Sunday, October 19, 2008

Bring back the camera!

People may complain about the late, wet spring or the early chill this fall - but combine them both and you have fall leaves in Oregon that rival New Hampshire!

My parents were visiting for the week, so we thumbed our noses at gas prices and took several long winding drives in the country. On the first drive we looped south around Mount Hood then headed north through the Hood River apple country. Such a great drive! The mountain was in top form with a beautiful lenticular cloud (Hood is famous for that). Later in the afternoon the cloud started to blow apart and I got a few spectacular shots from the east side.

There are many varieties of maples and alder around Hood and they were all in spectacular color. I was amazed - it's not been this beautiful in the 15 odd years that I've lived here.

Just before we hit the Columbia River we stopped at a lovely orchard and to my surprise we found Empire apples.

I don't think I can adequately describe my passion for Empires. Some people swear by Honeycrisps, and my mother has an overt fondness for Jonagolds, but I lust after Empires. A good hard CRUNCH, sweet/tart juices and a deep flavor that brings to your mouth all that is beautiful about autumn. I first had an Empire when I was in graduate school, and I've been lost ever since.

Find an Empire. Indulge!

Sadly I only bought a dozen apples, and my family seems to agree with my passion because the Empires are gone already. Time to either pout or drive back to Hood River…

On Saturday we went west instead of east and meandered down through Yamhill county. More golds then reds out there, but still such beautiful vistas.

We made food our driving force once more and headed for our absolute favorite place to get hazelnuts - the Schmidt farm, south of McMinnville. This time I simply gave in and bought 50 pounds. Yes, 50 pounds of hazelnuts! (There were only 48.5 pounds left by the time we got home.)

As usual the Schmidt's farm looked lovely and they kindly let me wander around taking pictures. You might recognize a few on my cards later this fall.

If you live in the Pacific Northwest, be sure to get out this week and see the leaves before they are gone!


The Hutchings said...

I miss the beautiful Northwest Fall weather! The pictures are beautiful!

runningfan said...

Just found your blog...and these pictures make me miss Oregon! Would you mind adding my blog to your Quatama Sisters blog list?


Heidi Bartle

Rhamnites said...

You have some absolutely beautiful photos here! I love your new hobby!

The Hadley Family said...

How beautiful!!! I SO wish I could have tagged along. I have always enjoyed a good scenic drive and it sounds like your outing was perfect. Put me down for "Honeycrisp"- I'm addicted. Now I want to try an Empire (never have).