I apologize for the silence – I’ve been up to so much lately! In November, Rose and I flew across the country to visit some very dear friends for a week.
It was one of those vacations where you don’t sight see much, but you just have tons of fun (and catch up on rest). I haven’t been to the West coast for quite some time, and it’s been almost two decades since I was in Washington State. The forests are so mossy and beautiful.
My friend was still recovering from a very difficult bout of COVID she had experienced two months before, so we did very light day trips to the coast and out and about. She is young, but has health issues that made it a very difficult illness for her. When she felt very ill, she tried getting help at the local hospital, and was told she was having a panic attack and was sent home. Actually, it was the beginnings of a cytokine storm that was affecting her heart. Luckily, she immediately contacted the FLCCC (Front Line Covid Critical Care Alliance), and was connected to a doctor in her area who had Ivermectin air-mailed to her from Kentucky, and prescribed other inexpensive and very effective medications and supplements to help ease her symptoms, which included intense body aches and multiple blood clots. The doctor she was in touch with from FLCCC called to check on her every day. She told me she had never received better medical care before. She is feeling better and better, and is trying to share her experience to help other people.
We were there more for the visit than for touring, anyway, so we went on some small hikes to the sea side, thrift-shopped, played chess, and read aloud, baked, made donuts and cinnamon buns. We saw the salmon and seals and long pieces of kelp, and walked through a little park where the plants were identified. I was amazed to find that Oregon Grape, a plant I’ve heard of, looks just like a holly (actually it is the Berberidaceae though). The plants there are so solemn and ancient – the horsetail and the liverworts and mosses. We had so much fun!
My friends also have three children, who were very good friends and playmates of my children back when they lived in Florida. Rose hasn’t seen them for more than four years – and it’s so amazing how much children grow in just four years! The oldest, Teddy, was a young man. Violet, who was always tagging along after Rose, was so tall and grown-up, and Elliot, who back then was the little baby, beat me in chess!
We had hoped to bring back some apples from our trip, since REAL apples, the sort that people get from neighborhood apple trees, are so delicious and so much better tasting than the apples from the store. My grandmother had an apple orchard with many trees, and I have the experience of fresh apples of unusual varieties straight off the tree ingrained in my soul now. Store apples are so pathetic in comparison.
Unfortunately, it was just a week past apple season. Our friends had just invested in a big box of local, organic apples that were supposed to last 4+ months if properly stored, but they seemed to be starting to spoil, and besides, their pet rabbits kept hopping into the box and nibbling on them, so that you would pull out an apple with odd teeth marks every so often, so we made all sorts of nice things with apple – apple pie, apple sauce, and dried apples to help preserve them.
We didn’t give up on the apples, however. On one of our walks by the ocean we travelled along a little foot path with wild apple trees. We stopped and tasted them, and they were very sweet and good, so our last day we went on a big foraging mission. There were two different trees we found with very good apples.
Rose climbed up in the tree in her little skirt and unpractical shoes, and tossed them down to me to catch and put in the basket. People passing by were astonished. “Are they good?” they asked They were great! Sweet and crisp with wonderful apple flavor.
Besides the apples, we also harvested the many rosehips growing along the wayside for drying, and found some of the very intriguing Strawberry tree fruits (I ate about ten and felt rather queasy after. They are tasty, but weird):
The challenge, of course, afterwards, was trying to fit the apples in our luggage. We had brought a little fold-up handbag that worked as a second complementary checked bag, and we squeezed everything in as tight as possible to make extra room, and packed a bunch along in the carry-ons. It was very, very, very heavy with 30 lbs of apples to lug along the bus shuttle and all the way to the check in gate. I actually fell over in the airport trying to roll Rose’s ungodly large suitcase, as it was too heavy for her, AND carry the bag of apples. In the end, we managed though, and were glad to be home. Someone remarked they had never seen me so well-rested afterwards, so it was a much-needed vacation!