Friday, October 12, 2018

Horse Chestnuts: Collecting Nature's Gifts

Have you ever collected horse chestnuts? This is a fall activity that my mom loves. She scouts out horse chestnut trees in the spring and mentions how we need to get to them at exactly the right time. This year we were a little late, the spiny seed pods had fallen away from the mahogany-colored chestnuts. 

My mom like to collect them in a variety of stages (a pod just opening, an open pod with the seed showing and loose chestnuts) and display them as art. Once we have some arranged at home, I'll come back here and update this post with a picture. She will also want me to tell you that she planted one in Michigan years ago and it is now a thriving 40 foot tall tree. 
Our favorite place for gathering horse chestnuts is in Volunteer Park in Seattle. It is a great open space with a long row of very old horse chestnut trees. We had a beautiful day on Saturday and we drove out to this park with my mom to find horse chestnuts and celebrate her return to health. It was a great afternoon.

#horsechestnuts #notthatkindofchestnut #volunteerpark #seattle #nature #gardenlover #treelover #fallfun

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Fall Decoration & Recipe: A Nutty Idea

I was shopping with my friend Tracey last year when I found this darling squirrel tray. It is made of wood and looks great on my island corralling garlic and onions or in the center of my table surrounded by candles. The squirrel is a symbol of Tracey's sorority, so she bought one too! When I brought it out this year to celebrate the season, I decided to take this photo to send to Tracey and remind her of our fun visit. Just before I snapped the picture, my mom suggested I put one of the acorn-shaped corn muffins I'd made for dinner in his hand. Ha! She's always thinking. 

I have found the same squirrel tray online here, if he speaks to you.

I am going to make my chocolate-dipped acorns, now that I have the perfect place to serve them. Remember when I made these for a party back in Michigan? I swear a girl told me she was taking some home in her purse!
This treat has one roasted almond stuffed inside a chocolate-dipped date. The acorn topping is more pulverized roasted almonds. They are delicious. You can find my recipe here.

#acorns #falldecorations #fallcandy #candymaking #fall #squirrels #autumntreats #momentsofdelight #annereeves

Monday, October 8, 2018

Dahlia Barn: Their Own Magnificent Color Story

Last weekend, Dan and I drove to the Dahlia Barn in North Bend, Washington to buy some fresh flowers. I wanted one bouquet to keep and one to give. Their farm is bursting and most of these dahlias are taller than me. This Washington farm is happy and healthy.
I met Jerry & Aimee Sherrill in 2014 when I was still living in Seattle hotels part time and had a houseful of groceries back in Michigan. I didn't know then that in 4 short years, I would be living in Washington just 15 minutes from their farm! Here is my original post about the Dahlia Barn.
Twice a year since then, I would stop in at their farm or their Northwest Flower & Garden Festival booth and say hello. It has almost become a joke, because when I saw them every 6 months my circumstances seemed to change. First "my husband was consulting in Seattle", then "we were in town looking for an apartment," then "we were selling our house and making the move permanent." It took many visits before I could announce that I owned a house with a yard and that my dahlia growing had a future. We are just getting used to our new climate and I look forward to growing lots of Dahlia Barn tubers in the future.
When we arrived for a bouquet, Aimee encouraged us to go into the barn to see their "flower show." When I saw the display, I immediately thought of a new box of crayons! Aren't they wonderful?
Catalogs are one thing, but I can't think of a better way for a customer to shop for their garden than to see each bloom in its glory. Which is your favorite?
The farm sells fresh cut bouquets in September-October each year. This was the last weekend for the year. Now it is time for them to tend the farm and prep the tubers for the winter. You can place your order for next Spring anytime. I encourage you to scour their website and dream up a winning combination for your garden. I guarantee that in 2019, I will be growing dahlias! 

#dahlias #growing #gardenlover #washington #farmflowers #dahliabarn #makingfriends #color

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Salmon Days in Issaquah Washington

It was the perfect Fall day to celebrate salmon in the Pacific Northwest. Oh yes, I said salmon. And that is probably why we look especially happy in this picture, the whole town is crazy for fish. The stranger we enlisted to take our picture insisted we say "Salmon Days!" to get a good smile. Looks like she knew what she was doing - the photo is great.
Salmon Days is a family friendly weekend in Issaquah, Washington that celebrates the return of the salmon to the river. There is a fair, art show and parade for 3 days each year. The mayor also changes the name of Issaquah to Fish-aquah for the occasion. Now that is town spirit.

Look at the crowds lining up along the river to see the salmon swimming upstream and jumping up Issaquah Creek. I trace the whole path and process in an earlier post. If you'd like to know more, click here
It was the perfect Fall day and I loved seeing the admirers from this angle, leaning over the bridge to watch the salmon activity. This photo was taken near the Salmon Hatchery.
Salmon Days docents are on hand along the river (above) to answer questions about salmon, science and to explain what is happening this time of year. They are a treasure. When my cousin Carol and I came to see if any salmon were jumping last year, one of these docents gave us a real ecology lesson as we leaned over this same bridge to watch the salmon return. 
I was happy to see our mascot, Sammy the Salmon, cruising through the crowd. I love a town that celebrates and I encourage you to join the fun and visit Issaquah for Salmon Days next year. In the meantime, click the links and explore the educational videos on the Salmon Hatchery website.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Succulent Wreath from Jade & Co

I wanted to show off my favorite purchase from the Pinology Market in Seattle. A company called Jade & Co had these simple living wreaths for sale. Several succulents attached to moss on a grapevine wreath. I love it for its simplicity and the nod to my love of plants. Right now I have it hanging in my kitchen, and every week I bring it to the sink and give it a mist of water. It still looks as good as the day I bought it.
The company also had beautiful succulent topped pumpkins for sale. I think these are stunning. I may experiment next year and try to create a living arrangement for myself. I would love something like this on our front table.

Monday, October 1, 2018

The Mill: The Perfect Spot for a Pre-Show Meal

We had a delicious casual meal at The Mill Restaurant & Sports Bar in Milton, WA. I had been searching for a restaurant to have a pre-concert dinner on our way down to the Washington State Fair. The Mill had a lot of great online reviews and I felt confident making a reservation.

Well, in a word, it was just what we were looking for. The menu was interesting and varied. It was early early in the evening, so the restaurant was quiet and the server worked hard to get us in and out in time for our 7:30 tickets. I had a bright and cold watermelon salad and a hearty Mill Burger on a fresh brioche bun. If we hadn't had a timeline, I'm sure would would have enjoyed staying and talking in this terrific new restaurant. 

#preconcert #preshowdinner #miltonwa #themill #greathamburgers