Sunday, June 28, 2009

New Season at Roche Harbor

Tomorrow I start what I think is my 7th season selling my knitting and weaving at my booth at Roche Harbor Resort on San Juan island. I am sharing the booth this year with Pat McDole who is a watercolorist and jewelery maker (see Pat's work on the Island Studios website, click on paintings) and Mary who quilts and sews. I think the combination of products looks especially good. The booth is open 7 days a week through Labor Day weekend and the three of us take turns being there. I will spend two or three days a week on San Juan Island for the rest of the summer.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

New Potatoes

We had our first new potatoes at market today, a basket of French Fingerlings. I love this type of potato. They are wonderful boiled, fried, in potato salad, roasted. Because they are a waxy type of potato they don't make good bakers or mashed potatoes but they can't be beat for the above recipes.

And we finally had enough strawberries to take. They didn't last long. These are Shuksans, a really sweet good tasting variety. We also have a planting of Seascapes, a variety popular in California, but in our garden they are pretty tasteless. They may need more heat than the Pacific Northwest can provide to sweeten up. I've been using them for jam and saving these for fresh eating and sales.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Wild Strawberries

On my way home from a walk this afternoon I cut through the woods and found the ground covered with wild strawberries. They are so tiny, it takes a great many of them to make a real mouthful, but oh, they are so good.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


One of our fellow farmers on San Juan Island, Synergy Farm, has started a recipe blog for their farm. They've got great recipes for all sorts of local products and plan on adding a lot more as the season progresses. I recommend checking them out.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Random Stripes

There are a number of ways to make stripes. You can make them symmetrical, use a fibonacci sequence, use a stripe generator, wrap yarns around a piece of cardboard, etc. In this case I had a bunch of leftover warp yarn from rug making in various small amounts. So I laid them out in what seemed a pleasing color order and then just wound a stripe until I ran out of yarn or got to an inch of warp. If there was still yarn left on the cone after an inch I put it back in the sequence. I'm rather pleased with the result.
I'm weaving it up in a fancy 8 harness twill using blue or yellow or green as weft. I have enough warp for 6 runners so will experiment with treadling and color on each one.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


There's nothing like a few sprinkles of rain to make us hustle to get the last of the hay in. I've hayed since I was a little girl riding on top of the hay wagon to tamp it down so more could be loaded on. I've hayed with horses and tractors and trucks. It is a hot, dirty sweaty job. I am stiff and sore and have blisters, but the barn is full of a glorious abundance of hay for the animals that we are responsible for. That is such a good feeling. I am happy this evening.

First Jam of the Season

I just made two batches of strawberry rhubarb jam, the first jam of the season. We have a bumper crop of rhubarb thanks again to the cool wet spring and the strawberries are just starting to ripen. We have been grazing through the patch daily eating anything that vaguely looks ripe but I finally managed to collect enough for jam. Joel baked bread and we had toasted homemade bread and the above jam for breakfast.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Sweet William

One of my favorite flowers is Sweet William (Dianthus barbatus). And this year in spite of, or because of, a hard winter and a cool wet spring I have the nicest ones I've ever had. Cousins of carnations, they come in shades of red and pink and white and combinations of those with a sweet spicy sweet smell that made them one of the plants called Gilliflowers in the past. They are also one of the longest lasting cut flowers.

It's time to plant them for next year. I'll plant a flat in the greenhouse and hold them in the cold frames until I have a spare spot in the garden for them. As biennials they grow vegetatively one year and bloom the following spring.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Summer Kitchen

I do love my wood cookstove but there are times in the summer when I just don't want to keep a fire going during the day or heat up the house in the evening. It makes it too hard to sleep. Luckily in this climate those sort of days don't happen all that often. But when they do, we have set up a summer kitchen outside to cook simple meals or to heat hot water to make tea or coffee. It's just a two burner hotplate hooked to a propane tank but I love cooking on it on warm summer evenings and then eating outside on the lawn until the bugs drive us inside to a nice cool house.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


The barn has a ton of beautiful sweet smelling hay in it. We've traded two lambs for it and last evening Joel and I pitched it up into the barn loft. He pitched a forkful up into the loft and I moved it back out of the way of the next forkful. Hot dusty work, but the hay smells so sweet and it is such a good feeling to have it. We don't have very many sheep and in this climate they can depend on pasture for much of the winter. But the time comes when they need the hay. This year we won't have to buy any off island an haul it over here.

For years, those of us who have animals on the island have fantasized about having a hay baler. But the amount of hay we put up and the small amount of land we hay has simply never justified the expense. So we put it up the same way my grandfather did, forkful by forkful.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


I actually like weeding. I like getting my hands into the soil, pulling out the weeds and looking back along the row to see the plants free of their competition. I like it a lot better than cleaning house (as anyone who has visited me will attest). But we are reasonable about weeding. These early cabbages won't need to be weeded again. They are big enough and cast enough shade to keep any new weeds at bay, unlike onions which can't compete at all and need to be kept really weed free right up until harvest. We hoe between the beds and the rows and hand weed around the plants. This evening when it finally got sort of cool we were out weeding sunflowers and beans. One of the nice things about hand work is that you can hear the birds sing.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Wild Roses

We are in the midst of a spell of really warm days, up into the 80's, which we are definitely not used to. The garden, however, is thriving and so are the wild roses. This island has literally acres of Rosa nutkana with their beautiful pink flowers and wonderful spicy wild rose scent. In this warmth the whole island smells wonderful.