Monday, May 26, 2008


Like many others, we elected to stay home this extended weekend. During the last two years, we spent Memorial day weekend in Camp Sherman, on the east slopes of the Cascades with Sarah's family. This year, Sarah's family did not go, so we made our own plans. I miss that ponderosa pine country, but I will soon get my dryland fix in New Mexico.

On Saturday, we went to the Beaverton Farmer's Market and defrosted a freezer at Sarah's parents house. We need the extra freezer space for all the produce we expect from our CSA.
Sarah and her friend shopped on Sunday and I caught up on some Forest Service work.

On Monday, we took a small tour of the Washington County wineries.

We live in the middle of a great and growing wine region that specializes in Pinot Noir, the varietal made famous by the movie Sideways.

We visited five wineries in five hours. We tried some wines, spotted some birds, and enjoyed the views.
The most interesting tasting room was at Shafer Vineyards west of Forest Grove.

This quirky operation sells wines, jellies, and Christmas decorations. The Christmas items were mostly nutcrackers and smokers. I had not seen smokers before and was intrigued. They are apparently traditional decorations in Germany and represent whimsical figures exhaling after taking a pull off of their pipes. An incense cone is placed inside and smoke emerges from the mouth.

My favorite was this German football fan, complete with the national team jersey.

Our favorite wine tasting occured at Apalloni Vineyards.

They gave us tastes straight from the barrels and we were so impressed we signed up for their wine club. We considered it similar to joining a CSA for wine drinkers. Four times a year, we can pick up a few bottles of special releases and enjoy VIP tours of the vineyard. I spent a few days working in their fields two years ago, so I look forward to returning to the grounds.

We finished the trip at Helvatia Vineyards north of Hillsboro. They had planned outdoor fiddle music, but the weather forced the players inside.

Sarah and I made a new friend and enjoyed tasting the wines.

Outside of the tasting rooms, we spotted California quail, western bluebirds, and chipping sparrows, birds we don't usually see in the Orenco Lowlands. We also spotted adorable alpacas,

both woolly

and recently shorn.

We returned to the apartment ready for a four day work week and plenty of other projects ahead.

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