Thursday, July 10, 2014

Long Summer Days with Good Fences and Blackberry Crisp

I hope you are enjoying these long summer days, Dear Friends! 

Thank you for stopping by to visit me
in my little corner of the world
here in the foothills of Washington State. 

We are so far apart, yet so close at heart. 

Your sweet visits brighten my days, 

like the summer sun. 


The fields are full of golden grass, swaying in the breeze.
I love these long summer days.

This beautiful barn is on my way to the market.
I wish it were mine!
I would fill it with horses, not cows, and maybe a llama or two or three :)
I think I would add a couple of miniature donkeys, too.
Just for fun....

This beautiful entry is also on my way.
An elderly couple live here and the forested grounds are just full of flowers.
 They once operated a small Christmas tree farm.

Most of the trees are gone now...
but the last few look so lovely in the fields of daisies.

On my way home, I stopped for this pretty scene.
A vintage tractor and realistic scarecrow,
seemingly shielding his eyes while gazing at the view.

But I am in a hurry to get home, because....

My sweet Mr. has been hanging around here all week.
He has some precious time off.

We are having a 'Stay-cation'.
Getting some projects done
and enjoying these beautiful summer days.

We even managed to catch the sunrise one morning,
reflecting on Mt. Rainier.

Can you see the large glaciers?
These are thousands of feet high.

Mt. Rainier reminds me of a big ice cream sundae
 this time of year.

These hot summer days bring on rapid glacier melt.
The creek in the valley speaks in many voices
when the sun goes down
  in the silence of twilight.

We have been taking lots of walks together in between chores.
The dogs love to come along.
We like to see what is blooming...

Here we visit Sweet William.
These came from a packet of wildflower seeds.
Nearly 30 years ago!

I was a young Mother desperate for flowers
while we built our home.

I was so surprised to see these bright little pinwheels
in my very first garden.

They have re-seeded ever since
 and every year we look forward
to seeing their bright upturned faces.

The hydrangea are blooming, too!
 These are Nikko Blue and they love this shady, low spot
and have spread by themselves,
forming a hedge on each side of the picket fence.

Our bedroom window lies beyond with the unfinished loft above.
Can you see the saw horses and lumber in the window?

Every morning I take my own little walk with the dogs
 to fill the bird feeders and retrieve the newspaper.

Yesterday I spotted a coyote about 100 yds away,
 as I came around the bend.
We were equally alarmed -  both coyote and I,
and then it slipped silently away.
My dogs were oblivious until
we came upon the scent.

Off they ran, baying into the deep woods, but
they didn't run far, and came back panting,
sniffing the ground where this
beautiful wild cousin stood just moments before.

Miss Maggie has been on edge.
Here she thinks she 'hears something' and is on high alert.
So is Ling Ling.
Both stay close to the house,
 refusing to leave the deck.

The dogs have been on patrol.

The coyote is just doing her thing.

We respect all life. We adapt to them.
We are the interlopers, not they.

The Ocean Spray is blooming along the edge of the forest,
lighting up the recesses as we stroll on a late afternoon walk.

This native shrub has clusters of cascading white flowers,
giving the plant its name.

Here it is blooming with purple Fireweed.

The long, slender branches are extremely strong and were used by
our Native Americans to make spears, bows and arrows.

The birds are done nesting for the season,
except for this little fellow - a Spotted Towhee.
He has been singing in the trees by the deck
with his strange, reedy call.

He raids the porch lights in the morning for buggy treats.

He has found a juicy specimen.
He sat on this dead branch, calling away, bug in beak,
until his mate answered from her nest on the ground in a thicket.

Another late nester, the Western Tanager has chosen his territory.

I heard his chirping high in the tree canopy, defending his nest.
He came into view and I got this lucky shot
 as he scolded me loudly with short, piercing chirps.

These beautiful birds arrive only after their main food source,
 Red Elderberry, ripens in late June.

It is always a thrill when they finally arrive.

 In between walks and gardening,
while The Mr. has been playing Handyman,
 I have been playing house -
whipping up simple home-made meals
to enjoy together.

Broccoli Cheese Soup and Irish Soda Bread
is a favorite and easy to make.

I always make enough for two meals.

Salads are always wonderful with summer fresh fruit-
(this delicious recipe came from Kitty's Kozy Kitchen )
and includes watermelon and feta.

And Blackberry Crisp from our own wild berries,
harvested and frozen last fall.
It was a bountiful harvest.

This is such an easy desert and one that truly says 'Summer' to me!

Blackberry Crisp

Serves 6-8

Bake at 375 degrees - 35 -40 min.
 Buttered 8"x8" glass pan.

6 cups fresh or frozen blackberries
(no need to thaw - just cook 5-10 minutes longer)
1/4 cup sugar (or more if berries are tart)
1/4 cup flour
2 tsp vanilla

3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 stick cold butter (8 tbsp), cut into chunks
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
(or 1//4 tsp cinn., nutmeg, and pinch of allspice)
1/2 cup oatmeal

 To prepare filling: Mix berries with 1/4 cup flour and 1/4 cup sugar until coated.
Spread into buttered 8x8 inch glass baking pan. Sprinkle with vanilla.

To prepare topping: Mix the 3/4 flour, brown sugar, and pumpkin pie spice together.
Cut in the butter, using a pastry blender, fork or fingers, until crumbly. Add the oatmeal and mix together. Spread topping evenly over berries in pan.

Bake uncovered in preheated 375 degree oven for 35-40 minutes
 or until berries are bubbly and topping is browned.

Let cool and serve it plain
or with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream
 for true decadence.

Will keep for 2-3 days covered and refrigerated.
Reheat each serving approx. 30 seconds in microwave.

So good!

After a long summer day of projects and chores,
we watch the moon rise
as we enjoy our simple home-made meal.

Watching as the sun once more reflects its rosy rays
on the snows of Mt. Rainier,
listening to the song of the river,
and grateful for this time to spend together.

Wishing you simple summer pleasures,
Dear Friends.

These summer days go quickly past,
we must enjoy them while they last.


Today I am linking with The Run*A*Round Ranch Report

Thank you, Theresa for hosting this fun Link Party!


  1. Thank you for this post! So much nice to look at! I love the old farm and the fence.
    Lovely light in many photos!

    Have a nice evening!

  2. Wow, lots of fun photos here!

  3. you just had to throw in the blackberry crisp! bb pie, cobbler or whatever is my favorite! :) love your 30 yr old blooming patch! so sweet. i know you're loving having your husband home with you this week. thanks for sharing your beautiful area!

  4. A glorious post and thanks for sharing the various views around and beyond your home.

  5. Your home is so beautiful! I love the farms you drive by and your amazing ice cream sundae :-) !!

  6. wow, wee!! what a post. you have so much to share. i love Mt. Rainer, wishing to see it one day. knock on wood. gorgeous food. i would love some cobbler. i think that is what i was drooling over. what a gorgeous place you get to live in & enjoy!! so fun! ( :

  7. what a wonderful area,beautiful mountains, flowers meadows, tress and birds. I could spent sometime in a place like this.

  8. What a lovely post, so many pretty things to see. Your flowers are all gorgeous. And the shots of Mt Rainier are just stunning! Your soup bread, salads and cobbler are look delicious! Have a happy weekend!

  9. You live in a beautiful part of the world, life would be nothing but joy not sure about the snow in winter I do feel the cold.

  10. I loved reading this post Karen, and looking at all the delightful photographs. I almost felt as though I was looking directly at what you were looking at. Those recipes also look scrumptious. I'll bookmark this page so that I can get the ingredients the next time I go shopping. Enjoy your weekend :)

  11. Oh my, what beautiful pictures! I especially like the ones of the birds, so different from ours. Your dinner looks yummy, and fruit crisp is a favorite of mine. I have an abundance of red raspberries, I wonder if they would be good in a crisp:)

  12. I always enjoy visiting you here with your charming narrative as you take us around. The little yellow barn looks so cute. Horses in there sounds perfect. It's nice to dream about possibilities ... what if. Such pretty birds you have in your area. I once (and only once) saw a scarlet tanager in my backyard the day my son was born. I told my husband if our baby was a girl, we'd have to name her Scarlet ... but my boy changed that idea ;) I watched this same moon rising each night when we were camping this past week. It gives me a nice feeling to think of my friends watching that same moon on the other side of the continent. Wendy x

  13. Thanks for taking us along on your walk! You live in such a lovely area and I love seeing it through your camera.. Beautiful flowers and scenery.

  14. Hi Karen; What a wonderful time with your sweet husband and fantastic pictures♡♡♡ Starting with Mt. Rainier and birds are SO lovely♬♬♬ I wish I could taste your yummy looking dinner ;-) Have a wonderful coming weekend, my dear friend.
    Sending you Lots of Love and Hugs from Japan, xoxo Miyako*

    Sending you Lots of Love and Hugs from Japan, xoxo Miyako*

  15. Great barn scenes! I really like the red one! Your mountain shots are gorgeous!

  16. Thanks for the recipes sweet friend! YUMMY!!!! And it is so wonderful to hear that you and your husband have some time to get some things done around the house! I love weeks like that! Your Sweet William has inspired me for my own think they come back time and time again is just fantastic! I love seeing all of the scenes where you are! It gives me a chance to see things out west that I wouldn't get to see! Oh and your hydrangea! Are you kidding me they are insanely beautiful! Happy weekend to you Karen! Nicole xo

  17. love the "guard cat" ...and, thanks so much for dessert!

  18. You really do live in such a beautiful part of the world don't you! Your own garden is so wonderful as well. I love the scarecrow with the tractor, I just assumed that there was someone standing by it for a rest!! xx

  19. Dearest Karen,
    Lovely walk with you and how my Mom would enjoy such free seeding Sweet Williams; her favorite from childhood...
    Hope your husband is able to make some progress on your lovely home during his stay-cation.
    Enjoy your bird species and the beauty of nature with all its berries!

  20. Thanks for my morning stroll through your beauty, dear Karen! I loved seeing pics of birds that I've never seen. Your meal for two looked so cozy and delicious! I'm so glad that you tried the salad. It's so nice to be connected through recipes, don't you think? Beautiful blessings are sent to you. xo

  21. Karen, your writing reminds me of the writings of Anne Morrow Lindbergh.
    And I would Never call You an "interloper!" Josephine agrees.
    xxoo, m & jb

  22. Thank you for the tour- you have such a lovely view outside your window, Have a wonderful weekend and a great "staycation"

  23. Such beautiful photos. You can feel the summertime! The mountain is majestic. Wow! And the first photo could have been taken in my neighborhood. :-)

  24. I don't know how you ever leave home with a view like that! Wow! Lovely photos as always, and such a yummy looking meal. Thanks for sharing a bit of your world with us.

  25. Just beautiful Karen! You live in such a gorgeous spot! Must be wonderful to see all that beauty around you every day. It was fun to see some birds we don't have here, and your dinner and blackberry crumble looks delicious. Thanks for sharing with us!

  26. Such gorgeous photos, of the mountain, the birds, the forest... Thank you. Your blackberry cobbler looks scrummy too. I hope you have a few more days left of your hubby's holiday and that you can both enjoy them together.

  27. Oh Karen, these pictures of Mt. Rainier are amazing! You know, my husband climbed Mt. Shasta twice, and would love to climb the great Mt. Rainier.........a very different mountain from all the rest. I LOVE the bird pictures, as bird watching is one of my favorite things to do. I don't see this pretty Spotted Towhee around here. That scarecrow is funny, and at first I thought it was a real person. :~) Your kitchen looks so cozy with the broccoli cheese soup, bread, and blackberry crisp just waiting to eat.

    It's always a treat to see your corner of the world, Karen. You live in a place filled with beauty and simplicity......two things which I appreciate very much.


  28. Karen,

    I enjoyed my summer tour of your spectacular place! The mountain, birds, and Miss Maggie ... all so delightful and that blackberry crisp looks delicious!

  29. Hi and wow Karen thanks for sharing all the beautiful photos of the mountain and your wonderful area where you live. I love the photo of the tractor and scarecrow, I thought the scarecrow was a person at first. Please be careful with you your husband and pets with the coyote! I would be so scared to take a walk! Take care and have a nice weekend.

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  31. You photos are lovely. I really like the very first one. And that lenticular (I think) cloud on Mt. Rainier is amazing.

  32. Lindas fotos Breatice querida !!Te deseo un óptimo fin de semana

  33. Oh my dear,
    looking at your pictures in the morning is making my day to one in the woods and on the fields and on the top of the mountains and all of these I love!!!
    Have a happy happy weekend

  34. Oh Karen....I don't know where to begin!! Such a luscious post. From good food like the blackberry crisp to the good views of the snow capped Mt. Rainier!! Oh and the kitty on high alert to the woods and enchanting scenes. I'm in total awe.

  35. Hi Karen,

    You live in a beautiful place from your lovely farm to the snow capped Mountain and I enjoyed seeing all your gorgeous photos. Enjoy your summer break.
    happy new week

  36. What a beautiful peaceful place...looks like a wonderful staycation!

    PS: The glacier sure looks like a giant ice cream sundae. hehe

  37. Number 6 photo is my favorite today but all of the photo images are breathtaking - like the close up of Mt. Rainier - wow weeeeeeeeee...beautiful shot! And you got me craving your Blackberry Crisp...with cream topping - OH MY YUM!

  38. Good evening, my dear Karen. Your posts are always so inspirational - I love how you take natures beauty and share it's glory with us.

    That mountain, oh that mountain. . .what incredible beauty! I live in the mountains and yet I never tire of seeing their majestic loveliness :)

    Blessings to you, my friend. Sending many hugs your way!

  39. What a treat to see everything you saw... loved the glimpses of the kitty and the bird still singing his reedy song.

    I was JUST thinking of using watermelon in a salad today and here you share a recipe. Sounds delish! Your kitchen photo with the soup and bread is just so beautiful. The simple joys of life are so nourishing at so many levels, not just our physical needs.

    Thanks for a lovely visit...

  40. Your summer photos are wonderful, Karen! I love berries in the summer. It brings back memories of Alabama, picking blackberries, and then eating Mom (or Grandmother's) wonderful blackberry cobbler and vanilla ice cream! Of course, some were canned to enjoy in the winter. I loved your Mom's remembrances of her grandmother telling her of rain on the tin roof. My Mom remembers that as well from her childhood. The area where you live is lovely. Those red elderberries are so pretty! Icy Mt. Hood ever a backdrop to your lives, is stunning and majestic!


Thank you for stopping by! Your comments are important to me and are very much appreciated. xx Karen

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