Monday, July 29, 2013

shades of pink

It was a pink kind of weekend....

I have a thing for vintage table linens... my local thrift store seems to acquire fabulous old table linens.  I'm always on the look out for plain white damask style tablecloths... or the hand "tatted" or crocheted kind.  It makes me sad to think that someone took all the time to make a family treasure that nobody wants any longer... so I guess it's up to me to save them.

Last week I came across something that is truly one of a kind.  At thrift stores and garage sales I've seen a few hand made runners, usually off white or beige, but never a large sized one nor one made with multi-colors!

It hung so innocently with the other tablecloths... some vinyl, some new, some old.  But I knew this one was the star of the day.

This one measured 80 x 86 (inches)... another thing I love about my thrift store, they put the SIZE of the tablecloth on the tag!  At this size it could perhaps even be used as a coverlet on a bed.  Either way she is a beauty.

And the price?  Can you believe just $6.99???!!!

I can't imagine how many hours it took someone to make this little beauty.  I think I may use this as a bed coverlet instead of a tablecloth... but we'll see.

In other pink news, my Queen of Sweden (old english rose - David Austin) is on it's third bloom and this one is more spectacular than the last two!  It is covered with blooms.  I think there may even be enough to cut a few and bring inside.

 So fragrant and I love the cupped bloom style of this rose.

And the final cherry (or should I say raspberry) for the weekend?  Two huge flats of just picked raspberries for freezing, jam and just plain old eating....
And they might have been the best deal of the weekend... a trade with my hardworking son for an ice cold Coke and a peanut butter cookie.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

to market, to market

This summer has been one for the record books in our little corner of the US.  Sun, sun and more sun... really that isn't our usual July weather, and some years not even August.  Because of the fabulous weather my gardens have been grown like, well, weeds!  In fact... I think I could almost host a booth at a farmer's market with all my flowers and veggies this year.  But on second thought, I could just have a sale off the back of my husband's latest acquisition... this 30's era International flatbed truck.  Can't you just see it loaded with vintage baskets and galvanized tubs... overflowing with the fruits of my spring and summer labors?  Maybe even a jar or two of home canned jam or jelly?  And I think there would have to be a cute little sign, bunting style of course, swagged across that back window.

And what, you ask, would I pile on the back of this truck?

Well for starters, my greenhouse is overflowing with leftover potted zinnias and sunflowers that I grew from seed, as well as San Marzano tomatoes and pepperoncini peppers... not to mention that our acreage full of corn is doing so well that it's almost the height of the little greenhouse!

The sunflower trough is full and new flowers are blooming daily... of course these wouldn't be cut and sold, I'd use the cutting sunflowers from my gardens instead.

Zinnias... lots and lots of zinnias would be available.  This one is a particular favorite this year.

My dahlias along the chicken coop have been going strong since June!  Unheard of at Red Gate Farm... in fact there has been a couple of summers where I was lucky to get one or two blooms by the middle of August!  And at the very bottom corner of the photo is a grape plant... and it is loaded with little bunches of grapes that seem to grow overnight!

Perhaps I could plan ahead next year and plant some extra impatiens to include...

My impatiens planted from seed have really filled in and look bushy and fantastic...

And I love the white and how it pops even in the shade or the evening.

My newest project, english roses, have been a doing well.  I have been very conscientious to deadhead, prune, fertilize and water these new additions to my gardens and it is really paying off.  I'm on the THIRD round of blooms!  I loved the cupped varieties and the fragrance, well simple divine.  These as cut flowers would definitely be a customer favorite.

And edibles?  I've been harvesting peas, bush beans, radishes, onions... walla walla sweets that is, a couple of tomatoes and now cucumbers!  My favorite home grown item is cucumbers... and my all time favorite is the lemon cucumbers.  I picked my first two last night... and ate them both!  Soon I will need that truck to hold all the cucumbers coming out of my garden, as well as the plethora of tomatoes, pole beans and potatoes.  The pumpkins?  Well the jury is still out on that crop this year but I have my fingers crossed!

And finally, one of my all time... old school favorites.  The sweet pea.  I've been patiently waiting for these super spicy smelling flowers and finally was a able to pick a little bunch last week... now they're everywhere!

Sadly, they don't last long as cut flowers...

But they're still pretty hard to beat.

Looking forward to another weekend of sun, fun and 70's weather...

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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

day 5 - not sleepless, but sunny in seattle

Yesterday was a fabulous day for a trip to Seattle with my husband.... yes, I managed to pry him away from his to do list for one day.  The sun was shining around the Puget Sound and the day was glorious.  We actually headed south to look at a potential home that my daughter and son-in-law are making an offer on... the real estate market in the Seattle area is crazy and everything moves so quickly!  We hit up a few salvage stores and had dinner on one of the piers.  We didn't take a ride on the wheel like we did in Niagara Falls but it certainly was a great photo opportunity out over the salt water of Elliott Bay.  Ice cream for all to end the hot day in Seattle and a nice breezy ride home to Red Gate Farm as the sun went down.

Five days to go... I'm at the half way point tonight,

Monday, July 15, 2013

day 4 - guilty pleasures

Vacation days to me mean indulging just a little bit... perhaps even a guilty pleasure or two.  Maybe it's taking that hour to read in the sun... my personal all time favorite summer past time... a double guilty pleasure in fact.  In the past, this might have included a coke, the real deal not diet, over ice with a straw please!  But this summer I've stumbled across the best invention EVER!  You may have heard of Zoku... they make those little instant Popsicle molds?  Well they also make this fabulous slushy cup... fill it up with your favorite liquid and give it a stir to have your very own slushy, milkshake kind of drink.  Now originally I tried this with root beer, Hansen's real sugar root beer... it was as good as a root beer float.  Then one day as I waited in line at Starbucks (yes, I am from Washington) for my daily latte I was reading the menu (because I always need to read something while I'm waiting) and there it was... Frappuccino!  Now I do love Starbuck's Frappuccinos but they are a bit tough on the budget... but you can buy the liquid version at the grocery store.  Mine sells them for around $4.50 for a four pack.  The very next weekend I gave the plain coffee Frappuccino a trial run in my Zoku and it was fantastic!  Much better than the blender that you need to add ice and get a watered down version with icy chunks!  And even with the cost of my Zoku ($19.99 at Williams-Sonoma) I think I'll be ahead by the end of the summer... well at least compared to buying a Frappuccino twice on the weekends.

So to guilty pleasures... you can find me here enjoying my ice cold Frappuccino and my latest mystery on my Kindle... swinging in the glider of course.

Six more sun filled days to go,

Sunday, July 14, 2013

day 3 - sunshine + flowers = happiness

It's hard not to feel happy when the sun shines or when the sunflowers wake up each summer.  This year my sunflowers are thankful for the sun and warmth we've been enjoying... so thankful in fact that they are blooming a full 2 weeks earlier than the last couple of years.  This July may just go in the record book for one of the best.

Seven more days to go... and sun is forecast for them all,

Saturday, July 13, 2013

day 2- painting everything in sight

Day two and I'm already covered in paint.  I have chalk paint under my fingernails and on my shirt... oil based primer speckles my arms, neck, hair and feet... and a bit of wall paint thrown in that hasn't washed off even though this was used yesterday.  Making some progress on little projects and bigger projects.

And a little tip for you... if you wear sandals while priming a textured ceiling, the primer white speckles on top of your pink toe nail polish look just like polka dots!

Eight days to go...

Friday, July 12, 2013

day 1 - red ripe raspberries

The raspberry harvest in our county is in full swing.  Did you know that our county produces most of the raspberries grown in the US?  Washington state produces more than 65% of the US raspberries and of that 85% are grown right here in our county.  In fact our county raises the largest per capita crop of red raspberries in the world with 99 growers harvesting over 7,200 acres of raspberries.  During the 6 week harvest over 6,000 seasonal workers harvest the berries.

My son works for one of the larger raspberry farms in our county... during harvest he spends all of the daylight hours and many of the nighttime hours at the fields.  But most of us raspberry lovers think it's worth the efforts of these farmers.

Here at Red Gate farm we're surrounded by raspberry fields and when the loaded trucks drive by they are trailed by the smell of red, ripe raspberries.  Tonight I was extra lucky, while driving home I was behind a raspberry truck... loaded with these little nuggets of gold... the smell was divine, much better than most farm vehicles I get behind in the summer.

Day one down, nine more to go.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

zinnias and more zinnias

I'm excited... not just about my blooming zinnias but tonight is the night before my vacation... 10 whole days away from work.  I plan to spend a good portion here in the gardens.  And so far the weather forecast is looking bright and sunny, of course that can change quickly in these parts of Washington.
 I'm thinking I may try a picture a day for the upcoming 10 days... something I've done that day whilst away from my daytime desk job... it may just be a picture of a bee in a zinnia but it's my challenge for myself.  And I know you're all looking forward to the idea!
 But really, I do need to try something just a little different... like planting this spike-y petaled, fire cracker of a  zinnia.  It's high time to shake things up a bit.
 I'm loving all these bright pops of color among my vegetables... I plant tons of zinnias from seed each year and look forward to seeing their bright and cheery faces... in every size, color and shape!
And with so many zinnias planted in my garden, I'll have enough for cut flowers all summer long,

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Saturday, July 6, 2013

an american holiday

I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th on Thursday.  Ours was pretty low key, which was nice.  We met up with family at a local state park for a picnic.  

One of the things I enjoy about blogging is reading about areas across the US, Canada and other parts of our world.... places that I haven't been but can see up close with a personal tour guide no less by stopping in at your or an other's blog!  So in that vein, I'd like to share a little bit with you about the state park we visited, Peace Arch State Park.  Since our family get together included family coming from White Rock BC and Edmonton Alberta.... so we all met up at the "US side" of Peace Arch Park, which for us is just about a 10 minute drive from Red Gate Farm.

If you've never traveled from Washington to British Columbia you probably haven't seen the Peach Arch located on the US-Canadian border.  The Peach Arch stands on the international boundary between the US and Canada.  It was built to commemorate the centennial (1914) of the signing of the Treaty of Ghent which ended the war of 1812.  A conflict waged in North America between Great Britain and the United States and involved our neighboring Canada as well.
Standing 67 feet high, it's constructed of concrete and reinforced steel.  The Peace Arch is said to be one of the first structures built in North America to earthquake proof.  On the American side of the Arch the inscription "Children of a Common Mother" can be found, the Canadian side has "Brethren Dwelling Together in Unity."  But the one I remember from childhood visits is found on the east side, "May These Gates Never Be Closed."

We even have an old photo with a similar viewpoint... an old black and white tinted photo that my husband found.  Although the Arch looks the same with the two flags flying high... not much around it in the park remains.

Over the years the car lanes have increased and improved with the need to flow hundreds of thousands of vehicles through the park.  The grounds here are beautiful, but I must tell you... I think the Canadian side goes just a little bit further in the grounds keeping and the beautiful flower beds than the US side... I'm just saying... Washington you need to step it up a little!

The park is a state park on the Washington side and a provincial park on the British Columbia (Canada) side, with the waters of the Puget Sound to the west.  If we'd staying long enough at our picnic we would have been able to enjoy the local fireworks out over the water

One fun thing I noticed in the US side were these rocks at the bases of the trees... painted to identify the tree type!  Now you'd think being from Washington I might be able to identify a tree or two, but nope, I can tell a cherry and a pear... that's about it for me... oh, and a weeping willow.  Show me a fir, pine, hemlock... I'm lost.  Yes, I'm the girl that once bought a spruce instead of a frasier fir for a Christmas tree... BIG mistake.  Have you ever strung lights on a tree wearing gloves and long sleeves?  Pretty much a necessity with a spruce.

One of the best things about both the US side and the Canadian side are their "kitchens".  Aptly named the American Kitchen and the Canadian Kitchen.  Built many, many years ago they are a bit log cabinish with lots of wood and rustic details, tucked among trees and bushes in their respect park sides.

For our get together this year we were on the "US side" but have been to the "Canadian side" over the years for an anniversary party, wedding and even a family reunion.  And one other fun tidbit?  Well you can use both parks without going through customs... although I'm pretty sure they keep an "eye", real or electronic, on all of us in the parks to be sure we head home to the right country after our picnics, photos and get togethers.

Before heading out to our family picnic... I had a little old fashioned parade of my own here at Red Gate Farm.

A little fun with my husband's collection of mostly vintage, ride on toys... which all happened to be red, so how could I resist?

A cute wagon...

Some decorations for the tires...

A bit of bunting and well, it's a parade!

As for the flags flying on the trike handle bars... long may they wave...

Hope you've enjoyed YOUR holiday weekend as much as I have,

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