What a crisp, bit cloudy, brilliant morning..... neighbors Dog found to have a TIC....they cancel going along and go to the VET. Just ME and MAC. The light looks perfect for an autumn picture maybe. I only take the phone camera. ............ SO. JOIN me for just a few brilliant visions my head saw this morning, here, the peak of fall color: I don't even have to leave the yard these mornings....in the BACK of the house, our tiny Deciduous Redwood (now about 10 yrs old..) is ready to shed its needles.....it's gorgeous spring summer and fall...... SO.....One doesn't have to walk far from this house to find so wonderful a rain forest, that the shorter vine maples often have to bend and stretch and search for light. hence. many scenes like this: or these...... **Those BENT limbed trees are all over this park.....the nature of the rain forest! Halfway into our walk, we pass MAC's favorite late winter romping puddle, the Elk Wallow....it's just now barely returning with all the rain, but not quite "rotten" enough to intrigue him....by January, if he's NOT leashed walking by this, it is irresistible to him: And, then uphill for a big, yep, it works the lungs, good reason to walk, eh..... some other tree scenes are simply breathtaking (at least "live" they are...I know, it's a phone camera): and on the way back, if you're looking you'll find a few "bird buffets"....rotten trunks now full of bugs for our feathered friends: or this one: **bigger, and looking like there's a nest or two up higher..... ONE massive old fir ....I'm wondering about termites.....SOME ANIMAL is taking on some of the thick bark of this tree....it's a GRAND HUGE OLD fir: ****AND this morning's walk was NOT along the VERY scenic Wildwood Trail.....sinee I prefer to let MAC walk unleashed, I often stay on the Fire Lane...you seldom see a soul unless a jogger or two....but if you and I HAD walked the Wildwood, this is what it looks like out this far from town: Thanks for joining me..........I USED to THINK I was giving up my own wants to WALK this dog for HIS sake....and long ago, I realized I GOT more out of it than this wonderful animal companion, who loves the walk, but his nose is always looking' down..... and, well, he's right in a way, you need to make sure you don't come across coyote scat and step in it.....damn coyotes! They poop right ON the trail.... OH well! We're back home now with an appetite! How about some just baked sourdough toast and eggs and bacon? See ya soon.
No post since August. Clearly showing the decline of blogging as with almost everyone I used to "follow". Now replaced with the short-quips on the FB, Twitter..... now everyone's convinced they no longer have the time to read a considered post in a blog.....takes too much time because you have 459 "real" friends on the other media formats. And I can't claim I've done any differently.... It IS a bit fun to read little bits about a lot of people....but............ oh well.... just my observation. I had to decide Oct 1 whether to even "pay" for another time period for Blue Host to maintain this site.....so I Outta find it IF..... this next year I Do learn to write in this little 'diary' again, OR....just back up the database and put it on a DVD scrapbook for ALL my "0" grandchildren to read about. Hah. That being said, SO MUCH has gone by since August......... I'm simply going to throw up a few pics and a few thoughts about the last 60 days.....as fast as I can, I MUST get back to FB quick to make sure I haven't missed anything. Hah. So the walk through FALL begins: FIRST observation Oct 28, 2015. Sigh. I am truly feeling melancholy, a little blue this morning. For the first time, ALL long term weather forecasts are calling for our entering the normal "wet" period of late fall that may well be here through spring......and ALWAYS......when that first starts, I feel a bit empty after having 6 straight months of fabulous perfect sunny days/ warmer nights. Day long shades of gray, and little drizzly rain bits are not my cup of tea, although I WELL know that's HOW you have a rain forest. And how can I WHINE.......of course I wouldn't trade this for the serious long-term drought killing California. 2nd Observation: I just turned 69. Just HOW did that happen? I used to the "little kid" in the family a short while back: Yep, that's right....the last one you can still be NOT in your "70's" . . .a decade I am not fond of yet.....you begin to be discounted by fewer friends (fewer are alive for one thing...hah)..... others you know that ARE your age.....begin to discuss Prostates, bumps here or there, digestion, prescriptions, doctors, and on and on. NO! Let's talk about our friends we miss or even see, and about where/what we're doing...... let's still be ALIVE while we ARE alive and healthy......NOT start to sink into that nursing home machine 10-15 years before you should. ENOUGH of THAT! SO.......... remedy. While I type, Playing a bit of Debussy (Children's Corner)....spot of tea, and just let myself SIT here and mind-wander. Hm......I already feel better. And.... one of my NEW adventures IS Bread Baking....starting with learning Sourdough from a fabulous Prof. Melanie Templeman, who we're lucky enough to be neighbors with...my first class mid-day pic: **I'm already up to attempt #16, and AM getting better....(that being said, on #16....I completely forgot SALT...oh well). Friend and ex-neighbor Krysta stopped by not long ago.... .now living on the coast, she's got a lot of life surrounding her....2 new kids, a degree in nursing meaning she's working plenty at the hospital, and dealing with "marriage"..... AH, maybe that's ONE little part I do NOT miss about being younger.....A LOT of added stresses older folks don't have....or need 🙂 . **An overdue BIG project for OUR household has been.....getting some maples down that were either already on last legs from termites, OR...leaning toward the house because that's where the sun was coming from.... and this September we DID it....WHAT an adventure it is simply to watch a crew dancing up 30-40 ft in trees with heavy chain saws hanging from their belts while they slowly cut a tree down to size. THEN....OUR own work began, cleaning up the entire site, splitting the trunks, getting the last huge trunk (164" around at the base) cut down.....WHEW! There were some adventures here....some exercise, and a HUGE satisfaction moment when the stacks were either stacked for curing this winter, or IN the woodshed for warm fires that'll begin soon...... Not SURE that MAC understood the scope of the project, but he sure like THIS little pile of ex-wood bits: **almost done..... Splitting wood's the fun part, stacking....the good exercise part: SO....got that done...... got the garden cleaned up, deer fence once again, rolled up and put away, plants dried, frozen, or.... A relief kind of to let this year's garden go.....the year was So warm, dry, that harvesting continued TOO long....wore me out! And.....the space was turned over for the deer to salvage dinner snacks as they wishes: Not long ago, a friend I have not seen in some 30 years visited....it was non-stop talking, dining, and learning once again, real friendships remain no matter the time and distance. Dave's a fabulous guy, and he's already missed.....we're hoping to see him again soon..... Okay....I Do admit one thing..........with summer out of the way and gray days upon us, I "allow" myself a bit of pleasure....... (no, don't go there).........I get to "READ" a few books I've gotten ahold of through the summer.....waiting first is the one about "how/what animals feel/think" . . ..a subject I am close to, as we've grown to understand a LOT more about nature living here the last 20 years than we used to. And, now that MAC has somehow gotten to be 11.....when we first got him, I was thinking, "Well, HE'll be the lat dog you'll ever have.......and now, he's already as old as I am.......and I'm probably TOO well aware I just might be showing a few signs of being 69 as he's showing being 11.....HOWEVER....he STILL does a strong powerful swim session 1-2x a week down in the river.... he's been a great friend. Sigh. Time to go.............. there's one piece of birthday cake left and it's noonish.... hm......I think my birthday will be completely gone when this piece gets put on that plate in a bit.........okay. I'm 69 now. Whew.
Still in amazement that our almost perfect summer is being abruptly thrown into a solid rain pattern for a week. Dropping temps, humidity, meant time to get those "fall" tasks DONE immediately. Not before harvesting the last of the corn and freezing some.....but you MUST know that didn't happen without making some creamed corn along the way (YUM!): Yes, that would soon become this: WHO doesn't LOVE creamed corn when it's JUST been picked! That gave us the energy to start some other tasks....RODGER has 'intended' to get the back deck steps fixed....for proper drainage in the winter....he got a lot of work done, but this still awaits getting the gravel: I had gotten the lawn fertilized with iron 2 weeks ago just ahead of the rain, and man has it taken off. Yesterday, it was mowed and bagger attached to the tractor. That means as the garden is cleaned out (yep corn and some 'maters are gone now, it gets its first blanket of "dirt food" . . . lawn n leaf cuttings: This bagger will probably stay on the machine NOW until later November after all leaves have dropped from the maples: **that also shows the state of the woodshed, BEFORE, all the summer "stuff" gets brought in sometime next month for winter...then we'll have to use a little imagination to get everything in.......... Speaking of woodshed, above picture is ONE end...the other at today's start showed I haven't done one thing all summer to get wood moved in, so junk was in the way for my "today" job, aka, move wood: The "woodpile" out back didn't look much better: But I DID get busy this morning.....moved things out n around, moved a lot of scrap wood outta the way, and made major progress....now there's a new row of wood stacked in the "shed": AND....there's the first little woodstack IN the garage and ready: . The woodpile, for the first time in 3 years, looks smaller....there's only ONE ROW of wood in this low pile left: The 6 Russian "Stupice" tomato plants suffered through their last harvest today (I'll make some more of that fab juice I like (canned with just a sprinkle of sugar & salt...makes ALL the difference)........and were quietly murdered, mutilated, and thrown on a heap of other dead plants. What a horrible end for something that has given MORE than any other garden year. Poor things: **I know, there weren't many left anyway.........I called it a "mercy killing". Tomato cages (except for 5 still on duty holding up the paste tomatoes.....hopefully, they'll endure this week's rain 'cause we want to make some pasta sauce to freeze).......are finally resting for winter: **They've held up now for 12 years.....amazing......since we HAVE learned to grow bigger better tomatoes, and the strain of weight sure showed this year. I had harvested the giant sunflowers, and they spent their day just laying around. Did nothing to help me, but hopefully they ARE sobering up and drying out: BERM NEWS........along the driveway, I KNEW I was experimenting when we planted some things where they got placed....I didn't visualize well that just a FEW years is all it took for them to begin overtaking each other. Looks like we have some big digs and moving to do this winter: That's been the adventure since we moved here.......LEARNING a lot about a lot of things I've never done. SO............it's been a VERY busy couple of days........... and THIS IS THE LAST THOUGHT.........it's THAT time of year. EVERY spider up here is preparing to surrender itself to the next generation and WEBS are going up everywhere. WHEN you walk a dog in the morning, you are probably wise to wave a longer light stick ahead of you on the trail to avoid the web surprised...... **Some of these make astounding creations when the framework gets stretched out by the breezes then filled in...they're incredible. Yep, another diary entry hurriedly written........not edited or worded well....but at least I'll have some reference for whatever happens next year. Oh well. Fall begins this coming week. sigh.............
Fall went on a respectfully long time it seems across much of the country. We kept snapping pics because fall colors have never been so brilliant so long. But with the first REAL winter RAINS in the forecast, and most leaves exiting the trees, I grabbed the android a couple days ago to snap a few "bye" pics around the place or on the trail to say "bye" to our unusual fall. **pic quality suffered a bit** it was foggy in places. **I can COUNT the last Gravenstein apples left (4). All that fell have fed deer & coyotes. These last four are feeding birds....I love it: I am quite sure it's birds..... squirrels would have pulled too hard and they'd have fallen. This is delicate eating: But, at least the Granny Smith tree is now about ripe. A pie in December? Once again, as in the spring post, at the top of the trail, we start down Dave's little road....the leaves WERE SO THICK I took the mower / bagger to them twice in the last 2 weeks. This is what was left 2 days ago....the leaves are almost ALL gone off the tree today: Then on to Arnie's stretch of the trail where several perfectly healthy Vine Maples seem to enjoy their warm quilt of MOSS: At the bottom, I've mentioned the mammothly tall cedar...here's looking up from the bottom...to PROVE it IS alive. What's interesting, the top 40 feet of this tree sits ABOVE those branches as dead as can be...and serves as a feeding/calling post for EVERY woodpecker in the area: MOSS! IT WAS a rather cool summer, not too dry . . .so the MOSS has hung on....can you imagine what this will look like in the spring? MORE MOSS....it's beautiful right now: And some of it's LONG: And as you walk BY the MOSSY branches, the leaves on the trail make a lovely carpet: If you're in the right place, thin branches look good under moss: The Newton Fire Lane ...... One of the first markers one reaches from OUR starting point is this old growth tree with MilePost 25 1/4 on it. This means you are 25 miles from the Wildwood trail start in MacCleay Park downtown: Just this week, as some wind began prior to this incoming BIG storm, three week thin trees came down.... IN a park like THIS, they don't leave much of a mark: One Ravine view is a natural pic place....taken by one of the few OLD growth Fir trees left after the 1940's logging: A Fall Trail view; Trail view 2: And on to beginning a few things for the weekend dining................. Sauteed Sprouts....stir-fried w/onion/garlic/brown sugar / touch of peppers & soy, YUM: Roasted Asparagus: Tomorrow.....Winter Garden Salad, Rodger's Pies, and more and more. Tis the season for family and friends.
La Nina is due soon according to "the experts" we will likely see, occasionally, some very wet windy weather episodes up on our hill. In episodes, past, that also means a possibility of a power outage or two. Hence: A little fire in the wood stove's a good thing if you're out of power that week temps don't get above freezing. We've had a bit-o-wood stored, but not enough should the forecasts come true. Therefore: I scoured The C-List today and found a wood source I could load seasoned & dry split NW Hardwoods (yep, exercise TOO!!). I went there....saw lots of beautifully split wood, and more being cut & split by two very muscular tanned men about half my age. I joked with them, "I guess you don't NEED a gym membership." They laughed. They continued working. My heart rate sped up just a little. I decided on a mix, backed up the truck and began loading...... Then it happened. When I was almost done, from the other side of the pile the guy tosses a newly split piece of wood that gives my forehead a DIRECT hit, that knocked me back a little, then it hit the arm, then fell. My body yelled (likely very gay sounding........) "Owwww!!!"..... The worker from the other side says, "Are you okay?" He came around the corner, to discover HE is the cause..... "Did I Hit YOU?". . .. .I said, "Yes!" . . . . He runs off saying he was getting bandages............ My mind thought, "why?" I rubbed the spot with the sweatshirt..... It was red............. Woops. **YOU KNOW what you dread then: E/R, X-Ray, $$$$, etc etc. He returns with the manager, another very solidly built man who says, "Whoa, are you alright? I respond with.........."WELL, I can't see it, you tell ME!" At this point, I calculate I'm NOT seriously injured, thinking in my best theatrical voice, "It's ONLY a flesh wound!" ............. And THEN, the shirtless tanned muscleman came up to my face and began cleaning the injury with bandage material......inches from me. SO. Was it simply an accident, or was the Fundamentalist Christian God warning us gays about the coming revenge now that Tea'ers (Palin will be president in 2012? IF it was, HOW come I had a kind of smiley moment when I had such a mixed experience. Bleeding forehead, not seriously or deeply wounded, yet my flesh wound being massaged by a stranger. Well, after all that we ALL had a big interchange of every kind of joke about injuries, musclemen always picking on wusses, finding a good lawyer, "come on, is THAT the best YOU can do?" or....how pathetic I'll look in the casket NOW with this bump...hah, etc etc etc. I finished came home, and with Mac's help, feel NOW we're ready for La Nina! There's some wood ready to go by the stove: Some in the garage: And finally there are 3 rows of stacked seasoned wood out in the woodshed: Ah! The experiences of LIFE !!!! I'm JUST thrilled that, after cleanup, it seems no more than a little bump on the head: I guess I'm also glad that it didn't end involving the Health For Profit industry.
The past couple weeks, I have heard about a "few friends" in other parts of the country who've enjoyed last garden harvests: Squashes, tomatoes, potatoes, whatever. Well. NOT TO BE OUTDONE, I went out to see what I "harvest" in a garden that's been pretty much cleaned out, AND ALREADY been layered with lawn/leaf mulch from mowing yesterday. Hey! Surprise! I got the biggest harvest of French Fennel seed I've EVER gotten.... ** They should be dried in a week or two...... Surprise! I got the biggest harvest of Bay Leaves EVER.... I immediately began the trimming and placing onto a sheet pan: **Finally, they were layered between paper towels and placed in an oven still cooling... . . . . . .from baking something else. Mistakes were made! I proceeded to watch one of the MLB playoffs (Yankees/Rangers) and burned every bit of worthy bay oil OUT of the leaves, and curled 'em up to nothing. Damn. So, I went out last night and cut MORE, determined not to be defeated. They got the same treatment but were placed in an 80 degree oven, and this morning look beautifully flat and cured. Maybe enough for a few gift portions to Fans............... I do hope. During the playoffs, I've tried to encourage the dog to get some exercise, like maybe cleaning the house. I even dressed him up to motivate him as maid. He wasn't happy about it: Rodger gave him a reprieve later: Found in the yard: Chunk of Raccoon skin: THIS tells me something good in my book...... the Coyote population here has been so successful, they have gotten rid of our problem raccoons (either that or distemper has gotten to them......). We haven't seen one for 4 months. THAT MEANS, our little fabulous flying squirrels are again showing up for nightly feedings just at the end of the deck. We love to see 'em. . . . . . . . Forecasts call for an end to our dry fall. A week of rain begins tomorrow morning.
**I have always tried to keep a little record of what happened in the garden....on these updates so I can look back year to year and get a feel for what THAT time was like. THIS year was a discouraging year for gardeners. Right now, we must 100 ears of corn that I don't think will fill out and sweeten (no heat). They're all pollinated....but sitting there with those little black bugs beginning to appear in the damp....oh well. AS ALWAYS, for OUR elevation/climate, the Russian STUPICE tomatoes are the ONE tomato we're finally eating....and I Do mean eating. I know I've had about a dozen of them simply salted and sliced today.... Two weeks ago, I didn't think we'd see THIS many for the whole season: And MORE are ripening................(stupice, that is. ALL other varieties are solid green). TONIGHT I had breaded/fried baby crooknecks.... just like Grandma used to give us. I got caught up on some record keeping......we're still way behind 2008's record, but so far, we've put up 280 jars of "stuff". . . . all that's left will be a few more tomatillo salsa batches, so we're close to being finished. I think that's okay considering the summer we just finished. Some are waiting in the garage to be stored away: **Except for the Fresca, of course. We're onto a new project now.....Rodger has wanted to make use of those big orchard crates we acquired when we bought all that pear wood last year.......well, here's what they're beginning to look like: Any idea what the heck these are gonna be doing soon? WE DID HAVE some fun last weekend..........on Sunday, we met Tony, an Orange County blogger at the Eagle. He'd come up here on a romantic pursuit, so we joined them for a short chat. WE have NOT been fans of the crowd there, and weren't that night. It may seem idiotic, but we seemed out to prove that the problem wasn't "US" . . . .we ended up stopping at 5 other joints before getting home at 2400. We DID have fun EVERYWHERE except the Eagle. Dinner at one, Miechi's Potstickers at another, and grand chat everywhere..... Except as noted. Oh well..............off to tennis. Robin and/or Rodger are about to be eliminated............. (Yikes, I'm completely OUT of Berry Ice Creams....I'm having withdrawals).
Just yesterday, MID-DAY, I was out getting ready to run the mower with the leaf bagger attached......yep, it's THAT time, and it WAS a dry afternoon. (I was able to completely finish covering the veggie garden under 6-8 inches of mulched dead leaves: But other things have been seen this week.....as FALL season really takes hold. 1) The BARRED OWL who took up residence here last year was calling loudly and regularly yesterday.....followed by some doggie barks. It went on and on for at least 10-15 minutes. I could look at the direction it all came from, but it was hidden in the forest/mist. The call of this bird, is pretty fun, and the bird is gorgeous. Here's a little u-tube video from Canada ...... It is much like the bird we watched last fall from our deck: **all those other callers are here always: jays, crows, etc. It was a nice nature day, yesterday. 2) For the first time in 13 years, I watched a Momma Eastern Fox Squirrel......... .......take a much smaller juvenile around the yard teaching him what to eat. They would stop, she'd fuss over a cone, drop it, and look at him. He was SO VERY cute...half the body size she was, with a tail as big as an adult. He kept throwing it up over his body, and it would cover him. It was SO cool to watch. 3) I began a dog walk a couple days ago, and right along Skyline where the vista was sky-wide, a gathering of at least several hundred geese were flying in one ragged formation..... by the time they had all flown by, they had nearly covered the part of the sky visible to me. As I gloated about how fabulous it was to live in a place so close to a bird refuge that you could SEE things like this, the thunderous sound of shotguns rang out from 4-8 miles away down on the island. DAMN! I had forgotten the bird hunting begins Oct thru April....JUST when the migrations happen. I wasn't so happy after that. 4) the Home-made suet post is back, and is an immediate success. The beautiful Northern Flickers................. ...............that we put that post up for, seem to have been waiting for it all summer. There were TWO out there fighting for position just today. Within this one week, all favorites have returned to feeding there: First, America's smallest woodpecker the so little Downy Woodpecker: .....the Hairy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, and surprise: The Ruby Crowned Kinglet showed up yesterday: **Actually not the one above, this pic is a male....poor females can't show off that much color when trying to nest....we had a female visitor yesterday. I DO wonder if all these fun birds show up and love the suet because of our secret ingredient they never find in nature: some peanut butter! note: NO, the bird pictures were web borrowed ..... I have none that show the detail these would show......... How can you NOT love getting to know the Avian Animals that live near you?
How is it.......... About May, one tends to cool off your shower water, and take brisk, shorter showers, but by mid-October, now, I'm wanting to heat that water up, and stay under that warm water for longer and longer. I still like seeing those hydrangea blossoms set here for the winter now: The granny smith apples are almost ripe... ***what should it be, the delicious Rodger pie, or a crisp maybe. Fall makes you a little fickle, eh? I always loved coming up Burnside from NW Portland just because of the tunnel close to the top...... **that lighting on a gray day is nice. It's another very WET day here..........I think I'm going to do the therapy exercises, read, and make a birthday cake for someone going to turn older by tomorrow night. Carrot cake with lots of pecans, frosting, coconut, or dark chocolate with cream cheese frosting, and of course, coconut, and maybe some walnuts. Hm.....oh yes, that whole wild fresh caught Coho Salmon is ready for attention..... You can see, languid fall days slow me down......... but heck, look at what one sees on the trail.......... fall means serious changes, and life going into hibernation.. .............. perfectly natural to get out the recipes, and begin cooking something that will make that kitchen smell like comfort food's on the way. Oh well................ Tonight: celebrate a coupla birthdays tonight at Anna Banana's with Sarah and friends................ Tomorrow: The matinee performance of the broadway touring cast doing August Osage County. Dinner after............. Sunday? Baseball, football, maybe go see "A Serious Man" the new Cohen brothers spoof of taking life too seriously. My kind of film.