Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Summer at UW

The rose gardens near Drumheller Fountain are in full bloom.
This one has Mary Gates Hall in the background.

That's the Electrical Engineering building in the background.

Here's the Fountain with a duck path from the outer sidewalk to the inner fountain.

After years of ducks being trapped in there, the Grounds people came up with a design that works for everyone, ducks and students.  You just can't tell some people to keep their hands off the wildlife.  sigh.

This moma duck had just the one duckling this season.
She's been there on the launching pad every day when we go by at lunch.
The baby is getting big!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Indigo Kitchen and Ale House in Lynnwood

Indigo Kitchen and Ale House, recommended by friends, was the destination for our semi-annual breakfast/dinner get-together last Saturday evening.  We always mean to do this more often, but twice a year seems to be the norm for us.  NORM!

Yelp foodies mostly like this place and a look at their online menu left us with a dilemma about what to order.  It is varied and all looks yummy.

This is our review of the place, with photos.

 Calamari served w/ spicy ailioli
VERY spicy ailioli.  I couldn't eat the sauce. 
 The calimari was plenty spicy without it.
Indigo Steak Bites marinated in a spicy chipotle-soy sauce.
Very tender, very tasty.  We all liked it very much.

Gin martini for --pf
She said it was fabulous.  It was also $10.00.

Lainie chose the Cobb Salad ~ quite tasty.
She said "It's a Cobb ~ they're pretty much the same everywhere."

--pf had the Fish Tacos, very delicious.

 Leslie chose the Buttermilk Fried Chicken, which she totally enjoyed.

Pe, surprisingly, had the Shrimp & Grits.  See that little white creamy corner?  That's grits.
It was go good it was hard to stop eating and she said that next time she wouldn't have the starters and would just concentrate on that fabulous dish.

 This is the Black and Blue Burger with sweet potato fries.
Leah and I both ordered it.  We like blue cheese.

I left off the pickle and the onion because it looked tall enough without them.
Cutting it in half was a must. 
I suspected it was over-cooked just by looking at it, and one bite confirmed.
The server, Stephanie, was kind enough to have it taken off my bill.
If I order a burger again, I'll ask for medium or medium rare.
I always like to order as the menu states the first time in any restaurant,
to give them a chance to do it their way.
Leah said I received most of the blue cheese on my burger ~ 
she had hardly any.  She didn't eat much of hers, either, but she liked the fries.

The sweet potato fries looked over cooked but were perfect!
Crispy on the outside, sweet and soft on the inside.  Yum.
Next time I'll ask for tartar sauce to go along.

The service is excellent, our server Stephanie was professional and accommodating. She brought lemon wedges twice, since we used them on our calamari and in our water.  It smells wonderful in that place and isn't too loud for conversations.  They have outside seating, which people took advantage of ~ it being a balmy 68-70 outside and some of us being intrepid Seattle-ites.  It needs to be slightly warmer for me, but they did crank up the outdoor heaters after awhile as dusk fell.

A good time was had by all and we decided to come at 5:pm next time and do the happy-hour menu in full.  Most of us arrived slightly before 6:00 and Stephanie encouraged us to order starters from the happy-hour menu before they cut us off.  A very welcoming atmosphere and good food.  We will be back.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

A tale of wine and ivy (could be a good name for a Rowan knitting book)*

Quite a few years ago we were quite fond of this wine.  On a tip from the wine woman at Food Emporium in Lynnwood (closed now, sadly)  we took it to Thanksgiving dinner about 7 years ago .  We bought 2 or 3 bottles and it went fabulously with turkey dinner.  So well, in fact, that we went back for more the next day to drink with leftovers and then every time we happened to think about it we bought more.  The price fluctuated between $8 & $10, which is our bracket. 

What we try to do with wine is to buy it on sale, at least $5 off and less than $9/bottle.  Sometimes we find very good wine that way; some we find is mediocre.   Some is extremely overpriced at it's original price and not even worth it on sale.  C'est la vie.  La vie.

Back to my story, because there IS a story in here, somewhere.

Gradually, we began to realize that the Obsession was no longer easy to find, and this was probably 2 or 3 years ago.  After a few months of not seeing it anywhere, we had to face it: discontinued.  At least not available locally.  Sad.

Awkward (or non-existent) segue:

The ivy under the front porch and along the walkway was doing it's usual spring growth spurt.  Why do people plant this stuff?  Do they not realize that 20 years down the road it will be invading the siding of their homes and climbing 30' up the Douglas Firs?  What?  It's not rocket science. 

This photo was taken during the revamp of the yard, and
shows the ivy on the side-yard side of the drive.
 That side-yard is very cute now and it looks way better sans ivy.
Maybe we'll put rhubarb in the blank spot.
 This is the ivy under the front porch.
 This is an attempt to trim the ivy falling off the rockery.
Oh heck, let's just yank it!
And off the rockery, as well.
Big piles of ivy,
and Dave, dear Dave, hauling it away.
It looks better.

Ok, how does the wine come together with the ivy in this tale?   While he was pulling the ivy out, Dave found a bottle of it under the porch!  It must have rolled out of a grocery bag which must have been put down on the walkway for some reason.  That bottle might have been under the ivy for years, at least 2 years, most likely more.  It probably went through several harsh winters and one particularly hot summer.

We thought we'd try it.  Chilled, of course.  Worst case scenario: undrinkable vinegar.  Best case: a couple of glasses of our favorite wine, after a very long dry spell!

The label was the only thing ruined about this bottle of wine.
It was DE-licious!
We're on the quest for an interweb source.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Move that plant

Mahonia is a great plant for Hummingbirds 
because it blooms in the winter, bright yellow flowers.
They love that.
It's a fairly fast grower and did pretty well in the pot next to the Hummingbird feeder on the deck.

Those were the pros.

The cons: prickly leaves which die, drop off 
and get caught in the interior of the plant.  There are always dead ones, year round.
They're always prickly, even when dead and brown, so cleaning them out is problematic.  
Also, if the flowers get snowed upon, they die.

The neighbor across from us is redoing her yard, which is wonderful for us 
as we look at it from the kitchen windows and for years it's been layer upon layer of juniper hedge.
  (And not in a good way.)
Now there is grass, a two-tiered rockery for flowering shrubs and bulbs and they've limbed up the apple tree and big maple that overwhelmed the front of the front yard.   We've been offering her plants that we thought would work in our yard but didn't, for one reason or another.  
The Mahonia is one such.  
She has a perfect place for it in the ground, rather than a pot.  
She was home yesterday and so we did the hand-off.
 It was easier than anticipated because we trimmed up the lower branches 
and didn't get nailed by the leaves.  We carried it across the street in a bag.
This little tree came in it's own stump.  
It wasn't getting enough water in it's current situation  
and we found out why, once it came out of the stump: it was all roots and no dirt, poor thing!
We decided to put it in that now-empty deck pot.
That's a long root system!  The roots are longer than the tree is tall.
It's not very big, but maybe it qualifies as 'big bonzi'.
Where are all the roots going to go?
They fit.  Sort of.  We didn't want to cut them off.
 Add new dirt. $10. a bag at Costco.  We need more.
Clean up and waala!  It's cute and a better fit for that spot on the deck.
The Hummers can go across the street for their winter flower fix.

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Calico Corner Quilt Shop, Mt Vernon

Last Saturday morning spur-of-the-moment plan: go to Peggy F's favorite quilt shop 
so that Peggy could look at fabric for her potential quilt.

She found this:
a whole line from Henry Glass & Co.
Wingin It, by The Buggy Barn
She really liked the one that she's pulling out for the border fabric.
She bought some of most of the others, too,
plus a couple more in the 'Wingin It' line found in different sections of the store.

It will be a fabulous quilt.

I was tempted by some lovely 'regular priced' Moda:

but I picked these from the sale section, $5/yard.
They will become pillow cases.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Lunch at Calico Cupboard, June 1

We had breakfast here not long ago and thought we'd give lunch a try, 
since we were going to Mt. Vernon for the quilt shop.

Peggy F. had the Fish Tacos 
and said they were yummy.

 Peggy had a combo lunch:
1/2 roast beef barbie sandwich, salad and chicken chili.
She says the sandwich was very good, the chili was ok 
and the blue cheese salad dressing had chunks of cheese.

I chose the combo 1/2 sandwich (shrimp and avocado), salad and chicken chili.
The shrimp was a tad fishy smelling as fresh shimp can be even after it's washed,
but it was a tasty sandwich.
The salad was great with blue cheese dressing and 
the chicken chili was ok, nothing special.

Here's what I really wanted:
Vanilla Cream Puffs.
Oh my.
We were adult about it.
We passed on desert.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

It's time to retire

If you're Hellen, of Hellen's Needlework in Mt. Vernon, 
retiring isn't something you have contemplated very often.
Hellen is in her 80's, and has been running her yarn shop for so many years
that she's a mainstay of the downtown Mt. Vernon experience.

Sometimes it's years between our visits to Hellen's,
but she's always been there and with a great selection of sock yarn.

Hellen has been knitting socks for 70 years.
She knit every single sock that hangs in her shop.

We visited on Saturday, June 1st, and I bought this:

Two hanks of sock yarn, 
50% wool, 20% Super Fine Alpaca, 30% nylon
It's $10.50 a hank.  For 433 yards.  
Hellen prices her yarns quite reasonably.

During the last few years she's lost her long-time staff, and then last year her husband passed.
He was her back-up, he did the paperwork. 
She's been struggling with doing it all herself, and she's worn out.

The yarn shop business isn't for wimps.
Hellen is no wimp, but she's done.

The Hellen's Needlework store is closing this month.
She is starting the close-out sale on Friday, June 7th, with everything 25% off.

Higher discounts as June progresses.

Mt. Vernon is south of the Skagit River bridge
so the bridge being unusable is not an issue if you're coming from the Greater Seattle direction.

Hellen, thanks for all the yarn!  We'll miss you.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Chickadees on the porch

Every spring the chickadees nest in a birdhouse on the front porch.  
They raise 2 or 3 clutches and then they're gone.
They scold us severely whenever we're on the porch,
but if we're still they will go about their parenting business.