Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Movin' Right Along....

I have country in my blood....if you give me a choice between a townhouse in the big city with all the accouterments and a plot of land with a broad view of pasture and a tiny house with just the basics, I'll take the latter.  So it should come as no surprise that I have a yen for tractors, especially old ones.  No I don't have a plot of land, no I have no need for a tractor, but one can always yearn, n'est ce pas?  So a few weeks ago we had a chance to go to Lynden's Antique Tractor Show.  Here's a sampling of what we saw.  It was a great day--hot, sunny, dusty...perfect farm weather!  If you're bored with old farm machinery, you should move on!

There is a "parade" of tractors and other antique machinery.  As they pass the "grandstand", the announcer gives the make, model and year of each entry

Check out this old steam roller

I love this old thing...such classic lines!

 That should be me!

 This one's for Jessi...it's orange!!

 Another beauty "lettin' off steam"

I think this is one of my favorites

 Lined up for duty.

 Then there were the steam powered threshing machines, mighty to behold.  What a boon to farmer's this invention must have been...can you imagine threshing by hand...

 Wheat goes in one end, chaff goes out the other and the wheat berries collect in the special container
 Feeding the beast, takes a lot of heat to produce enough steam to power these machines

From father to son, passing on the heritage...what a treasure.

What a fun day and a glimpse into a life that I'm sure I've romanticized.  I know it's hard, hard work, but what a blessing to have the ability to be in such close harmony with the land and the seasons.  One can still dream....

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

- Tide x 2 = Adventure!

One of the perks of living near Bellingham Bay is enjoying the great beach combing opportunities that the lowest minus tides provide during the summer months.  We took advantage of one of these days to explore the Taylor Shellfish Farms at the south end of Chuckanut Drive.  They were having a festival of sorts which allowed us the opportunity to learn first hand about their operation here as well as their other locations throughout WA.  Because of the extreme low tide we were able to walk out to the oyster beds to learn how they seed and harvest the oysters and clams that they are famous for.  Hot dogs, grilled oysters, steamed clams and other such fare were available for lunch.  So we took advantage and had a great meal.  

This sign met us at the entrance, how could one resist, we had to check it out!

The staff had gathered natural materials and kids could pick out whatever they wanted and create their own fairy house

Some creative Taylor family member created this "lighthouse" made of clam and oyster shells

These are oyster "grow bags" which help keep predators away and reduce the amount of silt that affects the oysters as they grow

The view looking south to Anacortes...the tide is out so far you can barely see the waterline!

Oysters are harvested and packed in bundles like this...these bundles are made of empty shells which will be used for new oyster beds and for other uses such as chicken feed

There is a crew harvesting oysters out there...in the winter, they have to do it at night, when the minus tides occur

Looking back at the farm store--we're way out in the bay! 

Time for lunch!

The day is still young and the tide is still low so we head on over to Larrabee State Park to hike down to Clayton Beach.  We hiked down to this beach a lot when Jessi was little, although she doesn't remember it.  It was known for it's huge sand dune that rolled all the way to the sea.  The sand dune is a thing of the past, it's now a huge "garden" of blackberries and sand peas.  But the beach is still wonderful for walking when the tide allows.

I love shape, pattern, light and shadow, so it's a field day for me with all these sandstone rocks full of holes and pockets and hidey places 

And then I can get all artsy craftsy and start putting crab shells in nooks and pretending like they "landed" there! 

There's someone else who likes the hidey places! 

The window to the sea

The tide's starting to come back in...that's Lummi Island out there in the distance

The beach has its own art forms 

This is a very special flat rock--when Wally and I were MUCH younger, we used to hike down a steep rock cliff to get to this rock where we had the sea to ourselves.  We'd picnic and sunbathe here...but alas, someone has built a house at the top of the cliff where we used to start our climb down...no matter, there's no way we could do it now anyway! 

The flat rock is waaaay out there to the right, so you can see the height of the cliff we had to navigate--it's about midway down the hillside.

Then it was time to hike back up to the road and head home for a hot shower and some ibuprofen...just kidding!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Bygone Days

It's been a long, long time since I posted anything here.  It's not for lack of subject matter, as in times past.  We've had lots of adventures, but it seems like we never stay home long enough for me to post anything.  And it's not a speedy process...photos have to be re sized on camera to post-able size, then uploaded, then edited to erase the original photos that were too big--you get the picture.  Pun intended. 

So I'll start with our trip to Mt, Baker--in JUNE!  This is unheard of most years.  The road to Artist's Point is generally not plowed before mid-July.  But the Pacific Northwest is currently in the throes of a months' long drought.  The snow pack on Mt. Baker is at an all time low--this after it set the record for the most snowfall in the entire world in the winter of 1998-99.  We made our way to the end of the road thinking we might have to navigate some snowy paths, but we found all paths completely free of snow and the meadows bursting with wildflowers.  This would by a typical scene in mid-September--not in June!  We had a lovely day hiking paths and it gave me a chance to try out my new camera which I am thrilled with!  Here are some samples:

This sculpture of ravens is at the entrance to the Mt. Baker Ski Area

A view on the way up

I love seeing the power behind the formation of these volcanic mountains that line the West Coast

Reflections at the top of the world

Clouds around Mt. Baker--notice the lack of snow

Sample of wildflowers in bloom

Looking back from the trail

Folded back on itself...must have been an amazing sight

And a rainbow on the way back down to top off the day

We need to get back up here soon or all the huckleberries will be gone, they must be ready now since everything is 2-3 months ahead of schedule!