Sunday, October 31, 2010

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!

Our first Halloween in Washington! It was a night of true Washington form - it rained - but that didn't stop anything!

We started off our day on a VERY scary note - we tried a new kind of coffee - coffee that some would consider to be the scariest in existence - Kopi Luwak. This coffee has been selected by a Paradoxurus Hermaphroditis (better known as the Asian Palm Civet Cat) who eats only the finest and ripest cherries (the fruit of the coffee plant). Eventually, after being digested, the civet POOPS out the stones (more commonly called "beans"). The "beans" are collected and cleaned and eventually become the coffee beans we, now, know and love. Holy goodness, it was good (luckily for us, since one cup cost about as much as an appetizer at Applebees....).

 Should make about 6 cups in all...

After that, it was day as usual - until Trick-Or-Treating Time!!

Chad and I have been at home since 4:30 this afternoon. See in California, soon after then is when the trick-or-treating beings - the parents want to get it done BEFORE it gets dark. So we wait, dark comes.... and we  wait.... and I get discouraged. We even bought GOOD candy this year! Then it happens!

DING! DONG!

All in all, we got 10 trick-or-treaters. About 3 an hour between 6:30 and 8:00.... We only bought enough candy for 30, so ok, we weren't TOO disappointed. But still...

Who wouldn't want to come up to THIS creepy entry?!
(yes... we did have the porch light on)
 
Chad did admit to me that this year he did more halloween-y stuff then he ever had (since living on his own). We carved a pumpkin, put creepy purple/black lights up around the door, bought candy, and decorated the inside of the house. That made me happy. I mean think about it - 355 days a year are really boring... but there are around 10 fun ones to look forward to - days you get to act like a kid, have a little fun, and not have to justify it in the least.


I can't wait till Thanksgiving (that's the next day, silly :)!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Slice! Hack! Cut! Stab!!! ewwwwwwww....

PUMPKIN GUTS!


That's right! Its almost Halloween! Which means it was time to carve a pumpkin! YESSSS!

We got 8 pumpkins this year! 3 baby orange ones, 2 baby white ones, 1 sugar baby, 1 squaty, Cinderella-y one, and one big carving one! Chad and I got a little over zealous this year, what can I say?

I'm gonna make a pie with our sugar baby, and I think eventually we are going to cut up, roast and eat the Cinderella-y one, and the little ones, well they are decorating our house (along with some Indian colored corn). But the big one! Oh its fate has been SEALED!

Milli, and Joule, were really REALLY interested in this whole process!
In fact, Milli was just DYING to lick our fingers,
after they were covered in pumpkin guts.


Here he is - his halloween debut!

Our Pumpkin!


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Giggly - Like a High School Girl! 6 Months Baby!

So I don't think I told you all this... but I figure better late then never!

On October 10th, Chad and I celebrated our 6 month anniversary!

I know, I know, it sounds like we're in high school - but really it was celebrated for some very important reasons.

First off, hellloooooo we just got married! Our FIRST marriage! Of course we're excited!

Then there was the wine. Ohhhhh, the wine. Its pretty cool - when we were on our honeymoon, we stopped in Santorini, Greece. We were lucky enough to take a tour through the historic neighborhoods and vineyards, learning all about their grapes along the way.

Actual picture from our honeymoon - they way
all their grapes are grown - protects them from the wind.
 
The grapes, come to find out are rather unique. Only grown there, in sweet little twisted baskets on the ground. All of them are grown the same way, and are all pretty much the same variety, Assyrtiko. And all produce basically the same bottle of wine - regardless of the final cost of the bottle! So, before we left, Chad and I SPLURGED on a 7 Euro bottle of wine!

We hadn't drank it up to this point, just been sitting there, aging... which for this wine, was probably not a good thing. So we needed a holiday - and our 6 month anniversary was the perfect occasion! YAY! Love AND Wine!


And the last reason we celebrated this cute, little day - if we HAD saved our wedding cake's toppest tier - that was the day we said we'd eat it! Cause seriously... who eats year old, frozen cake....

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

You say "Huckle!" I say "Berry!" HUCKLE! BERRY! HUCKLE! BERRY!

I have to admit - I didn't have high hopes for today. I mean how could I? Yesterday was... well... typical. Cold, wet, kinda boring.... But today - today was different!

Today was beautiful. Clear blue skies. Warm sun on my skin (even through the sweatshirt). Got to take Milli on the longest walk shes been on in weeks. But best of all - there they were - in all their glory - beautiful, blackish-blue orbs of awesome - the huckleberries.


Come to find out, we have quite a few huckleberry plants right here, practically in our "backyard." The most prolific species being the Evergreen Huckleberry. Coming in at an extremely scarce second, the Red Huckleberry.

It took me a while to identify the evergreen type - I mean, I'm not just gonna pop any ole berry into this mouth - there are very few pictures of the evergreen variety on the internet. Luckily for me, they are a rather unique plant, er shrub. Alternating, serrated, leaves, on each stem, stems that create a plant that's rarely as tall as I am. This part, easy enough to look up - the part that threw me was the difference in berries.... See, the exact same looking plant, with the exact same leaves and patters would have dramatically different berries on them! Most often a blackish, smooth, clear orb would be present. But about one out of every five, would have this lighter blue, cloudy berry on it..... weird? Yes.

In the middle of the picture you can
KINDA see some lightish blue berries,
whereas on the very right edge of the pic you
can see some really dark black ones....

Come to find out - that's just how they roll. Some are black, some are blue, and you never know which plant will grow which berry, until the berries appear! Mystery solved - time to eat!

During our walk to, up and around, Island Lake park, Milli and I collected about a cups worth of berries. Yup. One. Cup. And we were walking for about an hour. We got mostly the black berries, about 1/4 cloudy blue ones and 3 red ones.... yes 3. Milli didn't really help much - she wasn't so into the waiting around patiently while I stared at a plant, trying to adjust my eyes. In fact, by pulling on the leash, she made me drop more than I collected in the beginning.

 This is Milli about 20 minutes after getting home.
I think I can safely say our walk wore her out!

Honestly though, I didn't mind Milli's "help." Having her around makes me feel just A LITTLE less weird - making people think I'm walking the dog... instead of stalking the plants....

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Colors! Colors Everywhere!

It is fall. It was 49 degrees for most of the day. We had chili and corn bread for dinner. Halloween is just around the corner. But best of all - are trees are all but green.

This is new to me. In fact, its so new that I hardly noticed it at first - I wasn't looking for it. In fact, it took an email from my sister-in-law, Crystal, for me to wake up and take a look at the trees.

There they were - yellow, orange, red leaves! Leaves all over the ground - entire inches thick! Leaves snapping off and gently falling to the grass - leaving bare twigs for trees. Awesome.

Then just yesterday - the news confirmed it - the Kitsap Peninsula is in the peak of the "color" season. We've hit it earlier than most places.

These pictures were both taken
right in our neighborhood!

I'm ok with that. Because that just means I get to enjoy it now - while others have to wait.

I welcome fall, beautiful fall..... but I dread the winter that follows....

Monday, October 25, 2010

A Dark Night of Twists, Turns and Pumpkins!!

Did you know there is an entire corn maze underground? An entire group of farmers who sacrifice entire acres of corn. Who cut paths, create maps and think in terms of getting from point A to point B?? Well there is - and Chad and I are lucky enough to live by one!

Friday night was again, date night! YAY! Two amazing things came out of this past Friday Night - We found the best sushi on the peninsula so far, and we went to Minder Farms.

Origami Sushi - best sushi in Silverdale!

Minder Farms - cute, hour of wonderful fun, with some slight frustration, with a hint of spooky.


Friday was the last dry night of the weekend. It was 8 o'clock pm, dark, cold, and there was an awesome haze over the moon - making it have a creepy glow - very appropriate for our evening out! The maze was a corn maze, it was huge. There were 6 checkpoints thoughout - if you found them in order, you were doing well - we found all but the last one without cheating.... it was so hard! And I was getting frustrated and a little cold, and the little cheater path SOMEONE ELSE created was just too tempting the 3rd time around....

Ahhhh! A ghost!!

My fearless leader! The man with the
map memory AND the flashlight!

Finally out, we bought a couple pumpkins - one to carve and one a future pie and that was that. A wonderful, small town, evening night out.

Chad wouldn't let me get this one...
Some lame excuse about not owning
a chainsaw....

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Little Trees = Super Cool

A couple weeks ago, Chad was feeling ambitious - he REALLY wanted to do something during the coming long weekend. After a bit of research on the internet - he found it - our weekend destination:

Elandan Gardens
Oh, my goodness - this place was amazing.

Elandan Gardens is a 6-acre area, located on top of an old land fill, right on the Bremerton waterfront. There are two main events on the property 1) a funky little store, selling antiques, cards and weird little knick-knacks, and 2) a Bonsai Tree museum/garden.


I have seen my fair share of bonsai trees - but there was something uniquely different about these ones - they were ugly and knotted. They were stumpy and without symmetry. They were obviously labors of love. They were each collected, trained and loved by Dan Robinson - a man Chad and I were lucky enough to meet and get a private tour from. You see, the day we went to the gardens it was -raining- and we were the only ones there.

After we walking around the grounds on our own, I was a little in the dark about a few of the techniques mentioned on the informational sheets attached to the trees. So that was our in! When we met Dan - I asked him to clarify a little and that was it! He took us into his work area - he showed us how he collects them, makes sure they will live, then shapes and molds and trains them. He showed us how he can tell how old they are, how he gets them to grow the directions he wants, how he shrinks them down. Dan was amazing - he has so much vision and love for these little trees.

I recommend the gardens to anyone visiting the area. Have you ever seen a thousand-year-old tree? How about a bogenvia or crab apple bonsai?? Well you will and the tour is worth every penny of the $8 entrance fee and two hours it takes to tour them. And if your lucky, Dan will be out there working, picking weeds and positioning them.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

So, I'm a slacker... whatever.

It has been a while since my last post.

But, its a new week. I'm home and happy. And there's lots of fun stuff going on!

Sooooo.... come back tomorrow and there will be a real post!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A Day of Ups and Downs....

Ever have one of those days?

You know, one of those days that you know is going to eventually suck, but starts off wonderfully?

Anyway - here is how today started - awesomely:

I found the Clear Creek Task Force! And by found, I mean I attended their monthly meeting - which felt a little like intruding on a board meeting - but without the awkwardness.

CCTF is basically areally, ity-bity, teeny-weeny, version of the national forest association I was in while living in San Diego - which is AWESOME!

There is a creek that runs though the entire length of the city of Silverdale - and around this meandering creek is a trail - or a series of trails. These trails were almost all created by and are maintained by this group of volunteers! Its so wonderful - they are even letting my Atheist and Agnostic Group adopt a portion of it!!! (more about that to come after some details have been ironed out). There is even a program where baby salmon are raised in classrooms in the area, then the kids get to come out and release them into the creek!

After the meeting the day progressed rather nicely - lunch with a friend, nice walk with the hubby, then an awesome workout at the base gym. Oh! And Milli learned how to play fetch this evening! She can now exercise herself! All I have to do is throw the ball!

video

I know its sideways... Though she's special Milli can't defy the laws of physics...

Then.... the boring, cold, darkness hit...

Chad has duty tonight. Its freezing in our house and Chad is the only one who knows how to turn on the heater AND the fireplace. I made an awesome dinner reinventing most of the leftovers in the fridge, but Chad one-uped me by having the take-out pizza he never lets me get. Now Milli is freaking out because she has to pee, but there is a raccoon in the yard. Then my friend asked me to babysit his friends kids while he and her go bowling.... right... like I needed that cherry (I said no :).

All in all an amazing day, and a meh night. I'm not down or anything, just not exactly excited. This weekend however - is going to be awesome! Chad gets off early tomorrow, he has a surprise planned and we're going to the pumpkin patch!! YAY!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Don't Be Jealous of THIS Green Thumb!

We moved here just a little too late in the season. Just a little too late to start a true vegetable garden. So I had to be creative, had to settle, had to use a bit of technology. Or so I thought... But either way, I have a garden, fresh veggies, fresh herbs, lots of green!


Come to find out the Kitsap Peninsula is rather weird. It has its own climate, its own number and color on all the gardening charts. Apparently, very different from the rest of Washington. Where we live allows for a year round growing season for many plants - the weather is considered fairly mild. This means, I can grow radishes, lettuces, strawberries, and more outside, year round, without too much fear. Then for the pickier plants, there are distinct times to plant anything but tropicals - bananas, unfortunately are not in our future.


So now, since we were cautious in the beginning - Chad and I have a thriving inside and outside garden. Outside we have radishes, lettuce, beets, strawberries and rosemary. While inside, we have an herb garden (in the AeroGarden) with Thyme, Oregano, Basil, Mint, Parsley, and Savory.

There is nothing like a spaghetti and salad dinner, made with mostly things you have grown yourself - fresh, tasty and as local as it gets.


Oh yeah, our Christmas Cactus LOVES it here!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

It's a Sad Day.

My Great Aunt Eva passed today. Probably the most loving, wonderful person I have ever had the pleasure to be related to.


I have so many fond memories!

Aunt Eva, it will always be your Christmas Eve Party, Aunt Eva's Christmas Eve Party.
I love you, always will.

Rest in peace.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Road Trip!!

Have you ever driven though an area and once you were though it, you WISH you would have stopped and taken some pictures??

This happens to me - ALL THE TIME!

And finally FINALLY I got Chad on board to make our road trip just a little longer... just long enough for me to snap the following odd/funny/interesting pictures of a few road side "attractions" on our drive from Sacramento to Washington.

Ok... he wouldn't actually stop for a couple of them... so some of the pictures kinda suck.... but funny none the less.


This is Lake Shasta - when we had driven though hereonly two months ago, you couldn't see nearly as much of the red shore as you could this time!


This is Mount Shasta - last time it was engulfed in clouds. The first of three volcanoes we saw including Hood and Rainier.


This is a sign in the city of Weed. You can't quite see it but the shirt on the right corner says: I (heart) Weed. I thought it was funny.


State of Jefferson. The first time Chad and I had come up to WA we had watched a documentary about the US and the history of state lines - and there TOTALLY used to be a state of Jefferson, making this building the physical manifestation of our inside joke.


This is a metal cow. Its directly off the I-5, about 10 minutes south of Yreka, CA. After a bit of research I found out it was made by a Yreka artist named
Ralph Starritt and its name is "Moo-Donna."


This, another sheet-metal sculpture by Ralph, this time north of Yreka, is a dragon. Close up, its awesome!


Yet another little side trip, Chad took me to Salem, the capitol of Oregon. It was totally spur of the moment, and right before sunset!

Unfortunately at this point of the trip it was dark, making pictures impossible. There were a few other things I thought were cool along the way, but were unable to get a snapshot of:

*Historic Highway 99 signs... who has EVER heard of highway 99 before....
*Government Created Dustbowl signs throughout the area south of Sacramento! Fun slogans like No Water & No Jobs = Higher Food Costs, and Congress Created Dust Bowl.
*The Enchanted Forest - its this theme park with this weird giant ogre thing and some funny bright buildings in front of it!

On such a long drive, pretty much all you have as entertainment is the window - and luckily the CA/OR/WA landscape has a TON to offer!

Bonus!


Chad bought this at a gas station bathroom vending machine! Inside was this little circle with "When sexual situations arise, women, place this circle between knees, and hold in place till situation passes!" HA! Totally effective birth control!