Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Apple cider and plum jam

Laborday weekend we pressed 62 gallons (237 liters) of apple juice. Day's before, Bert, Maya and Cameron picked the fruit from the tree's and placed the top filled cans under the carport next to the apple press and tables for processing. It was a very nice, partly clouded day with a temperature hovering around 78 degrees. After Bert picked up the press in Eugene we started pressing at 10 AM and found ourselves cleaning up around 8 PM. Several of our guests made their way to the canopy that day for a taste of fresh organic juice or to give a hand with the press by loading the apples in the hopper or to crush the fruit with the manually operated press. Many topics past for great conversation especially when Mike (tennis teammate of Bert) and his wife joined the action. After making breakfast and routing the cleaning ladies to the cabins and rooms Ellie joined the fun in the afternoon. Bert returned the cider press the next day.

The following weekend Hubertina and Ellie (with the help of Cedric and Isabelle) made jams and sauces from the fruit of orchard. The kitchen transferred from a decent looking cooking facility into a sticky and sweet fruit smelling bubbly damp canning factory and avoidance was the key word if you did not participate. The end result was another year supply of preserved fruit that was nicely displayed with the dried fruit on the table in the dining room of the lodge. When we open a jar this winter it will remind us of the hard labor everyone put in these two weekends of September. We are sure our guests will appreciate the taste of a blend of five different kinds of plum on a Belgium hazelnut waffle or English muffin or the with blueberries and cinnamon topped off pears as an opener for breakfast.

Friday, August 15, 2008


Early this morning swarms of Mayflies above the grapes danced their way into reproduction. At the waterfront guests sipping their coffee at one of the picnic tables while enjoying the river view. I walk around with my point and shoot camera trying to capture the new paint job on the lodge and cabins. After all I like to show off the results on this blog. Hubertina did a fabulous job putting the color combination together and the feedback from guests has been great so far. So has been the quality and flexibility of our paint contractor who went the extra mile adding trim pieces and doing shingle repair. Thanks Virgil (, also for being creative with the shop doors and your help putting up gutters! It really shows!
After yesterdays hot weather we are in for a new one. Over a hundred degrees! Last time I wrote a posting about our annual BBQ party I reported something similar. Today we experience a nice breeze though, making it more bearable.
I'm making my way into the orchard. A sweet fruity smell welcomes me. I disturb a black tail deer, munching on apples that lay on the ground. We make eye contact and she takes of into the forest. It's going to be later than last year, but we are going to have a huge harvest, the fruit tree's are loaded. Ellie told me a few day's ago she's on her last jar of plum jam for our guests breakfast, reminding me at the same time that we lost two plum tree's this year. Hopefully pressing for apple cider won't be at the same time as the wine crush on Bainbridge island. You have to keep them separated!
I walk past the canopy and take a peek at my drift boat. There is some wear and tear on the chines, but the hull let the under layer of green paint shine and make this old timer look great. This summer I started guiding for myself and James, our web master ( did a great job putting a web site together for my guide service (check out: In June there was some big water in the McKenzie and it was tough getting that nymph to the bottom. I have been enjoying it tremendously and always look forward to the next trip. Alright, with this hot weather we are calling it the "dog days" for a reason, making the fishing really slow, but we also know this weather won't last and can go out and hook a few!
I'm making it back to the drive way and follow the path to the river front. After a two hundred feet I stand in front of the lodge. The darker green paint on the shingles gives it a more distinguished look especially with the white trim, ..I like it, more picture!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Hot Party

When it comes down to parties you do want to have good weather. In previous years we could rely on ideal weather conditions, not to warm not to cold. As far as I can remember only 2004 gave us some drizzle in the morning. This years annual BBQ and commemorating the Inn's being in business for 30 years was the hottest party on record. With 98 degrees (37 Celsius) and a high humidity our guests were in for a challenge. Although people showed up at four PM, most came in later, as was the five man's band just when the temperature dropped to more desirable conditions. Friends from Idaho and Portland Oregon, family from California, some arriving the day before, joined the festivities. The Olympic Trials in Eugene added excitement to the conversations especially for those who just came back from a day spend at Hayward Field. A variety of courses and side dishes where available in a buffet style set up close to the rivers edge. Later in the evening the temperature dropped as a breeze introduced some thunder clouds. With a smaller crowd, but bigger topics, the setting was compromised to the canopy when sprinkles fell and a showcase of lightning behind the butte lighted up the sky and the roaring river. With just a handful of people left we decided it to call it a day after it was said that it was an other great party and anniversary at the McKenzie River Inn. Next day many enjoyed the cooler temperatures as they were floating down the river in an original wooden McKenzie drift boat bringing an end to an weekend full of socializing and interaction. We are very appreciative of all guests showing up and especially the persons attending to the chicken, ribs and salmon as well the man and women who help preparing the side dishes and setting the tables to make this event an other success. Also many thanks for the musicians entertaining us with songs from the sixties to present. See you all next year!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Spring preparation

Well, here we are! A shipload of snow in the mountains, a weather change for the better, and a lot of work to do. Fisherman's weekend (April 26th) coming up with hobnobbing at the boat show next door at the Eagle Rock Lodge, as a kick off for the fishing season. It looks like we have a bigger draw to guided fly-fishing on the river this year, since many of the lakes are snow blocked and inaccessible for fisherman.
In the meantime we prepare ourselves for a new paint job on the Lodge and cabins. We are looking forward to new colors on the cedar shakes and fresh painted eve's and trim. Hopefully the weather helps us out to have this done before our annual BBQ party on Saturday the 28th of June. The preparations are in full swing. We are celebrating and commemorating the Inn's being in business for 30 years, it will be a big event. It all starts around 4.00 PM. The McKenzie River inn will be providing gifts, music, salmon, ribs & chicken as well our usual wine tasting featuring award winning wines by Al de Klerk. If you are interested in joining make sure you RSVP at 541 822 6260.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Law conference

For a second year in a row the McKenzie River Inn hosted a wealth of people from March 4th to march 7th. This time for the 26th annual Public Interest Environmental Law Conference. The three day event was as spectacular as the people themselves. We had the pleasure to share idea's and gather the long lost wisdom from elder Americans about the many topics that concern so many of us. From compelling a climate of change to the reduction of our carbon footprint, workshops, panels, scientists, activists and other participants yielded an abundance of energy, innovation and inspiration for all who attended.
On a personal note I have learned these four days a great deal about the implications of the destruction, pollution and the vast changing of the ancestral lands of the indigenous people (who are and have been living in harmony with their natural surroundings with respect for all forms of life) and how they have to deal with the protection of their communities from these environmental changes.

With contributions of the Native Forest Council (thanks Tim ) and Infraspect (thanks William) a salmon dinner was prepared by Ellie, our innkeeper, and myself at the main lodge on the day of our guests arrival. We all could enjoy each others company while exchanging expertise and insights not only within the political realm of climate change but also in conjunction with finding solutions from the social and ecological angle. Despite that the perception of developments in environment law is no light material it was obvious that our guests were able to enjoy our facilities and setting at the river. We found ourselves fortunate enough to have such great guests and to host and meet people from all over the country. The overall sound of all the different voices was for us as pleasing as an overstuffed pillow.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Winter spell

January started out with a winter chill. Nearly 10 feet (3 meters) of winter snow has accumulated already in parts of the Cascades and guests have been skiing at Hoodoo in excellent snow powder and taken beautiful pictures of a winter wonderland on the McKenzie which lasted at our place for a day or five. Fortunately the elevation of the McKenzie River Inn is about a thousand feet and the snow mostly doesn't stick so the road stays clear.
It is also the time of year that people start making plans for their summer travels and for couples with wedding plans to check for available dates. Fishing season is just a couple of months ahead of us and equipment is being checked. Drift boats are getting a fresh coat of varnish and the rafts inspected and washed for the fishing and rafting season. It's a great time of the year!