Rasmussen’s renews visitors with beauty and spirit

Madeline Shannon and Brynn Butler wander the fields at Rasmussen

Photo by Julie Raefield-Gobbo.
Madeline Shannon and Brynn Butler wander the fields at Rasmussen

The feel of crisp autumn air in your face. The contrasting crunch and give of a juicy, ripe pear in your mouth. The stunning beauty of an unobstructed view across the valley. The joyful shrieks of children as they race to the pumpkin field and on through the corn maze.

This is what awaits you: An entire harvest-season-in-a-day with one stop — and that stop is Rasmussen Farms in Hood River.

Since before I began bringing my own children to Rasmussen’s, swaddled in harvest blankets a quarter century ago, this welcoming, authentic farm has quite simply, engendered happiness for my family, and countless others, year after year.

It is hard to sum up a quintessential experience like Rasmussen’s. Looking up synonyms, I find that what I am trying to describe might also be expressed in words like, “archetypal” and “exemplary,” or maybe “perfection.” Perhaps the best word of all is simply –ideal, which better reflects the dream-like feeling that accompanies a visit to the farm.

And though Rasmussen’s is definitely ideal in its physical beauty and lovely valley location, what makes it more inspiring is the heart that beats underneath the outward appearances.

When you pull up to the red-graveled parking area, what you find is a place beloved.

Beginning with founders Dollie and Lynn Rasmussen, the farm is cradled and nurtured by loving hands. Everyone who works at Rasmussen’s, even those without a signature on the mortgage, cares about how each visitor feels when they enter the farm’s gracious fields and well-worn farm buildings.

Rasmussen Farms is not the gleaming, pristine coldness of a new shopping mall; neither is it the flash and incessant pulse of the latest app or electronic gadget. It is a very welcome opposite — a patch of earth that loving hands have successfully transformed into a series of simple miracles.

To encounter a sea of pumpkins still clinging to the vine is good for the spirit. It reminds us that we are connected to the earth and that the earth is still providing for us.

The corn maze, in its nod to life’s mystery, beckons us to lose ourselves for just a little while, and return to a time of simple wonders.

Inside the old red barn, we can look around and marvel at the innumerable variety and painterly beauty found in an abundance of apples piled high in wooden bins.

These are the small miracles, and ones that we rarely take the time to ponder in our fast-paced world today.

At Rasmussen’s, we can race, gather, sip, taste, pick, contemplate and get our hands dirty until we renew and soften our sometimes-closed, hardened hearts that still long for a genuine connection with one another and our lovely earth.

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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 www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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