Mother walking drinker

View of Corvallis, Oregon from Mary’s Peak.

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.

Another quilt Tara is trying to finish. It’s not really pink, that light is from the grow lamps that the kids use in their indoor greenhouse.
These are the actual colours of the quilt. Tara is making this quilt as a thank you gift to their advisor, which will be presented at the time of Tara’s graduation, in just a couple weeks!!

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.

How cute is this tent? There were off-and-on showers while we were there, but the design of the tent prevents any water from getting inside. We sat and ate and were completely dry with the flap rolled up as you see here. Our feet and ankles got wet because they hung out, as you see Tara doing.
Tara sat in the hatchback area of their car, protected by the tent, and prepared a fabulous lunch.

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.

The view from the tent.
The view inside the tent.

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.

We wound through a small neighborhood on the edge of the stadium, then walked right into open countryside. Hillsboro, Oregon offers a lot of open countryside.
Volunteers bundled against the cold provide celebratory bubbles, orange cones, and yellow vests to keep me on track, motivated, and safe. They also gave a couple of teeth-chattery cheers.
Soon I had reached the turn around for the 1/4 Marathon, and began hoofing it back the way I had come. My average pace over the 6.55 miles was about 13.1 minutes per mile, or around 4.5 miles per hour. It’s the speed of a jogger.
Race bling.
I was feeling strong and energized at the end of the race, which had us finish inside the stadium. A professional race photographer captured everyone at the end of their race.
The first time I was allowed to jump (re: rules about walking races) was after crossing the finish line, I spotted the cheerleaders and joined them with my make-believe pom poms.

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.

The website for the Hippie Chick Race now has this pic front and center, of me and my teammates after the race. The photo is missing one teammate who had to leave and one who wasn’t able to race.
All the ladies, sans me. I accidentally signed up for the 1/4 marathon instead of the 5K, so they all finished before me and did this group photo while they were waiting. It worked out for me though, because all my ladies were waiting for me when I arrived, and they all cheered so loudly I could hear them across the stadium as I entered. It was pretty damned cool. ❤

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.

Cyser on the left, mead (with orange peel, black tea, and chopped raisins) on the right. I didn’t have a stopper that fit the opening, so had the cap loosely on top till I could get a new stopper.
This is after the first siphoning. To my surprise, the pulpy cider is beginning to clear in the jar on the left. The muck at the bottom is the yeast.
Impatient, I poured a little bit to taste. It was horrible. Here in this glass you can see why: lots of yeast still has the liquid cloudy. See the tiny bits of yeast adhering to the sides of the glass, and floating in the bottom.
This is what it looks like today, after a second siphoning. The cyser was started March 31 and the mead was started April 16. Both looking much more clear. I tasted this time too and it’s becoming delicious.

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.

18 thoughts on “Mother walking drinker

  1. Ahh, most wonderful, all good going. The most wonderful quilt, tent picnic with the view, and your happy race finish. ❤ Slovenia is the land of mead, and of all sorts of alcoholic wonders. Beware! 😀

    1. Thank you Derrick! You reminded me of a time I went to a new bar to meet a friend, on the friend’s recommendation. I looked at the menu and chose a beer, and didn’t like it. Too sour. The bartender let me send it back for no charge and suggested some samples to help me choose. I tried about three more, and finally commented, “These are all so sour. Do you have anything that’s not sour?” The bartender looked a little blank and glanced at the name of the bar on the wall behind him. “Cascade Brewing. Barrel Aged Sour Brews.” It was all they served.

  2. Mother’s Day was a wash out here as well. We ordered in and made it a lazy day. I like your idea of a hike though neither of us here could do that. Maybe hike through the mall one of these days. I don’t know about the state being open but I’m still closed. Next Wed is my day for # 2 and H gets hers on Tues. E & E will be here on the 9th. It’s going to be crazy this month. H would love the little tent. Camping is at the top of her wish list but I can’t see it happening. That was quite the spread they made for you. I’m not fond of sour anything except for kraut. 🙂 I’ll race you to the remote control but I’m sure you would win. Takes me 5 min to get moving after I stand up. ;( Warm is coming with a vengeance. Hang in there.

    1. I’m glad you celebrated Mother’s Day in some sense. Sounds a bit luxurious. My friend, I am sad to say it, but your decision to remain removed from social gatherings seems like still the best choice. I wish the world could be safe for you to get back out into it, but I think it is not quite there. Your shot is coming up tomorrow. I’m sure you’ve heard the second one can knock a person flat, so be ready. You will already have been dealing with our current heat wave, so I am sending my humongous hopes that your week is ok. I know you will suffer. Me, on the other hand, well…I’m part of that crazy group that thinks temps in the 90s today sounds perfectly blissful. I can’t wait to get my homework done and head outside and get baked and sweaty. I’ll try to absorb as much of the heat as I can for you. ❤ Your comment about kraut is TOO funny! I love sauerkraut. Love you.

      1. You are just too sweet for words. Thanks for the warning about tomorrow. H is driving me because the first one left me unable to get myself home. I was so grateful she insisted on taking me. She works in the car while I go in. I’m staying cool indoors and do any work at sunrise. If I could sweat to keep myself cool it would be nice. I’ll let you know how I do tomorrow. I’m writing the day off. ;( With or without the vaccine, I feel safe. H, not so much. Way too protective. Now I’ll continue to be careful but I can go out and about a bit without argument. 😉 Enjoy to heat my friend. Love and hugs. M

  3. That feast Tara prepared really was a feast, Crystal. Good for your daughter! And race walking. That’s a good pace, my friend. Keep it up! And finally, next time you come here, I be expecting a little mead. (Grin.) –Curt

    1. Thanks for the idea, Curt! I didn’t bring you honey, because I wasn’t sure if the honey from last time was used up (although now that I think of it, that was two years ago, so probably!). I brought the eggs, not knowing you already have an egg donor (I crack myself up). Mead is a great plan! I’m still not sure I’m any good at it, so we will wait and see. I have three glass jars and all the proper stoppers and siphon tubes and everything at this point. Plus, I’ll be getting more honey this summer, so I’ll get a chance to try again if this stuff doesn’t turn out right.

      1. As I said, the ancient Romans (or maybe it was the Greeks) defined it as the nectar of the gods. That was one big jar of honey you had brought. And not to worry about the eggs. They are appreciated! There isn’t any such thing as too many eggs coming directly form the chickens to our table. 🙂 –Curt

  4. You’ve certainly been busy, Crystal. I love that you’re trying your hand at making some alcoholic refreshments. 😉 And I absolutely love the car tent. How clever.

    1. I’ve been reporting the comments about the tent to Tara. My initial reaction was not that favorable. I had something else in mind when T described it, so when I saw it, the tent was less than what I had imagined. Tara was disheartened to see my reaction, since I’m a camper and they value my opinion. To make up for that, I’ve been telling T every time someone sees the tent and approves – which is nearly everyone who sees it, actually, ha ha!! Wish me luck on the mead. I’m not sure I know what I’m doing, and my efforts are based entirely on YouTube videos, ha ha! I can’t imagine purchasing honey to learn how to make mead because honey is so expensive. But it’s free for me, so this was a good idea for surplus honey. I’m really hoping it works out and I get some great results.

      1. Well, I can’t wait for you to report back on the mead making, Crystal. It is wonderful to try something new, especially as you have the main ingredients available without purchasing it. Like you say, honey is expensive. I love what one can learn on YouTube. Fingers crossed it tastes lovely.

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