Last week we headed to Ohio to visit Joel's family and friends. It was a really wonderful trip and lasted only too short. We went down to Cincinnati to visit Joel's alma mater (UC) and we did a driving tour of Cincinnati (and drove across the river so I could say I've been to Kentucky officially...) and then walked around the campus and Joel showed me where he spent all his time inside DAAP (Design Architecture Art & Planning). There were lots of student critiques/presentations (presumably all seniors) going on throughout the building which were interesting to see. Then we met up with Will and Megan (who we would later staying with that night) and ate at Krishna's, a delicious Indian restaurant across from campus. Then Will showed us his two current apartment rehabbing projects that he's doing with his three other business partners. He also showed us a huge warehouse that he's working on redesigning with a firm. It was an old building that use to make the machines that made cans -- and was aptly called the American Can Company. It was really amazing to walk around the old rooms with their shattered out windows and discarded blueprints. There were old wooden molds for pouring the pieces to make the machinery that were covered in some kind of creosote-like black powder.
Then we went to Putz's Creamy Whip (can you beat that name?) ice cream stand and got delicious cold ice cream which was a nice combatant to the meltingly hot humid city air. We then went back to Megan and Will's and sat on the porch and talked for a while. It was really lovely to sit on a front porch at night with the door open to the house and being able to watch the street. There's something really wonderful about porch life that I love and doesn't happen a whole lot in Portland despite the amount of porches in the city.
I managed to keep my camera in my bag for the majority of the trip which is a real shame because I hardly got any people pictures, not of family and very little of friends.
But somehow I managed to take a photo of myself.
And Joel sleeping.
Those were both taken in Will and Megan's apartment. The color and lighting were both beautiful. Humidity also makes things so soft an gentle. I'm one of the few people who genuinely don't mind humidity -- granted it's a gradual shift from cold to humidity, which didn't really happen when you travel from rainy, cold Portland to hot, humid Ohio in one day.
At any rate we then went out to breakfast at a place called Take the Cake which Will's partnership redesigned. The food was pretty good and fairly priced.
This is Joel and Megan.
After breakfast we went up to Mt. Storm which is a hill with a park on it that overlooks the city.
Then we went back to my in-laws for a day and made dinner for Joel's mom, sister and her fiancé (another, but different, Will) we cooked blackened Cajun pork chops, made a salad and Joel baked brownies.
The following day we went to Wooster to visit Joel's grandma and grandpa and the whole family went to The Barn, an Amish-inspired restaurant.
On the way we saw this place with this guy.
Joel's dad gave us a tour of the back country roads between Bucyrus and Wooster and we got to see a lot of family landmarks which was totally cool because when got a similar tour back in 2008 I was asleep the whole time (it was right after we got married and were driving out to Portland).
So while at the Barn I got the seat closest to the window which overlooked a man-built stream that housed a whole brace of ducks. I watched the ducks and their antics and as I looked out again two eggs had rolled away from underneath the bushes. I was fascinated, my prize had been sighted. I watched over the eggs the entire dinner then as we were about to leave the restaurant Joel and I went down to the stream and found two huge nests of duck eggs under two bushes. We felt that while we were stealing the two eggs that they had probably been kicked out of the nest because the mother ducks knew that these eggs weren't going to make it.
At grandma and grandpa's we "candled" the eggs by shining a flashlight behind the eggs. They had very clearly defined edges that were ever so slightly crescent shaped. So I assumed that somehow the yolk had been broken and had settled in heavy sulphurous masses along one side of the egg -- giving it that defined clean edge.
Two days later we cracked open one of the eggs.
I just hope we didn't wrongfully take a completely viable duck egg. I wouldn't have taken them if I knew that was what we'd find. I'm still very sorry.
Anyway, back to grandma and grandpa's house we go! Grandma Becky's garden is beautiful and green and vivacious. I was a bit jealous of all the growth in the garden (I will later tell of our own garden but let's not get sidetracked).
Oh and yes, that is The One Ring to Rule Them All on Joel's pinky finger.
And grandpa Claude!
After Grandma and Grandpa gave us a tour of the garden and wood shop we took our own excursion through the woods that separates their house from their neighbor's corn fields.
We saw these big beautiful mushrooms pretty soon after we walked in. I have no clue what they might be, they were on average about four inches across -- big shrooms!
On the other side! Joel's back is facing the woods and his front is facing the north neighbor's corn fields.
It was really rainy and a lot of the fields had a lot of standing water, we drove by one field that had literally turned into a lake, completely covered over and had a couple of geese enjoying the water. Luckily the neighbor's hadn't gotten it too bad.
On our walk back to the house we saw a couple of decaying rodents. This one is definitely a ground hog, the others are a little less clear.
And then we rounded the back and walked up to the back of the house.
And this was in one of the trees as we passed it up to the house. Gypsy moth cocoon that's been used? I have no clue, but I don't think I'm right about the aforementioned suggestion.
This is the view from the back porch. It's so picturesque! Some people don't understand why we'd want to move to Ohio but it's views like this -- okay, and the amazing farm land but most people don't understand that as much as a beautiful environment. Not to mention we'd be close to family again which would just be so wonderful!
Then we went back inside and played Oh, Shit (a Grindstaff family favorite) and Phase 10, using the term "shit" as much as humanly possible. More or less...
The following day was spent largely clearing out and organizing things we had stored at my in-laws. Joel did a major organization of his CDs which he is now in the process of getting rid of/selling.
We were planning of get together with one of Joel's old high school friends later on in the day so we decided to go for a walk before Nick came over. There are some pathways that the city of Bucyrus just put in through the woods behind Joel's parents' house. It was a nice walk since Joel had never been through here before. This was drawn on the place where a map of the trails will be placed once the city is finished with the trails.
We also saw some paw prints, the top ones are probably raccoons and the bottom are most likely deer.
The Sandusky River runs right along this area.
Later we met up with Joel's high school friend Nick whom we had met up with a couple days prior. He took us to the Original Margaritaville (not related to Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville, hence the addition of "the Original") in Sandusky which is a town up at Lake Erie. Then we headed over to Toft's ice cream shop which would have been really lovely if we weren't all stuffed. Vacation sometimes seems to be synonymous with "gluttony."
All in all we had a really great trip and it was nice to get away from the Portland gloom for a week.
Now back to that Portland gloom. I've decided that since Portland is withholding summer from us I'll just plant some more greens. Today I transplanted an old garlic patch (or at least some of it) so that I could use it to plant more peas, spinach and lettuce. Yes, it's cold weather crop weather. So I've decided I'll just plant my peas and eat them too! I haven't posted many garden pictures this season because, well, there's not a whole lot to photograph. The potatoes are doing well as are the garlic and onions but everything else refuses to grow when the ground is still so cold. So by and large my garden is pretty bare. Today I also put make-shift clochés out of clear plastic half-gallon jugs. I just cut off the bottoms and they've been doing great. I put out a couple a few days ago and the plants seemed to really like that. They were able to get warm and fairly bug free for a couple days and that was the extra jump they needed.
Hopefully I'll have some more encouraging garden pictures later. However, if summer never gets here we may be starving mice at the end of the season.