Oregon vacation and then some

We recently went on our annual trip to the Oregon coast to visit family.  There is a resort in Florence called Mercer Lake Resort that our family has been attending since 1951.  There are a number of cabins, fairly shabby, that we stay in.  The resort has a swimming area, benches on the dock for fishing, and boating, and…  It’s a nice little establishment, but we’ve been talking the past couple years about trying out some difference locations.  My grandma recently passed, and she was the last of the old guard.  A lot of us kids have grown up to have kids of our own, and vacation time is precious.  (Also, my husband thinks it’s weird to go to the same place year after year and would like to try out new places).  So, we think this was probably the last year we would attend, and I’m so happy that so many family members showed up!

When we started our trip, our Cali rabbit had recently succumbed to the heat, and we were a bit worried about the other rabbits.  We were getting temps of 105 degrees, so Jesse put in a mister and a fan, and placed a tarp over the rabbit hutch.  We were also able to set up automatically watering for the yard and the animals, which we were happy about because we knew it’d make things easier on Jesse’s niece when she came over every couple days to check on the place.  Of course, the county had been working on the water lines for a week or two before we left, and the water pressure switching back and forth ended up popping the head off the mister, so when our niece came over, the rabbit poo pans were flooded and the food had been soaked.  Good times.

Mt. Rainier

Mt. Rainier

Our first destination on our vacation was to Moses Lake, WA to visit my mom.  She and her husband had recently purchased a house and she wanted to show it off to us.  I think we made pretty good time, about 9-10 hours straight through.  Ezra did great, only getting fussy near the end when he should have been sleeping.  He wanted to hold my hand the last half-hour or so, which I found pretty adorable.

We didn’t do anything special for the 4th of July.  In fact, I went to bed pretty early that night.  While I do like fireworks, if you’ve seen a show once, you’ve seen them all.  We went to visit mom’s workplace and then went swimming later on that day.  We were able to spend a couple days with her which I loved and I know she loved getting to spend time with Ezra.  He grows so quickly!

Along the drive we started stopping off at farmer’s markets and the like to get fresh berries and to try out some raw honey.  I wanted to get a lot of variety of honey and then compare them all.  One of the places we stopped was a blueberry farm, Pan-American Berry Growers in Mossyrock, WA, had the best blueberries!  Incidentally, they ended up being my favorite raw honey as well.

PanAmerican Berry Growers

PanAmerican Berry Growers

Letting Ezra air out before getting back in the care

Letting Ezra air out before getting back in the care

PanAmerican Berry Growers

PanAmerican Berry Growers

We then moseyed around to Tillamook and stayed at the Mar Clair Inn. It was very basic accommodations for us; we didn’t really need the pool/hot tub amenities, and the continental breakfast the next morning left something to be desired.  But, it was clean, had a hot shower, and a fairly comfortable bed.  The thing the really made the Mar Clair Inn stand out to me was their relationship with the Pacific Restaurant, right next door.  It was a wee bit of a restaurant, with not many booths available, but the food was great!  And if you mentioned you were staying at the Mar Clair, you got free dessert.  Now, Jesse and I went back and forth about what to get, but finally decided on the turtle cheesecake.  I figured this would be some piddly cheesecake slice, one of the pre-fab things with the (minimal) caramel and nuts swirled in.  Oh, how wrong I was.  This cheesecake was a thing of beauty.  I am sad to this day that I didn’t take a photo of it, but honestly the thought didn’t even cross my mind at the time, because all I was thinking was, “Holy cheesecake!”

This cheesecake deserves its own paragraph.  The crust was this great graham cookie base, nice crunch and a good amount of sweetness.  Then came the cheesecake, oh the cheesecake!  Several inches tall, quite wide, creamy sweet goodness.  Thick (real!) caramel was drizzled over the top and oozed down the sides.  Simple, sugar flake crunchy crystals, and whole pecans topped off this wonder.  *sigh*  I would go back for a slice of that cheesecake.  Oh, and the dinner food was well worth the price as well.  But still.  The cheesecake!

We visited the Tillamook Cheese Factory and that was pretty neat.  The last time we were there the factory wasn’t really doing all that much, and this time there was a bit of movement and workers down on the floor.  The cheese curds were fabulous and the ice cream was great, too.

Aww, milk.

Aww, milk.

We continued down the Highway 101 on the coast line.  It was a sunny day with just a couple clouds in the sky.  We stopped at a beach and let Ezra run around for awhile, but decided to move on fairly quickly.

Ezra's first time on the beach - Oregon coast

Ezra’s first time on the beach – Oregon coast

We showed up at Mercer Lake and within a half hour other family started to arrive.  I think at one point we had 31 people there, maybe more.  Lots of cousins for Ezra to play with, and I was thankful to be able to spend time with much of my extended family.

mercer 2013 031

Bubble-blowing fun was had by all

Bubble-blowing fun was had by all

mercer 2013 042

He was almost this dirty the entire time

He was almost this dirty the entire time

mercer 2013 051 mercer 2013 055

It's an Ezra rocket!

It’s an Ezra rocket!

Our family

Our family

Playing peekaboo - He was able to get his entire body in this cupboard.

Playing peekaboo – He was able to get his entire body in this cupboard.

We spent a week at the lake and left on a Sunday.  We decided to make the trip in one day again, which was about 14 hours.  I am here to tell you, those extra couple hours make that trip LAST FOREVER!  I was never so happy to be home as when we pulled into the drive in the wee morning hours.

We put Ezra down for bed, and we walked the backyard which was like a jungle compared to when we left it.  The lettuce was huge and uneatable, the weeds were taller than my head, the squash was roaming all over the place.  One of our chickens had started laying while we were gone, and she’s been giving us one egg a day ever since.  I’m excited for the others to begin as well.

It’s so different harvesting your own food, as compared to what you get at a market.  At a market, I’m looking to make sure there are not bruises or bug holes, nothing like that.  We harvested our peaches when we got back, and several of them had bug holes in them.  Completely grossed me out at first and I wanted to give all those to the chickens, but then realized that would only leave us maybe 3 peaches.  I’m having to come to terms that not all produce will be perfect, but that doesn’t mean it’s inedible.  For example, I can cut out bruises and worm holes and be left with a great piece of produce!  Kind of a difficult realization for me.  And yes, we did give the chickens some peaches.

First peach harvest, ever.

First peach harvest, ever.

We’ve also just started letting the chickens out during the day.  We first clipped their wings so they couldn’t achieve flight (they were none too pleased with that process) and I was paranoid that first night so we herded them back into the coop house, but every night after that we just wait until dark and so far they have all come back to roost, so that’s one thing less to worry about.

Our cats don’t seem to want to eat them, so that’s good.  Joline rushed them and right when got up to them she put on the breaks and wheeled around the group.  It was pretty funny.  Those chickens, though, have gotten bold, and have dug out all my lovely purple tiny flowers in the flower bed.  The soil is much more loose that our hard-packed backyard earth, and it looks like they ate the heads off the flowers, and then scratched around until the remains were laying in a wilted heap on our brick walkway.  Thanks, ladies.

A friend noticed the heart shape on the ground - makes sense, Ezra loves our kitties.

A friend noticed the heart shape on the ground – makes sense, Ezra loves our kitties.