Notes Apr 8 2014

Bloged in garden,General Home Life by mark Tuesday April 8, 2014

After a fairly mild winter, March almost broke records with Rainfall…..tied for 3rd all time. Last time we had this much rain was March 1957.

So, now, spring is exploding after the ground got saturated with mild temps…..(sorry, Midwest with your hellish winter)….. What’s up? What isn’t up is more like it. Veggies: Potatoes, chilves, green onion, leeks, shallots, oregano, fennel….with lettuce, parsley planted. NO seeds started yet, but that get done soon….. I have the plastic mini-mini greenhouse bins ready.

Currants are blooming….bees are everywhere. Hummingbirds have disappeared within 3 weeks of arrival……ALREADY nesting I presume AND eating lots of insects now that they’re out.

Dandelion Patrol! IS big time now, and I’m almost at the point of…..sorry birds, I may have to spray a bit of the lawn….since I’m getting weary of digging out the roots of those pests…..the new neighbors don’t help much with a mammoth dandelion lawn………. they’re new here, so we’ll give ‘em one more year to, uh……. settle in.

I feel some energy coming back. I don’t remember a winter where long gray damp days got to me by March 1……I suppose last year’s dry warmer spring got to me.

We have enjoyed lots of theater the last few weeks, and will be going to Othello this Sunday. We’ve dined out a bunch, but spent most of our entertainment hours at home. I worry I AM again as Rodger’s accused me of doing….I’m NOT as ambitious as I used to be, there’s NO question.

Even Mac’s not QUITE as ambitious as he once was….at 9 1/2….it’s not as hard to keep him exercised and worn out.

TO DO LIST April 2014 left: 1) Plant some seedlings ….that should be ready for transplant mid-May 2) Finish thinning out house clutter, a project started in February…..and once things got comfortably thinned enough to navigate, the cleaning stopped. woops….

So, in a very short note, here is spring 2014….and I’m getting back in shape. Not easily…so MUCh yard work yesterday, I’m sore and tired today…….we’ll keep at it!

FUN NOTE: A tiny crew of 2 plus 2 stars (including Grimm Nick -David Guintoli) of the TV series GRIMM we’re preparing to film a scene as we walked back up on Firelane 10 in Forest Park….. I didn’t dare just take the pic while they were looking at us….so did this from a distance….but I did offer, “Hey…I can get my dog over there, he can probably solve whatever crime scene you’ve got there.” ….they laughed:
4grimm filming

YES, Meeker Raspberries are healthily up, and spreading a bit, yes:
4raspbry grows 4 2 14

Yes, Finnish Fingerlins, and red potatoes are back as always….and there’s enough starts out there we will be sharing some:
taters 4 7 2014 are up

Always a sign of spring: Rhubarb!
4rhubarb big 4 2

mar 8 2014 winter weakens a grip & a Rufous arrives.

Bloged in General Home Life,Nature,Pacific Northwest,Portland by mark Saturday March 8, 2014

A quick note or two. Winter in the Midwest through to New england have been a tortured test of wills…..below 0 temps, FEET of snowstorms, over and over… complaining of a small drought in PAC NW Oregon, seems whiny. I’m just noting, yes, we have been lucky, but we have needed more rain. That began the last couple days of February and continued up to now, March 8…..WITH that, temps ARE warming for us…. enough that the lawn HAS begun to green up, grow enough to get out the winter rested lawn tractor, start it, MOW about 1/2 the lawn….. fertilize it, put down what ‘ferrous iron’ I had left, and now wait for it to truly get a deep green and grow. Doing all that let’s you observe what’s happening in the yard March 1:

1) TEMPS. Two days in the last 4 were over 60, a bit warm for now, but enough that our Orchard (Mason) Bees, all resting in their little posts will begin to move in their cells, and hatch….OUT came the first 3-4 blocks…and are now awaiting bee hatching:

bee homes mar 2014

2) What will they dine on? NO buds on any fruit tree yet….it’s been too cold for that…..but….there’s hope. This one rhody like plant is full of blooms:
flwrng shrub mar 2014

3) The CURRANTS seem like they’ll be next, and those are fragrant rich pollinators:
currants 2 2014

4) Wait a minute, that hellebore has been ‘sort-of-blooming’ all winter, and now looks like it has pollen to share:
hellebore mar 2014

Then the elderberries, raspberries and apple trees within a month……

****JUST yesterday, the very FIRST Male Rufous Hummingbird was seen feeding, feeding, and feeding on the back feeder…..Seems an early arrival, and likely migrant that would continue north…..but when I scared him from that feeder accidentally, he flew immediately around the house to the office window, where, all summer, a feeder sits….he stared a while….seems to me he KNEW where he was. Today, he’s been back 2-3 times feeding. either he’s resting up for his next trip segment north, or he’s here setting up territory already. Nonetheless, 2 fresh quarts of food were fixed immediately, and now 4 feeders are awaiting more arrivals….we LOVE the time the Rufous are here…..malerufous

And the 5 maturing Hydrangeas will then be in bloom, a plant I LOVE because those blooms last a LONG time:
hydrangea mar 2014

Well. Looks like these little calm bees will be busy till June when they’ll go back to bed again and wait the rest of the year out till NEXT spring. Whew! Short busy life……Good thing we bought new empty little bee hive tunnel posts for this year….they’re ready.

Other things are showing signs of surviving the frosty winter.

fall GARLIC plantings are up:
baby garlic mar 2014

Our Hemlock planted some 10 years ago, but losing a battle every winter with the male Bucks when in their rut as they have scraped this little thing almost bare more than once… finally winning the battle and truly at 9-10′ high, I think, it’s going to be a keeper:
hemlock mar 2014

WELL…’s been a frosty, dry winter up to now. AND, yes, compared Portlanders living at 40′ elevation, we’re two weeks behind…. BUT I’ve come to love this 1000′ elevation location….it’s unique, quiet, and let’s you be with the nature all around us very easily. After 15 years, I somehow have a strong feeling with temps nearing or passing 60, with the longer light days, and rain filling up the dry places, this yard will look 100% different within 3-4 weeks…. I never knew how much I loved spring until I got so intimately acquainted with this little piece of land in the rain forest of the Pacific NW these last 15 years. . . . .


Bloged in General Home Life by mark Tuesday February 25, 2014

About a year ago, our neighbor, very nice 29 yr old guy with his own plumbing business (his “family’s” business that he runs)…. took on a Rottweiler “show-quality” pup that his girlfriend had wanted, so Aaron got her “Gator”….a gorgeous animal. Just before the dog arrived, Angie passed away….. Since he runs 90% of the family business, Aaron had NO time for the dog, and really no time to deal with finding a home. That went on for this past year.

We would go out to find him in the back yard so lonesome…..when you would go up to the fence, he would lean into the fence with all his weight….. hoping you would rub that fur…..he quickly learned to sit for a ‘cookie’ now and then. Let out twice a day for all this time, he spent his indoor time in a penned space just off the kitchen….. so the morning outdoor time was about 5:30 am before aaron left, and then about 4:00 – 5:00 when Aaron got home….

As time went along, I finally began to hint ….wondering if he had begun to accept this could not continue for the dog….. and about 3 months ago, began to talk about the loss of Angie, and that he was probably hanging on to a few things because her death was unexpected and sudden. BUT, he knew he ‘had’ to do something.

After that, I began to wonder what options there were for rescuing a big Rottweiler ….. would anyone want this large untrained lonely dog now? He’d be handful ….. but without saying anything I took his lonely pic:

gator 12 1 2013

AND…..submitted a little ‘ad’ in a dog rescue site just to see. The response was big……6-8 total hopefuls to adopt a rottie, and 3-4 absolutely sounded perfect…..3 here in Portland, the first responder near Boise, ID. I printed them out with my ad, and just “showed” them to Aaron…..saying, what I’d done, and please don’t feel pressure, but WHEN you really think the time is right, we can run this ad again……. He took the papers…….. and that was that.

I responded to the woman from Boise, ID….that looked like it wasn’t going to happen at least now.

WELL. Two months later, Aaron had recovered himself more and more, he showed up asking for the phone number of the woman from Boise! I couldn’t believe it! She lives on 40 acres with family on adjoining farms…. I assumed she’d already found a dog.

Things paid off. Mikki was still waiting …… Aaron was ready …….. they met halfway between Portland and Boise Sunday to do the meet-greet…..and exchange if all was good. Aaron met them, opened the crate, Mikki said, “Oh shit, he’s a BEAST!” . . . . Before Aaron could ask if that’s bad or good, she then said, “He’s beautiful…I had NO idea what kind of Rottweiler you’d be bringing but this is a show dog. I’m going to love him, he’ll be going EVERYWHERE I go…..” Gator was placed in her Jeep wagon……where he immediately laid down….seeming content. Whew!

This was a lesson I learned in such a personal way…… what was that? “PUT GOOD THINGS OUT THERE…….and just once in a while, they work out.” . . . . . This seems to have worked out in about as wonderful a way as possible. She has already texted him twice with pics, and a happy new owner. Lucky is GATOR!

winter 2013 . . ..a changing neighborhood

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Monday February 3, 2014

Haven’t noted a thing here since november. Wow. I guess KNOWING that the site hosting these little diary writeups known as Scuff Productions….WILL go away sometime, and the modern version of blogging (the FB) have taken me out of the habit of writing here. I think writing here is a lot more helpful to me, it’s ALWAYS nice in the spring to look back a prior spring and note the differences in what weather we were living with then vs right “now”… also I can note house changes, lives, etc. On Facebook….seems one-liners are all that’s wanted…. I’ve become more dis-connected with that medium this winter than I expected. And. I think that trend’s going to continue…..after all, I’m NOT the witty guy others seem to be.

So. Why am I here today? Because it’s snowing out of this window right now? No, but it is….probably will for half hour. Nice.

November 14…..I recorded the end of the growing season markers in the yard. In December, we had a bit of an arctic freeze (well, a freeze for a rainforest climate)…..with teens at night for over a week…here was one casualty…I always feel sorry for these guys….NO body fat….NO insulation….
dying hmngbrd

NO snow, ice, NO moisture. DROUGHT conditions exist in Oregon that started last summer…… From the beginning of the water “year” (Oct 1 to Oct 1)….we are currently 15″ down on what we should be….If we hike in Forest Park or Drive Highway 30 along it’s bottom elevation borders, there are NO streams running off the hills that should be full flowing in February. Farmers in SE Oregon may have a disaster year….. as will ALL of California. The disaster that awaits California is impossible for me to imagine……

Our holidays were nice…..and for what’s become almost standard, on Thanksgiving day itself, we enjoyed just being home, cooking a holiday dinner. Almost the same as Turkey Dinners we enjoyed from our parents when we WERE kids…’s become a restful, wonderful holiday. The period around it is unbelievable though isn’t it? Shopping, Cleaning House, Decorating House, Setting up a Christmas Tree….decorating it alone takes days…. preparing foods for a likely neighborhood gathering, Christmas Cards, oh yes, wrapping…. ALL of it. Whew!

This year, it became worth it though, our neighborhood gathering here at the house seemed perfect…..I think part of that is that we’ve all lived around each other so long, it’s not hard to talk for a while ….we know too much about each other. Nathan & Melanie took the prize though, he spent the afternoon (unknown to us), grilling lots of bacon wrapped treats –3 or 4 kinds….and brought them along…..there was a LOT of food when we added his trays to our bits and bites.

One lesson learned though: BECAUSE of the new families that have been moving in along the hilltop near us, and at the suggestion of Jen & Maria, we held this party very early with the idea that folks with little kids can go….. and be home in time to get the kids to bed early. So. We said, come at 4:00 PM……until whenever….. that changes the dynamic a little, since no one has had supper of course….. EVERYONE ATE like it was “suppertime”
our xmas prty 2013 h
as soon as they got here, and by 7:00, everyone had left. Not only that, but when invites were responded to, Only one of the four couples with kids invited even came….. It didn’t last long enough to even sing around the piano a bit. This means next years party will start at 7:00 PM. The “normal” time it always started.

This piano that has been a disappointment, is awaiting replacement
(at the right price)…..”Classic Pianos” here, well, the sons of the owners at least, seem to have taken a liking to us, and are ‘watching’ for the ‘right’ piano to come in, and will trade us up… us full price paid for this one….. I look forward to it. This piano sounded okay at the store …..but completely tinny here….. it can’t stay. . … maybe it was a good thing we did NOT sing.

So, Christmas was quiet and nice……….. the tree up in the ‘new’ Dining Room
our xmas prty 2013 f
(originally built as the Living Room….but with the new family room in the back, we’ve moved things around in this busy year of new floors, trim, furniture, etc. Looking forward to enjoying the house all anew this year.

And back to the weather. I thought of updating this a tiny bit today since we have, for Portland, a little weather event coming this week: Severe drops to the teens at night and below freezing in the daytime at least until Saturday when we’ll probably see snow….. It feels seriously whiny to even mention our ‘event’ when the entire midwest, east, and south have seen severe arctic blasts, crippling snow, ice and more……. but remember, I’m noting this for my own year-to-year comparison on how our yard recovers from winter. Already, crocus and other little plant starts are UP…..some little baby buds on a few trees…. a few nights in the teens, and our spring may turn out completely different. . . .

I’m accompanying a friend to chemo treatments a few times. Stephen was diagnosed 3-4 months ago with lymph cancer of the spine and in the late stages of it. As a man of the arts, he’s lived on the wise thrifty side of life, so has no car…..I could give that ride and be happy to do it as some of his other friends have done. They put him on a severe treatment schedule….EVERY DAY for the first two weeks….. then, as he gets sick from the chemo, he’s given a week or two break……in-between all that, his blood has had to be transfused a couple of times requiring some hospital time. It’s been interesting to get to know Stephen in this light….. I’ve always known he was brilliant, a brilliant creative writer, and a man who will tell you honestly what he things, NO being nice. It’s been rewarding to have this experience, and hopeful when he was told right at Christmas the tumors are shrinking……. but what a balance! Chemo, trying to continue to eat, exercise, and keep some weight on…..he’s showing how strong his character really is. My salute goes this winter to Stephen!

Finally, January became the month to clean out what almost have become pathways in two back rooms… boxes from relatives long gone, cookbooks, mementos, etc…..our OWN detritus that’s piled up over the years…..keeping some things at first not knowing what it would be like living here, and on and on. Well, we finally had to make room. It’s been a VERY busy month with attention on separating all this out, trips to local charities, finding out “which” relative truly WOULD want to have certain items, and finally shipping some. Still a bit more to go. Whew! It’s been exhausting…..but it got me out of the annual hated winter “tree pruning” task …….well, up to this week. I have apple tree almost done…..and that was 3 weeks ago….nothing since then.

And now……that task must be finished. Maybe I would have kept my focus on pruning had I thought the arctic weather WAS coming in for a visit……. BUT. It’s a good time for the tree at least…… so off we go……coats, long-johns, gloves, hats, ladders, tools….well, IF it quits snowing pretty soon……………..
snow feb 3 2014 b

November. Hello real fall, bye Indian Summer

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Thursday November 14, 2013

Just a few shots of fall beauty… least for me. We’ve been too busy on house projects to think about anything fun or exciting….but I still love the color here.

The garden is finally at rest…a LONG dry fall led to an extra deep layer of leaves being placed here as the winter blanket:

Not completely without food, MAC has been at attention more than once standing right here (and yes, caught 2x digging) for his favorite garden vegetable, the mighty carrots:

We have 2 apple trees…the Gravenstein ripens in August, this Granny Smith in October…so we get apples for 3 months… NO, we didn’t eat very many, and as these fall, deer and/or a coyote wanter through every day or two and pick up what’s on the ground:

The gravenstein’s left ON the tree are for birds and squirrels now. They’re pretty soft and rotten, but it sure doesn’t stop birds and squirrels from getting a meal here…

And in the back yard side, along the point the drop-off begins…. when we cut the maples 10 years ago leaving the high stumps to rot and eventually fill with bugs for woodpeckers, we ALSO planted a Pine Tree…. Now, 10 years later, it’s STILL small, and I’m wondering what happens first…does it catch up to the height of the stumps BEFORE they fall or not:

And, 20′ away, right off the deck we finally planted a SEQUOIA tree from the pot it’s been in for 10 years….and no, there’s nothing wrong with it. We bought it as soon as we heard that it IS: Deciduous….I’d never heard of that in a Sequoia, so we’ve been watching it’s beautiful light green needles turn brown every fall and drop….it’s a beautiful tree:

I’ve always loved that back part of the deck…looking at the birdbath, feeders, trees, and that slope:

And so much for November. WILL we get motivated to be ready for December?

The Houseboat …. or . . . This new world we live in.

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Wednesday October 30, 2013

Early last month, I took Mac to the closest place we can exercise him thoroughly, a big SWIM. It is a pretty spot….although to the west is the huge Toyota Shipyard where hundreds of new cars come from overseas for U.S. markets. To the right, though, is the most beautiful bridge in the city of Portland….St Johns Bridge:

brdge photog unkwn

Under and very close to that bridge (on the other side of the river from this pic) is a boat dock for fishermen….a long cement ramp with docks on two sides….when there’s a fish migration going on, there will be dozens and dozens of boats go in and out of here through the day. Mac’s been there when it’s busy, and when it’s not….the boats, trailers, fishermen mean nothing to him….it’s ALL about retrieving what stick is tossed from the end of the dock into the river….. He dives off the dock, retrieves, spots it out of the water up the ramp….and then repeats and repeats until he’s tired.

So. Early last month, I went down there, and began his routine….noticing this handsome and unusual small houseboat on the alternate dock to ours:

hsbt st jon 2 good

As the hour passed I realized there was a family of handsome man, attractive wife, and tiny child aboard…. LIVING in that tiny space. As I was about to leave, the man came up the ramp, and I couldn’t help but ask about this adventure….. What a story I heard! The guy said he was a bit of an architect, handyman, computer guy, and on and on….he designed and built the boat from scrap pieces, and they had “chosen” to give this “lifestyle” a try, feeling it great to raise the kid in this safe, but closed environment….as opposed to all the inadequate public systems, crowds, corruption of cities…. I asked, ‘You travel the whole coast?” . . .

“Oh no, not so much. We’ve been near Hillsboro, and just thought we’d sail around these past couple of weeks with this great weather here.” . . . .So, I heard quite the sales pitch….didn’t ask for anything….. said they occasionally had to come to a dock/park like this to refill water barrel, empty the potty tub, get boat gas (there is NO boat gas at this part of town), and groceries….. ah, the simple life.

THEN. NEXT time I’m down, this same houseboat is now tied and anchored to the other main boat dock, that’s heavily used…and it seems they’ve taken up residence. As I toss things for Mac to swim….I can now see (now that I’m right next TO the boat) that things aren’t quite as polished and new as I’d thought, OR clean. I noticed the small motor doesn’t have a cover on it. BUT, the wife seems to have washed a blanket or two that are hanging in the sun. This time I see him telling EVERY boater arriving or departing an even bigger story than he’d told me. This time, his skills included investment banker, ex-military, IT expert, etc., although by appearance, I wouldn’t have thought ANY of this to be true….I never said a word that day…just began to let it sink in, he’s ALL talk…….and maybe living on this boat is not as much a choice as he’d have you believe.

THEN. NEXT time, The houseboat is STILL tied to the dock. AND. a 2nd Boat is there…a smaller sailboat with a tiny cabin….THAT boat was obviously being lived in…. Oh Oh……..See the trend beginning? BUT, with some relief, by the time I left, the sailboat had departed…. with houseboat guy, saying, “See you soon.”

THEN, last time I was there, as Mac and I come out to that end of the dock for Mac’s workout, houseboat man is now working on the motor, saying it won’t start…… and….. yep, hints of just an extra $10 or so, would, uh……. WHILE I’m there, here comes the Harbormaster who talked with him just a few minutes….told the guy he’d HAVE to move, he can’t be moored here forever, and there had been complaints. Here’s the interesting thing: Immediately, that guy had the motor UP and running, made trip to the water fountain up the ramp, emptied the sewage, and was GONE…… hm.

I ache with empathy these days seeing the few million people whose lives are falling apart as the uber-wealthy continue to strip everybody of every penny for their mansions, estates, security teams, and more. Seems they just can’t get enough. THAT being said, I do wonder if there wouldn’t be some kind of an easier way to struggle along than what this guy is doing. I SO think his bull-Sh_t skills are what he’s made it through on up to now, and that’s no longer working………

It’s an upsetting, strange, new world.

So, to sign off, one can see even the World of Strip clubs (and there’s plenty of that in Portland…..) are landing on hard times. The shiny new ones are called “Gentleman’s Clubs” (hah), all the way to this one we saw out on SE Division:

pitiful princess

Yep, times are tough!

Portland late Sept. One gets ready for the Fall.

Bloged in Fall,garden,General Home Life by mark Thursday September 19, 2013

Still in amazement that our almost perfect summer is being abruptly thrown into a solid rain pattern for a week. Dropping temps, humidity, meant time to get those “fall” tasks DONE immediately.

Not before harvesting the last of the corn and freezing some…..but you MUST know that didn’t happen without making some creamed corn along the way (YUM!):
makin creamed corn

Yes, that would soon become this:
creamed fresh corn yum

WHO doesn’t LOVE creamed corn when it’s JUST been picked! That gave us the energy to start some other tasks….RODGER has ‘intended’ to get the back deck steps fixed….for proper drainage in the winter….he got a lot of work done, but this still awaits getting the gravel:
back dck stp repr

I had gotten the lawn fertilized with iron 2 weeks ago just ahead of the rain, and man has it taken off. Yesterday, it was mowed and bagger attached to the tractor. That means as the garden is cleaned out (yep corn and some ‘maters are gone now, it gets its first blanket of “dirt food” . . . lawn n leaf cuttings:
1st blnkt on grdn

This bagger will probably stay on the machine NOW until later November after all leaves have dropped from the maples:
woodshd pre-wntr

**that also shows the state of the woodshed, BEFORE, all the summer “stuff” gets brought in sometime next month for winter…then we’ll have to use a little imagination to get everything in……….

Speaking of woodshed, above picture is ONE end…the other at today’s start showed I haven’t done one thing all summer to get wood moved in, so junk was in the way for my “today” job, aka, move wood:
wdpile b4

The “woodpile” out back didn’t look much better:
pile1 mess

But I DID get busy this morning…..moved things out n around, moved a lot of scrap wood outta the way, and made major progress….now there’s a new row of wood stacked in the “shed”:
wdpile aftr

AND….there’s the first little woodstack IN the garage and ready:
where wood is
The woodpile, for the first time in 3 years, looks smaller….there’s only ONE ROW of wood in this low pile left:
pile after

The 6 Russian “Stupice” tomato plants suffered through their last harvest today (I’ll make some more of that fab juice I like (canned with just a sprinkle of sugar & salt…makes ALL the difference)……..and were quietly murdered, mutilated, and thrown on a heap of other dead plants. What a horrible end for something that has given MORE than any other garden year. Poor things:
stupice last hrvst
**I know, there weren’t many left anyway………I called it a “mercy killing”.

Tomato cages (except for 5 still on duty holding up the paste tomatoes…..hopefully, they’ll endure this week’s rain ’cause we want to make some pasta sauce to freeze)…….are finally resting for winter:
mater cgrs restng
**They’ve held up now for 12 years…..amazing……since we HAVE learned to grow bigger better tomatoes, and the strain of weight sure showed this year.

I had harvested the giant sunflowers, and they spent their day just laying around. Did nothing to help me, but hopefully they ARE sobering up and drying out:
sunflwrs drying

BERM NEWS……..along the driveway, I KNEW I was experimenting when we planted some things where they got placed….I didn’t visualize well that just a FEW years is all it took for them to begin overtaking each other. Looks like we have some big digs and moving to do this winter:
time to plan BERM
That’s been the adventure since we moved here…….LEARNING a lot about a lot of things I’ve never done.

SO…………it’s been a VERY busy couple of days……….. and THIS IS THE LAST THOUGHT………it’s THAT time of year. EVERY spider up here is preparing to surrender itself to the next generation and WEBS are going up everywhere. WHEN you walk a dog in the morning, you are probably wise to wave a longer light stick ahead of you on the trail to avoid the web surprised……
**Some of these make astounding creations when the framework gets stretched out by the breezes then filled in…they’re incredible.

Yep, another diary entry hurriedly written……..not edited or worded well….but at least I’ll have some reference for whatever happens next year. Oh well. Fall begins this coming week. sigh………….

September began with a goodbye to August and a truly warm dry summer

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Sunday September 8, 2013

and a lot of hard work. MARK THINKS THIS: NEXT YEAR……..that damn garden is going to have FEWER Plants started……There were fun things I missed doing t his summer because I just couldn’t let that stuff go to waste out there….including the dahlias. I feel worn out:
marks grandma
.AND….once again, I’m in a hurry…this is a quick entry to get some pics in before I leave and enjoy some lunch out with friends. I’m NOT going to miss another bit of this later summer…..
It…summer….. WAS good in many ways. There truly is something therapeutic about growing a garden, nursing it along, harvesting and preserving it….. not to mention the nostalgia for a farm kid…..

A constant happy time was looking, cutting, looking at the Teddy Bear Sunflowers….they’re one beautiful hybrid….and hold up in a vase for a week or more:
1teddy bears 0813

a BIG celebration was being invited to Matt & Kate’s Music-a-thon one friday night….I chose to take guac….for a lot of people….
1guac 0813 burlins
***IT was a HIT…..gone in a bit…. then later, while chatting with others, I barely backed into what was a lit candle (that had NOT been at that spot all night)….and got my shirt on fire…..It’s a strange thing to be standing somewhere and friends start saying, “Oh MARK, YOU’RE on fire!” . . . .I reached my hand back in a stupid reaction moment and burned the wrist, but they got things off quick… What a moment……. …..
1shirt burn back 0813

***The past week was a constant use of: DMSO, Royal Jelly, Colloidal Silver….and Aloe….and the healing is almost done…

THEN, neighbor Aaron goes out Salmon Fishing….they all get their limits, and he brings this over one night, right out of the Ocean at Astoria:
salmon what to do
***Good Lord! I’ve never dealt with an entire 15 lb salmon. We tried to make Gravlax, but I’d already filleted it wrong for that…. I poached some very nicely and enjoyed that…..the rest is still in the freezer for the next “experiment.”…… Turned out to be fun and a learning experience…. it was a beautiful fish.

ANOTHER big CHANGE: NO hot SPICY Tomatillo Salsa. It seems people got tired of that quickly…too hot….. and it was a bit warm to even use for Chili Verde, my one favorite dish to make with it. THIS year, 2013, an entirely NEW direction with all those tomatillo plants out there…..I’m canning SALSA VERDE….and have already made one Chili Verde batch to test it. Liked it, so there’s now 20 pints of it out there almost ALL from the garden:
1salsa verde 2013a

AND…with a DRY warm summer, we have had a record tomato harvest…… so many “eating” tomatoes ready, I HAD to stew some:
1stwing matos 1
The only way to preserve these very liquid slicing tomatoes is to stew….but I DID find a way to save delicious Tomato Juice” while doing that….as this stuff cooks down, I kept using a wide, shallow ladle and ‘scooped’ out the liquid at the top…..since the whole batch HAD enjoyed the adding of a bit of sugar/salt….the juice is delicious:
1stwing matos 2
ANOTHER BIG event! Aaron also went out one weekend on a chartered TUNA boat at the start of the season….he and his brothers caught more than they could use….and brought back some 40 POUNDS for us……….. our friend Marie at John St Cafe had wanted to can tuna just like we’d been wanting to do….so we gathered at the Cafe on her day off, Monday, with our 3 pressure canners, and got to work, Yes, right here, in the heart of that efficient kitchen she works in with Sean & Russell…. (she BEGAN the day by cooking ANYTHING we could dream of for breakfast: 2 huge omelets, 1 huge fabulous pancake with walnuts/blueberries added)….roast potatoes):
1tuna canning 2013f

The whole time spent was a matter of packing sterilized jars….NOTHING added. NO…the packed jars are: TUNA…in its OWN juices.

4 hours later, we waited for these to cool:
1tuna canning aug 13

The magic of the Pressure Canner, eh?
1tuna canning 2013g
That was a magic day getting to know Jamie and Marie in a whole new way….they’re fabulous people….and did I mention? In the middle of this whole thing, I mentioned I’d never been good at making pie crust…there she went….into the pantry and out with the butter, flout, salt….and then with her hand over mine….we made a big batch right there…. .THEN, she GAVE us the whole batch……. Enough to make 3 pies……double crust. This was a memorable. day.

A BIG Change in the ‘hood: DAVE’s old house comes down.

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Thursday September 5, 2013

DAVE has been building, by himself, and some contracting along the way, a most beautiful, customized solid home for the last 12 years as he can “pay” for it along the way. He’s a design engineer, and it shows from every nook and corner you see in the home. For 10 of these years, he lived in a tiny cottage in front of the house………….
dave sayler

Finally, he was ready to say ‘bye to the old, and on with the new.
dave old house
.The new place is a piece of art:
dave new house
.yes, a design masterpiece in every detail inside AND outside:

Today was that day as a builder he knew with the right equipment came to literally rip the old house down……all of it to be removed in a drop box tomorrow.
prep to demola
We sat to the side (mostly) and simply watched this demolition take place in minutes….it was astounding to me that a little place with some “history” can be gone that quick:

dave demolf,
and I could post more, but……it was all gone soon…..and next day, into dumpsters and hauled away…..

YES, of course, Dave had spent many hours prepping, emptying, and getting ready for this. Two days later, we helped him get up the old old wood from the floors that he was going to recycle…..

THIS week, he, alone, knocked down with a sledgehammer, the basement walls ….and threw them up top….he works HARD!

Oh well….that’s the big event on Skyline this week!

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