The first leg of our flight was PDX-Vegas. Once we arrived at the Vegas airport we played some slots (the Star Wars ones of course). Won $20 and used it on some beverages. We had decided on the cheaper flight plan, which translates to more layovers to get from Portland to Huntsville Alabama. Not that there were any DIRECT flights to Huntsville to choose from. Our flight from Vegas to Houston, TX was delayed because “the engines weren’t working right” but after 45 minutes sitting in the plane they decided to let us know it wasn’t the engine that flies the plane, it’s the engine that powers it while it’s sitting…..yikes. We arrived in Houston to find we’d missed our connection to Huntsville. They put on the next flight (2 hours later), and we called Dan to let him know we’d be much later than planned.
But we got there! And our bad moods were quickly fixed by hanging out with our great friend Dan! Tuscumbia Alabama is a pretty beautiful place. The Tennessee river flows through town, the Northern Alabama University has actual lions on campus and I am not one for BBQ but daaaaaaammmnnnn that sandwich was good. The air is wonderfully thick-the feel and sounds.
Dan drove us all over and then we headed back to his house for some dinner. His family owns the house and it really is on the only hill in the area (at least the only I could see for MILES). There’s an old bell, a water tower, and a view of….well….what looked like all of Alabama. We climbed the water tower and drank beers. Even though Brendan and I rock climbing, it was pretty intimidating without a rope. It was awesome. Dan made us homemade fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and cornbread. We drank The Pines wine we had given him the last time he was out to see us. And then we just sat on the porch and chatted while we watched a couple late fireflies.
We had quite the excursion the next day trying to find a rental car which we’ll hit more of that story in Part II. We wanted to spend so much more time with Dan in Alabama but we had to make it up to D.C. by the next morning so we got our rental car headed up through Nashville and up to D.C. In Nashville we stopped by The Grand Ole Opry and in an awesome twist of events got to visit with The Bovee family (my first grade teacher). And to top off the long lovely drive, we drove through the Cumberland Gap towards Johnson City, Tennessee (thanks OCMS). The first leg of the journey was over, we arrived home in Centreville @ 5a.m.
It looks like the both of us managed to go the whole summer without posting. We managed to have 3 days off a week together, but our adventures consisted mainly of gardening, vineyard work, work on my Masters, and a couple small travels.
The vineyard looks great, the garden does too. And we managed 1 grand trip from Alabama to Baltimore which I will post more on later.
The middle school is finally out for the summer, we have intermittent June sun & showers, and the summer crowd is slowly arriving. The last few weeks have been especially busy as school ended and I picked up shifts at Alma Terra, and B took on an acre and a half of vineyard. Our first fly fishing trip of season is planned for next week up at Goose Lake, we’re hoping to build some more skills in that this summer.
Our chickens are finally out of the house! How is it that watching chickens can be so entertaining and enjoyable? They’re not as interactive as dogs, but it’s like they have a better understanding of the moment than other animals. Some days it would certainly be nice for my only worry to be to scratch at the ground and get really excited when those big tall things bring some oats or compost over. B built a great chicken run for them. And my whole family pitched in to help, Dad and Donna came over. And my brother stopped in and helped as well. “Regard it as just as desirable to build a chicken house as to build a cathedral.” – Frank Lloyd Wright
We’ve managed to get a few paddles in, but it has definitely been better for the kiters and windsurfers.
One of the things I love about Brendan is his ability to make friends. I mean, clearly, he is one of the nicest people in the entire world so it’s not like it would be difficult. I think because he has such an open heart he really draws people in. And because of this we end up meeting some really neat people. Even though we’re both jamming every possibly moment full; both of us with work and classes, our pups, our new chickens and building a chicken coop, and a project vineyard Brendan has recently taken on, the garden and yard, we took last night off when Brendan met a couple in the tasting room. We hung out at the tasting room for a bit and then jaunted over to Brian’s for some calamari. It’s always nice to come together with good people. And this just following the visit of Brendan’s best friend from the east coast.
Just when we thought Spring was here, the snow keeps on coming! Fortunately it didn’t hit quite as hard as it did in January when we spent a good week grinding coffee by hand and cooking everything on our wood burning stove, as fun as that was.
It still feels like Tarnna and I hardly see each other as much as we both work, although Tarnna has dropped one of her part time jobs for a little more free time (and sanity) in order to pursue her teaching credential. She is currently taking one final online history class before she can get into the program. Wish her luck! History was never my strong suit…I was always better with math; formulas and a way to check your work. I suppose that could be one reason I enjoy baking bread so much, besides the fact that it tastes so yummy in my belly, is that it deals with fermentation and a little bit of simple percentages and formulas. Not to mention, even though baking is a science to a certain extent and you need to get the proportions correct, there is the whole artisan aspect of creating something original and making it your own, and the feel of kneading the bread and knowing when it’s ready. I’m still on a creative kick from last summer when we signed up for a pottery class and I felt that enjoyment of doing something artistic and creating something from scratch.
On that note, we have finally started some very rough drafts of planting another garden! We failed very miserably on our first garden when we lived in Napa, and last Spring we didn’t know really where we would be living in any given month while looking for jobs, so we missed out on planting. This year we will be trying a lot of the same stuff: tomatoes, onions, beets, garlic, bell peppers, pole beans, and a wide assortment of lettuces and herbs. I can’t wait to make some homemade pizza dough, homemade pizza sauce from our own tomatoes, and nice fresh veggies from the garden for toppings. A lot of work for something you can buy at the store for $4.99, but totally worth it.
Our little newspaper seedling pots!
Thyme and tomato starts
So both of us are definitely keeping busy while the weather stays cool, trying to save up some cash, for the wedding of course, but also because once summer hits we are changing the schedules around to get two, maybe even THREE days off together to get out into nature for some backpacking, fly fishing, rock climbing, you name it. It’s time to explore all of the amazing hikes and lakes that the Pacific Northwest has to offer. I spent last summer playing catch-up financially from a little bit of unemployment after the move. Not this summer!!
Another long period between posts. Between both of us working 2 jobs (and B working 7 days a week), it’s hard to take time to post. But between the times we work we have had some adventures worth sharing. Aside from the most exciting part of the last month (being engaged) we had an INSANE snow storm. A good 2+ feet of snow and 3+ inches of ice on top meant a week off of work stuck in the greenhouse for us. But it’s hard to complain when you’re with the person you love.
It was nicer and more interesting than I expected. The power was out and B cooked bread, rice & chicken all on top of the wood stove. Thank goodness for the kindness of our absent neighbor letting us steal firewood. The whole week was really about getting back to basics. No power and all sorts of free time. We cooked, knit, read books, played with the pups, it was a really great experience.
Following the ice storm there has been a lot of damage. Luckily no ones houses in our area, just 1 barn taken out by a tree and lots of mailboxes knocked over from the ice and wind. Our favorite hiking trail has about 15 trees down. Naturally that doesn’t stop Chewie.
We also got a visit from the always delightful Dan Gordon. An evening of visiting, East Coast beer, local wine, and homemade pizza by B. Even though he’d been driving for almost 3 days straight he stayed awake to visit. It’s always wonderful to visit with someone so refreshing, real and down to earth. He reflects the type of people I want to surround myself with.
A previous Matt & Dan visit
On our trip down to the Napa Valley for New Years, the morning we were going to leave Brendan kneeled down and asked me to marry him………I said yes