Sunday, July 31, 2022

Cuteness overload!

Although they're already eating greenery since they're 2 weeks old, mamma's milk is still the best!
She only 'endures' it for a few minutes at a time though and than she kicks and basically walks half over them to end it. Enough already!

I'm so glad to still see them all together and looking healthy and happy!
So many are hit by cars these days ..

Despite the heat we actually had a few things on our agenda this week. Last weekend we joined Doug and Brenda and a few of their friends and went to a charity event at one of the local vineyards, the Stoller Family Estate Winery.

This event, 'Harmony in the Vinyard', is the largest fundraiser for the Aaron Meyer School of Concert Rock, created to inspire young people with the love of music, through education and opportunity.

It had been an incredible hot day, around 98F (34F), and had not cooled of much when we arrived at the vineyard around 6.30pm.
Fortunately I'd brought a hat and thin blouse since we were all sitting in the full sun on a grassy slope in front of the stage.

That's Doug and Brenda, their friends and James

And there's us:


Aaron Meyer, the lead violinist of a 10 man band started on a strictly classical path, but "has blazed a trail that is uniquely his own, blending classic roots with rock influences in a style he describes as “concert rock violin.”
This evening included everything from a dynamic rendition of Vivaldi's 'The Four Seasons' to his amazing versions of Pink Floyd's 'Comfortably Numb', Led Zeppelin's 'Kashmir', Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody', The Eagles' 'Hotel California', Dire Strait's 'Sultan's of Swing', and the Beatles classic 'Let it Be'.

Of course there was wine as well! We enjoyed a nice bottle of Pinot Noir and some of us tried 'Stoller Swing', a blend of Oregon Rosé, Oregon Vermouth, some 'spritz' or bubbles and ice and lime.
Too much alcohol for me, but apparently it was very nice.


Aaron's love for young people and education inspired him to create his unique music educational programs, which continually reach students worldwide.
Each year, he visits dozens of schools all over the Pacific Northwest and around the world, presenting assembly-style educational music programs, holding workshops and assisting in the creation of CDs of student-written songs.

Some of his Oregon students performed that evening, among whom this 6 year old boy who first performed 'Twinkle, twinkle, little star' all by himself and was than joined by the band for a great rocking version at his second time around!

After a week of more scorching temperatures during which James golfed in a club-tournament (!), Newberg celebrated it's Old Fashioned Festival this weekend:


As usual during these sort of events (as we have learned during our travels through the country) there was a car-show:

A cutest dog-costume contest:

A children's Parade:

A rotary Pancake Breakfast:

Which was the place from where to watch the 'Grand Parade, while munching on your pancakes:

The streets were lined with people and I have to admit every now and then it flashed through my mind that these are the events where some of the horrible mass-shootings are happening these days ..

Like all of us, those people that died never thought it could happen in their own little town ..
Sigh .. what's there to do .. well, like one of my favorite fellow bloggers always says .. VOTE and vote BLUE!

OK, nothing much comes to mind to end with after that, it all seems rather insignificant and shallow .. but here's a pretty sunset.

Tomorrow is a another day!

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Magnolia Grandiflora
(it's smell is wonderfully fruity, lemon-like!)

This Sunday we decided to finally hike the trail at the Trappist Abbey of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Lafayette, situated only a mile or 10 from us in the low hills of the Willamette Valley.
Since I'd read about this abbey, already quite a while ago, I'd wanted to go for a visit but either the weather didn't cooperate or we didn't have time or we were tired .. etc, etc., you know how that goes.
So, no more excuses, despite the weather being a tad too hot, and of we went.


The abbey began in 1948 in Pecos, New Mexico as a foundation established by the Trappist community and dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe, owing to the Mexican influence in the southwestern U.S.
In March 1955, the monks, not finding farming sufficiently productive in northern New Mexico, sold the property to Benedictine monks and moved the abbey to its present site in Oregon.

The current, rather new 10,000-square-foot (930 m2) church was built in 2007, combining traditional Cistercian architecture with Pacific Northwest design elements.
Currently the Abbey is home to about 28 monks, who live communally in the abbey. Their day is balanced by prayer, work, reading, and contemplation.

The abbey serves as a spiritual sanctuary for guests. The monks operate a non-denominational retreat facility for both men and women who stay in small cottages and make use of a library and a meditation hall.
The abbey is located on 1,300 acres (530 ha) of forestland and is the basis for a sustainable forestry enterprise that provides income to the monks.
Other income-generating enterprises include a book bindery, a wine warehouse for local wineries, and a fruitcake bakery(!).

It being a Sunday, there was a service going on, which the public is welcome to attend by the way, so there wasn't a monk in sight.
Not being religious ourselves, we passed the church and went to the trail-head right away.
If you want to hike the entire trail it's a 3,5 mile loop which is classified as 'intermediate' and has an elevation gain of 815 feet.
It's very easy to vary the distance and scenery by taking one of the several shortcuts between the looping main path and since we're not in the best of shape at the moment we took of just seeing how far we could get.

The first part of the hike goes through what is called 'oak savanna', with tall grasses and White Oaks, after which the trail enters a Douglas-fir forest ...

It's rather uphill from there until you reach the ridge crest and a viewpoint from where you have a view over the vineyards in the valley below and, on a clear day, Mt Hood!

Obviously, although it was a very warm day, it also was a 'hazy' one, as so often in the summer and Mt Hood was not visible, unless you had a very sharp eye ..

It's there, just a hair right of the middle of the sky, see?

Just a little further down the trail, signs pointed us to the shrine of Our Lady of Guadaloupe:


I must say I'd imagined a sort of chapel, but if it was a chapel they probably would have said so, duhh ..

The, very, simple shrine was covered in little tokens of piety such as crosses, small images of the Lady, flowers and shells.
Not to be disrespectful but we set down on a few rocks in front of it and had our coffee and pastries. I don't think the Lady would've mind ..

The view was rather grand, although we would have pruned some of those bushes in front ..

OK, moving on .. from here on out the path started to go down and led us through a beautiful shaded Douglas-fir forest.
Some of these trees were huge!

Not too many flowers anywhere but I found some berries, like these Elderberries:

And some Red Blackberries ..

Here and there some Big-Leaf Maples started to pop up:

And when the forest opened up a little more we even saw some butterflies (of which I have seen very little so far this year!)
This is a Lorquin’s Admiral:


And this is a Western Tiger Swallowtail

When we finally reached the meadows down below we realized we'd made a wrong turn somewhere and cut about 3/4 of a mile of the loop .. oh well, a good reason to come back!

There's a nice pond at the Abbey where we found a few chairs. A perfect, very peaceful spot to finish the rest of our coffee!

I'd hoped to have a look at the little gift shop but, of course, it was closed, it being a Sunday.
Another reason to go back because I'm one of the few people that actually loves fruitcake and I've read these monks make a mean and hefty (brandy-soaked) one!

Other than that I really don't have much to tell about this week.
It was a hot one, and I saw that we have another one coming so we basically just
"keep calm and carry on!"

Sunday, July 17, 2022


A couple of weeks ago I mentioned the doe and her fawn that showed up in our yard and that I hoped she would be back so I could get some better pictures .. well, she's baaaack!
And not only that but she came with a big surprise .. a second fawn!

The first two days we saw only the one but than all of a sudden, on the third morning, this tiny little cuty appeared!
I still can't figure out if we just didn't see it previously, or if she had it hidden away longer because it was so small or, rare but it does happen, maybe she adopted an orphan?


I've seen siblings of different sizes before, but this really seems more like an age-gap than just a male/female or runt of the litter?
They do act as a family though and it seems healthy and lively enough. They play and chase each other through the orchard .. here's some blurry pics, they're always on the move!

I tried to make a little video but what with the trees and having to stay somewhat hidden it wasn't easy!
Also, for the life of me, I can't get it embedded in this blog, so here's a link to my Facebook post:

I was sitting on our covered 'porch' while filming this, hence the white sail you see halfway through their run. When the sun turns later in the day, I close the gap in the middle. It makes a big difference when it's warm).

See that red geranium there in the front? It had about 5 beautiful orbs of red flowers :

Well .. apparently deer like them and it looks like the pic on the right now!
Like James said: 'how about venison for dinner?' &^%$#@!
Talking about flowers, we went to the Willamette Lavender Festival in Newberg last week:

It's a fun, festive event which 'brings local lavender growers and the community together'.
The climate in the Pacific Northwest is great for growing all kinds of flowers, apparently including lavender…some say the region is on par with France’s famous lavender growing region Provence!

There were lots of craft-boots, selling lavender products, fresh-cut lavender and lavender plants from local farms. The overall smell of the fair was intoxicating!
Food trucks provided their full menus as well as specialty lavender-infused food and beverage options.
We shared a huge burrito, lavender lemonade and lavender/lemon scones!

After lunch we went inside the Cultural center and took a look at the paintings created by one hundred and fifty artists “en plein air” (outdoors) during the Oregon Lavender Paint Out. The Paint Out takes place in the lavender fields of Oregon in the weeks prior to the Show and attracts amateur and professional artists from around the Northwest and beyond.



We than proceeded to drive part of the Newberg Lavender Trail which leads you through the hills around town, passing the beautiful lavender fields and many farms open for u-pick flowers, as well as  businesses throughout town that sell anything 'lavender' you can think of.
We got out at Wayward Winds Lavender farm:


This farm is one of the largest in the area and besides having a lavender-a-maze, and U-pick fields sells award-winning essential oils, plants, products and refreshments in their open-air gift shop.
They also have a test-garden in the back which shows about a hundred different lavender varieties!

Of course we dove into the fields for some pics:

Alright, I think I've covered about everything of this very summery week. Temperatures are soaring into the high 80s and the occasional 90 at the moment.
                                                 We're definitely in the lazy days of summer!

Oh, I forgot! Doug and Brenda took me (and James of course) out for dinner to celebrate my citizenship. We went to Bistro Maison in downtown McMinnville.

It's a cozy and authentic french restaurant with a real french chef, Jean-Jacques, and it boasts a delicious french menu.

On a nice day, you’ll have a choice of dining inside or out and since it was one of those beautiful summer evenings, we opted for outside ..
We enjoyed a wonderful time together and
had a truly outstanding dinner. Just the perfect celebration for a very special occasion!
(In hind-side Doug was questioning himself if he should have taken me to an 'American diner' instead, which would have been more appropriate to the occasion? Or maybe McDonalds? I don't think so! This was perfect!)

This was desert, oh la la!