The longest day of the year, the shortest night, the beginning of summer, time to celebrate. I love to celebrate the turning of the seasons, the changing of the light. I ring bells at Winter Solstice, with that wonderful feeling that winter light will be lengthening and summer returning. In the midst of the summer solstice is the thought that already the sun is turning away. Strange thought when summer has only just begun to warm the forest here and the trees are only now fully leafing out. The weather on this first day of summer did not disappoint us, with the hottest temperatures of the year so far. It was a gorgeous, crystal clear, beautiful, 80 plus degrees today, and I think I could see the tomatoes growing taller as I watched them.
We didn’t do a Solstice party, but we did have a bonfire last Sunday night. With the formal notification of the beginning of fire season, the last day for outdoor burning was June 20, so we invited the neighbors and built the last big outdoor fire of the season. Wes and Gayle live most of the time in Arizona, relocated there after many years in Oregon. Their place here is a lovely mountain home, just across the road from our house, and it’s nice when they return for the summer. They waited a bit this year because of our cool temperatures, so we were glad to see them come back in time for some neighborly visits before we leave for Alaska. Of course, it’s also nice that they are here since Wes is our resident summer lawn mowing person and house care-giver while we are gone. Wes has no grass to mow next door and seems to get a kick out of riding around on Mo’s mower. At least that is what he says. Personally, I just think he is a truly kind and generous neighbor! Gayle has treated us to many lovely meals, both here in Oregon and when we have visited them in Arizona in the winter.
When I invited them over, I said to come for hot dogs and a meal composed entirely of non-home-cooked food. Most of the time I love to cook, but lately with the extra work weeks taking most of my time, not so much. Our get-together was more about a chance to have a fire and enjoy the outdoors than it was about eating. We did have a good time, in spite of the store bought picnic, and the hot dogs roasted over the fire on a pitchfork hit the spot. I even found humongous marshmallows, big as a fist, labeled appropriately “campfire marshmallows”. I laughed so hard when we tried to eat them, they were HUGE and sticky and Gayle needed a fork and a plate to deal with just one.
In the past couple of weeks we had 7 cords of juniper delivered, huge rounds that Mo splits with the hydraulic splitter. It’s a hard, hot, and nasty job, and this time she has avoided huge divots in her legs created by flying chunks of wood with the soccer shin guards I got her for Christmas. Mo does all the splitting and we share the stacking chores. The loads come 3.5 cords at a time, and it took us three days to do the first load. Today we started on the second. The juniper is reasonably priced firewood, but it is full of huge knots, one of the reasons it looks so beautiful in woodcrafts. Juniper is encroaching on the native grasslands in Oregon, and the juniper eradication program is making an attempt to take it back a notch. The result is lots of big, dry juniper, needing a home for the winter. We are happy to oblige. I love it. It crackles and snaps, not a problem in our enclosed stove, and it burns hot and long. Mo loves it less, see previous entry regarding shin divots. Today she said something to the effect that we had enough juniper for a couple of years and next time we were going to order it split. She thinks the cost of split wood might not be as much as a busted splitter.
Mo fed our campfire with some of the huge rounds that were impossible to split to a reasonable size. I brought out the fancy Thermocell mosquito repellent device, along with the Off Clip-On device and tried to keep the biting monsters at bay. Wes was about ready to head back for Arizona, since even with the fire smoke and all the devices, the mosquitoes still were trying to have us for dinner. Must have something to do with the nice days warming up and everything is hatching beautifully.
The weekend of the 12th was the big graduation weekend in Klamath, and town was filled to the brim with celebrants, including my niece Savannah. My granddaughter Hillary will also be graduating in a few weeks from Klamath Union High School. Hard to believe that little baby girl is through with high school.
On Friday, the 10th, my friend Maryruth ( we are getting close to 50 years of friendship) and her husband, son, and daughter-in-law returned from an Albany graduation via Rocky Point. Mo and I turned over the big house bedrooms to them and spent the night in the guest cabin with Abby and Jeremy. It was a great way to be sure that the cat didn’t do his friendly cat thing and scratch at the guest room door till they opened it and purr all night on Maryruth’s chest. The cabin is a real treat, with morning sunlight and a warm little wood stove for the night chill.
I cooked a real supper for them, no store bought stuff this time, plank grilled salmon with lemon hollandaise, fresh asparagus, and salad from our greenhouse garden. I even made an old fashioned apple dump cake for dessert. Yum.
One of the great old traditions of Rocky Point are the amazing little steamboats that come here every year. Not your average big boat, but beautifully built little water crafts that are operated by true wood-fired steam engines. We heard the toots from the house and decided we definitely needed to run down to the lake to check them out. We also wanted to check out the newly remodeled resort. Rumor had it that there was a new bar adjacent to the existing restaurant, so we were happy to find out the rumor was correct. After walking along the dock to admire the steamboats, we enjoyed the beautiful view of Pelican Bay from the restaurant for just the price of a round of drinks. It’s wonderful to have friends stop in and visit. It’s also nice to have a special little place close by to have a nice dinner with a gorgeous view. Note to self: dinner at Rocky Point Resort soon!