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Nate-LadyFish-01April 24, 2013 – A delight known only to Mothers fills the air as the Sea-Tac Shuttle pulls into the 76 station.  You see, my favorite of all my children is on that shuttle.  He comes round the van bearing that hint of Brooklyn swagger in his walk, and that smirk that bears his name (as well as my own), is followed by a bear hug…okay, enough Mom talk.  We only have five days, so let’s get down to business.  First stop – Whidbey Beer Works for a supply of beers unavailable in the Five Burroughs, then a quick stop at the market, and we’ve got all the fixings for Nate’s Neapolitan pizza.   Oh, the future looks bright.

Thursday was a kick back, do nothing day, but on Friday we headed across the water to America to catch a glimpse of the Olympic Peninsula.   Our trip took us through small towns like Sequim (not pronounced the way I know the majority of you folks are saying it in your heads), and the now famous town of Forks, home to the Twilight series. (No, we didn’t stop, and more importantly: no, we haven’t read the books.  In my opinion, there’s only one vampire, and his name is Lestat.  The rest are wannabes.)  That being stated, I will not tag the words: Twilight, vampire, or Forks.  Just in case.

Now, about the Olympic Peninsula between Port Townsend and Kalaloch – Other than Port Angeles, there is nothing to be seen in the way of towns – simply their signs, and in most cases “Entering/Exiting” can share the same space.  But who needs towns when you’ve got a view of the Olympic Mountains jutting up behind tall pines, and the view of Crescent LakeCrescentLake as you wind your way down 101…or maybe it’s up 101.  Off the island, it’s all the same to me.  (Actually, truth be told, it’s the same on island.  I got lost a few weeks ago, but that’s another story for another post.) We stopped at Crescent Lake and I talked to a pair of divers readying themselves for an underwater adventure.  When asked what curiosity was below the water’s surface that would entice them into 42 degree water, they told me there was wreckage from car accidents, and boxcars (no railroad tracks in sight, I might add) to be explored, and according to Elora, our server at Kalaloch, there’s a dead horse down there that’s all in one piece.  Well, hell’s bells, Elora, I guess I’ll have the crab cakes.

After a number of “you’ve just got to see the Hoh Rain Forest,” recommendations, we drove eighteen miles off the main highway to see the ever-damp, moss laden trees, but it had been sunny for so long the moss looked more like a commercial for dry hair.HRF-Tree

Friday afternoon was sunny, perfect weather for beach walking.  I will admit I miss the sandy beaches of California, so imagine my happiness when the trail led us to the perfect beach.   Now it was time to cast off those fancy beer taste buds and say hello to the stalwart of Pacific Northwest beers.  That’s right, it was time for some Rainier Ale.  We’re talking cans, not bottles, folks.  Snap, crackle, pop.  Sun, sand, and my favorite kid sitting next to me.  Color me a happy mom.

The view from our cabin was delightful; the sunset, all one could ask for to end a perfect day.

Kalaloch-CabinView

Sunset-KalalochHowever, the added win of two game of Bananagrams is what I’ll remember until the end of time.  “Drink  up, favorite of all my children. Drink up.”

Next time: Holland Happening and Whiskey Tasting

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V-77-StinsonGullwingis flying in from Brooklyn on Wednesday for a visit!  Needless to say, I’m twelve kinds of happy.  We’re going to make a short, but I’m sure memorable, exploration of the Olympic Peninsula (Port Townsend to Kalaloch).  Nate is looking for great greasy spoon restaurants, so if any of you PNW folks that know the area have recommendations, please send them ASAP.  If the diner, bar, cafe, hole in the wall, you recommend turns out to be our favorite, you can bet your name is going to show up in my next post.  If we get food poisoning, your picture and address will show up too.

On the do nothing days, we’re going to…do nothing.   Oh, we’ll fire up the pizza stone and have a go at working with yeast again.  We’ve had two failed attempts – one was reminiscent of an old I Love Lucy episode where Lucy and Ethel were making bread; the likes of which rose so much it pushed the oven door open and pinned Lucy to the other side of the kitchen; the other, failed cinnamon rolls that refused to rise no matter how long we left them in front of the heater.   (Yes, eventually we put them in the oven.)

I know we’ll be successful at the whiskey tasting down at William’s Local Grown, and dinner at the Oystercatcher is always a home run.  Once I have plied Nate with whiskey, wine and food, I will then challenge him to a long overdue FbookLogoBananagrams match.  In the past, I have overpowered him with my lightning speed.  Of course, in the past, I have also employed the same strategy I intend to use this visit.  “Drink up, favorite of all my children!”

Gotta run.  There are tomatoes to be roasted, grape leaves to be stuffed and desert to be considered.

Wherever you are, I hope it’s exactly where you want to be.

NateNaturally, I was excited to hear the latest news from Brooklyn, but, alas, he was calling in regard to my last post 16 Tons and What Do You Get? which caused him great mathematical consternation.

Evidently, in the world of tonnage, there is a short ton and a long ton.  My mere 1,000 pounds of rocks that I loaded and then unloaded, although adding up to 2,000 pounds, didn’t warrant the accolades I felt I deserved since this measly amount equaled only a short ton, which is shy of a long ton by 240 pounds.   Never having heard of a long ton, I turned to my research buddy, Google.  My favorite of all my children was right.

British ton is the long ton, which is 2240 pounds, and the U.S. ton is the short ton which is 2000 pounds.

Both tons are actually defined in the same way. 1 ton is equal to 20 hundredweight. It is just the definition of the hundredweight that differs between countries. In the U.S. there are 100 pounds in the hundredweight, and in Britain there are 112 pounds in the hundredweight. This causes the actual weight of the ton to differ between countries.

To distinguish between the two tons, the smaller U.S. ton is called short, while the larger British ton is called long.

This information led to a rather comical and heated debate over who had worked the hardest of late…me, at my advanced age, and with the photos to prove my hard work, or Nate, who bemoaned the fact that single-handed, he added with great emphasis, moved two long tons (for you math challenged readers, that totals 4,480 pounds) of fine cheese and cured meats last week.  And to top it off, he had to carry it down a flight of stairs.  Lacking photos as proof of his hard work, I felt I had the upper hand, but just to be sure, I once again reminded him of the difference in our ages, the fact that he was getting paid an exorbitant amount of money, then to seal the deal, turned to the damage done to my hands.  The words, “I’ve damaged my tendon in my ring finger,” hadn’t hung in the air long enough to dry, when it happened.  My favorite of all my children (who was beginning the slide from first to second place rather quickly) topped that with the effects of the  molds on all these highfalutin products on his hands.  All of a sudden we were comparing wounds, damaged hand tendons, and various mold maladies, until we sounded like Richard Dreyfuss and Robert Shaw in Jaws comparing their shark scarred bodies.10658-2-sharks_-_4

Here are my thoughts on the subject of short ton (American) versus long ton (British):  1) We left British rule for various reasons, but here’s a good one:  They call 112 pounds a hundredweight; and 2) every woman will understand when I say, I’d rather weigh a short ton than a long ton.

P.S.  I found out my favorite doesn’t know everything about tonnage.  My research led me to find there is also a third type of ton called the metric ton equal to 1000 kilograms, or approximately 2204 pounds.  The metric ton is officially called tonne. The SI standard calls it tonne, but the U.S. Government recommends calling it metric ton.

Isn’t it just like a mother to want the last word?!

 

AchingBackLast year I started March Mulch Madness, attempting to cover as much of the property at the entrance with the red cedar chips to help keep down the annual high grass that requires endless weed whacking.  Perhaps I was suffering brain damage from my chronic aching back, because when spring rolled around this year, I decided it would be a good idea to continue March Mulch Madness; emphasis on madness.

I will admit I have been known to get “carried away” by a project.  In this case, it started out with the thought that I’d just lay down a little mulch to make life easier, but before I could stop myself, it turned into weeks on end of pick axing mounds of dirt and rock that had been unconscionably shoved without forethought here and there, making it difficult to maintain the area; an area, by the way, that housed a snake in the high grass last  year who almost came to a dire end at the spinning line of my weed whacker.

So, what started out as weed whacking the grass turned into this:EasterLandscaping

This pile, by the way, has grown exponentially since this photo was taken.  You see, I have a tendency to meander when I’m working on the property.  What that means is that I can no longer stay on a single task, so while laying down mulch I noticed a very gnarly rhododendron that needed pruning.  Well, when I cut down one old limb, I found it was wound up in the limb of another tree that was being held up by the limb of a fallen tree that was embedded in the…oh, I think I’ll go to the quarry and buy some rocks. Pile-of-Rocks_Round-Boulders__86316-480x320 A thousand pounds of rocks later; yes, you read that correctly– one thousand pounds of rocks later, all of which I loaded and unloaded myself (equaling one full ton), now circle some of that all important mulch…and, oh, look over here, I wonder if I could hack away at that giant overturned trunk…no, best not to…the water line runs along there somewhere…wow, the birds are in high spirits today…  This is when I recognize that the aching back theory and potential brain damage isn’t so far-fetched, so I throw down my hoe, my pruning saw (yes, that pile was all cut down with a pruning saw since I’m not allowed access to my chain saws), and I go inside for a soak to see if I might ease my aching back and stop any further impending brain damage.  Here are some of the treasures I found buried underneath the overgrowth.  TiresandGunTwo steel belted radial tires (if only there had been a vehicle attached); beer cans, several strips of nails, and a plastic AK-47.  I’ve got my DIY hat on trying to come up with something to do with the tires so I don’t have to take them to the waste removal station.  I’ve thought about turning them into planters covered by, what else – stones, but I may have to open an ebay account to sell those nails and that gun.

Of course, the story doesn’t end here, although my environmental friends, who might just me even though they  haven’t maintained acres of land with a hoe and a hand saw, may want to stop reading now.  I do everything I can to limit my use of plastic, and when there’s no getting around it, I make sure to recycle it.  Well, there was no getting around the fact that there was a lot of plastic holding all that mulch together, so to help keep the weeds down and recycle the plastic, I used it all to cover the area where the weeds were getting the best of me.  I pierced it so water could get down to keep the plants and trees alive, but there was something I hadn’t considered.  Yesterday, I was out admiring my work and picking up the pesky pine cones that have fallen on the new mulch when someone, out for a stroll in the pouring rain, walked by.  As I took a step, we both heard it at the same time…another step…there it was again.  Walking on the mulch with all that plastic beneath it sounded like I was walking on an adult diaper; that undeniable sound we’ve all heard in the Metamucil aisle, that sound we fear has our name on it someday.mccain-in-depends-adult-diapers1  That’s when I realized the stranger walking down my lane, smiling at me, thought the noise was coming from beneath my jeans, not my feet.

I can only hope the story ends here.

DaffodilsIn my little town it’s not unusual for kindness to greet you on the street, and sometimes that kindness comes to you in a bouquet.  Thank you to the ever generous Janet Burchfield for making my Wednesday all the more special.

flamegunYou’d think I’d learn, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.  While friends in the Midwest and along the East Coast have been inundated with inclement weather, I’ve been bragging about the easy winter we had here on the island: no snow, and winds so spare I forgot they were ever an issue.  Well, let that be a lesson.  The wind came whipping through the trees this past week bringing a heavy dose of rain and hail, and soaking 60 cubic feet of mulch waiting for me.   To top off my arrogance, I woke up to snow this morning; big flakes of the white stuff coming down.  Snow.   To some, a thing of beauty.  To me, as you know if you’ve been reading along, it’s my nemesis; that element of nature that I have yet to make friends with.  Oh, it’s pretty, but so is the moth I saw on a National Geographic special whose proboscis when inserted into your tear duct renders you blind.  And don’t think I’m not on the lookout for those winged wonders; even if they’re only found in some remote rain forest in a country I can’t name; like today’s spring snowfall, they’ll sneak up on you when you least expect it.

And it’s not like the weather websites are any help.  SEVERE WEATHER ALERT screamed out from one, but when I highlighted the “Read More” prompt to find out what that ALERT might be, it came up blank.  As I watched the snow fall, I tried to recall everything Tom Trimbath (this is where I’d insert that handy link to Tom’s site, but it’s still AWOL) had warned us to have at hand, and in our cars, in case of  an emergency, but only two items came to mind that made sense: chocolate and whiskey. whiskey

So, here I sit this afternoon, the sun having melted my nemesis, slightly drunk and my nervous system jacked up on chocolate.  Employing this particular emergency kit, I may just make peace with snow after all.  *Clink*

Grass_backThe wind is blowing like it has something to say, but I don’t have time to listen.  It’s St. Patrick’s Day and that means it’s time for the first mow of the season.  You can ask me why that’s so, but let’s save each other some time…I have no idea.  Speaking of no idea…I was all set to do some fancy foot work here at Greetings from Coupeville and when revisiting Bob-K-down-in-Florida’s latest correspondence (as promised in my last post), I was going to link “gutter cleaning” to the post I did way back in August of 2011 to refresh your memory.  But someone has moved that little picture of the link from where it used to be and now I am more than befuddled.  Normally, I would call my friend Tess, who is a wizard when it comes to all things linky, but Tess has just returned from many days of silent meditation and I don’t want to be the one to make her crack.

Where was I?  Oh, yeah, mowing.  Now, my regular readers (okay, perhaps the “s” in “reader” isn’t necessary, but I’m feeling the luck of the Irish, though, I’m not Irish…well, maybe just a hair of a leprechaun).  I’m not sure how to end that sentence, so I’ll just move on.  Did I mention I took some allergy medication before sitting down to write this?  If I stop mid-sentence, don’t be alarmed, I’ve simply dozed off.

As you know, I sometimes have limited success with my power equipment starting up on the first try, second, third; sometimes right up to the sound of my shoulder dislocating from yanking on that pulley gizmo.  Who thought that was a good idea?  However, today (and again, I’m assuming it has something to do with the wearin’ of the green) my lawnmower started up without me having to resort to “You piece of $(#%*@#!”  And I was off and running.  Let me be clear for any new readers.  When I say “off and running” I mean that literally.grass_riding_lawn_mowers_expensive

Oh, I’ve seen these fancy riding mowers around the island, but I take pride in the fact I can still push my Toro up and down the slopes of  the jeoruwoer euroepqeupq eupeupqeur perupqrepuj 43kjmpw.  (Oh, sorry, meds just kicked in.)  Anyway, when I work on the property for the first time after a long winter’s nap, I find what I simply call “missing parts.”  Missing parts could be anything from part of an old screwdriver, maybe the handle of saw; today it appeared to be a leg with a bit of fur still attached.  I can’t swear that’s what it was because after tapping it with my foot, it broke away from whatever it was attached to, the rest of which appeared to be buried under a log, and I broke away from the scene of the crime.  I’ll go back tomorrow and tape off the area and wait for the ground to dry out (we  usually have that day in August when it’s dry for 24 hours) and I’ll examine the remains more closely.  No I won’t.  This is what’s going to happen: I’m going to forget about it and one day I’m going to reach down to pull the weeds that have grown around it, hiding it from my view, and when my hand comes up with a patch of weeds and a rabbit’s foot, I’m going to scream like a girl.  And then I will bury the “missing parts” in the “volesoleum,” an area I’ve created for critters who have met their demise.

So, there you have it.  I’ve survived another winter here on the island, and I’ve got my fourth annual First Mow of the Season under my belt.

Bob K down in Florida, good luck with your Gutter Clutter Buster advertising campaign.  And if anyone knows what WordPress did with that link doohickey, be sure to drop me a line.

The image of grass can be found at:
www.athleat.co.uk/grass-fed-beef.html

The photo of the riding mower can be found at:
www.squawkfox.com/2009/06/17/grass-cut-lawn-care-costs/

Where frugal living is sexy, delicious, and fun.  (Who knew?)