Tuesday, November 29, 2011

December Delights

This is my monthly list for December of free and low cost events around the greater Portland area.  I look for events with educational or cultural value.   I compile this list each month for the homeschool group that we belong to, which includes kids 9 and under.  So I include events that don't specifically exclude this age group, but most have much wider appeal.  This month's guest proofreader is The Great Cthulhu, because he must be obeyed; resistance is futile.  So, please doublecheck anything you might want to attend in case of mistakes, typos, and cancellations.

OregonLive.com once again has an extensive list of local light displays, performances, and other Christmas happenings, which can be found here:  http://www.oregonlive.com/performance/index.ssf/2011/11/holiday_events_guide_eight_wee.html  Some special ones include Storybook Lane in Forest Grove, a really lovely display created in 1936 and only open every other year.  It's scheduled to open December 15.  Check their Facebook page for details.   (This should not be missed, and is well worth the drive!)  Alpenrose Dairy is opening their Christmas in Dairlyville this year after being closed for 6 years!  It will be open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays beginning Dec. 2 (see website for hours).  And the Christmas Ships will sail once again.  This is a really lovely and unusual display.  For details on where and when to see them, check here:  http://www.christmasships.org/

If you are interested in service learning projectsSOLV has lots of environmental projects, and there are many tree plantings this time of year which are typically quite kid friendly.  (You may want to bring along some kid's gardening gloves, because they only provide adult sizes for volunteers).  Many more volunteer opportunities are listed with Hands On Greater Portland, and you can search their listings by ages and by location.

I compiled a list of seasonal train related events in this post:  http://stagbeetlepower.blogspot.com/2011/11/trains-trains-and-more-trains.html

Homeschooler’s Globe-trotting Adventures”, Thursday, December 1, and Thursday, December 15, 1:30PM, Ledding Library of Milwaukie. “Homeschoolers ages 5 and up are invited to join us twice a month for arts, crafts and games from around the world.” 

Christmas Revels Present, “The King and the Fool”,  Friday, December 2- Sunday, December 11, Scottish Rite Theater, 709 SW 15th Ave., Pdx.    See website for details: http://www.portlandrevels.org/revels.php?page=this-years-show  For adults and children four and over.  This is more expensive than other things I list, but cool enough to list anyway. “Our festive new show will bring to Portland audiences the wonderful music, dance and traditions of Medieval and Renaissance England, delightfully presented within an accessible narrative rooted in historic tradition.  The Christmas Revels show guarantees fun for all ages in a colorfully costumed audience-interactive pageant full of cultural history and traditions.  The ‘King and the Fool’ script takes audiences to a wonderful winter feast in the castle of a King who might be King Henry V returned from his great victory at Agincourt in 1415. There is much merriment and festive entertainment, especially headed up by the Kings’ Fool, as mimed by Burl Ross, who tests the king’s patience while uproariously usurping the royal role. Cultural traditions dictate that life is topsy turvey at the medieval solstice and so the King (to be played by Gray Eubank) must put up with the insubordination of his fool and the mischievous children of the court. The music, dance, and comedy continue until, in the midst of the court's revelry, a Black Knight enters and confronts the king; suddenly, like winter, darkness temporarily defeats royalty and the spirit of celebration. But the spirit and the kingdom are saved by the King's Fool in a hilarious yet moving hand-to-hand unusual encounter with Death. The auditioned cast of 60 talented local amateur singers (adults, teens, and children) are joined by the multi-instrumentalist Revels Renaissance Band, the Merry Medieval Morris Men, and the Portland Brass Quintet, who will lend their festive musical flair and fabulous sound effects.”

Jane A Theatre Company Presents, “Frankenstein the Little Monster”,  through December 18, Theatre! Theatre!, 3430 SE Belmont, Pdx. Tickets are free, but must be reserved, see website for details: http://www.jane-a-theater-company.org/ “Little Frankie is out of control and his parents don't know what to do. The Village Locals are up in arms and Ignore the Nanny hasn't a clue. Will patience and civility come in to play? Can Emily Post fly in for the day? With Songs, Jokes, Dances and a message or two; It’s fun for the whole family! It's The Hullabaloo!” 

Family Clay Nights”, Friday December  2 and Friday December 9, from 6PM-8:30PM, Multnomah Arts Center, 7688 SW Capitol Hwy., Pdx. No preregistration required. “Come as a family and play with clay! $10/hr per adult and child pair. $4/hr for each additional child. Includes glazes, firings, and 5 lbs of clay. Not for solo participants. This is an adult and child activity. Use of the potter’s wheel by instructor approval only. Pay at Multnomah Arts Center office.” http://www.multnomahartscenter.org/

New and Amazing!  Gadget Petting Zoo, Classes and Workshops”, Friday, December 2, 10:30AM, Tigard Library Technology Room. For adults and teens, and may be of particular interest to homeschooling parents. “Curious about e-readers, iPads and other tech devices?  Experience them first-hand at the Technology Petting Zoo.  Staff will demonstrate how some popular devices function and how they work with Library services. Classes are on a first-come, first-served basis.”

The Alphabeticians”, Saturday, December 3, 4PM, at E.A.T., 850 NE 81st Ave., Pdx; Sunday December 4 and 18  at 10AM at Flying Cat Cofffee, 3041 SE Division, Pdx ($5 donation per family). Mr. Hoo will also be playing every Tuesday at 10AM at Soundroots, 3954 N. Williams Ave., Pdx (an interactive show with instruments for the kids, $5 admission per child); every Thursday at 10AM at Flying Cat Coffee ($5 donation per family), and Friday December 2, 9, 16, and 23 at 11AM at Milagros Boutique, 5433 NE 30th Ave., Pdx. “The Alphabeticians, Mister Hoo and Mister E, have been best friends since their salad days in the mid 80s. They formed The Alphabeticians after they both became fathers, heard some of the music that was promoted as “Kid's” music and thought, “We can do better than that.” They combine humor, clever (mostly original) songs, interactive elements and an all around great stage show to entertain people of all ages. Adults have as much fun as kids at a typical show, where you're likely to hear songs about numbers, size, dads, metaphors, bags, monsters, extinct fish and multiple alphabet songs.” http://www.thealphabeticians.com/

Lantern Tour of Fort Vancouver”, Saturday, December 3 and 17, 6:30PM, Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, 1001 E. 5th St., Vancouver, WA.  $10 for adults and $7 for children under 15. Reservations required; call 360-816-6230.  “Take a lantern-lit journey with a Park Ranger through a night at Fort Vancouver! Peak into the past with vignettes by costumer interpreters, and learn about your urban national park then and now. You will be touring through the fort buildings and enjoying hot cider with the costumed interpreters!” http://www.nps.gov/fova/planyourvisit/lantern-tour.htm

Dennis’ 7 Dees hosts “Reindeer Magic!, Saturday, December 3, 10AM- 5PM, Eastside Garden Center, 6025 SE Powell Blvd. Pdx.;  Friday December 9, 10AM- 5PM, Lake Oswego Garden Center, 1090 McVey Ave., Lake Oswego, OR; and Saturday, December 10, 10 am to 5 pm, Cedar Hills Garden Center, 10455 SW Butner Rd., Portland. “For the second year, we will have Santa's reindeer help us kick off the holiday season. Enjoy some apple cider and cookies while visiting the live reindeer. Frosty will bring his pal and children can have their picture taken with the reindeer for free!” http://www.dennis7dees.com/garden-centers/calendar.php?Reindeer%20Magic!

Heritage Holiday”, Saturday, December 3, 2PM-6PM, McLoughlin House, 713 Center Street, Oregon City, OR.  Free admission.  “Celebrate the holidays in the style of the 1850s! Enjoy live music and period entertainments.” http://www.mcloughlinhouse.org/

Champoeg Holiday Gathering”, Saturday, December 3, 1PM-4PM, Champoeg State Park,  $5 day use fee per vehicle.  “Join costumed volunteers in a celebration of the season! Make seasonal treats, put greens together for a swag for your door, listen and sing along to favorite holiday music by Heartstrings.” http://www.champoeg.org/event/cmjjb29yodhzywt1m3bnmtg3ymqxytqwnxmgzhzwdjvuzni2nm84nxjpbjfzngtvnnrsng9azw/4.html?end=1322953200&start=1322942400

ScanFair”, Saturday, December 3, 10AM-5PM, and Sunday, December 4, 11AM-4PM, Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum at Rose Quarter, 330 N. Winning Way, Pdx.  $6 Adults, $5 Seniors and students, free for children under 12. “Something you would see only at a Scandinavian festival is a pickled herring eating contest noon on Saturday. This is the fifth year of the ScanFair Dance, sponsored by SHF and the Norske Runddansere dance group. The dance, at the Polish Library Building, begins at 7:00 with lessons for beginning dancers and ends at 10 p.m.  Celebrate the 56th crowning of the official Oregon Lucia, Queen of Light, on stage Sunday at 1:00 pm. This tradition brings a beautiful story of charity and love in Lucia who wears the crown of candles and brings light at the darkest time of year.  SCANDINAVIAN ARTS and CRAFTS: ScanFair is the only event in Portland where all the beautiful Scandinavian traditional and modern arts and crafts come together in one place for a two-day festival and marketplace.  THE PIPPI LONGSTOCKING ROOM: Children have a special room where they can make traditional Scandinavian Christmas crafts, including Danish Hjerte or woven hearts and Swedish Julgranskaramel (poppers) to decorate the Christmas tree. SCANDINAVIAN FILM: One of the popular features of ScanFair is the video room. Sit for a few minutes or an afternoon and enjoy a Danish, Finnish, Icelandic, Swedish or Norwegian film. SCANDINAVIAN DELICACIES: Eat food on the spot or take baked goods home. Enjoy Danish aebleskiver (apple pancake balls), Norwegian lefse and krum kake, Swedish meatballs with lingonberries, pickled herring and flat bread, rice pudding and fruit soup, Vorm Korv (hot dogs) and lots of coffee.  CULTURAL EXPLORATIONS: Purchase books, meet authors, research your family's roots with the Scandinavian Genealogical Society, check out Scandinavian language schools.” http://www.scanheritage.org/c-50-scanfair.aspx  This is one not to be missed cultural festival! 

Adventures with Bugs”, Saturday, December 3, 10:30AM, Sellwood-Moreland Library; Friday, December 9, 4PM, Rockwood Library; Friday, December 16, 4PM, Midland Library;  Wednesday, December 21, 11AM, Hillsdale Library (free tickets will be given out at 10:30); and Wednesday, December 28, 3PM, Holgate Library. “You will not be afraid of bugs after learning about all the amazing things they can do! Join the Bug Chicks, two female entomologists (bug scientists), in exploring the world of insects, spiders and their relatives. You can even hold, pet and look at all sorts of crazy creatures including tarantulas, cockroaches, scorpions and more!” http://thebugchicks.com/ Highly recommended!!! 

Smith and Bybee Wetlands Natural Area Bird Walk”, Saturday, December 3, 8AM- 11AM, meeting at the Backyard Bird Shop, 1419 NE Fremont Ave., Pdx. Free. Advance registration required; call 503-445-2699.  “This free expert-guided walk along the trails and boardwalks of Smith and Bybee Wetlands Natural Area is a great opportunity to learn about wetland wildlife such as Osprey, Bald Eagles and Western painted turtles. Smith and Bybee Wetland is the largest protected urban wetland within any American city and offers a variety of wetland and deciduous forest habitats ideal for bird and wildlife watching. Naturalist and educator, Elaine Murphy, will acquaint you with this rich habitat, its birds, mammals, and reptiles.” http://backyardbirdshop.com/index.php/site/event/smith_and_bybee_wetlands_natural_area_bird_walk_december_3/

Guided Nature Walks”, Saturday December 3, 10, and 17, 10AM-11:30AM, Tryon Creek State Park. “Join a park ranger for a free, guided nature hike to explore the forest and stream ecosystems and natural history at Tryon Creek State Natural Area. Topics will vary from week to week but will be appropriate for all ages. Parents must accompany kids on all hikes.” December 3:  Magnificent Moss and Lovely Lichen;  December 10:  Wildlife Detectives; December 17:  Drummers of the Forest- Woodpeckers.   http://www.tryonfriends.org/

American Indian Symbols and Mask Making”, Saturday, December 3, 3PM, Northwest Library (free tickets will be given out at 2:30PM);  and Saturday, December 10, 2PM, Albina Library (free tickets will be given out at 1:30PM). “Learn about Northwest Coast Native American culture through mask making. Handcrafted masks were used by tribes for various purposes; masks were worn during ceremonies, given as gifts or used for medicinal purposes. Participants will create their own mask while artist Maranee Sanders tells stories and shares the meaning behind the masks.” http://www.ya-or.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=cEducator.main&sectionID=6&pageID=102&performerID=99

Festive Candle Making”, Saturday, December 3, 2PM, Fairview-Columbia Library; Saturday, December 10, 2PM, Gregory Heights Library (preregistration required; register online) Thursday, December 15, 3:30PM, Belmont Library (preregistration required;  register online) and Monday, December 19, 3PM, Hollywood Library (preregistration required; register online) “Artist Kathy Karbo will show you how to create sculptural candles from colorful sheets of beeswax and embellish them with found objects. These rolled candles are colorful, aromatic, and make the perfect holiday gift! Wrap your gift in tissue and ribbon before taking it home. Great for children and adults ages 5 and up.” 

Hanukah: The Power of Light”, Saturday, December 3, 2PM, Gresham Library, and Friday, December 9, 4PM, Midland Library.  “This performance by the Jewish Theatre Collaborative introduces children to the traditions and history of Hanukah, honoring children’s diversity while uniting them in understanding. An engaging and interactive performance, ‘Hanukah & the Power of Light’ celebrates the human qualities that bring light into the darkness of winter.”

Decorative Decoupage Boxes”, Saturday, December 3, 11AM- 4PM, Gresham Library.  “Artist Shanon Schollian will show you how to decorate small boxes for keepsakes or gift giving.”

The Lion,  the Witch, and the Wardrobe”, Saturday, December 3, 2PM, Capitol Hill Library (free tickets will be given out at 1:30PM). “C.S. Lewis' classic tale finds four siblings, Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy, transported through a magical wardrobe to the land of Narnia. The children join the colorful creatures of Narnia in combating an evil witch who has cast a perpetual winter across the land. Join the Hampstead Stage Company as they bring this story to life through interactive live theatre.” 

Writers Talking: Daniel H. Wilson”, Saturday, December 3, 1PM, Central Library, US Bank Room.  “Daniel H. Wilson is a robotics engineer, a contributing editor for Popular Mechanics and the author of How to Survive a Robot Uprising, A Boy and His Bot and his latest, Robopocalypse. The movie version of Robopocalypse is slated to be released in 2013, with Steven Spielberg directing.” http://www.danielhwilson.com/

“‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’ and You!”, Saturday, December 3, 1PM, St. Johns Library (Registration required; register online)  and Wednesday, December 21, 3PM, Holgate Library. “Jeff Kinney’s popular cartoon novel “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” follows Greg Heffley as he records the traumas of life as a middle schooler. Join artist and educator Fred Green in discussing Greg’s intense and hilarious life experiences. Is your life like his? Do you have advice for him? What would you say if you met Greg? After the story, participants will do an arts and crafts project to try and help Greg sort out his problems.” 

Nutcracker Tea”, Saturday, December 3, 12PM, Tualatin Library. “NW Dance Theatre makes a special appearance with excerpts from ‘A Nutcracker Tea’, a family-friendly adaptation of the Nutcracker ballet. The Sugar Plum Fairy dressed in her tutu and tiara will be reading the Nutcracker story. Following the story some of the dancers will perform excerpts from the Nutcracker for the audience.”

Jass Two Plus One”, Saturday, December 3, 2PM, Ledding Library of Milwaukie.  “Jass Two Plus One brings you the romance and adventure of 1920’s and 1930’s Jazz.  It was a vibrant, robust, naughty new music people first called ‘Jass’ and later ‘Jazz’.” http://www.jasstwo.com/

Community Wreath Making Party”, Sunday, December 4, 1PM-5PM, Old Venersborg Schoolhouse, 24309 NE. 209th St., Battle Ground, WA. Free. “Welcome the holiday spirit into your heart. Make your own wreath - everyone helps everyone! We will have wreath and swag foundations, ornaments, floral wire, greenery and BOWS! If you have any of these you are welcome to bring them to use or donate. Free Door Prizes! Purchase Raffle Tickets for Other Great Prizes! This is such a fun, festive and FREE event. You can bring your own cookies or other snacks to share too. The schoolhouse will be decorated and the 100-year old woodstove will be keeping us all warm. Hot apple cider and coffee will be provided by the Venersborg Community Club. Due to the cost of ribbons, this year there will, unfortunately, be a limit of 1 foundation and 1 bow per person but you can purchase extras (while supplies last) for $1.00 each. You are welcome to bring your own/extras!” http://venersborg.blogspot.com/

27th Annual Christmas Along the Barlow Trail”,  Sunday, December 4, 1PM-4PM, Oregon Country Settlement, a living history village, 73370 E. Buggy Trail Drive, Rhododendron, OR (behind the Still Creek Inn).  Free admission and free parking.  “This 27th annual celebration is a free, festive gathering held on Mount Hood that features two special events associated with the history of the Oregon Trail, where it traversed around the Mountain’s southern flank. This gathering will take place at a former logging camp that was established along this heritage path, that has now been transformed into a living history village. On Sunday afternoon, visitors will gather at the "Oregon Trail Christmas Village" from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. Featured is a traditional holiday festivity held at a pioneer village along a section of the Barlow Trail [i.e., the Willamette Valley-bound emigrant's route over the 1295-foot Mount Hood] with reenactors, dressed in period clothing, allowing visitors to listen in to conversations that would have taken place back in time, interpreting this Winter holiday as it was in our past, making it an ideal event for adults and children alike. There will be traditional Christmas caroling, Native American flute and pioneer flute music, free Christmas goodies and hot drinks. This is also an opportunity to shop for unique historical and nature books, Huckleberry and other Wildberry jams, and specialty products made from this wildland bounty, that would be ideal for gifts,  especially for those who are hard to buy for. And, naturally, Santa Claus will be there on duty from 1 pm to 2 pm. The main feature, however, is "Christmas Tales of Old Oregon" at 2 p.m., which is a unique storytelling program that takes you from the days of the Lewis and  Clark Expedition at the rainy and cold Pacific Coast in 1805, to the days of the Oregon Trail and pioneer settlement, and concluding on the slopes of Mount Hood in the early 1900's.http://www.cgsmthood.com/index.cfm?do=events.xmas

Birding at Westmoreland Park”, Sunday, December 4, 9AM-11AM, Meet at 9:00 am at the northwestern corner of the park near the corner of SE 22nd and Bybee Blvd. “Join Audubon Society leaders Max Smith and Sarah Swanson for a morning walk through southeast Portland’s Westmoreland Park. Max and Sarah will share tips for identifying the waterfowl, gulls, and songbirds that gather at this park each winter. Birders of all experience levels are welcome, dress for the weather.” http://audubonportland.org/trips-classes-camps/adult/fieldtrips/wp

OMSI Science Pub:  “Sex, Drugs and Sea Slime:  The Oceans’ Oddest Creatures and Why They Matter”,  Monday, December 5,  7PM- 9PM Bagdad Theatre, 3702 SE Hawthorne Blvd., Pdx.  $5 suggested donation, doors open at 5PM.  Minors welcome with parent or guardian.  “The ocean is full of many things…strange things…including octopuses that can shimmer into invisibility against the sea floor; the hagfish that ties itself into a knot to keep from suffocating in its own slime; the sea slug whose sexual encounters can truly turn into a dangerous liaison due to untimely cannibalism; and the strangely well-endowed male conch. At this Science Pub, marine scientist Dr. Ellen Prager, author of the new book, ‘Sex, Drugs, and Sea Slime”, will present stories and images from her book highlighting the strange cast of characters that inhabit the ocean’s depths. Find out how they are connected to society in everything from our food supply to the economy, jobs, and in biomedical research and biotechnology.” http://www.omsi.edu/sciencepubportland  More about the speaker and author here: http://www.earth2ocean.net/page2.html

New Views of the Old Moon”, Monday, December 5, 7PM and 8:15PM, Mount Hood Community College, 26000 SE Stark St., Gresham, OR. $2. “All shows are presented under a realistic representation of the night sky,
 featuring the latest galactic, stellar and planetary images.” http://www.mhcc.edu/planetarium/

The Beginnings of the Kalapuya People”, Tuesday, December 6. 6:30PM, Albina Library.  “Storyteller and history keeper Esther Stutzman is Coos and Komemma Kalapuya and is an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz. She tells only Coos and Kalapuya stories as her grandmother told her it was bad luck to tell other tribes' stories, which are often regarded as private property. Join Esther as she shares her family’s legends about the beginnings of the Kalapuya tribe of the Willamette Valley.”

Brazilian Guitar with Ronnie Robins”, Tuesday, December 6, 6:30PM, Belmont Library (free tickets will be given out at 6PM); and Wednesday, December 7, 7PM, Northwest Library. “Bitten by the Brazilian bug, musician Ronnie Robins performs spirited music fueled by the earthy rhythms, lush chords and mellow sounds of bossa nova and samba.” http://www.multnomahartscenter.org/about-mac/instructors/ronnie-robins/

Kid’s Company presents, “A Forty’s Holiday”, Thursday, December 8, 7:30PM, Tualatin Library. “Always entertaining, the Kid’s Company performance troupe is back again with a warm and nostalgic holiday show, ‘A Forty’s Holiday’. Young friends gather to record a musical message to send overseas to family members in the armed services. This 45 minute costumed show celebrates a pivotal moment in our history with humor and heart; music includes, White Christmas, We’ll Meet Again, and a little know 1944 gem, My Christmas Song for You. Kid’s Company is the ambassador group from Northwest Children’s Theater and School. It consists of kids ages 8-14 who perform live show for audiences all over the greater Portland area. They are pleased to entertain you this December.”

The Well Equipped Birder”, Saturday, December 8, 7PM-9PM, Heron Hall of the Audubon Society of Portland, 5151 NW Cornell Rd., Pdx.  $15 for non-members. A class for adults that may be of special interest to nature educators. “While birding doesn't actually require any special equipment, there are a lot of tools and resources that can enhance your birding experience. In this class, local guide and author John Rakestraw will present an overview of what's available to the modern birder. We will cover optics, cameras, identification guides, site guides, magazines and journals (both print and electronic), and that old standby, pencil and paper. You might discover just the tool you are looking for to take your birding to the next level.” http://audubonportland.org/trips-classes-camps/adult/classes/wellequipjr

Holiday Concert with Rock Violinist Aaron Meyer”, Friday, December 9, 7PM, Tigard Library. “Enjoy a rare free holiday concert by this popular contemporary violinist.  Feel the magic of the season with his unique, cutting edge music.  Meyers' holiday concerts are a Portland tradition.”  http://aaronmeyer.com/

Birding at Oaks Bottom”, Saturday, December 10, 9AM-12PM, Meet at the Sellwood Park parking lot on SE 7th Avenue at Malden Street at 9am sharp. “Join Patty Newland and Candace Larson of the Audubon Society for a bird walk around Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge in southeast Portland.  We'll explore wetlands and woodlands, talk about the history of this amazing urban wild space, and look for resident songbirds and wintering waterfowl.  Expect to walk 2-3 miles on both paved and uneven dirt trails.  Dress for the weather; beginners welcome!” http://audubonportland.org/trips-classes-camps/adult/fieldtrips/ob

Christmas in the Country”, Saturday, December 10, and Sunday, December 11, 11AM-4PM, Philip Foster Farm, 29912 SE Highway 211, Eagle Creek, OR. Admission $5 per person or $20 per family. “Enjoy free cookies and cider as you join Santa in the parlor for photos. Christmas trees, wreaths, historic books and toys and home-made crafts for sale. Carolers and traditional music all day.” http://www.philipfosterfarm.com/events.html

Children’s Norwegian-American Christmas Party”, Saturday, December 10, 1PM-4PM, Norse Hall, 111 NE 11th Ave., Pdx.  Free.  “Giant Christmas tree, holiday songs (in Norwegian and English) endless homemade Norwegian cookies and a visit with Julenisse (Santa) – it’s a perfect child’s Christmas at Norse Hall – magical for grown-ups, too!”

Lucia Fest”, Saturday, December 10, 3PM, St. Paul Luterhan Church, 3889 SE Brooklyn St., Pdx.  $6 adults, $4 children.  “A beautiful musical program introducing Oregon’s 2011 Lucia and her court. The program is followed by Swedish baked treats coffee and glögg, ring dances around the Christmas Tree and a visit by the Tomten!” http://www.newsweden.org/

LEGO Bricks 4 Kidz”, Saturday, December 10, 2:30PM, Hillsboro Main Library.  Preregistration required; call 503-615-6500. “Build and play together! Novices and experts of all ages are invited to an exciting educational hour of Lego fun. Enjoy both model-building, guided instruction, and free time.”

OOPS! Art”, Saturday, December 10, 10:30AM, Sellwood-Moreland Library; and Wednesday, December 28, 3PM, Kenton Library. “Art does not need to be perfect. In fact, great pictures are often made out of mistakes. Of the multiple ways to create OOPS! art, try these three: scribble pictures, drip and splatter pictures, and torn paper pictures. Artist Addie Boswell will share books to inspire your messy art including “Beautiful Oops!” by Barney Saltzberg, “Ish” by Peter Reynolds and “Art” by Patrick McDonnell. Great for children ages 4-10 and their families.” http://www.addieboswell.com/about.html

Lone Fir Cemetery Guided Walking Tour”, Saturday, December 10, 10AM-12PM, entrance at SE 26th Street between Stark and Morrison Sts, Pdx. $10 suggested donation. “Come for an informal history lesson while enjoying the beauty and tranquility of Lone Fir Pioneer Cemetery in SE Portland. Friends of Lone Fir Cemetery conducts monthly tours, highlighting Portland’s founders, pioneers, its famous and infamous alike, as well as interesting headstones and monuments. Come visit this hidden jewel! Explore 30 acres of mature trees, a very special rose garden and fascinating architecture in this unique place, the only cemetery in Portland listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Suitable for all ages. No advance registration required. Meet in the center of the cemetery, at the soldiers’ monument.” Lone Fir was the first public cemetery in Portland, and a tour is a must for anyone learning about local history. http://www.friendsoflonefircemetery.org/events.html

Christmas at the Fort”, Saturday, December 10, 10AM-3PM, Fort Vancouver National Site.   “Experience the holiday as it was in the 1840s with carols, toy making and demonstrations. Visitors can enjoy five Christmas events at Fort Vancouver National Site. You’ll find plenty of free parking throughout the site, or hop onto our short bus and ride from venue to venue for free.  Christmas at Fort Vancouver is one of our busiest days of the year with activities occurring throughout the site — including Fort Vancouver, Pearson Air Museum, the Marshall House, the Visitor Center and the Restaurant at the Historic Reserve in the Grant House on Officers Row. Inside Fort Vancouver, costumed interpreters of all ages reenact how the people at Fort Vancouver prepared for Christmas. Bring your grandchildren so they can make an old-fashioned toy in the carpenter shop. Visitors can make a wreath or a Victorian-era craft, see blacksmithing and black powder demonstrations and hear caroling.  At Pearson Air Museum, visitors of all ages can climb into a vintage open cockpit plane and have their photo taken with Santa Claus, and then write a letter to him. At the Visitor Center, learn to play 1840’s games and shop at the Fort Vancouver Bookstore. At the Marshall House, all dressed up with Victorian Christmas trimmings, visitors can hear holiday harp music, take your family’s photo in front of the Victorian Christmas tree, hear Christmas stories and more.  Stop by the Restaurant at the Historic Reserve in Grant House for breakfast with Santa. For detailed information, call the Fort Vancouver Visitor Center, 360-816-6230.”
Christmas Festival”, Saturday, December 10, and Sunday, December 11, 11AM-4PM, Silver Falls State Park, South Falls Lodge.  $5 day use fee per vehicle, and some crafts may have a materials fee.  “Engage in various Christmas time crafts—make a wreath, a gingerbread house, cards, and ornaments. Learn how the park changes during the winter.  Enjoy storytelling for kids and live music. Special appearances by JR Beaver and Santa.” http://www.friendsofsilverfalls.net/Events.html

Fernhill Wetlands Bird Walk”, Sunday, December 11, 8AM- 11AM, meeting at the Backyard Bird Shop, 114 SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Hwy, Beaverton, OR. Free.  Advance registration required; call 503-626-0949.  “Tag along with wildlife expert, Elaine Murphy, for a morning jaunt to Fernhill Wetlands. Viewing stands and trails at this birding hotspot are ideal for watching the thousands of migratory and wintering birds that use this wetland near the confluence of Gales Creek and the Tualatin River. Trumpeter Swan, Greater Scaup, Eurasian Wigeon are some of the winter waterfowl you may see but watch for shorebirds on the mudflats and waders in the rushes and reeds too.” http://backyardbirdshop.com/index.php/site/event/fernhill_wetlands_bird_walk_december_11/
Posada Milagro”, Sunday, December 11, 1PM at El Centro Milagro, 525 S.E. Stark St., Pdx. “This community celebration filled with Latin American traditions reflects upon the journey of Mary and Joseph in their search for refuge and is day of fun for the whole family! The afternoon’s entertainment will also feature live music, dance presentations, arts and crafts workshops, bilingual storytelling for children under 5 years old, piñata- breaking for all ages and, of course, traditional pan dulce (sweet bread) and tamales! This year’s celebration will once again feature two Spanish-language performances with a unique recognition of the feast of the Virgen de Guadalupe (2 p.m. and 4 p.m.). Admission to the event is free, but performances are limited to ticket-holders only. Free tickets will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis at the theater beginning at 1 p.m. on Sunday Dec. 12. Guests are encouraged to bring donations of canned food for the Oregon Food Bank.” http://www.milagro.org/1-Performance-Presentacion/CommunityArtes/posada.htm
Portland Origami Paper Shapers (POPS)”, Sunday, December 11, 1:30, Belmont Library. “Enjoy origami-paper folding for fun, relaxation and stretching your brain. Learn a new origami project each month with various local origami instructors. Adults and teens welcome, children 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult.” 

Sally Harmon and Frank Gruner”, Monday, December 12, 12PM, Portland Center for the Performing Arts, Antionette Hatfield Hall Rotunda Lobby, 1111 SW Broadway, Pdx.   Free.  “Gifted local pianist and composer Sally Harmon and talented bass player Frank Gruner return to Noontime Showcase in a special program of seasonal music. Enjoy holiday favorites as well as recent works destined to become classics. Sally and Frank’s intimate, organic sound is influenced by styles ranging from classical to jazz to pop. This is a delightful treat you shouldn’t miss.” http://www.sallyharmon.com/

Mistral”, Monday, December 12, 6:30PM, West Linn Library.  “Mistral specializes in the traditional music of France, particularly the maritime province of Brittany (Bretagne). They play authentic acoustic instruments from the region, but they also branch out into English folk songs, usually about fishing and agricultural life. They sing in both English and French. The instruments are a bit unusual making a show like this ideal for those interested in learning about new ways of making music.” http://www.onsevenwinds.com/onsevenwinds/Welcome.html

Jugglemania with Rhys Thomas”, Tuesday, December 13, 6:30PM, West Linn Library.  “The JuggleMania show features interactive comedy and high level circus tricks.”  http://www.jugglemania.com/Hi.html

Ceiridwen Terrill”, Tuesday, December 13, 7PM, Heron Hall of the Portland Audubon Society, 5151 NW Cornell Rd., Pdx. “”Part Wild: One Woman’s Journey with a Creature Caught Between the Worlds of Wolves and Dogs’ is the unforgettable story of Ceiridwen Terrill’s journey with a creature whose heart is divided between her bond to one woman and her need to roam free. When Terrill adopts a wolfdog—part husky, part gray wolf—named Inyo to be her protector and fellow traveler, she is compelled by the great responsibility that accompanies the allure of the wild, and transformed by the extraordinary love she shares with Inyo, who teaches Terrill how to carve out a place for herself in the world. But this is no sentimentalized account of spiritual healing; Part Wild is a memoir of the beauty—and tragedy—of living with a measure of wildness.” http://www.myurbanwild.com/   http://audubonportland.org/about/events/pw

Craftastic”, Wednesday, December 14, 4PM, Tualatin Library. Preregistration required; register  online.  “Come create light-as-air flowers from clay! Use them to decorate your hair, make a rose haku (headband), a bouquet, or to decorate your bedside table. The class will include tips on using dry modeling clay to get petals as thin as paper and then piece them together to create a rose.” 

Art-Works! Felted Beads”, Thursday, December 15, 3:30PM, Tualatin Library.  Suggested for kids 5-11.  Preregistration required; register online: http://www.ci.tualatin.or.us/news/EventsCalendar.cfm?action=EventDetail&event_id=6139&startdate=12%2F15%2F2011 “With raw wool, soap, and some elbow grease teacher Lebrie will show us how to make felted beads. Make them for yourself, a friend or family member to enjoy.” http://penfelt.com/  Highly recommended!

Harpists Joanna and Elizabeth Pearson”, Thursday, December 15, 7PM, Carnegie Library, Oregon City.  “We hope you are ready for some holiday cheer!  Harpists, Joanna and Elizabeth Pearson captivate us with their heavenly harps for a seasonal treat.”

Music with Matt”, Friday, December 16, 10:30AM, Hollywood Library.  Free tickets will be given out at 10AM.  “Join kindie music scene favorite Matt Clark for a family music show! Children and parents alike will love his funny, off-beat songs, inspired by his personal experience as a father to two young boys.” http://mattclarkmusic.com/

Christmas Ships and Bonfire”, Saturday, December 17, 4:00pm - 6:00pm, Jefferson Street Boat Ramp, Jefferson St. to the west of McLoughlin Blvd., Milwaukie, OR. “Come View The Christmas Ships around 5:30 p.m. Purchase Hot Cocoa, Coffee, Hot Dogs and Desserts from the Lewelling neighborhood association, Listen To the Dickens Carolers sing Holiday favorites, Warm By The Bonfire. Due to parking restraints, please park on the east side of McLoughlin and walk to the event.” http://www.ci.milwaukie.or.us/communityservices/winter-solstice-bonfire-christmas-ships-0 This is a wonderful vantage point to watch the Christmas Ships. Plan on bringing a thermos of hot chocolate and snacks, to avoid the long lines at the vendor booths.

Professor Banjo”, Saturday, December 17, 4PM, EAT (Eat, Art, Theater), 850 NE 81st Ave., Pdx.  Donation suggested.  “Paul Silveria performs for families as the banjo-slinging, old-time singing "Professor Banjo" entertaining children with sing-a-longs, dancing games, and stories, all accompanied by lively old-time music that parents can enjoy, too! Professor Banjo's shows are fun for a wide range of ages - from toddlers to tweens who still like to get up and dance around!” http://www.squaredancepaul.com/

Frankenstein”, Friday, December 16, 7PM, Saturday, December 17, 7PM, and Sunday, December 18, 2:30PM, Multnomah Arts Center, 7688 SW Capitol Hwy., Pdx.  Free, donations requested. Presented by the MAC Studio Theatre Performance Class, ages 8- 16.   http://www.multnomahartscenter.org/

Tryon Creek State Park is offering a series of Winter Day Camps on December 19, 20,  21, 22, 27, 28,  and 29.  The Monday Day Camps are suggested for K-1st grade, last from 9AM-1PM, and cost $30.  The others are suggested for grades 1-3, last from 9AM-3PM, and cost $45. While they are not really low cost, I wanted to list them because Tryon Creek has one of the best nature education programs around, and this is a chance to do some in-depth activities without signing up for a series of classes. Preregistration is required. Check them out at: http://www.tryonfriends.org/

Animal’s Food Storage”, Monday, December 19, 4PM,  Hillsboro Main Library, Storytime room, preregistration required;  register online.  “For grades 1-3. As many animals prepare for winter, they store food in different ways. Take a look at different kinds of food storage, then make a simple, useful box that YOU can use for storage. Dress for a walk outside.”

Homeschool Book Party”, Tuesday, December 20, 1PM, Fairview Columbia Library. “Calling all homeschoolers age 6-10! Make new friends, talk about great books, and make book-related crafts. Read ‘Chicken Feathers” by Joy Cowley.”  http://www.joycowley.com/index.shtml

Creature Collage”, Tuesday, December 20, 2:30PM, Hillsboro Main Library, Meeting Room.  Preregistration required;  register online.  “Children’s' book illustrator Eric Carle creates insect and animal collages from hand-painted tissue paper. Use his technique to cut and paste your own creatures, similar to The Very Hungry Caterpillar and The Grouchy Ladybug. You may also create a rainbow set of painted paper to take home -- and collage year-round! Great for kids age 4-9”

Spoken Word:  A Winter Wreath of Tales with Storyteller Anne Rutherford”, Tuesday, December 20, 7PM,  Walters Cultural Arts Center, 527 E. Main St., Hillsboro, OR. Free. “We welcome back audience favorite Anne Rutherford for a story-filled holiday evening. Christmas, Hanukah and Yule are lit by a fun collection of poems, sing-along carols and stories. Come, sit by the cozy fireplace, cocoa in hand, and listen to this storytelling master spin some holiday yarns.” http://www.annerutherford.com/

 “African Drumming and Dancing Workshop”, Thursday, December 22, 11AM, Troutdale Library. “Chata Addy is a professional drummer, composer, dancer and choreographer from Ghana, West Africa. In this interactive workshop, Chata helps students feel the rhythms and sing the drum beat as they explore Ghanaian music, dance and lifestyle. His enthusiasm and extensive background in drumming will have everyone moving to the rhythm.” http://www.chataaddy.com/  Highly recommended! 

Brick-Works!”, Thursday, December 22, 3:30PM, Tualatin Library. Suggested for ages 5-11. “Through this program we hope to build enthusiasm for the library while stretching kids’ imagination through books, building, and social interaction. Come to this program and learn new building techniques, make friends and have fun building with LEGOS®.” 

Winter Whale Migration, December 26- January 1, at the Oregon Coast. Volunteers who are part of the “Whale Watching Spoken Here” program will be stationed at 26 prime whale watching sites along the coast from 10AM-1PM to greet visitors and tell you all about the whales and their epic migration. More info here:  http://www.whalespoken.org/  During the winter migration, the whales may be present in great numbers, but the whales do not come particularly close to the shore.  You may see their flukes or spouts with binoculars from the shore.  For an up close experience, consider checking out a boat tour. There are quite a few companies that offer them, and many are surprisingly affordable.

Brad, Stories, and Songs- Around the World in Eight Stories”, Tuesday, December 27, 6:30PM, West Linn Library.  “A cacophony of tales & tunes spanning the globe, featuring instruments that kids can try out!” http://bradcmusic.wordpress.com/

Goldfish Don’t Eat Pizza!”, Wednesday, December 28, 2PM, Gresham Library.  “Join musician Anna Antonia Giedwoyn for a performance of original, organic music and songs from her debut kids’ album “Goldfish Don’t Eat Pizza.” What is organic music? It is the musical equivalent of a tall glass of freshly squeezed apple juice and contains all natural ingredients. A lifelong Portland native, Anna has been singing, composing music and writing lyrics since she was 7 years old.” http://www.annaantoniamusic.com/fr_home.cfm

Oregon Renaissance Band Christmas/New Years Concert 2011”, Thursday, December 29, and Friday, December 30 at 7:30PM,  and Saturday, December 31 at 2PM, Community Music Center, 3350 SE Francis, Pdx.    Tickets at door are $12 for adults and $10 for seniors and students. Celebrating ORB's 20th year, featuring a wide assortment of Renaissance instruments, voices and seasonal music from the 16th and 17th centuries. Voices and instruments including recorders, violin, viols, lute, spinettino, sackbutts, racketts, corna musen, and others.” http://www.communitymusiccenter.org/newcmc/news.events/concert.calendar.htm

Portland Christmas Bird Count 2011”, Saturday, December 31, 6AM-6PM.  “The Christmas Bird Count is a great way for birders of all levels to enjoy a day in the field and sharpen their birding skills.  You will also have the opportunity to meet others who share your interest in birds and to discover some good local spots to find birds.  And you will contribute to scientific knowledge.  In fact, the Christmas Bird Count is one of the best ways for the amateur birder to advance ornithology:  the data are sent to the Laboratory of Ornithology at Cornell University, where over the years Christmas Bird Count records have been used to study changes in bird populations and wintering ranges.”  Lots of details about how to get involved here: http://audubonportland.org/about/events/cbc2011 Tryon Creek will be participating as well, beginning at 8:30AM: http://www.tryonfriends.org/programs/calendar-listings/icalrepeat.detail/2011/12/31/766/-/guided-nature-walk-audubon-christmas-bird-count-830am.html

Monday, November 21, 2011

Salamander Hunt!

Western Redback Salamander
Recently Michael of the Explore Portland Nature blog kindly invited us to join him and Sara Viernum, The Wandering Herpetologist, for a salamander hunt at Tryon Creek State Park.  We couldn't stay the whole time, and only saw two of the ten salamanders they found.  We thought it was such fun, we wanted to do it again!   So we went back with Sara and a bunch of excited homeschoolers.  This time, with the weather getting colder, we found 5 ensatinas and one western redback salamander.  The western redback and one of the ensatinas were pregnant females, and Sara turned them over on their backs so we could see the eggs, a white patch just visible through their skin.  We also found a very tiny juvenile ensatina. We turned over a log, and we were just about to put it back, when Jasper's eagle eyes spotted it.  Sara's boundless enthusiasm for these amazing creatures and extensive knowledge is absolutely delightful.  I never knew there were so many salamanders all around us!  The trick is to turn over LOTS of logs...  

Salamanders are found all over the US, and prefer damp locations near fresh water.  Some live all of their lives in the water, some live all their lives on land, and some return to the water to breed.  Their larvae live in the water until they become adults and grow lungs.  Ensatinas are an interesting species because although they lay their eggs on land, and never go through an aquatic stage, they also never grow lungs.  They are the most common salamander in Oregon.  You have to be very careful when you handle salamanders, don't touch them if you've just used hand sanitizer, and don't ever pull a salamander's tail, because in many species it will break off.  We also made sure to always put them back just where we'd found them.   Salamanders are a great creature to hunt for with kids, because when you do find them, they are unlikely to bound away quickly before you can get a look at them.  And you are sure to find all sorts of other interesting creepy crawlies hiding under logs as well.  In the Portland area, only the rough skinned newts pose any danger; if severely peeved, these very mellow creatures will secrete a milky toxin from their backs which is nasty if ingested.  Kids can safely handle the others.

Baby ensatina.
Bird's nest fungus.

Saturday, November 19, 2011


I took Jasper to a Chocolate Tasting lead by the charming Savina Darzes, and it was a big hit!  Ms. Darzes gave a presentation of the history of chocolate, and an overview of the way chocolate is processed.  She showed everyone raw cocoa beans and an actual cocoa pod.  But of course the highlight was the chocolate tasting!  It was set up like a formal tasting, with unmarked samples and a chart asking for ratings on how appealing each chocolate was to each of the senses.  After giving everyone time to taste, she told us all about each chocolate and its composition and origin.  Jasper and I both learned a lot.  I have never been much of a fan of dark chocolate, but found I liked their complexity.  Jasper had never been persuaded to try white chocolate before, and he loved it.  Ms. Darzes not only gives chocolate tastings, she also leads walking tours in Portland, Lake Oswego, and Vancouver which highlight local chocolatiers and their amazing talents. You might be surprised how many independent chocolatiers there are in Portland!  And their creations are definitely a mile above an ordinary chocolate bar.

Ms. Darzes did talk about colonial history as it relates to chocolate, a New World food.  She did explain that more than 80% of chocolate now is produced in West Africa, but did not go into the human rights abuses that take place on those plantations.  A good starting point for learning about these issues is the film "The Dark Side of Chocolate".  If you are interested in finding fair trade chocolate, there's a great list here. It's more available than I suspected. Organic chocolate is also likely to be fair trade, as organic certification requires meeting certain labor standards, and there are apparently no organic producers in Cote D'Ivoire where most of the problems have occurred.  

Monday, November 14, 2011

Camassia Natural Area in the Fall

The Camassia Natural Area in West Linn is just a few miles from downtown but feels miles away. It's privately owned by the Nature Conservancy but open to the public.  Rocks left by glaciers cover most of the park, and water has trouble seeping through.  This makes the park pretty damp much of the year, which provides ideal habitat for lots of water-loving species. The park is filled with gorgeous White Oaks, covered with lacy lichen,  and Pacific Madrones. We decided to see this lovely oasis in the fall.

The Madrones are fruiting.
The trunk of a Pacific Madrone tree.
An oak gall.
Holding an Oregon Ensatina.
I misidentified this as a common ensatina;  I've been advised it's a more unusual mole salamander.  How cool is that?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A-WOL Dance Collective

A-WOL is an "aerial dance" collective in Portland that offers some pretty engaging performances, as well as classes in aerial arts for toddlers through adults.  They recently showcased their talent with a performance called "Warehouse 5", without sets, props, or fancy costumes, and with all the rigging showing. It was breathtaking! In the summer they do performances in West Linn where they swing from the trees! Their shows are always reasonably priced, family friendly, and lots of fun to watch.   Even Jasper, who isn't much into dance performances, thought it was pretty neat. 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Newt Day

Petting a garter snake.
A long-toed salamander.
In the fall, Tualatin Hills Nature Park hosts Newt Day, a cool event where kids can see some of the park's shy residents up close and ask questions.  The park has lots of rough-skinned newts, so naturally they have quite a few of those, both in and out of water.  This year they also had a marvelous display of long-toed salamanders, a garter snake, and lots and lots of slugs and snails. And someone running around in a giant newt costume!  A volunteer was there with a  handheld microscope camera, for viewing microscopic images on a computer screen. He was showing kids what a snail looks like in extreme detail. This year they had a scavenger hunt which involved exploring the trails, looking for clues.  This took us to parts of the park that we don't often explore.  This event is definitely a winner!  
Here's a long-toed salamander up close.
Jasper was very excited to find this big millipede (about 3 1/2 inches long).
He also found these funny frilly mushrooms.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Trains, trains, and more trains!

In November and December, there are lots of local events for train lovers big and small.  Here are all the ones I know of.  (If you know of any I've left out, please leave a comment.)

Every weekend in November, the Columbia Gorge Model Railroad Club at 2505 N. Vancouver Ave., Pdx, will open their doors from 10AM- 5PM to show off their truly spectacular layout!  Adults are $6, kids 3-11 are $2, and special VIP behind-the-scenes tours are available for $15 by advanced reservation.  If you like model railroads, you will love this one. Plan to have plenty of time to see all the details.

The Mount Hood Model Engineers will be having  open houses on Saturdays in November,  12-5PM, at 5500 SE Belmont St., Pdx.  They do not charge admission but request a donation.  This is a truly special display!

The Aloha and Western Oregon Lines  will be hosting an open houses Saturday November 12, 19, and 26 from 10AM-4PM, at 12755 SW Beaverdam Road, Beaverton, OR.  

The Mt. Hood Railroad will begin their special "Polar Express" trains November 12 through December 28 for some special Christmas magic.  Ticket prices start at $26 for adults and $18 for kids.

Beginning Sunday, November 27, through Sunday, December 18, the Chelatchie Prairie Railroad in Yacolt, WA will start their awesome "Christmas Tree Trains."  The trains travel through breathtaking scenery and a spooky tunnel, to arrive at a station where Santa waits with gifts for every child.  There you can select a Christmas tree (which will be carefully tagged and brought back in a baggage car), sip hot cider and hot chocolate, and nibble on Christmas cookies.  They make this really special.  Tree purchases are optional.  Definitely worth the drive.

The Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation will be running the "Holiday Express" down at Oaks Park December 2-4 and 9-11, running some amazing, historic locomotives.  This annual event is beloved by many.

The Staver Locomotive Holiday "steam-up" is planned for Sunday, December 4, 2PM- 5PM.  They are located at 2537 NW 29th Ave, Pdx,  in a large industrial building, and operate model "live steamers" that mimic real steam locomotives.  "Admission is free, however, Staver Locomotive invites you to make a donation (check, cash, or gift cards) that will support clients of Friendly House’s Services for Seniors and Homeless Families. Help us help the most vulnerable in our community this season. Train lovers young and old will be delighted by the model steam engine trains, decorated for the holidays, charging up and down the custom-built tracks, and over bridges and trestles.  Live music, from "These Branches".   Hot beverages available." We love this event.  Be sure to dress warmly because the warehouse space is not heated!

The Portland Area N-Track Model Railroad Club  have a clubhouse at Alpenrose Dairy, 6149 SW Shattuck Rd., Portland, OR, and traditionally have an open house on Sundays in December.  Their website has not been updated yet with times for 2011,  so check their website.

Last but not least, OMSI will be presenting their annual screening of The Polar Express on the giant IMAX screen beginning November 18.  Tickets are $6 for adults and $5 for kids and seniors, and members get $1 off IMAX prices.  

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Cedar Creek Grist Mill

A hand-operated machine to dice the apples.
The cider press.
Cedar Creek Grist Mill in Woodland, WA has an incredible apple pressing event every fall, making cider the old fashioned way from 8,000 lbs. of apples! At the same time, they are also operating their grist mill, so you can watch them stone-grind cornmeal and flour using water power, then take some home.  It truly is the most delicious flour I've ever baked with.  Old-timey music fills the air and delicious baked goods are offered.  They are open weekends all year long.  They do not have a license to sell food products, so they give away cider and flour and request donations in return.  

Cornmeal being ground.
What's left after pressing 8,000 pounds of apples?  Truckloads of pulp!