Thursday, June 1, 2017

This is NOT my Portland

This is the email I sent to the mayor and other elected officials yesterday.  I didn't get a single response.  
I've been here 22 years.  I used to say I died and went to heaven when I moved here.  I don't say that anymore.  

My habits have had to change drastically in the last few years.

  • I no longer go downtown.  The homeless and traffic are too terrible to bear.  I love the downtown farmers market but have mostly given it up.  Nor do I shop downtown anymore.
  • I live in a very walkable part of Portland and have always enjoyed walking.  We can do most of our errands on foot..  I have curtailed some of my walking and now feel I have to carry pepper spray, even in my neighborhood.
  • I've had so many plants stolen from my yard that I no longer plant things I value.
  • There is so much theft, car prowling and break ins that I have baby monitors that I use to listen to whether anyone is approaching my house.  I take the monitors to bed with me so I can listen all night.
  • When I have a package coming, I have to watch for it because leaving anything on the porch makes it likely to be stolen.
  • I am afraid to use public transportation.
  • I am afraid to attend a city council meeting.
  • I don't want friends from out of town to visit because I am ashamed of my city.
It feels like I am under siege.  This is NOT my Portland.

Now we have criminals crawling the streets, taking what they want.  This guy has a big knife.  He is on the porch of this house, trying to get in.  The photo is from a security camera video.  The video shows him circling the house,  taking things and trying to get into the house.  Very creepy.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Theory of Everything

This movie is about Stephen Hawking and his his amazing wife Jane Wilde.  I really enjoyed it.

More Memaloose Flowers

We went back for a second visit on a sunny day.  It's been so cold this year that the flowers lasted a long time.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Memaloose Wildflowers

Yesterday we visited Memaloose.

There were dozens of kinds of wildflowers; the balsam root and Indian Paintbrush were the showiest.  Sadly I saw no hummingbirds this year.  But there were lots of song birds.

More photos here.  See other years here.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Bacon Bread

Today I made Pain au Bacon from the Ken Forkish cookbook Flour Water Salt Yeast.  The kitchen smelled amazing while it was baking.  This is my first time making the Pain au Bacon and the bread is delicious.

See all those bacon bits?

This bread is a levain bread, made from the wild yeast that is everywhere.   I got interested in these recipes when our neighbor, Peter, shared some amazing bread he baked from the Ken Forkish book and method.   Peter bases his recipe on the book recipe Field Blend #2 adding fennel seeds and caraway seeds and some honey.  I call it Peter's Bread and it is John's favorite bread ever.  So for John's birthday, I learned how to make Peter's bread.  I've made it several times and it is really good.

Yesterday we bought a 50 pound bag of Shepherd's Grain flour, which is what Ken Forkish uses.  Shepherd's Grain is a Northwest Regional group of farmers who are good to the soil.  Their flour is used by many of the local artisan bakeries, including Ken's Artisan Bakery (Ken Forkish bakery).  We bought a 50 lb bag of Shepherd's Low Gluton flour at Cash and Carry for $17 .

Besides the book and Peter's tips on making the bread, I found a series of YouTube videos Ken Forkish made  to illustrate his methods.  They were very helpful.  Here is one on feeding the levain.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Spring flowers

We had one nice dry day.  It was great.

But mostly it just rains and rains this year.  It's been awful for the farmers.  Here is a picture of a field at Sptringhill Farms.  We get their tomatoes at the farmers' market.  I fear for this year's crops and for the farmers.

Image may contain: plant, outdoor, water and nature

Our Horrible Winter

We had huge amounts of rain, record rain.  We had snow and major ice storms and lots of freezing rain.  Most of the winter it was unpleasant to be outside.

This chart is from Mark Nelson, local weatherman.  His weather blog is excellent and has lots of great information on our horrible winter.

The Columbia Gorge took such a beating.  I've never seen damage like this in all my years here.  They even closed the Historic Columbia Gorge highway from mud slides.

Source Mudslide closes road
Some intrepid hikers did visit the Columbia Gorge and posted photos of the conditions.  The links are to trip reports on Oregon Hikers.

Source: Don Nelson
The snow and ice and mudslides and fallen trees make a mess of the trail.

Source-Eagle Creek Jan 30th

The freezing rain coats everything again and again, taking down trees and branches and making beautiful treacherous sculptures.

Vista House

And by mid February the trails look like this.


Monday, April 3, 2017

Spring finally arrives

Spring is at least a month late in Portland.  We had our worst winter ever (in our 22 years anyway).  It was cold and windy.  It was icy.  It was not like Portland.  Much of the winter we could not do our usual walks.  John was more resilient than me but he doesn't mind the wind as much and he bought spikes so he could walk in the ice.  Yes, it was that bad.

From our local weather man, only 6 clear days in the last six months.  Ugh...

Anyway, spring is finally here.  We've resumed our frequent visits to Portland Nursery.  Here is Marje, who I love.  It is such a treat to have Portland Nursery so close.

These were taken mid March at Portland Nursery.

 The back yard yesterday.  Love that bleeding heart.  It lights up the back yard.

Our magnolia is looking good.

The front yard has some color and growth.

John put a new roof on my bird house.  I bought it on Etsy  four years ago.  The roof isn't finished yet.  I think it is going to be stained red and sealed.

And he added flying buttresses to support our old fence.  He had a good time with that project.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Turkey Vultures having a sun bath

An Oregon blogger who quilts wrote a fascinating post about the turkey vultures perching on their cow pasture fence posts  in the Oregon Coast Range.  You can see her post here.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Rinky dink project.... dyeing kitchen towels

Several years ago I purchased some huck towels from the Rag Lady (on Amazon).   Over the years they got a bit dingy and I couldn't find any replacements I liked.  I've been working on learning to dye fabric and so I have leftover dye.  I use it to over dye those dingy faded towels.

Here are some of them (some are in the laundry)

This is how they look before dyeing

 I soak them in soda ash solution before applying the dye.  That is my dye solution in 2 oz bottles.