As I sat here trying to recover from a head cold captured while visiting the ICU Ward at OHSU this weekend...... the blues have hold of me. We gathered as a family once more at the bedside of Bruce, surviving husband of my cousin Nancy who died last april. Bruce suffered a massive aneurysm while getting ready to come over to Lake O cousin Nancy's place to join us all, including his son J & his family......... Bruce passed away Sunday afternoon, or was rather, allowed to pass away, once a determination was made that the brain damage sustained in the aneurysm was so severe he couldn't have maintained life on his own. . . . "J" is an only child, and losing both parents within 6 months has been traumatic to say the least. He showed lots of strength this weekend........ Perhaps memorial services will be scheduled after the holidays...... We came home to meet cousin Stan and wife Mary for their 3 days visit while he continues his checkups from the post-bone-marrow transplant he had here last June..... they would be here for 3 days. Rodger gets a call from family to learn his eldest Uncle Albert has passed away Sunday. Hospital waiting rooms are NOT the place to be on holiday weekends or any other time.....people come to see their own ill relatives while they themselves are coughing with colds unaware, I suppose, they'll be spreading their own viruses to us. So I'm simply gonna give in, relax, rest, medicate w/zinc, Yin Chao, and let these blues pass........... In the meantime, this control of our entire political machine in DC by one Grover Nordquist eats at my nerves:
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.
Once again, at the end of the garden year, I kind of enjoyed that little break from being so busy..... for a short bit. ........ It has been an unusually long drier fall, warmer than normal, and even experts are chatting about the leaves still on trees turning brilliant colors. Example from the Irvington District, NE Portland: And another same blocks......color saturation? But, as these leaves disappear next week, and the rain begins........ I'm finding I'm not liking the dark damp weather as much as I used to. The darker moods are here again..........I used to ignore these changes but am learning that I, too, am part of that small crowd here who withdraws a bit as the fun fades.....that I don't look forward to the darker days, the HUMID days, shorter periods of light. I don't respond as many do to more rain and get out and let my clothes get soaking wet. I am beginning to agree with Rodger about a move south whenever his career ending time comes in a few years. TODAY will be the LAST day of sun with a balmy 60 degree forecast. It also translates, on these SHORT days, that the "60" will ONLY be the REAL temperature for about 2-3 hours in afternoons peak .... I will be ON the riding mower with bagger attached picking up ALL the leaves that have fallen (there are still, mysteriously, many left on the trees here in November)....mulching them with that mower, and thickening the garden blanket of compost with them. I will like doing that. We HAVE had company the last few days. Cousin Stan, who will be recovering from his life-saving bone marrow transplant here continues to have required visits at the Cancer Clinic at OHSU regularly. This is their 3rd morning here with two long days prior to this..... They were so encouraged that things were finally looking some better they took a short vacation to Solvang, CA 3-4 weeks ago......WHERE he broke his hip in a fall.... WOOPS. Suddenly, recovery gets more complicated, and "Stan-Care" more work for wife Mary. That made THIS visits doctor consultations complicated.....they were at OHSU's Hospital ALL day for 2 days in a row. BUT ALL in ALL, things ARE healing. He won't have to return for 3 weeks, then, hopefully, 2 months later.... I AM LEARNING about the struggles of illness and the REAL luck, blessing, or whatever you want to call it when are you enjoying almost perfect health...... LIVE EVERY DAY.......... ***MAYBE that ALSO means: do NOT let the winter blues come to roost in your rain forest home**** Oh well...... Thanksgiving in two weeks. Ever since the Smiths moved, our annual love of being their family's adopted guests at Thanksgiving went away.... This year, we will be joining up with cousin Nancy M with her kids, grankids, and the husband/son/partner of our dear cousin Nancy P, whom we lost last May. This will be a great time together, and we're looking forward to it. **After being guests at other homes, WE have almost ALWAYS cooked a turkey on our own anyway ----don't you have to have some Turkey leftovers in your fridge for a few days? ---- but so far this year, haven't purchased that little item to make that "spare" meal in memory of family holidays past. Now, on into the kitchen.....what'll we make for breakfast to send Stan & Mary on a hearty farewell back to northern Idaho? Some light fluffy buttermilk pancakes? Eggs Benedict? Methinks it's gonna be some oatmeal.