August 2009

A few pictures from our fun day spent at training camp a few weeks ago, a welcome greeting from the Blue Thunder Band, lots of practice, fun crowd, the hawk mascot, an autograph session after practice, the day that Curry signed with the team and showed up for practice.  Great day with family and friends!  I know it has nothing to do with flowers, but I have to get away from flowers once in a while!Seahawkstrainingcamp2009 004

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This weekends wedding was a very beautiful burgundy cymbidium orchid called winter fire, and the the white mini callas.  That orchid has to be the prettiest and most unusual I’ve ever seen.  The girls carried, white & red mini callas wrapped in burgundy wine satin.  It was held at the Woodmark Hotel here in Kirkland, a beautiful location for a beautiful bride!

Here’s a classic all white rose wedding from a few weeks ago, I loved this bouquet!ameliawedding1

A simple elegant invitation, nice touch of photographing it with the Brides Bouquet.


Hoffman’s in Kirkland always does a lovely job with the cake, I added the petals with the help of the baker and her edible glue!DSCN1024


A friend sent me Amy Stewart’s new book called Wicked Plants because she said it seemed like it was right up my alley. I’m in the business of plants and flowers,  nothing much bother’s me, but this book has certainly given even me a new appreciation about some of the dangers of plants!  I hope to never have contact with any of the ones she mentions in her book although I have used monkshood in floral designs. Then I read in her book that just touching the plant can cause cardiac problems..well I know that reading about it causes cardiac problems for sure!  Yikes! I’ll never use that plant in my flower arrangements again!

Maybe that book has made me more aware of my wild friendly surroundings.  Today while up in the mountains, I was looking at plants through a new set of eyes.  That nasty devils club, I went way out of my way to avoid it!  I found this little three leafed plant with red berries, I stayed far away from that too

Little red berry hiding under the bear grass

Little red berry hiding under the bear grass


Then there was the monster plant that looked like something from the dinosaur era, I think it looked like skunk cabbage, but I don’t think I’d eat it!

Another imaginary wicked plant from Amy's book

Dinosaur plant?

BEAR what??

BEAR what??

Then I stumbled upon these clumps of grass, and when the wind kicked up and the brush started to move I began to wonder if BEARS had anything to do with Bear grass, is it wicked too? These grasses grow in the vicinity of HuckleBEARies?  Hmmm?

Then I finally found a friendly plant, fireweed, it’s purple and it’s pretty and it makes good honey, and the best part.. it wasn’t mentioned in Amy Stewarts book  of ” Wicked Plants” !  Things are looking up!

Friendly non wicked plant

Friendly non wicked plant

As my hunt for huckleberries progressed, I ran across this pretty group of plants, and since I think one was either hemlock which has a wicked sounding name, or maybe it was yew, which has wicked red poisonous berries and the other one had wicked spiny barbs, I decided it was only  “pretty”  from a distance!

Pretty from a distance?

Pretty from a distance?

Then I finally found the jewel I was looking for, huckleberry bushes, but by now I am having moments of doubt, are these a part of the wicked plant family too? Remember those Bearies?

Finally a nice plant!

Finally a nice plant!

Now that I have survived my hiking trip,  I’ve decide that I really really love and enjoyed Amy Stewart’s new book called Wicked Plants, but  it’s not a good book to take on a hiking trip to the woods unless you have nerves of steel!

There are 12 species of Huckleberries that are native to Washington & Oregon.  This uncultivated cousin to the blueberry grows at between 2000 & 11000 ft elevation in acidic mountain soil. If you haven’t tasted one, you are missing a treat!  They do not taste like blueberries as some folks suggest.  There are a uniquely tart flavor, much more intense in flavor that a blueberry and they only grow in the wild.  They make the best jam, pies, and taste wonderful with salmon!  It’s always a guess as to when they are going to be available, this year they are a little earlier than years past.  Sometimes we harvest them as late as October, but we decided to go up to the mountains today and check them out.  Our favorite spot ws closed by the forest service, but I have another secret spot that I’ve been going to for the past 20 years.  Not the easiest place to get to, but well worth the effort. I always suggest you go with someone the first few times so you learn what to look for and what to harvest, as there are a few other berries that look similar and are not edible.  But the huckleberry wood is distinct and easily recognizable once you learn.  I can spot them from the car, which always amazes my husband.  Here are some photo’s from today’s huckleberry picnic, a NW tradition in our family!

Hucklebberries in the NW

Hucklebberries in the NW

Huckleberries at Snoqualmie

Huckleberries at Snoqualmie

August 2009 Huckleberry Season

August 2009 Huckleberry Season

Berry picking at high elevation

Berry picking at high elevation

Forest in tne National forest before the climb up

Forest in the National forest before the climb up

Perfect for a huckleberry picnic

Perfect for a huckleberry picnic

One of the older books on my bookshelf is a book called Carla Emery’s Old Fashioned Recipe Book.  It is well used, well worn and so full of knowledge.  The kind of knowledge that know one really uses any more, but it seems like canning is making a comeback and I’m excited about that.  I’ve always been a canner, my poor daughter still suffers from the memories of coming home from school to the smell of cucumbers soaking in the bathub during pickle season.  She hated that smell.   In fact it’s such a strong memory to her , one day while  shopping with her girlfriend they came across a glass pickle ornament, and guess who did it remind them of, yes that’s what they bought me for Christmas.  I love that ornament, because it  stands for something.  A lost art,  I never wanted the art of canning go away. What I had learned from my mother and grandfather were things I knew were an important tool to their survival. I always felt like it might become important again someday to have the knowledge.

Here is a great canning site, if you are interested in learning more about canning

Of course now with all of summer’s bounty out there, it’s the time of year to be thinking about canning.  I thought I would share a few of my favorite  recipes. I have raspberry vinegar aging in the refrigerator right now, waiting to be bottled, I have finished the mustard pickles, the dill pickles, and am just finishing the Sweet pickles this weekend.

Here’s a great reciple for a sweet pickle, that doesn’t even need canning. It will keep in the refrigerator for 6 months.

No Cook Refrigerator Pickles ( the original recipe came from Mrs. Benjamin Swarey, Mill Creek, PA )

6 cups of thinly sliced cucumbers

1 cup of think sliced onions

1 cup of sliced mango ( optional )

2 teaspoons of pickling salt

1 teaspoon of celery seeds

2 cups of white sugar

1 cup white vinegar

3 cups of water

Mix all the ingredients together. Allow it to sit at room temperature for a few hours in the bowl. Then put in jars, put the lid on, and place in the refrigerator. These pickles will keep for 6 months in the refrigerator.  So simple you can have this done in less than an hour, including picking the cucumbers.

The other good recipe ( and a great way to use up tomatoes from the garden right now)

Fresh Salsa

1 – 1/2 lbs of tomatoes ( about 5-6 tomatoes)

1/2 onion, diced

1/4 cup diced green chiles

1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper

1  1/2 teaspoon lemon juice ( bottled or fresh )

1   1/2 teaspoon chopped cilantro

1/8 cup vinegar

pinch of cayenne pepper

Combine all the ingredients and mix well.  You can make larger batches and can this as well as just eating it fresh. Check canning across america for canning instructions.  My recipe says to can for 45 minutes in a water bath canner for pint jars.

And the last one you can use to make dill pickles by the quart, and just store in the refrigerator without canning as well.

1 quart of pickling cukes

1 clove of garlic

1 dried red hot pepper

1 Tablespoon of pickling salt ( do not use iodized salt )

2 Tablespoons white vinegar

2 heads of fresh dill

Boiling water

Just wash your cucumbers, pack into hot sterilized quart ja. Add the garlic, pepper, salt, vinegar and dill. Cover with the boiling water, seal, and store in the refrigerator. These are ready to each in 6 weeks.  I usually open my first jar op pickles at Thanksgiving.

This weekend’s weddings were beautiful, the first one was all shades of white flowers, white dahlias, white roses, white hydrangea, gardenia, and freesia, all the men wore freesia.  The second wedding reminded me of a yummy creamsicle, done in cinnamon colored roses, ivory mini callas and ivory spray roses.  It was a beautiful outdoor garden ceremony, the water feature of a babbling stream was a really nice touch.  The last photo is the flowers for next weekends wedding, burgundy mini cymbidium orchids  and red mini callas.  Those orchids are the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen, can’t wait to see them done up in a bouquet.  The bride will have the burgundy orchids with white mini callas, and the bridesmaids will be carrying the red and white mini callas.  I’ll try to remember to post next week after the bouquet is finished.

gardenia, dahlia,  hydrangea bouquet

Bride and Bridesmaids

Cinnamon & Cream bouquet

Fall arrangement

Burgundy mini cymbidium and red mini callas

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