Archive for July, 2014

our Fourth weekend

Friday, July 11th, 2014

Well, the relaxation is finally starting to wear off.

We spent July 4 weekend visiting Ted’s grandfather, who lives in a small town out in the Oregon high desert, just north of the California border. His parents were there too (we split cooking duties – we did dinners, they did breakfast and lunch). We took it easy on the drive down – 2.5 hours to the lake house, stayed there overnight, then drove the other 4 hours. While there, I did a bunch of cooking – five people take a lot more cooking for than two people! But my spatchcocked chicken went over well, and so did the sugar-free grain-free pecan pie (mostly nuts and honey) and the cheesecake-stuffed strawberries. (I tried to make a dairy-free version of those, too, but it didn’t work – the special 10-hour yogurt she makes was too runny – so I made a yogurt-honey dip for strawberries instead. Meh.) Otherwise it was easy stuff, like steaks and burgers and corn. (A gluten-free pro-tip discovered by MIL for those who don’t eat bread: if you pile two hamburgers together, you can put your condiments and toppings between them.)

We did a lot of stacking firewood, and Ted returned to his Oregon-boy roots by splitting all the remaining wood by hand with a maul on the second day. Grandfather-in-law has a splitter, but Ted claimed this was “more fun”. I tried it, but the maul is too big and havy for me, which I conclusively proved by having it bounce off the log I was trying to split. My wrists were really bothering me that day, so I was sort of afraid to really swing it and tweak them further. (My wrists have tendonitis or something normally anyway, but now I have what the doctor has just confirmed is a ganglion cyst on the back of one wrist. Ted managed toaccidentally jam it the night before that, causing extreme pain and the cyst to deflate, though it has since come back.)

Other than that, the time was mostly spend hanging out, talking, and looking at GFIL’s collections of guns and chainsaws (he makes and repairs the former and uses the latter to cut down all that wood we stacked). One thing people never discuss about guns is that, from an engineering point of view, they are beautiful machines, with complex moving parts that fit together perfectly and every curve precision-engineered for a purpose. There were also well-engineered tools of a totally different type – he gave me a set of interchangeable knitting needles that had been Grandmother-in-law’s. (I think they’re an old Boye set. Nice joins, and they go all the wasy from size 2 to size 15, but the cables are pretty stiff. I value them though – I already have sets of interchangeables from Hiya Hiya, Webs, Addi and Denise, but I bought all of those in a store. Not the same as an inherited set.)

We got some great stories from GFIL of growing up herding sheep, fighting in the Philippines in WWII, and his time running a wildlife refuge, and to just spend a lot of time talking to him and various other friends and relations who stop by – he gets a lot of company.

And we got to see fireworks – we never did figure out why they started much later than expected, but they were really good once they did. We sat across a field from the fairgrounds where they were let off and had a great view without being stuck in the crowds afterward.

Then we drove home by a different route; it was kind of fascinating to watch the landscape change. It’s all pine trees and mountains as you drive across the state, but there are the nearly olive-colored pines set far apart beneath bare mountains of the high desert, the snowy peaks of the Cascades, the jungly emerald overgrown pine forests near Eugene, and the pure green pine forests with undergrowth but without that layer of vines and mosses growing on all surfaces.

So basically, how we spent our holiday: lots of driving, lots of stories, lots of splitting and stacking wood, lots of cooking, handling guns, discussing the pros and cons of different chainsaws, and looking at fireworks, pine trees and mountains. I can tell it was a good vacation because the relaxation took entire days to wear off.

Oh, and the whole washer saga might finally be concluded tomorrow! THe repairs are being finished up today and the replacement washer is supposed to be delivered tomorrow. Yay!