Thursday, July 31, 2014

the bite

Our friends, the Jones', invited us to go to "The Bite" in Salem with them. A row of food carts, lots & lots of people, a sunny evening on the elderly band covering Def Lepperd? Despite the music, we enjoyed ourselves. Dar was in his element, with all the different food at his fingertips. We got some ribs & beans & cornbread, & at the risk of being politically incorrect, (everyone risten, prease), it had to be authentic based on the chef's skin color. They knew what they were doing. Collard greens & all:). We also got a Cuban sandwich & some Mexican popsicles. 
 Kenton & Alicen, Duane & Adriana came along, too. Little Olivia was a gem. As always. She's starting to offer smiles more freely & is just straining to stand & grow up already. What a little sweetie! She gets packed around all over, & has had more experiences in her short life than most first children, I would imagine. With 10 doting aunts & uncles, though (and those are just the ones in Oregon! She has more in Iowa & Ohio), she doesn't have a chance at being sheltered.

It's nice to have friends. Friends that call  us up & invite us to do things. Friends in the same stages of life we are. Friends that believe the same core things we do. Friends that like good, interesting food:).

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

spontaneous beach trip

Dar texted me at work & asked if there was any way I could get off a few hours early to go out to the beach. Of course it was one of those days I couldn't. I was terribly disappointed: harvest just kinda sucks up all free time & I've been antsy to get out& DO something again. But when I got home (late), he was still up for it. So we went. And it was lovely & perfect. 

That's something I love about him & our marriage-at this stage anyway. We can just go. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

over the hump

Summer is passing by much too swiftly. Some of Alicen's family were here & they've come & gone. Jesse & Laura were out for 10 days & they've gone home. The berry crew from the Midwest is starting to pack their bags & get ready to head back too. We spent quite a bit of time with the family while Laura was out. Lots of croquet, meals together, dusky walks, time by the pond. We went up to the Mt. Angel Abbey one warm  evening & watched the sun set over the valley & otherwise disturbed the monk's peace.  

 (Side note: I made them pose for this photo. They probably would prefer it not to be seen by others, but...I like it:) )
 The Sinn girls all together.

 This is her "I'm so hurt! How could you?" face. She's got the Sinn clan wrapped around her finger.
 After serving strawberry shortcakes at work for the past few months, I finally had to get my own. Dar sweetly took me to get one after some hints ("I'd love a shortcake, but it wouldn't be any fun to eat it alone..."). He's a good sport & humors my sweets cravings. I'm a good sport & humor his late night meal cravings. Grilled ham & cheese at 10 pm, anyone?

 We got together for Kenton's 32nd birthday.

 These two: they can't hardly stand it when Olivia's sleeping, and barely resist prodding her awake.
 Riley's definitely getting more camera shy so I have to be sneakier about how I get photos of him these days. He spent a good portion of the evening edging the grass:).

In other news, my oven is fixed!! (Praise the Lord for small favors.) Berry harvest is over halfway done. It's been 90 degrees for the past week & we should have sweetcorn in a few days. I've got gallons of berries in the freezer, all prepped for winter. We've harvested a few tomatoes from the garden & the bush beans are done. Dar isn't putting in quite as many hours, & suddenly fishing is sounding mighty enticing again. My basil plant is begging to be made into pesto. There are grapes clusters dripping from the vines, promising a good year. The peaches are ripening. I ate my first one the other day, & it was everything a peach should be: sweet, warm, fuzzy, & dripping down my chin. It is SUMMER!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

farm life issue no. 3

Life on the farm is busybusybusy these days. Both blackberries & blueberries are going in earnest. The days are as long as the sun is out. The trucks are a steady stream at work, dropping off their crates of berries. To give some perspective, Sinn family farms took in over 1 million pounds of fruit last summer. They are just one of a few dozen farmers that bring fruit to this one cannery. There are more canneries in the area. Lots of fruit coming out of the Willamette Valley!

Blackberries are picked at night or early morning to keep their firmness. This is "the picker". It rides aboves the bushes & shakes them to loosen the ripe berries. A conveyor belt catches them & elevates them on padded escalators to the top deck.
There are 2 picker-outers picking out sticks, frogs, baby birds, & bad berries, anything that comes through that shouldn't. And I'm not kidding about the frogs & baby birds. 
The berries fill up crates which are then ferried from the picker to the truck via forklift. in the morning, the crates of berries make their way to good ol' Willamette Valley Fruit, where I see them getting processed into frozen bags, juice, & jam. I love it! I see the process from start to finish.

One might think we'd be sick of berries by now, but we aren't. I haven't nearly gotten my fill yet!
And despite the busyness, it's not all work & no play: the old '28 got brought out for some backfiring, putt-putting fun. 
Nelson hosted a single group invite at the pond, and the Sinn's went all out for 4th of July decorating! Kenton's old truck housed the beverages.

We saw fireworks from a less than prime spot on July 3rd (when the Oregon Gardens does their show), but we got a closer one when Riley surprised the single group with his own:) it's no Sibley, IL, show, but it was just as entertaining. 
I can't believe how fast the summer's flying! Oliver Wendell finally made it (nephew #7!); Olivia is growing & winning hearts-FYI, Dar is the worst baby hog of all; Jesse & Laura are out for a while; & my oven is still not repaired. All in the life of a berry farm & it's occupants. 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

In a strait betwixt two

I recently got back from a week in Illinois. It's been too long (4.5 months) since I've been back. Life just keeps on keepin' on. My little nephews aren't little anymore; My littlest niece is talking in complete sentences; there's a new nephew; the home I grew up in is no longer my home; my brothers are all adults now (What?! Who thought it would ever happen?); friends have come, gone, been married, had children. Homesickness hits me hardest when I'm home. It becomes obvious how much I'm missing, the little moments, the new teeth coming in, the latest crushes, the lost accents of a certain niece & nephew, just life as I knew it. But alas, I am where I am, & though I can't quite reconcile it in my mind, I am happy here & want to be here as much as I want to be with my family in Illinois. Paul's words, "For I am in a strait betwixt two," sums up my sentiments. All that emotional verbiage aside, it was a wonderful trip. Nothing big planned, just everyday life & I got to be in on it.
 There were a few monopoly games, which we never finished.
A birthday party for a new 4-year old, complete with helicopter cake curtesy of his pastry chef mother. He will always have the coolest cakes. 
 A rousing game of croquet
Lots of swimming. I swam every day but two. I forgot what humidity feels like!
Visits with old friends. We never would've guessed 5 years ago where we'd all be today. 
Despite the way it looks, I don't have favorite nieces or nephews. I just always had my camera when little Mad was around!

The sweetest & latest (for now! Any day now...$
A trip to Champaign with mom & Carmen to a salvage store to look for bits for their new homes. Good thing I knew I couldn't take anything back!

A quick trip to the Bloomington children's museum. It was a hit. 

Mom-on her phone a usual:). The kids lasted maybe 5 minutes before getting wet in the little stream. 

Lunch at Two Blokes On a Bus. A fun, albeit hot, experience.

My older nephews wanted me to document every flip so hey could see how cool they looked. Hey, I think they looked pretty cool! 

I miss them all already, but I was ready to come back to Oregon & all that I've come to love here. I'll be in a strait betwixt the two til I die I suppose.