Where? Parkdale is a small orchard town on the back side (East side) of Mt Hood… You can get there via the Columbia River Gorge, to Hood River then drive 17 miles up to this gorgeous place, or go straight up to Mt Hood, and drive completely around it to get there. THAT circular drive is called “The Fruit Loop” because Hood River and environs IS the apple/pear/peach capital of Oregon.
John and Tony just back from a fantastic wedding in Toni’s Ireland, got a little acreage there, have a new home up and running, and allowed us to come help with a little fencing job they wanted in before winter sets in.
We were excited, the DOG was excited
Even HERE, it’s no longer possible to NOT know Fall, no longer hinting that it’s coming, is brazenly colored. Of course it IS the Northwest, yes, so green is all around you always, but it’s strongly penetrated with all that Fall brings: gold, red, orange, browns, rust, mushrooms.
Squirrels are working like crazy getting a stash stored, deer eating every apple that falls, it’s a very universal feeling.
We are getting reminded that the Deer rut will begin next month, mating then, and fawns born next May. How was I reminded? I forget every fall to put protection over young shrubs. Buck’s, in preparing for the mating ranking, get their antlers all filed down by rubbing and yes, breaking lots of limbs. Our Bay Laurel is almost destroyed, as is one of the currents. Oh well.
We joined John & Tony at their home so we could take one car….a mammoth Suburban pulling the trailer with all the fencing materials aboard. Lovely drive in the dark, a stop for groceries, and we were at the new home about 8:30 to meet John’s nephew Keith and pal Nat. These young New Hampshire guys are staying at the house for the winter while they live a thrill: Working at Mt Hood Meadows Ski Resort one as a trainer and one Boarding expert who will repair snowboards. They’re just out of college, and having a year off here. Great guys. This was Tony’s breakfast offering Saturday morning:
Rodger, John, Nat, me, Keith and Tony’s behind the camera.
Rodger swears he’s going to blog about this, so I can’t upload some of the gorgeous photos, but know this:
1) I was in absolute AWE all weekend every morning to look out and see the huge North face of Mt. Hood out the windows, and only about 20 miles away. If you’re THAT close to a volcano, you will be in AWE of the sight. That alone had my heart feeling fabulous.
2) At night, I went outside regularly because, again, I was held in absolute AWE all weekend staring at the bright star loaded sky. One forgets about the light pollution we all now live with in/around our cities. You can hardly even see a star from downtown Portland. Up here, it was SO intense, I felt reverence for the beauty of it.
3) ALL weekend, all afternoon, a gorgeous large Red-tailed Hawk sat on wind turbines, flew ALL around us, or dove ofter gophers in the orchards. He’s taken residence up here, and I loved seeing this awesome raptor.
4) ALL fruit orchards and other deciduous trees were in full blazing autumn color. Yep, I was in awe.
So the days were filled with building a lovely split rail fence, joy of nature views you can only HOPE you get to see a few times in your life, fabulous home cooking (home-made pizza friday, Toni’s southern savory corncakes Saturday, yeast waffles sunday, and at night, lively talking with these friends well into wee hours I no longer knew I would ever be up late enough to enjoy.
I was absolutely exhausted when we came home, as was the dog:
This was the BEST Birthday gift I’ve ever received to be with wonderful people like this group was.
** Northern Flickers** backyard note: TODAY, I got a welcome revelation! We’ve always loved our favorite all-time most beautiful Northern Flicker coming to visit our suet post on the deck. We knew there may be more than one that came in. THIS morning, I watched 3 of them have a bit of a duel about territory that involved some actual fighting. ALL three flickers were calling loudly, I had a thrill watching that too.
Seems nature is my religion………….