Sometimes it’s hard for me to come up with a title for a post. My original idea for this one was “updates,” because that’s what it’s time to do: post some updates of what’s going on in my world. I like this one better, especially when you say it as though you are cursing.
So yeah, I’m a mother with a great kid who wanted to celebrate Mother’s Day with me. Tara and I have a tradition of camping on Mother’s Day. We were both too busy to fit camping into Mother’s Day weekend this year. Tara had the idea to take me on a picnic. I drove down to Corvallis the evening after my race (I’ll get to that story in a bit), and stayed the night. It was my first visit to the kids’ house in over a year and it was nice to hang out in their apartment and be a part of their world for a moment.
The next morning, T got up and made us both smoothies to taste. Tara was working at a health food smoothie shop but was sent home at the start of the pandemic and then the shop closed for good. They had worked there for over a year and got hooked on making amazing power drinks from things like fresh kale and acai berries and turmeric and whateverelse. They are not only delicious and hearty drinks, but also very good for you. I enjoyed my smoothie and T started making strawberry scones, while we jabbered the whole time.
Tara had an elaborate picnic planned out, and gathered stuff together in a cooler. I brought some blackberry cider from the tap at McMenamins.
Tara drove us out to Mary’s Peak, just West of Corvallis, Oregon. I had never been there, but had heard about it from my kid, who loves going there. Our idea was not original, and lots of people made their way with their moms up to the parking area at the top of the mountain. An aspect of our idea was unique in that Tara was also using it as an opportunity to test their new car tent. As a graduation present to themself, Tara and their partner have been planning a road trip through the National Parks, National Forests, and National Monuments of California. They want to be compact and mobile, and have invested in a behind-the-car seat cooler, which plugs in and will keep cool even in Death Valley. I was intrigued with the car tent.
The car was backed into the space, so we had a splendid view of the valley while we snacked. We had occasional visitors, as different curious people came over to ask about the tent and comment on the yummy-looking food.
Take a look at this short, interesting video about how the Native Kalapuyas know Mary’s Peak as a spiritual place of healing and of calm. It was certainly that for Tara and me.
Oregon opened up!! We’re open! It’s maybe the same story across much of the US, but here in Oregon I care because I live here. The first social gathering I participated in for over a year was a meeting last month with my Belle Brigade team. We met at my place because there is lots of space. Eight of us women (and one baby) met outside in lawn chairs in the shade and had our meeting.
The second social gathering I participated in was a more populated one. A race. It was time for the Belle Brigade to get used to racing again and the Hippie Chick planners announced that it would be in person and we were all thrilled. Organizers had been given permission for up to 1,000 racers plus all the necessary staff. Friends and family were encouraged to stay away, so there were few spectators.
The location was close to Pedro’s house, so he drove me over there early early on a cold morning, and I got all frazzled and anxious trying to find my team and then getting set up for the race. I hadn’t anticipated the cold, so Pedro gave me his jacket to wear. It all worked out just fine and the start was easy-peasy, and in no time I was separated from the crowd and was able to pick up my walking pace to race speed.
Eleven of our twelve-person team showed up, and all of us finished and did great! It was a good idea for our team captain to pressure us to do this race because it was the first time we raced together and it amped up the anticipation for our big relay race in August.
For my transition to my final topic – homebrew – I can make a connection by saying that working out burns calories and makes me feel less guilty about all the tasty wines, ciders, and beers I enjoy so much.
I knew that it was almost bee time again, when the local company of beekeepers bring their blue collar worker bees to my property. That means it’s getting closer to time to get my rent payment again, always paid in honey. Liquid gold. I still had 3 gallons of last year’s honey and needed to find something to do with it. I decided to try to make mead.
To acquire an additional large glass bottle, I bought a 3L jug of thick, pulpy, all-natural apple juice. I was happily drinking it when I began researching how to make mead, and found a YouTube video of how to make cyser, using a newly purchased jug of apple cider. I had to look it up. Cyser is an apple honey wine. I had the main ingredients and gave it a go with the cider left in the jug. I scooped honey generously into a gallon jar, and found another YouTube video of how to make a simple mead (meaning: no fancy brewing ingredients necessary). It also suggested some additions for flavour complexity, and I tried those too.
Apparently these can sit a year. I doubt I’ll wait that long. I’ll give it another couple months, till it’s totally clear. I’ll let you know how it goes.