Friday, January 15, 2016

Dec. 31, 2015---Rogue Farms and into the coastal range by Falls City:

The last couple days have been dry and beautifully sunny.  Of course the lack of clouds also meant the air temps dropped to highs in the upper 20's.  I'm not liking the cold, but it is nice to see a sunny Oregon in the winter!
I don't remember ever going to the slough before last night!  I could hear the birds even at 1am so decided we should head back there with my new 150-600mm lens in the daylight.  I was still far from the birds, but the lens made taking pictures there a lot more interesting.

 Love the views of the mountains!

 a hawk in the distance.
 Note the bigger bird in the lower right of the picture, it is a bald eagle.  It was interesting how flocks of birds took off in the opposite direction when this guy came in.
 This is when I noticed it was a bald eagle.
 gonna have to do some practicing to be able to follow a bird in flight with this lens!
 By the time this guy flew in I was almost back to the parking lot.  It was quite cold and my hands were freezing.  Wish I had stayed down by the water a little longer! 
 A more broad view of the slough.
One of the places Tim and FAith had researched and hoped to go to was Rogue Farms in the Willamette Valley not far from Independence.  They didn't make it because the farm was closed due to all the flooding while they were here, but Ken and I decided to ride out there and see if it was open now that it had stopped raining.  It was and it was another extraordinarily beautiful ride!
On our way we passed a Lavendar farm near Independence.
 and more beautiful countryside.
 More farms and views of the mountains again.

 more interesting old barns.
 snow in the coastal range.

 even some alpacas.

nicer barns with Hex signs to ward off evil.
 After about 35 minutes we came to Rogue Farms.  It was still pretty wet.
  They have acres and acres of several different kinds of hops, plus barley, malts and even  specialty ingredients, like pumpkins and hazelnuts.  I believe all the ingredients they use for their beers are grown here.  The farm is humongous!

 I believe these were some of their hazelnut trees.

 There happened to be another Rogue garage sale going on so we went and checked it out.  We ended up buying a couple things. 

 There's even a little restaurant here.  Too bad we just had breakfast!
 I bet this place is packed in the summer.
 I'd love to come back when the hops are growing.  They grow from a rhizome so I don't think the flooding or freezing that came later is harmful to them.
 They give tours of the farm, but we didn't stay for that.  Not sure if the tours are given in the off season.
 Driving back through the countryside towards Independence was this stately barn.
 The rolling Willamette Valley.

 more from the valley.
 We rode through the valley and up into the coastal range to Falls City to check out the falls there after all the rain lately.  No kids jumping in the pool below today!
 The river above the falls.
 We continued on into the mountains to Black Rock.  Years ago Ken use to come up here to fish. 
 It was a bit frosty.
 Love how all kinds of stuff grows all over the trees.
 the frost and snow made for some pretty views.  Pretty to look at, but I like that we were able to leave it behind and go back into the valley.

 heading back down into the valley.
 another overflow stream.
 I believe this is the river Ken use to fish in.

 Back in the valley.
 We met up with my sister and her boyfriend and went to Chen's in Dallas for New Year's Eve dinner.  I don't often get chinese food so it was a nice change of pace.  Not only that, but my General Tso chicken was very good.  Then back to her house to visit until the wee hours of the morning.  Another very nice evening and end to a pretty good year!

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