Sunday, July 22, 2012

A year later for Newkie.

If you thought Newkie would tire walking the rails of this deck, you'd be wrong. All this year, she has enjoyed the smells from squirrels and gulls and occasional deer that roam this deck, and has taken to this house as though she lived here all her life. Even while romping around, she tries to figure out where we are, which room we are moving to, all because she wants to get back into the house quickly if something out there spooks her.

The family was vacationing with us for the  last few weeks. They would go in and out, up and down the hill to the dock, on the dock, on the waterfront, in the upper garden, in the lower garden, Newkie was kept busy figuring out what moves to make, where to rest, when to sneak to her food and water, when to hide from everyone.

She loves being brushed, and the girls won her confidence by offering the brush, and watching her stretch out to accept the activity. At times, she would peek into their bedroom, sniff around all the stuff that was laying around, and return to her usual sleeping quarters satisfied that her place was still unchanged.  Her sleeping area is at the side of my bed, across a heater vent, with views of her deck and the world beyond. She loves this configuration the best. Second best place, however, is under a blanket, with barely a hint of nose sticking out, fooling all of us that she is out playing for the afternoon.

One morning, she followed me to the lake garden where I've begone to plant (Yes, we plant late; but this is the latest I ever planted!) The place is still under development with machines and implements all over the place. She follows me if I wait for her; then, she becomes free and easy, and wanders around the place, always watching where I am, when I move to the gate on the way up the hill.

(ten new planter boxes on the water-front garden)

Mostly though, she looks down at me futzing with the vegetable boxes below deck, and cries out, until I return to guide her down.  I'm sure, in a few weeks she'll wander off on her own and begin sniffing the many plants growing down there.

For those of you who are anticipating pictures of the completed garden projects, you need to wait a little longer. Too many interruptions have occurred, and completion is not in sight yet.

However, we are all very happy with the results so far, and look forward to a big garden party before summer is over. I do know that my neighbors are all looking forward to a big shindig.

I wonder if any zucchini or cucumbers or peas will be ready.
So far, lettuce and herbs are cooperating.

Pesto pasta, anyone?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

First day of Summer in Portland.

We love summers in the Northwest. Every sunny day is a golden day. We love to show off our natural beauty to our visitors whenever possible. This picture is of Multnomah Falls, in the Columbia Gorge, a few miles North of Portland. If you look carefully you can see the lower part of the fall on the left side of the first picture. The upper part is way up, above the bridge where people are standing.

We also love our quirky-creative establishments. Here is the famous Powells Bookstore, a three story wonder with old and new books. Our young guests spent a couple of hours perusing, talking to Portlandians. Both of them were visiting colleges in Portland, and soaking up the atmosphere.

In this scene, the young lady in the pink shirt at the street corner across from Powells is soliciting support for her cause. I stopped and talked to her, amazed at how well she engaged her audience, most of whom were willing to talk at length with her.

This area of Portland, is an urban renewal wonder, having both residential and commercial units, easily walkable, close to public transport, accessible small eateries and coffee shops open at all hours, and green spaces with splashing fountains full of families enjoying a summer play day. Notice how everyone is wearing comfortable walking shoes, and trying to tan their bodies on this first day of summer.

Yes, this was July 5th, the official first day of summer in Portland!

We took our rests where we could, happy to impart wisdom to our captive audience of future scientist, teacher, artist. (Our granddaughter and her friend have many interests at this point.)

While we were in Portland, The Waterfront Blues Festival, a 25th anniversary concert that lasted all week, benefiting the local food banks( was going on downtown, and we took our granddaughter and her friend to the event.  The last time we went to a blues concert was in Long Beach in 2000. In twelve years, our bones have so deteriorated that sitting on the grass was not as fun as it used to be.

The music, however, was just as good!

Last year, the concert raised a million dollars and more than 110,000 pounds of food at a time when Oregon's food banks have faced the highest level of demand. Oregon has one of the highest number of people with food scarcity.

A few days in Portland,most enjoyable, and most tiring.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Seeking the new, even in paradise.

The Northwest. 
Green landscape with water here and there: rivers, creeks, lakes, ocean. We can breathe, temperatures cool and steady throughout the summer, hardly a day of discomfort. 
Yet, even on a sunny day by the lake, we crave foods that don't grow here, like corn, avocados, limes.
Even paradise has snakes!

Happy Summer!