Worms and Cheese

Winter arrives, shadows (where there are any) lengthen then yield to evening; it’s inside time. Put a log in the stove, pour a glass of wine, and settle down to a good read, like Carlo Ginzburg’s The Cheese and the Worms (which is, honestly, about neither cheese nor worms but a good read nonetheless.) And if you can find some, give yourself a few slices of Beaufort, probably the best cheese in the world. Bar none. Beaufort comes from the Savoie, a tiny region in SE France and one of the reasons why Beaufort is far better than, say, Cheez-Whiz (a cheese-food product we all Read More

A Commitment to Place

In the last two weeks I have had the pleasure of hearing Charles Goodrich read from his work twice. If you do not know the writing of local literary hero Charles Goodrich … well, I will let that be forgiven for the moment. Homework item #1: Go pick up ‘Insects of South Corvallis’ (my favorite) to dip into on one of these stormy afternoons. (You’re welcome). I’ve listened to Charles read many times before, but it was something in his delivery this time around that caused my eyes to well up and my throat to constrict. You know that feeling – when something someone says just Read More

Wild in the Willamette

Wild in the Willamette is a literary compendium and guidebook to natural areas in the mid-Willamette Valley. The goal of the book is to introduce readers to those areas of the mid-Willamette Valley that may be new to them, through enticing trail descriptions, engaging essays by noted authors, and clear maps. Wild in the Willamette is being published by OSU Press, with a release date of Fall, 2015. All proceeds from the publication will be directed to Greenbelt Land Trust, a conservation organization working on protecting the mid-Valley’s natural areas, rivers, wildlife, and trails Lorraine Anderson is a freelance writer and editor with a special interest Read More

White Oaks

Large ancient white oaks (Quercus garryana) with their broad, rounded canopies are one of the Willamette Valley’s most profound residents.  Their deep incised bark, lustrous green-colored lobed leaves and stout gnarled limbs make for a beautiful and majestic tree.  Thin strands of lichen drape from their branches, their upper canopies are often filled with bunches of mistletoe, and thick vines of poison oak cover their lower trunks which adds to the image of an organism that is primal and deeply rooted in the history of the Valley.  On fertile soils, the trunks of some legacy oaks may be 5 feet in diameter.  Occasionally when a Read More

From Tree to Lumber

This year for a birthday celebration 15 members of my family went on a tour of Hull-Oakes Lumber Mill (we like to think outside the box with birthday parties – just go with it) located in a small valley’s end outside of Monroe near Bellfountain. Hull-Oakes was, until very recently when it switched to electrical operations, one of the last steam-powered mills in the country, and going on a tour there is like stepping back in time: think Ken Kesey’s Sometimes a Great Notion. Our boisterous bunch was led through the Mill, watching as a hefty log, fresh off of the truck, was plopped into the mill pond and Read More