April 2022

We returned from our east coast trip early in the month, happy to see our bulbs and crabapple tree in full bloom.

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Checker lilies

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Tulips

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Crabapple

On April 11th we had an unusual late season snowstorm covering all the blossoms. It melted within a day, and though hail, wind and rain hit sporadically that week, we were also treated to several rainbows.

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Snow on the crabapple blossoms

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and tulips

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Hail and crabapple blossoms

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Sunny deluge

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Rainbow

We hiked the Lyle Cherry Orchard West Loop on April 6th, – our second time on this new trail. Today we saw the early spring flowers, the always spectacular views, and a lot less wind compared to our hike here last December!

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Eastern gorge, red poison oak beginning to leaf out.

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Death camas in abundance throughout the lower plateau.

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Death camus

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Mt Adams from the upper trail

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Pink filaree carpeting the upper oak groves

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View to the western gorge and early balsam root blooms.

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Balsamroot

On April 15th, we took a quick loop through Tryon Creek on our annual spring hike to see the trillium and skunk cabbage….

April 21st to 27th we travelled to the southwest, Nevada and Utah, the subject of my next post.

On return to Portland, the neon green of our city glowed from the airplane window. I was pleased to see the dogwoods and azaleas in the neighborhood in full bloom.

My knitting this month:

And…I celebrate the approval of our new Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson…though her presence will probably not be enough to thwart the regressive decisions looming….

March, 2022

March was cold, rainy, windy, with a few sun breaks and early flowers:

We went on three repeat hikes:

Memaloose Hills – March 3rd:

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Cold and windy at the Memaloose Overlook


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Looking to the westward cliffs…


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Zooming in on the blue heron rookery.


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Chatfield Hill – mostly still dormant,


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with a few yellow bells.


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We tried a (new to us) side loop up the lower hill on the return hike.

White River with micro spikes – March 11th:

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Clouds wafted across Mt Hood throughout the hike.


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Our usual lunch spot – snow level is low!


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Return hike – lenticular clouds forming…

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The Labyrinth – March 16th:

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Plenty of water in the Old Hwy. 8 waterfall; Mt Hood on the far horizon.


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Slightly frozen grass widows.


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Labyrinth waterfall


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Yellow bells and buttercups


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My favorite oak grove


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Our guide Ponderosa


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View from the guide tree


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Early yellow parsley


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The haunted tree

Knitting and sewing:

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Quilt for my new niece, born at the end of the month.


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New laptop sleeve.


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‘Brave Enough’ Hitchhiker – yarn by Knitted Wit, pattern by Martina Behm


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Gnome Pun Intended, pattern by Sara Schira, Year of Gnomes, scrap yarn.


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Ripples Make Waves hat for the Guild Service Project; pattern by Casapinka; Knit Picks Hawthorne yarn.


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I started a new pair of socks for travel knitting.

At the end of the month we flew to the east coast to visit family – that will be my next post. 

February 2022

I knitted a few things this month…

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Goose Hollow Shawl, Rose City Yarn Crawl Mystery KAL

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Four hats for the guild service project

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A flotilla of gnomes, sent to Washington DC, with survival provisions.

I started a baby quilt

The front yard bulbs are blooming despite a late hard freeze.

We went on three local hikes to familiar areas, in addition to one big adventure to Palm Spring National Park in southern California (separate post)….

Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge, Portland, Oregon, February 3

An easy 3 mile loop with lots of wildlife sightings.

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Wildlife mural on the mausoleum

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Blue heron mural

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Blue heron

Coyote Wall, Washington, February 18th

5 mile loop, with friends, on a sunny day with only a light breeze.

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Coyote Wall

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Lunch view to Mt Hood

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Lunch view to the eastern gorge

The early flowers:

Catherine Creek, Washington, February 25

A week later, a cold snap had frozen most of the grass widows at nearby Catherine Creek. We walked a few miles, exploring some side trails we hadn’t tried before.

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Fields of grass widows – some shriveled in the cold. Hoping many of these will bloom when it warms up!

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The arch

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The road

Dozens of robins bobbed and hopped in the surrounding meadows and bushes.

We visited our favorite fairy ponds, which were frozen,

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And found a few blooming grass widows nearby.

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grass widows

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bitterroot foliage

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Snow dusted eastern view

Meanwhile…The days have been galloping by. I have created a few things to justify the time, of which there is never enough. Elsewhere in the world all is upheaval, war and death. A power grab, unexplainable access to power; the code of civility is a construct…if we don’t all buy in then it cannot exist.

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January 2022 in Portland

The first couple of weeks were very cold, followed by many days of rain dripping down the windows, yarn loops sliding by on the needles, and just a few sun breaks. A tsunami from Tonga, the Omicron surge just beginning to decline, a trip to Joshua Tree cancelled…another pandemic month in Portland.

Hikes:

1/9/2022 Wildwood Trail to Pittock Mansion in Portland – A rare sunny day – everyone out on the trails – we continued our section hike of the Wildwood Trail, completing about 3 more miles as we hiked up and back to Pittock Mansion from the arboretum, crossing the new Barbara Walker Bridge for the first time.

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Up until last year, hikers had to scurry across the very busy Burnside Street.

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 Barbara Walker Bridge.

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Urban trail graffiti

We reached the 1914 Pittock Mansion, and walked around to the viewing areas…

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Pittock Mansion

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Views from the property to the Cascade Mountains…

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Mt Hood

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Portland and Mt Hood

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Mt St Helens

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Mt Rainier beyond Mt St Helens

Returning back over the Barbara Walker Crossing…

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1/12/2022 Eagles and snow near Lyle, WA – Our annual trip to see the eagles at the Balfour/Klickitat Preserve:

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Calm Columbia River looking east from the Hood River Bridge.

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Snowy ground near Coyote Wall.

We walked to the eagle viewing area near the mouth of the Klickitat River:

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Osage oranges along the trail

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Frozen lakeshore, eagle flying above the island

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Eagle and ducks

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Looking up Klickitat Canyon – white eagle heads in the trees

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Bald Eagle

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Bald eagle

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We saw more than twenty today.

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Looking south to Tom McCall Point.

Next we walked some of the trails at nearby Catherine Creek.

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Snowy slopes at Catherine Creek

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Frozen Fairy Ponds

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The arch

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Mt Hood and the orchards of Mosier

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Eastern Gorge

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Grass widow foliage, but no blooms.

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The waterfall.

1/18/2022 Swans at Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge, WA – We walked the 2.5 mile Oaks to Wetland Trail.

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Swans in the distance, from the railroad bridge

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Fungus

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Belted kingfisher

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Trumpeter swans

Then we drove the auto tour, looking for more swans.

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Plenty of tundra and trumpeter swans in the northern lake…

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American coot

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Northern harrier next to the road.

1/28/2020 Chehalem Ridge Nature Park, OR – Our first visit to this new park south of Forest Grove. We walked almost six miles on the trails, quiet today with a few views of the distant mountains.

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Chehalem Ridge Nature Park

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Mt St Helens and Mt Adams

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Farmlands and Coast Range to the west

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Mt Rainier and Mt St Helens

Neighborhood:

On our first sunny day, I went outside for what seemed like the first time in weeks, to see blue sky and low angle winter shadows:

1/16/2022 – Another sunny day, we met friends and walked a long loop on the hilly streets south of downtown Portland.

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Mt Hood from SW Portland

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Mt Hood and the Tilikum Bridge over the Willamette River

By the end of the month, viburnum and crocus were beginning to bloom…

Knitting:

I did get a lot of knitting done this month, since the outdoors were so inclement. And I am still meeting once or twice weekly with my knitting group over Zoom.

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Winding yarn on my new swift.

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Rose City Yarn Crawl Mystery Shawl, in progress

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New pile of yarn from the guild to make hats for our service project.

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I used online tutorials to learn Tunisian crochet.

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I finished a languishing WIP – The Ella Improv Cowl, by Cecelia Campochiaro, using marling and sequence knitting techniques.

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A Gnoah gnome, (Imagined Landscapes), sent via Intergalactic Gnome Transport to the burgeoning colony in Washington DC.

Addenda:

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The volcano in Tonga!

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The snow in DC.

Other adventures – January 10th was the 4th anniversary of my pituitary surgery. With constant vigilance and good doctors, all my hormone levels are now within the normal range. I feel healthy and strong and grateful for early diagnosis and the miracles of modern medical science, especially the monthly injections that keep the acromegaly in check.

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On to February – pandemic numbers are going down in our neck of the woods – we may actually travel somewhere – stay tuned.

2021…review

Another year of playing the waiting game, getting vaccinated, then staying out of the way. We rode the roller coaster of variants, and stayed healthy. In between, we met up with family and friends, but once again cancelled travel plans as waves of Covid swept the globe. We visited our daughter in Washington DC in May, and then she was able to visit us in the summer and attend a several times postponed wedding. Delta rose, and we cancelled a trip to Iceland. We compensated by taking trips to the Olympic Mountains, Mt Baker, and Mt Adams.  We experienced a heat dome and a couple of atmospheric river events, and, all along I leaned into my usual enrichment distractions – books and yarn. I met with my book group a few times, and my knitting group weekly, mostly on zoom, occasionally outdoors.

The Fiber Arts: Knitting continued to be a main source of both comfort and productivity. I finished 21 projects. By far the most satisfying were the 12 hats and cowl I knit for donation to the guild service project. I also thoroughly enjoyed knitting several gnomes and cats, a witch, an albatross, and a turtle; socks and hats for family members, a small blanket, a sweater, and skirt for me. I explored many new techniques, and have a sense that there will always be something new to learn about knitting.

I also made two quilts, a Dorset button, and a cross stitched bookmark, some pattern weights, and a few other small sewing projects.

Books: Of the 73 books I finished, many were biographies, autobiographies, memoirs, or historical fiction centered around the lives of women. I find so much inspiration in learning about how different individuals found meaning in their lives, helped others, made the best life out of a challenging start, sometimes just survived.

Hikes and Walking: I walked over 700 miles last year, about 340 of the miles on 68 hiking trips, that included over 56000 feet of elevation. Standout hikes were the Ptarmigan Ridge trail at Mt Baker, the Killen Creek trail at Mt Adams, and finally making it to Tunnel and Twister Falls on the Eagle Creek trail in the Columbia River Gorge.  We revisited many favorite trails in the Gorge and Cascade Mountains, and completed 5 more hikes on the Wildwood Trail in Forest Park – we  have less than 4 miles left to finish the entire trail.

Other things that delighted me this year: the Inauguration; neighborhood skiing in February; monitoring Brian’s cross country road trip in March; visiting family in Eugene in May; celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas with friends.

Hopes and aspirations for 2022: Besides coming out of the pandemic… besides reading and knitting and hiking.  Perhaps more quilting, sewing, spinning, and learning Tunisian crochet. I still have more blog posts about New Zealand and quilt stories to finish. I want to hike the last few miles of the Wildwood Trail; we hope to go to DC and Italy, possibly to Hawaii, and back to Killen Creek Meadows when the wildflowers are out. But especially, I want to  to reconnect with people, visit family and friends, in real life –  that is my fondest hope for 2022.

Finally, a small tribute to two of the many people who inspire me, and have made my world a better place.

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December 2021: knitting, the neighborhood, gnomes for the holiday…

Knitting – I finished up some holiday projects – socks, a hat, two gnomes, and a brioche skirt for me! …

I learned how to make a Dorset Button, as a tree ornament, from a kit by TJFrogg of Skye.

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And I finished a cross stitch bookmark kit for my husband, which he purchased in New Zealand, and which represents our hope to return there some day to see Mitre Peak in Milford Sound.

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Neighborhood…On my neighborhood walks, I witnessed fall colors giving way to holiday decor…

Tree baubles, disco Santa, and the abominable snowman…

On one block, four or five large installations face off, including two Snoopys:

December has brought lots of rain, and now a deep freeze and snow between Christmas and New Years.

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Holidays…We had a quiet Hannukah at home.

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Our daughter was home from DC for about 2 weeks. I missed her assistance with the holiday prep elf work last year.

We were so glad to enjoy Christmas dinner with friends, also missed last year. We got to see their tree, and share our time on this one day, all vaccines and pretest precaution protocols in place.

Being able to be with a limited number of family and friends made this so much better than last year. I am grateful we are all healthy!  I wish everyone a triple vaxxxed (or whatever it takes) happy New Year, 2022!

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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liquidambar


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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