I have so many great things to tell you about. I’m not sure how much I’ll get done in this post, but I’ll keep adding as I have time.
My summer break from school was fantastic. I was done the first week of June and went back the middle of July. I spent the first couple weeks hiking and gardening, which I have posted about previously.
For my birthday, the end of June, I drove to Portland and spent three hectic days visiting lots of friends, eating too much and drinking, too. I had such a great time! I have to thank my hostess, Jennifer, for allowing me to, not only crash at her place, but also invite a few pals over for dinner one night. Even though it was the first hot night of the summer in Portland and we were a little warm, I had a great time and really appreciate Jennifer letting me mess up her kitchen and interrupt her life for a few days! Thanks Jen!
This first pic is the dessert that Jennifer made for our dinner that night. Oh my gosh…it was so delicious! It is a chocolate mousse/crème broule dessert and it was amazing! We had a small problem with the blender, which caused for lots of laughs, which is what good memories are made of! Thanks again!
This pic is of the four of us gals that night! My besties: Heidi, (me), Kelsey and Jennifer. 😀 Thanks to my brother for joining us and for being our photographer!
After my trip to Portland Chris and I took our boat out for her maiden voyage of 2010 to a new-to-us lake here in So. Oregon called Emigrant Lake. It isn’t very big, but it is very close by. The weather was lovely and we had a fantastic day!
On a sad note, Chris’ Grandma, Hilda Mae, passed away on my birthday, June 24, 2010 at the age of 82. She was an awesome grandma and we were saddened by her passing. Thankfully, it was relatively quick and she had much family with her until the very end. Grandma Hilda’s passing meant Chris and I were making another trip up north, to the Kent, WA area, for the funeral and family time. It was a long drive, but we were glad to be there and get to visit with family that we rarely get to see. It was a real treat getting to visit with two of Chris’ cousins that were in our wedding as “little girls” and are now both in their early 20’s!! That was a lot of fun! It was a quick trip, though, up and back in 3 days.
When we got home it was already time to celebrate the fourth of JULY! Goodness how time flies. By now, the weather in So. Oregon was downright hot, with temperatures easily reaching the mid 90s most days, and creeping up into the low 100’s. I am not a big fan of the Fourth of July, so Chris and I basically stayed home, cooked up some grub on the grill and went to bed early. (I know, we are lame-but the Fourth of July is amateur night!)
That following week I had a special treat with my mom coming to visit for a few days. She and her very best friend since first grade, Vickie, drove down together. Vickie’s son and his family live just south of here in Yreka, CA, so it was a great way for both moms to get to see their kids and also have a chance to visit with each other. While mom was here we spent lots of good quality time visiting and looking through cookbooks! I know, you all are SHOCKED! Well, it turned out to be a good thing for us to do as we ended up making a couple of good dishes! We made a raspberry rhubarb pie, which I thought was quite good, but both Mom and Chris felt it could have used a bit more sugar (it was a little tart-but hey, it’s rhubarb!) We also made a very tasty and moist pineapple zucchini bread. I made four little loaves and sent one home with mom’s friend along with some fresh lettuces from the garden. I have to tell you, I felt very southern hospitality-ish! I loved it!
During her visit, mom and I talked a lot about the “old” days, when she was a kid and young adult. We were mostly talking about how everyone canned food, shared the bounty of their harvest, whatever that might be. Some people had berries, others had apples or nut trees, and others had big gardens. Mom said she remembered that you never left someone’s house empty handed; you were always being given something that was canned or fresh right from the garden. I felt saddened by the fact that this way of life and of sharing abundance has all but disappeared in our modern day “convenience” society. More on that another time, I’m not going to get on a tangent about it tonight!
We talked about freezer jam, too! So, the day after mom left I went down to the farmers market and bought a whole bunch of berries: strawberries, raspberries and loganberries (sort of like a blackberry).
Then I proceeded to make freezer jam for the first time ever! I have to say, it turned out very well. Of course, I now have more jam in my freezer than Chris and I have eaten in the last 5 years combined, but it will be nice to have. Plus, I can give it away if anyone comes to visit.
I read an incredible book, which is sort of what got the whole conversation started with my mom in the first place, called “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” by Barbara Kingsolver. Ms. Kingsolver and her family go “off the grid” of the American food system for an entire year. The book is their story. It is incredible and very inspiring if you have ANY inclination toward getting off the grid, growing your own food and living a simpler life. I was so inspired by her book and her stories. She is one of the reasons that I decided to go ahead and try the freezer jam. So, a big thank you to Barbara Kingsolver and her family; they have helped put me more firmly on a path, with some great guidelines, that I was already veering toward.
In that same vein, Ms. Kingsolver helped me figure out what to do with some of the bounty of my awesome garden! (I’ll do a separate garden update post soon-but all in all things are looking darn good out there!) My basil was going crazy and I didn’t know what I was going to do with it until I read Barbara’s book! Frozen pesto is the answer. So, in addition to making my first freezer jam ever, Chris and I have made a few batches of pesto and frozen them in individual zip top bags (about ½ cup serving per bag) to have on hand. My basil is still going strong so I imagine I’ll get a few more freezer bags full!
I’m going to wrap this up for the night, but will be making several more posts soon! I have to fill you in on my garden, our camping and boating trip to Lake Billy Chinook, our awesome find that we “found” on the way there, some excellent dinners (of course)and also talk about prickly pear cactus mead, and pickles!