Monday, March 22, 2010

Spring Sprung!

On the first day of spring, I found the Lady Ferns in our back wooded area had popped their heads through the earth. The long winter is over at last!

Another--less subtle--harbinger of spring also arrived. Tourists on spring break! There was a steady stream of traffic on Highway 101 and the town is buzzing. Local merchants are joyful the long winter is over too!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Hey Sailor!

Ten years ago if you would have told me I would be engaged to a wonderful man who shares my dream of spending ridiculous amounts of time at the beach, I would have laughed in your face. But the dream has come true for both of us.

Our beach house is a place to relax, rejuvenate, play, spend time with friends and family and build something together. When you meet later in life there aren't many "firsts" to be shared as a couple. We both had houses and children and marriages and all of the memories that come with those things.

The beach house has given us the opportunity for our own firsts. Bob picked it out, I did a little decorating and he patiently hauled all the IKEA furniture we bought and put it together. Sweat equity makes it possible and he never complains about doing more than his fair share. I putter and he builds.

Valentine's Day was unseasonably warm and we celebrated with another first--a moonlight dance on the deck to the sound of the ocean waves. Talk about the local wildlife!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Service with a smile

Feeding the birds is one of my favorite things in Portland. I love watching them. At the beach, there are many different varieties and lots of them. So when we moved in, I immediately hung three feeders on the trees outside. I started buying bird seed in 10 lb. bags and my feathered friends went through the food rather quickly.

I stored the food in a sturdy plastic bucket with a really tight lid. Shortly thereafter I noticed a rather large hole in the bucket that was definitely not made by my feathered friends. It was that same weekend when we were sitting outside in the early evening. Down from the trees over the deck came a large rat and an even bigger raccoon. The raccoon reached over and grabbed one of the bird feeders. Seeing it was nearly empty, he shook it...looked me straight in the eye...and threw it at me as if to say, "Fill this up and make it snappy!"

Lesson #2 in getting along with the local wildlife.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Coastal Time Zone

When traveling over the coast range it is important to remember the time change. While the clock doesn't actually move forward or back, the relationship to time certainly does. The closer you get to the ocean, the slower the pace. Cars don't seem to be in such a hurry as the view is worth seeing, service is a little slower because people are catching up with their neighbors and things that seemed so urgent back in the city seem to drift away.

Good to know when you are trying to get things done at Saltair Station. For instance, we needed to get some dry rot fixed on the house so we called a contractor who showed up to take a look at it after just three weeks of phone calls. He promised to come back and fix it the next week, but never returned. Six months later we found another contractor who said he would be happy to fix it the next time the weather was good. The whole summer went by and no contractor. Well, it has been two years and we know one of them will show up someday.

The time zone is also in effect at the local coffee shop. One Saturday I went in for a cup of decaf coffee. The sweet girl behind the counter told me they were out of decaf but would have some on Wednesday--I should return then. Now in most cities, not having more than one type of coffee to serve for five days would be bad for business. But no one seemed very concerned.

So on your way down the highway, remember to switch to Coastal Time and glide on in.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Oh Deer Me!

I considered myself a "nature girl"--living in the Pacific Northwest, camping, swimming, rafting, and generally being outdoors whenever possible. I know about most of the plants and animals. You know, the ones to keep away from and the friendly ones.

When we first bought the place, I was excited about all the deer that roam around the neighborhood. I wanted to feed them, but saw the neighbors continuously waving them out of their yards. So dropping that plan, I went back to planting.

The back deck needed planters with lots of colorful flowers and I was filling them all. Blooming and beautiful, with just a little water and sunshine the deck would be glorious in summer. Just a few days later when I went to water them, I got quite a surprise. All of the flowers and many of the leaves had been devoured. Munched right down to the stems. Along with all of the flowers along the apparent "deer path" which goes through the yard.

I bet the deer were thrilled with their new neighbors who put out a whole buffet line of salad bowls just for them! My self-annointed status of nature girl is suffering just a bit!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

What is in a name?

In my grandparent's time, Saltair Train Station would have been right down the road from me. Getting to Rockaway Beach from Portland was a daylong trip over the mountains in the early days. The other option was to take the train. My grandparents traveled by train--including their honeymoon spent on the Oregon Coast. Both my father and grandfather were lifetime employees of Southern Pacific Railroad and we traveled by train whenever we could.

My grandparents had a place in Rockaway from the early 1900's until 1948. It started as a small cabin and my grandfather added on to it room by room using lumber he had scavenged nearby. By the time they sold it, the "cabin" slept 23 people. During the war, my family hosted off-duty servicemen at the beach and especially enjoyed Midwestern folks who had never dipped their toes in an ocean.

Salt air and trains seem to run in our blood and the relaxing lifestyle remains the same here at Saltair Station.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Groundhog's Day!

The winter is really long sometimes on the Oregon Coast. The good news is you can curl up with a favorite book next to the fire and listen to the storm blowing outside. But too much of a good thing is too much and it is time for a break before cabin fever sets in.

What many people don't know is that during the winter there are fabulous days with sunshine, warm temperatures, no wind, and beautiful surf as a result of recent storms. It is not uncommon to be on the beach in shirt sleeves sitting on a log sun on your face in February.

Kind of like being a groundhog that is happy to see it's shadow!