It was a stellar summer in western Washington this year. I cannot even remember such a consistently warm, dry, and idyllic summer. In August a bunch of friends visited from out of town, the tomatoes got ripe, the sunflowers got big, the BBQ's were plentiful, the nieces and nephews played, and Golden Gardens hosted night after night of beautiful sunsets.
I kept harvesting in the garden, as well as started planting for fall crops and overwintering veggies. I liked to challenge myself to make meals that were almost all from the backyard garden.
I also got to learn about honey extraction through a demonstration by Seattle Bee Works. They set up a screened tent in West Seattle, and had all the tools for harvesting honey, along with a large, 20-frame motorized extractor. It was open to beekeepers bringing their own honey to extract for a small fee, or just for the public to learn about the process.
I helped "uncap" the honey frames by using an old-school hot roller knife to take off the the layer of wax on the comb that tells us that finished honey is underneath. Then the uncapped frames get spun in the extractor, and honey comes out the bottom. Then that honey is put through a strainer to remove bits of wax. And voila! You have pure, raw honey ready to eat. (I still haven't decided if I'm going to harvest any of my own honey this year... more on that soon. But just in case you are wondering, both of my hives are alive and doing well!)
I also did a couple day hikes with girfriends. Off I-90, Tessa and I climbed up to Mailbox Peak. That's a great one if you don't have time to go far, but you still want a killer quad workout. It's something like 3,100 feet of elevation gain in 2.8 miles. That's basically like climbing stairs the whole time. But the views are worth it, and as a bonus there is a mailbox at the top full of surprises. There are endearing "letters to self" from teenagers, random pictures of Eminem, bug spray, bandaids, maps, keychains, etc. A friend told me that when she went last year, there was a whole bottle of whisky. So the contents are always changing- make sure to bring something of your own to leave!Monte Cristo, a ghost town from silver mining prospects of the late 1890's. I am fascinated by the idea of a local, mountainous ghost town and plan to go there someday soon. But instead, we forked off the river trail and climbed up to the stunning Gothic Basin at 5,200 feet.