Welcoming Fall

The last days of summer are upon us, as mother nature tempts us into fall with her bounty of apples, plums, and pears.

Friday afternoon my family got together to help my mom get some of the fruit out of her fruit trees. Apples lined the porch, boxed and ready to be taken home and baked. A few summers ago the raccoons ate all but one plum, so Matt installed a metal fence around the base of the tree to keep them from climbing up. Lucky for us his deterrent worked, and the tree was filled with perfectly ripened fruit. Everyone took home hundreds of plums, leaving the rest for Matt to take off the tree. Mom will set to work drying, freezing and canning the plums over the weekend. My grandmother, great aunt and I plan to eat the plums baked into crisps, cakes and pies.

Everyone picking Plums
Grandpa uses the fruit picker to get plums down
Grandma hand-picking plums
Bartlette Pears

While most of the pears still need a few more days to fully ripen, the ones we did eat were spectacular. Peel back the rough skin, and you will find perfectly sweet firm meat, superior to any store bought Bartlette.

4th of July

For this years 4th of July Justin and I took a ferry ride to Bainbridge Island to visit my mom and Matt. There were lots of kids and families on the boat. Everyone was heading to the Bainbridge Island street fair.

Vendors lined the streets leading down to Waterfront Park. Justin got me some handmade hairpins to match my patriotic outfit.


We met up with Sonia and Matt at the classic car show. My favorite car was a Spyder, with diamond studded seats.


Sonia’s favorite was the Mercedes.

On our way back to their house we drove by the new event center, The Manor House. I wanted to check it out and see if it would be a good place to have a wedding…

Manor House
Justin and I at the Manor House

We spent the afternoon lounging on the porch, soaking up the sun. After a long walk down to the beach we returned home, where Matt grilled up steaks and hot dogs and mom showed off her new stove.

We dinned al fresco, returning inside for dessert as the sun sunk further into the sky.


Justin and I took a trip to my Grandparents house this weekend. Despite seasonal allergies we really enjoyed ourselves! We kept busy eating, watching tv and exploring the beautiful scenery of the Olympic Peninsula.

Over the years my Grandma has honed her talent for orchids; the current blooms are quite spectacular.

Her basil is also doing surprisingly well, considering the number of cold, gray days we have had so far this summer.

We arrived late in the afternoon, so happy hour was upon us soon after our arrival. Crown was on sale at the Longhouse gas station/super store, making the official cocktail of the trip Crown and Coke. Grandma took a child’s portion, so her blood sugar stayed level. The rest of us got a good buzz going on the delicious syrup.

Crown and Coke

Justin came prepared for Italian style feasting, cutting fettucini noodles from scratch.

Grandma cooked her famous red sauce, as well as the ever present salad. The guys won’t eat salad, so that meant more for us! Fresh radishes from her neighbors yard added a hot pink splash of color to the greens.

Grandpa let me try one of his pickled eggs. I love my Grandma’s pickled vegetables (or vinaigrette, as she calls them), so I assumed the eggs would be just as delightful. Unfortunately, I found the egg to taste far too strongly of vinegar. Grandpa told me I must have been eating it wrong; apparently there is a real art form to eating pickled eggs, where you shake the egg off just right so you don’t get a mouthful of vinegar. I was unaware of the technique when I served myself the egg from the jar; guess I will have to try another one on my next visit!

We can pickle that!

After dinner we were all totally stuffed, and in need of some exercise and fresh air. Grandpa invited Justin and I on a nature walk down by the bridge. Grandmas feet had been bothering her, so she stayed home to clean up and watch her novella.

Grandpa Blue Eyes

The night was beautiful, the sun staying up late. We started our hike on the Discovery Trail, but true to Frank Peterson style, were soon off the beaten path and into the woods. Slugs and snails covered the path, reminding Grandpa of the time a friend of his ate half a banana slug on a dare. Just to keep things interesting Grandpa kept talking about all the cougars that were running about in the woods. In case we did encounter a cougar, Grandpa was ready with his pistol.

We could have walked till dark, but the blooming weeds and tall grasses got the best of me. Sneezing the whole way up the trail, I lamented having left all 3 boxes of tissues in the car.

Week 2 of the Tor Challenge

So far in the Tor Challenge I have learned……

…people get used to you snapping pictures in their face, they relax and act like everything is totally normal.

….it’s hard to get the camera in exactly the right place. There are so many well timed images where I wish I could move the camera over just a little bit, wish I taken a step back, wish I had adjusted my f-stop.

Grandpa watches TV

For example, this picture of my grandfather with his artifacts, watching the history channel. He is a big WW2 buff; I haven’t been to their house in a long time and not seen Hitler at some point during my stay. He collects all sorts of memorablia, from Nazi flags to Military food rations. This summer they had a garage sale where he sold a lot of his artifacts, to make money so he could continue shopping.

Grandma finishes her makeup

….then there are those pictures where it works, and you have moment from exactly right angle to make you want to stay and look….

In this image my grandmother has just finished her morning ritual of applying her “mascara” (mask in Spanish). She told me that no matter what, even when she was sick in bed, she takes the time to do herself up for my grandfather. This picture shows her pride, and satisfaction at a job well done. She is enjoying the beauty of her face.