June 2021 Part IV

As you can see from the image above, it got brutally hot. I think it peaked at 113 around here (116 in some places). I was very thankful for my AC as I Zoomed with colleagues cooking in their uncontrolled work-from-home spaces. We had a few people choose to go into the office (which is a thing now) because they thought (probably correctly) that it would be easier to get work done in the air conditioning. My former boss went in to take a nap.

The first two days after our Baring trip, the kids had JTF, which they attended remotely. Their troupe rented a small theater for the two days so they could do it all together. This meant that for the most part, KrisDi and I had the days to ourselves. We went to a bunch of breweries and bars (The Pumphouse, Georgetown, Great Notion, Lucky Envelope). We did meet up with the troupe for dinner one day.

JTF was physically in Texas. They played a clip from the Kettleworks Frozen production which included Chilkat singing In Summer, so her face showed up 20 feet tall on a giant screen in front of a crowd in Texas, which tickled her pink.

Chilkat dressed outrageously again. And KrisDi got a nice picture of a bright red dragonfly.

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June 2021 Part III

Click here or on the selfie above for more photos

For our anniversary this year, we decided to get a cabin. We debated between someplace along the coast or somewhere inland in the mountains, and settled on the mountains. We ended up finding a place in tiny little (pop. 220) Baring, WA. It’s a three bedroom place along the Skykomish river. You have to pass a rickety (and apparently historic) one lane wooden suspension bridge to get there. Looking straight over the river from the house was Baring Mountain. We left the kids with Nana and Papa.

We didn’t have a detailed plan. We had a short list of breweries in between home and Baring, and medium-sized lists of restaurants in the area and hikes we might want to try. We also had a cooler full of beer, curated by me, and food, curated by KrisDi, primarily for a series of beer and food pairings selected from a recipe book KrisDi gave me for Christmas (The Beer Lover’s Table). KrisDi also brought along several kitchen implements she felt were unlikely to be available in an AirBnB kitchen.

We stopped at Formula Brewing in Issaquah for lunch on the way out on Tuesday. We had wings and a pretzel. I was impressed with the beer, and the food was good.

We got into the house and wandered around the area and marveled at the scenery. The river is fast and loud enough to drown out mumbled or muted conversation if the window is open. KrisDi made pizza for dinner. IPL was the recommended pairing; the style was a fad a few years ago but it’s hard to find now. I could only find a six month old collaboration between Boneyard and Cloudburst named Loose Ends. It was a very good dinner (wish I could have found a fresher IPL). We sat by a fire near the river and drank a couple more beers before bed.

I intentionally woke up very early the next morning because I wanted to see what sunrise looked like, and since it was the day after solstice in Washington, that was early as hell. Sunrise was not stunning, but it was still nice to relax on the porch with some coffee and a camera watching the light change and listening to the river.

KrisDi made cheddar and chive biscuits with tomato jam, eggs, and bacon for breakfast, paired with Saison Dupont (which is, I now realize, an absolute gem of a beer that I have been ignoring far too long). It might sound weird to have beer with breakfast, but this recommendation was spot on — this was a beautiful meal, which we repeated later.

We went hiking at Bridal Veil Falls after breakfast. It wasn’t crowded on the path, but there were several groups of people at the top when we got there. I think it was about two miles each way culminating in a spot right in the spray of the waterfall (we had to keep wiping the lens), I think somewhere in the middle of the overall falls. The hike itself wasn’t particularly interesting, but the falls were pretty amazing.

Both our first and second choices for lunch were closed on Wednesday, so we went back to the house and KrisDi made a tomato and burrata salad. It was intended to be paired with Spontanbasil from Jester King, which is a very specific spontaneous sour made with basil, made by a brewery that doesn’t distribute to Washington. The closest I could find was spontaneous sour made with stinging nettle. We also muddled a little basil into a small pour of a gueuze. The salad was excellent, and the unmodified gueuze was the best beverage.

We then had an apricot tart paired with Cantillon’s Fou’Foune, my birthday present to KrisDi (and one of the best beers I have ever tasted). It was delicious, though we were sad when the beer was gone. Then, IIRC, we Googled the rules to rummy (which we both used to play before we ever met each other) and played on the deck.

Dinner was Chinese glazed baby back ribs paired with a schwarzbier (black lager) named Splatter Haus from Grains of Wrath. These were delicious. KrisDi also invented a bok choy dish (which she cooked with a very makeshift lid on the pan). She missed one of the ribs in the marinade, so I cooked it over the fire that night.

The next morning we decided to hike to Barclay Lake. The trailhead was only about five miles from the cabin, but it took like an hour to drive because the National Forest Service figured out how to make a road entirely out of potholes. The hike itself was interesting (including this guy, and what might have been the melted out remains of an avalanche), about 2.5 miles one way, culminating at Barclay Lake. Surprise! We wandered around the lake, peered at all the hike-in campers, crawled through the downstream-side logjams, took lots of pictures.

After the hike, we went to Zeke’s Drive In for burgers and shakes. The shakes were great, the burgers were fine, and the chili on the chili burger and chili fries was the blandest, most boring substance I’ve ever heard called “chili”. Then we went back to the cabin for beer and rummy, followed by dinner at Smokey’s Bar-b-que (which was pretty good; and they’re in the process of building an on-site brewery). Another fire, a short stint in the sauna, and more beer capped off the evening.

The next morning, I decided not to hike — I was feeling the ~10 miles of hiking in the preceding two days + a poor decision to jump down from a trunk at Barclay Lake (it was only like four feet). So, we basically packed up and left, but we stopped a couple times on the drive home to take pictures of scenery. And we stopped for lunch at the Black Duck Cask and Bottle.

Overall, it was a pretty relaxing getaway. We were both surprised how little wildlife we saw. The only wild mammal we saw was a chipmunk. Not even a squirrel.

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June 2021 Part II

Click here or on the birthday cake above for more photos

KrisDi’s birthday. At her traditional request, I made her a cake inspired by drumstick ice cream cones. I think she’s selecting more and more complicated cakes to see how far she can push me before I break. It took me three days. It was delicious, though.

I was able to find Cantillon’s Fou’Foune (apricot sour) at an online store for an exorbitant price; I felt slightly better spending slightly more and getting five additional beverages along with it. This was my primary gift to KrisDi for her birthday. I think she was delighted. I’m glad she decided to share it with me. Still one of the best beers I have ever tasted.

School ended. Chilkat is done with fourth grade, and Chilkoot is done with second grade. KrisDi did the beginning and end of the school year pictures (Chilkat and Chilkoot), as well as collages of all their school years (Chilkat Chilkoot).

The kids decided they wanted to make us dinner. They made sausage rolls — sausages rolled up in pastry dough. They also made some glazed carrots.

Months ago (March, I think), HB and I bought take home Hard Liver Fest packages from Brouwer’s. For the beers that we both had, we drank them together via Zoom. Finally, we got together to drink the other ones side-by-side. KrisDi made Chicago style hot dogs. Overall, it was a very nice day, but my next morning was not very nice.

For Father’s Day, my kids totally surprised me with breakfast in bed. An apple pancake, bacon, and coffee. Once again, I had been up for hours, and I needed to be reminded of how tired I was so I could be in bed to be surprised for breakfast in bed.

We went down to Bonney Lake for the rest of Father’s Day to hang out with the in-laws, where we re-used KrisDi’s birthday cake and drank beer and ate food. Here’s a nice picture of Chilkat and I basking in the sun on Les & D’s deck.

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June 2021 Part I

Click here or on the beer above for more photos

The kids decided to open a lemonade stand. They made some blue raspberry lemonade from a mix and went out on the sidewalk by the driveway to try to sell it for 50 cents a cup. They were frustrated by lack of customers at first, but they eventually got a couple big sales. One neighbor bought a half cup for $10 and wanted no change in return. Overall, they made around $25, and felt rich enough to make it rain when they were done.

For several years, we’ve met up with my former co-worker and long time beer friend Mr. JJ around Christmas time to share barrel aged beers. This is because (1) it’s an excuse to drink fancy, strong, expensive beers that otherwise sit around waiting for a “special occasion,” and (2) it’s fun. That didn’t happen last Christmas due to pandemic conditions, but now that we’re all vaccinated we finally did it in June. His two kids and their significant others also joined us. We used our home made bourbon barrel stave flights.

KrisDi’s work finally arranged an in-person celebration of their 100th anniversary (I think she actually arranged it, primarily). They did it outdoors in a parking lot near the Boeing Museum of Flight. All food was provided by her and her co-workers. EntrĂ©e was ribs and pulled pork. KrisDi made 140 cupcakes of six different flavors. Everything was individually packaged. It was a pretty nice event.

KrisDi’s Polish co-worker’s family came to visit her for her son’s baptism, and they brought her a bunch of meat. We got some of the overflow (which might have been a way of “paying” for the cake KrisDi made for the occasion). It seemed like a ridiculous amount…but we ate all of it.

We have this fancy can opener that cuts the outer edges of the top of the can in such a way that there are no sharp edges, and you can just lift the top off. Most of the time it works really well. But this can of salmon did not cooperate, and I had to pry it open, which (IIRC) involved the use of vise grips. The result was functionally acceptable, but not pretty.

Random stuff:

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May 2021 Part IV

A small bird nested in an old Christmas decoration that got moved to the side of the house. I don’t know if the eggs ever hatched, but they vacated after a while. Before they vacated, they nearly gave me a heart attack every time I walked around the corner of my house and startled them and they flew out of the nest right in front of me in a panic.

KrisDi made a cake for her friend’s baby’s baptism, including a fancy clear carrying case.

We went down to Lake Tapps for D’s birthday. KrisDi made a strawberry napoleon. We went out on the boat, took some photos of Mt. Rainier, some passing planes, a structure that might be a sideways foeder or a strange sauna, and some ducks.

The kids’ Frozen performance happened. We watched it while we were at D’s house (and the other two days that it ran). It was super cute.

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