Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Parting shots from our stay in Corvallis

August 15-18, 2013
Corvallis, Oregon
Chez Cook’s RV Pad

Saying goodbye to Corvallis, our former hometown, and all of our friends is never easy—even when the road beckons us to move on. It seems the last week of any place we stay for more than a month brings with it a mental pang of all the things we haven’t yet done or people we have yet to see. One other source of tension for me is leaving behind the local seafood, fruits, vegetables, and wine. The thought of being away from this bounty for almost a year makes me uneasy so filling our freezer and cupboards also becomes a big priority as we get ready to leave. Thankfully, our host, Ann, was gearing up for her annual canning and freezing, so we shared in pesto making duties and canning dilly beans.

pesto collage

Ann grows at least a dozen basil plants in her garden that by August were at least three feet high and three feet wide. As a result, this time of year we had the luxury of eating many caprese salads and the first of several batches of pesto. One of her tips for freezing pesto is to put it in ice trays (sprayed with Pam spray for easy release) until it is frozen, then popping the squares into quart size freezer bags. Another idea she used this year was to try walnuts in a few batches of pesto rather than the very expensive pine nuts. I doubt anyone would be able to tell the difference in the end product.

Next up was dilly beans, something I always used to make back in my mega-canning days as it was one of my sons’ favorites. I forgot to take photos of all the steps, but the recipe is simple: freshly picked green beans packed tightly into each pint, a dried chile or two, a couple cloves of garlic, one big "poof" of fresh dill, 1 teaspoon of mustard seeds, equal parts apple cider vinegar and water, and 1 tablespoon of canning salt. Process hot pack method with liquid for 20 minutes and voila!

dilly bean collage

Writing this post makes me feel extra blessed by the generosity of staying with our friends. Ann and Don, and the great times we had with other friends having special meals together. Breaking bread just seems to be something we naturally do when we plan get-togethers and this summer was no exception.


The dinner featured in the above photo was hosted by our friends Marilyn and Tom. Their home on Vineyard Mountain has an amazing view and one of its crowning glories is their beautiful garden.

tommys garden

Anytime I have dinner at their home, I have to indulge in a cappuccino, even if it might affect my sleep, just to enjoy sipping from their beautiful Italian pottery.

On our last day in Corvallis, I went out to Peoria Farm Market to buy their local pitted pie cherries and marionberries for freezing and I couldn't help but bring back a few other things for my last minute stash of valley fruits.

harvest stash2

All good things must come to an end. What makes this day of goodbyes easier is that we are headed to Astoria, Oregon, where my oldest son lives. I am so looking forward to spending time with him fishing!


  1. What a nice post about very special memories you have made this summer. Ummmm....fresh veggies and fruit right our of the garden. The cut flowers are beautiful too.

    Safe travels to Astoria. I hope to read some "big" fish stories!

  2. This really is a lovely post with terrific photographs. Love your collages. The gardening pictures and fresh fruits and veggies are making me miss the farm. I might find it very hard to go back on the road if I had such a wonderful group of friends in such a fabulous place. No wonder you return each summer and what a great campsite to return to. Safe travels as you move on to your next adventures.

  3. The dilly beans sound delicious! I never knew there were pesto plants. I just knew how to make it. Learn something new every day!

    Looks like a lovely time with good friends and family.

    We loved Astoria. Safe travels and make many more memories!

    1. Glad you caught my silly error--must have had pesto on the brain. Of course, the teacher in me had to go back and fix it. A pesto plant would be a great invention!

  4. The one thing I miss about a house: the garden! Plus, living in San Diego for 50 years, I was spoiled by year round fabulous farmers markets. It's been very different on the road, trying to find farmers markets and being in locales that often are not conducive to growing produce. Ah well there are trade offs for having the ability to explore new places every day!

    Thanks for sharing your wonderful photos of this lovely area.

    Metamorphosis Lisa

  5. Ah ha... such a relaxing read tonight. Enjoyed catching up with you.

  6. It is so hard to leave some places.....gorgeous photos!

  7. One thing, among many, that I love about the Willamette Valley, is the abundance of fresh produce. Glad you were able to enjoy it. And as they say in Corvallis..."GO DUCKS"...oh sorry...that's not quite right...couldn't help myself!!


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