Of all the wedding ceremonies I’ve attended (including my own), I prefer country weddings. Why? They’re outside with beautiful scenery; people wear practical shoes; there’s usually a bonfire at the end of the night. They’re generally more relaxed and, because of that, so am I. Any time I’m in a situation that feels super high-class, I worry about whether my clothes are fitting right, if I laugh too loudly, or if I might spill something.
Last weekend I attended the wedding of friends Dave and Karla. It was held outside, behind the home of friends Milt and Chris, a gorgeous nearly net-zero home nestled between forest and farmland in Beavercreek, a town southeast of Portland. We arrived a little early in order to set up our tent (another feature of a country wedding—sleeping over!).
“Stay close to the house,” warned Chris, only half-joking. “We saw a cougar last week.”
The mountain lion may have been driven over to their property by the neighbors, who clear-cut their entire parcel earlier in the year. It was one of those deals in which the grandfather died and the descendants cashed in. In any case, we weren’t too worried, but acquiesced and just went a short ways down from the buildings.
We set up camp and then drove the car back to the front of the property. One of the advantages of having random grass fields is you can mow one at a moment’s notice, et voilá! Parking lot. (Just make sure it’s not your septic drainage field, or the cars may crush your network of pipes.)
Their driveway is gravel but pretty well compacted, so I was able to roll my luggage down to the house to change into my wedding clothes. (You don’t think I put up a tent wearing a party frock, did you?) But it still looks pretty funny. I only had to stop once because I had gravel wedged in my wheel.
For a short while it was pretty hot, but then the sun dipped behind the majestic Douglas firs on the west end of the property, and a breeze came through to sweep away the heat. So much better than being stuck inside with air conditioning!
One risk of country weddings is yellow jackets. I talk about these little buggers quite a bit in Get Your Pitchfork On! In late summer they get cranky—because they’re thirsty! Whenever we had a big party on our land I was sure to set out fresh pheromones in our traps a couple of days in advance, to try to time the slaughter before more moved in.
Milt and Chris happen to have a humanmade water feature running alongside the slope that cradles their house, like a mountain stream. Naturally, this attracted a number of bees and wasps but, surprisingly, no yellow jackets. They were lined up at the edge of the water like miniature, striped cattle. They flew around the heads of those of us standing next to the water. Nary a sting—they were too busy drinking!
It was lovely to spend time with friends among Chris’s garden beds. I poked my fingers in the soil to feel the potatoes that I knew would be resting under the surface. I picked some raspberries and beans, and a juvenile, tender cucumber.
Mazel tov, Dave and Karla! May your union be as lush and fruitful as the garden in which you were married.