Willie Nelson and Oval’s First Backpacking Trip

Bret took a couple days off and we started the festivities by heading to Bend, Or to see Willie Nelson and Allison Krause with our friends, Chris and Kara.  We had a bit of a delay getting to the concert (we might have lost track of time getting dinner at a nearby pub), but we caught the end of Allison Krause and Willie’s whole set.  The place was packed and it was a gorgeous night.  SO much fun.  Although I may have regretted sharing our neighbors “hot” wine when we started hiking the next morning.

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The next morning we took our leave of Bend and drove to the west side of the Cascades to the Whitewater trailed and hiked up to Jefferson Park.  We had though we would be escaping some of the heat that has landed in Oregon for the last few weeks by heading into the mountains, but it was 91° at the trailhead! It was about 5.5 miles of steady climbing in.  Oval tried out her backpack, but she seemed to be struggling a little in the heat, so I set her free about a mile in.  she perked up at mile 4 when we hit a nice shaded stream and she was able to run around in the water and rehydrate.

For the last half of the hike, we were treated to great views of Mt. Jefferson.  Mt. Jefferson, originally called Seekseekqua by Native Americans, is the second highest mountain in Oregon at 10,497 ft.  The cone of Mt. Jefferson rises about 1 mile from the surrounding terrain (including Jefferson Park) making it very difficult to access.



We camped at Russell lake and had the place pretty much to ourselves the first night.  Well, us and about 10,000 mosquitoes.  We handled the mosquitoes with grace and took a nice walk around the lake.  They don’t seem to bother you when you are moving.  At camp, Oval did pretty well… although we didn’t trust her not to run away to someone else’s camp, so she was on the long leash most of the time.  The second picture is across Russell Lake looking back at our camp site (which is hidden in the trees).

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Oval has the camping thing down.

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The first night, we had some stormy, threatening weather.  But it never amounted to much more than some thunder in the distance, some wind, and a few drops of rain.

On our second day, we hiked around Jefferson Park.  Jefferson Park is this really unique area with lakes and alpine meadows at the base of Mt Jefferson’s cone.  The wildflowers were in full flower power too, so it was pretty spectacular.


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The mosquitoes were again in full force that evening, but we escaped them by teaching Oval how to swim the lake.  She was a little hesitant until we gave her a little push, then she was swimming circles around Bret and I!  so much fun and so many laughs.  Later we went for an evening hike and were treated to more spectacular views.

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That night was clear and warm so we had beautiful view of a moonlit peak from our tent.


The next morning we tried to beat the mosquitoes out of bed and pack up camp.  It was much cooler, so Oval was in charge of her own pack again.

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She did great on the way out… the pack slows her down a notch and makes it easier to keep up with her.  The way down was a lot more pleasant with cooler temps.  We even had a few drops of rain right at the end.


We made it home in time to water the garden and sleep real well.

I am always a little behind, so I will leave our fabulous July 4th weekend with Bret’s mom and stepdad for another post!


strawberries and weird neighbors

It has been a while since I posted, but I have been busy.  Not working much, but busy none the less.

I went and picked strawberries with my friend, German, a few weeks ago.  I forgot to take pictures while we were out at the u- pick farm, but it was a gorgeous, sunny day in the Willamette Valley.  The farm was only a bit out of the way, but they definitely did not seem to be expecting much business on a Friday after a few days of cold and rain.  We were greeted by a big cat, but no humans in sight for a while. We had the berry patch to ourselves and there were tons of huge, beautiful and ripe strawberries.  The farm had a policy of letting you eat a ripe strawberry (no charge) if you toss a dead one out of the patch.  It only took us about 1.5 hours to collect over 11 lbs each!  That doesn’t count the ones we ate (which were a lot…  there were a lot of dead ones) and I was pretty choosy about getting the best of the best since there were so many to choose from.

Here are some pics of the booty.




de-stemmed and cut up


mixed with sugar and vanilla


I let it all mingle for a couple days, then processed it into canned strawberry jam!


Most of the remainders got frozen, but we saved enough for strawberry shortcake that night.



Then, I went on a road trip!!!!!  I went up to Lynnwood, Washington to visit my friends Jes and Matt for a couple days.  They have a great house with big, tall evergreens shading in a lovely back porch.  It was a nice change to sit out on the cool porch in the morning after a stretch of >90° days in Corvallis. We explored the arty, little town nearby called Edmunds and played a lot of Catan and Jes cooked some really delicious food.  It was such a nice time.

I left Lynnwood and took a ferry from Edmunds to Kingston and drove up into the Olympic National Park.  I spent a lot of time on the Olympic Peninsula when I was doing the field work for my masters degree, so it was nice to be back, but just get to be a tourist for the day.  I went for a lovely run on a forest trail.

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Afterwards I drove down to Olympia, Washington to visit my friend, Lauren.  Bret drove up to Olympia with Ed, so we were all reunited for the weekend!

We had a great time tasting the cuisine and delicious northwest beers.  We also explored the Saturday market and went for a walk out at the Woodard Bay Conservation area.  Our first attempt at a walk was thwarted by some breeding birds who apparently wanted some privacy, so the managers closed the trail.  It worked out though because we had a nice walk out to a bay where we saw some seals and read a little about the history of the conservation area.  It was once a log transfer facility owned and operated by Weyerhaeuser, but since it was transferred to state ownership in the late 1980s, the area has been impressively restored.  Also, Bret took this picture:



on to the weird neighbors….

Some background. On one side of our house, the neighbors did not get along with the previous owners of our house.  The previous owners of our house did not wish to assist with the building of a new fence between the two back yards, so the neighbors built their fence 1 foot inside their own property line.  I was told this when I was looking at the house and I did not think too much of it, other than that it was an odd thing to do.  We have some temporary fencing that we use to keep the dog in the back yard despite the 1 foot gap and to keep the deer out of our front garden. We we remove the garden fencing every fall and we asked for permission to put up the temporary fencing (but from the husband).

So, we got home Sunday early in the evening and Bret and I were tending to our garden which was very thirsty.  The wife-neighbor calls over to me and says, we have to talk.  So, I went over and she proceeds to tell me that we have to move the temporary fencing a foot away from her fence.  She then goes on the explain the whole thing about owning a foot beyond the fence line…  She then lets me know that her mother thinks our vegetable garden is pathetic. Then she changes her mind and says it is fine if we leave the temporary fencing where it is, we just have to let people know if we decide to sell the house.  So, I think she really just needed an excuse to let me know that her mother has a much nicer vegetable garden then ours… so weird.  I really had no idea what to do, so I just said thanks about letting us keep the fence.

I have been thinking of theories to explain it.  1.  She may have been drunk.  This is the most likely explanation.  2.  She is a super control freak which explains the whole building her fence 1 foot inside the property line thing.  I can’t think of a better way to have power over your neighbor.   It also kind of makes me want to build another fence 1 foot away from hers.  Not that I am a control freak or anything.

any better theories?


I went to southern Italy for the INORE symposium at the end of May. It was held at a hotel in the mountains just above Vico Equense with a pretty nice view of Mount Vesuvius best known for its burial of the Roman city of Pompeii in AD 79.


The symposium was great.  Learned a lot and had fun too.  Fortunately, I got to take a few extra days to travel around the region after the symposium.  First stop was Sorrento.






Then I took the bus down the Amalfi Coast passing through Positano.



And on to Amalfi




Then I took the ferry back to Sorrento.


And continued on to the island of Capri.










Sunset timelapse from symposium hotel

Obligatory Oval pic…


T&R come to visit

Tracy and Ramona came to visit and we had an awesome weekend of soccer, biking, hiking, yard games, and a little indulgence.


We went for a hike in the Macdonald forest on Saturday and rode out there with oval in her bike trailer.


We went for a hike at Cape Perpetua on Sunday.


Before they got here we had been busy brewing beer, and doing some major backyard cleanup.



Good times were had by all and it was sad to see them go.