Take a Hike!

Mt. Jefferson 01

I feel pretty fortunate to live in close proximity to dozens of snow-capped peaks. Many hikes in Oregon and Washington take you above the tree line and offer majestic views of mountains in all directions. But, you have to hope for clear-ish skies and you have to be willing to climb, climb, climb. It’s all worth it if you pack a protein-rich lunch to enjoy at the top. I like to relax for a bit before the much easier (unless you have wonky knees, like me)¬†descent back to the car.

Last week Tim and I took advantage of a nice day and went on a hike to a place called Table Rock. The last time we hiked this trail, it was foggy and rainy and viewless at the top. This time? Well, let’s just say it was scenic!

Table Rock Summit 02

In the photograph above, you can see Mt. Jefferson on the left. We also saw the Three Sisters range, but they are hard to distinguish from the clouds in this photograph.

Mt. Hood 01

Mt. Hood is one of the most recognizable Pacific Northwest mountains. Clouds and mountains are the best of friends in case you didn’t know.

Evidence of Logging

Here you can see evidence of logging, in various stages of growth and recovery. It makes me sad to witness this because it is happening everywhere.

We also saw plenty of wildflowers, heard chirping birds, and stepped over babbling little streams. We went on a Saturday which means more people, but we still had some solitude at the top after a massive group with lunch-snatching doggies left. :)

It’s the season for hiking (in the Northern hemisphere anyways!). Get out and enjoy nature.

Strawberry Love

Well, it’s summertime in Portland even if the calendar disagrees. We’ve had a steady week of sunshine and temperatures in the 80s. Now, I am typically not a fan of the heat, but I do appreciate the bounty of delicious fruits and veggies it helps produce. Case in point: beautiful Oregon strawberries.

The Big Load

I look forward to berry season every year. Tim and I were off on an exciting road trip (see Part I and Part II) during this time last year and missed one of our favorite activities, berry picking. It is one of the most calming and rewarding ways to spend a few hours. Plus, if you pick your own berries, you save lots of money! The photograph above shows the massive 30 pounds of local strawberries we picked on Wednesday morning. It took us two hours, but we found the reddest, ripest, most yummy berries in the field.

We already have four huge tubs in the freezer, several batches in the dehydrator, an abundance in the fridge, and a hefty batch of jam on the counter. It’s hot, it’s sunny, and walking into my kitchen is no different than walking into a sauna. But I’ve got homemade jam!

Strawberry Jam!

I always use this recipe, because it never fails me and it is super easy and quick. If you are new to canning, I highly suggest trying this recipe as a gentle introduction.

Can’t wait for raspberries, blueberries, pickling cukes, and cherries!