Fringed Grass of Parnassus at Burnt Lake, Mt Hood, OR (18-36)

Burnt Lake Trail.    8-24-2018        (hike#45)

The Burnt Lake Trail on the west side of Mt Hood leads through a quiet green shady forest that was ravaged by wildfires over a hundred years ago – offering an interesting historical perspective on the present day fires. The trail climbs at a gentle gradient for the first 2.5 miles through second growth forest along the Lost Creek drainage. Sounds of water are never far.



Green understory foliage includes a plethora of plants with white blooming spring flowers (trillium, vanilla leaf, inside-out, bunchberry, Solomon seals, lilies, oxalis).


Today we only see the pops of color that are seeds and berries.

After crossing Lost Creek we pass several giant burned out trees – remnants from the Victorian era fire that burned this forest.



The last mile of the trail is steeper, and traverses many creeks and springs with a few flowers still blooming – though red berry clusters of Devils club are the most noticeable color along the trail today.


Fireweed and cloudy horizon


We drop down into Burnt Lake basin and are awed by the mist rising from the lake and roiling about on its surface while we walk the half mile shoreline trail.


Although the promised reflection of Mt Hood eludes us, the misty atmosphere creates its own moment of grace. We sit quietly for our lunch break and hear a few fish jump, watch the concentric ripples expand and interrupt the reflections and mist patterns.


Fading pink spirea line the lake shore path that leads past a small bog near the inlet where we see, for the first time for me, a wildflower called the Fringed Grass of Parnassus.



Cascade Fringed Grass of Parnassus

Such an elegant name – it has been on my watch list. The flower heads were much bigger than I imagined, and deserve a great name! The white petals are indeed fringed elaborately and glow in the light. I am glad to have finally seen this flower!

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8.3 miles/1600 feet.


I finished another tortilla dishcloth


I added some cross stitched foliage to Jane Austen’s house.


I am still trying to decided what to cast on next…

Smoky week in Portland / Return to Vista Ridge (18-35)


Northward view from the Timberline Trail on Mt Hood. Mt St Helens, Mt Rainier and Mt Adams float above the gray smoke layer.

August 16, 2018

I mailed the baby and Welcome Blanket quilts while breathing wildfire smoke. While feeling a papery dry sand feeling in my mouth. While watching the blood red sun set though the haze.

Today there is an orange sky at noon. It is too hot to go outside, and there is an ashy taste on my tongue.

It’s wildfire season.

Smoke is disseminated through the atmosphere blotting out the sun, the views, and the cool air we are supposed to get from the ocean.

If this keeps up, if  global temperatures continue to rise, will we find out what it was like to be the dinosaurs when they died?

It was supposed to be a meteor, but there were also Deccan flood basalts, and/or a climate change with wild fires – all valid hypotheses and maybe all had a combined role…

Meanwhile, oppressive haze and heat keep me indoors instead of outside where I could be walking, hiking or gardening.

The air feels dusty and my lungs feel the burn –

It reminds me of the San Fernando Valley of my youth, before cars had smog devices, when we could hardly ever see the Santa Monica Mountains, or the San Gabriel Mountains, but on really bad days we couldn’t even see the Mission Hills.

Now we have fire season. Our beautiful forests burn and the smoke infiltrates our adjacent valleys, so even though we are not in the burn zone, we must breathe the smoke or alter our activities to avoid breathing outside. This is the second August in a row that has been the season of burning, of wildfires, of dreading the views of the torched landscape, not to mention the threat to lives and livelihood of those that live closer to or in the forest. Of knowing that the beautiful places that we hike into for recreation and healing are changed beyond recognition, and though they may return to green someday, they will not be a comforting place to go for years….

Return to Vista Ridge    8/17/18     (Hike # 44)

Speaking of burn zones – this is our sixth year hiking up Vista Ridge on Mt Hood.  Today the regional smoke and heat have decreased enough to allow us to go for a hike.


Pearly everlasting and fireweed along the Vista Ridge trail.

Once again through the burn zone with fireweed and pearly everlasting, huckleberries, goldenrod and berries of Sitka mountain ash.

Once again through the meadows along the Timberline Trail, this time to the west, toward Ladd Creek.


Mt Hood from the Timberline Trail near Wyeast Basin


Close up of Coe and Ladd Glaciers


By the time we reached the Ladd crossing it was too late in the day, too deep to cross without wading.


We stopped there for lunch then retraced our steps, back to the Wyeast basin with far reaching views of snow capped peaks floating above the smoke shroud that covers the Washington landscape.


Clear Branch Creek in Wyeast Basin. Mts Rainier and Adams beyond.

Back down through fireweed in the burn zone, we say ‘Hi’ to a few ghost trees again, nibble the huckleberries, and make our way to the trailhead.


My legs were feeling it today – I am getting back into shape, but still have a ways to go to recover my fitness. Photo note – many of the photos in this post were taken by my husband – I only had my cell phone with me.

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8 miles/1600 feet


I finished the Cornwall socks!


Charmouth Fossils and the Lyme Regis Cobb, with another glimpse of Jane Austen/ May 1, 2018 (18-34)

Tuesday, May 1st. We left Chawton and the bad weather behind and drove to the Dorset coast in search of fossils, views, and another peek at Jane Austen.


Canola fields through the car window


Canola field


The sea comes into view


and sheep! with lambs!

Ammonites, Charmouth Beach

Charmouth Beach is flanked by eroded cliffs that shed fossils. The Coast Heritage Center at Charmouth had excellent displays about the geology and the fossils to be found in the cliffs.


I always appreciate a good location map.


Geologic overview


Large ammonite


We didn’t see any of these, but we didn’t stay very long.

We had timed our visit to coincide with low tide. We walked both the east and west beaches.


Walking down to the west beach; Lyme Regis in the distance.


Beach huts


Shale cliffs along the west beach


Lots of beach glass in the sand


Walking back toward the River Char.


One of Her Majesty’s swans near the bridge over the river.


Dan walking along the east beach


Dan with his camera


Low tide


The cliffs above the fossil beach.

With a tip from a local collector, I learned to spot the cylinders of belemnites, and spirals of pyritized ammonites.


A bit of pyritize ammonite in the sand – about a half inch long.

I kept just a few tiny bits for my collection, and otherwise enjoyed a beautiful beach day.


Bits of beach glass and rock – the little snail shell is about half an inch long.


Bits of belemnites and ammonites, plus a small polished ammonite I bought at the shop near the beach.

Lyme Regis

In nearby Lyme Regis, we checked into a B&B on the hill above town, then walked down the path to the seafront. There was a great view over the coastline – where we had been in Charmouth, and where we wanted to go on the Cobb.


Lyme Regis


Lyme Regis Harbor and Cobb

The Cobb is the local name for the curved manmade breakwater around the harbor.


The walk along the Cobb has been immortalized by Jane Austen in her novel Persuasion.  Teenager Louisa Musgrave flirted with Captain Wentworth by having him jump her down from the steps on the Cobb – could have been these steps,


The first set of Cobb steps – not too scary….

these steps,


The second set of Cobb steps


A little more precarious…


Looking down from the top

or these steps.


The third set of Cobb steps


The pavement at the bottom was equally hard when she jumped too soon, landed on her head, and was taken up lifeless. She recovered slowly with the help of a different sea captain, learned to appreciate poetry and curb her impulsiveness, and left Captain Wentworth free to marry our heroine Anne by the end of the story. Jane Austen lived here in Lyme Regis for a time, and must have walked along the Cobb, maybe even seen a boisterous teen be jumped down the steps.

We walked along the Cobb, on the lower, wind shielded side, to the end. I went up the steps to see the view, but the wind and sea spray made staying on the high path feel unsafe.


Looking west from the top of the Cobb


Upper Cobb views


From the far end of the lower Cobb we looked back across the harbor to the town and to Charmouth beach where we had been earlier today.


The far end of the Cobb path


Looking back to Lyme Regis


Looking across to Charmouth

After retracing our steps, we walked around the shops and gardens near the Cobb, including the rather run down Jane Austen tribute garden.


An interesting old door


Slate tiles


Persuasion gift shop


Later, we went to the lovely Harbour Inn for a delicious early birthday dinner for Dan. I had the gurnard, a local fish, and he had the vegetarian special.


As we walked back up the hill after dinner, we took in the views again, punctuated by silhouettes of the charming ammonite light posts.


The Cobb


In the morning we set off for Fowey on the southern coast of Cornwall, where we had reserved a cottage for a four day stay.

Lan Su Chinese Garden, Portland, OR (18-33)

August 6, 2018

One last garden visit with my sister: We spent a morning strolling through this peaceful setting, a haven of tranquility surrounded by bustling Old Town in the heart of Portland. The Lan Su Garden, modeled after 16th century Suzhou-style Chinese gardens, was assembled by Chinese artisans in China and reassembled in Portland in 2000.

The entrance garden sets the tone –


We walked through the portal to the lily ponds beyond.


Blooming water lilies and colorful koi are visually captivating.

Paths through the garden wend through outdoor rooms and intricately carved and ornamented buildings.

An art exhibit displayed exotic and ordinary biota fashioned from clay.

In another room, we drew fortune sticks, and then found our numbered fortunes in a drawer.


My hard working teacher sister had number 6. I am lucky to be her sister, and lucky about many other things, so I felt good about pulling number 38.

Another path leads by a waterfall grotto and views of a different kind of blooming lotus:



The paths are made of patterned stone – each stone carefully placed. Some remind me of quilting patterns.


Windows are also patterned beautifully.


We stopped in the tea room for some delicious iced tea and almond cookies.


Tea room


View from the tea room, city rooftops beyond the garden

Back in the entrance way for a parting view, including the dragon fish on the roof.


Afterward, we paid a short visit to nearby Powell’s City of Books – she found a title she was looking for, and I saw this beautifully covered collection of science and  math books.



I have turned the heel on my second Cornwall sock and so am racing toward the toe and contemplating what to knit next…


My daughter returned to college in Ohio, leaving me one of her latest creations as a  parting gift.


James, the sock monkey

Once again no hike this week – we were trying for Burnt Lake on Friday, but it was sooo hot, and the air still smoky, and many dominoes fell out of place so we abandoned that trip. It might be a good fall hike.


One of the new bowls I bought for my birthday.

Gardens of Eugene, Oregon (18-32)

August 4th and 5th, 2018

I spent lots of time in gardens while visiting family and celebrating my birthday in Eugene last weekend.

Owen Rose Garden

We took a slow lap around the still blooming rose beds.

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View across the Willamette River

Dahlias galore!

Family members have been curating this backyard garden since the early 1980’s, and it is one of my favorite places in the world.


Side entry



So many flowers, especially dahlias right now:

Late summer veggies and fruit:


garden dog

Hendricks Park

We took an evening stroll along the roads and tree-lined paths.

Serenity Garden with Buddha

Another peaceful family garden has a new statue.

Around town

We visited several fine restaurants (Chapala, Ta Ra Rin Thai, McMenamins, and Prince Pucklers Ice Cream) and shopping  areas (5th St Market, Saturday Market and both branches of Hiron’s).


Looking down on Saturday Market

We walked through Washburne Park where the One More Time Around Marching Band had just finished a show. We saw a trombone player wearing mardi gras beads and a rubber chicken on his head. The sun was setting blood red through the wild fire smoke haze.


Birthday Cake and More Flowers



Welcome Blanket (18-31)


Welcome Quilt 8-31-2018

I read about the Welcome Blanket Project a couple of months ago, and decided to make a quilt to donate as a side project to the baby quilt I was making for an expected niece. The goal of the Welcome Blanket Project is to welcome refugees and immigrants to the United States with the gift of a blanket. The project requests 40 by 40 inch knit, crochet or sewn blankets. Many of the original blankets are based on knitted half square triangles, so I decided to use a half square triangle pattern in my quilt.

In past years I participated in internet-based fabric exchanges, both on Flickr and Ravelry, which resulted in a collection of 5 inch charm squares in a rainbow of colors, and a large variety of prints. Some of the fabric squares are lovely, some are not to my taste, but all are different.

I decided to try a technique of ‘making fabric’ by sewing the charms together in random strips, cutting the strips into narrower strips, then sewing the strips together, the result being a new chunk of fabric collage. I made this chunk of red/pink/purple fabric a few years ago, but then let it sit while I was waiting for inspiration as to what to do with it.


For this quilt I layered the ‘made fabric’ with a piece of white fabric and created half square triangles that I arranged in a star shape for the center of the quilt.


I needed to add about 8 inches to the star to bring the quilt to the 40 inch size as requested. After auditioning several border types, I added a thin purple border, then a scrappy piano key style border using more of the 5 inch charms, plus scraps from my scrap bins.


I wanted to include the word WELCOME somewhere on the quilt, so I sewed this  appliqué strip for the back of the quilt. The red backing fabric was leftover from making Raggedy Ann dolls for my kids when they were young. The batting was the other half of the strip I bought for the baby quilt.


Quilting and binding: I stitched triangular spirals in the center triangles, and straight lines in the border.  I had enough overlap from the backing to create a simple wraparound binding, so that is what I did, mitering the corners for stability.


I think the finished quilt is a perfect representative of the spirit of the WELCOME BLANKET PROJECT.  It is created from a medley of 5 inch charms from all over the world – some I like, some I don’t, but stitched together with scraps from my existing stash they work as a colorful vibrant fabric. I hope the family or individual who receives this quilt will enjoy looking at all the different fabrics that come together in this one textile made to provide both comfort and warmth to a newcomer.


Welcome Quilt

Tour de Craft, Week 3

The Tour de France ended with a new champion, Geraint Thomas, and lots of excitement in the Pyrenees and final time trial. My one finished craft project was the Welcome Quilt. I added a few more inches to my second Cornwall sock, though I haven’t turned the heel yet.


Cornwall Socks

I didn’t even go for a hike this week as the weather has been too hot and once again there is wildfire smoke creating haze. My sister is visiting, and we are up to our own adventures, and there will be more in the week to come.