Tuesday, August 6, 2013

July: Beautiful and Busy

Usually in western Washington, summer doesn't really start until after the 4th of July. This year however, it was warm even in June. Instead of the usually grey Independence Day, it was blazingly hot. I spent the holiday volunteering at the Center for Wooden Boats on South Lake Union, greeting visitors at their annual festival. Families played on the grass, boat enthusiasts milled around the docks, and there was even a marching band on floats.

Then I rode to upper Fremont to watch the fireworks from a friend's apartment rooftop. It was a beautiful warm evening, with stellar views of the city and all the boats clustered on the water. (Did you know that the 4th is the one night of the year that boats are allowed to drop an anchor in Lake Union? Then they just have to pull it up by 6am on the 5th.)
I was enjoying the sunny days so much, and kept thinking they would end anytime. But surprisingly, that never happened. It was bright and sunny for the whole month. That is unheard of. In fact, according to the Cliff Mass weather blog, this was the driest July since 1960, and he claims it was possibly the "nicest" July in generations, based on a combination of factors.

That sounds like a good thing, right? Well, it mostly was, except it was a little hard on me as a Seattleite. Because we are so used to grey weather, when it's nice you have to drop everything and take advantage of it. But when you have that "carpe diem!" feel for a month straight, it can be exhausting. I literally don't know how to make myself return emails, do laundry, cook indoors, read, or anything else mellow and mundane when it's gorgeous outside.

So it was a fun and busy month. First of all there was the garden. I have one, plus am dating a gardener, so we ate a lot of meals with home-grown veggies. Tons of salads, grilled veggies, pasta and veggies, veggie galettes, as well as raspberries from his prolific little patch.
I have a small currant plant that made beautiful berries, but not enough to can or do much with, so I made my first cordial. I threw it in the fridge then used it as a float in champagne one night at dinner.
By mid-July it was time to harvest the garlic that had been growing dutifully since last October. I cleaned it up and made some braids. It was also time to start thinking about the fall and winter garden. It seems a little strange to be thinking of those season in the height of summer, but it was time to plant. Kale, beets, carrots, cilantro, parsley, arugula, salad mix, and chard all got sown.
Then I went to the wedding of a dear friend from college on the Kitsap Penninsula. It was at a beautiful venue with an orchard and gardens on yet another hot sunny day. Friends came from all over the country, some who I haven't seen in years.
Max and I did a day hike up to Annette Lake off of I-90. It was a beautiful spot and the water was perfect for swimming, oddly not cold at all.
There was time hanging with family, including my youngest niece who is now over 5 months old!
And finally, at the end of July, we got four new chickens. I forget what kinds they are, but they are all different so we will have different colored eggs! The oldest one is already laying, and the others should start laying soon.
The first couple days of August were cool and rainy, which was a welcome break. Now it's back to sun, and a lot planned for this coming month. I guess that's how summer should be!

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