06 September 2009

Parents and Other Adventures

PART 1: Parents and Family

The last two weeks of summer were full and good. First, we had my parents visit from California which was splendid since we hadn't seen them since Christmas. We mostly stayed around Portland, giving them the grand tour of where we use to live, where I go to school, where Joel works, lovely architecture that we enjoy looking at, lots of bridges. At the end of the city tour we went to Forest Park and hiked on a trail.

These are my cute parents.

And these are many things we saw along the way.

And mushrooms along the way as well. I am a mycophile.

The end of the trail spits us out into some big beautiful houses that probably cost a million dollars, give or take. And this little house gnome greeted us.

After our hike we went to go see Julie & Julia, but first we had to have dinner. So we ate a picnic in the back of my parent's truck in the mall parking lot. We live in grandeur.

I didn't take a whole lot of photos during these two weeks and I would attribute that to my lack of action photographing skills... There was just too much going on for me to capture! The one thing I was able to photograph a decent amount was our meals and their preparation. It's nice to settle down and be able to take your time with photographs, people and food.

We had a couple family meals. This was shortly after Glenn, our new roommate moved in. He works at a casual upscale (I think this is what he called it) Greek restaurant. My mom made some delicious sourdough bread for our meal and I made steamed mussels in a white sauce with linguine.

Also, I may have forgotten to mention, my mom and I are twins.

Two days before they left my parents and I went to the Multnomah Falls, Bridal Veil Falls and another hike along the Columbia Gorge. It was a beautiful overcast day.

We stopped at the Vista House which was built in the early 20th century (fin de ciecle, I believe). It was amazing both inside and out with beautiful little details that are often missing from modern fixtures. Even the bathroom was impressive.

And more hiking, this was at Bridal Veil Falls.

Then we went down the road to Multnomah Falls. This is the biggest and most impressive of the Columbia Gorge Falls. It also has a gift shop.

The following day Joel's parents, his sister and her boyfriend all came to Portland from Ohio for a visit. Their stay overlapped for one day with my parents and we were able to have dinner altogether. Both of our parents like each other (hurray!) so this was fun to do since the only other time they've gotten to hang was at the wedding and all those events.

So while Joel was at work I took the family over to the Saturday Portland Farmer's Market which is HUGE. Its a total sensorial experience, all the fruits and vegetables smell delicious, there are so many colours, vendors selling honey and flowers and breads of all sorts. I think its my favourite part of Portland (as an institute of sorts).

Then we ran about the city and explored fountains and other things.

We got a flat of peaches at the farmers market and I made a peach pie -- delicious! Nothing says summer like peaches and sweet corn (which we had with the main course). For dinner we had andouille sausage, fried Walla Walla onion rings and sweet corn all from the farmer's market.

The next day we went to Seattle where the three of us couples split up. Joel and I went to visit my dear friend Rachel in her neighborhood of Fremont.

It was a gorgeous day that started off grey and foggy but then cleared up beautifully. This is a fungus I saw at a rest stop on the way to Seattle.

All in all it was a busy two weeks but it was really wonderful to see everyone again and show them where we live and be able to share our life with them for a couples weeks. Amidst all of this we also hosted a new PNCA student, Gina, who had a bad first living experience here so we offered up our couch to her for a week. We've gotten to be friends since then and its been great! Also, Glenn moved in (as aforementioned) so we had lots of people in our house all at once but it was a lot of fun and things have settled down considerably since then.

PART 2: Gardening, Canning and Mushrooming Expeditions

This last week I started work and school so my schedule has been pretty relaxed but also very particular, gone are the days of yore when I had to create a schedule for myself. One day after work (I have work study in the school library -- best job ever!) I decided to go to Forest Park, one of the biggest city parks in America. When I had gone with my parents I saw some baby mushrooms forming and figured I'd go back a couple days later to check them out since I was pretty convinced they were edible. As it turned out I was right! I found Sulphur Shelf mushrooms and Oyster mushrooms. Both are very distinctive and don't have any poisonous look-alikes so I felt very confident about the whole thing.

So for dinner that night I made a white wine sauce with dill and sauteed the mushrooms and served it on fusili.

Joel and I are planning on going hiking today since we both have the day off due to Labor Day and hopefully there will be some good mushroom photos to share since the last couple days have been rainy!

And here are some lovely garden photos and some of its bounty. We pulled up all of our potatoes, some are of a really decent size and others are really tiny but it was still a lot of fun. Digging up potatoes is a little like finding secret buried treasure.

Our tomato crop hasn't been doing too well save for the Sungold Cherry tomatoes. So the other night we made green enchiladas and took advantage of our overabundance of green tomatoes. The ironic thing is that we planted some tomatoes that are suppose to be green. Little did we know that it hardly gets warm enough to ripen the ones that are suppose to be red. So now we just have a lot of green tomatoes.

And here are our winter crops. So far the ones that have survived are the Detroit Beets, Daikon Radishes and Arugula. I also planted lettuce, carrots and spinach though they've all since died.

Yesterday I picked all of our plums so I could can them.

I didn't take photos of the plums all canned but these are some other my other canning adventures. I started by pickling beans that we got at Sauvie Island a couple weeks ago.

Then I canned some peaches and plums with a recipe I found in the New York Times Magazine. It was for brandied peaches but I used rum instead since that's Joel's favourite.

I spent way too long on this blog post and now I'm finally getting it up. I think I missed a lot but you get the gist of it. I will have more to come in the very near future.

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