Thursday, August 9, 2007
Living in a small town surrounded by countryside, we are quite literally one minute away from breathtaking fields of flowers. Sometimes I forget that not everyone lives in a town or even a state that grows what we grow in Oregon.
Yesterday, my family and I went for a drive through the rolling hills to look for carpets of flowers. We found a radiant field of purple flowers (which I can’t remember the name of, but know I’ve grown). On one dirt road loop, the farmers always grow rows of different brightly colored flower crops, which I think is candy for the eyes to see.
After touring the flower fields, we drove up the hill to feed and water one of our friend’s chickens. It was a drive full of fowl! On the way, a family of wild turkeys walked right in front of us. I had my camera in my lap, and was able to snap two shots of them before they scurried off into the brush. I love seeing wild turkeys, it is quite a treat!
When we arrived at our friends farm, which let me tell you I am very jealous of, we walked down to check on the birds. They have a beautiful assortment of Barred Rocks and Rhode Inland Reds, with one very friendly rooster. If you have ever met a mean rooster(and a lot of them are) you will know why I pointed out his lovely disposition. We dug around for hidden eggs, and filled the metal watering cans to the brim. The girls(and boy) were super happy to get fresh water, and even more excited by the plantain that I threw in for them to nosh on.
We drove back down the hill into our small town, and I started thinking about how I would love to have a farm like that someday. I guess I have always wanted that, but now that we own a home, the possibility of an upgrade to more property seems attainable. It is always good to have dreams, and even better when they become realized.
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
I have always loved old things. The trendy thing to call them now is "vintage". My grandad has had an antique shop in Seattle for longer than I have been alive. I remember trips to visit him at the shop. I would spend hours dusting his treasures, in trade for one special thing that I picked out.
My family has been thrifting for generations. My grandad and mother both had their "trap lines", a route stopping at various junk shops, flea markets, and hole in the wall thrift stores. When I was young, I usually tolerated being guided through these spots, but the flea markets were my favorite.
Today Ava opened a bathroom drawer and peered inside. She found a very old blue glass bead necklace, that my grandad gave me. She put it on her topless torso, and danced around the room. I persuaded her to put on a shirt (stained with strawberry from our garden), and snapped a few shots of her. When I looked at the photos, I realized she was sitting on my favorite vintage chair. It was passed down from my mother, and is probably older than us both.
This got me to thinking about things that I love and cherish in my house that are old. I walked around and saw our old copper planted that hangs to the side of our sink, cheerfully holding some of this years lavender harvest. I looked to the lamp with the silk shade that lights up our living room. My mother had it for years before donating it with our purchase of her cottage.
It's not just things that are in the house either-it is the house itself. Our home was built in 1922, and carries so much history and character with it. At the end of our living room is a wonderful, quaint set or biult in cabinets that house my family's book collection.
I think a love of old things is a precious gift. Some are born with this appreciation, surrounded by it from birth. Others find their own way to the vintage world. Once you have seen the wonder of it, you will never look at new things the same.
Monday, August 6, 2007
Another thing I love about summer is the bounty of fresh foods. We are lucky to have a very nice garden in the city limits, with a variety of fruits and vegetables. Today I went out and picked our one lonely blueberry bush. It is the only one to have survived the introduction of a wild dog species(not really, but they are quite spastic sometimes)!
Anyway, this bush has withstood gnawing, exposure of roots due to dogs running around in circles, and yes even the occasional "shower". My dear husband was kind enough to save the poor bush this year by closing of the area in which it resides, to all foreign canine species. The bush happily thanked me by giving me enough berries for a batch of jam. I did have to throw in one peach, but that makes it taste all the more delicious!
I also tried a batch of refrigerator pickles due to the prolific nature of my cucumber plants. Note to self: We do not need 4 cucumber plants for a family of two adults and one cucumber despising toddler. This toddler does however love pickles, so I'm turning the cukes into something the whole family can enjoy.
I'll be sure to keep you all posted on my ongoing food storage adventure!
One thing I love about summer in the Northwest is that everyone seems to beam out of their homes and a true sense of community is born again. It really is like a rebirth. When the first weekend of warm sunshine hits, the sidewalks and parks are once again filled with jolly conversation and children’s laughter.
A feeling of extended family lasts through the summer in my small town. It can still be felt in coffee shops and in cottages by a roaring fire in the rainy, often dreary months. Sometimes when I think the rain has lasted far too long, that first warm sunny weekend breaks through and I once again see familiar faces come out of winter hibernation.
If there is one type of event that exudes small town family togetherness, it is a parade. Our town has two parades every summer: the pet parade and the Homer Davenport parade. The pet parade is a splendid display of dogs in tutus, bunny cages on Red wagons, cowgirls on ponies, and everything in between. And I do mean everything- this year we saw a Chihuahua quite contentedly riding on the back of a pig!
The second parade which just occurred this past weekend, is a parade to honor our town’s most famous citizen, Homer Davenport. I didn’t really see too many homages to Homer, but it was a nicely done parade. The best part of the parade was watching the people, and waving to friends and family who were in the parade.
Ava and I sat next to a wonderful woman and her three sons. The two younger sons were identical twins who were turning one that very day. Ava was perplexed by them, as she has not seen many twins in her short life. To make things better, a set of two-and-a-half year old fraternal twin girls were sitting on the other side of the boys. The girls just had to come meet the boys, and cooed at the babies, and stroked their chubby hands. It was really very endearing.
After the parade the town stayed bustling for a few hours, before dying down to its usual summer pace. Looking around in the sunlight people were relaxed and beaming around from place to place. I sat with Ava on a bench and enjoyed a silent mother-daughter moment, and thought that soon people would be scurrying from doorway to doorway in their overcoats and goulashes, trying to avoid the rain. Even though the sidewalks may no longer be places of chatting and relaxing afternoons in the winter, I know that a step inside a cozy shop will find people glowing as they did in the summer. While some of my extended family does indeed hibernate through the winter, I still have many friends and mirthful conversations to pull me through to the next sunny day.
Thursday, August 2, 2007
On our recent trip to Central Oregon, we stopped at the Metolius River for an afternoon so Andy could fly fish. Ava and I sat under a magnificent ponderosa pine, and breathed in the smells of the river and the forest around it. I once took a class where I had to read a book by Kathleen Dean Moore called Riverwalking. She spoke of our strong connections to rivers, particularly our home river. This is the river that you feel the most connected to-the one that embraces you the moment you near its banks.
My home river is the Metolius River. It is a wild river located in the Metolius Basin. I was blessed to live very near its banks for a time during my childhood. Before living there, my family had been drawn there. My former step father had gone there as a child, and we camped there during my young childhood.
Last term I had to watch a video for a college course on environmental ecology. I was half asleep during the intro of the speaker until I heard her name. It was the author of Riverwalking. She read excerpts from the book about her home river, and taking her daughter there. The book had stirred up emotions years ago when I read it in my early twenties. Now as a mother hearing her read about her home river and her daughter, tears rolled down my face.
Most people have felt a connection to a river. I am thankful to say that mine has been a beautiful wild river. Tragically, our state governor had just ok'ed the building of two mega resorts near the Metolius. This precious resource will soon be ruined for monetary reasons. The fragile wild habitat will be lost due to pollutants and excess vehicle and foot traffic. If you live in Oregon, please write to Governor Kulongoski and tell him you do not approve of the destruction of this precious resource.
In case anyone has noticed, I have been gone for a couple of weeks. Andy had a ten day vacation, and this year we decided to take advantage of every day. We started by traveling(driving) to the southern coast of Oregon. Andy and I had never been past the central coast so it was a new world to us. It was so beautiful and different from the scenery up north. On the way, we stopped off to take some photos of a lighthouse. We got a couple of really nice shots, despite being on a windy bluff with no tripod.
We camped just outside of a town that is right on the border of California. The campground we stayed in was nice, but a little too nice for our more rugged camping style. It had showers, running water, a playground, daily movies and nature walks, a Laundromat, wireless internet, cable for Rvs, and even an evening ice/ice cream truck! It was almost to much for Andy to handle. I think having all of these amenities sort of cramped his manhood(even though we didn’t use and but the water and shower)!
After we has set up camp, we drove down the coast to find a good spot to play in the sand. Apparently our campground is host to Oregon’s largest off coast island, which is also a seabird sanctuary. So, there were a ton of people on the beach near our camp. We drove over the border(a first for Andy and Ava) and found a nice little county park. We toted Ava and her beach toys down to the warm sand. The weather was perfect-mid eighties, and the water was so warm. It was an amazing afternoon!
The next day after a delicious breakfast of diced ham and eggs on a croissant(from a local café), we headed down to the redwoods. We took a short drive and hike through an old growth redwood forest. The trees made Andy look tiny (he’s 6'4") and photos make our car look very out of proportion. Andy had never seen anything like these amazing beauties, and was in complete awe. It’s really difficult to get a feeling for how massive they are until you are standing on the forest floor beneath them.
We spent the next few days enjoying the coast, and driving north toward home. Along the way, we bought a kite because I found out my poor husband had never flown one! After spending a few hours with the kite, I’m quite sure he should go pro.
We rolled back into town and spent the night relaxing. The next night, we went to see George Clinton and P-Funk right here in our quaint town. We had a blast, and I feel privileged to have seen the King of Funk.
Friday we headed over to Bend for the weekend. We drove around looking at houses, went fly fishing, and took Ava to lots of good parks(which we are lacking in our town). By the time we got home, we both looked at each other and expressed our feelings that we not travel for a while. Our trips were excellent, Ava did so well during all of the hours in the car, but we’re so glad to be home.
It’s true.... “There’s no place like home” Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz