Van Gogh Days celebrates the sunflower


Van Gogh Days have arrived at Rasmussen Farms, and will last through Aug. 24.

Calling all budding Van Goghs (and all creative people with their own unique artistic styles). A bright new entry is being added to the summertime event slate at one of the Northwest’s most popular destination farms.

The first “Van Gogh Days” event starts today at Rasmussen Farms south of Hood River, and continues through Aug. 24.

The event celebrates the unique beauty of summer’s signature flower — the sunflower — which Vincent Van Gogh made famous in his series of works painted from 1887-89.

Some 24 varieties of sunflowers will be on hand at the scenic farm. Traditional sunflowers are interspersed throughout their 10-acre pumpkin field, as well. Point them, photograph them, or pick a bouquet from the farm’s U-pick garden. Well-known Columbia Gorge artists will visit the farm both weekends during Van Gogh Days to offer tips on painting. There will also be live music on the weekends, and during the celebration, Rasmussen Farms will feature sunflower recipes, desserts and surprises.

The final weekend of Van Gogh Days (Aug. 23-24) corresponds with the valley-wide Gravenstein Apple Days. In addition to the plethora of sunflowers and the live music, that weekend the farm will serve us a pie walk, family activities — and lots of Gravenstein apples. Bring a picnic lunch and enjoy the covered picnic area; cold drinks, snacks and fruit can be purchased in the sales barn. The farm’s popular corn maze, with scenes from this year’s theme “Hansel and Gretel,” opens that weekend, as well.

Some 24 varieties of sunflowers will be on hand at the scenic farm. Traditional sunflowers are interspersed throughout their 10-acre pumpkin field, as well. Point them, photograph them, or pick a bouquet from the farm’s U-pick garden.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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