Monday, July 16, 2012

Summer arrives to the Willamette Valley: Part II

July 2-9, Harrisburg, Oregon

Yesterday we completed our second week back "home" and the best part is that summer weather has arrived.  I think in my last entry I shared the Oregon adage that summer begins on July 5, but it actually came a day early on the 4th of July.  We have had temperatures ranging from the mid 70s to the high 80s with lows at nighttime in the 50s or 60s.  This is the perfect weather I have long described to others when they ask about summers in Oregon. Now that we have turned the corner on the weather, rain is typically scarce until early fall. We especially love the cool nights--good sleeping weather--and the fact that there are virtually no pesky bugs to deal with other than the occasional yellow jacket. Even staying at a campground right on the river, there are no mosquitoes or gnats. I  think it is because there is little rainfall this time of year and the water is constantly moving.

The past week has been a little slower pace for us which feels good. We have settled into a pattern of going into town (Corvallis) every other day to visit friends, run errands, or go to appointments. It has been nice to be able to take our time in seeing people rather than trying to cram it all into one week. Last Monday, I drove to Salem to meet a friend for lunch who now lives in Portland. Not having seen each other in about five years, we had much catching up to do both in terms of recent changes in our lives and sharing memories that go back to the time were neighbors twenty-five years ago. Where did all those years go? We were young mothers when we met and now we are senior citizens! Hopefully we are a little wiser now, but it still feels like we are the same girls who would sit out in the sun (with not enough sunscreen) drinking gin and tonics in our backyards together.

The 4th of July we played things low key as we wanted to stay with the dogs because of all the local fireworks.  We ended up going to some friends for a BBQ where we were able to bring the dogs with us.  Jetta, our female dog, gets very jittery around fireworks and thunder and this holiday was no exception. We ended up closing all the windows in the house, turning up the music, putting cotton balls in her ears, and giving her a half a benadryl. She eventually settled down.  We played Hearts, and I tried to shoot the moon three times and finally succeeded on the last hand--rescuing myself from last place. (Sorry Mo. . . .)
Another delightful day this past week was going to Eugene to see another good friend whom I had not seen in two years. She and I were both high school English teachers, single moms with sons, and we lived across the street from each other twice!  She retired two years ago and her two younger sons built her a cottage in her older son's backyard. It is a lovely space that even has a secret garden.  She can walk most places and, best of all, is right there to enjoy watching her four-year-old grandson, Jules, grow up.  We walked to lunch at a place called the Hideaway Bakery where I had a roasted beet and goat cheese salad on mixed greens with wood-fired artisan bread.  Another fun discovery of a great little cafe and bakery.  Sheila also inspired me with her painting which she sells at the Spencer Creek Grange market on Saturdays. Her current art projects involve repurposing items from places like the Goodwill such as old pitchers, mirrors, watering cans, by painting them with brightly-colored images such as sunflowers, poppies, salmon, dragonflies, etc. I am so happy for her new life in Eugene near her three sons. The Eugene Register-Guard did a great feature on her new place and the touching story behind it:

Sheila's sweet cottage
This weekend we had two other special visitors at our "country home." Our friend Don, who is baching it while his wife is in Southern California visiting their new granddaughter, came to visit (and spend the night!) with his dog Charlie, an eleven month old Cockapoo.
Looks like a doggie sleepover
Charles enjoying the couch
I made some local ling cod with mango salsa and coconut rice for dinner, and then we walked the dogs around the park checking out all the other motorhomes and fifth wheels. That night there was a wedding reception happening in the main lodge and we learned they were going to send off sky lanterns at dusk--something I had never seen or heard of.  They were amazing to see--especially over the river. Here is what I learned about them
Traditionally used in Asia for celebrations and festivals, the launch of Wish Lanterns symbolizes the release of worries and problems.Wish Lanterns are biodegradable, non-flammable and easy to use. They create an amazing visual effect that adds enjoyment and wonder to any special occasion.Simply light the fuel cell, wait for the lanterns to fill up with hot air and then let go. You and your guests will gaze as the Wish Lantern floats up into the night sky. Using the power of fire, the Wish Lantern will be in the air for about 12 minutes and go up over a mile in the air.

On Sunday, our good friend Bruce who is in town for a few days from Mexico (and temporarily Southern Cal--another story altogether) drove out for dinner. Before dinner, I talked him into joining me in the pool for a swim as it was a warm day here in the high 80s and even the unheated pool felt just right (but Vic wouldn't believe us). Our original retirement plans were to move to Mazatlan where Bruce and his wife now live. We were just going to be two years behind them, but the economy and drug war had us rethink our plans and Vic's dream of touring the country in motorhome won out. We still miss Mexico and haven't ruled out eventually spending the winters there.

Both Vic and I are learning that staying in one place for a longer period of time is good for the soul. I even have a birdfeeder here that is going through about four cups of sunflower seed a day. I miss my backyard birds and flowers but being out in the country by the river makes up for it. I am discovering all kinds of new little places to visit out here that I never even knew existed when we lived about twenty miles away. With less than two weeks left at this spot, we suddenly have a list of all kinds of things we still want to do--such is life. We are grateful for the time here and the blessing of being able to reconnect with such good friends. 

1 comment:

  1. So happy to hear you guys are enjoying your stay back home. We are also experiencing the perfect weather here in Portland. Really enjoying the beautiful fresh fruits and veggies at the markets here! Just polished off our fresh cherries so back to the market we will go tomorrow!!!


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