It’s Summer (the livin’ is not always easy)

Friday, August 12, 2016

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So far, it’s been a fairly uneventful summer for us. This could change, a fact that we are all too familiar with. To date, we have dealt with the demons that have reared their ugly heads, worked through the annual tasks, and enjoyed the respite from the crises that lie on the horizon, hidden from our view.

We’ve done the standard things. We went to the Alien Festival parade in McMinnville.

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Locals

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Alien float

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More parade highlights

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“LoveBomb Gogo”  They make an annual appearance in the parade.  We love them.

It will come as no surprise that it’s an annual favorite with a majority of the Daisies. Personally, I have only missed one or two parades over the last 17+ years. Dad might not be a fan, so he and Stella stayed home and watched TV. This year it rained on our parade. A. Lot. Of. Rain. We bought plastic bag rain ponchos. This is Oregon, and these events realize the state of our weather and the vendors come prepared.

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Craig and I.  I’m wearing my rain poncho.  It was a typical Oregon day. (rainy)

We visited my dear Mother-In-Law over Memorial Day weekend. She was in the process of having a garage sale and purging her stash of wool fabric, and the stash of many of her friends. Dad and I shopped her sale, and we each came home with “a little something.” Actually, Dad came home with a large garbage bag FULL of wool.

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The garage sale!

This led into an extended session of rug braiding that began the second we arrived home and continues to this day.

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Step #1 – sorting

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Cut into strips

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More sorting

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Sewing the strips together

I suppose it goes without saying that we have been dealing with fruit. We had a nice (small) crop of strawberries, a larger spring crop of raspberries, and cherries. The raspberries are picked every three days, and to date we (actually, Dad) have picked 75 pints of berries.

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Dad, picking the pie cherries

We have six cherry trees, all of them a different variety. They ripen at different times, which means: picking for days. And in years where our luck is not so good, the rain pays us a visit. This issue of inclement weather causes a lot of worry in our house. There is concern that the rain will split the cherries and the crop will be no good. This does happen. We also have some “nervous nellies” who want things picked regardless of their degree of ripeness, just so the fruit is off the tree when the rain comes. I am not one of these people. I take issue with freezing cherries that are sour, but should be sweet. My people are aware of this philosophical difference of opinion that we seem to have. This year the Mount Morency, (pie cherries) and the Lamberts didn’t suffer this fate. The Bings were mostly eaten by the birds, as were the Vans and Lapins. Again, this is pretty much an annual occurrence and it does cause a lot of concern. The Rainiers, which are the last to ripen, succumbed to the rain this year, and split. They were picked anyway and given to me with the admonishment that they were split, but okay. The splits were not okay. They were beginning to mold. They were unfit for human consumption, and I brought up this little issue.   I had a better idea.

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Dealing with the cherries that were okay

Let’s just say that sometimes these things that are a problem for others, aren’t such a problem for everyone, or for me. I put the split cherries into a bucket and used them for a dye bath for a couple of my clothesline baskets. It appears that after years of fooling around with natural dyeing, I managed to make this dye almost “fast,” which means I don’t think they will bleed if they get wet. This is a BIG deal. (FYI Judy – I pre-washed with washing soda, used a salt water soak as a pre-mordant, and then dyed with the semi-strained liquid dye)   I’m pretty happy with the color, and am contemplating doing a little more dyeing later this summer. You know I can’t resist the Queen Anne’s Lace. Lovely fragrance. Lovely pale green color.

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Making the dye bath

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Cherry (with a little raspberry) dyed basket

Life would not be our version of “normal” without the usual repair work. The weather station ceased to give us the information we needed to know. This led to work that we would rather not see being tackled by people over a certain age. We are of an ilk that are absolutely aware that what goes up must come down, and a roof is one of those places where a rapid descent makes for a shortened lifespan. This task was completed without incident, and said weather station is now working properly.

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Up on the roof.  Weather station repair.

We dealt with trees who failed to produce, or continue to exist, for that matter. After succumbing to whatever malady that befell them and the previous two to three sets of trees who preceded them, we unceremoniously jerked them out of the ground with the merciful help of the tractor. We hope this is something the other trees who are standing nearby will take note of. On a more serious note, there is bad juju in the soil in that area. We have not had good luck with any of the trees planted there. Personally, I think it is time for the trees to go and garden beds to take their place. Not all the farm-based Daisies agree with this idea. I guess we’ll just have to see what the next season brings.

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And with that, the dead tree left the farm.

We live in an older house. This means there are occasional plumbing issues. And by occasional, I might mean they occur more frequently than some believe the word “occasional” refers to. We deal with some of these things, and others we pretend to ignore. As you might suspect, this only works for us on an “occasional” basis. One of the most common occurring situations would be the line that runs from the house to the septic tank. Continuous lengths of pipe apparently didn’t exist at the time this house was built. This is an uneducated guess on my part, and my second guess is that the way many small pieces of pipe were originally placed end to end, is the way it “was always done,” and so ended up being done here in the land where fate is not tempted by change.

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Dad surveying the plumbing situation.

All this aside, we have trees whose roots seem to be attempting to find nourishment in the small spaces between said pipes. The trees really have this battle all wrapped up, and some of us do know that. We have a plan for this situation. With many thanks to Rotor-Rooter, we are able to fight back with a vengeance and a giant 4 inch plumbing snake with a voracious Amazonian piranha-like attachment on the end, that makes history (at least for another 12-15 months) of this usurping of the soon to be “night-soil” in the making. And so, Roto-Rooter became one of our visitors to the farm, this summer. This young lad with the nastiest of jobs solved one of our two plumbing problems. As for the unsolved, it’s one of those things we’ll just pretend to ignore.

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The issue that refused to be “fixed.”

And jumping to a happier subject, this year brought more cakes into our lives. We have summer birthdays here at the farm. Dad turned 92 in June, and Craig had his big day in July.

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Dad’s 92nd Birthday Cake.  It’s an Angel Food cake with Seven Minute Frosting and gumdrop flowers.  It’s a tradition that I don’t change up. Ever.

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Craig’s cake.  Chocolate cake with raspberry filling and mocha frosting.

We visited friends who also celebrate a July birthday, and I took the opportunity to make another cake.

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John’s birthday celebration

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A close-up of the cake.  (It’s a fondant flower!)

But, the best of all was the wedding of my dear neighbor’s daughter who got married at their house on July 8. I was honored to be the cake baker.

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There was a lot of multi-tasking going on during the wedding cake decorating.

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These projects tend to overtake my limited amount of space.

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Making flowers.

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So. Many. Flowers.

It was a lovely evening with a small group of family and friends in attendance. I thought the cake turned out pretty well, and as it should be, the love and joy that surrounded that day, wrapped its magical embrace around each of us. The day was a highlight of the summer for me. I wish this lovely couple a lifetime of happiness together. Seeing the joy in their faces, I know in my heart, this is exactly what the future holds for the two of them.

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The wedding cake!

 

 

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2 Responses to It’s Summer (the livin’ is not always easy)

  1. Linda hanson says:

    Your cakes are amazing. I hope you are coming to Foy. I was delighted to see your dad looking so well. I look forward to seeing you . Linda

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