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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.