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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Fame for our homestead - and a wedding!!!

Will you look at this daliah?  Does your heart rate speed up when you gaze at it?  This flower is one of hundreds my friend Brandie and I picked for her wedding.  I have an amazing, generous friend who is a flower farmer, and she let us cut as many Daliahs as we wanted.  We were giddy.  We picked, with our hearts pounding out of our chests.  We kept screaming at each other, "Can you believe this???"  And then, with my minivan stuffed to the max with flowers, we drove to our homestead, where we got ready for the wedding.

I'm still feeling high from the experience with the flowers, the wedding, the 70 people celebrating this love at our homestead...  I won't publish any pictures of the bride and groom to give them their privacy, but I will show you some of the going-ons, like dancing to our own neighborhood band (Jumbled Pie), dressing up in a fancy dress and leading the goats to pasture, posing with my friend Andrea (we sang at the ceremony), enlisting the help of young guests to collect duck eggs...

The wedding and party were a rousing success!  Steve and I felt honored to host this event, and although it was a lot of work to get ready, we didn't feel stressed out at all.  In fact, the day before the wedding, many friends showed up to pitch in with whatever we needed help with.  Several ladies marched into my vegetable garden (the backdrop for the band) and weeded it.  They weeded it!!!  And not only did they weed it, they also looked gorgeous and cheerful doing it!!!  I kept staring at them, shaking my head in disbelief. 

And then, just like that, the wedding was over.  The aftermath of the party was cleaned up, the tables and chairs returned, the flowers slowly moving towards their demise.  And life returned to normal.  It felt bittersweet, that.  Going from glamour, noise and fun to... digging in the dirt, milking goats, shoveling manure, harvesting produce.  But there's nothing more grounding and soothing than doing just that, and so we started feeling our rhythm as a family again.  The kids helped with the onion and potato harvest.  They also helped pick apples and pounds and pounds of figs.  They harvested carrots for dinner, basil for pesto, and blackberries for dessert.

I will leave you with a shout-out for our Homestead.  We got published in Grow Northwest Magazine!  There's a two page article about us and our offerings, and you can check it out here.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


If you are like me, and you have lots of projects that need to be finished but never make it to the list of priorities, I advise you host a wedding at your place.  That's what we are doing.  This Saturday, our dear friends Brandie and Bradley (from Arizona) are getting married at our homestead.  We are weeding and mowing and gussy-ing and cleaning and trimming and pruning like maniacs.  Our place looks stunning (except behind the rented port-a-potty, where, for some reason, random crap still lingers).
I am freaking out slightly worried about the weather.  A few days ago, the weather forecast predicted sun and 96 degrees on the day of the (outdoor) wedding.  Now, it is pouring, and there is a chance of rain for Saturday.  Since the bride and groom don't seem to be too worried, I shall settle down and think positive thoughts.
Brandie and Bradley brought their little dog Watson with them.  He seems to be very interested in the big dog-looking animals who also sport curly tails, like him.

We are not just working to get ready - we are also allowing plenty of time for fun.  For example: hiking one of my favorite mountains, Hidden Lake Peak.  This is a pretty strenuous 9 mile hike that you might not want to undertake on the hottest day of the month (ask me how I know).  It was a hot magical hike, with lots of sweat wild flowers, giant patches of snow for sledding down on, a fire lookout on top, and very sore knees great conversations on the way down.  I still can't believe tiny Watson made it all the way to the top.  And down again.  I will let the pictures speak for themselves.

It was hazy because of the wild fires on the East side

Watson was hot, like the rest of us, but the hell of a trooper!
Kai putting up with my constant picture taking.  Thank you, Kai.
And that would be Lukas, throwing snow balls at his brother.

The Sahlin family, minus Eva, who wouldn't have lasted five minutes.

Doesn't this picture look heart stoppingly dangerous?  That's because it is.
Hidden Lake, with ice floating in it.

Steve and Bradley
I will leave you with an image of last week's market in Marblemount, where Kai and Lukas provided musical entertainment with fiddle and keyboard.  They also sold a record amount of their own tie dye shirts, birdhouses and carved spoons!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Special time

We work hard. We play hard. Sometimes, when we play, it's hard work. Case in point: My sons and I bicycled and camped for two days, and it was incredibly fun, and also really hard. We parked the car in Bellingham and loaded up our bicycles with food, water, tent, food, sleeping bags and mats, food, cooking stove, extra clothes, and more food. You gotta have lots of food when you burn a thousand calories an hour. Our buddy Bo accompanied us for the first stretch of this mother-and-son-bonding-adventure. We rode along the famous and scenic Chuckanut Drive, where Puget Sound and lots of islands prettily beckon to bicyclists who try to keep their eyes on the narrow road without much shoulder.
We made it into the Skagit Flats without getting shoved off the road by cars, and were rewarded with a stop at a blueberry farm selling fabulous ice cream.
Both boys carried saddle bags stuffed to the tops, and I towed the bike trailer, which got heavier after every mile. Bo gallantly let me use his fancy bike, which practically pedaled itself, while he rode my ghetto bike with the trailer to give me a break.

After 30 miles, we reached our destination for the night: Bay View State Park, located on Padilla Bay, famous for its Blue Heron breeding grounds and vast mud flats. Bo said goodbye so he could bike all the way back home, and the boys and I settled in. We hadn't brought any books, knitting or playing cards, so it was just us, enjoying each other. We went for walks on the beach (not wanting to get on the bikes again because our behinds were very sore), where we met a gorgeous little Calico kitten. We picked blackberries at our camp site. We waded (or in Luke's case, swam) in the warm water of the bay. We stared at clouds. We stretched our sore muscles.  And then, at 8pm, Mother Dear crawled into her tent and passed out from exhaustion. Here is the view from the tent.

The  next day we visited Padilla Bay Interpretive Center, which is incredible!  You could spend hours in there, and it all counts as homeschooling.  
Then we started the trek home - a different, longer way this time, up Bow Hill Road, by Alger, Samish Lake, and Lake Padden, and up Yew Hill road into Bellingham.  It was pretty much all uphill, and it was very, very hot.  The boys charged ahead, while I huffed and puffed and swore, sweating, sore, but also exhilarated (for the first four hours, at least).  On the way, we jumped into two different lakes to cool ourselves down.  Hours later, once back in Bellingham, we stuffed ourselves with burgers and fries, and on the one and a half hour drive back home to Marblemount, we consumed lots of potato chips (to replace lost salt, ahem).
My camera battery went dead, so I have only this one picture of the second day, at the Interpretive Center.

I love these boys, who are up for their crazy mother's adventures any time!

Back home, we spend a day resting and picking blueberries.  This is what you get when the Sahlin's go picking.

Other items on the agenda: swimming in Bacon Creek with friends, or in my case, jumping into the ice cold water, letting out a piercing scream, and jumping out promptly.  

Harvesting food from the garden, to be made into a yummy dinner:

And lastly, we went to a wedding this week, where part of the entertainment was Karaoke.  In the beginning, it was mostly kids who got up on stage, because it took a while to get the adults drunk enough to attempt it.
Here is a sweet picture of some of the kids, with Eva in tow: