Around the Farm

Capturing textures and details can be the best part of taking photos. I spend some time finding different lighting, color, and texture a few weeks back. It was time to take a small break from the fun family sessions that have been keeping me so busy!

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Grandmother’s Pride & Joy

I’ve known my favorite family with the big red barn for many, many years. Many of those years were without a photo of everyone at the same time in the same place.

When asked by Grandma Kathy to take photos of the many kids who have called the family property home, I was happy to get the camera out and capture a moment in time for her.  It was a cold and very windy day- and everyone did their part to make it a fun and QUICK photo session.  I see why there is so much of a Grandmother’s Pride & Joy in these photos as each grandchild brings laughter and happiness to her in their own way.

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Those Hills

I have the opportunity to travel the state for my “real” job.  I spend about 1 week a month away from home.  This allows for a little exploration after the 8-5 day. I get to see towns and scenery that most people wouldn’t think to visit unless they were on the way to somewhere else. This month, I spent a week amongst the green, rolling Palouse. It was gorgeous. Every time I turned a corner, I lost my breath with the contrasting waves of color. There were charming little towns, old farm houses (swoon), and more empty roads than I’ve seen in a while.  The southeast corner of Washington makes you feel like you are in the middle of America filled with prairie land and hometown pride.

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Let the Sun In

Before the last big push to Autumn (and the glory that is leggings and wool socks), let’s take a minute to remember how lovely this summer was in the Pacific Northwest. The sun was out, the air was warm, and we had some incredible summer storms.

These little lovelies were taken at Ritter Farms in Cle Elum, Washington.  A place that feels like home, was the scene of the first day of our marriage, and a constant reminder of love mixed with hard work.

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Suburban Homesteading

Although I’ve grown fond of my current home, I don’t quite belong in the suburban area of Olympia. I am naturally drawn to the extremes of a big city or small town.  Lately, it’s definitely been on the smaller side of things. This is best demonstrated when I use my spare time to do a little homesteading. This can be anywhere from using local flora for decor, or making preserves from local bounties.

After a trip to my Gram’s orchard, I found myself with two large crates of our family pears amongst apples and Italian prunes.  In hopes of avoiding waste (and fruit flies), I took to the kitchen with mason jars and some patience. Pears were 1st.

The method is so simple:

Wash & Rinse

Cut pears in half

Remove the core

Peel and chunk

Add a squeeze of local honey and lemon juice in the bottom of each jar

Add the pears with some hot water

And finish in a water bath to seal

No unnatural additives, just pure, sweet home pears.

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An Afternoon in the Blueberries

At our house, we try to stay local whenever we can.

Eat Local, Shop Local, Adventure Local.

A much needed day away from work allowed for some free time on a stunning Friday afternoon, so I took to the county road and spent a few hours in the quiet, warm, rows of deliciously plump blueberries at Teddie’s Berries in Olympia, Washington (right off littlerock road).  Teddie’s offers several long rows of blueberries for the picking. The farm also is home to Black River Winery, of which I did not partake unfortunately as I was there on a mission for berries only. (not to say there won’t be another visit out someday…) Back to the berries. They are plump, sweet, and ready for eating.  This season’s rates are $1.30 per lb for U-Pick and $2.30 for prepicked berries.  It was well worth my $1 savings per pound for a few quiet hours out in the blueberry rows. Not to mention, the pure joy associated with pulling a warm berry straight off the bush to make sure that bush was sweet enough to pick…This was a perfect summer outing, and my only regret is that I didn’t bring a group to enjoy the fun (and maybe missing out on a wine tasting).

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One of the few

Today I spent some time in Puyallup, Washington taking in the last of a dying tradition. Puyallup Valley used to be known as the premier place to grow bulbs for tulips and daffodils.  The street signs in town clearly indicate a proud herritage of Daffodil Farms.  I visited one of the last two daffodil farms in the area, which has decided to call it quits after generations (90 years!) of farming.  The area is sprawling and the farm will most likely be purchased for futher development.  When walking to the main storefront of Van Lierop’s, many extra things are for sale above and beyond flowers.  I managed to pick up 3- 80 year old bulb boxes.  They will gain new life as garden boxes for my greens gardent this summer.  Plows, buckets, wheel barrows and miscelaneous farm equiptment have hand priced tags.

The fields are still blooming. When I romanticize about fields of flowers- I see rows and rows of golden yellow blooms. This is not the case at Van Lierop’s, as the flowers are picked before they bloom. I managed to find a small batch that had survived the daily cut, that are tucked in rows of green overlooked by Mt. Rainier. I will get my fill of endless blooms in the coming weeks up near Mt. Vernon I suppose.

Although an era is ending for Van Lierop’s Bulb farm, they take pride in their flowers and are clearly loved by the community.  Perhaps who ever purchases the farm will continue the legacy…

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