Saturday, June 5, 2010

We're Home! (A Very Portland Weekend.)

Oh man, am I exhausted! But it's the good kind.

We made it from L.A. to Portland in one 18-hour day, including a stop for lunch at a decent little pizzeria in Northern California, and a trip to a kitchen goods outlet store, which is a dangerous place for us to be but we scored a great deal on a salad spinner I really wanted and a very nice ice cream maker at half the retail price. Yay for homemade ice cream! We've really wanted an ice cream maker for some time now so that we can make our own deliciousness out of raw milk/cream and good organic fruits and herbs. Coincidentally we also scored ten bananas for fifty cents at our little produce market here in Portland yesterday, so it looks like banana ice cream is first up (though more on that later)!

Anyway, we also made the obligatory stop in Central Point, Oregon, for Rogue Creamery cheese and Lillie Belle chocolates, plus a very pleasant wine tasting. So we weren't in the car for the full 18 hours. But we were still pretty exhausted by the time we got in, about 10:30 pm. We loved on the cats some and passed out.

Since then it's been a flurry of catching up. Portland has suffered through a pretty massive rain in our absence, yesterday being the last day of a twenty-day run of straight rain. This is typical of winter around here but not summer, and no one knows why it happened. The most noticeable effect of it all was evident even as we pulled into our driveway in the dark: an explosion of roses, and knee-high weedy grass. Oops.

So we had mowing and weeding and staking roses to get through, plus unpacking, laundry, straightening up, restocking chick feed, restocking people feed, marveling over the chicks' incredible growth, and otherwise restoring the balance. We've been hard at work and still aren't done yet. I hope to finish tomorrow.

But today was Saturday, so we went to Sauvie Island for the afternoon. We made a stop at Kruger's Farm for fresh-picked, candy-sweet roasted corn, then headed for the beach, where we waded through thigh-high flooding to get to a narrow strip of sand along the swollen, fast-moving river. After so much rain ending in a sunny warm Saturday, all of Portland was out enjoying the weather today, but our strip of beach wasn't too crowded and we soaked up some vitamin D and relaxed for awhile. Eventually we headed back to Kruger's Farm to pick ourselves five pints of strawberries.

We got home sun-tired and woozy, but hungry, so I quickly seared and roasted a fresh salmon filet we bought yesterday (with fresh rosemary from the yard), and served it up atop a lovely salad of red lettuce, green onions, red turnips, sunflower seeds, and smoked bleu cheese. A lemon vinaigrette held it together nicely, made with a lemon from Keith's father's lemon tree (that tree makes the sweetest, juiciest, tastiest lemons I've ever had). The salmon was so perfectly moist and flaky, and went so nicely with the smoked bleu cheese, that we both just sat at the table quietly licking our lips like cats for several minutes before Keith got up to do the dishes.

I was going to make the banana ice cream tonight, but I'm just too freaking tired right now to skim the cream off the three half-gallons of raw milk we have in the fridge, much less cook up the custard and make ice cream. So I'll save that for tomorrow. It'll be a good day for it, since tomorrow is the first day of the Lents International Farmers Market (our favorite market in Portland, and also our closest one)! We'll have to celebrate with strawberry-banana ice cream now since we picked all those strawberries. Maybe we got too many, but they were so brilliantly red and sweet, still warm from the sun - I could've picked the whole field and brought it home.

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