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June 2007 Archives

June 1, 2007

Pot Roundup

Pot roundup

There is a special plastic recycling collection for farmers in Snohomish county next weekend. Northwest Ag Plastic recycling will be collecting plastic nursery pots along with hay bale bags and twine. They will recycle these into black nursery items, pipes and truck liners. This is perfect for us because we have a lot of round plastic nursery pots that we have no plans on using and we don't want to dump them into the garbage.

The closest collection site is up in Marysville. We also have some old chemicals, fluorescent light tubes, batteries and paint so we'll make a stop in Everett on the way to drop off those items at the Snohomish Hazardous Waste drop off.

But the pots have to be sorted and loose dirt dusted off before they will be accepted. So that was my job this afternoon - sorting and dusting old gallon pots. It took me about 3 hours to go through all the pots. They had been sitting under the nursery benches in a dark corner. Not only were the pots dirty and dusty but they also had a fair amount of spider webs, eggs and live spiders. Fortunately, I'm not afraid of spiders but I did yell a couple of times when I came across a large wolf spider. A good stiff whisk broom cleaned them up and kept the critters at arms length.

By the end, I was hot, dusty and dirty. I couldn't wait to finish and take a cool shower.

June 2, 2007

In bloom this week

June 13, 2007

WBW #34 - Washington State Cabernet Sauvignon

Walla Walla near Stateline
Walla Walla Vineyards

I've finally returned to WBW. My goodness, how time flies. I partipated at the beginning of WFW up to tasting #12. It seems like yesterday but my last WFW post was almost 2 years ago! But I'm back. I couldn't pass up an opportunity to drink a Washington State wine.

I'd like to thank Catie - the Wild Walla Walla Wine Woman at ~Through The Walla Walla Grape Vine ~ for hosting this month's tasting.

Washington State is an exciting place for wines. Our latitude at 46 degrees is close to the classic French wine regions of Bordeaux and Burgundy. Being farther north than California, our vineyards get 2 hours more sunlight. Washington is split by the Cascade mountain range into two regions. The eastern region, where most of the grapes are grown, is much drier. The soil is arid and calcerous - perfect for adding mineral overtones. It is actually a desert - a very fertile desert. The mighty Columbia River cuts a path through this region and creates numerous microclimates. The Champoux, Red Mountain, Horse Heaven Hills, Wahluke Slope, Walla Walla and Rattlesnake Hills are all areas that produce unique wines. Washington State is also the 2nd largest premium wine producer in the Unites States.

I'm not going to get any bonus points because I did not choose a Walla Walla wine. My selection is a Januik 2004 Columbia River Cabernet Sauvignon. Price drove my decision. I wanted something less than $30.00.

Januik Winery is owned by Mike Januik. He has been involved in wine making in Washington State since he graduated from UC Davis in 1984. In 1990, he became Head Winemaker at Chateau Ste Michelle, the largest winery in Washington State and helped make it into the world class winery. He also had a chance to work with wine makers from France and Italy including Piero Antinori resulting in Col Solare. Today in addition to running his own winery, he also is a consultant at Novelty Hill Winery and Stillwater Creek. His winery is near by in Woodinville which is becoming a great place to visit when you are in the Seattle area.

Januik Cabernet Sauvignon 2004
I really enjoyed the Januik Cabernet Sauvignon , my selection for WFW #34. It has good tannins so it could be cellared for a few year. It is not overly fruity and has enough alcohol and minerals to make it food friendly. The tasting notes mention cassis, blackberry, cocoa and vanilla.

It went wonderfully with the Thundering Hooves lamb chops that I happened to have in the freezer. I bought them last year at the Edmonds Farmers Market. I love that I can buy sustainable raised meat at our local farmers markets or pick it up locally as Thundering Hooves is doing this year. The chops were very tasty and went really well with the Cab. Hubby doesn't eat meat so I got him a swordfish fillet from Shoreline Central Market. Add a saffron rice pilaf and some fresh tomatoes and Garofalo buffalo mozzarella from Costco and you have a great early summer meal.

I am so fortunate to live in Washington State andhave access to some great wines. There are also great wineries to visity. There are luxury options such as Cave B Inn which we stayed at in April or the Inn at Abeja in Walla Walla. Come back in mid-July to see how our long weekend in Walla Walla at the Painted Place turns out.

June 21, 2007

Happy Solstice


Today is the summer solstice. Time for mid-summer night madness. Growing up in California, I never noticed the solstice. Yes, the days became longer but when you are dealing with long over 100 degree F days, you don't think much about how long the day is. You just want to cool off.

It was not until I moved north to Washington state that I grew to appreciate the long lingering days around the solstice. The farther north you go, the longer the day becomes and you also have a longer twilight. The sun sets but the light lingers on; the gloaming. That is such a cool word for twilight.

Here in Seattle, we have a full 15 hours, 59 minutes and 31 seconds of daylight. That means it is light enough to be outside at 5am and at 10pm. Sunset is at 9:12 tonight. But the light doesn't just disappear like it does in California - it lingers and falls like a soft sheet.

I've spent several solstices in France. On one trip back in the early 90's, we discovered the Fête de la Musique. We knew something was up when we saw the huge stages and sound systems go up along the Seine while we were in Paris. In our broken French we were able to discover that all over France they would be celebrating the solstice with music. On the solstice night, we were in Tours. It was a great festival. Street musicians and bands all over the old city that played on into the wee hours of the morning.

But my most memorable solstice was spent in the mid-90's. My company had an office in Holland and I had the opportunity to work for 6 weeks in the spring of 1996. I finished up early in June and we vacationed in France. We spent a few days in Paris and then moved on to the Alpes-Maritime region around Nice and eventually to Corsica. We were in Calvi during the solstice. We rented an apartment just outside of town but not far from the beach. Late in the evening, we walked through the pine trees to the beach. The sky glowed red to orange as we walked into the surf. We treaded water as the sun went down and the warm breeze brushed our faces. Cradled in my husband's arms, we bid adieu to spring.

June 24, 2007

In bloom this week

We were gone last week for Fathers Day and the garden seemed to erupt while we were gone. Many of the salvias are blooming and I hope to get a slide show next week when I get my new macro lens.

I'm trying another Flickr slideshow generator. This on is SlideFlickr which is really easy to use. It has an advanced option so you can select photos with a tag and the viewer can display the titles by clicking on the photo. I can't decide if I fully like the way the titles are displayed but it is one of the better ways of handling it.

Enjoy! (and don't forget to click on a photo so you can see the name of the plant).

June 26, 2007

No longer a cell-phone virgin

We have been avoiding getting a cell-phone for ages. We just haven't really seen the need. We don't normally talk to a lot of people on the phone. My job involves a lot of phone work so I prefer to not be connected once I leave work. Of course, there have been times when it would be handy. Our cat sitter would have liked to have had a phone number to reach us several times. It would be handy rendez-vous with friends or calling when you are late. And of course, it could help in an auto emergency. But we've been able to hold out this long.

But I'm going to need a phone when I am at school in France. I will just feel more comfortable with one plus a lot of rentals no longer have a land phone.

A co-worker said he had a spare quad-band phone that he wasn't using and it was unlocked. This sounded perfect. But I thought I should probably become familiar with it before I leave. So today I went to T-Mobile and picked up a SIM. I talked with a rep on Saturday and he was very helpful. I explained I wanted the cheapest way to get into a phone and that I already had a phone. It turns out to be more expensive to purchase a SIM than it is to get the low end phone to go. Or I think?

The SIM was $50 but came with 100 minutes. The Nokia was $30 with $10 of phone time. I'm still not certain what was best but I got the Nokia (which I won't use). I'm going to use my friend's phone which is a nice Samsung camera phone with a lot of options. It even came with an international plug adapter.

But since it was also T-Mobile, I'm not certain if it is unlocked. I've installed the SIM and it is charging. I'll call customer service tomorrow to see if it is unlocked. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. If not, I'll send it to a place locally to get it unlocked. Unfortunately, that will be another $25. It is now getting to the point where it might have been just cheaper to purchase a phone in France. Or to try a different US carrier.

But I'm learning.

June 27, 2007

Menton and Luberon

I finally made some progress on our plans for the two weeks after the class. We definitely want to tour the gardens on the Riviera. I came across several garden tours the first week of October. It sounds unusual to tour the gardens in the fall but it is actually a good time. There are summer rains which will rejuvenate the gardens and there is a second bloom early in October. It is perfect timing for us since my classes are over at the end of September.

I have been looking for places to stay on the Riviera, either in France or Italy. I have had a bit of difficulty finding a place. Menton is my first choice. I didn't have any luck at first along the coast so I have been looking a bit inland at places such as Vence and Grasse. So many of the places are large villas that will not work for us.

I finally go a chance to focus on getting our accomodations this weekend and I found a place in Menton that looks like it will work for us. It is along the harbor but it does not look like it will be too difficult to get in and out and there is public parking near by. I'll post more information as soon as I confirm that we have the rental.

I also sent off the deposit today on a rental in the Luberon for the second week. Paolo has a great site for information on the Luberon area. We are renting La Madeleine . We want to hike and get a chance to get out into the country. I'm excited.

June 29, 2007

Old City Cemetery - Sacramento

We didn't get a chance to get down to California at Mother's Day this year. I had a business commitment which took me out of town. We missed the salvia sale at Cabrillo College. G was disappointed but it was probably good to miss it and have a break from salvias.

We decided to go Father's Day instead. It also gave us a chance to celebrate my in-law's 55th wedding anniversary. I thought it would be nice to explore the gardens and nurseries of Sacramento. I checked with Chris for recommended nurseries. She recommended Busnell's Nursery near Roseville. It had Annie's Annuals so G was interested.

I also checked the Sacramento Bee before we left and came across a wonderful article on the Old City Cemetery. The Hamilton Square area is a planted with many plants from the Mediterranean area. Perfect!

Bushnells was wonderful. It has a great collection of daylilies. G had to pick up two plants of course. We were running late when we finished but still had time to stop by the cemetery.

The afternoon was hot - 105 degrees. The valley was having their first over 100 heat wave. So here were two North westerners out in the mid-day sun. Mad-Dogs and Seattlites! But we loved it. G was in plant heaven. There were many salvias in full bloom. One plant stumped G. He finally identified it yesterday as a dianella.

For more information on the cemetery, check the link above or read this article from SF Gate.

Here are a few photos of the day:

June 30, 2007

Laundry Day

I grew up in the hot central valley of California. We never had a dryer. Instead we had a clothes line. One of my chores was to hang out the clothes. It was in the sunny part of the back yard. We had planted two fruitless mulberries for shade but made certain the back corner was still sunny for the clothesline. We also grew our tomatoes in a nearby corner.

I would lug the heavy laundry basket down the stairs and out the screen door. It would always slam after me since my hands would be full. My bare feet skipped across the sidewalk path and through the hot grass. I always liked the sheets because they would be fast and easy to hang. I hated socks and underwear. They took forever to hang each individual piece.

And now 30 years later, I have a clothes line again. We decided to put the greenhouse to even more use and strung a clothes line among the tomatoes. It is great. It is warm and the fans produce a gentle breeze. The clothes are dry in no time. Plus they smell sun kissed fresh. A little stiff but very fresh.

Laundry Day

This page contains all entries posted to Postcards from the Trail in June 2007. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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