Sunday, December 16, 2007

Heceta Head Light House

Son of a Bun Hugger, It was one of those days. You know the type where - everything that could go wrong does, UNEXPECTEDLY. Freddies (a pacific northwest Krogers) was definitely crowded yesterday morning. But that is to be expected, sheesh it’s only 7 shopping days till Christmas. I am not a Safeway shopper and in my tiny burg that is the two choices you have. I’ll be going to Safeway later. With two more (maybe three) batches of Kahlua to make I was in need of vanilla bean. Freddies was out, or so I thought when a row of previously unseen bottles flashed before my eyes. $20 friggin bucks for dried up, clinks when shaken Vanilla Bean. $20 bucks. If that is what I will have to pay I will quit making Kahlua.

I came home, put the groceries away. And went out to put out the icicle lights for Ducky to hang. WTF! We bought them at the end of last season. They are half the length and somehow one of the six boxes is not white lights, but multi color. Where six boxes had done the entire house before, I’m thinking six strings of these lights wouldn’t even do the front of the house. And they can only be strung together in sets of three. Bummer dude.

After I put the lights back into their box and thought about who I could dump them on, I went inside and thought I’d work on my candy bowls that I need to ship. I’d bought six-packs of Original Chocolate Sins hand-dipped truffles and thought this year I’d make coconut haystacks to finish off the bowls.

This year’s bowls are beautiful. Every year the Florence Food Share has local artist create bowls and they are sold off one night for $10 each. All money raised goes to the Florence Food Share to fill the shelves of the food pantry. I get some great bowls, make a bit of an extra donation (I mean I get some great bowls and they need the money, WTF) and I give them as gifts. So I placed my coconut under the broiler (yes I remembered to take it out of the bag,) put the chocolate chips into a bowl over boiling water to melt, and went and divided my stocking goodies into individual bags so I could keep track of what I’d done.

Soon my attention was drawn back to the kitchen by the roiling smoke billowing up from the sides of my flattop. I’d forgotten the coconut. I quickly grabbed the dish and took it out to the deck so the smoke would dissipate. Black coconut does not haystacks make. Which is fine because my chocolate chips refused to melt and instead just turned grainy. WTF? (this is possibly my new holiday greeting.)

So on my score sheet for the day No Vanilla Bean –1, No Christmas lights – 6, no coconut (well I have coconut but I’m not going there) –1, grainy chocolate lump –1. For a grand total of minus 8 on the day.

Heceta Lighthouse (pronounced Ha-sea-ta) for the last eight years has held a Victorian Christmas. I always mean to go. So earlier in the day as asked Ducky for a date. We drove up to Heceta Head (the man is night blind I swear.) As we rounded the rounder at Sea Lion Caves you could see the lights on the Light keepers house gleaming in the night. Beautiful, but not the lights that I’d expected.

The highlight of the night was the short trek from the light keeper’s house (in pitch dark) to the light tower for a guided tour. I’ve always wanted to do this. Ducky didn’t even know you could do this. It was awesome.

Our tour was led by a volunteer who was quite knowledgeable about the tower and the history of the light station. Only four tourists are allowed up the tower at a time because of the deterioration of the structure. Brick work needs repair, the stairs are even breaking down, the government has given up and pays nothing for the up keep of Heceta Head Lighthouse. Surprise! (btw this is me not ranting about the cost we’ll fork over in the billions of dollars for one man’s war on the world, but nada for the strongest beacon on Oregon Coast) every cent that keeps the light house going is through donations. I’m sincerely thinking about donating $10 a month, I know it’s not much, but it’s what I can afford.

We learned about the Fresnel lenses that powers the beam 21 miles out to sea. We now could figure out which light is the Heceta, the Umpqua, the Charleston and the Yaquina by their timing and series of lights (I mean if we were out at sea – which ain’t going to happen anytime soon if Ducky has his way.) We learned that the 2 ton lens is put together with putty and so well balanced that it is run by an itty bitty little 4 horsepower motor – 2 tons. And in the days when the lamp was powered by kerosene lantern, it was seen 21 miles out to sea. I love knowledge like this. Fabulous!

Following our tour we walked back down the hill chatting with the other lady in our tour (she is from Yachats – pronounced Ya-hots.) The three of us went into the light keepers house to be greeted by warmth, Christmas music by a small combo set up in the corner of one room and cups of delicious hot apple cider and cookies.

As the holiday’s go, my day was a total disaster. But the night was awesome.

Merry Christmas.


The son of a Irish Rebel said...

Cele, yer killing me. I miss Florence so much. I loved going into old twon and sitting in the back of the Coffee Roasters and having a cupa joe while watching the seals swim by and the birds crap on everything.

A few of us divers swam around the lighthouse point just to see if we could.... ohhh ya... the crabs!

Every few days I would drop into the mouth of the river and dive down for my limit of D-crabs..... then toss them into the boiling water my wife had going on the shore along with some melted butter and a glass of wine....

I miss Florence.


Cele said...

Hey Irish I was wondering where you disappeared to.

Coffee Roasters is a busy little place these days, but the pastries are only matched by the great coffee, the view, and company. I can understand you missing Florence (in truth my husband would love to miss Florence - but I love my job, so he commutes to Goshen) I can't imagine why anyone would move from except for work.

If you ever come back we'll have to meet for coffee and conversation at Coffee Roasters.

Lisa Sarsfield said...

Hi Cele, I came hear from DC Confidentials blog..just doing a bit of surfing so thought I would pay a visit! I've enjoyed your blog and would love to actually see that lighthouse for myself! I had a day like yours just recently too! Must be a symptom of the silly season!
Lisa :)