Friday, June 29, 2012

Road Trip to Wenatchee, June 21st

Last October Betty came from her home in Oroville for the 3rd Annual Betty Roberts Spinning Wheel Owners Spin-In and Potluck, which was held at our house.  She brought along 3 new wheels from her most recently completed batch of 6.  She likes to have our group test-drive them, and maybe buy one.  We all test-drove but resisted wheel acquisition.

Betty left her Koa castle wheel for us to take along to fiber events, big 'for sale' sign attached.  It got a lot of attention but no buyer at the three outings it had: St. Distaff Day, Madronna and the Whidbey Island Spin-In.

Fast forward 8 months and Betty has sold the Koa to a spinner many states east of here, so, since both of us love a road trip, we agreed to meet Betty in Wenatchee for the hand-off. 

But first: breakfast at the Maltby Cafe.
My $6.95 Basic French Toast was $2. cheaper than the nearly inedible french toast at the Blue Bird last month.   

This French Toast was outstanding in the way that I hope every French Toast experience will be and 99% of them aren't.  Fresh butter, warm syrup, fat bread.  It was all great.

(Or, it was 'brilliant' as my new friend from England would say.  Raphael is a visiting professor in the department where I work, and he likes to stop by my desk to inquire how my 'quest for global domination' is going.)

Peggy's Country Breakfast eggs were perfect, the freezer jam on toast was perfect, the sausage was perfect and the potatoes were interesting.  She would have preferred hash browns.  She couldn't finish it all, portions are huge.

We consider our first trip to the Maltby Cafe a success, and will be back as soon as we can.  Yum!
We left for Wenatchee at about 8:30

~ to be continued ~

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Dear Dave,

Forget about moving the hydrangea just now and let's deal with a serious mole problem.  We've never had moles until now.  It started with one little mole hill over on the other side of the driveway only 2 weeks ago:

It (they) dug all the way under the driveway and came up next to the house, dug all the way under the lawn and came up in the garden:
 They're heading for the rhubarb, Dave, the RHUBARB!
 Clearly we're out of our element, which is fiber.  
Beasties: not our element.

Please come deal with the moles, Dave.

Thank you, 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Dear Dave,*

The Harry Lauder's Walking Stick is doing well.  Very well since it was planted in May, 2011.
The Endless Summer Hydrangea is also doing well but it is far too close to Harry, as you can see from the two photos, the first from May 2011 and the second from today, June 12, 2012.

So ~ Dear Dave, please move the hydrangea.  There's a really lovely spot in another part of the garden, not too far away.



 Dave planting blueberries in 2011.
 *Dave is our 'guy'.  Not 'our' guy, Dave is the husband of a dear knitting/spinning friend.  He loves taking a yard that has seen far better days and making it something to be proud of, he has huge fence-building skills and can climb on a roof and clean gutters.  The man is multi-talented and can multi-task.  Until he's bored.  We think Dave is bored with our project.  Maybe the fun is over now that the fun part is over and it's just drudgery.  Tell us about it, Dave.  We don't want to dig out that hydrangea any more than you do but we'll pay you to do it. 

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

The Bigger They Are

the more disgusting.  

We've had bird feeders on the back deck for years and the worst 'critter' we've seen, aside from the afore mentioned squirrels, was a mouse the size of a hamster.  
 He and the Douglas squirrel 
went at it for several rounds, giant mouse the victor, which was a surprise as the Douglas is a 'stand your ground' kind of guy and has been seen chasing off the bigger gray squirrels.  

Happily, we haven't seen the mouse more than once in the last year, but now this.  One rat you see means 50 that you don't.  Eek.  It's always breeding season for rodents.  

Until we figure out the solution, we have brought in the two bird feeders.  The birds have flown to other feeders, the giant rat hasn't been seen since.

With so many squirrels, raccoons, feral cats and all manner of birds that call our green belt home, we don't want to set traps that might catch some of the 'not rat' community.  How can just one species be targeted?

We're open to suggestions.
Guns are not an option.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Skagit Valley Road Trip May 26

Last Saturday the Peggy's, MaryEllin and I hit the road in Peggy's new van, a Chrysler Town & Country, for a day-long meandering through the Skagit Valley.  
Our goal was to get out of town, hopefully with good weather, and hit a couple of favorite destination stores: the yarn shop and the quilt shop in Mt. Vernon (WildFibers and Paw Patch Quilt Shop) and then anything else that came along. 

The weather was glorious, the perfect combination of a cloudless sky and a high of 71.  There was a light breeze.  We headed out at 8:15am.

First: breakfast at the Blue Bird Cafe in Arlington.  
3/4's a success: blueberry pancakes, the eggs and especially the hash-browns were all very good; the French Toast a dismal failure.
 As we left the Blue Bird, we found this place just up the street: Petite Sweets.  We'll try it for brunch next trip.
Then we crossed the street (had to, the Van was parked over there) and found this little treasure:

The Quiltmaker's Shoppe.  She opened a few minutes early when she saw 4 sets of eyes ogling the window display.  We went into what looked like a tiny shop of two small rooms, but it went on and on to the back of the store and then we found the sale rack, 40% off 1 yard or more, 60% off of 3 yards or more.  We quickly discussed the possibility of a 'Pillow Case Marathon Weekend', decided "OH YEAH" and this is what I bought: Moda in three colors, enough for 6 pillow cases and plenty of left-overs for cuffs and trim for many more.

Peggy chose these.
She also found Grandma's Stain Stick, which we will give a try next laundry day.
After Arlington we headed north to Anacortes and Ana-Cross Stitch.

There was evidence of a Yarn Bombing out front. 
Here we have 4 sks of Poems, a total impulse buy which I haven't done for years, at least not with yarn.  Guess I was due.
On the way back southbound from Anacortes, we stopped at the Rexville Grocery on the extreme outskirts of Mt. Vernon, a brief stop with some excellent photo ops:
 The building is vintage. 

Their floors are precious to them, so they ask the multitude of cyclists to remove any footwear with cleats before entering.  People actually do read signs, so this is probably very effective...
The gas is real.
 The ice is very cold.

The displays are...quaint.
Worth a short visit.  No need to return.

Working our way to La Conner around 2pm, we stopped for a late lunch of fish & chips at the Waterfront Cafe.

This is lunch before,

 and this is after.

The fish & chips: fine, not outstanding.  Certainly not the 'best'.  But the company was excellent, which mattered more.

We cruised a couple of La Conner shops, (very touristy, La Conner) and came away with shaking heads at the sad, sad, sad Jennings Yarn Shop.  It's just sad.  They are offering yarn we haven't seen for years at any other yarn shop; the staffer was uninterested in eye contact, let alone speaking.  We think there is huge potential to make this a destination yarn shop, ala Churchmouse or Ana-Cross Stitch ~ it would be so easy and keep sales up in the lean, non-tourist months, but (again, sadly) they aren't any different than they were the last time I was there, in the last decade of the last century, which is just SAD!  Don't be misled by the two 5-star reviews on yelp for Jennings, but if you're interested in buying an established yarn store in a quaint, tourist-trap town, you might want to find out if Jennings is for sale.

We never did make it to the two stores in Mt. Vernon that we started out thinking were a 'must see' this trip.  We got back home at 6pm, tired and happy, and considering dates for the next road trip.

By the way, the Van rocks.  Smooth ride and quiet.  We were all four able to hold a conversation between front and back seats, bonus.  Gas was $54. round trip.  A bit spendy but if you consider it a full day of fun split four ways, not bad at $13.50/ea (not counting individual food and shopping.)