Monday, April 6, 2015

Exploring: Applegate

The last few weeks I've been obsessed with a new-to-me blog: And Here We Are. It is run by Ariana and details her, and her family's, lives as expats. They've lived in Germany, back in the US (almost in my backyard, maybe we passed each other at some point!), England, and just recently moved to Spain. They have a darling daughter a few years older than Munchkin, forage for edibles, homebrew like crazy, and love to be outdoors. My type of people!

Plus, she has this GIGANTIC smile-every time a picture of her smiling came up I had to grin as well. I mean, look at it!

Photo Copyright Ariana Mullins: And Here We Are
AND she learned how to break down an entire beef hind quarter (click the picture to be taken the post), something I would love to learn.

What I really like about her blog is how much she explores the area she is in. As a fellow introvert I really struggle to get out of the house and go somewhere strange and new. It is very intimidating and I constantly worry about every little thing possible, from the kids acting up (or being bored out of their minds) to getting lost to car accidents and axe murderers. Yes, axe murderers, I have a very active imagination.

After reading And Here We Are  I've been inspired to do something different. Erik (Hubby) has been applying for work outside of Oregon and the thought of moving fills me with dread and excitement. All the cities he's applied to are far from relatives and friends, we'd be starting over completely. Since no matter where we ended up it would be a major re-spawn event anyway I got to thinking of outside the US. So I brought up the idea of looking abroad. And, of course, this brought up Sweden.

Erik's family is mostly Scandinavian, he even has some distant cousins that still live in Sweden. It is the first place he'd like to go. Myself, I could go to Sweden, Ireland, England, Germany...anywhere that has a nice rural area with forests and farms sounds good to me. Since I've asked him about it the idea keeps popping up. We keep asking ourselves: would we be happy in a different country? Would the kids? How do you even go about it? Finding a job? Finding a place to live? What do we do with all the animals? And? And? And oh so many details!!

In the meantime I've started to push myself to get out and see our local area more. Its really silly that we've lived here for almost 7 years (always with the idea we'd be moving soon) and have hardly explored. So last weekend we packed up the kids and went to a local wildlife area to see what there was to see.

Why haven't we done this before?

The trail led to a canoe access to the Long Tom River and, while a little muddy, was nice and flat. We went early enough there was still a touch of mist amongst the ferns. Spring flowers were showing here and there but most of the trees hadn't leafed out yet. We were the only ones on the trail though we could hear traffic in the distance. Once we got closer to the river the sounds of civilization died out and all we could hear was birdsong, breeze, and rushing water.

I was mesmerized by a stand of Oregon Grape the bees were working over. The scent was heavenly, like a musky honey, and the bees were busy, busy, busy!
I would have stood there for hours watching them but Munchkin was insistent about finding the end of the trail. 
All along the trail were ferns and low story plants. My favorites were the Pacific Trilliums. I'd read about them but I hadn't seen one in person till now. Aren't they beautiful?
As they age the flowers turn from white to a deep rosy purple. I must come back and see this!

We watched a pair of bald eagles leave their perch in a tall pine and fly down the river (I wasn't able to catch them on film, darn it), listened to a flock of mourning doves coo as they fluttered around a huge fallen log mid-stream, found a couple mushrooms, stumbled on several fruit trees in full bloom, examined a beaver-chewed stump, and just enjoyed being outside.
It was a wonderful way to relax.

The next three weekends are super busy but I can't wait to explore some more!

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