Monday, September 07, 2015

Farm Scenes in July and August

Early July slid its way into mid-July, which morphed into late July, which is, at this time, a semi-distant memory. This year the farm had, personnel-wise, a lot of moving parts and a frequent changing of the faces and people I would see regularly in a farm/work context, which is also usually a farm/we all live here context. Different eras. It has kept things interesting, that's for sure. The boys left at some point in July. I made them paintings. N.'s likes were meteorites and weeping willows. His dislike was traffic.
On another night H., the boys and I all went to Hong Kong Gardens (AKA "The Top") for dinner.
L. and S. were kind enough to foot the bill and we had a lovely evening on one of the establishment's decks.
Not as much ping pong has been played this year, but corn hole has seen a comeback.
Before the boys left I took the opportunity of two extra sets of trained hands to get away for a few days. I went and visited J. near Sedro-Wooley. She was house/animal sitting for her sister. So I got to meet some new sheep.
It had been a long time since I had left the farm for more than 24 hours. And going more than an hour or so away (excluding trips to Seattle for farm-related markets or deliveries of pickups) hadn't really been something I'd done of late either. It was pure luxury to have a couple of strung together days where I could see a few new things and appreciate the beauty that is this general area. Seriously, Washington is great J. is also great for extending the invitation. I have zero complaints about the place I live in terms of the things I get to see on a daily basis, but I grew accustomed to water being my landscape's defining feature. Or mountains, properly snow capped, as a distant backdrop. Where we were, the foothills of those familiar backdrops suddenly loomed, ever present, and were in and of themselves impressive. And yet the overall landscape kind of demanded that you understood that these moderately sloped and non-snow capped "mountains" were but little hills in relation to Mt. Baker and its range.  The next day after arriving at J.'s I drove to Baker Lake. I hadn't done a lot of research about it, but I like lakes, and I figured it'd be a fine way to spend part of an afternoon. I was right, though my expectations were slightly left of reality. I expected that there would be a quite obvious main parking area for day swimmers etc., and figured I'd check that out. But that wasn't quite the case. There were a number of turnoffs to campgrounds, but due to my lack of real research, I hadn't realized these also doubled as 'day use' locations, which led me to driving a good number of additional miles along the lake, past where the paved road turned to gravel and the turnoffs for maintained campgrounds ceased. I saw fewer and fewer cars or people. I did realize that there seemed to be a number of relatively worn paths that could lead to the lake if you were so inclined to follow them. So eventually that's what I did. But before that, these are some views I saw.

Finally I saw what looked like a promising path, parked my car along the road, walked a short distance down a steep embankment and found myself a pretty good spot. There was a culvert/stream and a lot of floating wood, but some solid fallen logs/trees right on the water were large and settled enough to set oneself up for a nice little afternoon.
The culvert/waterfall.
My particular view. I forget which book I was reading at the time, but I was enjoying it.
The road I drove. Definitely on the bumpier side.
The water had a turquoise shimmer to it. For being 'glacial' in nature, I didn't find it unbearably cold when I took a dip. In fact, at least in a sunny little spot along the shore, I'd say it was comparable to - if not warmer than - the sound.

I returned and J. and I hung out and then two of her friends came over and we grilled steaks and kabobs. All was good and right.
J.'s sister has at least 25 or so chickens that free range around her parcel. I was a little intimidated by the roosters, but nothing actually went wrong.
Pretty skies.
On my last day/evening to play around with, I was quite flummoxed as to how to spend it. Part of me wanted to waste money I don't really have and go to a nice hotel in Seattle and have fancy food and drinks. Another part of me wanted to camp somewhere pretty. Or to go to some remote but still fancy hotel. In the end I stopped in Anacortes to consider a hotel there, decided against it, went to a brewery for lunch and a beer sampler, then ultimately chose to camp at Deception Pass State Park for the evening.
I wouldn't say I loved the campground. It's understandably a destination park and the sites are quite close can't really forget that you're actually surrounded by people. That said, I had a relatively quiet spot and enjoyed it. Just not enough to go back.

This photo was taken the day the boys left. You'll note that Coco is trying to attack my face with kisses and licks.

My view on one Ballard farmer's market day.

The sheep are never not entertaining.
And they can fly.
Oh the sad a final day of H.'s time on the farm. You can't see it, but she is receiving a 'farm diploma.'
We went to Langley for one last outing before I dropped her off at the airport shuttle. It was sad. And bubbly.
On the same or next evening after H.'s departure I went to Langley again to see D. and G. and their band play a show at the resident hipster-y restaurant in town. It was good. I enjoyed it and wasn't as scared by all the strangers as I sometimes am.
I made some more paintings. G.'s likes were smoking a chillum and "rockin' xylophones." His dislike was going on a cruise with his family and the song Sweet Home Alabama coming on multiple times.
W. had a birthday party and I saw this cat and bicycle.

I also insisted on photographs of the two of us, which came out only so-so.
Rodo gearing up to bark at Jett below.
I gave the chickens H.'s leftover lo mein.
Another day at the beach.
Coco gets a treat.
Sometimes I get a little scratched and beaten in my work.
Other times I see beautiful things.
A post-market meal...ramen! It was good. Though not great. Nothing quite as lovely as Ippudo or as satisfying as Nom Nom.
I've befriended (kind of) one of the many flower vendors at the markets we go to; he often will just give me a bouquet at the end of the day, which I love. But on this particular day I wanted to purchase some flowers for myself and my soon-to-be-visiting family. But he just handed me a whole bucket free of charge, which was wonderful.
Cuz K. and her hubby A. came to the farm for a few days. I showed them around in the golf cart after they arrived.
A. was really digging getting to help out a little. He came to the parlor for morning milking with me a few times and the sheep appreciated the care he took in giving them their morning's grain ration.
We wore our bibs...his he brought with him for this express purpose, mine he gave me for Christmas.
We did a little take on American Gothic.
Cuz K. has a bun in the oven, which is a weird way of saying she's pregnant. It was great to see her a little into her pregnancy and to be assured that even if she can't crack open a beer, we can still have good times together;) I can't wait to meet her little one and teach that little lass all sorts of farm-y, camp-y, artsy fartsy, foodie things. 
Of course we played Rummy. Cuz K. actually had a score sheet we had started when we went to Jamaica, which we then continued in Tennessee and maybe Ohio too. Our plan is to keep this running tally until forever times.
Last year I never quite got around to getting my obligatory 'lying across all the sheep during milking' photo. This year I made sure not to make that mistake.
Another day I went to Goss Lake for a swim and reading session.
I finally set up my tent down at the beach for some nice beach sleeping times.
On one of the first of my evenings in the tent, I came down for a swim and then sat and got to see this.
Rainbows man. They're cool.
On another night W. and her friend M. came down and we had some drinks and chats by headlamp.
One morning sky.
An afternoon beach session with Rodo.
The view.
On my evenings of tentlife I'd usually set myself up, swim, read a while, then Rodo and I would take a long walk to stretch our legs before hunkering down for the evening.
These are all photos from some of those walks. While this side of the island doesn't get to see the sunset, it's still quite beautiful at the dusk/twilight portion of the day.

Some collected stones.
Another morning.
Rodo is pretty funny at the beach during the walks. He'll walk ahead of me, but will turn back every couple of minutes to make sure I'm still following.
Rocks in a huge mass of dirt/clay from a landslide.
One tent morning I woke up to Rodo and I totally spooning. He usually sleeps closer to my feet, so this was a surprise. I took a photo and closed my eyes to make it real.
Another day there were a number of sheep to deworm. I used a fancy contraption to do so a bit more quickly and B. - another new face - took this photo.
I made a slow cooked, wine braised lamb shoulder on one particularly rainy day.
Then went to karaoke with W., C., and a few other folks.
My farmer's market look on one Saturday.
Two slugs getting it on, I think?
Blackberries above my tent.
My attempt at enticing some lambs to eat some other blackberries...they were too skittish to realize the treat they were capable of getting.
New book, another tent night, post-swim.
A particularly beautiful morning sky. It's crazy how quickly the time goes, even now the sun is rising a good bit later than it was at this point in time.
The trail down the cliff to the beach is not for the faint of heart, and certain sections were getting a bit sketchy as far as being sturdy. The past month or so S. and an everchanging group of helpers have been shoring up some of the most troubled spots. On this particular day a good number of us all came down to do what we could.

Right before this photograph was taken, there were still stairs attached below of  the stairs you can see. S. used a chainsaw to free them from being linked (as they were listing dangerously). Then we jumped. Just kidding, we didn't jump. We would have broken our legs, and no one wants that. Though when he was sawing and the stairs gave way, S. almost toppled with them, so it was good I was there kind of holding onto him. I saved him. Ish.
Hard to see it, but all those black specks on the water are birds. A flotilla of birds, if you will.
An eagle perched directly above me as I sit outside my tent.
B. left and L. came. On this particular night she may have permanently borrowed a glass from an establishment we had been earlier that evening. L. was a great and positive addition to the farm (she had been an intern here two seasons back). She increased the 'singing songs late at night while drinking beer' activity schedule quite a lot, and in a way I appreciated fully. Great girl. I was sorry to see her go.
On a day off I went to the mainland, watched a movie and ate Korean food.
A more muted morning sky.
The fires in Eastern Washington are creating enough smoke that we can see it here too, or at least we could. This was a morning where the smoke so played with the sun's light, it became neon and shifty.
Sheep in the chute.
Good ol' morning light.
So many bruises.
Coco in my laundry pile.