Archive for July, 2009

OK, this heat wave is supposed to wind down. I took my morning walk between 6 and 7 to avoid the heat. (So why don’t the sewer folks just start early?)

I think these are culverts, but I didn’t have any success trying to ID the red “platform” thingies. Don’t know if pipes are placed inside or what.


I was surprised to see “stairs” in this one.

I returned home to the hydrangeas along my front entry. They’ve been in full bloom for over a month.

The blooms are withered at the end of the day, but recover over night. This immature bud is quite lovely in the morning light.

In every miserable situation there’s always someone or something that’s perfectly adapted to it. Like ducks for example. When it’s soggy and gray, they’re excstatic chomping down on slugs and snails.

In this heat wave, sunflowers thrive. This bud is only thte size of a golf ball, but it’s one happy camper.


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They’ve been laying a new sewer line down the road — I think for a new housing development. I love the grand scale. I’m not sure what you call these but they’re B-I-G.

Their shadows stretch clear across the street.

It’s amazing all the stuff that’s under the pavement (note red platform in pit). This cat operator could pluck feathers off a chicken with that scoop!

These look like regular PVC elbows — but they’re some 10″ in diameter.

This work was tolerable at 7AM. I can’t imagine concentrating in mid-day heat. There’s no shade in the middle of the road. I feel for these guys out there in 100+ weather. That’s why I’m not out there taking follow-up shots. It should cool down tomorrow.

* Note red platform tilted on edge. It was completely removed by 10AM. Not sure what it is. One of those large red “pipes” was in the ground by then too.

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It’s (very) Hot!

I awoke at 7AM to 75 degrees outdoors — still cool enough to open screened doors for a short while. Over breakfast I was puzzled by this yellow glow under the trees and realized it was the sun’s reflected light off my east-facing dining room window. Not sure this photo does it justice.


I ventured out around noon to find it very, very warm. At 3:30 this afternoon my window thermometer reads 108 degrees.


This bar graph was in today’s paper. Note that the hottest part of the day is late afternoon — 4PM to 6PM.

And conversely, the coolest part of the day is 6AM. Yup, that’s been my experience.

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Each summer, Portland hosts a neighborhood Tour de Coops — chicken coops, that is. So off we went. Walking between backyard chicken coops proved to be equally, if not more entertaining.

Talk about unexpected. I could hardly believe my eyes. This garage looks more like a gallery!

I’m not sure if it’s the economy or just Portland … but there were a lot of parking strip gardens. A woodworker seems to have created all these trellises.


This is an exceptionally neat new plot.

One house had a forest of sunflowers and echinaceas.

The tomatoes were mostly plumping green. These were among the few red ones we saw.

The coops weren’t particularly photogenic. This neighbor’s cat seemed quite put out by all the hoop-la.

After viewing 2 coops in 90+ degree weather at mid-day we were ready for a break. Yvonne whipped up a lovely lunch ~ in her usual elegant style.


Artisan bread, olives and beer rounded out our fare. We had a delightful afternoon despite our minimal coop observations.

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Forgive me, but I just cannot get over the thrill of harvesting so much fresh food each day. It reminds me of the experience of being out in the desert on a starry night and realizing these stars are always there — but so blithefully ignored in modern life.

Likewise, we eat store-bought food and forget just how much life and vitality fresh-picked food has. These berries were picked just moments before being plunked on top of my oatmeal to be steamed in their juices.

At the other end of the day I harvest lettuce, peas, beans and a beet and carrot ~ all for my nightly salad.

I make my own vinegrette.

And le voila! Who knew fresh peas tasted so good raw? I also grate the carrot and about half the beet. I forgot to add them, but Calendula petals add great color.

Just add fresh-baked bread and a glass of wine. I pull an orange-sized wad of wet dough out and make a mini-loaf that lasts two nights.

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The Bounty of Neighbors

A little “backyard” posting is called for here. I’d envisioned having my own robust veggie garden by this time, but the sunny portion of my lot needs some major excavation and I’m a little deficient in the “brawn” department, so some projects are going slower than anticipated.

But my neighbors have strong agricultural roots and even though they’re older than I am … 1) there’s two of them, 2) they have adult children in the trades and 3) they have eager grand-children who work for free.

This summer they’ve been called away for six weeks and have left their garden in my care. I have full harvesting privileges … just as blueberries are coming on!

It was too breezy for a good close-up so this will have to do. Suffice it to say that my morning oatmeal is amply berried up.

There are peas for noshing (my parrot Sophie’s fave).

Enough beets (and beet greens) for an army.

An equal quantity of carrots.

And yet more peas, beans and lettuces. I’m thinking we might consider making this a permanent arrangement!

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Pacific City

Summer brings out the “beyond” portion of this blog. My sister and I took the “high top” over to¬† Pacific City to visit her son. Besides surfing and dory boats the beach sports Haystack Rock and a mammoth sand dune. We arrived in fog, but the next morning was surprisingly clear.

After coffee and a crossword at a greasy spoon, I headed out to see what I could see (while everyone else slept). It was about a 2 1/2 mile walk to the beach.

The first thing to catch my eye was this barn door — so many textures and shades.

The Nestucca River was serene in the morning light. I spied a Green Heron and Belted Kingfisher scouting for their breakfast.

And Haystack Rock was in full sunlight.

The beach was strewn with trucks launching dory boats into the surf …

… leaving tire tracks in the sand.

I came across this colorful display of lawn chairs on my way home.

I thought this was an especially lovely bike stand.

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