Archive for the ‘Farm’ Category

Day Trip to Sequim

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

Milk is political? You're kidding, right?

Saturday, I headed over to Sequim (pronounce Skwim) with a friend, who’d never been. There’s a lot to do over there, but we hit what were (for us) the high points. Sequim’s claim to fame is that it’s in the rain shadow of the Olympics, so although it’s in the PNW, they get so little rain that they have to irrigate (and proclaim it with an annual Irrigation Festival.) They also grow a LOT of lavender (and have a Lavender Festival, as well.)

On the way into town, we stopped off for a lavender mocha (well, I guess that’s not my drink of choice, but it was worth a try) & then stopped at Sunshine Herb & Lavender Farm, which is always terrific. The fields are just coming into bloom now, and the nursery is full of different lavenders and other herbs. Their gift store is amazing, and they make everything themselves.

Then on to the Co-op, which is always fun, even though I’m not really a farm girl. But they do have cute Farm Girl brand jeans & Bogs. And lots of good lawn furniture. Then down the street is Over the Fence, which is always fun. Lots of home-type things, and candles. By this time, I had tried about every tester known to mankind, and my hands were soft and… let’s say “fragrant.”

We had lunch at the Oak Table Cafe, just off the main drag to prepare for a hike on Dungeness Spit. Good homestyle cooking, and a lot of it.

Then off to the Spit, but we made two stops on the way. One was to the Dungeness Valley Creamery, which provides the Puget Sound area with raw milk. I hadn’t had raw milk before coming to PT, and was amazed at the difference. Raw milk is illegal in some states, and even in WA, where it’s legal, they come under all sorts of attacks. (Read their testimonials page to see what I mean.) This operation was spotless, and filled with people going about their work with smiles on their faces. The cows out in the field looked contented & well-cared for, which is quite a change from “normal” dairy operations that I’ve passed, holding my nose & despairing for the animals that have to live that way.

Another quick stop at Nash’s Organic Farm stand. It was amazing all the vegetables and fruit they can provide this early in the season. I’ve seen a lot of hoop houses, so that’s probably the secret. The store is very well-organized, and displays the work of local artisans, as well.

Finally, on to Dungeness Spit. The tide was coming in, which pushed us up onto the rocky parts. We may have walked a mile, but it was a rough mile. The weather was gorgeous, though, and mountains, ocean and big driftwood is a wonderful combination. Renewed my intention to camp overnight there sometime.

More pix here. And recipe for Lavender Lemonade

Leaf-peepers

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009
Leaf-peepers

Leaf-peepers

Well, after a very long day of travel yesterday, I woke up in VA.

While I was gone, the maple outside my bedroom window went from dark green to caution-light yellow. I’ve heard people complaining about leaf-peepers. Now I know what they mean. How would you like to wake up to this? I wish I could describe the quality of the light in the morning. (Kind of like regaining consciousness in a highway construction zone? Without the noise?)

Anyway, I’m taking it easy today. Went to the library & paid my fine. (Heck, they needed a new wing anyway.) Got some more books, and the soundtrack to My Fair Lady. Just wait, I’ll be in Mexico, all by my lonesome, learning all the words to Wouldn’t It be Loverly. (Have I mentioned that I totally heart Julie Andrews? I know, I’m hopeless.)

It’s chilly & rainy, but not nearly as deathly cold as it was when I left. A good day to dust off the crockpot & fill it with something yummy. I’ve been wanting to try Kalua Pork for a long time, and finally found Hawaiin Salt @ WholeFoods. So this time tomorrow, that’s what we’ll be eating.

~Relief~

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

This is one of those days… one of those really good days!

After lots of angst & drama, resolution on a couple scores-

  1. I have decent health insurance, that even covers pre-existing conditions, and I can actually afford it! Virginia can be my home base, although I still plan to be mostly nomadic. (And yes, I still believe strongly that we need a national single-payer system. I would not wish these last few months of uncertainty on anyone.)
  2. We finally got rain, after a REALLY long dry spell. We could use some more, but at least it’s a start.

So, thanks to all who have been so supportive thru all my whining & moaning. I appreciate all the hand-holding (& patience!) Once again, things do have a way of working out.

And now I’m going to take a nap…

Neighborhood grocers, redux

Sunday, September 13th, 2009
George Bowers Grocery, Staunton, VA

George Bowers Grocery, Staunton, VA

Staunton (that’s “Stan-ton,” not “Stawn-ton”) Virginia takes pride in its blend of reverence for the old, with modern twists. Like the trolley car buses that minimize downtown traffic, while allowing easy access to landmarks and shops.

Not far from Downtown , New Town Staunton is also experiencing a renaissance. As old mansions and homes are being restored, so are some of the storefronts that served their original owners.

One of these is the George Bowers Grocery, originally founded in 1881. It’s been reclaimed to service by a young duo- Brian Wiedemann and Katie McCaskey- who stock the shelves with a variety of wines/beers, including many from Virginia and locally produced foodstuffs. They also grow some of  the produce they sell, in a rented city lot a few blocks away at Lush Farms.

Katie says that while they aren’t a one-stop shopping experience, the neighborhood has been very supportive of their efforts. And why not, when each item is carefully selected by the owners, who cultivate relationships with both their suppliers and patrons, and serve as a knowledgeable link between them.

In Downtown Staunton, there is another neighborhood grocery, with a slightly different slant. Cranberry’s is a natural foods grocery and deli (with juice bar, and gluten-free choices.) Like George Bowers, the accent is on local, and healthy.

While neighborhood groceries may not supplant the supermarket chains, the idea of a local grocery as a link, more accessible than a once or twice a week farmers market, and a gathering place for the neighborhood, may be an idea whose time has come- again.