Pacific Northwesterners like to say that you have to ignore the weather when it comes to your outdoor plans; otherwise you'd never do anything outside. Shaun seemed to have no trouble adapting to this truism when we moved here; I, on the other hand, have not managed to reconcile myself to enjoying outdoor recreation in the rain. I have no interest in being out in it.
But there does come a time when my need for fresh air exceeds my dislike for being cold and wet. That time is March. So we went for a family walk on Cottonwood Beach. The Columbia River is beautiful regardless of the weather.
These guys were fishing on this spit, and they were catching and releasing some big fish.
If you click on this photo, you might be able to see the very large sturgeon we watched them reel in. There was also a seal or sea lion who kept popping up, trying to get in on the giant fish action.
By the time we got back to the car, the boys were soaked through and coated with gritty sand. For some reason I don't mind that in the summer time, but in the cold weather I just can't hardly stand to think about it. So long-suffering Shaun very graciously peeled off their wet socks and dealt with the mess, as he always does any time we go to the beach. He is a good man.
After the fact, it was well worth every shivery moment to hear Nels go on about the fish and the seal/sea lion, which he was flabbergasted to see in "our" river. He declared it to be one of the best days of his life.
Here's Willem taking advantage of one of our few dry March days.
I was helping in Willem's classroom this morning and I noticed a recent project hung on the wall. Each student had painted a monkey with a word bubble saying "I am curious about..." Willem's said, "I am curious about if I will still love monsters in heaven."
We have no particular reason to celebrate St. Patrick's Day other than it presents a good opportunity to have something out of our normal routine for dinner. Any holiday that comes with meal suggestions is A-OK with me. So in honor of the holiday (it was the day before) I tried this recipe for stuffed baked potatoes from a new cookbook I got this year. I will make it again and again. And not just for St. Patrick's Day.
On the actual 17th, we spent the Saturday out at the Grandmartins. We went for a walk. It wasn't raining!
Here's a little before-and-after. I don't know what that piece of electronics technically is, but I do know that Shaun was looking forward to shooting some tidy holes through it with a big gun.
Nels and Shaun played Monopoly together out at the farm, and we had to go out the very next morning and buy the game for them to play at home. Nels loves it. On an unrelated note, can you believe our cat is twelve years old? She looks good.
Our friends the Hamiltons came out the next week and stayed with us for a few fun days. Shaun made a new cocktail for the occasion. Jeffrey Morgenthaler claims to make the best Amaretto Sour in the world. And indeed, it was a truly delicious cocktail. We were all a little shocked at how good it was.
On the Friday of their visit, Shaun used his day off to make granola. It's his mom's recipe. It calls for 24 cups of oats. We've eaten almost all of it already.
The next day, all the boys went to look as the Camas Fire Department burned down an old bowling alley in a training exercise.
There were lots of old-timers sad to see it go. It used to be a dance hall and a roller rink in the 1950's and it was the only thing going in town.
I always like to use company as an excuse to try new recipes. I had good luck this time, and hardly anything disappointed. I can definitely recommend these Almost-Famous Swedish Meatballs. And this Ina Garten recipe for White Pizzas with Arugula was a keeper, even using the store-bought dough I cheated with (the secret is in the garlic-herb infused olive oil.)
And, finally, I've been seeing lots of recipes around in which you crack eggs on the top of a savory base and bake 'em, and that appealed to me. So I tried this Bacon, Tomato and Cheddar Bake. Unfortunately I overcooked the yolks a bit. And it was crazy salty. Still, it was good and I'd try it again.
We had really nice weather while our friends were out, which was a pleasant and welcome change. Good weather is something I just don't take for granted anymore. Good weather means the monkeys can go out and play.