Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Grandpuppery...

Caitlin spent last weekend with the new loves of her life...


The Big Boys of Riverview Clydesdales were on show at the Evergreen State Fair, and she went down to help them look their best, and be comfortable there.

So the Grandpup came to spend the weekend with us.

Olive had been a little nervous when she saw Caitlin loading more than the usual amount of stuff in the car, but she was excited to see The Boss, and greeted Daisie with the usual flying leap and face bite. Soon she was running around and bringing us toys to tug, and chewing frantically on the various rawhides she has stashed around the place.

But when it gets late, she starts looking for Girl...Where is Girl? She checks the windows, and barks at the slightest noises, thinking it MUST be Girl...As the evening wound down, I was ensconced in my bed watching the latest Dateline. The Farmer was downstairs watching CSPAN. (Two TV's is a secret of our successful marriage, just so ya know...CSPAN? Really!) Daisie was sacked out on her bed in the living room, and Olive was running up and down the stairs -- first snuggling by me in the bed, then crawling up on the couch next to The Farmer...She was getting the idea that Girl just might not show up...What to do? What to do?

When The Farmer finally crawled into bed, he decided we should let Olive sleep with us, as she is accustomed to sharing the bed with Caitlin. (This is the same guy who didn't think we should get a house dog as it would be inconvenient...He is SO whipped!) But Olive seemed to think that Girl might just show up yet, and kept running off to check downstairs; then back up to bed, where The Farmer would say, "Lay down, Olive...it's okay. Lay down." And he said it many times...

Totally restless, she just wouldn't snuggle in for more than a minute.Then, as luck would have it, our neighbors decided it was a good Friday night to use up the rest of their fireworks.

Oh boy.

Booms, flashes, bangs, pops...for about an hour. Olive became a guard dog, barking at the noise, running to put her paws on the window sill to see the flashes and try to identify the perpetrators. She was up and down off the bed over, and over, and over...

And when the show was finally over, she still didn't trust that it was...We would begin to doze off -- she was laying next to The Farmer by then, but on high alert, no relaxing -- and a noise would set her off, and we would jump violently at the rude awakening...and try to get everyone to relax and sleep all over again.

At 12:30, Olive went off on a barking jag...a continuous stream of ear splitting barks, while flinging herself off the bed again. I jumped like I was convulsing and in an adrelanine fit, I grabbed the little black & white ferocity and put her in the crate, where she continued to growl, and bark -- a little... Then she finally decided we were safe and went to sleep.

Ah, blessed quietness.

The next day, she decided she would rather have the big bed, Daisie's...
 
Daisie, being the non-confrontational sort, said, "Take it, just don't bite my face anymore, okay?"
 
No deal...
 
We know that the secret of a successful Olive weekend includes a lot of exercise. Saturday, we took walks around The Farm. On Sunday, we ventured out to Berthusen Park for exercise.
 
Both dogs were so excited when we put them in the car, and when we unloaded at the park. We took the first trail we saw, and Olive was off -- but not off-leash, heaven forbid!-- as if she was about to show us the place. Daisie and I followed behind The Farmer and Olive, and had to stay at a pretty good clip to keep up --which Daisie was determined to do!
 
It looked like this:
 
 At times it felt like that too...
 
Then, there were the abrupt stops:
 
 
For some serious investigation of marvelous and mysterious scents...
 
 
Most of the time, Olive was ahead, in the distance, with the rest of us gamely marching along behind.
 
Best Day of Her Life...
 
Though it's always the Best Day of Her Life,
unless it isn't.
 
After this lovely walk through the woods primeval, we all took long naps at home.
 
Best Day of My Weekend...
 
And then a joyous -- excuse me -- JOYOUS reunion with Girl! After some de-briefing about her fun weekend, Girl says, "Ready to go home, Olive?" Whereupon Olive leaps from her spot, and runs directly to the back door, waiting there for Girl to go to the car...
 
And I thought she had a good time...
 
Even for Olive, there's no place like home.

 
 


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Bad, the Ugly -- and we'll have to wait a while for the Good...

I was inordinately proud of myself on Monday for 3 reasons.

1) I bought a Groupon deal.

2) I actually used the Groupon deal.

3) I drove someplace I had never been before BY MYSELF to use the Groupon deal.

I may become a grown-up someday after all!!

And what was this marvy, good-times experience that I got such a good deal on???

I got all my toes laser-treated for fungal infection.

WOOT!WOOT! Don't you wish you were me???

Don't answer that...

However, you can thank me for not posting any pictures that prove I indeed have been afflicted with toenail fungus. The laser technician took some close ups that were spectacular...in a humiliating sort of way.

I've been fighting this affliction for years, literally years. My doctor, on first diagnosis, recommended daily treatment with tea tree oil, and warned me that it would take a long time. After 3 years of treating, and getting close to eradication, and then relapsing, I asked him how he thought we were doing. "You said a long time...It's been 3 years...think we're halfway?"

He didn't think that was as funny as I did. {shrug}

Finally, I heard that laser treatment was the way to go -- but it cost as much as a decent piece of furniture...or say 3 pieces of furniture for a dutch girl like me.

Enter Groupon with a deal for 60% off {gasp}...if you don't mind going to Chilliwack for the procedure.  I affirmed my dutch heritage by clicking the "Buy Now" button.

And Monday, I made the trek. Thank you, Google, for excellent directions that took me right to the front door. The people at the Laser Health Center, I mean Centre, were very nice. The technician was trying to reassure me that the procedure was only minimally painful, when he asked if I knew what an electric fencer was. I'm sure my eyes widened when I said "yes!", and he said that is was much less current than that. I thought, "I HOPE SO!" because the last time I touched an electric fence, I thought I would go into spasms and not get my fingers off before they were permanently cramped into claws.

He prepared the laser while I contemplated if this was why the procedure was 60% off, and how I might keep from kicking him in the teeth should the current be that strong...

Apparently, the electric fencers these folks have are not the same caliber as the Mondo-Shock models we had on the dairy farm, because I could hardly feel a thing, and when I did feel something is was like a snap from a rubber band...

In short order, the treatment was done, and now comes the waiting for the nails to grow out and show me that the fungi have been eliminated and eradicated. This will take months...

...but it beats the years I have already been working on this!

Feeling quite triumphant at my accomplishment, I decided to celebrate and drove all the way to Aldergrove for this:
 
There's just nothing like a cold mug of root beer on a hot summer day of adventure...
 
Sorry to make you all jealous...

Friday, August 17, 2012

I knew it was going to have to happen someday...OR Pickled, but not tickled...

The beets needed to be pickled...today. And when I went out to harvest them, I found a few more things...

And surprisingly, I found some inspiration too.

So the day was full of slicing and grating and cooking and canning.

Of course, the beets were first as they were the original plan, so I knocked of the dirt and pulled off the tops outside. Then scrubbed them in the sink. Then put them in the pot, covered them with water, and boiled and boiled them til they were soft.


...and rinsed and cooled...


...and peeled and sliced...and cooked them up with the vinegar, sugar and spices.

Meanwhile, I had sliced the cukes and an onion and covered them with salt to sit and sweat for a few hours. And I grated up a bunch of zucchini to freeze for winter-time zucchini cake. I was surprised at how soft my zucchini was until I realized that I was running the food processor with the grating blade AND the chopping knife...Oh...that 'splains it...I will just say that this is probably not recommended by the manufacturer...
Or myself for that matter.

By that time, the beets were ready for the canner, and it was time to cook the solution for the bread and butter pickles.


I drained the sweated cukes and onions and added them to the brine...
Oh, that smelled so good!

Then loaded up those jars, and canned them as well.

And after this day of work, what do I have to show for it?


Four little pints of pickled beets, and 3 little pints of bread and butter pickles...

Not that I'm bitter that I spent all day producing enough relishes to last for about one Thanksgiving Dinner...

I'm just glad I'm not a REAL pioneer woman.

'Cause we'd get hungry during the winter...REAL hungry.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

I went to The Fair...

It was finally cool enough to go for a walk with Daisie, and Olive, who is here for Day Camp while her Girl is busy at The Fair.  Now that we are back, I thought I'd better write a post before my shoulder joint locks and I can't move my right arm...A natural consequence of taking Olive for a walk. I'm getting a pretty big bicep on my right arm from hanging on, and bracing for when she hits the end of the leash, but tonight she threw me off when she ran BEHIND me, and hit the end of the leash. OUCH! Ibuprofen on board...And I couldn't switch to my left hand for the rest of the walk because I hurt that shoulder & elbow the other day when I was rock-climbing  scrubbing the dirt off the deck.

Oh, the life of a fitness-failed fifty year old...

But I think I was going to tell you about The Fair...

I went with great intentions of taking pictures of my favorite stuff, and nifty stuff, and artsy stuff...but after I forgot to take a picture of The Greats(Colby, Brielle, Madelyn & Myles) when I ran into them, I kinda lost interest in that project. Oh, they were so cute, slurping up their ice cream, and excited to see more of The Fair with Gramma GG! What kind of photographer wanna-be misses that kind of opportunity?

So, I mostly took pictures of Caitlin's latest adventure. She is helping her friends Heidi and Courtney with their Clydesdale hitch at The Fair this week. And loving it, by the way! She's learning how to braid manes, and get The Boys all gussied up for their performances, and help with the hitching, and giving baths, and just generally getting to hang out around horses for the week...

Lucky girl.

I'm so happy for her to get the chance because she just loves it.
Here, she's keeping Joc company while he gets his mane braided.

Putting Bill in place for hitching...

I think she is pretty brave to be in this spot!

Although I'm not sure if that takes more bravery than this:
Tucker is one Big Boy!
From the ground, Caitlin's head just reaches his flank. She needs to get on a bench to saddle him, and to mount. Courtney and Heidi have been training Tucker to be a saddle horse, as well as one of the hitch. Heidi is expecting a baby and is restricted from riding this goliath for a while, so Caitlin is filling in.

Thanks for wearing your helmet, kiddo!

Anyway, we had a lot of fun watching them hitch those Big Boys yesterday, and then seeing them all work together on the drive...

Don't they look purty -- handsome? (Sorry Boys!)

We spent the rest of the time visiting, and eating our favorite Fair Foods: poffertjes, hand-dipped King Corn Dog, Moowich...yum...

We looked up the animals that belong to the 4-H and FFA kids we know. I bought another piece of sterling silver jewelry from my favorite little booth in the Tent City. I checked out all the Needlework, and 4-H sewing while Randy was otherwise occupied, and then I went to work at the Young Life booth as a cashier. Seven hours of taking other people's money...

I liked it.

I got paid in mashed potatoes and gravy...and it was worth every bite! Delicious! A lot of people also enjoyed the beef, and the mashed potatoes, and the buttery corn on the cob, and the baked beans, and the pie, and...But I was so busy taking money, I hardly noticed the food.

Not true, not true at all...but I will say I was BUSY taking money. Their new location is a boon for business...So happy for this new potential for them. And what a fun crew to work with!! If you go there be sure to give them exact change and watch what happens! ;)

It was a long, but fun day...that rested my arms, but made my feet hurt. So today was declared A Day of Rest, and just as well, as the heat wave engulfed us. 91 degrees today!

A good day for reading -- and chewing -- in the air-conditioned house.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Getting back to normal life...


It's so nice to be getting back to the regular schedule...which in our case, is fairly irregular. During harvest you're in a circular routine, and you feel somewhat isolated from the "real world", as I call it. Actually, you don't have time for the real world. Regular life is on hiatus...

And that gets kind of old. Usually about 3/4 of the way through harvest, I get to feeling at sea. I've lost my direction, and I'm just waiting for something to happen so I can react.  You get in the circle, and just keep going, almost mindlessly, until something bumps you out of it. And usually, it's something that requires action, and that's a relief. But then it's back to waiting for purpose to come whop you upside the head.

So I've been rejoicing to be back to our regular irregular schedule. After a few days of sleeping in, and relishing the afternoon breaks on the deck, I am enjoying the opportunity to choose what I do each day. I've been inspired to do some projects -- like fall clean (too late for spring) my family room, my dining room, my kitchen, my deck -- because I know I can start a project and keep going until I finish it. Oh, the joy!!

However, it seems that I can only work hard one day in a row. I work like a youngster one day, and the next day, I ache like an oldster...How did this happen?

Don't answer that.

So yesterday, I worked hard. I cleaned, and I gardened. Today, my elbow hurts, my sciatica is acting up, and my shoulder is clicking, so I am going to The Fair.

Because I can do whatever I want to do...in normal life. {smile}


Friday, August 10, 2012

It's over...

...the lid is on the barrel, the flats are in the stack, the fruit is in the freezer, stick a fork in us, WE'RE DONE!!


Wednesday was our last day of picking, and our juice buyer made it easy for us by saying that was the last day they would receive fruit. We didn't even have to make a decision!

And now, these great kids can go on to their real lives:

Evan, Mackenzie, Taryn, Trent

Bret, Alexa, Shelby, Grant

And I don't want to leave out those not pictured, our faithful subs! Mackenzie's brother Tanner really helped out a lot, and we were glad to have a couple of alumni, Carmen & Leslie, fill in as well. It was a year that required hard work every day, no exceptions. These kids worked together so well, and never complained, looked out for their team-members, worked 33 days with only 2 days off, kept each other entertained, were excited to work into the dark (which, frankly, is a little bit weird) and without them, we wouldn't have a harvest!

I kind of love them.

And we'll miss seeing them. Daisie is already glum about it. Harvest is her favorite time of year.

And already it's over...which, except for Daisie, we are all happy about. Nice to have a tough year over. Nice to know that we don't have to worry about mold anymore. Let 'er rip. Nice to have leeway in our schedule, and the freedom to mix it up a bit.

Or do nothing without getting behind.

{contented sigh}

Overall, there are a lot of disappointed berry farmers. Yields were down; quality was elusive. Some will have a tough time making it to next year...

We are not among that group, and are grateful for that -- sorry for those who are. After 26 years in this industry, we are pretty blase about the ups and downs. They come; they go. No one forced us into this occupation, so we don't want anyone to feel badly for us. We chose this, and understand that we are riding a roller coaster...It's dipped pretty low some years, but it hasn't crashed yet.

And so far, we always come back saying, "There's always next year..."

I suppose that when we can't say that anymore, we'll know it's time to quit.

Until then, we're keeping on...very happy that it's the off-season again!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Almost there...

It misted yesterday...and we didn't care...

Especially because it stopped after not too long...

And because we're getting to the end of things. Yesterday was the last day of processing at the plant. The orders were filled, and are all in the freezer...Where they belong.

{sigh} {smile}

My sisters, who are running the plant, could sleep in this morning...like, past 7am, I'll bet. I heard they got to sit down for breakfast...

Pure luxury...

I don't doubt there are a bunch of their employees who enjoyed the same. It's been rugged for them this entire season. God bless 'em!

Our employees had to be back at it at 10am today, because there's still some fruit out there...Enough to keep picking, at least for a few more days.

For the next day, or two, we will be bringing our fruit to the neighbor, to help him with his orders...Maybe we will squeeze 3 days out of that, but likely not. The heat that is supposed to come tomorrow will likely soften the fruit to the point where it is best just to pick the rest for juice.

So then a few more days of easy picking into barrels, and another harvest will be history.

We're ready.


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Wise Words...

"...how much happier you would be if you only knew that people cared nothing about you! How much larger your life would be if your self could become smaller in it; if you could really look at other men with common curiosity and pleasure; if you could see them walking as they are in their sunny selfishness and their virile indifference! You would begin to be interested in them, because they were not interested in you. You would break out of this tiny and tawdry theatre in which your own little plot is always being played, and you would find yourself under a freer sky, in a street full of splendid strangers."    -- G.K. Chesterton: Orthodoxy

I was a little too caught up in my "own little plot" today, and this whopped me upside the head when I read it. I could use a "freer sky" and a "street full of splendid strangers"... The hard part is trusting that making myself smaller will yield such goodness.

Living by faith is a lot different than I thought...

About Me

Needing an outlet for various thoughts rattling in my head, I've created two blogs -- One about my real life (leslieisverbose.blogspot.com) and one where I can vent. (leslievents.blogspot.com)