Friends, September 10, 2018
Summer left in a hurry without even a good-bye glance two days ago. The daytime highs dropped from the 80’s to the 60’s, and a light rain began to fall. The air is sweet now, and the showers will continue all week. It’s not rain like in Texas, where you have to get under cover. Here it’s light, and there is no wind or thunder – that’s why most folks just wear a hoodie and can go about their daily chores and shopping without getting wet.
We need the rain after a hot, smokey and very dry Summer that made farmers keep their sprinklers on in the raspberry fields. We did have two wonderful Summer events. We always enjoy the Western Washington County Fair held in Lynden. Billed as an agricultural fair the spotlight is on the farm critters and 4H kids who bring their chickens and cows to be shown and judged. Chickens! We hit the poultry barn first and marvel at the 50 or so different breeds of chickens on display. Next stop is the donut truck and some iced coffee. We also checked out the cattle barn where we watched the youngsters bring their black and white Holstein calves into the arena to be judged. The kids are barely as tall as the calves, and all of them wear the same uniform: spotless white jeans and a white shirt. White jeans! Haven’t seen them since high school days. Half of the fun at the fair is watching the kids skipping down the tree-lined paths all excited and jazzed up. Ok, the donuts were good, too. We also took a wine tasting cruise in mid-August. We climbed aboard a 50 ft boat in Bellingham, grabbed a table and enjoyed a short cruise out into the San Juan Islands. Washington wines were served and some great munchies. The scenery looking back on shore was the most amazing. Heavily forested hills rise immediately beyond the shoreline and nestled in between the trees are lots of houses with the most incredible view and setting I’ve ever seen. The water was calm, and we totally enjoyed the cruise and will do it again. The parade of flowers continues as colorful dahlias are blooming in the parks and front yards - a local favorite. The blackberry crop this year is bountiful. Blackberries grow all over, and thick vines line most of the county roads. Just pull off the pavement, and you can pick all you want. Some neighbors down the street told us the crop this year is sweeter than usual and dropped off a jar of homemade blackberry jam. Thank you, ladies. Leslie’s garden is doing well, and she just planted more pansies in the front and back planters. So nice to have lovely colorful flowers around us – I am thankful she is such a good gardener. We also made it to the farmer’s market in Bellingham last Saturday and stumbled upon a great resource and goodie. We bought some grapes the week before, and they were so sweet and tasty we went back looking for the grower and name of the variety so we could plant some in Pete’s backyard. The grower is Cloud Mountain farms, and the variety of grape is Jupiter (the planet of good luck in astrology). This farm is close by and has all kinds of fruit and ornamental trees and plants for sale. We will drive out and check out everything next week. We want to find fruit trees to plant on Pete’s (Leslie’s son who lives down the street) property. I like crab apples and am voting for one of their dwarf varieties. Of course, this is apple country with at least 20 varieties in the stores. Full cider jugs will be on ice at every grocery outlet in the days ahead. But the best part of this apple world is the apple pie our dear neighbor, Karen, brought over last night. Folks, I am a pie expert, and her pie is a gold medal winner – I’ve never tasted one as good. Thank you, Karen. Next door neighbor, Mike, brings us ripe tomatoes from his garden. We are so lucky to have generous and talented friends and neighbors here in Birch Bay, Washington. We’re settled in and cozy – let it rain. I’ll make soup and share with Karen and Mike. Thanks for your support, friends. Leslie and I send you best wishes and love.