Monday, June 5, 2017

Spring to Summer in the Garden

Out with the peas and lettuce.....

....and in with the summer veggies

Eggplant in the lower corner, pickling cukes in the red cage, pattypan squash in the yellow cage. And a few purple french beans mixed in with the carrots. I ate snow peas until I couldn't face any more and until there were none left, nor signs of more to come.  The romaine started to bolt, so I shared some with a friend, put the rest in my fridge.

While I was out there with the camera, I decided to take a look at what other folks are doing out there and how pretty it is right now.

Sun shining through my own swiss chard.

One smart person has a permanent bed of luscious Oregon strawberries!

This photo leaves out several boxes behind me, but all in all, it's a very pleasant place to be.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Basking turtles and baby waterfowl

Nothing special going on today, but the sun emerged after a morning of overcast, I needed a walk and the river called. On the way, passing this pond full of wildlife, I spotted the basking turtles and the proud mama duck and her babes. I don't think it's actually a duck, perhaps a merganser? But my knowledge of swimming fowls is rather limited.

Nice to see the river running full and blue-green, rather than the dull brown of rainy winter months.

A nice look back upriver before I needed to turn toward home, away from the water. Nice walk.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Sunshine, and the beauty of simple nature

Spectacularly bright and beautiful day at the ponds this morning. Not the first sunny day we've had, by any means, but the first day of any kind that I've felt like walking down there for about 6 weeks now. Whatever that virus was, it was a doozy. But I began to notice the return of energy and the departure of malaise and depression a couple of days ago, and it continues. My legs still feel weak, and I don't walk fast, and I begin to feel tired before I get home, but still..... progress! I'll take it. So soul-satisfying to be walking these favorite paths on such a beautiful day and not ONE human encounter the entire time. They will be out in droves as the sunny days progress, but this morning the ponds were all mine. Mine and the birds, that is. Lots of those, too!

Lupine blooming everywhere, in great clusters like this and swaths of sunny hillside. One of my favorite wildflowers.

Then there was this. Way over on the far side I noticed these tracks and scratches in the gravel. I put my foot in there intentionally, to show the size of that print. Could be a big dog, I guess -- a really big dog. There's a matching one in the shadows to the right. Seems like too much of an urban area for big cats, as in cougars, even with all the acres of wetland and nature. It also seems possible that the one nearest my foot could be a human hand, so maybe not so mysterious.

So -- a wonderful walk to start my day. I see more to come, as my body continues to recover from the onslaught.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

The garden grows

My garden, taken yesterday afternoon. The peas are growing! Put the 4 new stakes in, but didn't get the supporting twine in place until today.

It's really looking good, though I noticed this afternoon that the chard is suffering from the mysterious leaf-wilting issue I've had before. Not sure what causes that. Planted some nasturtiums around the edge, and some creeping rosemary in the corner beside the regular rosemary. I hope it'll all cascade over the sides, though we're not allowed to let it go very far over the sides.

Temp got up to 90 today, and it was sunny all day until late afternoon. Gotta say, it was glorious. Repotted my orchids, outside. Hung around talking to people, or just walking around. Random and possible thunderstorms moving through tonight. Kind of odd, unpredictable spring weather, which includes cooling off a bit. And that's ok -- happy to have ONE really warm, sunny day, for now.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

A walk in the park

Hard as it is to believe, it's been about 10 years since I last spent any quality time in this beautiful local park -- Hendricks Park, with its fabulous rhododendron garden. There was a time back in 2007, between jobs once, when I'd walk up here 2-3 times a week for a few weeks. From where I lived, downtown Eugene, it was about an hour's walk, largely uphill, to reach the park. Once here, I'd spend another hour walking the various paths, stopping to sit and enjoy some places I found particularly delightful. Then I'd walk an hour back home. These 3-hour walks are among my best lifetime memories. From start to finish, walking through campus and quiet neighborhoods and into the park and back home, it was one long, productive meditation. They were magical in a way I've never been able to re-create, anywhere. And I've tried!

This morning I was drawn by the promise of warm weather and sunshine, plus many local news reports that the rhodies are in full bloom at the moment. I found that to be not quite true -- many are in bloom, but many are also just budding out.  Sun was fleeting, at best, while I was there but it really doesn't matter. It's beautiful and peaceful and serene with our without sunshine.

The 'top' of the park. Parallel paths are terraced off to the left and right, with many smaller trails that connect and lead to hidden corners.

From the entrance I headed -- unerringly, as it turned out -- toward where my favorite little nook is. This fountain sits off the main trail and is a lovely place to just sit and contemplate. I was surprised, but not really surprised, that after 10 years I could still find this place so swiftly.

I didn't sit for long -- too anxious to wander all the trails and see the place once again. I've been up here at least once since my return to Eugene, but only for a few moments, never took the time to wander all the paths as I once did so regularly.

Another favorite 'off path' sitting spot, though this one is not so private as the first one.

This is -- or was -- another of my favorite places to sit. Looks as if some recent step construction has interfered with some of the old charm, but I suspect that'll return in time. Those big rocks in the foreground were home to many (and constantly changing) balanced pebble stacks and maybe a stray gnome or two. People leave little things all over the park, as gifts, and the maintenance people leave them be.

Rhodies aren't the only things blooming up here, ever.  Azaleas, too, plus lots of low-growing groundcover and trees of all kind. Dogwood is blooming up there at the moment, tho not in this photo.

So that was my walk. This entire property is maintained by volunteers, and they do a fabulous job of it. Some of you might remember that I went up there one day a couple of years ago to work with them, and it wore me out. I'd planned to become active regularly with the weekly maintenance, but that just didn't happen. I still love the place however, and still appreciate all the work done by others.

Hope you enjoyed this walk, too. I sure did!

By the way -- I guess I've officially entered the digital age. A few days ago on Woot! I saw some Amazon Fire kindles for $30 -- reconditioned, but in good shape. I couldn't resist. It arrived yesterday and I was instantly addicted. Spent many hours playing with it. Wi-fi enabled, so it works without a service fee. Worst thing about it is that I spent so many hours with it that my eyes hurt, and still hurt today. I have to say, I can understand why people are so easily addicted to these things. 😉

Friday, April 28, 2017

Fruit kimchi

Since the kimchi is doing my body so much good, and since I'm almost out of it, I started a new batch today.

While I was at it, I decided to try something new from the bible: Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz. This is a fruit kimchi. Half veggies, half fruit (pineapple and strawberry in this case).

It still has all the spiciness of regular kimchi -- lots of garlic, ginger, hot pepper flakes. It's also meant to be eaten young, rather than aged, while the sweetness of the fruit is still strong. Should be an interesting combination. After 3 days, I'll let you know.

Won't have much probiotic development after just 3 days, but that's ok. I'll let the main batch ferment for 3 weeks, so that all the good lactobacillus bacteria have a chance to develop. This was just an interesting experiment, a branching out, if you will. Trying new things.

Clearly, the old batch that's almost gone has done me a world of good. I feel better every day. Almost back to normal today, though I discovered yesterday that the body still isn't ready for the gym just yet. And that's ok. Still no word from the doc about what he found in my gut, but he did say that if they found anything bad they'd let me know, so if I didn't hear anything I could just assume it was a virus or something that the kimchi is already taking care of. I'm going to go with that.

All hail the power of probiotics, people! Never doubt it. Last week I thought I was going to end up in the hospital, but a little aged kimchi started taking care of the issue within a couple of hours. Went in there and gobbled up a lot of those bad bugs, whatever they were. That's what probiotics are for, and they do their job well. But you do have to eat them, not just look at them in the fridge.

We have at least 10 days of mostly sunshine in our future, so I removed the white netting from my garden bed today and cleaned the bed up a bit. So nice! I've been eating radishes, lettuce and parsley, and there should be enough swiss chard for a meal soon. I found some blossoms on the peas. The carrots are growing, if slowly.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

New toys and record rains

Before I explain the photo, I have proof that my whining about rain this year has not been unfounded. Local TV station today tweeted out that since the rainy season began on October 1st, we've had 143 days where some rain was recorded. The previous record was 138 days, set in the 1920-1921 season! And it's still raining.

So there. I feel vindicated.

About the photo -- what I'm going to say is going to sound really weird. It sounds weird to me, but it's true.

I've needed a larger skillet (only a medium size cast iron one that wasn't good for all uses), and really wanted a good triple- or five-ply stainless. Only problem there was cost, of course. Sometime back in March, I think it was, this little jewel popped up on my favorite shopping site (Woot!) for $30. Triple-ply. Cuisinart. 12 inches. I felt a warm rush and ordered it immediately, because things come up there generally in limited quantities and if you snooze, you can lose.

When it arrived, I really thought it was much larger than 12 inches -- it's huge! But I measured it and yep, just a fraction over 12 inches. And heavy. I've used it for all kinds of things, and it never disappoints. I absolutely love this thing. 

If you know me, you know I have a soft spot for nice kitchen goodies -- including a few pieces of pricey Le Creuset which has previously been the stuff that made my heart twitter. But with all my moves I'd winnowed down to only the one skillet, plus my previous larger skillets were commercial aluminum, and like a lot of people, I'd opted against cooking with aluminum. Back to just one skillet. Limiting. With all the nice goodies I have or have had, this one is absolutely the best, far and away and I can't tell you how much I enjoy using it.  The insane pleasure I get from using it.

I used it today for the first time in almost 3 weeks (I've been sick!), and once again I got a warm rush of joy the entire time I was using it. I love it, love it, love it. For an inanimate object, it has a strange way of making me want to live just so I can keep using it. Not that I'm planning on checking out anytime soon, but an illness will make you start having thoughts like that, at this age.

So there -- weird. Unapologetically.  I think that's a word.

Finally went to the doc this morning -- after the worst of it has passed and I'm feeling better, of course. No word yet, just a raft of bloodwork and three different stool tests unlike any I've ever seen before. Something should show up for all of this!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017


Anybody living in the Pacific Northwest, including NorCal, should be overjoyed to see this graphic that just came to me via twitter. Can it be? A real respite from the constant rains? Oregonians are used to rain -- comes with the territory. But this year has brought much more than normal, more than most of us were happy to see. Some sunshine will be very welcome, indeed.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Battle Osprey vs. Eagle

Brian Davies does it again! There are not enough words to describe the photo envy I have when it comes to this man. This is a tweet from this morning. More photos here in Tuesday newspaper.

Bald eagle chasing an osprey 'over Eugene', determined to snatch the [very small] salmon from its talons. According to the newspaper article, the eagle eventually won.. But the photo is just awesome.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Osprey nest

Went for a walk down to the ponds yesterday and for the first time, noticed this platform on the side of the main road that holds an osprey nest. Not an unusual sight around here -- there are others along the river, including one that's close-by. I am curious, however, why I never noticed this one. I'm sure it's been here. I have a tendency to look down, rather than up, when I walk.  This time of year I find myself looking up, trying to spot nests for the eagles that I see flying about, as well as the herons and yes -- this platform that I initially saw from a distance, looking up.

I don't know if there are chicks in there, but when I walked past it I did hear a rather loud, rather insistent noise that sounded like a hungry raptor chick. Mom and dad were flying in and out of the nest from the river direction, presumably bringing fish to hungry gullets. I tried to get a cool photo of one of them taking off or landing, but the only opportunity I got came up so suddenly I didn't have time to react. I got this one:

Not the cool shot I wanted, but the best they were willing to offer while I waited on the sidewalk. This was just coming in for a landing.

I know where the herons nest, of course, and have heard that the eagles nest along the river, though I haven't seen them personally. Maybe it's time to go for another walk on the river path, see what I can see. They fly over the house, headed east for a short distance, though I'm not sure what's over there that draws them. The far end of the ponds? Grassland? Some of both over there. Nice to look out and catch that flash of white head and tail, the graceful flight, even for a few seconds.

The ponds were quiet and a bit dreary yesterday. I haven't been back to the gym yet, so felt a need to just get out for a short time and walk, regardless of weather.  It wasn't raining, just dreary.

Lots of mushrooms flourishing out there, too. Saw numerous patches like this one. Exciting, right?

A few wildflowers popping out, sun or no sun. But things are indeed getting green, and that's nice.

So, that's the excitement around here.