Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Super catch up post... and a new release coming soon!

Hello, everybody! I'm recently back from a vacation and I was so excited to go camping. No, I don't usually love camping but I've fallen in love with cast iron cooking and I was dying to try some recipes.  Let's just say nobody starved but we sure were glad to get back to civilization. I don't mean the picture below. That's where we live. 
Sort of civilized.
                                          Sort of not when it's 106 and above! (Someone asked me if this was real temp or heat index. I don't know what that means. It's the temperature. I guess in some areas the temperature isn't really the temperature but much hotter? Yuck. I'll stick with our 100-110F in the summer.)
 I love vacations. I really do. I like planning and plotting and packing and getting the kids all prepped with studying the sights we'll see. But then by the time we come home, we all feel like this.
 So, after a good twelve hours (no, it doesn't really take that long but we wandered a bit to get there  and small people have small bladders, so lots of stops) we made it to our first destination, a campground on the coast, way down south, nearly to California. (I love these shoes. My friend sent them to me from Texas because they're teal. ha! My favorite color.)
I already talked about the yurt, so here is our cast iron cooking action. Waffles, a sandwich, a pan heating for hashbrowns, and a hot dog. (Can't remember who was eating a hot dog for breakfast. Probably the picky eater of the bunch.) The kids loved cooking their own food but it did require a lot of supervision. We didn't want anyone branded.
My mom has a home on the coast a few hours from there and she brought us this cast iron oven and these berries from their property. YUMMY. So glad they weren't in Arizona! But like us, with the summer heat you look for cooler climes. (This shot is of blueberries, marionberries, raspberries, strawberries, and a gold raspberry hybrid.)
And that recipe worked! It was absolutely delicious! Berry buckle for the win.
We spent the first week in the camp, on Eel Lake, with the Dunes in the other direction. There's a whole long story about getting lost there at sunset but I won't bore you with that.
( I had my own pictures but... well... that story is coming up)
Let me just say... never separate! Even if a five year old is discovered to be holding only one of his shoes and you let the faster people walk ahead because the five year old holding your hand is slower and it's really lovely with the frogs croaking and the sun setting and the breeze on your sunburn. There's a reason people die in the Sahara and a reason you do not take three hours to stop wandering and start yelling.  Enough said. Moving on!
After that, I told my husband I needed a day to sit on the beach and drink coffee while the kids played in the tide pools. So I did. He, of course, scaled the cliffs and I pretended not to notice (and worry).
Living in the land of tumbleweeds and 100F temps, I forgot how normal it is to see rhododendrons and other water-loving plants just growing naturally. And moss. And ferns. It was a feast for the eyes. Ahhhh.
Our town has a few big trees in the main park. But in the forest they're everywhere. The kids get a kick out of them every time.
Speaking of flora, we had to stop at the Darlingtonia Preserve. (That link is the wiki article. So interesting.) My kids think I'm crazy but I keep insisting these carnivorous cobra lilies are cool. I mean, giant pitcher plants that are only found in a few places in the world? YES, we have to stop and look! Also, they remind me of Little Shop of Horrors, so they make me smile.
We tried to throw in a few kids but they fought back.
So, we finally said good bye to the yurt (some of us were more happy than others) and headed up the coast to Florence. There's a seafood chain there called Mo's.
It's loud, crowded and full of tourists. And we love it.
Remember we'd been living off  s'mores and grilled cheese sandwiches...
Slumgullion was like food from heaven. We were ALL SO HAPPY not to be camping. OK, maybe the little kids would have preferred marshmallows for lunch but the rest of us were thrilled.
There are a lot of commercial fisherman, right alongside some funny people who dock their pirate boats. I've never wanted a pirate ship, but it's apparently a thing. We met the sweetest older couple who sold their home after retirement and... built a pirate ship to sail up and down the coast. Funny!
Once we made it to the beach house, we hit the farmer's markets. Wow, these onions are much bigger than ours. But not as sweet.
I was loving civilization but my hair wasn't loving the humidity. Good thing I brought my hairdressers! They're spendy, but worth it.
We met up with some friends and they took us crabbing. We caught lots of crabs... and none were big enough to keep. Which was probably good since I don't think my kids would have eaten them anyway. but it was super fun and ended with ice cream!
At low tide we walked down and gathered mussels for paella (recipe in the link, it's delicious!) We also found a purple starfish! The last few years there haven't been any starfish because of a virus that swept the coast so we were thrilled to see them on the rocks!
We also steamed at enjoyed them straight, but you can imagine a few of the kids preferred hot dogs. And that was fine as long as I didn't have to build a fire! (Unless it was on the beach. Then I was up for it.)

We also went clamming but I don't have any pictures of that because at this point, I fell into Yaquina Bay. It wasn't too bad. Nice and warm. I decided to go with it and swim toward the bank until I realized MY PHONE was in my pocket. Ah well... Luckily I'd been sending pictures to a private album on facebook so I had a few. 

We thought we might travel up north even farther after the week in the beach house but I was tired. Actually, I wanted to come home after two days. I missed my desk, my coffee just the way I like it, my kitchen. I've become a homebody. Even though the yurt was doable and the beach house (we've been there before) was lovely.... it's just not home. The kids are already planning the next trip (maybe to Lake Louise in Banff National Park in Calgary?) but I'm content in my little town... even if it is 90F at 8AM. 
 Until next time!

My newest release, These Sheltering Walls!

This is my newest book.... 

Coming July 30th, Only Through Love!

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