Saturday, October 25, 2008

Well, I'm a convert: I now love Fall. I hated it in Illinois (please don't send death threats), but it's beautiful here in the Northwest! What got to me in Illinois was the knowledge that despite the beautiful colors, Fall meant all the trees would be bare for the next seven months. (Remember, I didn't grow up with deciduous trees, so this was a terrible shock to me.) But here in Washington, the October hillsides are an amazing tapestry of yellows, oranges, reds, and--get this--deep greens. The hearty helping of evergreens will help get me through the colder (and, in the case of Olympia, rainier) months to come. Huh. I just thought about how fitting the name Mount Rainier is for a place like this (if you discount the gorgeous summer months). Coincidental, though--the volcano was actually named for Admiral Something-or-Other Rainier.

This autumn I have discovered another interesting fact about Washington: apple trees are everywhere. I don't mean that this is the U.S. capital of apple production (which it is); I mean apple trees are common yard decoration. It seems like every third house has at the very least one tree heavily laden with fruit.

Speaking of fruit, we have a cherry tree in the backyard, but we didn't get to sample any cherries this summer--the raccoons got to them first. (They did the same with the grapevines on the deck.)

Summer also brought me a revelation about blackberry bushes: they're actually a nuisance plant here. They billow over everything, drowning all plants in their path. I think blackberry thorns were responsible for flattening one of the tires on Liam's stroller. But the berries were sure tasty! Our long walks may have yielded a flat tire, but they also yielded some yummy on-the-move snacks.

It seems like apple trees and blackberry bushes grow in Washington yards the way mango trees grow in Hawaii yards, or the way . . . uh . . . the way . . . um . . . never mind. I can't think of anything in Illinois that is a good comparison. Suburbs, maybe? I guess that's fairly accurate; suburbs grow in everyone's backyard there--in Chicagoland, at least.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Okay, either Spanish speakers are, in general, smarter and way more intuitive than English speakers, or Kidde has a callous--and racist--disregard for their well-being.

Friday, October 17, 2008

So, a long time ago we bought a one-hand squeezy pepper mill:

The great thing about it is that you can use it with one hand. But the terrible thing about it is that you can use it with one hand: