Saturday, June 25, 2022

It's finally summer and it has hit us hard here in the NorthWest! All of a sudden, after all those weeks of rain and cold weather, and almost overnight, temperatures are soaring!
Yesterday we hit 90F and the forecast for today is a scorching 97!
Fortunately, it looks like we'll be back in the high seventies after that, but wow, it's rather shocking for the senses!

Midsummer, the date that James and I 'hit it off', all those years ago in Japan, has come and gone. He was at the golf course this time so we didn't really celebrate much on the date itself, but we sort of made up for it this weekend.
We dusted of the BBQ, grilled a couple of very tasty (thin) ribs and had dinner outside for the first time this year!

Other sure signs summer has arrived are the ever greener looking grape-vines around town ..

And it is going to be another bumper-crop of (wild) blackberries this year, if the profusion of flowers I see everywhere are any sign of that!

But this month's winner are the roses! A little rough around the edges due to the late rains but they're all blooming in abundance. Most of them smell very nice too .. it's one of the great smells of summer for me ..

Yesterday we took a little drive through our beautiful countryside, and more specifically the Dundee Hills, just down the road from us.
Driving up and down said hills, compliments of the great weather, you get a glimpse of Mt Jefferson every now and than ..

James had noticed signs for a creamery during his driving around for work, and since we love cheese we thought It'd be fun to see what they're about.

Briar Rose Creamery describes itself as "a small, artisan cheese maker, located in the hills above Dundee, surrounded by acres of forest land and Pinot Noir vineyards".

They originally set out to make goat cheese, since they inherited some goats with the land they bought, but in the last couple of years they switched to cow-milk cheese as well as the occasional sheep-cheese.
They have a small shop in front of their cheese-making area, which at the moment is closed due to Covid, but they show  their cheeses at a table in front of a window and let you taste samples ..

They're only open 2 days a week and only have what they have, it can (and will) be different every time, but you can check their Facebook page to see what will be available before driving up.

We decided on a little container of fresh cheese, Fromage Blanc, and a mini 'Butterbloom', reminiscent of Camembert. Of course James couldn't resist the chocolate truffels they had on display, so a couple of those came home with us as well ..
Apparently the wine to pair all this with is the aforementioned local Pinot Noir, but I can tell from last night's experience that a good glass of beer or a glass of Chardonnay work just as well!

We've been busy at the blueberry patch:

First we mowed the knee-high grass in between the bushes ... when did that happen all of a sudden?


Than we covered them all up again with bird netting. This year we actually left the last bush of every row for the birds .. if there will be as many berries as we had last year, we will quickly run out of room in the freezer!


We've also replaced some of the old soaker-hoses and actually connected all of them to a point were we can attach the garden hose (which in it's turn can be hooked up to a nearby faucet).

It took James hours last year to water, and if this summer is going to be as dry as the last one, this will make his work so much easier!

We pruned them earlier this year and they show a lot of growth and already some nice big berries ..


Here's something cute to end with .. I'd seen a lonely (well, that's what I thought) doe roam the orchard over the last couple of days, eating grass practically non-stop, like her life dependent on it.
But than one morning I saw something move in the area where we had not mowed for a while and had left the grass to grow real high ..

It was a little fawn! I know, it's hard to see and I couldn't get a better shot for the life of me, but believe me, it's a fawn! So cute!


One reason I couldn't get a better shot was the high grass of course but also because this little thing didn't stand still for a moment. It was just racing and leaping and frolicking around ..
I only got bits and pieces of it ..

At one time daddy made a surprise visit as well, you can just see his antlers in the picture above at the very top left.
I hope they stick around for a while so I can get a better shot of it but for now, these have to do ..

Can you see me know?

Saturday, June 18, 2022

This beautiful Clematis grows in Doug and Brenda's yard. It's just one of the many that are blooming at the moment and many will continue to do so until fall.
I've bought myself one while at BiMart the other day. It's becoming a dangerous store to go to, I always end up with more than I go in for!

Talking about plants, we went to the McMinnville Garden Tour & Faire last weekend.
Due to the nasty weather, windy, rainy and cool, we almost didn't but we really needed to 'get out of the house' for a bit, so we went anyway ..


We first strolled for a while through the 'faire', which featured more than 60 garden-themed vendors with lots of plants to buy including some fun garden art.
How about this huge hanging basket?

We than picked up a folder for the location and description of the 4 gardens on the Garden Tour and drove to the first one.
I liked the house almost better than the yard which was described as 'whimsical'.

I'd expected a little more from that but at least the large terraced back yard was lush and green and housed some interesting plants, besides a few gnome and fairy houses .. hence the whimsical, me thinks ..


The second garden housed an art studio called the Lily Pond and was a gorgeous cottage garden:

It had a peaceful lily pond in the back garden, complete with some pretty Koi ..

And I was happy to see (well, not really but you know what I mean), that their vegetable garden wasn't doing much better than mine ..


The third house was in a new neighborhood and the garden was only a year or two old:

They must have planted some rather big plants to begin with because everything looked already well established.

And although I'm not a fan of 'fake' grass, they used it here as a walkway in the shady side yard and it looked really good!
The last garden (and house as well) was my favorite:

Large robust plants like Rhododendrons and azaleas, lots of massive rose-bushes and many of my other favorites like Foxgloves, lavender, daisies and delphiniums.

And the shady, woodsy backyard sloped down all the way to the Yamhill river ..

That's the (brown, muddy) river there in the middle of the picture ..

All gardens showed signs of rain damage, lots of roses and rhodies had brown and mushy blossoms. No small wonder with the weather we've been having, but despite that there were still lots of flowers to be seen:

All in all we had a very nice afternoon, especially since the rain had stopped pretty much as soon as we arrived in town!

We treated ourselves to dinner at Just Pho You, a Vietnamese restaurant we discovered only last week:


Pretty good for a simple little place, nice people and lots of very tasty food

Dessert we had at home, where I'd baked these little tarts and filled them with strawberry-rhubarb and blueberry filling made with (last year's) fruit from our own yard!

OK, that'll probably do it for this week I think.
I've got some pics of my own 'yard'/vegetable beds, but they're so pathetic that I don't even want to show them after all the beautiful gardens we just saw ..

O, one more thing, we had our second booster shots:

Other than a little sore injection-side for 2 days we didn't suffer any side-effects, just ike the previous ones, so we're good to go for a while again.
Also, since Sunday last week the US has lifted the need for a negative Covid test for coming into the country. Hurray for getting back to (almost) 'normal'!

Here's one more shot, just for fun. I thought these gnomes on someones pergola were the cutest:

Saturday, June 11, 2022


Since the weather forecast was looking good, for the coast that was, we decided to pay another, more thorough visit, to some of the coastal towns and campgrounds we merely drove by the last time we went there.
From Newberg it takes us about an hour to get to Otis Junction and the cut-off for Lincoln city to the south and Tillamook towards the North.
Another 20 minutes or so to the North brings us to Pacific City and more specifically Kiwanda Beach, where we wanted to check out a few campgrounds.

But first, there was coffee! Heaven forbid, we'd skip it .. it wouldn't be pretty ..
We parked at Pacific city's Tillamook boat launch, where we had a great view of  the  Nestucca River ..

          .. and the entrance to the Bay Trail in the Bob Straub State Park ..

That Yellow Bush or Coast Lupine is growing wild here everywhere, it's a species native to the western United States in California and Oregon.
With coffee taken care off (and a blueberry muffin to go with it) we drove the 1.3 miles to Kiwanda Beach and parked the car right at the ocean.
There's something to be said for visiting the coast off-season and on a Monday, it was so nice and quiet!



This beach is well known for being one of only two beaches on the west coast where one can see fishing dories launch and and land.
Dory fishing is a 100-year tradition where fishermen (“dorymen”) launch flat-bottomed boats (dories) directly from the beach to fish the expansive waters off Cape Kiwanda.


Reason being; there’s no boat ramp, no docks and no marina. The beach is the port ..


Funny enough, we'd just watched an episode on a local TV station about a group of students from Linfield College who made a documentary about this way of fishing and trying to preserve this unique history, even building a dory themselves:

Kiwanda Beach is a tiny, tiny town and the (three!) campgrounds we wanted to check out for future stays are only one block from the beach.
Which is basically all there is to the town ..
Only one park looked promising, the Cape Kiwanda RV
Park (, it's also the oldest with a lot of (shade-giving!) beautiful pine trees scattered all over the grounds.

I stole this picture from their website to show how close you are to the beach.
Of course I've not been able to find their monthly rates yet but I'm afraid they will be up there ..! Nevertheless, this park went on our list of contenders.

OK, moving on, to the next campground on our list,
Netarts Bay Garden RV Resorts ( in Netarts (well, actually in Tillamook, but let's not be anal).
This park is not on the ocean but on Netarts Bay, right 'behind' the ocean, like this ..


The first spaces have a bay-view, and the others are just steps away ..

This is another view from the campground, towards the bay ..

On a sandy island in that bay lives a colony of seals ..

Who you can see a lot better when you have a good zoom on your camera ..

I'm not sure about this one, there's a road between the park and the bay and there's no beach area to walk on, but for now this campground went on our list as well.
We actually do know the rates of this park, which are plus or minus $1000/month. Not cheap, but not as bad as others along the coast!

Next up was the picturesque small town of Oceanside, only 2.5 miles to the North.
We'd driven up to this town before but never got out of the car since it was a warm summer day, packed with people and not a parking spot left.
This time around we had no such problems and after parking the car right in front of the Blue Agate Cafe next to the beach, we went in for a bite to eat.


And boy, were we glad we did! That clam chowder was the best I've ever eaten (and I've eaten my share!) and the crab and shrimp melt on sourdough was equally delicious!
I don't know why my camera didn't pick up on the ocean view behind James but it didn't. Just use your imagination .. ocean view! Like this:

Looking back to town from the beach you can see the town owes most of it's picturesque-ness to being build on a steep hill-side ..

The house at the top of the cliff in the picture below is for sale, but judging by the erosion of the hillside in front of it, it might not be your safest buy ..

We went for a walk on the beach to the south ... the weather was just perfect, sunny but not hot, with a light sea-breeze.

                                           We passed some bathing Seagulls ..


And a Bald Eagle, being attacked by a very angry crow that wanted him away from his territory and, most likely, his nest and youngsters ..


Before we knew it we found ourselves all the way over at the little town of Netarts proper and climbed the stairs up the dunes and into town, where we explored the two (!) grocery stores and a quirky little gift shop/shack.


                                 Guess who snatched a brownie .. (starts with a J.. ends with ..ames)

It's not much of a town, but it certainly has a beautiful view:

There was one more spot we wanted to check out that day which was the town of Garibaldi for which we had to drive to and through Tillamook (6 miles) and another 10 miles further to the north.
It has 3 campgrounds as well, all of them clustered together at the town's harbor.
There's the Port Of Garibaldi RV Park,
the Old Mill RV Resort and the Harborview Inn & RV Park. Here's an areal view:

The reason I wanted to have a look is because the campgrounds situated at the harbor sound very quaint and pretty on paper, but I'd read about that brown spot there on the right of the picture which happens to be  .. a saw-mill.
More precise, I read about the noise said mill makes!
But of course, after all that, when we arrived the mill was not working that day so now we still don't know if it's as bad as some people say ...
Oh well .. it actually doesn't matter after all because we weren't that charmed by the parks either, so I think we're going to rule them out anyway.

On the way back home we checked out one more campground just north of Cape Kiwanda .. I know, enough already ..
This huge park turned out to be a membership park (Thousand Trails) and besides busy and packed close together, it was expensive and allows for only a limited period of stay at a time. So .. 'another one bites the dust'.

By the time we came back through the town of Kiwanda Beach again we were ready for a drink and something to eat, so we stopped at the Pelican Brewery Company.
It's a popular place and even on a Monday afternoon there was a little wait to get in.

We'd hoped to sit outside but the wait for that was rather long so we ended up inside.
At least we had a view of the ocean .. (which once
again my camera doesn't show ).

The beer was good and the food (a smoked tri-tip flatbread) excellent. A fitting end to a beautiful day at the beach.
I think we'll be back soon!

And although this wasn't the only thing that happened this week, I think this post is long enough as it is, so I'll cover the rest next time.
                                                               The end (for now)