Kayaking Lopez Island

Kayaking Lopez Island
Kayaking Lopez

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Tomatoes, Eagles, Pelicans, Klamath Lake, Colorado…it’s life

late summer_30The title thing is making me crazy, especially when I choose not to post daily when I am home. Maybe I will revert to “Thursday September 22” or something equally as creative.  For now, however, I just wanted to hit the highlights.  It has been a delight being at home this time of year.  I think September and October in the Klamath Basin are the most beautiful months.  The days are warm and still long enough to accomplish something. The nights come earlier, but they are cool enough for early bedtimes with good books and the soft summer down comfortor.

Mo has been filling her days with outside tasks around the property, while I have been catching up on work, mostly at home, but going into the office every now and then.  Sometimes it’s great to go to town for work, since otherwise I would just think the drive too long and the gas expense not worth it.  When I go to town, I get to have great conversations with Chris, my local boss, about all the interesting mapping he is doing, all the soily gossip about what is going on in what survey office, and just general good stuff.

late summer_16I also have a chance to shop, get fresh groceries and do the (wandering around kind of) shopping that doesn’t interest Mo in the least.  Joanne’s Fabrics is always fun, and I walk around feeling everything and daydreaming about the great things I could make if I had a sewing machine.  My sister is a quilter, my daughter makes amazing costumes for theater and her pirate gatherings, and for years I used to love to sew.  My life changed, and I haven’t had a sewing machine in 20 years.  Often I say, “well, if I had a sewing machine I could do X, or Y, or whatever”.

ripe tomatoes at Rocky PointEnter my 66th birthday, and with some various contributions from various folks, including myself…ahahaha….I have a sewing machine!  My sister suggested I try to find a used Bernina 1230, her go-to machine even though she has a much newer one.  After some searching on E-Bay and on the local Craigs List, I actually managed to win the bid on a machine. After paying for it with a credit card, with my CURRENT ADDRESS on the card, I received a lovely email from the gentleman saying he had just mailed it with full insurance to my CALIFORNIA ADDRESS!?!?!  OHNO!  I guess that address was still buried somewhere in EBay even though I haven’t lived there for almost two years!  With some panicky phone calls and some retracted insured mail, eventually I will get my sewing machine.  Hopefully I will remember what X and Y were.  We actually have a tiny quilt shop right here in Rocky Point and I have never checked it out.  I guess it is time I did.

Beautiful warm days call for tomatoes, and finally I can say that the greenhouse is providing.  The heirloom Brandywines I tried to grow are still green, but Yellow Boy is producing bundles of incredibly sweet yellow good sized tomatoes, and the Willamette variety is doing well for big reds and Sweet 100 has provided bowls of cherry tomatoes.  With the fresh lettuces, spinach, chard, peas, onions, basil, baby carrots, 3 cucumbers, and a very few green beans, I declare the greenhouse a success. 

sweet tomato chili sauce from the old hunsacker recipeI actually had enough ripe tomatoes to dig out one of Mo’s old family recipes for Tomato Chili Sauce.  It was fun to make, a bit like a relish or chutney, with tomatoes, green hatch chilis, onions, with cider vinegar and some sugar, and then some very interesting combinations of spices including cinnamon, allspice, lots of chili pepper, and other sorts of things that I wouldn’t normally use in this kind of recipe.  The resulting sauce/relish is delish on meat as a condiment, and if I ever stop dieting, I plan to try it on a hot dog! 

house_washThe other major project going on around here is house painting.  Mo found an outfit in Klamath that seems to be a bit more thorough than the last folks who stained the big cedar house.  Even so, they seem to come and go at odd times, they are getting the old sealer stripped off in preparation for the new stuff.  Living in the forest as we do seems to cause a lot of mold to grow on the cedar siding in spite of regular care.  They have been power washing for a few days now and hopefully will get it sealed again before the rain starts. 

I love this time of year, especially the Halloween season, and fall in general.  My orange totes full of goodies are calling to me, and I keep finding little halloween-y things to add to my stash.  One of the reasons for a stix and brix, I can decorate to my hearts content and somewhat to Mo’s consternation.  I am using all my will power to NOT put out a single fall decoration until October 1st.  Just a few days.

temps in the 70's and not a speck of windWe celebrated the gorgeous late September days with another kayak out on Pelican Bay.  The water is getting low this time of year, and the water plants and algae are thick.  Even so, the water is still incredibly clear in Recreation Creek and out into the Bay.  Only when you reach Klamath Lake proper do the weeds and algae get so thick that paddling is no longer fun.  We have paddled some incredibly gorgeous lakes, with crystal clear water, and not a water plant in sight.  They are beautiful, but then there a no birds, often we are lucky to see a lonely duck in those lakes. 

looking toward the east side of Klamath Lake from Pelican BayOur Klamath Lake is fecund with life, and has been so since the 1850’s when John C Fremont declared the lake unfit for even horses to drink.  It’s not all about pollution, it is about the natural life span of a lake formed many thousands of years ago, and filled with phosphorus rich volcanic ash from the Crater Lake (Mt Mazama) eruption 7,700 years ago or so.  That beautiful, rich, smelly, plant life, brings in millions of birds in the spring and the fall, with many spending their summers here getting fat on all that food. 

kayak_104When in Alaska, one of the exciting things for folks are the eagles, with eagle traffic jams and many photographers excited about seeing eagles in the wild.  I did take photos of eagles there, but was a bit less excited than some folks because we have eagles here in the basin.  There are nesting pairs along the lake, and several hundred birds feast on ducks and fish in the wildlife refuges. 

I actually get more excited about my favorite white pelicans than I do the eagles, but yesterday on the lake I was treated to both.  We spent a couple of hours on the water and invited a Rocky Point friend to go along since we now have extra kayaks.  It was a perfect way to spend a late September afternoon.

young white pelican on Klamath Lake.  See the dark streaks on his head?This weekend I will be running off to Colorado for my grandson’s wedding.  First a drive to Portland to spend the night with my oldest daughter, then the two of us will board a flight to Denver, Colorado tomorrow.  There we have rented a car to drive to Sterling, where Deb will hostess (and pay for!) the Rehearsal Dinner for her son and his bride-to-be and about 20 other folks.  Saturday is the wedding with most of Jessi’s family, and only some of us from Matthew’s side who can manage to get away to Colorado.  It should be a lot of fun, as well as a bit interesting, with all those side stories that go on in families providing some extra entertainment. 

Life IS good. 

There are photos of the gardens here and photos of the kayak on the lake and the birds here.