I have been missing in action the last several days because we have been celebrating what I am calling “Jay 3.0”. In other words, my fabulous husband Jay turned 30 this past weekend. We rented out a huge beach house on the Oregon coast and invited some of his closest friends. The car was loaded up with everything we could want for a long, leisurely weekend.

The out-of-towners starting arriving mid-week, coming in from far away, exotic locations like LA and Oklahoma :) Lucky for us they appreciate fine, NW microbrews so we had time to visit a few watering holes before heading out. The Deschutes Brewery, which is perhaps my favorite microbrewery, just opened a location in downtown Portland. I was underwhelmed with their “Armory Ale”, but it’s still a cool location and I am excited to try their many other beers on tap and on cask. We also made a stop to the Horse Brass, which is a wonderful yet obscenely smoky English pub in southeast. They have at least 50 beers on tap – one of the best beer selections in town.

We completely lucked out weather-wise. The temperature was pushing the mid-90’s this in Portland, which meant a lovely 80-something on the Oregon coast. I can’t remember ever being able to sunbath in my swimming suit on the coast without shivering, but the weather was warm enough to do so all four days we were there. We had a true beach party yesterday, complete with a cooler full of drinks and some beach sports games. My pasty, fair Oregon skin has a nice tan to show for those long sunny days spent outside on the sand.

I was nervous about making the food for everyone all weekend, but I really just wanted everyone to show up and have fun – and let me do the rest. The meals I planned were really easy and fast to prepare. There was plenty of time for me to still kick back and relax with everyone. One of our friends cooked up a huge brunch one morning with about 24 eggs from our hens. From those few days that we were gone though, the girls have been working on restocking our egg basket already.

I took a turn around the garden this afternoon and the alliums have fully opened! The melon seeds I planted last weekend seem to be sprouting up already. Everything looks a little wilty from the heat, so I will spend the evening watering everything down. Definitely not a good idea to water in the heat of the day, since so much will evaporate off and the leaves might burn in the sun. Such a fun weekend, but now it’s back to the grind of things!

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Written by Renee Wilkinson