November 2021 report…

 A month that sped by, interludes of rain and wind and another atmospheric river, a few hikes, some knitting, and a family Thanksgiving celebration indoors…

Hikes:

November 5th – Wildwood Trail, miles 0 to 1.5, Portland, OR

On a sunny afternoon, we walked the first section of the Wildwood Trail as part of a 3 mile loop. We saw some late fall color, a bald eagle, and a few other interesting trees.

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oak


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bald eagle

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Redwood trees


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Huggable!


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Monkey puzzle trees

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Not huggable! 

I only have about 3 miles left to have completed all 30 miles of the trail.

November 10th – Catherine Creek – Bitterroot/Stringbean/Rowland Wall trails, WA

Another 4.5 mile loop on a sunny day in the eastern Gorge, Washington side. 

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Up the Bitterroot Trail, view to Catherine Creek Arch.


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Oak groves on the west side of Rowland Wall.


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Spotted towhee


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Lunch view to the east toward Rowland Wall

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another towhee?


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Handsome old tree snag


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Westward view


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Back over Rowland Wall

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Orchards of Mosier

We took a quick stop to check out the bald eagle nesting grounds on the nearby Klickitat River, knowing it was probably too early to see them.

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No bald eagles yet,


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but plenty of Osage Oranges,

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and some small birds in the bushes.

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Three bushtits


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Spotted towhee

November 18th – Deschutes River Trail, OR

A two hour drive to get out of the rain – a pleasant 5 mile walk with friends…

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Canada geese near the trailhead


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The river level is high!


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Some fall colors along the banks


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Cliff views as we start uphill…

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View back to the river mouth.

November 23rd – Stonehenge, WA

Again we drove east, looking for good weather. We found sun, but too much wind! We drove through the wind power installations in the hills, then stopped for our lunch break at the Stonehenge replica/ WWI Memorial near Maryhill, WA. 

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Rainbow and white caps on the Columbia River, from the Hood River Bridge.


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Driving through wind power country…

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Stonehenge Memorial out on a bluff over the Columbia River…

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West toward Hood River

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Eastward views

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Sun on the cliffs near Lyle, WA, as we drive back west into the rain.

Thanksgiving:

We celebrated with friends, 

while this bird feasted on the rudbeckia seedheads in our front yard:

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Knitting

Mostly on a brioche project. I have become quite experienced at repairing knitted purls and vice versa.

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Neighborhood

Many walks during the dry intervals. Leaves saying goodbye…

and this guy looking to the future…

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The rest of October, 2021: knitting, neighborhood, more hikes…

A transitional month – the last of the summer flowers, leaves turning and falling, more rain, an atmospheric river event. We got our Covid booster shots, are poised for reentry, again, again, again, again….

Knitting, etc: 

I knitted some little creatures – a gnome, three cats and a witch, and finished a pair of socks. My collection of twelve hats and a cowl are blocked and ready for donation to a local women’s shelter. I sewed potholders and a door light curtain for my daughter.

Around the neighborhood:

Colors of the season:

Two more hikes, besides our Mt Adams and Eagle Creek adventures:

With more frequent rain in western Oregon, we go east of the mountains, beyond the rain shadow. 

10/21/2021 Tom McCall Point, Oregon: Orange oak trees, views of Mt Adams and Mt Hood, and a surprise viewing of a buck near the top of the mountain.

10/27/2021 The Labyrinth, Washington: A saunter with our son through some of my favorite basalt piles and oak groves on an overcast day with sun breaks.

New Zealand Albatross update: The chick Tiaki that I watched in the webcam from the time it was laid as an egg last fall, to its fledging in September 2021, has flown across the South Pacific Ocean to the coast of South America.

And some inspiration for staying positive…

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Internet meme – author unknown.

What happened in September 2021…

Home and garden:

Knitting:

I finished more hats for the Women’s Shelter donation, made progress on socks and a shawl, both excellent travel knitting, and began knitting the fall Mystery Gnome. And I received a late but welcome crocheted bag as a birthday gift from my sister.

Hiking:

We spent a lot of time on hiking trails! In addition to two out of town trips to the Olympic Peninsula and Mt Baker, and a day hike at Cloud Cap on Mt Hood, all described in separate posts, we went on six other adventures:

September 9, East Crater Trail, Indian Heaven, Washington. Return to Junction Lake.

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Into the woods

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East Crater

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Junction Lake

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Mountain ash

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Huckleberry

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Mt St Helens from the PCT Southbound

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Birds in a water hole in a mostly dry creek

September 17, Portland Arboretum. Early fall color on a beautiful day.

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Aralia

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Sumac

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Hop hornbeam

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Douglas fir with sap

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September 24, Kiwa Trail, Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, Washington. Looking for Sandhill Cranes while we can still hike the trail before it is closed for the winter nesting season.

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Nightshade berries near the creek

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Woodland

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Grassland with teasel

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These are the sandhill cranes we are looking for!

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Resident nesting pair with colt

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September 26 – Saltzman Road in Forest Park, Portland. Our first time on this particular trail through the park, we walked 6 miles while catching up with friends.

September 28, Crawford Oaks, Washington. A return to an oft hiked trail, we escaped the rain in Portland and saw only 4 other hikers the entire day.

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Columbia Hills from The Dalles Bridge

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Geologic context

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Eight Miles Falls

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Pear tree

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Our usual lunch spot

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Clouds and wind

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Eastward

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Tufts

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The “one tree”

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Dried balsamroot, Dalles Mountain Ranch

Some foliage for the day:

September 30, Coyote Wall, Washington. Another often hiked trail, again with friends. A beautiful day up there!

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Puffy clouds and rocks

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Coyote Wall

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Mt Hood in the clouds

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Return hike

Other news:

Tiaki, the Albatross chick I have been watching in New Zealand via webcam, has fledged!

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The blue line is a tracker on Tiaki, the red line is one of her parents.

A family member acquired a new-to-him car.

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I attended an in-person book group meeting, where we watched the moon rise over the Willamette River from Sauvie Island.

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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….

June 2021 – Emerging…but into a heat dome?

It is June 2021 and I am emerging from pandemic life a little more each day, like the cicadas from their seventeen year hibernation, or the Munchkins of Oz after the tornado dropped the house of the Wicked Witch of the East on them. Well not exactly like that. But I am slowly meeting more friends in real life, blinking at the brightness of their unmasked smiles; hesitantly, then greedily leaning into their hugs; ramping up our conversations of all the not shared words of the past fifteen months. Then I go home and recover from the intensity of the interactions, but feel more relaxed, more appreciative of life before the pandemic, when meeting my knitting group and chatting for a few hours was a weekly occurrence; when the warmth of shared interactions was not impeded by a cold glassy screen.

I know the global pandemic is not over, that many places are still locked down and in crisis. People anxiously await their vaccinations, as I did three months ago. People with young children continue sheltering until their vaccines are approved.  But it is time for us to go outside again…

Around town:

We are enjoying berry season! We went on several hikes (see the next post), and also to see the roses.

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June 8 – Portland International Rose Test Garden – We visited during the week when Portland traditionally celebrates the Rose Festival, mostly cancelled this year due to Covid-19. On this showery day, we saw a full rainbow of glistening roses – appropriate for Pride month!

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Knitting :

I have completed two projects – socks, and a donation hat. I have four works in progress: another donation hat, socks, a cardigan and a gnome:

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Kroy socks

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Donation Tam Topper

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WIPs

I also met in person with my knitting group a few times, still outdoors and careful, but no masks as we are all vaccinated. We visited the Knitted Wit Warehouse on her open house day, and I acquired some new yarn. I also got a pile of potential from our knitter’s destash table at one of our meetups. It is so hard to leave beautiful yarn behind, knowing it was all going to donation if not taken home by one of us. So not sure what I am making with these, but I love the colorful potential!

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New skeins

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New to me destash table collection

Quilting :

I finished the baby quilt and sent it along to the new little one.

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What the heck is a heat dome, and why is it lingering around my neighborhood!

At the end of the month, we were challenged again, by the heat dome! A rare meteorological event that produced record high temperatures across the usually mild Pacific Northwest, and once again confined us to our indoor spaces for a few days. Fortunately for me, we have an air conditioned house, but it is not common in Oregon. As the temperatures rose and the air stagnated, I was reminded of my time in Tucson, AZ, when the summer temperatures were commonly above 100 degrees, but not in the 110’s! We are out of it now, but it was uncomfortable, and catastrophic for many. 

We resorted to making popsicles from our ancient Tupperware molds.

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These neighborhood cactus plants were blooming and happy.

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We are hoping for a mild July….

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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Blooms of early April 2021

The crabapple tree in our front yard finally bloomed during the second week of April. This tree was in full bloom the day we moved into our house in mid March almost 30 years ago.

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April 9th

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April 11th

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April 15th

Other garden blooms:

And some cupcakes for a friend’s birthday:

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Hikes:

April 2nd, Memaloose Hills, OR –

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Begin at the Memaloose Overlook…

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Today’s star is balsamroot!

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Buttercup carpet in the woods.

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Balsamroot all the way up Chatfield Hill.

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Looking back.

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North view from the top – Mt Adams, paintbrush, yellow parsley.

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Columbia River, Columbia Desert parsley, balsamroot

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Mt Hood to the west.

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Willows and bees near the spring on the return hike.

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Popcorn flowers on Marsh Hill.

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View from Marsh Hill back to the Memaloose Hills.

More wildflowers:

 April 8, Coyote Wall, WA – Our first hike with friends in more than a year! We are all fully vaccinated!

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Starting up The Old Ranch Road.

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Service berry in bloom on the Little Moab Cliffs.

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The edge of the Coyote Wall, yellow parsley.

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And balsamroot, eastward view.

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Southward view.

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And we are going higher!

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Upper cliff edge view.

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A nice meadow near Atwood Road, as we loop eastward before hiking down.

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A day when every blade of grass seems to have a bloom!

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So many flowers!

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Desert parsley along Old Hwy 14 cliff, return hike.

And more flowers:

Knitting

Some progress on two projects:

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I finished the yoke on this bamboo cardigan, and it is way too big, despite careful swatching, so this one is in time out for a while.

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A mystery project for a gift…

Quilting

I am starting a baby quilt for a new family member!

The rest of March, 2021

Tulips and cherry blossoms, three more hikes, a new knit along, a careful cross country trip, and our neighborhood loses our star author, as we continue into our second year of pandemia.

The neighborhood in bloom –

Catherine Creek East

March 26th – A beautiful day – we roamed on the eastward loop to see the latest of early spring flowers sprinkled on the grassy slopes.

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White death camas and saxifrage all the way up…

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Yellow agerosis and yellow bells

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The first of the purple camas,

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the last of the grass widows.

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Monkey flowers, rosy plectritis and orobanche

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Shooting stars and saxifrage

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Larkspur, and purple Columbia desert parsley

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Yellow parsley and Mt Hood!

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Meadow lark

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Fairy ponds

Wildwood Trail,  milepost ~ 10 to 14

March 29th – A slightly rainy day, trilliums lining the trail on our loop. I have now completed about 20 miles of the 30 mile trail during the pandemic.

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Wildwood trail on a damp day.

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Trillium blooming all along the trail.

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Trillium

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Violets

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Salmonberry

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Coltsfoot

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Return along Leif Erikson Drive

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Sky breaking out!

Cooper Mountain

March 30th – We took a quick loop around this mountain on the edge of suburbia, being reclaimed/preserved so that all doesn’t become concrete, while our son was at an appointment nearby. A few early spring flowers on view.

Knitting

I finished another hat, and continue to knit on the socks and cardigan.

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Plaid hat – a test knit for a friend.

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Sock and cardigan, in process.

Son’s trip to DC:

Travel is fraught in these Covid times, yet we needed to transfer one of our cars to our daughter on the east coast. Our temporarily unemployed son volunteered, so in the midst of the pandemic, he bubbled himself across country. With all appropriate masking and testing, he delivered the car. Then he flew back, and after more bubbling and testing, successfully completed his adventure Covid free.

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Postcards from the road

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Cherry blossoms on the National Mall

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More cherry blossoms, tidal basin.

Beverly Cleary

We live in Ramona’s neighborhood, the same neighborhood in Portland, Oregon, where the acclaimed children’s author went to school and roamed Grant Park and Klickitat Street. Beverly Cleary died last week, a few weeks short of her 105th birthday. Though she spent most of her adult life in California, our neighborhood honors her legacy. Libraries and schools bear her name. We have a walking tour of the neighborhood to see her world.  I remember getting my middle school aged son to read the books to his three year old sister while I was making dinner, and he never objected – he looked forward to it. “Is it time to read to Emily yet?” I especially enjoyed her two memoirs, recognizing many of the scenes from her childhood as replayed in her novels. I heard her say in an interview that she identified most with Ellen Tebbits. She got to live a good long life, and in our neighborhood we have her “ordinary” fictional children cast in bronze in the sculpture garden in the park, which doubles as a splash pad in the summer. Last week there were flowers in the sculpture garden in tribute to her memory.

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Ramona the Pest

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Henry Huggins

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Ribsy

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