Sunday, April 20

first harvest

In between the hail and the snow of yesterday and today, a small moment of sunshine broke the monotony of the weekend. I was outside piddling around the garden when I realized that my radishes were ready to be harvested. This was ultimately exciting.
I've never really had a garden before. My parents always had a garden as we were growing up, but I didn't really pay much attention to it besides the Saturday's that included a chore list to "pick beans" or "strawberries", or "weed between the rows". And sometimes at the end of the summer we would have a war with the green tomatoes that didn't have a chance to ripen before the first frost. And by "we", of course, I mean the neighborhood kids, not mom and dad.

Anyway, I've been enjoying the experience of observing seeds germinate, sprout, and shoot up toward the world of today. And though I don't really like radishes, I ate one. And I ate the greens off the top too. I would eat one again, too, just because it was in my garden.

Monday, April 14

the mechanic's apprentice

Friday, Sarah traveled to Portland for a conference and left Rick with the instructions to "show Leslie how to change the oil in the tractor". I had been anticipating this for a few days, since Sarah and I had started the process a few days earlier, and by "started", I mean we collected a ground cloth and receptacles to catch the dirty oil before Sarah realized the tractor manual was no where to be found. Not wanting to pull the wrong plug, the oil change was delayed until further enlightenment. That, of course, came with Rick's fine tutelage, on Friday.

Rick is a very thorough kind of guy. His attention to detail could be referred to as obsessive compulsive by some. But I prefer to think of it is thorough. So change the oil we did, and the oil filter, and to top it all off, he got out the ole grease gun and showed me how to lube all of the movable parts. So by the end of the work day on Friday, my grease covered hands and clothing were a testament to my newly learned skill. Another day on the farm!


Tenacious little buggers.

Thursday, April 10

the farm

Due to popular demand, I have finally taken a moment to snap a few pictures of Lavender Wind Farm. The lavender won't be blooming until June and July, but most varieties that we have on the farm are just beginning to leaf out. We've all been spending time with hoe in hand or plodding behind the tiller, trying to combat the ever present weeds.

The first picture is looking out over the field toward the house, garage and gift shop. The second picture is trying to capture the lavender labyrinth. I couldn't get all of it due to its size. More pictures later, I'm sure. Tractor training soon to come. And for all of my Midwestern blog readers, the tractors here are tiny compared to the John Deeres of the American heartland.

  • lavender wind farm has approximately 7,000 lavender plants

Sunday, April 6

roadsigns of life

One of the first things I observed about my new home on Whidbey Island was a blatant sign along Spyglass Dr. giving helpful tips to the passerby as to what to do in case of tsunamis. Tsunamis! I have spent little time in my life thinking about tsunamis. Of course this is due to the fact that I've lived in landlocked states most of my life, far from any volcanically active areas, and just as far from any coast.

I quickly realized that my new island locale sits directly in line of the Pacific Ring of Fire. The Ring of Fire is one of the most volcanically active regions in the world. The ever moving Pacific plate grinds and slides against the adjacent tectonic plates. The result of this slow but continual process? A ring of active volcanoes that encompass the Pacific plate. The Japanese Islands, the Philippines, Mt Baker (of which I can see on clear days on my way to work), Mt St Helens, the Andes Mountains, and a whole list of other mountains and islands directly related to this amazing force.

Earthquakes, inevitably, precede volcanoes. In fact, seismic activity generally triggers the escape of poisonous gasses and magma from deep within the earth. So here I sit on 307 Spyglass, right on the water, on the edge of the "Ring of Fire", in the probable path of one of the most amazing and devastating natural disasters - the tsunami. Cool! Way cooler than the Midwest tornadoes!

Tuesday, April 1

the ugly truth about my chocolate

In reference to the last post about cheap chocolate:

Immediately after calculating the cost of the one chocolate chip yesterday, I realized that the chip from a 10 lb bag would be much less costly than a chip from a regular 12 oz bag (which is the standard size that most people purchase). So I set off to discover the unsettling truth about the cost of one chocolate chip from the bag in my cupboard.

My bag was a 12 oz Western Family bag of chocolate chips which cost me $2.99. Using the data from yesterday in terms of the number of chocolate chips in a 1/4 lb (252 chips), I calculated the cost of each individual chip in my bag. Behold the ugly truth: one chip = $.003955! Almost four times as much as Sarah's chocolate chip.


Cheap Chocolate

As we were finishing lunch yesterday at Lavender Wind Farm, Sarah spontaneously offered Stacy and I some chocolate chips for dessert. Stacy and I make it a practice to never turn away anything sweet, especially chocolate, so we gladly accepted the offer. Out of the pantry came a huge, 10 lb bag of chocolate chips. I have seen this bag in Sarah's kitchen on a few occasions and each time I see it, I am astounded at the size of the bag!

Those of you who know me well, know that my mind is always working, questioning, processing. Therefore, upon seeing this ginormous bag of tasty treats once again, my never resting curiosity blurted out, "I wonder how much each chocolate chip costs?"

Everyone stopped and looked at me, and then we went to work, calculating the cost of one chocolate chip. Sarah immediately grabbed her kitchen scale and measured a 1/4lb of chocolate chips. She divided into three portions and she, Stacy and I ate our pile, as we counted our chips. In the 1/4lb we had 252 chips (I had 101 in my pile, while they each had 73 and 78 respectively). We multiplied the 252 chips by 40 (4 quarters to each of the ten pounds) and figured that the 10 lb bag contained 10,080 chocolate chips.

We weren't sure how much the bag cost, but we knew Rick had bought it at Costco. While Sarah phoned Rick at work to get the cost of the bag, Stacy and I continued to eat the delicious chocolaty morsels. Off the phone and down to business, Rick's contribution was $14.49 for the bag. And that was the last bit of data that we needed to find out the worth of one Costco chocolate chip in a 10 lb bag. The last calculation revealed to us our sought after solution. One chocolate chip from a Costco 10 lb bag cost $0.0014375.

Can you imagine chocolate being so cheap? It's like those little bits of semi-sweet chocolate are almost free! We were delighted!