It was one good, long beach party, all in all. On Thursday, on the way over it was raining so hard it was hard to drive. George and Isabel caravaned with us and we all stopped for a quick lunch of crackers and cheese and salami in the car at a lookout point above the Columbia river. We could see the wood mills there, with huge piles of logs that were so far away they looked like matchsticks. There were piles of wood chips and sawdust so large they filled entire barges probably going to paper mills elsewhere.
It was raining when we ate, but it was cool and beautiful and a slow enough rain that we didn't really get that wet.
When we got to the houses, we set up spaghetti with tomato sauce and sausage, salad, and garlic bread in huge batches. The spaghetti got all cooked at once, and by the time everyone was ready to eat it was nearly 8 pm. But we all fit and we all ate at once and it was like the biggest family you could imagine, all at once, but then the whole gathering turned into something like that.
John has three brothers, Paul, the oldest, Dave, and Walt. Bernd (the adopted fifth brother) is the exchange student from Germany who became a travel guide and is now living in South Africa. Paul has a lady friend, Jan, who adopted Marina who is eight. Dave has a lady friend Mary. Dave has two kids, Yuri (who brought along his girlfriend) and Emily (who wasn't able to come) and Mary has Roche, who brought along her boyfriend whom I've forgotten the name of. Walt has Cathie as his wife. Bernd brought his sister, Ellen and her husband Kristoff and their four kids, in order, Katarina, Hanna, Simon, and Daniel. George and Isabel were so happy to have everyone together.
The best thing is that everyone really, genuinely *likes* everyone else. It's astonishing to see it all on that scale, but everyone enjoys everyone else's company, and they all share a love for food and for cooking that I don't normally see. We had, basically, six families, and we all traded off breakfast and dinner duties, everyone did one breakfast and one dinner. Lunch was catch as catch can, and John bought some lunch goodies so folks that wanted to just eat in the house could.
Thursday was moving in, setting up, and at dusk, before dinner, we all headed out to the beach to see what it was like. There was a very rocky crossing to, at that point, a very shallow beach, as the big high tide was In with a vengeance, and it was very wet all the way up. The water was, as usual, COLD to a point of eliciting a gasp every time someone got their feet into it for the first time. All the kids had said that they weren't going swimming, but at least three of them fell in the surf. Oops. I think one on purpose, the other two looked like honest tripping. Still... it was cold enough that they bundled back to the house fairly quickly. Jet was quietly digging away in the sand, and I joined him for a bit of castle making that was quickly swallowed up by the waves.
Friday's breakfast was pancakes with bananas or not, and lots of syrup, yogurt, fruit (including the pounds of raspberries that Jet picked), and happiness. Dinner was lasagna with salad and break and a beautiful couple of fruit cobblers with homemade ice cream.
We were down to the beach at least four times, in different groups, running out when there was sun, running back when the rain got heavy enough. Most folks managed a walk down the Boardwalk to town, and we did a small run into town to get stuff for breakfast the next day. John and I also managed to hit up the local coffee roaster for some good coffee and a local pound of coffee for breakfast as well.
Saturday was French toast with sausages for breakfast, and grilled salmon with potatoes Nana (Potatoes Anna with sweet potatoes), sweet corn on the cob, salad and bread and a whole lot of hand cranked ice cream. Not counting all the snacks and things that could be nibbled before dinner, including chips and guacamole, smoked salmon and salmon pate with crackers and vegetables, and all kinds of other good things.
On Saturday a group of people took their lunch onto the trail between Seaside and Indian Beach, just south of Cannon Beach. Indian Beach was in a little cove so that the surf was unique and big enough for people on surf boards to make a real go of it. So the whole cove was filled with surfers. There was a small contingent including Daniel, Jet and I, that drove to the cove in our cars to await the arrival of the hikers.
Jet and I dug a lot in the sand, but the sand was so fine it didn't really build all that well, and I had a hard time keeping structures up, as they'd all jelly as soon as they were hit by a wave. It was also disconcerting to accidentally dig up worms in the sand. They were living in the sand, and when I dug one up it would split from the digging forces, and then the sand fleas would swarm the halves and eat them, and that was just... weird. So I stopped digging that much. Jet and I ended up just walking into the surf and Jet did a lot of wave jumping. When the hiking crew arrived, John went out with quite a few kids into the water, which was just as cold as at Seaside and deeper. The kids kept going out to John, so by the time he came back in enough to play with Jet, John told me, "I can't feel my legs..."
But he warmed up in the sunshine jumping waves with Jet, and Jet really loved doing it, even though he'd come back shivering like the other kids. But they'd all lie on the sun warmed sand for a while, eat the sandwiches and chips and fruit that were packed for them, and then go back into the water...
So by the time we went back to the houses and the salmon and potatoes everyone had enormous appetites.
This morning, the German contingent made German pancakes, with apples and raisins and plenty of white sugar on a very eggy, nearly crepe-like pancake, mostly mixed in a blender. They were very tasty and used up nearly all the eggs that everyone had bought for ice cream and other breakfasts. Then everyone scrambled to pack, clean, and eat up what food there was left before the "out of the house" time of noon. There were people coming for the Fourth of July, so we had to be out of there on time so that they could clean the place out for the next crew.
We had a lot of group pictures in front of the house. There were a lot of hugs and good-byes, and everyone went their separate way. We headed south to Cannon Beach to see our old friends Victor and Jane from Victor's Coffeehouse in Redmond. They've opened a little coffee shop and roaster called The Sleepy Monk. They used to be able to close it whenever they wanted to, but this summer, they got so many questions about why they were closed when they did, they decided to just open from Thursday to Monday each week just so folks wouldn't bother them as much as when they were closed! *laughter* So they have their little espresso and roasting shop open for the summer, and will try and close it for six months during the winter and see how it works.
It was fun to arrive and talk with them in turn as they waited on everyone that came in with equal friendliness. I got to show them the Phoenix sweater and my Moo cards, and they cheerfully picked their favorite cards. I got 100 cards made, and I think that I've given out at least half of them already. It's fun to let people pick from the lot of them and see who takes which and why. When I got them out for the family, Isabel took one of John smiling in his sun/moon sweater on the sun side. Ellen took one of my Killer Tomato yarn. Bernd took the shot of baby Jet laughing on a laughing John's head. Walter took the one of "Jet the Builder" in the construction outfit he and Cathie had given Jet a while back. Jane took one of the three of us in Yellowstone. Victor took the one of the Anti-Pesto truck, a British car. *laughter* It's really fun to just have people spread out the whole deck and sort and order them and then pick what they want and to see how they pick them.
I think everyone's photos can be beautiful that way.
One thing that happened was that I got a lot of knitting done while waiting on meals or waiting out the rain. And since I was knitting so much, Jet decided to get his knitting bee and cone of yellow yarn out, and he knit for a while. Katarina, the eldest of the German family, was very interested in what Jet was doing, so he showed her how to make the cords. It was fun to watch him do that. She really took to it, and started churning out cord for everyone. She kept it to work on as much as possible, and then today, I talked with Jet a bit, and he decided it would be okay to give his bee to her, along with the working stick. I had brought along washcloth cotton for a towel, but hadn't had any reason to work on it, yet, and likely wouldn't have to, so we also gave her four balls in two neon colors. Two were the color of the outfit she had on today, all greens and turquoise and blues, and the other two were all yellows, reds, and oranges, and she was very, very happy with that. It was very good of Jet to give up his bee, but he also knew that there was a spool knitter he'd been eyeing at Shuttles, Spindles, and Skeins that was a full kit with two kinds of knitters and instructions on how to make butterflies and flowers from the resulting cord. Plus, he'd already saved up enough money to get it when he gets home. So he was looking forward to that, even though he was a bit sad to say good-bye to the bee.
In Cannon Beach there was a good knitting shop and it turned out that they had seven ounce skeins of Socks that Rock for sale!! Meep. So I bought one, even though it was vastly more expensive than I'm usually comfortable with, but it was the thicker variety, for US 3's. I'm getting tired of doing US 2 socks and having them wear out much more quickly than I like. But they had a skein in the colorway "Deluge" and it fits the name. :-) So it seemed a good way to remember the ride out to the coast and the lovely, rainy days out here.
At the last minute, Cathie invited us to stay the night at her and Walt's house. They are also having Paul, Jan, and Marina, and when Jet heard that Marina would be here, he wanted to come, too. We hadn't had any particular plans. If anything, we were thinking of going down the coast, but it was clouding up again, so we decided it would be alright to go inland and stay out here. They have a very nice wireless connection, which I'm now using, and so I'm finally catching up in the backyard in the sunshine.
So it's been quite an adventure. We're doing to head south to Ashland to stay with Paul's family for the Fourth, and then start to head home after a few days down there. We had to go south anyway, and it'll be nice to not have to worry about where we're staying for a bit as things are filling up pretty quickly with the holiday.