Thursday, July 25, 2013

finding four leaf clovers

I've always had a fascination with four-leaf clovers--not that I really believe they are lucky--but I think their scarcity attributes a kind of je ne sais quoi. And I do seem to have a strange affinity for finding them. Dar & I were walking around the farm one day, & I simply bent over & plucked one out of a patch of clover. He was quite impressed. Or he was until it became an almost daily occurrence. I kid you not.
  So there you have it. Some people can sing like a canary or do a tax return in 15 minutes flat or fix a broken car door window with a screw & a saw (which my man did, by the way): but me, I find four leaf clovers. Which seems a fitting introduction for unveiling our new little apartment. Which we will be living in in less than a month. I was a little skeptical & slightly miffed at the very beginning when my dear husband sprung the idea of moving on me JUST as I was getting all unpacked & organized. It was an apartment in the home of an older lady whose companion had just passed away, closer to the farm, in the country (i.e. no boys, argh), bigger, etc, etc. But slowly, I kept feeling more & more like it was what we were supposed to do. So I gave my (sort of irrelevant--his heart was set) consent, without looking at it or even meeting our new landlord. It just felt right. And then...I saw it. I will let the photos speak for themselves & add only one comment. Or two. Our new landlord, the older lady, is wonderful. She's a spunky woman with a bent towards art & collecting dishes, two of my favorite past times. If there were any old lady I'd pick to live with, it would be one like her. She reminds me of Cornelia, in the Anne of Green Gables books, a true "race of Joseph" type. We will get along just fine.
 It has a microwave, oh happy day!
 This is the view from one of our windows. I got a little teary-eyed when I looked out here, & felt God's goodness at providing above & beyond for us. 
 She also likes wallpaper, that wonderful woman. 

 Oh, & did I mention it has a china cabinet? And a couch, kitchen table, chairs, & washer & dryer. All things we hadn't bought yet. Why, I don't know. But now it makes all kinds of sense. God-sense. 

 And you can even see Hood:) (If you tilt your laptop screen & squint, it's about an inch to the right of the pine on the far horizon.)

Saturday, July 20, 2013

the apartment

We've been at the apartment not quite a month. And we are most likely going to be moving to another apartment in the near future, so I've come to a screeching halt on unpacking boxes. It only makes sense to live with the bare necessities, right? But...I couldn't quite resist adding a few cozy, unnecessary, & rather impractical touches. Here are some photos of what I've been up to in my luxurious moments of free time.
 In other news, berry harvest is starting to wind down slightly, although there are still a couple weeks left. Evan's been over a few times for dinner & he's a regular at Sinn family gatherings now. Riley stayed overnight with us a week ago:). I won't embarrass him by sharing all the details on that here. My family's been doing a great job of staying in touch & making plans to come visit. I've started making some sweet friends (two of them invited me out for pie & coffee at Willamette Valley Fruit the other day--so dear of them!). Grammy & I spend lots of time together between weighing out & hauling in loads of fruit. She reminds me of Grandma Kathryn & it's not hard at all to think of her as "Grammy". The zucchini grows like crazy out here, just like home, so I've been trying to creatively incorporate it into meals without going overboard. This Sunday we're going to head out to The Coast again. In a few weeks, we're going to Utah for a family reunion. All in all, life is good.

Monday, July 15, 2013

life is the berries

Being a berry farmer's wife is (firstly, a little strange to be thinking of myself as a wife), and secondly, pretty delicious & interesting. I make it out to the farm everyday & help out in the field. Before you smugly remind me that there might have been a time in my life when I said, "I will NEVER marry a farmer!" let me make an astounding & shameless confession. I love berry farming. Yup, I do. And if Dar ever threatens to get out of it & do something like *shudder* grain farming, I will mutiny. Not that I have to convince you, but here's why (in the spirit of a 6th-grade persuasive essay) I love berry farming.
1) they are delicious. Sososo yummy. So far, my favorite is a medium-large Blue Crop blueberry in the cool of the evening plucked carefully from the end of a cluster (a berry farmer told me this is the prime berry, called the "king berry").
2) they drive the cutest little tractors! (don't tell Dar I said that: he would love to drive something bigger & I suspect, feels slightly less manly because their tractors look like lawnmowers.) Iactually think I will drive one.
3) harvest is intense, but it is only a few months out of the year; what the rest of a berry farmer's year is like remains to be seen, but as much fishing as they do in the spring & fall, I think I hit the jackpot here.
4) everything is so small-scale & manageable. You can do on 5 acres of berries what would take you 10x as many acres for corn. (I'm not sure that sentence makes sense grammatically, but you know what I mean.) I just love that.
5) berries are pretty & quite photogenic. From bloom to perfectly ripe blueberry is an endless supply of photo ops for this girl. And she is quite pleased about this.
6) and have I said yet how much I just love berries?

7) my husband loves his job. He really does, even if he doesn't always think so this time of year. And what he loves, by georgey, I want to love too. Truthfully, if there were a way, every last one of his six brothers would be a berry farmer too. There's got to be something to that, right?
8) my Dad was a farmer & he was a man's man. I can respect farming.
9) It means I can see my dear husband daily & even work with him. Which has made the transition to being married much smoother & really helped our "real-life" relationship, i.e. engaged people don't do laundry, or have to call about insurance or pay rent or live without microwaves or wake up at 4:00 am to go work, but married people do (who knew!?). And guess what? I love being married anyway:).
10) Because you have to have an even number of reasons: Berries make fabulous desserts (Wendy, your blueberry-lemon pound cake was an instant favorite. I've already made it twice.)

I really do love where I'm at. Sitting in my little yellow chair by our less-than-prime 3rd story view overlooking a parking lot in my counterspaceless kitchen, I wouldn't change a single thing.

Oh, and by the way, short economics lesson: The canneries that are buying Sinn Farm blueberries (and everyone else's in the Willamette Valley) are having problems selling the fruit--more supply than demand right now. So do your part & BUY berries! This is our livelihood at stake here.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

sunday at The Coast

Sunday afternoon we took a break from berries and headed out to the beach. COAST, I mean. These Oregonians call it "The Coast" and you can just tell they're saying it with a capital "C" as if it's the one & only coast in the world. Although...I suppose I am one of them now, is a lovely coast:). The problem you always run into out here is that the coast is frequently foggy & cold. We hit it right though, and had sun most of the time. Up until sunset anyway. 
Evan & some other Midwest berry picker temps came along. I do have to admit that even as little as I see my little brother with his night schedule, it is pretty awesome to have him out here. Kind of like a little babystep to separation & a connection home. Anyway, it was a grand old time. I played the most intense game of ultimate frisbee ever (right, Kenton;)?) so it was rather nice that the sun went behind the clouds. 
I'm feeling a little more at home. I can navigate Hazelgreen & Howell Prairie decently well. And when they talk about "westerlies" & "heat domes" I know what they're talking about. I still get a little flutter when I see the sun setting over the mountains & realize this is my home now. Even Hood is starting to prove her magic & awe to me. 
(Also, just so you appreciate this post & the astounding amount of time & effort I put into it, here are some photos of what I should've been doing.)

Til next time:)

Friday, July 5, 2013


Ah, it is good to be back. Actually, it's just really nice to have internet. My apartment is in a state of general upheaval, so you will have to be content with micro photos instead of macros. We've been here 10 days (which seems crazy) & I still kind of feel like we just plopped in. For the first few days, most of my baggage was in a Uhaul enroute. (Thanks again, Mom & Dan, for bringing it out. I am forever in your debt.) So my first meal (which I know you are all dying to know about), was omelets with veggies cut with a plastic knife, prepared in a tupperware bowl, eaten cross-legged at the coffee table, one of our three measley pieces of furniture. It was great:). There are times (more frequent than should be) when I look around our apartment & I just want to give up & crawl into bed (second of our three pieces of furniture). How in the world does anyone ever set up house?! But then I think how my parents started out, and how Dar's parents started out (living at his parents), and I know we actually have it pretty good. We've got loads of gifts--people have been so generous & good to us. And I am having fun, unpacking, trying out my appliances (I made banana ice cream with my immersion blender's chopper attachment two nights ago. You're right, Wendy, shockingly tasty.) And I can go to Target right down the road & yes, I believe I will buy a Threshold sheet set & shower curtain, because we do need them. And my refrigerator is full of berries. And at night, we can go and sit on our little deck & admire my meyer lemon which is still alive despite months of neglect & be thankful & grateful for where we are: in our first little home. 

 This is half of my counter space. My biggest complaint about the apartment. NOT a working kitchen. Buuuut...I went to IKEA & bought a few things so I can be Wendy-like efficient & space savvy. my fridge WILL be orderly! Now, if I can only get this little cart together so my counters can be cleared off...

Guess who has to use the guest room closet because there's no room in ours for his stuff?...
Pictures of the rest of the apartment will be coming soon. And keep in mind that during berry season, soon is all relative.