Let’s Play

Gabi's Olympic Cards and Comics in Lacey

I visited Gabi’s Olympic Cards and Comics today. My better half had already visited for a board game Meetup but I wanted to see it for myself.

All I can say is wow.

Other game shops I have been to pale in comparison. Located in Lacey, this game store is a hometown gem that seems to have grown bigger and better over the years. This place is huge–7,000 square feet!–with impressive inventory in multiple categories, including the biggest selection of Funko Pop I have ever seen. I had no idea there were so many! And the vibe was just right. This is a friendly place where all are welcome and it seemed like a great place to spend an afternoon–and the nearly 1000 5-star reviews on Facebook support this assessment. Gabi herself stopped to ask me if I needed help. (Be sure to read her amazing story.) There are two levels. Downstairs you’ll find games, toys, models, paint, collectibles, comics, graphic novels and other books. Upstairs there are rows of tables for playing games. There are also games that you can play so you can try before you buy.

Check out their Facebook page for upcoming events. And stop by and see for yourself.

Location: Near Fred Meyer in Lacey, 4230 Pacific Ave. Lacey, WA 98503, (360) 459-7721

Hours (always a good idea to call)
Mon., 10 am-9 pm
Tues.-Sat., 10 am-Midnight
Sun., 10 am-6 pm


Today’s weather: The weather alternated between fine and terrible today. It felt colder than it was (40s) because of the 20ish MPH winds in the morning that took down several large branches in our yard and on our street. When we were out and about it was fine and then not and then fine again. Shortly after we got home we had hail. It was enough to make you say, “What the hail!”

Jake’s Robust Bell

Jake's Bell

I mentioned in another post that I have a pepper plant named after me. Several years ago, I planted a pepper plant that yielded very sweet peppers. My friend Darrel is a master propagator so I gave him some seed I’d collected. And when I say seed, I actually mean two seeds. Honestly, it was a last-minute inspiration to keep the line going when I realized that he had the skills and I did not. I remember he looked at the seeds cupped in his hand and said, “No pressure.”

If you have ever started plants from seed, you know that 100% germination is unlikely. But Darrel has mad skills and an enviable light table for seed germination. This year marks the seventh generation of Jake’s Robust bell pepper. I hope that it will make its debut in my Olympia garden this spring after being carefully germinated on my less impressive but still enviable light table. Since Darrel gardens in Phoenix, he’s ahead of me on the seed starting and transplanting schedule and his peppers are setting fruit. That’s his photo.Yep, in January. Gotta love Phoenix. I hope to have a similar photo around June.

Follow the garden on Instagram: @letskeepgrowing

Spring is coming!

Love,
Oly


Today’s weather: it feels cold again today. It was in the upper 30s on the first dog walk. It rained a bit this morning but it looks like it will just be cloudy for the rest of the day. It was nice enough to hang out in the yard for a bit today.

Eld Inlet and Mud Bay

Eld Inlet

We have started to pull over and read all of the historical markers and interpretive signs that we come across. We recently checked out the one at Eld Inlet and Mud Bay.

Interpretive sign at Eld Inlet

Eld Inlet is about 6 miles long and is located at the southern end of the Puget Sound, between Totten Inlet and Budd Inlet. (What’s an inlet?) The southern end of the inlet is Mud Bay. If you drive by at low tide, that’s exactly what it looks like.

Interpretive sign at Eld Inlet (detail)

Although originally called Friendly Inlet by Peter Puget (he probably deserves his own post), it was later named Eld Inlet after one of the midshipmen on the United States’ Exploring Expedition, Henry Eld.

Driving on Highway 101 in this area you can see the outrageously large and rather comical group of metal cattle sculptures created by area artist Gary Vig.

J.B. Jackson would have loved them.

 

 

Eld Inlet


Today’s weather: Rainy and cold and in the 40s. The temps were not really that different but it felt colder. It did clear up for a couple of dog walks.

Hidden Gem: Frye Cove

Frye Cove

Looking for a quick and easy hike that will surround you with nature? Check out Frye Cove on Steamboat Island Peninsula. Frye Cove is a Thurston County Park.

Frye Cove is a 67-acre park located along Eld inlet. It has over 2 miles of hiking trails plus restrooms and picnic areas. We walked through the park in about 45 minutes and would have done a second loop if we had more time. We will definitely be going back!

Apparently, it’s a popular spot for weddings and I can see why. It’s so beautiful–a perfect forest setting. Even “magical forest” doesn’t quite do it justice. Everywhere we go in Olympia, we feel like we are walking through the pages of The Hobbit.

Frye Cove

Rating: Easy. We saw people of all ages at the park.

Frye Cove Park is located at 4000 NW 61st Ave, Olympia WA 98502. The entrance to the park is easy to find. The park is open 9 am to dusk. Frye Cove allows dogs on leash. Please respect the leash laws and always pick up after your dog.

Love,
Oly


Today’s weather: It rained in the early morning. It stopped raining later in the morning, just in time for a long dog walk. The rain picked up again after the evening dog walk. Temps in the mid to upper 40s today.

Rainy Crafternoons

Have a nice crafternoon

What do you when it’s raining, raining, raining? I think you buy a good raincoat and you just get used to it. I have three levels of rain: barely raining/mostly wet, raining steadily, and raining cats and dogs. I have become okay with level one. I just go about my business undeterred. I do find myself watching my weather app for breaks in the rain and planning accordingly for levels one and two. But for level three, I just stay inside. Rainy days are great days for reading, games and CRAFTS.

For an affordable afternoon of crafting–crafternoon!–head to Pinterest for ideas. You can find a lot of amazing projects that you can do with Dollar Tree finds. There are a couple of Dollar Trees in the area: on the west side near Target and Wally’s, in Tumwater near Costco/Walmart/Home Depot and in Lacey near Fred Meyers and across the street from Target.

  • 2104 Harrison Ave NW A18, Olympia WA, 98502, 360-534-0210
  • 606 Sleater Kinney Rd. SE, Lacey WA, 98503, 360-456-2878
  • 5203 Capitol Blvd SE, Tumwater, WA 98501, 360-628-8522
  • Store Hours: 9 am – 9 pm, every day (it’s always a good idea to call ahead)

On a recent trip, I purchased a heart-shaped wire wreath form. I want to make a Valentine’s Day themed ornament wreath and this is a perfect size–and perfect shape, of course.

Remember to check out Pinterest for some great Dollar Tree hacks. Happy crafting!

Love,
Oly


Today’s weather: It rained early in the morning and then cleared up. At about 2 p.m. the rain started up again. The afternoon dog walk was a little bit too wet. But–not cold.

Joe Knows

Hibiscus frame

After a particularly dark period of my life when I lived in lands without Trader Joes, it became a permanent fixture on my “must-have list” for any new home. Trader Joe’s is the first store that I went to when I arrived in Olympia. Actually, I think we went to Trader Joe’s before we even saw our new house.

What I love about Trader Joe’s:

  • Lots of vegetarian and vegan options including desserts
  • Great prices
  • Good produce
  • Naan
  • Good coffee
  • Flowers and plants
  • So much dark chocolate goodness

We do the majority of our regular shopping here so we have learned their inventory and we’ve probably had almost every vegetarian thing that they sell. In December, I stockpile Wintry Blend coffee and peppermint green tea. Can’t get enough of either one. There’s always coffee brewing so you can taste a new variety before you buy. They also have samples and more than once, I have bought the whole shebang. And there are a lot of Trader Joe’s dinner hacks that are just a Google search away. 

If you like fresh flowers, it’s only a mini splurge at TJs. I have an orchid from Trader Joe’s that I have had for three years and it’s moved with me twice! It’s fierce. I definitely recommend their orchids.

Trader Joe’s is on the west side of Olympia, 1530 Black Lake Blvd SW, Olympia, WA 98502. Hours: 8 a.m.–9 p.m.. (360) 352-7440.

Love,
Oly


Today’s weather was actually pretty nice. I saw the sun. No rain, highs in the mid to upper 40s. No complaints!

Produce year round at Jay’s

Jay's Farmstand in Olympia

Jay's Farmstand in OlympiaJay’s Farmstand is a great place to pick up a wide variety of produce including many locally grown and organic items as well as other locally made food items. On our recent trip, we picked up bananas, delicata squash, tomatoes, peppers, a cucumber, sometimes-hard-to-find jicama and a sweet potato large enough to feed a family of four for about $10. It’s covered and the majority of produce is inside; everything outside is under awnings.

There’s an incredible variety packed into a small space and we found everything that we were looking for, even in January.

Location and hours: 4315 Harrison Ave NW, Olympia, WA 98502
Open daily 7 am–7 pm but it’s always a good idea to call: (360) 489-0295

Love,
Oly


Today’s weather: Today’s high looks like 54°F. It’s 39°F at about 5 am. Looks like it’s going to be a bit colder later in the week with highs in the mid-40s and rain, rain, rain every freaking day.

Fun Junk and Licorice Boutique

Fun Junk and Licorice Boutique in Olympia

This enticing little store is on the corner of Harrison Ave NW and Kaiser Rd NW in West Olympia. We’ve driven by it many times and finally, we stopped to take a look around. The signs outside proclaim “Piles of Old Stuff” and “Fun Junk” — and it is that. The store has a wide assortment of things from clothing to housewares to metal and cement art. It’s a bit of a flea market and your grandparents’ attic or basement rolled into one.

Some of my favorite items:

  • A giant whisk (maybe 2 feet tall?)
  • Old school Jello-brand mini Jello molds
  • Wallets that looked like they were made out of money
  • Stereograph cards
  • They had a whole box of Crown Royal bags so we picked up a couple for storing game pieces.

They also have books and vinyl records, transistors, old-school bottle openers and old bottles, clothes and more. If you’d like to take a trip down memory lane, this is a good place to do it.

Licorice Boutique is only open Fridays and Saturdays but it’s an easy stop if you have plans in the Capital Mall area or if you are going by Jay’s Farmstand.

4524 Harrison Ave NW, Olympia, Washington, (360) 259-1796

Love,
Oly


Today’s weather: Got up over 50°F today and no rain so I cleaned the inside of my car and we worked on the garage. 90% humidity according to the weather app and my new dehumidifier seems to agree.

Get ready to start those seedlings

Light stand with seedling tray

January is the time for many gardeners to get excited and start planning their gardens. If you live in Phoenix, the timing is a little different: those tomato plants need to be started right around Christmas Day. In my maritime northwest garden in Olympia, I have to sit on my hands a bit and wait to start seeds until the end of January and into February.

BUT–I can be prepared.

Yesterday, I pulled out my seed tray and my light stand. I purchased the light stand a couple of years ago and it was still new in the package. It’s a Jump Start two-foot grow light. I am happy to report that even after a couple of moves, it’s in good shape and I am really happy with it. It’s just the right size for a flat of seedlings. The stand uses a pully system to raise and lower the light so the light can be adjusted to be close to the seedlings.  I am using a flat that holds 72 peat pellets. I like peat pellets because they are easy and easy to transplant without too much overhandling of delicate seedlings. Plus, if you have things ready before others, you can just swap the seedling for a new pellet. I placed my light stand in the guest room where it’s relatively warm and there’s plenty of light thanks to a large skylight. I am planning to add a heating mat, too. And I set up a timer for the light.

This year, I am also going to try some DIY newspaper pots for squash. You can plant squash seeds directly in the ground and in some cases, that’s probably better, but starting the seeds ahead helps me to be able to see the plants and I do a little better with spacing. Everyone is different so remember that you can adjust methods to suit your style and still be very successful. The best methods are always the ones that work for you.

I made a list of what I want to grow. I have five garden beds in my fenced-in garden area.

  • Tomatoes (two varieties)
  • Sweet Peppers (two varieties including one named after me! more on that later)
  • Yellow squash
  • Delicata squash and another winter squash
  • Zucchini
  • Eggplant (mini)
  • Cucumbers
  • Snap peas
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Rosemary
  • Basil
  • Thyme
  • Scallions
  • Leeks
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Melons (two varieties)
  • Ground cherries
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Kale assortment
  • Salad greens

I decided to order most of my seeds from Oregon-based Adaptive Seeds. They sell Pacific Northwest grown, open-pollinated organic seeds. I really enjoyed reading through all of the varieties and selecting new things to try. There is a lot more plant diversity out there than you would realize from a stroll through a typical grocery store produce section. It’s worth repeating that varieties grown for mass marketing are rarely the best tasting varieties. An interesting tidbit that I will share from my Reno garden and Phoenix garden: northwest seed varieties often do well in both Phoenix and Reno. I think that’s because they are short season gardens. Particularly with tomatoes, you need a short season variety that will tolerate cooler temps if you want to harvest tomatoes in either Phoenix or Reno.

I have some leftover miscellaneous seeds and they are all going to be used. Not sure that I can hope for great germination but I also know that they will never grow if I don’t plant them. I might have a happy surprise.

Another day, another great sandwich

Steamboat Grill and Greens

After a morning of errands, we decided to try Steamboat Grill and Greens for lunch. We had the Grill and Greens Wrap and Veggie Garden Burger with fries. This is a really a stand: you drive around and someone comes out to take your order and then you pull up to wait. There is some outdoor seating (hope springs eternal). The service was friendly and fast and they were thoughtful about checking ingredients after we shared our dietary requests (extra tip for that). The food was really good. The wrap was tasty and toasted to perfection. Too often wraps get soggy or they are just too cold for my taste. The veggie burger was really above average and the fries were good. About $10.00 per person.

Also: shakes and malts including Blackberry and Butterscotch. Definitely going back to try those when it warms up a bit!

3634 Steamboat Island Rd NW
Olympia, Washington 98502

(360) 866-2274
Open 11 am – 7 pm (open later seasonally–always a good idea to call)

Weather today: We saw the sun! Definitely warmed up to the low 50s, no rain. We warmed up enough on the dog walk this morning that we were peeling off layers.