Here, in the great Midwest, here in Missouri, winter has not been a spectacular season. It has been, quite often, very cold…but without snow, and I believe that cold without snow is a waste of freezing temperatures. When we have had precipitation, it has been rain. The rain is much welcome, since we have been in drought conditions for some time now…but, snow melts into fresh water! I do not want anyone to believe I enjoy ice on the roads, but in a winter like we have had, a little ice on the bare branches of our trees has been a glittery, welcome sight on two occasions. As you can tell, winter fatigue has set in.
So, I remember the ocean, the Oregon sunshine, the walks on the beach with some of our family, the rocks I explored that I knew nothing about, and best of all…the sea creatures I got to see up close and personal.
I have written a couple posts about our trip to Oregon last summer, but now I want to share my favorite part…our week on the Pacific Ocean in Lincoln City. Each and every morning, we awoke to the foggy layer that covers the ocean at sunrise, and watched it as it lifted and left a crystal day. Each night we went to sleep after watching the sun set off our patio…
Each morning we got up, had breakfast, and went out to explore…up and down the coastline. The waters off the Oregon coast are pretty cold, too cold for most of us to swim in, but that did not mean we did not get wet, we did not tempt the waves, nor that we did not climb back in the car, many times, with really cold toes.
Our first big stop was Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area in Newport. We walked on the rocky beach to peer into the tide pools, and looked across the rocks and into the sky to find other wildlife. The two kids were awestruck…so were the big “kids”.
And the birds…so many on the rocks of Yaquina Head. Many birds come here to nest.
And my personal favorite…the seals…
We also visited the light house at Yaquina Head, a most beautiful backdrop to the tide pools…
and we stopped to take pictures of the scenery on our way.
Another day we traveled to the Neskowin Ghost Forest…also known as the petrified beach. In the winter of 1997-1998, heavy storms uncovered the petrified remains of ancient sitka spruce trees that had been buried for centuries. At one time, possibly as many as 2000 years ago, these trees were part of a forest that was destroyed. Many believe the forest was destroyed by an earthquake or a tsunami. While we will never know for sure what destroyed the forest, what remains is a beautiful, almost haunting area of ocean fog, and over 100 petrified stumps.
There is something mystical and magic about this place…
But I have saved the very best for last. Not far from our beach house was a place, known to locals as the Secret Beach…and several people I spoke with indicated they wanted to keep it that way. We were so happy the owner of our rental house shared its location with us. It was to the Secret Beach that we went to walk, to explore, to hide behind big rocks, to run until we were exhausted, where I went to draw, and to gaze out on the ocean, knowing we could stay only until the tide came rushing back in.
Enter our Secret Beach…
The scenery was incredible, but for me, the ocean life exposed at low tide was the most amazing. It would have been impossible to count the number of sea stars and the number of sea anemones we saw. Here is but a sampling…
And then there was this little guy…
What an extraordinary trip it was to the Pacific Coast of Oregon…and now I am ready for warmer weather, further travels, and new discoveries! I hope you can find a secret beach, a secret forest…a secret and special place to relax too! I just can’t tell you where our secret beach is!
Oregon Style Salmon Cakes
I remember when I was a little girl, and my mom used to make “salmon patties”. The prize for each of us four siblings was finding the little, chewy bones in the salmon. These salmon cakes remind me of those patties mom used to make, but maybe just a little bit better…and I still look for those little bones as a special treat.
Oregon Style Salmon Cakes
This is a delicious way to get dinner on the table in half an hour using a can of salmon.
- 1 (14.75 oz.) can of high quality salmon
- 2Tbsp. butter
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 cup cracker crumbs
- 2 eggs, slightly beaten
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, or 1 Tbsp. dried
- 1 tsp. dry mustard, plain mustard will work just fine
- 3 Tbsp. shortening
- Drain the salmon, reserving 1/4-1/2 cup of the liquid. Flake the meat.
- Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, and cook until translucent.
- In a medium bowl, combine the onions with the reserved salmon liquid, 1/2 cup of the cracker crumbs, eggs, parsley, mustard and salmon. Start with 1/4 cup of the reserved liquid and add more if the mixture is too dry.
- Mix until blended, and form into six cakes.
- Coat each cake in the remaining cracker crumbs, and sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper on each salmon cake.
- Fry salmon cakes in shortening, turning once, to brown on both sides.