Happy August Birthdays and Family Gathering Highlights

First, Happy Birthday to all the August birthday kids (all of them; I left out a couple in the toasts last Saturday — they promise they took no offense!): two big ones, Margaret and Dick, and a crowd of getting-up there ones: Julia, David, and Leslie! All those Leos adds up to a regular “pride of Lions”!

A wonderful and memorable time was had by all last weekend at the gathering here on Lopez. At the top of the list of highlights was the toast to Arcadia and Rodney, congratulating them on their wedding — and thanking them for giving us the excuse to all get together! Here’re the two of them plus the proud and happy mother of the bride (photo by Amy):

cheers! August 6, 2011

The toast was followed by the now-traditional wedding celebration dish, Greek Stew (transcript of Nancy’s recipe here) and for dessert, carrot cake from the Lopez Island cookbook (recipe for that here).

Another highlight was the revival of a really old family tradition: the sing-along! This episode truly bemused some of the gathered crowd, illustrated in this photo:

Sing out!

We ventured way past the prepared song-sheet, to be published in another post; in the meantime, the Boomerang blogger is open to suggestions for additions!

Other highlights . . .

The puzzle masters, Alexa and Martin . . .

hard at work

and the finished puzzle:

You guessed it: a Lopez Island puzzle!

The walk to Iceberg Point:

. . . with stops to talk . . .

And Martha’s and Leslie’s amazingly cute rental car (Fiat 500):

first in line for the ferry!

Suggestions are now being taken for the next “excuse” for getting together!

June First- Amy and Elizabeth’s birthday, Roads Scholar report

These reports just in from Dick:
When Nancy and Beah went back to the hospital to get “the second one,” Mike, at age two, couldn’t believe it. Coming to 2011, We enjoyed the birthday a little early, last Saturday, May 29, in the company of the honorees and their next older sibling and his adored spouse, at Lopez. Nancy concocted a delightful chicken dish, Dick the usual humungous salad, and Brent the very acceptable Chardonnay to go with. Amy and Lib bicycled on to the island, made their fist stop at the pasture, where Mike and Julia were exercising Louie and Flash. An alternative home has been found for Chester!

Going backward, we arrived Friday evening, coming from Usk, Washington. Who knows where Usk is? (For a map of places referred to in this post, click here.)We had gone there to a “Roads Scholar” weekend ( formerly Elderhostel, or Exploritas). Going all the way back, we drove to Wenatchee on Sunday, arrived at Clearwater Lodge outside of Usk, along the Pend Orielle River. the program began at 2:00 PM Monday, with an afternoon of delightful entertainment by the only music teacher in the Selkirk School district. The topic was US Popular Music of the Twentieth Century. He was a gritty teacher, brought a quartet of his high school girls to sing great show tunes of the mid century. We got another afternoon of his knowledge the next day and “Music Man” movie on Tuesday evening. The next expert was Jack Nisbet, Naturalist. Journalist, Author (The Source of the River about David Thompson and his exploration of the Columbia- much more extensive than Lewis and Clarke, about 5 years later). His new book, and subject of his program, is about David Douglas, the “collector” of all things botanical and natural. Think douglas fir, douglas maple, etc. We had two sessions with him, one out in the rain along the river, and associated wetlands- truly delightful. The third program was a local geologist, with in-depth information about volcanos, Missoula lake floods, the channelled scablands, and tectonic plate movement. He was a short, overweight droll man with a full beard, a wonderful sense of humor, and an easy delivery that precluded falling asleep. All told a worthwhile interlude.

On our way back to the west coast, of course we had to spend a night at Sun Mountain. From there we hurried directly to Lopez, over the “North Gollydarn” opened for the summer on the day before our travel.

Back in Shoreline, the grass is long, the local politics are percolating, the schedule is full enough, and summer may happen sooner or later. At least, the days are longer! We look forward to the ingathering forecasted.

Woodpecker puzzle completed and . . . introducing Margery the Unkempt

A wonderful thing about spending August at the Lopez cabin (aka Snub Harbor Sleep Haven) is that sooner or later all of your siblings (and nephew and niece) show up! Most recently it was David and Janice and Alexa, stopping by at the beginning of their 3-week Starshine cruise to points still more north and west than this northwest place. While they were here, we finished the woodpecker puzzle (see photographic evidence below)! It turns out that not a single one of its 1000 pieces had been lost over the course of its being pieced together.

all 1000 pieces!

Before that Cate and Ben were here, and Cate made a fabulous driftwood doll, complete with seaweed hair and clothes and a single barnacle eye (on her crab back face). Dick thought she might be named Margery Kempe (for her eccentricities), but what with her increasingly disheveled hair, I thought a slight modification — Margery the Unkempt — might suit her best . . .

that's her scepter in her left "hand"

It was Dick’s birthday while Cate and Ben were here; he cooked (steak! mmmm!!), and a carrot cake appeared too; here’s the recipe — it’s from the Lopez Island cookbook:

3 cups unsifted flour
2 t. baking powder
1 t. each soda and cinnamon
1 lb. (4 cups) carrots, grated
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup brown sugar
4 eggs
4 T. grated lemon or orange peel
1/2 cup orange and lemon juice, mixed
1 cup each chopped walnuts and raisins

1 8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 T. lemon juice
1 t. grated lemon peel
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Beat butter and sugars at high speed until light; add eggs one at a time, beating well until smooth and light. Combine peel and juices alternately with dry ingredients. Beat until smooth. Fold in carrots, nuts and raisins. Turn into 10×4 greased and floured tube pan (I used a 9×13 oblong pan). Bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes. Cool on rack for 20 minutes. Glaze: In bowl combine cream cheese, lemon juice, peel and sugar. Beat at medium speed until smooth. Spread over warm (or cooled!) cake and let it drizzle down sides. Chopped nuts can be sprinkled around edge of cake. Will serve 12 and is a good keeper if tightly covered. Printer-friendly version here.