The Willamette Valley is bountiful this time of the year. Much of the spring green has turned to harvest gold. The corn is tall. Grain and seed crops are ripening. Berries are past their peak, but still available Peaches are ready. And the hop fields are a sight to behold.
My mom and dad both spent many days in the hop fields in the thirties and early forties. The ropes the hops grow on would be let down and the pickers would pluck the hop cones from the vines into tall wooden-slat baskets.
Hops are an important ingredient in beer making, and hop picking was one of the few ways to make any money back then. Now, of course, the hops are picked by machine.
We had seen signs for Garden World, and since we had a few extra hours Saturday morning, we followed them to see what we could see. Garden World is a large nursery dealing mostly in trees and shrubs.
We have several gaps in hedges to fill this fall, and we liked the looks of this pee gee hydrangea. We'll have to watch to see if they are reduced in price for fall clearance.
Back in Woodburn we had seen a sign for a Saturday market, so we returned after it opened at 10:00, because I was looking for some fruit to put together a fruit compote for the picnic later.
We found an antique car show, with the shiniest old cars you could ever see.
Not all old things have been cosmetically enhanced.
The August flowers in the market are just glorious!
And we did find fruit. I bought a pint each of strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and cherries. I took them back to Mom's little kitchen, washed them, put a touch of sugar on the blackberries, put them in the one bowl Mom had that was big enough, and chilled them until it was time to go to the picnic. That was the one food item that was completely eaten up.
We arrived early at Myron and Nancy Mohr's house because I couldn't put Mom off any longer. She was so excited to go and didn't want to miss a minute of it!
This is the annual Mohr/Hofstetter Picnic, reuniting cousins and their descendants. My Grandmother Hofstetter was adopted out before the age of two when her parents divorced. Her brother Henry Mohr stayed with his mother. We have a photo of the family before the breakup, standing in front of their Nebraska sod house. My grandmother and her family came to Oregon and the two siblings lost touch until Henry located his sister Meta years later as an adult.
The Mohrs were caught up in the Dust Bowl and the Depression in Nebraska and in 1939, they came by car to Oregon to live with Meta, who was now married to Otto Hofstetter, my grandfather. In fact my mother was 18 at the time and she and sister Alma were in the hop fields when the cousins arrived, five boys and a girl, along with their parents, suddenly descending upon them. A very strong bond was formed that has lasted these many years.
Now we celebrate in bounty a connection that was formed in time of great need.
Mom and my sister Laurie check out all of the pot luck food, so Mom can have a plate prepared for her.
While we had visited outside earlier, by now the temperature was over ninety, and we were grateful for the in door, air conditioned dining.
After the meal, Mom's cousin Julius...
...and her cousin Alvin told stories about the Dust Bowl days in Nebraska, and then the trip out to Oregon.
It's hard for Mom to hear, but she wants to know everything. We try to help her "hear".
And then we moved from talk of deprivation to this! Dessert time!
We returned Mom to her apartment and headed for home in Seattle about 6:00.
We look forward to returning to my homeland next month.