Saturday, September 15, 2007

Sticky hands and dirt in my hair....

What a day. Today I left the baby boy with Skippy and the girls and I went into Hood River to go apple picking with two girlfriends, another Amy and our fellow Google friend, Ame (pronounced Ah-me). I can't wait to get the pictures that Amy took online, but here's a rundown of our morning and afternoon...

10:00 a.m.
I am outside, having realized that the car needs to be cleaned out before we leave. Basically what this means I'm ass over teakettle, half on and half off the sidewalk, leaning into the vehicle of despair and cleaning out everything from wayward french fries and half empty water bottles, to baby onesies and at the very bottom, Jimmy Hoffa. It's a mess. After I finally get that all cleaned up, I need to move the car seats, because the baby isn't going and somehow, we have to fit three adults and two kids into the car for this little day in God's country. Once again, I lament my lack of a minivan. I take the baby's seat out easily enough, but when I lift K's I discover that unbeknown st me us, she has apparently been sneaking off in the middle of the night to one of those dinosaur bone excavation sites, because somehow, the remnants of a small quarry are under her chair.


I finally get everything all cleaned up and the seats buckled back in, and then we get dressed, put the baby down for a nap (lucky daddy), kiss Skippy goodbye, and head up the hill to pick up Amy and Ame for our day of fruit filled fun. After a quick stop in town for provisions, we hop onto Interstate 84 and head towards Hood River, about 20 miles away.

Par for the course, it's an absolutely breathtaking day. The sun is shining and the blue blue blue sky is interrupted only by a few white wispy clouds and some thicker puffies over the mountains. We've got the radio on, the girls are behaving, and the drive passes quickly as we turn off of the Interstate and enter what is affectionately known as "The Fruit Loop" - a collection of orchards, wineries, alpaca farms, fruit stands and country stores spanning about thirty five miles between Mt Hood and Hood River.

Our first stop is Alice's Orchard and Fruit Stand. ( Apples are on the agenda. The breeze ruffles the leaves on literally HUNDREDS of apple trees and the friendly workers hand over a couple of boxes and point us in the direction of our first quarry, Jonagolds. About fifteen minutes and fifteen pounds later, we trudge back up the field and take a gator ride out to the gala trees for another fifteen pound box. Finally, after a stop in the store to fork over our cold hard cash, we pile back into the car and hit the loop for some more fun, dirty, dusty, and 30 pounds in apples heavier. At thirty five cents a pound, that's ten bucks well spent.

Our next stop brings us to Lavender Valley Lavender Farms. ( This place was completely fascinating for me. Aside from the purple painted flowery porta-potty (that Amy insisted we take pictures of), the SMELL of the farm was something to experience. Lavender is known to help you relax and relieve stress. Five minutes out of the car and I was ready for a nap. It is definitely a unique way to make a living, I'll say that much. To see fields of Lavender of all things waving in the breeze.....well, maybe you just have to be there. Basically, they plant and cultivate rows upon rows of lavender plants and after two years, they can harvest the blooms for their oil, which is used to infuse everything from bath bubbles to soap to lotion. The girls were bored silly after ten minutes, so we took our pictures, Amy bought some oil, and we headed back out to the car.

Apple Valley Country Store and BBQ was next on our list. ( this was a haven of pepper jellies (which Amy bought), fresh fruit milkshakes using things like huckleberries (which Ame bought) and knitted goods (which I purchased, picking up two of the funniest looking hats you've ever seen for my girls.) We wandered, we sampled, we tasted, and then we wandered and sampled and tasted some more. We sat on the old porch swing, we nibbled on some of our newly purchased treats, and then it was time to curve around for the last stop on our list, Packer Bakery and Orchards. (

Skippy and I have been taking the kids to Packers since we started exploring the fruit loop earlier this summer. Aside from having a beautiful view of Mt Adams, the orchards are stunning and the cookies are fantastic. They are approximately the size of a small dinner plate and for a buck apiece, that's a cheap meal. Not to mention the ice cream, smoothies, pies, tarts, and fresh fruit that the offer.

At this point, the girls had "hit the wall" as my mother-in-law likes to say. They were fruited out, cookied out, appled out and fruit looped out, no doubt about it. So for the last time, we piled back into the car and headed out of the loop and back into Hood River where we had a quick lunch before coming home with many new treasures and a ton of new memories.

Then we took naps. Can you blame us?

Other than that, it was a wonderfully uneventful night. We had Chinese with Matt and Amy (where we ordered way too much food and ate it all), and then went back to their house to hang out. Tomorrow we have the second soccer game, and after that I think we are going to simply come home and sit on our butts. And eat apples. And make applesauce.

Lazy summer days, slipping away.....I'm ready for fall.

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