Tag Archives: Gold Beach

Summer Daze

11 Aug

Summer is flying by… and it seems that everyone around me is so busy!  Maybe it’s just that we all try to cram a lot of fun into these two months knowing that it soon will be over?  I don’t really know…  but it sure makes sense to enjoy this time while we have it!


A few weeks back I delivered a blackberry peach pie to a dear woman who has been battling cancer.  I suggested that instead of cooking that night (since the outdoor temps were in the three digits) that she and her daughter have some of the warm pie with ice cream for dinner instead… and that idea seemed just fine with them.


For a couple of mornings each week I’ve been helping a friend at her B&B, and have discovered some delicious treats that are quick and easy to prepare.  One day I noticed that there was an abundance of plums at the inn so I decided to make plum kuchen, or plum cake.  This recipe is similar to the one I used.  I hope that you’ll try it soon… with plums, or peaches, or berries!  I am sure that you’ll be glad you did!

me and jamie at the wedding

Last month I attended the wedding reception of the mother of one of my “other sons.”  Coco and Taylor have been close buddies since fifth grade and I was delighted to see Taylor’s mom, Jamey, so happy!  I wish her and Ian the very best!

backyard buck

Ashland is a deer friendly town… and some folks would say that isn’t okay.  As for me, I am always awed and amazed when I look out on to my fairly small backyard and see a few bucks resting there.  This is definitely not a sight I ever saw growing up in the projects!


With Pam Marsh at the “Pie Social”


Demonstrating the method to my madness 

On July 26, the Ashland Emergency Food Bank hosted a “Pie Social” to thank their many volunteers and supporters.  For one of the activities, Pam Marsh, the director of the food bank, asked if I would be willing to give a demonstration on making pie crust and I was delighted to do so.  My goal was to show what method works for me and also to encourage those in the audience to have fun while baking. Remember folks… it’s just a pie!  If you make a mistake, you’ll learn from it… and get better next time.  When Julia Child dropped the turkey she did not toss it… but rather, brushed it off and laughed about it. We all should be able to do the same!

P1040168Crater Lake

P1040169 The research vesselDinner on the dock at Wizard IslandDinner on Wizard IslandBucket of Crayfish on Wizard IslandKristin and Scott with the crayfish

Kristin and me on Wizard Islandphantom ship at crater lake Phantom Ship

For a few days this last week, I was honored to prepare meals for a group of researchers studying the crayfish problem (they are an invasive species and are affecting the newt population) at Crater Lake National Park. Among the many offerings served were several apple cobblers (since I didn’t remember to bring along pie pans) and that seemed to work out just fine. It was a bit of a logistical challenge…  but I don’t think I have ever worked in a more beautiful place!  I’m ever so grateful to Mark Buktenica (the aquatic biologist at the park) for allowing me this amazing experience.

owl on Dead Indian

On the drive home from the lake, I saw an owl perched on the fence post as I drove by and couldn’t resist going back for a quick photo.  It was absolutely magnificent to see this guy spread his wings and lift off.  It was a rare (for me) and wonderful sight!

amaroticos at the beach

Finally, I came home after working this week to see our son, Coco.  He had driven from Missoula with a friend and will be here for only a few days.  His Dad and I took him over to Gold Beach for a quick overnight visit.  That night we went to Anna’s by the Sea for dinner. When we entered the restaurant, Peter, the owner, teasingly asked me, “Karen, where is my …..ing pie?”  Funny, I had wondered if he would remember us; apparently he did.  Though I hadn’t brought along a pie, I had brought along a box of Cary’s chocolates for him… and I could tell that Peter was pleased.

Though it’s been a very hectic time, and while I am a bit tired,  what I am feeling now is a bubbling up of emotion and joy at my good fortune.  I pray that I will always remember how very lucky I am.

“God gave you a gift of 84,600 seconds today. Have you used one of them to say thank you?” William Arthur Ward

Life is for the Giving

11 Mar

Hand-painted sign at Gold Beach

A sign on one of the “cat” houses in Gold Beach

It’s hard for me to believe that I used to write a post on this blog EVERYDAY and now I find myself struggling to write once a month! It’s certainly not that I don’t have a lot to share… I just get caught up in the “busy”ness of living and at the end of the day am too tired to write about the moments that I have been blessed to share.


And there are so many pie stories to tell!  For example, last month, Emile and I took a trip to Gold Beach to have a special dinner at Anna’s by the Sea for Valentine’s Day.  We wanted to thank chef/owner Peter for getting us a reservation on short notice, so we brought along a frangipan tart.  Our drive was truly enhanced/tormented by the aroma of that tart but it was worth it because I think that Peter was pleasantly taken aback by our gift.  I mean, really, who brings dessert to a chef?

Peter's Pie

Then about a month or so ago, a  friend’s wife was diagnosed with lung cancer. This was an “out of nowhere” diagnosis and because the family is so upbeat and courageous, they simply asked for us to pray for them.  Well, I did that, but felt compelled to also bring a Quiche Lorraine. This has been a very difficult journey for this family… and my heart aches for all of them, so in addition to offering prayers I will continue to bring them an array of yummy food (including soup, cake, etc.) until they beg me to stop!

cake for debbiesoup for debbie

Lemon Pound Cake and White Bean and Sausage Soup

A few weeks ago, my friend, Jackie, took photos of me making a quiche. Afterwards, we discussed who I might give it to. We decided to drive downtown and found a man and woman sitting with their dog.  A few minutes later, as I gave them the quiche, Jackie snapped a picture, and we left. Jackie noticed that the couple had just set the quiche aside… but later, as she drove by on her way home, she saw the two of them eating the quiche. Then the next night, as I was opening the doors to our church’s shelter, I noticed the very same couple and asked, “How was the quiche?”  That’s when the woman really looked me and said to her friend, “Hey, It’s the pie lady!”  I have to admit, that was music to my ears!

Giving pie to those in need

Sharing a Quiche on the Plaza

A few Sundays ago, I finally made it to Mt. Ashland for my first ski of the season.  I’ve been having knee trouble so that has been keeping me away… and the ski area is having its own troubles: lack of snow!  Knowing how hard the staff is working to keep the mountain open, I decided to make an apple pie to thank General Manager. Hiram Towle, and his team.  When we got to the mountain, Hiram was not in the office so I left the pie with a note.  It wasn’t until later that I found out where Hiram had been… up a pole trying to fix the Windsor chair lift.  Talk about dedication!

Hiram's PieHiram fixing lift

Apple Pie… and Mt. Ashland General Manager, Hiram Towle, way up on a pole fixing a lift

Most days, you will find me making something or other to give away…. because when I hear that someone is suffering or in need, I feel compelled to help.  Truly, I am very lucky – and very grateful – to be in a position to do this. And at my very core, I know that it is the right thing for me to do.

During my “year of pies” I would sometimes be asked, “You had to make a pie everyday?”  And my answer was always the same… I never “had” to make a pie, rather, I “got” to make one.  And really, we never have to show our friends and neighbors that we appreciate them but we can always choose to do so.  And, for me, that makes all the difference.

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'” Martin Luther King Jr.
“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Pies, pies, and more pies

28 Aug

It seems that I can always find a reason to make a pie for someone.   For example, two weeks ago I was catering a rehearsal dinner for a young man and his bride-to-be.  As I spoke to his Mom I found out that her son’s favorite pie is Lemon Meringue… and so of course I just “had” to make this pie for him.  It was my way of wishing him well as he steps into the next phase of his life.

Lemon Meringue Pie

And as you may recall, my husband and I are currently hosting two Japanese exchange students, Saya and Hitomi, through a program at Southern Oregon University.  What has been most interesting is that we have found ourselves trying to see the Rogue Valley through their eyes and are acting like tourists in our own town.

Last week, we took Saya and Hitomi to the Josephine County Fair – and they were treated to the sights and sounds of Monster trucks.  This is not something that we would have ordinarily sought out, but the girls really seemed to enjoy it – and that made it all the more fun.

Hitomi and Saya at the fair

We also spent two days up at Lake of the Woods and that was really quite fun.  We visited our friend Dean (who is also hosting two students – Yuta and Hiroaki) at his family’s cabin and he took all of the kids “tubing.”  They had a blast and we were so grateful for the chance to experience the beauty and majesty of the lake.  As part of our contribution to the weekend’s festivities, I made a Blueberry Peach Cobbler for us all to share.

Prepping the Blueberry Peach Cobbler

Which brings us to this last weekend – which was our last weekend with Saya and Hitomi.  I really wanted to take them to the beach because to me one of the best parts of Oregon is the coast.  Fortunately, our friends Mark and Connie live in Gold Beach and they were more than happy to have us come for a visit.   And to thank them for their generosity we brought along the makings of a lovely dinner, some good wine, and, you guessed it, a pie:  Blueberry Peach!  Who knew that last Friday was Peach Pie Day?

Saya, Connie, Mark, and Hitomi

Not only were we blessed with gorgeous weather and good company – but we were lucky to have a chance to shop at one of the biggest “rummage sales” I’ve ever seen (which benefitted Coastal Home Health Hospice of Curry County). There was more than 15,000 square feet of merchandise to choose from and the sale was held at the Hospice Market Place on Wedderburn Loop on the north bank of the Rogue River.   What a great weekend!

Before signing off, I would like to mention that I made one additional pie this past week.  It was made for a young person I’ve never met who late one night thought that they didn’t have any options.  Fortunately, someone came to their rescue and this young person has been given a second chance at life.  Upon hearing this story, I was very grateful for second chances… and had to send a gift to let that person know that there is someone out there who doesn’t even know them… but truly cares about them.  And I believe that we all deserve second chances… and that we all are loved.  It’s that simple… and that amazing.

Day 264: Got Jumper Cables??

26 Dec

This morning we prepared to leave the home of our friends Mark and Connie. We had spent a glorious time in Gold Beach and we were ready to head home to Ashland. We did our best to leave their place in perfect condition, with the addition of a few bottles of wine, some chocolates, homemade biscotti and a bacon, spinach and onion quiche (pie 264!)

After we loaded up the car, we began our drive south to the Oregon border. We’d heard that there might be whale sightings along the coast and so we pulled into one of the viewpoints along the highway and parked the car near the bluff overlooking the ocean. We sat there and watched for about half an hour and did not see anything and then tried to start the car only to find that we’d left the lights on (it’d been foggy before) and our car would not start!

My husband thought we should call the company that provides our towing service and he went to find out where we were on the highway (specifically what mile marker). And I started thinking, how can we get someone to just give us a jump? I looked around in the car and found a brown paper grocery bag and used it to make a sign that said, “Got Jumper Cables?” I met my husband at the entrance to the viewpoint and showed him my sign and asked if he would stay with me for a few minutes while I “begged” for help. He said he’d give my “sign” 15 minutes before he was going to call the towing company.

It felt so strange to stand on the highway with a sign as people zipped by… it gave me a small idea of what the homeless folks experience each day that they do this. Fortunately as one truck drove by, I saw that the occupants waved. That was nice because most folks didn’t even seem to look at me. But I was determined… after all I didn’t think I looked too pathetic… and I had faith in the human race.

And my faith was rewarded for we were very lucky that the couple who waved came back to help us. They told me that while they could not really read my sign, they kept wondering what it had said and just had to go back to see. Thank heavens! We were on our way in no time and I gave them a couple of free coupons for Dutch Bros. Coffee… which they seemed happy to have. How wonderful that they were willing to come back to help us! I hope that there will always be people like that who are willing to help others that they meet along the way.

PS An update on pie 262: As we passed the border between Oregon and California I stopped to ask how agent Greg liked his mixed berry pie. The agent on duty told me that the pie had been much appreciated and that a few of the agents had taken some home for Christmas. I was thrilled… and as I walked back to our car a few of the agents called out “Thank you” to me. As we continued our ride home, all I could think was “this has been an absolutely amazing day.”