Friday, July 27, 2012

Gardening update July 25 2012

So.... Here it is. The garden at the end of July.
After tilling the whole thing by shovel. It only took a few weeks.

The popup awning does great for keeping the sun off!  And rain too, But, it was actually THUNDER-STORMING (rare for here in the west Cascade foothills) so, no gardening in the rain this time ;-p.

Here are some collages of the stuff that is popping up.

Hopefully we can get some harvest before the frost hits.

Here are some more pics of what is going on around the "farm".

 And, the chickens got to devour a huckleberry bush that was removed as Hubby was blazed his trails.

So that is what is going on. Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Flaming Geyser

When the vehicle registration reminder came in the mail last week it came with a friendly advertisement for a state park annual pass. Well, we have been here a year and have our National Parks Pass worn in from our visits to Mt Rainier and the Olympic Peninsula. What an opportunity to start visiting our State parks as well.

When the pass arrived a short 2 days later, I went online and discovered we are literally surrounded by state parks!

Today, we decided to fore-go our plan to visit Mowich Lake and break in our State Park Pass with a visit to a local park with a cool name,  
(imagine a monster truck rally announcer when reading the name...) "Flaming Geyser"
Who can resist that kind of name?

After our visit and hike at Flaming Geyser, we briefly visited Kanaskat-Palmer and Nolte State Parks, as they are only all a few minutes drive from one-another. Pass - paid for itself in one day!

Here are my photos from a day of 3 state park visits.

Flaming Geyser

Interesting Park. Nice facilities. Playground is for the younger kiddos. A really nice designated area for model aircraft flying. Good trails. The interpretive info about the flaming geysers and the salmon is really nice and informative. Interpretive trails are easy walking. Woodland and river trails are moderate with mostly gravel but with steep climbs and really steep, primitive stairs. There is a somewhat separate section of the park that is hidden via a residential road. We parked and walked in to find the old farm. It is reserved for future park development.










This one is available in my shop.

my girl down an old country road

Nolte State Park

Very cute park. Small. Woodland, lakeside pavilions for events. Playground for elementary aged children. Two small field areas. Fishing and swimming areas (though I still don't understand why people swim in this freezing water here). A really nice, wide, graveled trail circles the lake. It is an easy trail that takes maybe an hour to walk.

.... Looky what we found.

I have been waiting to see some of these since I moved here. These are extremely delicate flowers. Yes, they are plants, not fungi. No chlorophyll! SOOOOO COOL!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Guest Blog Posts for Moody Sisters Organic Skincare

I have had the opportunity to be a guest blogger for Moody Sisters Organic skincare.
They are a sister team out of the foothills of the Eastern Cascades in Washington (only 150 miles from me over the mountains). They own an Etsy shop that makes quality organic natural body products and have the cutest crazy eye cat logos. They are fellow members of 2 teams I actively participate in on Etsy. They are also a small micro, home business and "local".

At the writing of this post, I have tried 4 of their products and am happy with all of them. Reviews to be posted later since I like to give thorough reviews.

So, today I am linking you to the Moody Sisters Blog for my published posts.


 Moody Sisters Organic Skincare blog

  Flan Recipe & fails

 Natural dog treats

Review of Hydrating Sugar scrub

 All about Egg labeling

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Cedar Plank Salmon

Really a SIMPLE thing to make and oh so delish!

This recipe will feed 4 people (or 2 of me!) I just Love Salmon, more than I love a good steak at a high-end steak house. I literally have to stop myself because I will eat till it hurts.

You will need to prepare the night before. The planks need the prep, not the fish. You can wait to catch your fish that day ;-)


1 5lb or so FRESH, Wild caught (as local as you can get it) whole Sockeye Salmon, filleted (skin on - you're gonna need it)

cedar planks (to fit all the salmon onto) (you can find these in the grilling or fish section of most grocery markets or you can cut your own and season them yourself)

salt to taste

water and a tub to soak the planks in (the tub has to be able to fit the planks submerged)

What to do:

Soak the planks in water for at least 6 hours (preferably overnight!). This will keep the planks from burning out from under your fishes (hopefully). Some folks add a flavor to the water like apple cider, wine etc... but, we are doing ours simple to enhance the flavor of the sockeye. Sockeye is a very very dark pink, flavorful salmon - it needs no "help".

Time to cook. place your salmon on the planks skin side down. If you have to cut the fish to fit, it is OK. Don't have fishes hanging off the side. Sprinkle the fish lightly with salt. Grill on hot grill till done.
"Done" varies from person to person. For this blog I will suggest to cook to an internal temperature of 140 degrees F. But, I like mine just slightly underdone. The insides not gooshy but just firmed up and still a little "soft". Grilling time will depend on the heat of the grill and the thickness of the fishes. Usually it is done when it "flakes with a fork" but is still moist. Our 5 lb fish took about 15 minutes.

You can do cedar plank on gas grills. That is what is so cool about the plank - it gives a "woodsy charcoal" flavor to the fish, keeps it from falling through the grates and it is already "plated".

"The kitty LOVES the fishy"

Wine Pair - 2007 gewurztraminer from Bloom 


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Homemade Laundry Detergent Liquid

If y'all follow my blog, you know that the homemade dishwasher powder did not turn out to my liking. Although I still have not tried to make a liquid version (more of fear of frustration than anything).

I did decide to make liquid laundry detergent (with lavender).

This recipe made 2 one-gallon jugs of liquid detergent with some soap shavings and tons of borax and soda left over.

You will need :
A Big pot
2 empty jugs (a gallon each) I just saved my old detergent jugs and used them.
about 1 cup of fels-naptha soap grated (about 1/3 of a bar).
1/2 cup borax and
1/2 cup washing soda
optional essential oil of your choice - i put crushed lavender in a tea ball and cooked it with the soap.

As you can see from the photo, I used my electric food processor with the grater attachment and it worked out fine. I stored the extra shavings in some mason jars and put them in the laundry cabinet for future use.

How to make:
Put the shredded soap into the big pan with about 6 cups of water and heat it up, stir and melt the soap bits (over medium heat should be fine). This is where i added my lavender tea ball. The following ad is a tea ball/ infuser. I put my dried lavender in there and hung it in the water. It gave a slight lavender scent to the soap although the fels-naptha has it's own soapy fragrance.

Add washing soda and borax and stir till dissolved. Careful not to breathe in the powder as it is not good for the lungs. Remove from heat. Add a drop or so of the essential oil of your choice to fragrance if you like.
Divide the mixture evenly between your jugs. Add warm water to fill jugs. Place caps on well and shake it up!
I use about 1/2 a cup per full load and shake it up before each load just in case.

I am totally satisfied with the turn-out of this project! Easy to make. Cheap!!!!!!! Green. and...CLEAN! Clothes and washing machine look and smell great!  I have been using it for about 2 weeks which is about 8-10 loads of laundry.

You can do your own math! For me... all these ingredients cost less than 1 gallon of brand name liquid detergent and I still have enough left over for over 4 more gallons! I know exactly what is in my soap. I can fragrance it how I want! I am re-using plastic containers and saving from purchasing more plastics in the future. It is more than a win for me. Try it.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Summer is Finally Here

...As foretold by the locals, the 4th of July brings in Summer here. Finally able to go out in the morning without my jacket to work in the garden.

The deck is finally done. For the most part. I still need to finish up painting the HiFive panel and installing the rail inserts.

The chickens are happy and healthy and enjoying foraging.

The huckleberries are starting to ripen up.

My first gardenia flower bloomed! If you know me. I tend to be a horrible indoor gardener. So, this flower blooming and not falling off was a great accomplishment though, I still do not know how it happened.

Garlic is harvested and curing.

I have time and weather to work on the garden. And boy am I feeling it!

I am having to re-design the garden as I learned that slugs love to sleep in rocks. Since my beds were lined with rock piles, I decided to reduce the number of available residences for the critters. The "worry free" "slug & snail bait" seems to be working as I have not seen slugs in the garden on my evening or early morning walks, little to no more slug damage on plants and I only found about a half dozen the other day under the rocks. I also learned that turning the soil in the winter (right before a freeze) will expose the eggs and creatures to the elements and reduce populations. Therfore, I needed to turn up the whole plot to make it easier to cultivate. That is why the tent is there to provide shade while I do some heavy digging, turning, and rock moving.
Long rows should be easier to manage.

Planted shelling peas and bush beans from seed in the new row. Time will prove the battle against the slugs.
The moles are another issue for another post - I bought traps and caught my first mole the other day.

My gardener followers will be pleased to finally be getting some gardening updates this summer (so will I!).

Friday, July 6, 2012

Garden Spring 2012

Have not garden updated in a while so... here is one.

Finished up the foundation garden. Ripped out the tree stumps. Removed and re-located the calla lilies to the rock wall. Re-located about 100 gallons of extra dirt. Raided Home Depot  for clearance plants and mulched with compost pile from last summer.

Repaired the garden rock wall, installed stairs, and plated Blueberry Hill.

Made a strawberry bed and got the little guys in the ground.

Started seeds. Slugs feasted. Started seeds to transplant and slugs feasted. Planted transplants and the battle against the slugs continues.

New deer fence is holding up so far.

Planted the herbs in pavers to guard against chicken scratch and the stupid moles pushed them out. Now I battle the mole. That is another post.

Yeah, I know, It has been like...2-3 months but...
a new update will come soon now that the deck is almost done and I can spend more time in the garden!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Tardis Party

My kid is 9! She loves Doctor Who and astronomy and wanted a Tardis Party for her birthday. Ah... my little geek in the making ;-)

Well, it Rained, Hard, For an hour leading up to the party and a good 15-30 minutes in. 3 families didn't make it so, it was a small gathering. Still too big for inside the house but nice and roomy in the double garage.
My daughter had fun will her friends and her favorite activities (although it was wet).

Here is how we did a Tardis Party for a 9 year old.

Tardis cake

2 layer butter and devils food with homemade buttercream icing and homemade marshmallow fondant.
1 day to make

Hamburgers, hotdogs, and icecream.

Adipose marshmallows for roasting. - Canceled for the rain and wet.


Pin the bowtie on the doctor. Hand drawn and bowtie made of ribbon by the birthday girl.

Sonic screwdriver ring toss.

Red light green light weeping angels.

Unrelated scavenger hunt and egg find in the woods.

Prizes for all.

Happy 9th Baby girl!