Cape Falcon Kayak summer update 2012
I have a confession to make, last week was the first time
I've been in a kayak in months. As someone who's built
their reputation as a designer on being a fierce and avid
paddler, I share this information with a guilty
concience. The truth is, I've lived and breathed
kayaking for the last fifteen years and lately my other interests have
pushed the paddle aside. Mostly it's my passion for every
aspect of local food that is eating up my hours right now, and
that's a good thing, because there aren't many things more
important than supporting the shift from a petrochemical intensive food
economy (fertilizer, pesticide, gasoline), to something we can
actually sustain. The silver lining of that dark cloud is
that you don't need to be an environmentalist to enjoy food that
explodes with flavor. It's an easy issue to support.
field points shot at 50yds
One competitor for my free time these days is this wicked
contraption, a sixty-pound draw fiberglass compound
been a rifle hunter
for six years now and while I enjoy the opportunity to participate as
closely as possible in the cycle of life and death in pursuit of wild
game, I don't enjoy the 4 day elk hunting season where every
redneck with a rifle goes out maurading through the woods.
matter how much time you spend learning the animal because with that
much pressure, everything changes on opening day.
It's not hunting,
it's a lottery.
broadheads shot at 50yds
Bow hunting on the other hand is a
lifestyle. It means spending all your free time
shooting arrows and creeping around in the woods, learning animals and
their habits more closely than you ever thought possible.
All of that practice might boil down to a three second opportunity
where you must draw, aim, and release a single arrow, that MUST
hit an area the size of a softball. The focus and
discipline required has all sorts of ancilliary benefits. Waking
up every morning and walking down to a dew covered field, relaxing
every part of my body, setting up the target, pulling an
arrow from the quiver, always aware of the razor tip,
drawing back with perfect posture and exhaling lighly to steady the
sight as I drop into an timeless space and try to trip the release
without thinking about it. Twang! shhooop,
Thunk. It's so much more than just hunting practice,
it's a wonderful meditation, but it's also a commitment
that I'm taking very seriously. I've even gone
so far as to build a life size elk target which
destroys any arrow outside the 12 inch kill zone. That's
mistake, it's my way of forcing myself not to release on shaky
Our farm is growing like crazy right now, and anyone who has ever
had a garden knows that even a little bit of agriculture takes a lot of
work. Luckily I'm not responsible for the growing,
but as the resident carpenter, plumber, electrician, I'm kept
plenty busy. Aside from growing vegetables for our 65
person CSA and the farmers market, we also process our own ducks
and chickens for personal consumption. It's a messy task,
but just like the hunting I prefer to be part of the
The freshly killed chicken in this solar oven is called a Freedom
Ranger, it's a french meat chicken that takes longer to
grow but is much heathier than the creepy mutant cornish-cross,
which even when given free range simply lies on the ground and gets
disgustingly obese. The Freedom ranger on the other hand wanders
around like a normal chicken, nibbling grass and bugs and living
what seems to be a happy life.
After adding herbs from the garden we slow cooked this chicken for 2
1/2 hours in the solar oven. The vapor tight oven seals in
moisture and the result is out of this world flavor.
The taste of the Freedom chicken is so much better than a cornish-cross.
Having just turned the corner into August, everything is in full
bloom right now. It's not easy to grow tomatoes on the
Oregon Coast, but with early starts, greenhouses, and an
expert farmer, our first tomatoes are ripening
nicely. These heirloom tomatoes are sweet and juicy
in a way that store bought hybrids can't touch. Add a
little goat cheese and balsamic vinegar.
Ginger is the farmer, I'm the builder, and for years now
we've mused that what we need is a chef! This winter I
started dating Lee (center of photo), and managed to lure
her out to our farm with promises of farm raised duck and produce
picked that day. As a passionate local-vore, she
simply couldn't resist, and when a space opened up at the farmers
market, she was ready to cook! Mixing her formidible
culinary talents with fresh food from the market itself, Lee
showcases local farms with a different menu every week.
Simple yet creative, Lee
gift to "see" flavors in her head and no matter how eclectic the
ingredients appear, the result is always the same, you put
it in your
mouth and the first impression is "wow, this works!"
I made the signs and the table.
A week later I was overhearing people rave about her booth at the
coffee shop. If you've eaten Lee's food that wouldn't
surprise you but what happened next surprised all of us.
The charming country inn down the road which is also an exclusive
top-rated restaurant was slated to close this August because both
owners were moving on to new opportunities. In an amazingly
generous gesture, they decided to offer it to Lee instead if she
could keep up with the bills. Incredible.
On August 24th Lee will re-open the restaurant as Dinner, at the
Nehalem River Inn. A farm-to-table restaurant that combines the
standards of fine dining with a casual atmosphere, with a
foundation of the freshest possible grass-fed meats and organic local
I have every faith in her talent and we're all excited to explore the
synergies of our local farms and her restaurant. To that
effect I'm throwing my full weight behind her with a Cape Falcon
remodel this winter. Hardwood floors, thick slab,
live edge furniture and tables, edison bulbs, the new
aesthetic will be one of heft, and substance, with as many items as
possible made from local and salvage sources, finely finished of
course. She'll be closing during the month of January and
when she reopens you can expect to enjoy a this unique space while
eating food that doesn't need my superlatives to validate
it. In the meantime, I encourage you to come visit
the coast and experience her cooking, maybe stay a night or two
at the Inn.
Here's a peek at her last farmers market menu, just to make you
On the kayak building front, I'm still doing what I do
well, teaching people to build the very best skin-on-frame
kayaks, during week long classes where you get so much more than
just a kayak. You get to experience the magic of this place
and experience the reality of what it takes to grow
your own food and make a life off-the-grid. It's a lot of
work, but it's a blessing, and I'm passionate about sharing
this journey. For my part I get to meet so many amazing
people that I would otherwise
never come into contact with, it really is a privilege.
From a purely artistic point of view, even after all these years
I find the aesthetic of the entire process to be as compelling as
ever. The whole build is art in motion, and you get a
kayak at the end of it.
On the mornings I can muster it, I enjoy rowing out at 5am and
trolling for salmon in the guide boat. There aren't many of these
fish around, but every ten trips or so, the line will go
crazy and the reel will start to sing, and I get to come home
with one of these amazing creatures in the icebox.
Occasionally I can even con someone else into taking the
oars. On this day we passed by another fisherman in a
rowboat who leaned out and shouted, "well that's the best lookin
outboard motor I've ever seen!" I agree.
Thanks to my friends Laura and Kerry, I did manage to make it out
in a sea kayak the other day, on an rare calm Pacific ocean
day. We explored caves, and pocket
beaches where I found the kayaker-built buoy-man sculpture at
the top of this update! I got to watch two F1's in the
hands of experienced
kayakers, doing so well what it was designed to
do. Paddling is in my blood so I don't forsee any
permanent dip in my enthusiasm for one of the easiest and cheapest ways
to experience so much beauty and thrill.
...of course no trip would be complete these days without some
connection to food. I feel so fortunate to combine my two
passions in a single trip. We cooked this black rockfish with
chili paste and cilantro, and then made fish tacos with plenty of
fresh ingredients from the farm. Perfect.
Back to Cape Falcon
Bonus Photo, another in a series I'm calling,
'things close to Gingers face' enjoy.