Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sauvie Island

Yep, two posts in a day. I'm a crazy blogging fool like that.

We spent the day up at Sauvie Island today and it was such a perfect day, I had to share it. Technically Sauvie Island is part of Portland, but it feels like another planet; it actually feels a lot like the Mississippi River Delta, but populated by Oregonians. Getting there from our place just involves about a half hour's drive along the Willamette, over the Fremont Bridge, through the industrial northwest, and over a pretty little bridge to this flat, sandy river island which is all wildlife refuge and farmland. There's not even a gas station on the island, though there are general stores. We got sunblock and a parking pass at the first general store, then stopped at Kruger's Farm for fresh cherries and a snack of fresh-picked roasted corn, crisp and sweet like candy.

We took the long road through the farm country, a twisty two-lane shoulderless thoroughfare with surprisingly little traffic. At the far end of the island, after the road peters out into gravel, we parked to visit Collins Beach. We found this hidden little gem last summer and I don't even remember how we found it; you have to hike a minute or two through cool heavy forest before the sandy path spits you out on a wide, sunny clothing-optional beach where the river meanders over shallow, velvety-slick sand. We spent the afternoon swimming in the chilly river, nibbling the fresh cherries, lying in the sand under the shade of a low tree. I'd brought Under the Tuscan Sun to read and Keith was reading The Thin Man - what does that say about us?

About the time I noticed our own sun was getting that dark golden hue more commonly ascribed to Tuscany, we decided to go back to Kruger's Farm. By this point it was almost 7 pm and it had cooled off enough to enjoy the breeze of open windows in the summer evening air. Someone was having a wedding at the farm, but we joined other partycrashers in admiring the baby chicks and picking blueberries, and then we stopped by the farm store and bought some work for me: a 10 lb. bag of pickling cucumbers, a handful of garlic to pickle in spices and cider vinegar, artichokes the size of melons, and freshly-picked corn. I'll be doing more preserving this week, at the peak of a heat wave, but it was worth it. I'm so relaxed from this day I'll be able to can all week if I have to. Right?

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