me of a little belly button for some reason. 

One thing i haven't perfected yet is the precise seed/nut ratio to include in the bread.

This is my second attempt...
let's just say it's better than my first, which left taste testers in utter disbelief
of any seeds having been added. 

So this time, i am taking notes:
to house recipe i've added
1T flax, 1T chia, 1T sesame, 2T pumpkin, and 2T sunflower.
Also, *self*, throw a blanket of foil over the poor chap at 30 minutes in, will ya?!

And it's not nearly enough!!
More experiments needed to say the least, however at least there'll be plenty of toast this week. :)

Friday, September 2, 2011

There and Back Again

Just returned from the Wilds of Idaho, hence the cricket noises that have taken over this blog. :)

I'll finish up my Alphabet in August and bring you a few other stories from our adventures in ID.

sound advice for a three day weekend, eh?
Hope you all have a safe and relaxing Labour Day weekend!