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Posted on Oct 7, 2015

Summer in Corvallis

This summer was a full one, indeed. We made a valiant effort to soak up as much as we could of the fresh air and the fresh food and the feeling of freedom that only dances in with the summer solstice. I know that autumn is in full-swing but indulge me, won’t you, while I catch up on the bits and pieces of summer I have yet to share.

Flowers

This is the year I can officially say I fell in love with flowers. While I’ve always enjoyed having cut flowers inside, this summer the magic of seeing color pop up around the yard made me quite literally squeal with delight. From the flowering clematis climbing up our fence to petunias that started from scrawny little nothings and grew into blooming masses, I loved spending every second I could admiring their beauty and clearing them of pesky weeds. We won’t speak of the sad death of the black-eyed susan that went from vibrant yellow glory to crispy leaf litter in the span of two days. No, we won’t speak of that. Rest in peace, little plant. I’m sorry my black thumbs killed you.

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Grilled Pizza

This was also the summer of grilling pizza. We grilled pizza every week, sometimes several times a week. We started off virtuously, with the plan for Friday night to be pizza night. Homemade dough topped with whatever was in the garden along with some Tillamook cheddar and feta cheese ….. mmm. That plan was quickly scrapped as we realized grilled pizza is Heaven-sent and who are we to argue with divine providence. Pizza happened a lot this summer.

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grilled zucchini, mushroom and tomato pizza

Hounds

Always the hounds. They feel left out of the blog and wanted to add in their two cents that they had a blast this summer. They did all sorts of cool stuff like bark nonstop at the construction workers putting in a traffic circle by our house, take morning walks at the park down the street, eat plums that fell from the tree in our yard, brainstorm ways to break into the garden and eat all the tomatoes and zucchini (and yes, several of their attempts met with success), take plenty of naps, and of course, enjoy doggie ice cream on the hottest days.

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The hounds were big fans of homemade doggie ice cream (in the little containers with blue lids)

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Ella thought she should eat hers at the table, of course.

Fruit

Where do I start? There was so much fresh fruit to enjoy this summer! From the blueberries growing in our own yard (which the dogs unabashedly helped themselves to) to the pick-your-own blueberry, cherry, peach and apple orchards. We managed to score about 13 pounds of free blueberries from one of the local places; at the end of their season, they allow anyone to come and help themselves to what’s left for free. Very generous and very appreciated. I made lots of blueberry jam and froze as many berries as our freezer could hold.

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We also picked cherries, which was a first for me. Oh, they were so delicious picked straight off the tree.

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Grapes! Just outside of town, there’s a little vineyard where you can pick your own table grapes. It’s all on the honor system, with a little stand providing a scale and coffee can for you to drop your money into. Several different varieties were growing and they were all tasty!

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We drove out to Adairs Orchards to pick peaches on what was probably the hottest day of the year. But juicy peaches are worth sweating for.

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At the end of summer, we returned to pick apples.

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Loads of apples became delicious apple butter.

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Hiking

While I think I’ve done a fair job of writing up our hiking adventures this summer, there were a few that didn’t make it on to the blog, mostly because I didn’t feel they warranted a post to themselves. We hiked up to see Matthieu Lakes in Central Oregon back in July sometime and met with crappy weather. We completed the hike but clouds obscured any scenic views we might have enjoyed. Ever since then, I’ve been kind of a pest about returning on a sunny day. We finally made it back several weeks ago by which time I had of course built it up to be the greatest hike ever. Sadly, this was not the case. At least for the time of year we hiked it. Hiking at the end of August/beginning of September in what has been a very dry year in Oregon leads to some hot days and dusty views. Snow-capped peaks were notoriously absent. The hike itself was okay but at the risk of sounding like someone totally spoiled by the natural beauty here, we’ve been on better hikes. It was still a pleasant (albeit hot) outing and anytime I can be out in nature, miles from noise and traffic, is a good time.

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Now that summer has ended and autumn has arrived, I’m looking forward to pumpkin patches, cider-making, crisp fresh air and of course, more hiking!

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