Friends, October 8, 2018
After the hottest and second driest Summer on record here in western Washington, the grass in everyone’s front yard looked terrible, crisp and brown, just like the grass out in the pastures where cattle had little to eat. After one week of rain everything changed, and it almost seems like Spring – the grass is green in our front yard and the in the parks and fields all over. But leaves are falling. Autumn can’t be denied. It all makes our trips out into the country even more beautiful. And strangely enough, even with the dry Summer we had, most of the apple and pear trees are heavy with fruit. Our neighbor picked a big basket of apples for us and other folks on our block and still had to prop up the branches as there were still so many apples left on the tree. Leslie says lots of folks on the county gardener’s Facebook page are saying the same thing and welcome people to come by and get some of the rich harvest from their fruit trees for free. We had a lovely ride out into the country last Saturday when we checked out the Fall Fruit Festival out in the Nooksack Valley. Cloud Mountain Farm Center holds this big shindig every year showing off their harvest. This is the outfit that grows the Jupiter grapes we love and found at the Farmers Market last month. They grow all kinds of fruit and specialize in wine grapes. But we also saw twelve different kinds of apples in their little store and at least eight kinds of pears. Pumpkins lined the driveway into their farm sitting underneath huge forested foothills of the Cascades. We got lucky as the Sun was out and the day was glorious. This farm ships plants all over. Check out their website: www.cloudmountainfarmcenter.org, and you’ll see what’s available. I was mistaken on the dates of Dungeness crab season here. It didn’t really start until Oct 1. And I was enjoying a big fat crab two days later standing at our sink cracking claws, trying not to make a mess while I snarfed the sweet meat. I’ll get another one next week. Along with falling leaves, I love the smell of wood smoke in the air as we cruise down the two-lane farm roads. The scene is so fabulous. Emerald green pastures are surrounded by giant pines and maple trees with flaming red leaves fluttering in the breeze. All the horses and cattle we see have their heads down eating and enjoying the new grass. We take the long way home whenever we are driving to the grocery store and stick to the two-lane farm roads that pass farms and dairies, and that drop us into the back doors of Ferndale and Lynden, the two small towns nearby. I must admit I have a new bad habit – ice cream. Strangely, I never cared for ice cream as a kid, but they know how to make it so good here – it must be because of all the dairies. Dear Leslie got me hooked on the coconut, almond, chocolate chip flavor. Yum, yum, yum. I now see why all the Canadians are in the local ice cream stores here. I know it’s cheaper for them on this side of the border, but I also think they have the habit, too.