16 August 2009

Sauvie Island Farm and other Fruits and Vegetables

Yesterday was one of the best days in a really long time. Life has been tough and yesterday was a nice change of pace. Joel and I had originally planned on driving down to Corvallis, OR to see Joel Salatin speak (a farmer from VA whose books Joel has read a lot of) but after looking up the information for the event a second time we realised that it was not free or even cheap (i.e., $150/person). So we decided to make a day of it anyway since Joel had the whole day off and we'd planned to do something fun anyway. We ended up driving to Sauvie Island, just a couple miles north of the Portland City border in the Willamette River.

This is the St. John's Bridge (the one we road across on our bikes a couple weeks ago). I didn't get any really great pictures of the bridge but this is close.

And then this is the bridge across the Willamette River to Sauvie Island, the aptly named Sauvie Island Bridge.

It was a really lovely place, the Sauvie Island Farm is a U-pick farm so we got lots of vegetables and fruit. Unfortunately I didn't take pictures of anything we actually picked. A lot of what we were picking looked kind of picked over and not so picturesque to photograph. So in any case:

A zinnia, they seem to be a favourite of farmers to grow. We grew them in Virginia and sold them at the Arlington farmers market last year.

Joel looking at the cabbage in a field of the loveliest green.

Wild blackberries vs. domesticated.

Magic giant pumpkins! I'm not sure if these are Cinderella pumpkins, the actual name, I know that is a name but I'm not familiar with pumpkin varieties at all.

Speaking of big things, this is an Oregon White Oak (Quercus garryana), and Joel is our representative for height ratio to illustrate just how huge the tree is.

And nestled in the crevices of the tree were these shelf fungi (Heather yours is similar to this, I believe they are inedible).

And amongst its limbs were many many wasp galls. I believe what happens is that wasps lay an egg in a young acorn and then the acorn converts itself and becomes a swollen protector for the little egg.

One of the cherry trees on the farm had a lot of sap on it and the light was catching it the most beautiful way, it looked like amber!

After checking out with our yellow wax beans, peaches, jalapenos dill, lavender, blueberries and corn we walked around the farm looking for the chickens, turkeys and ducks they had on the map. The map made little sense and wasn't to scale and didn't include many fields and crops that should have been on the map. We finally found them and it was a pleasant surprise. Clearly no one else had figured out how to get to the poultry because the map was so lacking so we got to hang out with them all by ourselves.

This ugly duckling was no little guy, he was a good two feet long at least! And when Joel would feed him grass the drake would pant and wag his tail (did I say drake? I think I meant dog)

And this was his lovely lady duck. She was very shy and didn't eat the grass that Joel stuck through the fence.

On the other hand this turkey hen was much more interested in the dandelions than her beau.

He was much more interested in impressing us.

American Gothic.

Truly only a face a mother could love. I think even ugly humans are cuter than this tom by a long shot.

After we decided to leave the farm we drove around the island along the perimeter and then through the interior. My camera unfortunately died so I was unable to take anymore photographs, needless to say it was a beautiful trip.

Then we drove back to the city and dropped our bounty off at home and went to Christopher's BBQ -- wonderful barbeque! Then we came back to the house for a short respite and suckered Kevin into coming with us to see the Rx Bandits show. It was really good (as always) and I danced the whole time. When it comes to dancing, Rx Bandits shows take the cake for me letting loose and going crazy, any other time though I'd hardly be caught shuffling my feet! Dredg also played, they and RXB coheadlined, their music was good, but it was a little embarrassing to watch the lead though (lots of over the top hand movements and things). We left half way through their set because we were all sleepy and we saw who we came to see. When we were unlocking our bikes there was a PDX band trying to get Joe (the bassist from RXB) to listen to their CD. He's a nice guy and I've spoken with him before at the Ottobar in Baltimore (even though I didn't have much to say because I was star-struck a bit). All in all it was a really wonderful day and a beautiful trip to the island and good dancing at the show.

A couple weeks ago we pulled our corn and this is what it looked like before we cooked it.

On the same day I picked figs from a tree with its branches hanging in an alley. I've been watching it regularly to find out when the figs were ready and they were ready last week! So beautiful and delicious. They are a strange looking fruit but they are very delicate in both texture and taste.

On Wednesday my parents should be here and then in a week Joel's parents should be here, I think we're going to be doing a whole lot more "Portland" than we usually do and I'm looking forward to it. :0) So I should be putting up some more big posts soon!

10 August 2009

Luster Life

Every sunday we're faced with a dilemma and one of the best kinds: What to do with half-rotten fruit? We bring home what we can from the Food Church and do something with it. Its like getting food dumpster dived for us, ha ha. So recently Joel had a brilliant idea: bring all the lemons home that you can -- and we did!

Joel made lemonade! And some damn fine lemonade at that. We had over four cups of lemon juice!

Here's an unflattering picture of Joel -- sorry love! -- with his raspberry lemonade. It was *so* good. It only took 8 raspberries to turn the lemonade that pink.

I think that's about five gallons of lemonade all together.

The other night we all were home so we had a roommate interview on a whim. Unfortunately we don't have a roommate yet. The girl who was suppose to move in had her stuff half way moved in and then realised she shouldn't do it, like an emotional intuition thing. While I respect people going with their feelings sometimes it affects other people negatively. But I'd rather know about this "gotta go with my feelings" now and have her not move in than have her move out in a month. *sigh* Onward ho!

Life in our garden is abundant. This afternoon Clara and I picked our corn and tonight we're going to have a corn feast! "Feast" may be a bit overdoing it but I will call it that in any case.

After that I went out for a bike ride and picked blackberries and the fig tree I've been eyeing has finally ripened!

And I made another blackberry pie.

I'm going to try to persuade the people with the fig tree to trade me figs for a pie or two. They're just so good and I'd hate to have them go to waste!