Sunday, June 8, 2014

Hazelnuts

We stayed in the most amazing place near Silverton, Oregon! I've never stayed in vacation rental houses before, but with so many of us, it made more sense than a hotel a lot of the time. I was surprised to find prices comparable to a hotel, and often much cheaper than getting two rooms! Plus, I had not anticipated the benefits of having a place to cook, really cook (not just heat up Quaker Oats with coffee-pot water as we do in hotels) and to let the baby cry or the kids play without worrying about making too much noise the whole time! It was wonderful. This house was on a hazelnut farm (orchard? I think she called it an orchard) with 40 acres of hazelnut trees and a huge pasture with tall grass and pine trees. It was gorgeous.
The property was a kid's paradise. Within 5 minutes of our arrival, Abe was up this tree. :) And the owner was super laid-back and nice---she said the kids could climb trees and explore wherever they wanted.
They made forts and played Spy and had all sorts of adventures. It made me wish to be a kid again so I could join them!
Rhododendrons along the driveway
Baby in the backyard
Barn
When we arrived, the owner told us about a U-Pick strawberry farm down the road, so in the morning, we went over to pick berries. My mom has always told me about Oregon berries, which she claims are unlike any berry grown anywhere else. I finally know what she's talking about. They were so sweet and juicy and delicious! We couldn't stop picking them!
We were only going to be in the house for two and a half days, and this may seem like more strawberries than anyone could possibly eat in that time. No. It is not.
We made mountains of crepes that night and ate them with strawberries and cream till we were totally stuffed.
Then, after a few hours recovery time, we made strawberry milkshakes. It was the food of the gods!
Goldie slept quite snugly in this big round chair
In the evening, Sam and I rambled all around the property while the kids played. There were so many cool places to discover!
I read a little about hazelnut farming---the trees are interesting, because they get pollinated in the winter, when everything else is still dormant and none of the bees or other pollinators are out. The winter winds blow the pollen from tiny little catkins into the flowers. The nuts grow all summer, and in the Fall, the farmers let them fall to the ground before harvesting them by sweeping them up into big rows and picking them up with a harvester. It sounds so interesting! I would love to go back in the Fall to see that happening. (Maybe at that time you could pick blackberries and raspberries, too! Yum!) The owner left us a jar of hazelnuts to eat, and they were so good! We devoured the whole jarful.
I just loved walking through the orchard and seeing this view: straight rows of trees going off forever in every direction. So beautiful! We loved staying here!

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