Summer Solstice 2016 (observed)

Posted by wanchan on June 27th, 2016 filed in smithing, Vacation

What a weekend! To celebrate the summer solstice, we decided it would be appropriate to go do something sunny!

We eventually settled on a daytrip to a u-pick cherry orchard in eastern Washington. Thompson’s Farm in Naches was one of the few we could find, but it was great! Surprisingly crowded, but we picked about 10 pounds, a mix of Rainier, Bing and sour cherries. They don’t let you use ladders due to liability concerns by their insurance provider, so I hoisted Michelle up on my shoulders to get at a lot of the ripe cherries that hadn’t been cleared out already.

I think cherry picking is a lot more fun than blueberry, mostly because the cherry trees provide shade. It’s not easy to successfully hide from the sun behind blueberry bushes, but the cherry orchard was quite pleasant!

2016-06-25 13.17.35 2016-06-25 13.08.45

After picking cherries, we turned our attention to lunch. We drove back to Yakima to get internet access, and found ourselves in a Safeway parking lot. We started hitting Google and Yelp to find a Mexican place that sounded good, when we looked up and found that we were parked right next to one. Let’s try that!

Ay Caramba Mexican restaurant

Ay Caramba Mexican restaurant

Ay Caramba was fantastic! I had shredded beef in some tacos and enchiladas, and it was awesome! Michelle had, among other things, a chile relleno that was actually pretty spicy! She also had an excellent tamale, and a chicken taco. Their salsa was good, and the service was quick. We will most likely return here when we come back for peaches in August.

After lunch, we hit Owen’s Meats in Cle Elum for some beef jerky. We also picked up a leg of lamb that I haven’t decided how I’m going to cook yet.

On Sunday we pitted and canned all of those cherries. In addition to raw packing most of them, I attempted to make Maraschino cherries for the first time. I made two batches – one with sour cherries, the other with Rainier. We’ll see how it goes, but I’m hopeful!

Eight quarts of preserved cherries!

Eight quarts of preserved cherries!

While Michelle was pitting the first batch of cherries, I lit my new forge to make some S-hooks. It took me an hour or so, but turned out pretty well. Not professional-quality, but easy and fun to make. I think perhaps I’ll make a bunch more just for the practice – maybe from square stock so I can add a twist in the middle?

Nice hot forge

My new forge gets plenty hot!

Forging the hooks

Forging the hooks

The completed hooks

The completed result

The impetus for making these was to give our hanging tomato baskets a bit more room to grow – they were hitting the eaves already!

The tomatoes have much more room to grow now

The tomatoes have much more room to grow now

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