30 July 2005

Summer Fun! Parties, Poker, and Ultimate frisbee

Everyone in the Gorge says basically the same thing: There's no place they'd rather be in the summer than here. The summer weather is predictable and perfect for Jul/Aug/Sep: 80s, not too dry, and not a cloud in the sky. So anyone who is planning a party or event just picks a weekend day, knowing that there will inevitably be another event scheduled for the same day. There are only so many weekends, after all.

And that's just the weekends. On Wednesdays (or sometimes Thursdays), we play ultimate frisbee, often followed by a BBQ at brother Leif's. Many Thursdays, it's poker with Mark, Andrew, and a host of others. There seemed to be a get together of some sort several times a week. If only we didn't have to go to work...

- Mike (& Corinne)

04 July 2005

Woodinville & Pickles

Well, now that summer's almost over, I can finally begin to catch up here...

When we last heard from our intrepid ruralites, they were enjoying beautiful weather and lots of company in the Gorge. At the end of June, Corinne spent a weekend with Malinda at Willows Lodge in Woodinville, WA. Several times a year the lodge hosts a "Girlfriends' Weekend" full of wine, food, tours and lectures. Several of the wine-makers were on hand to showcase their wines, most of which come from the Yakima Valley, about 2 hours north east of the gorge.

Corinne & Malinda at Willows Lodge in Woodinville

The following weekend, Donna came down to visit us to celebrate the 4th. What else could we do but make pickles?

For years Corinne has talked of the "watermelon rind pickles" from her youth, a sweet, sometimes cinnamon-y concoction that I had never even heard of, let alone actually tried. Hermiston, Oregon, about 200 miles east of us, has the hot dry summers that make it prime watermelon country. So after some keen Internet scouring by Donna, she uncovered what she thought was a reasonable facsimile of the famed recipe. And to balance out the sweetness of the rind pickes, we also chose a spicy dilled green bean recipe, to take advantage of another in-season vegetable. (We were a few weeks early for the traditional "pickling cucumbers".)

Spicy dilled green beans in-progress. The beans took only a few hours, at most, to complete; the watermelon, on the other hand, was a multiple day affair.

The Picklemakers and the finished beans.

Unfortunately, it would be many weeks before we could validate our efforts; such is the conundrum of pickling. But while we couldn't partake of our newly-created delicacies, we did enjoy a lovely evening sitting along the Columbia River watching the fireworks (from a distance) over Hood River.

- Mike (& Corinne)