Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Have I said it yet today? I love Oregon.

So yesterday we got up early to do a bit of hiking with our friend Elizabeth - funny how it takes an out-of-town guest to push you out to the best parts of your own world. Our day started out with cheesy polenta topped with garlic and redeye gravy, and of course Stumptown coffee with hazelnut milk (a non-negotiable breakfast staple around here). We took a peaceful drive about an hour and a half south to Silver Falls, where we hiked through the rainforest on a beautiful clear day. The waterfalls weren't exactly at their most majestic - it is summer, after all, with little snowmelt or rain - but the company was good and the forest looked like something from a fantasy film. Wild salmonberries, raspberries, and blackberries made tasty little snacks along the trail. About halfway through the hike, Keith spotted a nice mossy-rock spot across a stream from the trail, so we took off our shoes and socks and waded the stream to get there, and then we kicked back and had lunch - homemade tomato-basil bread dipped in olive oil and freshly ground black pepper, local gorgonzola cheese, snap peas, and fresh cherries straight from the farm Elizabeth visited the day before. We relaxed there in the middle of the stream for awhile after lunch, but then returned to the trail and eventually to the car, sweaty and glowing from the clear air and sunshine.

It was dinnertime soon after we got home. I had blackeye peas in the crockpot all day, and Elizabeth and I put together some turnip and kohlrabi greens from the garden, kohlrabi and garlic cloves roasted in balsamic vinegar and olive oil, and a lovely cucumber salad with cukes and a baby Walla Walla sweet onion from the garden. Toasted the last of the corn muffins to go with it all and washed it down with water and an excellent bottle of red wine which was a gift from the production last month.

Keith was tired by then, so Elizabeth and I went out without him, to watch the sunset from the rooftop at Noble Rot over a hot brownie topped with house-made vanilla ice cream and dotted with a caramel sauce that could've stood alone, it was so delicious. And just to make it a thoroughly Portland day, we went to see the fire strippers at Devil's Point, who were in excellent form with flaming fans and other incendiary devices. You really haven't been to Portland until you've seen a beautiful dreadlocked woman wearing more tattoo ink than clothing, setting her stage on fire while she spins flaming chains from her fingertips.

In all, a pretty good day. Now today's agenda starts with catching up on my screenplay, and then ratatouille for dinner while canning lavender jelly and possibly a honey-vanilla jelly as well. Oh, and in other news, we got the appraisal back on our house and even with the new higher price to help cover the new roof, we are still paying $11,000 LESS than its market value. So it looks like we'll close on time by the end of next week, possibly sooner. Home ownership on the horizon...!

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