Sunday, October 4, 2009

Portland Endings ... Harvest Beginnings

We had our first really hard frost this week which means the end to garden growth but the beginning to garden harvesting.  I would be just as happy if all our produce came from the grocery store.  I'm not saying I don't enjoy the fresh produce, I just don't enjoy it enough to put forth the work.  Dean, on the other hand, seems to love the back-breaking dirt preparation, seed/seedling planting, weeding (not that he does much of that), and the all-important harvesting.  That's what's been going on this weekend.  Yesterday he pulled some of the 5,281 onions he planted, chopped them all up while wearing his specially purchased onion-fume-preventing goggles, and made some kind of pickled onion thing.  Our house now reeks of onions.

note the steam in the goggles

This morning just as I had taken the first sip of my coffee and was sitting down to read the paper  I found out Dean would "probably need help digging the potatoes before it rains."  I left my steaming coffee on the table, put on my dad's old army coat, my earband and snow boots, tromped out, and with my freezing fingers, in a wind chill of 25 degrees, plucked potatoes forked up from some of the 798 hills of potatoes Dean had planted and placed them gently in a box. 

Today he has been making green tomato chutney from the 16,275 tomatoes he has picked from his plants.  During a break in the chutney action I slipped in and mixed up a batch of sourdough bread which is now rising peacefully on the counter.   I wonder how many times I'll have to punch it down until there's another opportunity to slip in so I can form the loaves.

So......since it's a cold, rainy, gloomy day and my husband has taken over the kitchen it seems a good time to finish up with our trip to Portland.

On Friday we took a scenic drive.   I don't think this was part of the "scenic tour" but we were almost as impressed with  this cabbage field as we were with the many waterfalls we saw along the way. 

Scenic Drive--Click for slideshow
We ended our drive at the Bonneville Dam just as a barge was preparing to go through the locks.  I spoke to an older (even older than me) gentleman standing next to me as we were watching and he said he'd lived in the area his whole life and had never seen the locks in action so we were pretty dang lucky.  Once the process had completed, we checked out the fish ladders

Locks and Fish Ladders--click for slideshow

Saturday we were downtown again checking out the arts and crafts market and walking through Chinatown.  It turned out that it was also "Operation Overcoat" day and there was a long line of homeless people snaking its way down and around a couple of blocks waiting to get into a large fenced off area with tables of free clothing and food.  It was an up-close and personal reminder of how lucky I am. But seeing this in front of a school on one of our walks made me feel hopeful and happy.

As I've been writing this, the smell of onion in our house has now been replaced by vinegar fumes.  My eyelids are sweating, my eyes are watering and my nose is pinched.  I managed to sneak in and form my bread loaves although they're probably going to taste like vinegar.  I might be forced to open doors and windows to clear the air.  With the stiff breeze I see outside it probably wouldn't take long.  And even if the temperature inside drops down to 55 or so Dean should be used to it since that's my preferred sleeping temperature these days and can only be obtained by sleeping with a window open year-round.  I have noticed that the past few mornings there have been miscellaneous bits of clothing thrown across his side of the bed which he must grab during the night .....shirts, bathrobe...., apparently to increase his warmth.  I can't yet bring myself to switch from the summer bedspread to the comforter so today I added a blanket.  He should be toasty now.



Art Elser said...

Cathy, your trip to Portland and the pictures from that trip are great. Thanks for sharing them. The waterfalls are spectacular. Ask Al some time about the waterfall, not nearly so spectacular, but very special, the we would sit by as we hiked together up Stanley Canyon at the Air Force Academy.

I looked back at your profile, and no where in it did I see that you are a terrible exaggerator. Dean harvested 5,281 onions--one for each mile of Denver's altitude plus one--798 hills of potatoes, 16,275 tomatoes. Whew! And I thought my Kathy, Al's mother, was good at hyperbole. :-)

abby rose said...

I hope the pickled onions are good, I'm sure Dad won't let you throw them away even if they are terrible and it looks like there are a lot of them.

Lesley Collins said...

They have an annual Corgi walk for charity in Portland in September. Good reason to go back.