May 2022, at home

It has been a rainy month in Portland. Many spring flowers were late, but they did bloom. I planted tomatoes and basil and marigolds, and I hope they grow. There was plenty of knitting time for gnomes, hats and socks. The terrible school shooting in Uvalde, Texas on May 24th has put a damper on everything, though it is a sunny 74 degrees out today.  I may live in a bubble, and I don’t think all guns are bad, well somedays I do, but the lack of action on this issue is so frustrating, and deadly, and it happens everywhere in our country and rarely anywhere else. I find some comfort in seeing so many social media posts that agree with me. I have collected quite a few via screenshots, and I am posting them here, for me, to remind me that many share my anguish and sadness and frustration.

Knitting –

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Make Gnome Mistake – the May Mystery Knitalong with Imagined Landscapes

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New socks for a gift

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Two sets of Knitted Knockers, made for donation to KnittedKnockers.org, who provide prosthetics to mastectomy patients.

I made three hats for donation to the Puddletown Knitters Guild service project.

I started a new pair of travel knitting socks to take on our upcoming Scotland and Iceland trip.

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Not knitting – we painted one of the bedrooms.

Garden

Anti-Gun Violence Memes, mostly from Instagram:

Background checks and limits on assault weapons and ammunition could prevent these senseless deaths. This time I am privileged to be witnessing from a great distance, though it has happened nearby – an average of 544 gun deaths per year in my state. And, ‘no person is an island’ – we all suffer each time.

My actions:

We donate money to advocacy groups, and vote in every election.

Next month we have some international travel planned, so it may be a while before I post again…..

August 2021 – summer gardens, knitting an albatross, the wing and the wheel….

August turned out a bit differently than planned, as we had to cancel travel due to the spread of the delta variant of Covid-19. I celebrated another birthday, walked the neighborhood, ate lots of fresh garden tomatoes, knitted, sewed masks, enjoyed my daughter’s visit, and went on a few hikes (next post). 

Neighborhood and garden

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Summer roses

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Echinacea

 

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Shadows

 

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View to downtown from Alameda Ridge from the top of…

 

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the 38th Avenue stairs.

 

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Signs of support in the neighborhood…

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Water splashing in the Beverly Cleary sculpture garden.

 

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Harbinger…

 

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Puffy clouds in the evening sky,

 

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Half moon rising,

 

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Alpenglow

 

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Farmer’s market and garden bounty

 

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Birthday cupcakes and books

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Knitting and sewing

An Albatross –

I finished knitting an Albatross Chick, pattern by Rachel Borello Carroll. The face and legs are perfect, the body and wings a less accurate reproduction, but I love having the chick on my shelf.

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During our travels in New Zealand in February of 2020, we saw albatross chicks in their nests at the Royal Albatross Center in Taiaroa.

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Albatross, taken from the bird blind at Pukekura/Taiaroa Head, February, 2020

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After we returned home, almost immediately into pandemic lockdown, I discovered the albatross chick Atawhai, who we probably saw on our visit, was live on camera 24/7 on the Albatross Webcam: https://www.doc.govt.nz/nature/native-animals/birds/birds…

I spent many a moment of zen during this pandemic, watching Atawhai sitting in the beautiful landscape that we visited, the beaches we walked upon beyond. Atawhai fledged in September of 2020.

This year I have been watching the new season of albatross on the webcam. There is a new fluffy chick named Tiaki, who will also fledge soon. She is down to only a few fluffy feathers, and spends lots of time stretching her wings in the wind (wingspan about 3 meters!) One day in the next month, the wind and wings will catch together successfully, and she will fly off for a few years, somehow knowing how to dive into the water to get food, having never touched it before. And new chicks will be hatched in January. The photos here are screenshots from the Webcam.

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Other knitting and sewing: I finished two more hats for donation, and made new masks for my daughter.

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Not traveling

Our travel destination turned from orange to red the week before departure, so we will not be walking through the Mid Atlantic Ridge, not watching an active volcano in the twilight, not walking along the shores of a glacial lake with floating icebergs, or seeing the birds and marine life of the North Atlantic ocean. We thought we would be too early for northern lights, but I was looking forward to seeing the lopi yarn, the black sand beaches, all the recent volcanic features, and the many waterfalls….   I heard an interesting discussion about the ethics of making the choice to not get vaccinated, and whether people making that choice (excepting those with true medical reasons) should have consequences. I fall squarely on the side of yes they should, and not because my travel plans are delayed. People are dying, people are surviving with long term consequences. Everyone’s life has been interrupted, and will continue to be until herd immunity can be achieved. So yes, I think that those selfishly ignoring the science, unwilling or unable to evaluate all the misinformation out there for what it is (more divisive rhetoric from the right wing patriarchy), should be restricted in their ability to move through public spaces freely, especially when they won’t offer the courtesy of at least wearing a frigging mask! It is a public health emergency!

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RIP Nanci Griffith

We lost one of my favorite singer songwriters this month. I have been listening to her beautiful voice and poetry for more than 40 years, and will continue to listen. 

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There’s a pale sky in the east, all the stars are in the west
Oh, here’s to all the dreamers, may our open hearts find rest
The wing and the wheel are gonna carry us along
And we’ll have memories for company, long after the songs are gone.

Nanci Griffith – Wing and the Wheel

 

July 2021, a miscellany

July has been low key, with an episode of busyness near the end, when we had house guests and a long awaited wedding celebration of a good friend. Otherwise, I have been knitting, hiking, walking the neighborhood, growing  tomatoes, attending zoom and back yard knitting and book group meetings, and watching Le Tour de France and the Tokyo Olympics. And avoiding exposure to the Delta variant of Covid 19, so masking up in stores again, and keeping all contact with non household people as sanitary as possible. Sigh, but it must be done!

Knitting –

I finished a gnome, a charity hat and a pair of gift socks.

I finished the face embroidery on my albatross, and have another pile of works in progress:

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Albatross by Rachel Borello Carrol

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WIPS – Two hats, a pair of socks, a cardigan.

Neighborhood and Garden –

Hot dry days and colorful flowers.

Hikes –

Keeping pace with weekly hikes. Still avoiding weekends, and dodging heat. 

July 6 – Lookout Mountain, east of Mt Hood. Always enjoyable for the flowers and the views this time of year.

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Mt St Helens, from a blooming High Prairie, near the trailhead.

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Mt Hood from the summit of Lookout Mountain.

July 20 – Larch Mountain Crater – north of Mt Hood, a 7 mile loop that circles the top of Larch Mountain through very quiet green forest. At the top there are views to all the Cascades north and south:

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The quiet forest below the summit.

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Some of the views from Sherrard Point:

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Mt Hood

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Close up of Mt Hood

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Mt Jefferson through the haze.

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Mt Adams to the north, beyond the burn zone

July 15 and 28 – Wildwood Trail, Forest Park – We hiked two sections from the NW 53rd trailhead, and now have only 7 miles to go to complete the entire Wildwood trail, a pandemic aspiration.

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Dry and shady, Wildwood Trail near mile 10, July 15, 2021

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Two July hikes on the Wildwood Trail.

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Wildwood Trail near mile 8, July 28, 2021

A few of the flowers in the forest:

 

Other events: 

On to August….

May 2021, part 2: Garden, Knitting, Sewing

My garden:

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Native irises

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First roses

Our tomato plants are doing well – next we will add a few basil plants.

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Walking in Portland:

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California poppies

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Same poppies on a cloudy day.

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Meadow rue and allium

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Colorful landscaping

And in the “weird” Portland spirit:

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Fairy garden

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Sidewalk interactive music box display

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Mannequin arms on Yogurt Shop bench

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First local Hood strawberries! (Not weird)

Knitting and sewing:

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I am making progress on my bamboo Em Dash cardigan.

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I’ve finished all of the parts of the albatross – assembly next.

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I am close to finished with the red/brown socks. 

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I started these green socks for travel knitting, made good progress on our DC trip. But I lost at yarn chicken. 

The pinwheel quilt for a new baby in the family is basted and ready for quilting:

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I used this opportunity to knit Egg to Turtle for the big sister. I have had my eye on this Susan B Anderson pattern for a while, and enjoyed the opportunity to make it for someone.

I refreshed my mask supply for our flight to DC and travels there:

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I have some garment sewing patterns queued up for stitching. I’ve been using my Jane Austen pattern weights:

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And in other crafty news, my knitting group is planning a Big Hug-Show and Tell Back Yard Party later this month, after we are all fully vaccinated. It will be great to share all our knitting projects that we have only seen over ZOOM.

Late April 2021

Continuing my neighborhood walks: After the cherry blossoms, the pink snow,

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We go from pink trees

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to pink sidewalks in a week’s time.

And find them all through the neighborhood.

Dogwood trees and other flowers bloom,

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Dogwood

Interestingly cracked concrete catches my eye…

We went on two more hikes with amazing wildflowers:

Tom McCall Trail, OR, April 23

When we hiked here on March 11th, the slopes were covered with purple grass widows. Today, the balsamroot is the star!

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Starting up the trail with friends.

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Lower cliffs, balsamroot and lupine in full bloom!

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Eastward view.

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Every blade abloom under the oak trees.

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Open slopes of balsamroot and Mt Adams.

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Continuing up.

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Paintbrush in bloom on the upper slopes.

Views from the top:

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West to Mt Hood.

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North to Mt Adams.

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Northeast, to the Cherry Orchard.

More views on the hike down:

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Rowena Plateau.

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Paintbrush! and the Memaloose Hills, with their yellow backs.

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Parsley Alley….

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And a few more flowers, for the day.

Bitterroot Trail, Catherine Creek, WA April 26

Aptly lived up to its name – the earlier blooming flowers have faded, but the bitterroot is just getting started today!

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We began near the fairy ponds – now filled with camas lilies; the adjacent rock outcrops hosting glorious bitterroot flowers.

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Lewisia rediviva

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Sprinkled across the basalt; bicolored cluster lilies speckle the meadow beyond.

We wind our way up the slope:

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Eastward.

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Camas lilies and shooting stars.

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Death camas and purple camas lilies

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Turn left at the balsamroot, while admiring the windswept views east,

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and west…

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We drop down the Rowland Wall trail,

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One of the largest clusters of bitterroot buds I have seen…

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buckwheat

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A giant clump of cliff penstomen surprised us!

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More bitterroot scattered across the rocky surface along our return trail.

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This is their time to rise up!

Meanwhile…

We finally had a chance to see the heritage American Chestnut Tree in the Sellwood neighborhood. It dwarves the house, and there is an enormous stump of another chestnut tree behind it.

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Rare American Chestnut, Sellwood, Oregon

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Leaves just budding out.

Knitting

Quilting

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I’m making progress on the baby quilt.

Repotted plant report from Washington DC:

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Commentary on the verdict, and the path forward:

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NZ2020: Days 7 and 8, Queenstown

January 31, 2020

After our morning hike near Lake Wanaka, and then our drive over the Crown Range Road, our guide dropped us off at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Queenstown, at about 3 pm. We were directly across from the waterfront, in a walking friendly area of restaurants, shops, and booking agents for any amazing outdoor activities one could wish. My husband was able to schedule a quick dental appointment for a tooth that was acting up. We did our laundry, had a delicious dinner at Bombay Palace, and walked around the harbor area.

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Queenstown Harbor and the Remarkable Mountains from our hotel lobby.

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Choose your adventure here!

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Lots of people enjoying buskers along the waterfront.

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Pier walk.

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The Wakatipu Vessel by Virginia King depicts a waka (Maori canoe). This is just across the street from our hotel.

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February 1, 2020

The next day we wandered around, and explored this beautiful setting. We were surrounded by views of Lake Wakatipu, the Remarkable Mountains, and Ben Lomand. Dan was able to get a haircut, and we did a little shopping in a craft fair that was set up in the park.

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The poem Waipounamu by David Eggleton is inscribed in a long ribbon along the harbor wall.

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Each phrase evokes an image or a moment in history of this place.

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Local geology is highlighted in this plaza.

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Kiwi imagery.

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A giant Kiwi sculpture.

After lunch we  walked through the arboretum.

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Fern sculpture.

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Lily pond

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Carved support for a huge tree.

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Another view…

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We looked back to see the Skyline Gondola going up Bob’s Peak, gateway to the Ben Lomand Trail, which was on our agenda for later in the week.

My google map showed me a “Bench with a beautiful view” at the far end of the peninsula. That seemed a worthy goal for our wanderings.

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It was a bit windy, but felt good to sit for a bit.

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Looking east from the bench.

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Looking west from the bench.

Later, we ate dinner at a Thai restaurant with a window overlooking the harbor and mountains, and then took an evening stroll westward along the shore of Lake Wakatipu.  It had been a relaxing day filled with beautiful views and about 5 miles of walking.

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The TSS Earnslaw, a 1912 coal powered steamship.

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Double Cone Peak, Remarkables.

We carefully repacked our luggage. Tomorrow, the first day of the rest of our guided tour, would include an overnight cruise on Doubtful Sound.

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The Remarkables beyond The Wakatipu Vessel in evening light.

Knitting finish! and another Forest Park hike –

May 22, 2020

For the third week in a row we went to Forest Park on Portland’s west side to hike. We chose the segment of the Wildwood Trail from Germantown Road to Springville Road, looping back to where we started via Leif Erickson Drive and the Cannon Trail (5.6 miles, 500 feet, hike #41 for 2020.) There was a 20% chance of rain for the day – I think we got all of it during our hike. The last time I hiked in this much rain I was in a rainforest in New Zealand! 

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We began our hike in the rain.

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A cedar dripping with rain and moss.

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There were some sun breaks.

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Returning down the wide, social distance friendly, Leif Erickson Drive.

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Robins were hopping along the trail.

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Honeysuckle blooming along the Cannon Trail.

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Thoughts of New Zealand!

Knitting Finish!

The Which Came First? shawl by designer Cheri Clark used three full skeins (1260 yards) of Malabrigo Mechita in the Piedras color way! I will be mailing this to my daughter, who chose the yarn when I saw her in January.

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From bottom to top, eggs (eyelets), chicken feet, chicken wire.

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Remains of the three skeins of yarn.

Garden and neighborhood:

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Penstemon blooming in our front yard.

Two kinds of poppies in the neighborhood:

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California poppies

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Oriental poppies

More words of encouragement on a local Poetry Post:

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Peninsula Park Rose Garden

 

April 23, 2020 – Another urban hike-

We walked to the Peninsula Park Rose Garden through northeast Portland. Neighborhood gardens are bursting with flowers, but it was much too early for the rose garden.

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It is pink snow season in Portland! (cherry blossoms)

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These red and white camellias reminded me of the “Painting the roses red!” scene from Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There.

Our route took us through the Alberta Arts neighborhood where personal artistic expression is abundant!

We finally reached the Peninsula Park Rose Garden after walking about 4 miles. 

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The rose garden was built in 1913.

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The rose beds are sunken below street level.

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Peonies near the entrance were the brightest color there today.

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Brickwork paths.

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The gazebo

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The only blooming roses.

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Looking west across the rose garden.

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Hike #37, 8.4 miles, 200 feet. We are hoping to find a dirt trail nearby to walk next week – the cement is very hard on my poor arthritic feet, as I am trying to keep my fitness levels up for the duration…

Knitting

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I finished the ‘eggs’ and the ‘chicken feet’ on the Which Came First shawl. On to the ‘chicken wire’!

PS. Happy 3rd Blogiversary to me – I published my first post in April of 2017!

 

Rocky Butte

Another week of Pandemic, another urban volcano hike, new spring blooms, a bit of crafting, and some good advice from George Washington.

April 16, 2020 – Hike of the Week

Rocky Butte is another Boring Volcanic Field volcano in Portland. We walked there from the Rose City Golf course, and had a great view of the High Cascades Peaks, with a coyote sighting along the way.

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After walking flat city streets, we began the uphill climb on Rocky Butte Road.

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A coyote, crossing the road ahead.

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The coyote continued up into the forest.

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Meanwhile, we walked up the road and through the tunnel.

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The road, tunnel, and stone walls were built in the 1930’s as part of a WPA post-depression infrastructure project.

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Eventually, we reached the park on the summit.

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Views in all directions:

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East to Mt Hood

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North to Mt St Helens

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Columbia River, Mt St Helens

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Mt St Helens

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Northwest, down the Columbia River

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West to the Fremont Bridge, Portland

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West to downtown Portland

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Southeast to Mt Jefferson

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Mt Jefferson

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Mt Hood again

And a last look at Mt St Helens before heading down.

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I always love a Peak Finder!

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Hike#36, 6.5 miles, 420 feet.

New blooms in the neighborhood and garden this week:

Crafting:

I made forward and reverse progress on my Meris sweater. While playing yarn chicken, I made the sleeves too short. I have knit just about every part of this sweater three times, so now I will reknit the lower sleeves.  I sewed more masks, started sewing a new bathrobe to replace the one I left behind in Queenstown, and continued knitting Emily’s shawl, and the purple socks.

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Meanwhile in Portland:

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Physical distancing demonstrated by our founding father!

Mask sewing, knitting, neighborhood walks, and hiking a local volcano…

I’m not exactly sure – I think it is the second week of April…

We are lucky to be just sheltering in place, only venturing out for walks, weekly grocery replenishing, and the occasional medical appointment. So far we are healthy and doing our part by staying home.

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I made masks for family and friends.

I am enjoying meeting my knitting group via the internet, and making progress on a shawl for my daughter.

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Which Came First shawl, pattern by Cheri Clark, Malabrigo Mechita, Piedras colorway.

We are busy with home projects, both inside and out.

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We made a nice dinner for the first night of passover, which we shared virtually with one of our sons.

I continue my usual neighborhood walks. We have had some amazingly beautiful spring days. Trees are blooming, leafing out, glowing in the sunshine!

Our crabapple tree has come into full bloom this week.

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Earliest blooms

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Looking out from the upstairs window

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Queen Catherine has come out of retirement to show solidarity with the neighborhood!

We walked to a farther distant park in town to make up for not being able to take our usual hike of the week in wilder surroundings just now.

Mt Tabor Park, Portland, 4/9/2020

Mt Tabor is a relict 300,000 year old cinder cone, over 600 feet high, that is a popular park on the east side of Portland. It is about 3.5 miles from our house, so by the time we walked up and around the reservoirs and to the top of the hill we had covered over 8 miles for the day, with a little bit of hill climbing.

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Our route was through residential neighborhoods.

Native wildflowers, which I am so missing from our hikes, are blooming in front yards.

When we reached Mt Tabor Park, we continued uphill, past the reservoirs and through the woods to the top. No cars are allowed on the roads, and trails are wide, so we were easily able to keep our distance from other people.

We found a bench to eat lunch with a westward view toward downtown Portland.

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After lunch, we walked down past the amphitheater where the excavated hillside reveals the volcanic structure of Mt Tabor.

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On our walk to and from Mt Tabor we saw encouraging signs of pandemic solidarity throughout the neighborhoods…

We saw a tribute to John Prine – sadly, one of the coronavirus victims this week.

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More words of encouragement! One of my knit group members shared a photo of this plaque from the FDR Monument in Washington DC…a message of hope and guidance that applies to our times as well.

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