Hmmmm... it appears I have now neglected my blog for over 2 months! It's hard to say exactly how that happened. The first week after August 3rd (the last post), I didn't manage to blog because I was frantically trying to turn the 50 pounds of berries Woodley and I picked into jam and preserves. After that there was family vacation during which we found out that my grandfather's heart was rapidly failing, followed by a trip to Alaska to visit him and the family, and then, a few weeks later, another trip to Alaska for his funeral. That brings us up to early October at which point we drove back down the coast to California so I am now attempting to return to a more normal schedule.
Here are some highlights from August, September, and early October. I'll probably focus on some of them in more detail in later posts if I feel inspired. :)
August 15: Our new furniture we ordered from Macy's in May arrived. Sadly one of the couches was stained upon delivery. Here Woodley poses with the small stain. But, apart from the stain, we absolutely love the couch!
August 20: I made pickled watermelon rinds (I'll definitely have to blog about that later!). They turned out pretty well but I might try a slightly different recipe next year. I also made Old Fashioned Dill Pickles. They are super yummy!
August 21: I got carried away and ordered hundreds of daffodil, crocus, grape hyacinth, scilla, snowdrops, and other spring bulbs (all the ones the deer aren't supposed to like too much) from White Flower Farm, Brent and Becky's Bulbs, and Colorblends.
August 23: With the amazing help of Greg, Nicola, Rob, Michelle, Woodley, and my mom, we managed to move my mother's fabulous Frigidaire Flair range over to our house. Most of it wasn't working and since my mom was remodeling her kitchen she decided to give it to us. Woodley is now working on fixing it and I have grand plans to repaint it white or turquoise to go with the new kitchen I'm dreaming about. If it looks familiar, you may have seen it before on Bewitched since Samantha also had one. :) (The reason I love it: the doors of the 2 ovens open up and are then completely out of the way and the burners are in a retractable drawer which is closed in the picture above - it's amazing and the best range design I've ever seen! I'm still dreaming that it will make a comeback.)
August 24: Day 1 of Family Vacation 2009. My mother, brother, Woodley and I took a ferry to Port Townsend on the Olympic Peninsula and visited the Point Wilson Light. It was a bit foggy. Then we hiked up the hillside to see the remains of Fort Warden. If you're ever in the area, it is so much fun to run around the remains of the old fort.
August 25: Day 2 of Family Vacation 2009. From a home base near Sequim, WA and an adorable Bed and Breakfast we went exploring at the Dungeness Spit. It's a 10 mile walk round trip to end light house at the end of the spit. My mom and I made it about halfway there before heading back.
Rob and Woodley made it the whole way to the lighthouse and got to explore it a bit.
August 27: Day 4 of Family Vacation 2009. We visited the Olympic Game Farm, drive-through zoo of sorts for retired TV and circus animals. The Kodiak bears were my favorite. If we tossed them a piece of bread (which we bought from the staff at the beginning of our tour), they caught it in their mouths and they even waved at us! (I'm guessing they came from the circus.)
August 28: Alaska Day 1. While on the Olympic Peninsula we heard that my Grandpa Majors' heart was beginning to fail so we quickly figured out how to fly up to Alaska to visit him one last time. We finished up our family vacation on Friday and instead of going home, we went straight to the SeaTac airport and flew to Fairbanks. It was so nice to get to spend some time with my grandparents while grandpa was still able to tell jokes and get around bit.
August 29: Alaska Day 2. We visited the Fountainhead Antique Car and Auto Museum in Fairbanks. It was full of amazingly beautiful cars from the 1930s and earlier. However, our favorite piece wasn't a car at all but was this beautiful 19th century Albany Cutter Sled (It just made us want to move somewhere with snow and room for horses so we could ride around in one!):
August 30: Alaska Day 3. A wonderful afternoon at home with grandpa and grandma just like I remembered from visits in my childhood. Grandma was in the kitchen cooking dinner, grandpa sat in his chair, and the kids sprawled over the floor and sofa watching I Love Lucy.
August 31: Alaska Day 4. We visited Alaskaland, a Fairbanks favorite. Home to the lovely moose swing. :) While at Alaskaland I got a call from one of my best friends, Nicola, who shared the news of her engagement with me! Congratulations Nic!!
September 2: Alaska Day 6. We visited Creamer's Field, a migratory waterfowl refuge, where we got to see beautiful big cranes for the first time as well as some amazing Alaska fall foliage and beautiful birch forests.
September 4: Alaska Day 8. We had a big party at Aunt Marilyn's house to celebrate Grandma and Grandpa's 67th wedding anniversary (which was Sep. 6th). A bunch of the family acted out a skit of how grandma and grandpa decided to get married (a wonderful story I'll post later). Happy 67 years Grandma and Grandpa!
September 5: ~Alaska Day 9 ~ On our last afternoon in Alaska my Uncle David took us on a trip down the Chena River. It was a beautiful fall day! After that we were able to go visit with Grandpa and Grandma one last time. It was such a blessing to be able to see him and grandma together and I will always remember sitting out on the patio with him for pictures and a goodbye prayer.
September 12: Back in Bellingham, we hosted an Engagement Dinner Party for Nicola and Matt down by the lake. It was such a fun night! We were also thrilled to be joined by our wonderful friends Greg and Becca who came up from the Bay Area to visit us for the weekend. (I made roast leg of lamb and salmon, I was a bit nervous to be cooking for so many people, but it turned out really well. Yay!)
September 16: Katie, Heidi, Woodley, and I had a fun tea party using the amazing Chinese tea ceremony set that Greg and Becca brought us all the way from China! (I still can't believe they brought something so big and so fragile all that way for us! Thank you so much guys!!! We LOVE it!!) A big part of the tea ceremony involves pouring hot water over all of the cups so the big wooden tray is used to collect the warming water and let it drain into a bowl under the table. I don't think I've had that much fun playing with water since I was a small child!
September 17: We got two big loads of compost delivered so that we could spread it around the flower beds for the winter. Also, my larkspur I planted in June started blooming along with the stock, love-in-a-mist, dahlias, and forget-me-nots. Even though it was getting fairly late in the year, the garden really started to look beautiful.
September 18: We were thrilled to be able to watch another kitty for a few weeks this summer. Meet Count. He had lived next door to us but when his owner moved out he asked if we could watch Count until he could find a safe place to live with a cat. We were so happy to have a kitty around the house again. And Count was such a sweetie! He followed me everywhere and always wanted to sit as close to me as he could. Also on the 18th, I made a spinach souffle (my first souffle ever!) and it turned out fairly well!
September 26: I made my first and last pie of the summer (sadly!). It was a delicious strawberry rhubarb. It turned out fabulously though and next summer I'm determined to bake a pie a week. I figure I'd better invest in a real rolling pin though since that was what kept me from baking more pies this summer. :) Also made my first quiche in years, a crab and shrimp quiche. I'll have to share the recipe later because it was fantastic and I will definitely be making it again!
September 24: We received a call from my cousin Leah and learned that my grandpa, Rev. George L. Majors passed away that morning at home. We are so thankful for his 92 years of service and that he was able to stay at home, surrounded by family.
September 25: Two orders of bulbs arrived the afternoon of the 25th. Altogether I they added up to about 900 daffodil bulbs. I got right to work planting them and managed to get through almost all of them by early October. I can't wait for Spring!!
September 27: We had a fun family picnic out at Hovander Park near Ferndale, WA. Hovander is one of my mom's favorite parks so we've been having picnics on the many lawns at the park ever since I was a baby. The weather was fabulous and we were able to enjoy magnificent views of Mt. Baker. I especially enjoyed walking through the flower, herb, and vegetable gardens. Very inspiring!
The lovely Graham Thomas rose!
September 30 - October 4: From Wednesday through Sunday my mother, Woodley, and I traveled once more up to Fairbanks, Alaska. This time to attend my Grandpa Majors' funeral service. Although I brought our camera, I completely forgot to get it out of our bag the entire time. The service was so nice and we were able to visit with a lot of family that we hadn't seen in years. When we headed home again I was able to take a few of my grandfather's sermon notes that I am planing to type up and post in another blog for our friends and family.
October 7: After we returned from Alaska we spent 3 busy days cleaning, gardening, and tidying up before we left to drive down the coast and back to California. Thankfully our little Bellingham home is going to be well looked after by some good friends while we are away and I have high hopes that my garden will look even better when we get back than when we left. Before we took off I ran around the yard to capture pictures of all my beloved beds.
The hollyhocks by the garage.
The planter box out front. (I think I need to do some work here...)
The dahlias and annuals on the side of the garage.
The beautiful tomato plants Katie gave me at the beginning of the summer.
The woodsy side bed.
And, most importantly, the amazing new herb bed that Woodley planned and created. It turned out so well and I such a joy to walk through. I also planted about 300 bulbs in and around the herbs so it should be quite fun in the spring!
And that brings us up to the point where we headed back to California. Given how long this post has gotten to be, I think I'll leave our romantic trip down the coast for tomorrow. :)