Friday, July 31, 2009

All in a Day's Work

Last week I took a quick overnight trip to my parents' place in Northern Idaho. I wanted to see the progress on the farm house, and my mom offered to send me back with some homemade strawberry jam – their little patch produced a bumper crop this year and they have more berries than they know what to do with. I couldn't say no to that.

On the road. For the most part the drive from Seattle to Moscow is really scenic, although the stretch across Eastern Washington from Othello to Washtucna can get monotonous – it's pretty much flat and dry as far as the eye can see, with some green here and there thanks to intermittent irrigation. But this time of year the air is full of the smell of fresh spearmint and drying hay, which provides it own kind of sensory enjoyment.

Everything is much drier at the farm than the last time we visited,
but it's still beautiful.
The garden is coming along nicely.
It's also been a good year for asparagus; my parents have been
eating it for about two months now, much to my dad's dismay.

The bees are safely ensconced in their new home
at the corner of the orchard.

A family of ducks has taken up permanent residence at the pond.
I startled a little one when I walked up to the water's edge –
it made a beeline for the cattails at the other side
while one of its parents created an impressive distraction,
quacking and splashing around.

Grasshoppers are creepy but I have to admit
that they're kind of cute when they're small and green.

The additions to the house are starting to take shape.

The view onto the screen porch from what will be the dining room.

The old roof makes it look as if Gordon Matta-Clark
has been lurking about.

The view from inside, upstairs.
The builders just cut a big slice out of the second story,
and they're going to drop the trusses right in there.
I had no idea what a roof truss was before this (they look like this):

Watching this whole thing come together has been an education.

We picked about 2 dozen pints of strawberries.

After that it was Miller Time.

The freezer-jam-making operation took place the next morning.
I left for Seattle with my booty that afternoon.

Some samples of the finished, frosty product.
Freezer jam uses fresh, rather than cooked, berries,
so the end result has much more flavor and color.
Not bad for a few hours' effort,
and I'm set for hostess gifts for the rest of the summer.


JMW said...

Jeez. I'm this jealous. (You can't see it, but I'm spreading my arms real far apart.)

Also, I like the idea of cracking Gordon Matta-Clark jokes in Idaho. Nice.

jetc said...

This place is my dream! I'm especially diggin' on mom's beer cozy. Made from strawberry fruit leather, I hope.