Thursday, September 23, 2010

Gettin' our shred on!

Hood River trip today, last one of the summer, for sure. There were lots of fallish things about the day, it's here, no denying it. But let's not get depressed about it just yet, the Hood River story:

I had forgotten to bring a hat but remembered to wear my Hood River earrings, the ones made of shell that tinkle constantly in the wind. I cannot even begin to describe this sound but it is one of my very favorite things. We rolled into town about two, and headed up the hill. This is something we have always been meaning to do, downtown HR is so very cute and yuppy, with fancy shops and wine bars, I have always assumed that over the hill is where the poor people live. After an interesting turn, we wound up the hill on a tiny little road, fancy houses but strange, narrow one way lanes. Eventually we connected up to the main up the hill road that we should have been on in the first place and found the top of the hill town. As expected, it was strip malls and regularness. It had to be there somewhere but we just needed to see it. The real HR. We made only one stop, at a junk shop advertising local tomatoes. Didn't see tomatoes, but there was a lot of junk. Serious junk. And lots of art pieces from a local woman who had recently closed her studio downtown and was showing her art only in this junk shop. It was scary. And weird. And scary, for real. the man was watching us so I only snapped a couple....

This second one rotated on a turntable of sorts, a 360 degree display of terrifying humanistic representation, It was like a horror shop, the place was full of them. Thanks, real HR. Holy crap. Tonia admitted later in the car that she had liked them ( ! ) except for this horrible human one. Ewghrgggg. ( that's the sound I make when I think about it)

Ok, back down the hill, we had a Spanish coffee at a Scottish bar, hit up a few yuppy shops, I am the proud owner of a twenty dollar pair of socks! A gift, luckily. Once our parking meter money ran out, we headed down to the river. We had observed, driving into town on the 84, that the river was so low that there was a long sand bar extending almost all the way across the river. This was pretty exciting and was where we were aiming to go. We parked in the normal spot, outside the pay lot, and walked to the park where we had watched the kite boarders previously. Once we got there, it was pretty clear that the sandbar was not accessible from this park. How do we get there? We started walking around, but it was clearly very far. Bummer. We had out hearts set on this sandbar walk, so we headed back to the car, determined to find the place where it was accessed. Back to town, around a small maze of streets, under the 84, back under the 84, back under the 84, we found another park, a larger one, no fee, with a museum and full on boat marina. We drove all the way to the river and parked. No sandbar from here. We could look across to the park we were before and see the sand bar in the middle of there and here. How to get there? Luckily, from here, it was clear that we could walk. So we did. On the way, we stopped at the museum, cute, strange, welcoming, with great bathrooms. 

Scariest manikin on the face of the planet!

Outside the museum was a great foot bridge the took us over to the entry to the sandbar, where all the vans full of kite boarders drove in. 

It occurred to us then that perhaps once you have a van, dog, and board in the back, you drive straight at the rock face behind the chain link fence and it knows you are kosher and opens up to let you in. This had to be the case because, seriously, even standing at the entry to the drive down, looking out at the street where the vans came in, I still could not see where they were coming from! WTF? Ok ,that's the last i'll say about it. But, seriously??!! 

We headed down the gravel road, past the cool people parking and headed down the sandbar. 

We were clearly on the right path. Absolutely fantastic. I have no words for how amazing it was to be standing in the middle of the river surrounded by kite boarders on a beautiful, sunny, windy day on the river in the Gorge. So here goes....

Oh, so wind blown we were. The wind blows hard, all the time. The plants and trees are all slightly leaning, with most of their growth on the east side, away from the winds. It's amazing how things adapt. I imagine people do, too. We got our fill of sandbar and made the trek back to the car, got the cooler, and had our picnic dinner in the shelter. River parks are nice enough to always provide these, from what I've found, they must know that it would be impossible, or at lease uncomfortable, to eat in those winds.

After dinner, it was kite flying time. At the park we were at, there was a huge beach area where the beginning kite boarder lessons were taking  place. This was definitely the place to fly kites but we would have to wait until the lesson kite cleared out. We did and got to the beach to find that the wind was gone. Gone, just like that. We had spent the whole day being blown over and now it was just over. Strange. We walked out on the beach anyway, it was sunset time, so it was worth it. 

The full moon was rising on one side of the beach and on the other side...

The sun was setting. Amazing. 

Honestly, my experience with watching the kite boarders previously had been similar to my watching football or boxing or water skiing or hang gliding. I would roll my eyes, silly men. Don't you realize how dangerous that is?! After today, being so close to them, feet away, I get it. I understand having a kite in my hands, the power of the wind and the gentle relationship with that wind that you share with the kite. The boarders just take that a step bigger and better, but it did not look scary or impossible or even unsafe once I got to see what they were doing up close. It looked like a lot of fun! Come next summer, I may even give it a try. Assuming I am rolling in money by then....

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Synergy Chicken Dinner

Shannon's home!!!!! After running my errands on Monday, I headed over to Shannon and Adams to cook dinner. She had brought a chicken from the farm for a celebration dinner. It was a second, meaning that it had some sort of tear on it's body from the processing. She asked Susan for a double second, a chicken that had been in some way mutilated during processing, but Susan had refused. She gave Shannon a fantastic chicken, there was one small cut in it's skin but, seriously, it was perfect. And huge!

There were also some fantastic farm veggies, like these carrots who had several feet. 

Also plenty of cat snuggling.... 

Shannon made bread, strange round bread, in the bread maker. It was so good! And the easiest thing ever. Just dump the stuff in, push the button, and wait for the beep. Awesome.

Baby carrot!

Fantastic meal, great game of farkel, all in all a good welcome home dinner party. I ended up sleeping on their couch, waking super early to head over to Salt, Fire and Time for my first volunteer shift!

It was great. We made sauerkraut, but a mexican version with red onions, carrots, chili flakes, cumin seed, fresh oregano, and bay leaves. And, of course, green cabbage and salt. 

This is it in the giant crock we put it in. It will sit for a month before being used. It was so easy and awesome, we just mixed the veggies with salt and seasonings, ran them in batches in the mixer and dumped them into the crock. When it was full, we squished it down, placed the weights on top, burped it,  and put the top on. Presto, sauerkraut!

Her kitchen is nice and big, sunny, and clean. She was an absolute well of information, I asked questions non stop and she had great answers. I learned more in the three hours I was there about fermenting than I have ever known from reading books. It was a fantastic dose of positive energy, I am looking forward to spending more time here, and eating more of the food!

Sorry, not such a great pic, this is the dining room where she holds Friday night dinners when the weather is chilly. The back patio is great for the summer dinners. 

All in all, a great experience. I am happy to be involved in what she is doing. I hope to be able to buy a weekly share soon, and just use the volunteer hour credits for extra stuff like coconut kefir and local chocolate truffles and Fressen bakery pretzels and kombucha. We shall see...

I left and headed to Oregon City to buy my books for fall quarter. I am getting off easy this quarter for sure, with books anyway. Tonia and I were meeting for lunch since I was in town. She wanted to go to West Linn and, since I had yet to visit downtown West Linn, I was in. It was a slightly ill fated trip, for reasons I could not begin to explain, but we found a great little mexican place to eat. While waiting for them to open, ( 10 minutes!) we walked down to the river park. the hill was steeeeep! The park was beautiful, though, it was the first time I had been to the river shore on that side. It was funny to look across and see my town! Funny, like backwards land.

Tacos + margaritas = nap!!!!