Doin' it my way.
We just launched our newest site, Ars Grafik. It’s a marketplace of primarily free web and graphic design elements–all the great things that designers need in their toolbox, like free WordPress themes, PSD brushes, vector images, PSD and AI patterns, fonts, stock photography, textures, and more! We’ll be adding content like crazy now that it’s up.
This has been a continual process of reevaluating our place in the online world, and we’re really excited to get Ars Grafik off the ground. So pass it along to any creative types you know or drop us a good word on your blog. It’s MUCH appreciated!
I haven’t forgotten about posting pics from eastern Washington. More to come soon!
This weekend wasn’t meant to be spent horsing around… I was fully prepared to dedicate it to putting the final touches on a new font and prepping for a site launch… but the weather was gorgeous and the rains are to start on Tuesday, announcing the true start of fall in the Pacific Northwest, so, needless to say, instead of working, we took advantage of the very last weekend of an Indian summer.
Apples are fruiting like crazy this year, and we’ve amassed quite a few. We’ve already canned 12 quarts of applesauce and have frozen apple butter, but we still have a TON of apples. I’ve really wanted to make cider, and we have a press Evan made years ago, but we’re missing the grater component to the whole apparatus. Yesterday we talked with our neighbors (the AWESOMEST people ever: in their 60s, former chefs, Welsch, curse worse than a sailor, make home brews, garden like crazy, and have 2 uber-hyper dogs….) over the fence as our dogs played and found out they had an apple grater that they were kind enough to loan for the day. So we started at about noon Saturday and worked well into the night under the stars crushing and pressing apples into juice to make hard cider. It’ll *hopefully* end up being about 6% alcohol (which is a pretty dry cider)–no one we’ve known has had much luck with a sweeter hard cider.
So here’s the process:
You pick as many apples as you can find. Like, a mountain of them.
Then, you put them through the apple grater/grinder/crusher so it makes something that can be pressed:
You put the pulp in the apple press:
And catch what comes out:
Juice! 8 gallons worth, to be exact! Drink it as-is, or, for adult cider, sterilize, use a hydrometer to get the specific gravity and gauge end-result alcohol content, add sugar if needed, and add yeast to start fermentation. Three weeks later, you’ve got a great hard cider you can bottle and drink!
Today was as cool, if not cooler than yesterday, as we took a little day trip over to eastern Washington (which is foreign no-man’s land to many–I’ve lived in the Pac NW 3 years now and have NEVER been over the mountains!). I’ll post pics in the next couple days–it was GORGEOUS!!! I think I need a ranch out there someday–it feels like a true Wild West: large vistas, lots of pine, horses, rolling hills, dry grasses… I want to be a cowgirl.
Here’s a glimpse of Winthrop, WA, a cute little tourist town and our destination for the day.
Mom and dad came up to visit last weekend and, unlike me, they were pretty good about taking pictures while they were here. From the looks of the pics, things seem pretty backwater out here. We went on hikes, panned for gold, played down by the ocean, chopped wood, built fires… but we’re still close enough to civilization that we could go into town for bagels, drink the best coffee ever at this AMAZING little cafe just southeast of us, take Hunter to the dog park, and eat at this awesome little German restaurant not too far from home. We haven’t gotten to explore the restaurants around here so it was nice to be adventurous and get to know the ‘hood.
The best find was what we think is a garnet! See that little vial? That’s where all the little flecks go. And it’s practically empty–a lot of work for a little return.
I think I’ve got something under my nail… no wait! It’s gold! Who’s got a magnifying glass???
We trekked miles up the road to get to the top of the world.
Hunter came too, of course.
Then finished off the big walk with a nice hearty German dinner.
And when I say hearty… (jager schnitzel)
I mean HEARTY! (lots of yummies, including smoked pork–the bomb!)
Who could go wrong with a 20 OUNCE STEAK!
Nightly fire starting ritual. No one liked me with a hatchet in my hand.
I’m so super excited about this–so we’ve been working late into the night lately and because of that, we took Hunter to the dog park today out at Lake Padden. At first, there was only one other puppy–a maltapoo (maltese and poodle, looks like shitszu), but as it got later in the morning more puppies started to show up. Hunter likes the ones that are smaller than he is and tends to stay away from the big ones.
Then this little pup, looked like an Australian Shepard, came in. She was the same size as Hunter, same build, and reminded me of one of his siblings, this little girl dog who had all sorts of crazy markings, didn’t look anything like the other pups in the litter, and was super aggressive when we met her. But this pup was really sweet, well adapted, and friendly. We asked how old she was, and the guy said almost four months–same age as Hunter! He found his sissy–her name’s Chloe– at the dog park!!!!!
They’ve only been apart for a couple of weeks, and they knew each other right away–neither of them were playing with the other bigger dogs, but when they saw each other they sniffed some and away they went–they played hardcore for at least half an hour, wouldn’t let any other dogs play with them, and they were all over each other. It was adorable! I couldn’t believe it! Guess we live in a small town
The owner, Tim, had an iPhone and got a video of them playing and emailed it to me. Here they are:
Have I mentioned that WE GOT A PUPPY?!?!?!
I <3 him.