Thursday, December 23, 2010

End of an Era

Since moving to White Salmon in 2007, we've participated in an annual tradition: blowing your own 0rnament at the White Salmon Glassworks. You choose your colors, shape smooth or ridges, and whether or not you want snow. The glass artists do all the shaping while you blow your own hot air through a tube into the very hot glass. It's great fun, and you get to take home a beautiful piece of art the next day (or they mail it to you if you've come from afar).

In 2008 a string of snowstorms almost caused us to miss our opportunity, but due to popular demand, Ellen and Robin opened up between Christmas and New Years for one more chance. Fortunately for us, the girls were both here to participate. Last year my niece Sydney got to make one for her Xmas present.

The Glassworks has been a labor of love by Robin and Ellen Knoke, and their building is a cornerstone of our little town. But the time has come for retirement, hastened by health problems this past year, and we're all keeping our fingers crossed that someone or some group will step up to keep the fires burning. The glass artists who do their crafting there hope so, too.

Lloyd and I each blow an ornament. My six siblings and I have a rotating Christmas gift share. Each year we've kept Lloyd's ornament, and I've given mine as a gift to a sister. (Don't worry Linda, I made an extra one this year so you'll get yours next year no matter what!). I made one to keep this year, just in case. We have enough to put one in each window along the side of the house.

I have Keara's for safe keeping while she's in Korea, so it has its own window, watching over the bird feeder. Also keeper of Alina's, which was supposed to have 'snow' on it, but it was forgotten...Still pretty though.

Here for your enjoyment are the rest of the beautiful orbs:

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

To Tree or Not To Tree...that was the question

I recently polled my Facebook friends to help me decide whether to bother with a tree this year. We have a nice big fake tree that we've had for more than 10 years. It was fine for our houses in Louisiana and Texas but it's a little oversized for our house here in the gorge. I've been leaving off the back row of branches so it wouldn't stick out so far into the room. This year we added the fireplace, so there's a little less room for that tree. I was feeling rather Scroogish, neither of the girls is going to be here, so I was thinking about bailing on the tree thing. Just put up some decorations, hang some favorite ornaments in the windows, light evergreen candles...but this weekend we decided we just couldn't go treeless.

We tried to find a skinnier fake tree. No dice. So we drove up to the Trout Lake forest service ranger station and bought our $5 tree cutting permit. When we lived in California, we used to go to Lassen National Forest over Thanksgiving weekend, and cut a tree. It was a nice tradition, and the kids, who were really small at the time, loved it. Anyway, the weather was foul, so we decided to wait until a break. That came today. We loaded up the snow shoes, saw, and the dog, and drove up to Pineside Sno park. It was dry in White Salmon, rainy at BZ Corner, and snowing at Trout Lake. It snowed like crazy up the road to Pineside. We ended up walking in about 2 ft of fresh snow up the snowmobile road a ways before we found some possibilities.

The winning tree came down easily, but next time we'll bring a sled of some kind to make the hauling out easier. Lloyd did his best Clydesdale impression, and got the tree down to the car. It's outside right now, gotta make some room for it tomorrow before Lloyd takes off to go back up to Adams to ski tomorrow with Dean. Watch for the finished product...

UPDATE: Voila!

I'm Dreaming of a White Salmon 2010

Hard to believe this was our fourth tree lighting event. We had snow before the tree was delivered, then rain, then a break to raise the beautiful 25 foot tree that SDS lumber kindly dropped at the Boatworks. Santa's elves got loads of lights strung on the tree, Lloyd climbed onto the roof and pulled while we pushed and walked the tree to a standing position. Who needs a cherry picker?

The day of the event we took our cds, marshmallow skewers, makings for over 120 s'mores, and a load of wood for the fire pit. I took a walk to the library for their annual wassail celebration, and to hear my marimba bandmate Dottie and her a capella quartet "It Takes Four" perform holiday classics. Lloyd started the fires about 3:30 and it wasn't too long before people started stopping by, but we think the 'Civil War' game between Oregon and Oregon State was responsible for the low turnout.

Michelle from D'lish Delivered brought yummy hot chocolate and an assortment of cookies, Ray at the Boatworks supplied hot cider. The kids from the Equestrian team sold wreaths. Local shops had great specials and I was able to sneak in a few purchases before I had to stand duty at the fire pits.

And then came the mini horses from Windwalker Ranch, with their antlers and striped socks (which they didn't seem too thrilled to be dressed in). They were a big hit with the kids who came early. As it got dark, the horses had to go home. There was a mini stampede as they were being loaded into their trailer but they were quickly contained.

The kids went crazy making and eating s'mores. I am glad none of them were coming home with me. Let's just say the more unrestrained noshers had more than their quota of sugar.

A bit after 5 the crowd had grown in anticipation of the tree lighting. Maybe the game was 5:15 we were wondering where the mayor was...he finally took a break from interviewing police chief candidates and walked down to perform his favorite unofficial duty. He led the countdown, and another beautiful tree, complete with white salmon topper, was lit for the season!