The Ruth-ster (or more affectionately, the "Rooster") was out here in the Gorge recently. Between Thursday evening and Monday morning, we had quite the fun-filled visit. Shopping (yes, maternity clothes were on the list), touring the farms of the Mt. Hood Valley, watching the kiteboarders and windsurfers on the Columbia River, and we even got to sneak over into Washington State to try and get an up-close glimpse of Mt. Adams. Too bad it was all clouded-in. Oh well. We saw a pretty waterfall anyway! Enjoy some of the photos we took (most are from our "Fruit Loop" tour). There were a couple of lavender festivals going on, so we took full advantage of the views. We even visited an alpaca farm! It was truly wonderful to have her out here, if even for a short while.
Mom in the vineyards with Mt. Adams in the background...
What a weekend! I really do love summer. The possibilities for outdoor activities around here are endless. And we took full advantage. Behold our friday afternoon:
I really don't mean to brag, but can it get anymore beautiful than this? It was so nice to take our kayak out again. It had been a while. We paddled around this mountain lake for a few hours, looking at salamanders, fish jumping out of water and the occasional bald eagle.
The next day (no photos, sorry) we took a short bike tour around part of the "Fruit Loop", or so its called here. We rode a little over 20 miles up into the high valley of Mt. Hood where all the fruit orchards and farms are. Spectacular.
Sunday, we decided to pick a hike from a local guide book, called "Curious Gorge" (cute). We hiked in to "Elowah Falls". A lesser known hike in the Gorge with a 290 foot waterfall to view. Here are a few images from that trip:
For those of you asking for a so-called "baby bump" picture (or lack thereof), here is one. Almost 15 weeks here, officially in the 2nd trimester. Belly poking out a little bit, but really more uncomfortable to me, than really visible to anyone else. Happy Independence Day to all!
Now, the garden I spoke of briefly in the last post.... I like how I casually slipped it in there, like it was an afterthought - no big deal. Well, this garden was sort of a big deal. By that I mean - a 10x10 foot square of rocky earth that we dug up and turned over all by our bare hands (more Adam's bare hands, than mine). Halfway through this process, we realized we may have gotten ourselves into something bigger than we had planned, but we persevered! We were going to be damned if another move during another summer ruined our plans of fresh grown produce for at least part of the summer!
So, remember the part about "rocky earth"? Here's what I mean by that.....
Those are the first of the rocks that Adam used this heavy, metal pole-vaulting type of instrument to extract out of the ground. We used almost all of them to line the garden.
After we got the garden all dug up, we broke up the clumps of dry, rocky soil with a shovel and a hoe (*this is hard work*). After that, we poured a mixture of compost on top: steer manure, organic compost and mushroom compost. We turned it all in and began the fun part: planting our plants! We bought some tomato plants about a month ago in Portland and put them in pots, wanting to take them with us when we moved. They ended up growing into ginormous tomato trees, and we realized if we ever wanted tomatoes from them, we should transplant them into the ground so their roots can continue to grow. We were a little nervous about it, but the root systems were so packed in the pots, we could easily slip them out and stick them in a big hole we had ready for them. The trick (I think) was soaking the roots in the hole before we piled the dirt around them, and then soaking again after they were planted. So far, no shock from the plants has been witnessed.
In addition to 9 tomato plants (all different varieties), we put in 4 peppers (jalepeno, sweet banana, pimento padron and cayenee) 3 squash (1 delicata and 2 zucchini), 1 cantaloupe, onion bulbs and another round of lettuce and arugula seed. Tomatoes are already poking their heads out of each plant and the peppers also have some fruit showing. Both the onions and lettuces are already peeking out too. I know some of you are thinking we're crazy and its way too late in the season, but we should be fine, as its been a cool and late start to the summer here.
I can't wait for the summer canning craziness to begin! Living in the Hood River Valley, I have apple, pear and cherry orchards surrounding me, so I'm hoping to make lots of yummy things with those. Stay tuned for adventures in gardening and canning.....