Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Days have passed...

I've been here at Cascadia Chestnuts for a few days already.  It's nice environment, and a lot different than the last couple years I've spent WWOOFing.  

Fortunately, for me, I've come during their slow season.  There isn't a whole lot going on around here.  That translates into not many things required of me, and not very many hours to be worked.  I've gotten to cut loose to do my own thing with 3 hours and less of work every day this week.  Their busier times of the year are in the fall for harvest and putting in their garden in the spring - and I'm not within either of those time frames.  Chris calls it the 'tinkering around' time of the year.  Bonus for me, I suppose.  

I've weeded 90% of the garden, put up privacy tint in the RV, and broken down trimmed branches out in the orchard (so they can be mulched with the mower later).  That's it.  Tomorrow I'll finish the weeding, and then help relocate some larger limbs from a tree that Chris is completely cutting down.

Most of the time I am on my own for meals - they provide the food, but I do my own cooking and dining.  I did join them for dinner on Sunday night, and again tonight.  They have said they like having someone a little older around - apparently I'm a better conversationalist than the "kids" that they've had come here.  They are definitely an interesting couple with a lot of knowledge about a lot of things.

Off of the farm, I've perused downtown Portland a little.  I've visited a skatepark that both Aaron and I have heard of and had seen in BMX videos - called Burnside.  It was originally created by riders under the Burnside St. bridge, without the city's consent.  Fortunately, the city ended up being pretty cool about it being there and have not closed it down or destroyed it.

Just over the bridge from the skatepark is the world-famous Voodoo Donuts - and I just had to go.  Click the link and check out the menu - for real!  I'd browsed the menu before coming out west, but not since I'd been here... and I went in not remembering anything I was interested in getting (the store menu lacked the donut descriptions that the website has).  So I ordered up the Dirt Donut because that was a no-brainer for something I know I'd like.  If I decide to come back again, I'll need to check out the online menu once again and make a more specific choice so I'll be ready next time.  

Yesterday after working, and going along with Chris and Andee's suggestion, I drove out to Sauvie Island. The island is a mix of public and private land.  The private land mostly belongs to organic farmers growing all manner of produce and flowers.  The flower fields in bloom are gorgeous right now - makes for a super-scenic drive.  The public land is mostly wildlife refuge, which plays host to birds and small mammals... and free range grazing cattle. It took me the better part of a couple of hours for me to drive the island, and I think it was an afternoon well spent.

Mount St. Helens - the sleeping giant - out on the horizon... as seen from Sauvie Island.

I also went and took an open ballet class at the BodyVox dance studio.  It had been a few weeks since my last class and the recital, and I thought it would do me good.  The open class was at an intermediate/advanced level... and I got a great workout from it.  It was probably a little beyond what I'm accustomed to, with a different teaching style, but I'm still very glad I went.  I felt really good afterwards.

This afternoon's adventures weren't nearly exciting.  I took the Jeep to wash it.  It had over 2200 miles of road grime, dead bugs, stains from mud puddles, manure, and god knows what else on it.  I spent a long time on it... and although it looks better, I've already decided that a full hand wash and detail are in Eugene's future when we get back to Elgin.  Ick.

This evening I thought I'd wander about the property and get a few quick shots of my surroundings...

Front of the main house:

Back/side of the house... with the pool and Chris' tool shed:

My humble abode:

A section of the orchard:

The small garden (complete with raspberry bushes):

The resident pooch, Oly:

Andee boards dogs also... and this is Tekla - she's nearing the end of a month-long stay.  She is Rhodesian Ridgeback.

Tomorrow, I'll be working in the morning and then for the afternoon and into Friday, I will be visiting the Columbia River Gorge area, and Mount Hood.  It's an awesome area for hiking, waterfalls, and great mountain scenery... plus I have it on good authority that there are a lot of good forest service trails to be explored.  :)