10 July 2010

Of Berry Farms, Small Towns and Scones

Recently, my best friend and I were back in an area
we had visited last year during our farm tour.
We had a plan in mind that day-
as usual it involved pictures of the region
like this view
and this one of a town mural--
of the soon to happen rodeo!
Our plan also involved food, specifically fresh baked food;
like this soft raspberry scone just out of the oven

actually it involved 4 of them,
but some were for people that we would see later that day.
BTW--we bought these at French Prairie Gardens.
The other part of our plan involved fresh berries and the Koch Family Farm.

They have raspberries there-
rows and rows of them.
And good views of mountains-
a feast for the eyes
the stomach.
So much to see there-
shadows cast by raspberry bushes,
and beautiful raspberry leaves.
What I can't show you are some of the other things we saw -- and heard -- there:
boys and girls with buckets
and their parents,
the farm owner,
birds singing unwritten melodies and
colorful little row flags fluttering in the breeze
(actually I could show you some of these things but I NEED a little sleep).
And then there are the raspberries ...
I can report they were heavenly-
from personal experience of course.
There were other things too
like BIG and little trees,
and these pretty flowers.
Somewhere close were horses too;
I could hear them but never found them.
And then there were the strawberries...
rows and rows of red, juicy berries
under a warm, but not too warm, PNW sun.
all waiting to be picked.
Summer is SO nice.
Brings back memories of a simpler time.
Blessings from the NW,
Thanks again to both French Prairie Gardens and Koch Family Farms for allowing me to post these photos. If you follow the links above you can see some of the photos I took at these farms in 2009 and contact information:)

09 July 2010

PNW Lavender Festivals

Love lavender as much as I do and live in (or are visiting) the Pacific NW?
Well then I heartily recommend some quality time at a lavender farm:)
See here for the Lavender Festival soon to happen in Sequim, Washington
(Olympic Peninsula)
here for one taking place this weekend in Washington's southern neighbor, Oregon
(Gorge and western Oregon).
BTW---many farms offer open hours outside the festival dates;
check the sites above for further details (and more info on lavender).
If anyone is aware of a lavender festival in the PNW or outside this region, please feel free to leave the information in the comments area:)
Meanwhile at my little lavender 'farm', my plants are happily blooming and I am thinking tomorrow, when it is a bit cooler, might be a good day to harvest them. I am also considering planting new ones in the second raised bed (the first one is a wildflower-style garden).
Blessings this eve,

08 July 2010

Lunch -- After the Lavender

Last year, around this time, my best friend and I visited several lavender farms in Oregon--two in the foothills and mountains southwest of Portland, known as Wine Country (the one in the foothills still to be posted) and the third one in the Columbia River Gorge.
Since lavender festivals will soon begin, in both Washington and Oregon, I thought this would be a great time to include a post on the wonderful café we found not too far from Mountainside Lavender---just in case you're going that way :)
South Store Café is located in the little town of Scholls, in a wonderfully historic building that used to be a store at one time. The interior and exterior reminds me of many of the small general stores I have been in --- in Colorado and the PNW.
Being a country girl at heart, I LOVED it:)
This photo was taken from Smith Berry Barn, a great farm across the street from South Store Café (I will be doing a post on our visit there in 2009 soon too -- as time permits).

Fresh flowers at the table are always a welcome addition to ANY dining experience.
The staff was great--very helpful to us as we were choosing what to eat!
We also were privileged to meet the cafe's owner who was as delightful as the place was:) When I am in places like this, I feel like I've taken a step back into a simpler time--a time when the General Store was often the town's gathering place.

South Store Cafe has both a regular menu and daily specials.
We ordered this INCREDIBLY yummy salad off their daily special menu--it was a heavenly mixture of nuts, cheese, fresh greens, and dressing!!!

Then we had the Reuben sandwich, also off the daily special menu. I can truthfully say that it was the BEST Reuben I have ever had! Wish this cafe was a lot closer to home, but maybe someday I can take Farmer Boy --who loves, loves, loves Reuben sandwiches--there:)

On warm days there is nothing better then a cold, icy drink -- this was a fruit granita and it was awesome! And then the pièce de résistance (for this time of the year)---strawberry shortcake!! And again, the BEST one I have ever had--fresh, just perfect berries. A sweet, deliciously yummy, shortcake to go with them and whipped cream. Just looking at this photo, which isn't even a very good one, reminds me of it and makes me hungry for more:)
Well thats it for now...
I hope you enjoyed our visit to South Store Café---I can heartily recommend it as a great place to go when you are visiting the area's berry and lavender farms!
For more information follow this link to their site--see the above links for my posts on Mountainside Lavender and Lavender Valley (you'll find further links in both of those posts to the farms). I will try to post a link to the Lavender Festivals soon:)
Photos: all taken in 2009.
Posted by the kind permission of the owner of South Store Café.

07 July 2010

The Word on Wednesday: For My Mother

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust. Surely He shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust: His truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but is shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.

Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For He shall give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.

Because He hath set His love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known My name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him My salvation.
Psalms 91 KJV

Our lives often mirror the seasons of the year.
Childhood being the spring of our lives;
Summer - our youth and early adulthood.
The middle years usher in the autumn
and the senior years, the winter.
Right now my mother is in the winter of her life--a time that is not always easy.
Just as in the real winter, storms may strike unexpectedly-without warning.
Paths may become more challenging; sometimes seemingly more then we can bear-
on our own.
Days may become grayer; the sunlight may even disappear behind dark clouds of pain and other physical challenges.
And yet--in this darkness --and even in the midst of the storm--God promises to be with us.
This Psalm is my mom's favorite--I post it today in her honor, and in honor of God who has, indeed, shown her His salvation.
Love you mom.
Blessings this day,
Photos: taken at a botanical garden, NW Oregon, during a recent trip.
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