Sunday, August 16, 2009

Garden Bouquets and Country Rides

After a cool down and a day or two of showery weather, everything is looking refreshed! The dust has been washed off the leaves and colors are brighter. On my morning walk around the veggie garden I was entranced by the 'garden bouquets' that emerged around every corner. It's really hard to pick the deep purple Russian Kale when it looks so beautiful with the Basil and tall yellow Helianthiums. Nearby Echinacea sits among Queen's Ann Lace.

There is lots of produce to pick now that Summer is on the wane. It's been a busy week....I finished up a large landscape design and tried to fit in some bike riding so I'd be ready for the annual Vineride, which took place yesterday. Mid-week I had taken a 20 mile ride and was caught in a deluge of both rain and hail that fell out on a country road where I had no place to take cover. I was so wet that I decided to just continue on. When I finally got near home the sun was out and it appeared that our area hadn't received any rain at all!

Yesterday about 500 people cycled through the Oregon vineyard country of rolling hills dotted with farms and vineyards. The weather was overcast and only in the 70's which made for perfect conditions. My husband did the 100 mile route, leaving the start in Newberg at 6 am. I started with a friend around 9:30, and we did about 38 miles, going through the farm towns of Carlton and Yamhill. Near the end my legs and hands ached a bit and my neck muscles were tight, but on the whole, it was a great ride! The money raised goes to help children with cancer.....a truly worthy cause. ( This ride takes place every August and is a great way to see the countryside just South of Portland.

Today I plan to do some garden puttering, and make sure everything is well watered. I also have a big bag of beans from the garden to blanch and freeze. They are predicting another change in our weather...with a swing back to the mid 90's and maybe even another 100 degree day! Hope that doesn't happen. The poor plants are having a hard time adjusting to these wild swings in the temperature. This past week we had night temps down in the low 50's and I had to get my fleece shirts out again!

If it does get hot again I'll make up some batches of Gazpacho soup...since we'll have all of the ingredients. It's the best on a hot day: Take 4-5 ripe tomatoes, a cucumber, 1 garlic clove, 1 onion, 1 red sweet pepper, 1 cup cold water, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar, plus 1 cup of diced bread and salt and pepper...then put them all into your blender and churn until you have a slightly chunky texture. Voila!...dinner.

I'm anxious to get out riding again now that my legs are broken in! It's such a great way to really see things up close. Just the ordinary dry grasses and weeds along the roads were beautiful. Perhaps I'll tuck a camera and sketch pad in my pack and make a few stops along the way. Next week we'll be heading for the Oregon coast while my husband takes a photography workshop.... so I'll have another area to explore!

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