Around these parts, we have a small town parade on the fourth of July and all the participants throw candy to the kids on the side of the road. Honestly, when going home with bulging bags of candy, necklaces and marketing gadgets-it always seems more like Halloween. But of course the kids love it.
We also have a huge fireworks display on the beach in Seaside. People have bonfires and also set off their own-making it practically a war zone if you are on the beach itself with kids. I didn’t know this my first year here and took my kids and niece on the beach to watch the display. So this past year, they implemented a “free zone”-an area in which people can watch from but not set them off in-and this year they are doubling the space.
And of course, there is entertaining. As I get older, it gets harder to pack it all into one day but the day is also important for this. The kids and I plan on having Teriyaki Shish Kamikes on the grill and watermelon. Although we might have to have them early because we got ahead of ourselves and already went shopping. (smile)
If you are fresh out of ideas to celebrate the fourth, we are here to help.
- Throw a backyard party and invite neighbors that you’ve never met.
- Have a garage sale to recycle and make some cash (yes, a lovely neighbor of mine is having one for a half a day on the fourth and all day on the fifth).
- Send the kids to friend’s house and having a romantic, elegant backyard dinner-just the two of you.
- Travel to another town for the parades and fireworks.
- Find a carnival. May hometown of Port Orchard, WA has a great one.
- Catch up on yard work and gardening.
- Find a way to give back to your community.
And…don’t forget to keep those pets inside on the fourth!
I discovered by accident this week that I really like fresh sliced cucumbers on my sub sandwiches. This surprised me as I don’t do pickles on either sandwiches or burgers. Granted, I always plant cukes but we slice them and eat them in salads or by the slice usually.
Chris Smith and I had similar issues in the cucumber seed aisle this year. There are many, many cucumber varieties to choose from. He says that with most varieties these days, you won’t get that bitter taste as most modern varieties won’t have the bitter gene. But I have tried some that I don’t like (the acid-free varieties taste bitter to me) and in the end, I stuck with what I planted last year: Marketmore.
Here are some different ways to serve cucumbers:
- Slice them like coins or lengthwise. Remember the old days? For extra flavor, soak them in a bowl of white or apple cider vinegar before serving. You can add salt and dill too.
- Smaller cukes make great boats. Slice off the top, spoon out the seeds and fill with cream cheese. Put the top back on to serve.
- Slice the full cucumber lengthwise in half once, spoon out the center and use filling there instead.
Other filling ideas include ranch dressing thickened with added mayonnaise and cheese spreads that you can buy at any grocery store. Please comment if you have another filling option for cukes.
There is more than one delicious way to serve a cuke. Plant them today if you haven’t already-it’s almost too late!
Today was our Farmer’s Market and I was stoked to get there.
Well here on the northern
Today I realized a second one—although we are small—good ole CB did a wonderful job with the variety. Not only were there fresh, locally-grown fruits and veggies but delectable baked goods from bakeries, fresh miniature pies (the Marionberry Mini-Pie by Nahalem Bay Pie Company was delicious AND dairy free), salad dressings, plants, natural meats, eggs and local music. And because there was such a rush on goods last week, it seemed that vendors had more prepared.
I planned to take the shuttle to be even more “green” but ended up driving because my kids had an appointment an hour later and the shuttle schedule didn’t allow getting back in time for it (What’s with that Scotty? Just kidding).
When I got there, carrying my reusable cloth bag with the name of a local (ahem) grocery store chain on it and camera in hand, I found it hard to squeeze through all the people. But most faces around me had smiles on them and I didn’t mind the crowd at all. I noticed that even the dogs on leashes were greeting each other-nicely.
We purchased smoked salmon from The Smokery, both in Plain and Ivory. Very good quality there. Then we bought sugar snaps from Gales Meadow which we munched on most of the afternoon and the most delicious cherries that I have ever eaten. And, I could have replaced my (ahem) grocery-logo bag with a bright pretty green bag with Cannon Beach Farmer’s Market on it but we spent all our money on food! So next week, we are budgeting for a bag too.
I think that people in general really do want to support local growing. I saw that today and it was a great moment for me. With farmer’s markets, the goods are all brought to one place so it’s easy for all of us.
I encourage you to find local farmer’s markets this summer in your area or come visit ours! After all, who doesn’t want to visit
The benefits of Farmer’s Markets:
Supports local growing & sustainability
Saves money, gas and time
Goods are fresher and often organic
A lot of variety is available in one place
Sometimes there are unusual finds that aren’t in your grocery store aisle
You can get to know neighbors in your town-and so can your dogs
You can ride the shuttle and live green all day
See you at the next Cannon Beach Farmer’s Market on Tuesday from 2.
Kris Burns, Chairperson of the WSU/Jefferson County Master Gardeners’ Secret Garden Tour, shares a checklist of some sustainable garden features.
A sustainable gardener conserves water by:
- Mulching around plants
- Applying water only as needed according to soil conditions, plant age and type
- Using soaker hoses or drip irrigation
A sustainable gardener designs by:
- Clustering plants with similar needs together
- Placing the part of the garden requiring the most care closest to the house
- Taking advantage of microclimates
- Incorporating edible plants in the landscape
- Planting with wildlife in mind
A sustainable gardener attends to soil tilth by:
- Composting garden and household vegetable matter
- Protecting the soil from erosion
- Defining walkways and driveways to prevent compacting the soil
- Mulching by using readily available materials like straw, compost or gravel
- Revitalize soil with organic fertilizers and compost
A sustainable gardener chooses plants that:
- Attract beneficial insects
- Are non-invasive (each county has invasive species lists)
- Are appropriate to the area’s climate like natives and their friends (or related ornamentals that blend with the surrounding landscape)
- Can be maintained with less use of power tools
- Are for texture and multi-season interest
- Are grown locally whenever possible
A sustainable garden conserves the gardener’s energy by:
- Using the leaves that fall as mulch on the beds
- Appreciating a plant’s natural form and planting the right size plant in the right place
- Understanding the role of insects in the garden
- Tolerating minor imperfections
- Using mulch to reduce weeding and prevent disease
- Returning plant pots to nurseries who will reuse them
This Saturday a treat awaits all your senses with the Secret Garden Tour in and around Port Townsend, WA.
This annual event is sponsored by the Washington State University Jefferson County Master Gardeners and runs from 10 AM to 4 PM. There will be live music at some locations, docents on hand to answer questions and featured “WOW” plants.
Some of the WOW plants this year are Acer palmatum ‘Aconitifolium’, Sequoia sempervirens ‘Nana Pewndula’. There is even one small cottage garden that has a plethora of Clematis varieties climbing up while shrubs, perennials and edibles form a beautiful tapestry skirt.Design plays a part as well.
Chairperson Kris Burns says, “… one garden has multiple garden rooms which contain some rather interesting furniture layouts.”
The theme this year is “Sustainable Gardening Practices” so it is a great time to go and learn even more about making your garden impact the future positively.
Kris says, “Although each of our gardens are sustainable on many levels, I was concerned that sustainable gardening practices sounds still too much like a current buzz phrase. So, in each garden we emphasize a sustainable gardening practice either with demonstration, discussion and/or display.”
Kris had so many great ideas for sustainable gardening that she has agreed to share them in our next post. Looking forward to that!
You will need transportation from each garden and maps are available. No pets, please.
For tickets, call Kathi Boyker at (360) 765-4717. And in case you’re curious, proceeds benefit Jefferson County students pursuing horticulture or environmental studies–a very worthy cause.