Tag Archives: Oregon

I smell roses and bake cookies

When Mr. Glad and I drove north to visit some of our children and grandchildren last week, I didn’t expect to bring home anything to blog about. After all, I have posted plenty of pictures of these places before, and we weren’t planning any outings beyond the immediate neighborhoods.

BUT we hadn’t seen this part of the country at exactly this time of year, and nature with all its surprises called out from every direction, “Look at me! Have you ever seen anything like this before?” No, I’m sure I hadn’t!

We stayed at Pippin’s homestead and were shown around by Scout who rarely tires of exploring and at the same time chatting with himself and/or whoever is around about every discovery.

Some things we took notice of together were the birches in the back yard, and what I think was a moth working the lilacs. I took a long movie of the whirring creature but in it his wings are still moving too fast to see clearly.

Squaw Carpet (ceanothus)

The Squaw Carpet I’d seen at other seasons of the year was in bloom this time. It was covered with pine needles, in the forest just outside the back yard. Off to the right in that photo above is the new garden fence that will keep the deer from eating all the yummy vegetables.


Bright Walls of Water are protecting the tomatoes from frost, a prudent precaution since it snowed here as recently as the day before we arrived.

In the front yard next to the road I found this lovely vine blooming. I had never seen one before, but a little research tells me that it’s a pink honeysuckle.

Golden Celebration

For Memorial Day we drove farther north to Pathfinder’s home in southern Oregon. Right now they are having an unofficial flower show all over town, featuring rhododendrons and roses.

My favorite was in their back yard, a prolific yellow rose with the sweetest scent. I wanted to set my chair up close and drink deeply.

Mardi Gras

When we took a walk around the neighborhood Scout kept the group at stroll speed while he discussed the cattle with his mother and found a red yarrow bloom to inspect.

backyard rose
In the Neighborhood
Something like a broom ground cover was definitely more constant in its brilliance than the sun was that partly cloudy day.
Back at the cousins’ place, there was a wealth of (also yellow) equipment to work with, and a dog to peek in on.

The big kids were playing with Scout, or playing a card game with Uncle Professor, or watching some grown-up boys practice their knot-tying. We grown-up girls kept the food bowls full and did a fair amount of rose-smelling. I was introduced to Annie’s new doll Elizabeth (for whom I have not yet sewn any clothes).

I had made some cookies for the occasion (recipe below), which got scarfed up during the appetizer course. That was a good thing, because Auntie Iris had prepared a dessert finale for our event that included brownies, and an ice-cream cake designed to please the littlest member of the family.

All present seemed to love these cookies that Pippin planned and I baked, with a little Scoutish help. I remembered just in time to take a picture, when all but four had been eaten.

Chewy Lemon Cookies

about 4 dozen

1 cup (salted) butter, softened
1 3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
4-5 teaspoons lemon zest
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoons baking soda
3 cups all-purpose flour
about 1 cup powdered sugar for rolling

Cream butter and sugar until light. Add vanilla, egg, zest and juice and beat well again. Mix in all the dry ingredients except the powdered sugar. 

Put the powdered sugar in a bowl. Break off heaping-teaspoon-size pieces of the dough and roll into balls, then roll the balls in the powdered sugar and place on lightly-greased baking sheets. They will be flattish. 

Bake at 350° for 10-11 minutes, until starting to brown on the bottom edges. If you use insulated cookie sheets they may not brown very much but they should still be chewy. Cool on racks.

 

Traveling, Hiking, Family…

pear orchard

I should be digging in the garden, but before I get on with that I want to make a report of the trip my man and I took last week to Oregon and Northern California.

Great Hound’s Tongue – Cynoglossum grande

It’s true, we do already live in Northern California, but it’s a large area, bigger than the states many of my readers live in, and it took us about six hours to get through the parts more northerly than us, before we crossed over into Oregon.

The pear trees were blooming everywhere — some of the orchards were old and venerable, but others looked younger and modern, with interesting trellises for the trees.

We were in Oregon to see Pathfinder and his family. One of my favorite things there was playing dolls with our granddaughter “Annie.” She told me all the updated names of her babies, including Molly, whose wardrobe I created.

During the weekend she also read to me from American Girl magazine, and the whole of A Bargain for Frances, which we read together about two years ago also. We took two walks around the neighborhood, one with the dog, and sat side-by-side at every meal.

Kids going four different directions Saturday morning meant that I could be useful driving Annie to her ballet lesson. You can imagine how voluminous was her hair before her mother twisted it into this fat bun.

Following ballet we went to the ball field to see Older Brother play shortstop. We played a hilarious game of Apples to Apples in the evening. And on Sunday afternoon all eight of us took a lovely hike up a table rock.

Hairy Pussy Ears – calochortus tolmiei
Chinese Houses
buttercup

Scads of wildflowers kept Annie and me trailing behind the others so that we could take pretty pictures. We told poison oak stories and looked out for the oily new leaves of that hated vine.

Besides the plants I’ve pictured here, we saw shooting stars, Red Bells fritillaria, larkspur, and a score of beauties that we didn’t have time to stop and consider. No one had brought along a wildflower guide.

Crocidium multicale – goldfields

The hills and the trail were dotted heavily with creamy-flowered chaparral that we found out later is called Buck Brush, a type of ceanothus. It’s very showy when you see it covering the hills that are still green from the late rains, but up close it’s stiff and stickery.

And when we got to the top, it was indeed a tableland of volcanic rock with sweeps of tiny yellow, purple and white flowers spreading out in every direction.

Mt. McLoughlin

The volcanic mountain commanding attention from that area, whether you are on the table or down below, is Mt. McLoughlin, one of the many such peaks making a line up and down the west side of our continent.

Oldest grandson enjoying the view

It makes me happy that our families like hiking together. When we visit one or another of our children they often want to show us a new trail or mountain discovery. Or we might decide to visit an old favorite place that requires a little trek to accomplish.

The day we left the Pathfinder Family, we stopped at a pioneer cemetery and strolled around looking at gravestones. I did say a prayer over some of them, but it wasn’t until we got home a few days later that I realized I had missed the day that Orthodox go to cemeteries to bless the graves, the Tuesday after Bright Week. It was not the exact day I was graveside, but close. I love visiting the graves; there is always a touching epitaph to ponder, or a family group with dates that tell a vague but compelling story of love and loss.

 

The little town of Ashland, Oregon, was our next stop. It’s known for its Shakespeare Festival, and special mineral water called Lithia Water. Lithia Park was lovely on this sunny day, and the mother duck was also out for a stroll with her children.

Pipe spouting Lithia Water

We stayed at Pippin’s homestead for a couple of nights on our way back, and took a hike with those folks, too. It was pointed out that the peaks we stood on, one on Sunday with Pathfinder, and one on Tuesday with Pippin, both gave a view of Mount Ashland in Southern Oregon. But I didn’t get a photo of that peak from either place.

The weather had started to warm up at long last, and by the time we got to the top of Yellow Butte the air was balmy. Before long I found myself lying on the short soft grass that has sprouted. I could have been happy to doze there for hours smelling the tiny flowers and shoots that were all around my head.

The view from my bed in the grass
Me
Scout eating cheese at the top

We ate a picnic of bread and cheese and strawberries, and Scout tottered around on the rocks while I tried to stay calm and remember that his balance is much better than mine.

Woolly-pod milk-vetch
Phlox was the most abundant flower on the top of that mountain,
though there were a zillion lupine plants not blooming yet.
And a pretty violet flower that no one knew the name of then (but I have since added above).
A ladybug came to our picnic.

Scout and his explorations and exclamations were the focus of this hike. His impatience at having to ride in the backpack up and down was softened occasionally when his mother or I handed him a new sort of twig or flower, or even one of the “spongy galls” that we found on the rabbit brush.

If we named the object, he would repeat whatever we said, usually many times, while trying to work it into his mind’s growing encyclopedia. But he also got the fun of swinging up and down the slope by the arms of his parents, and that briefly pushed all the new words out of the way with giggles.

 

Oregon – Part 3

The DVD player was broken at the house we were renting–not a bad thing. The littlest kids watched several Disney movies on a video player in a bedroom, and the older boys got to reading books. I had brought a box of games and things to read, coloring books and lovely soft colored pencils. Granddaughter and I, and also her next-oldest brother colored a lot of pictures from the Greek myths coloring book, and then the Celtic animals one. At least one older boy said that Bully for You, Teddy Roosevelt was Awesome. Pearl read Mrs. Mike.

Months ago Herm gave me a small old paperback, The Singing Forest, knowing my love of deer. This leisurely stay where deer did browse in the back yard seemed the perfect place to read such a book. One afternoon we had rain and cold, so we who were hanging out at the house turned on the gas fireplace and snuggled under blankets.

Between what groceries we had brought and the few items stocked in the house, Pearl concocted some chocolate cupcakes while I curled up with my book. It’s very sweet, fascinating as a glimpse of life on a Scottish estate and also a sort of sociology of Scottish red deer. A real-life Bambi story.

Wallace Stegner’s Remembering Laughter and Collected Stories were the other books in my Oregon stack. I’ll have to think more on those before I can do justice to them by anything I can write, but I have to say that any fiction by Stegner I’ve read has been most satisfying.

Some of us went up Mt Bachelor on the ski lift and got views of The Sisters and Broken Top. It was 36° up there so we mostly sat in the coffee shop and sipped cocoa.
Aunt and niece on the Smith Rock trail

Baby Scout was kept on task learning to crawl by having one or more cousins demonstrating and distracting him from his misery at being on his tummy. He made great progress during those few days, and has now learned that exploring is fun.

 

I think the next installment in the Oregon series will be the last, and none too soon, for I’m not comfortable being so behind in my reports. New and more recent adventures are always presenting themselves and wanting documentation and analysis. It is well known that I am always willing.

Oregon – Part 1

The aroma of corn tortillas fresh off the griddle filled the air around the warm rocks that rose jaggedly above the Crooked River. No brown-skinned woman was bending over a fire anywhere in the vicinity, but my grandchildren were wading in the shallows, above which billows of lacy white flowers swayed in the wind that puffed through the canyon. I put my nose in the flower clouds and sniffed; the delicious smell was coming from them, pictured here with wild roses.

It was just one of many richly faceted scenes from the last week, which Mr. Glad and I spent with several of our children and grandchildren in ever-changing groupings as individuals came and went as they were able. Oldest daughter whom I will nickname Pearl, and her husband and four frisky kids (who often are also lambs) flew from the East and rented a house big enough for a passel of kin, in central Oregon.

During the week at any given moment you might have found two or three, or nine or eleven, GJ relations lying on couches or in beds reading, or learning from Grandpa how to play cribbage, flipping pancakes for the whole hungry tribe, or bicycling around the neighborhood that was vast and strangely accessible for being strange. The older children could ride to the store for a gallon of milk and take the opportunity to pick up a bag of candy, too.

blue flax

This is a high and dry country, so our vacation house sat at around 4500 feet elevation. The spectacular Smith Rock was not far away, where I enjoyed the flowers like this blue flax, and white yarrow, while several of our boy-and-menfolk hiked a figure 8 up and around the rocks and got views of a string of long-spent volcanic peaks, usually with lots of snow still frosting at least the tops, up and down the Cascade Range.

I’m pretty certain that the aromatic flowers were of Poison Hemlock, Conium maculatum, in the carrot family, of which the Oregon Dept. of Agriculture says,Several deaths of livestock and humans are attributed each year to this species.”

To be continued.