Kayaking Applegate Lake

Kayaking Applegate Lake
Kayaking Applegate Lake

Friday, June 8, 2018

May--It started with Iris and Ended with Roses, and More Guests.

I lost last month somehow.  Friend Jeanne wrote a quick note making sure we were OK.  I looked at Mo and thought, “Are we OK?”

Of course we are, everything is great.  Except for a few irritating little things that just won’t seem to go away, like knees, hips, ankles, blood tests, dentists, doctors, an emergency appendectomy for Mo.  Multiply that by two people and you get the idea.  Somehow it all got away from me and the only way I could figure out where it went was to return to the trusty Google calendar, and Mo’s trusty paper pocket calendar. 

Mother’s Day weekend was upon us right after our guests, Erin and Mui, departed, and Daughter Melody and her Robert and my grandsons showed up on Saturday night to help me celebrate.  They came with grocery bags full of food and took over the kitchen to make a wonderful dinner.  I don’t think I even loaded the dishwasher! 

Melody and Robert took the guest room and we spread sleeping bags on the floor for the grandkids.  It felt like old times when I lived in my tiny house in Idaho and all the kids would come over and sleep on the floor.  Axel brought a cute video game to share, promising me that it wasn’t violent, perfectly G rated. 

My daughter took a video of me trying to figure out where I was on the screen and what in the world I was supposed to be doing.  It was great fun to share the silly game with family.

Left to right: Deborah, Matthew, Xavier, Axel, Melody, Robert, Mo

On Sunday morning we drove down to the river to our favorite Mother’s Day brunch restaurant, the TapRock Grill.  The brunch is lovely and there are no reservations taken, so we were really surprised when we arrived and were immediately shown to a table.  In years past we have waitied more than an hour, something I never minded because it is fun to see all the mothers with flowers and corsages.  Remember when all the mom’s at church got a corsage?

D

 Daughter Deborah and Grandson Matthew

Deborah and Melody brought mommy gifts, in addition to the surprise package received from Daughter Deanna in the mail, and I was treated to some amazing presents, including a spiralizer for my Kitchen Aid Mixer, and another shredding gadget for the mixer, all to help my new low carb eating plan.  Spiralized zucchini “zoodles” are a new favorite! Daughter Melody brought more magical painted rocks to add to the wondrous tiny painting she made of my favorite spot in Capitol Reef.  It was a very sweet day in the sunshine, and we repeated our traditional walk through the lovely grounds to enjoy the river, the sculptures, and the gorgeous murals.

Trying to remember what happened during the rest of the month, I looked at the blog for a bit of help, and opened to a gorgeous photo of Crater Lake, shared with Erin and Mui more than a month ago.  Once that lovely week was behind us, Mo and I settled into the home routines of mowing and more planting, watering, raking, taking more stuff to the Goodwill and the landfill, the everyday stuff of life.

Someone asked somewhere along the way on a Facebook post, “What gives your life meaning on a daily basis?”.  The question haunted me for days.  What!?  I could think of many things that give my life meaning that  happen much less often than daily.  After a few days of thinking about this, as I cleaned and cooked and laundered, and gardened, I suddenly remembered an old Buddhist proverb.  There is more to it than this, but essentially, it is Chop Wood and Carry Water.  I realized that the mundane everyday chores are what give life meaning on that daily level.  Most of the time, I enjoy those simple things, but the question made me think about it differently, helped me to pay a bit more attention to being in the now and actually paying attention to the wood chopping and water carrying of life.

Today’s simple chores include spraying the roses with Liquid Fence, the natural but very smelly reason that I can grow roses at all in a land of neighborhood deer herds.  I also spent some time picking cherries from our two trees, one with sour cherries for jams or pies, and the other with big, fat juicy sweet cherries for eating.  This year we actually got to the cherries before the birds did!.

The afternoon is warming up and I am grateful for a cool home where I can retreat and catch up on processing photos, and yes, writing this blog.

The second highlight of our “friends” month was a visit from Maryruth and Gerald.  They last visited us when the house was a mere shell, camping at Valley of the Rogue State Park in the heat of August.  This visit we had a guest room and bath to offer them, and pleasant evenings on the porch with more yummy food.

Decisions about what to do were easy, and the choice to spend the first evening and the next day doing absolutely nothing was a good one.  As a hostess, it felt a bit strange to have nothing on the agenda, but the day flowed easily with a long lazy breakfast, good conversation, drinks on the porch, and playing the card game we learned back in April from Carol and John.  Cooking for them is easy, even though Maryruth is a great cook, they both seemed quite happy with our meals.


It was a lovely week, if a bit cool, and perfect weather to explore the beautiful Applegate Valley.  The northern entrance to the valley is just a few miles south of our home. The Applegate Wine Trail is becoming quite well known in the world of wine, and the wineries are beautiful and welcoming.

Mo and I were delighted to discover that many of the vineyards have incredible gardens and outdoor seating areas that include live music and snacks on summer evenings.  With a short 7 mile drive to Schmidt Vineyards, I am sure that before the summer is over the two of us will amble down there on a Saturday evening for wine and wood fired pizzas.

Maryruth and I were the official “tasters”, and as happened before when she and I visited Napa Valley just a little over a year ago, two tastings were just about all we could handle.  The rest of the time we walked and explored, talked and visited with the very friendly wine stewards who shared their knowledge of the grapes, the wine making process, and the Applegate Valley.

Our favorite wines came from Troon Vineyards, but the second favorite was the Red Lily, with their incredible lovely dry summer rosé.  Wooldridge Vineyards had the most beautiful views, and made goat cheeses as well, and the previously mentioned Schmidt Vineyards had the most lovely gardens.

Reaching the charming little town of Jacksonville in late afternoon was perfect timing for a lovely late lunch/early dinner at Bella Union, a well known and very good restaurant in a building that dates back more than 150 years.  The shops and stores beckoned, but after our day we had no desire to shop, in spite of all the cuteness of the historic gold town.

Weather held for another day and we decided that a trip to the coast was our best choice.  Maryruth and Gerald have shared Brookings with us a few times, both at Mo’s condo she once owned in town on a cliff overlooking the ocean, and camping in a yurt at Harris Beach State Park.  This time we decided to explore Crescent City for something new and different.

Jedediah Smith State Park is on the route, and we stopped at the lovely visitor center for the Redwoods National and State Parks, including this portion of Jedediah Smith.  With lots of helpful information and maps in hand, we decided to take the packed dirt road that led past the beautiful Stout Grove and directly to Crescent City through the park rather than staying on the highway.

It was a lovely drive, and in our car, the potholes were impressive, but not daunting.  We looked for a log in the sun to spread a picnic, but no sun was to be found in that deep shade. Instead we opted for a wide place in the road to open up the hatch of the car for an al fresco lunch in the forest.

We were glad of that decision when we left the forest and drove toward Pebble Beach and saw that the winds  would have made a beachside lunch uncomfortable.  Following along on the “ten best things to do in Crescent City”, we visited the lovely lighthouse, inaccessible due to tides when we were there.  We drove Pebble Beach, and found the biggest surprise at the Del Norte County Historical Museum.

I asked if I could take photos, and the docents said they appreciated me asking, and “no”, please do not.  We wandered the three floors and many rooms of the old building, amazing at the incredible collection of “stuff”, all displayed beautifully.  The star of the show, however, was the First Order Fresnel lens that was once in the famous St George Lighthouse located in the ocean on a lonely rock just north of Crescent City.

With the chilly wind blowing hard, we didn’t spend a lot of time outdoors, stepping out now and then to walk a little bit, to look at the ocean and enjoy the surf. 

Once again we decided on a late afternoon lunch/early supper with a visit to the Chart Room, a favorite fish spot for Mo and I that we were happy to share.  Dinner was yummy!  I had a fish taco salad that was quite different than anything I had before, with excellent grilled fish on a bed of cabbage.  Sounds terribly boring, but the sauces are what made it, and I can’t begin to describe them, but really yummy., some kind of chipotle cream and a cilantro cream drizzled over it all that are making my mouth water as I write this.

The drive home was easy, just 84 miles of beautiful highway 199 along the gorgeous Smith River. We spent a last lovely evening visiting on the porch.  It is fun for Maryruth and I to remember other times in our lives when things weren’t so simple.  Somehow looking back at the hard times with someone who shared them with me makes the present good times even sweeter. 

On a final note, I will leave you with an attempted selfie that I took at Schmidt Vineyards in the gardens.  I have no idea why, but every time I see this picture I burst out laughing.  The epitome of silly.