Every time I take the drive south from Portland on Interstate 5, I’m reminded in living technicolor, that I really do live in the Willamette Valley. You see vast stretches of pastureland, mountains, sheep with requisite guard Llama–and a veritable menagerie of birds. Hawks perch on fence posts all along the highway, eagles soar overhead, egrets and all manner of flocking birds fill the open fields.
My book group of 24 years began making an annual fall retreat in 1993. Our first weekend away, we went to Sylvia Beach Hotel in Newport, Oregon. It quickly became apparent that we needed to get a house of our own. We had such a good time, but it’s a miracle we didn’t get thrown out. I kept expecting someone’s mother to appear at the door and threaten to call our parents if we didn’t settle down, “right this second!” We were not encouraged to make a repeat visit.
Of course, no weekend away is complete without a car problem right before heading out of town.
This year’s trip was to the McKenzie River–with the added bonus of it being just 30 miles down the road from Gossler Farms. Two for one. I love that kind of trip. We stayed in a fabulous house right on the river, and the rain held off until Sunday.
Stairs from the deck.
Hey look, Katy and Billie enjoying the bounty and beauty of nature right at the river’s edge.
Wait, upon closer inspection, it seems they were lifting a toast to the river.
We had to use regular wine glasses for our champagne, but that was the only real hardship. Here’s looking back up at the house from the river.
The Mckenzie River, my first visit there. Where have I been all my Oregonian life?
I bet it was cold in there, but imagine sitting on that rock in late August. Of course, getting to it might be a challenge.
Somewhere along the line, I became the official fire tender of the group. This house had the best wood stash ever.
The wood pile was clean, dry and plentiful–and no critters in there, that we saw.
Here’s the spectacular view from a place we stayed on another retreat–in Mosier, just east of Hood River. But there was no firewood at all. We walked around that little gorge town trying our best to pick up a lumberjack, but no luck on that front either.
Lots of hale and hardy plants around the McKenzie River house, both naturally occurring and planted.
How is it that I’ve killed the wild gingers I’ve planted. I love them, and aren’t they supposed to be easy?
And Sarcoccoa to die for. So glossy and gorgeous, but sadly, no scent yet. Too early in the fall season.
We sped by this covered bridge. There were cars behind us and rain and we were on a mission to get to Gossler Farms.
I used up all my reserve brain battery over my the weekend, which I understood was going to happen. I meant to make this a shorter post, with the primary focus on plants and Gossler Farms. In my defense, you cannot reason with a concussion–thus I’m having trouble whittling my story down to get where I want to go.
I’m reading a book, The Ghost in My Brain, wherein the author, Clark Elliott, struggled with his concussion for eight years before finding help. (His was far more severe than mine, but I recognized so much of what he speaks.) At only two years in, and already having found a crack team of smart docs and therapists, I’m feeling lucky to be a miserable and not a horrible.
I’ll get back to you next week and share more on the actual Gossler Farms part of this post. But here’s a peek.
I do thank you for your indulgence.