Sunday, August 22, 2010

Northwestern Oregon - Do It Yourself Bouquets

After a week of kite flying and relaxing on the Long Beach Peninsula, it was time to start heading south. We've driven the Columbia River route several times, so this time I opted to head down the coast route a bit, then cut inland toward our next destination, Tigard, a suburb just south of Portland. While the traffic along the coast route was certainly more heavy than anything we're used to along the Columbia Route, I attributed part of that to the fact we'd taken off at the close of a summer weekend. I suspect, however, that this popular route (Highway 101), particularly at the Warrenton end, is typically pretty busy. There were lots of traffic control devices (stop signs and stop lights) along the way that really slowed us down, too. But I wasn't exactly in a hurry. We'd left in plenty of time, I figured, for our scheduled early afternoon arrival.

It was a beautiful day as we cruised down the coast, but began turning gray as we headed south and inland. By the time we were in the thick of the coastal mountains, it was raining outright; none of this California-style rain. This was real rain, with road mist kicked up by vehicles all around us and wipers running front and rear. But it was short-lived, and by the time we were on the inland valley side of the mountains, things were already beginning to dry up. That was ideal for a quick stop at Jim Dandy, a produce stand which also allows self-pick flower arranging. What a novel idea! The girls each took a pair of shears in hand and headed out to rows upon rows of flowers, and each chose their favorites, which were combined into a single bouquet for delivery in Tigard. The stand owners also caught us with their "soup pot" flat of various vegetables. None were showy, some showed natural damage like scars or odd shapes, but all were ready for the soup pot. "We grow a lot of perfect produce, but it can't all be perfect, and I can't take all the flawed ones home. We can only eat so much, so I package 'em for soup," the owner told me. The stuffed box included potatoes, carrots, onions, purple peppers, yellow peppers and purple tomatoes. For $3.50, it was hard to pass up, so, four pounds of veggies and one large bouquet later we were out the door - $8.50 total for a hostess gift and what turned out to be a scrumptious dinner for six with leftovers.

When we arrived in Tigard, we enjoyed not only the company of my second-cousin and her family, but also her additional visitors - her own sister and nephew who had flown out from Utah for the weekend. I haven't seen that Utah cousin in more than a decade, and had never met her son, so was particularly pleased to have the opportunity to get back in touch. We picked right up with the game V, E and Cousin T so enjoyed last time: Apples to Apples. The game is a great ice breaker, fun for all ages, and hardly objective which is probably part of what makes it so fun.

V, my animal-loving girl, was particularly thrilled to be reunited with Nala, the squirrel-obsessed family dog. Nala jumped into our trailer at one point. I might've just taken her home with us, but I knew she would be terribly missed by her true family.

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