30 September 2009

Feathery Dinosaurs & Baltimore

Our garden is doing well, slowing down for autumn though we still have a fair amount of tomatoes still.

Our arugula, beets and daikon radishes (winter crop) are doing well also. We've harvested a couple bunches of the arugula but the beets and radishes won't be harvested for a while. We also planted carrots, lettuce and spinach, all of which died after about five-days germination outside despite constant watering. And yet, I wasn't surprised when it didn't work out.

Our chickens are coming into their prime and should hopefully be laying eggs soon. In fact, last night I had a dream that they had lain four light brown eggs. I also dreamt, the night prior, about deep chocolate brown mushrooms that I found (in the dream) in Forest Park... Not all dreams come true but hopefully our chickens will be laying soon. You can see that their wattles are getting lovely and red, a sign that they'll be laying soon.

Delaware White (rare breed)

Gold Laced Wyandotte

Salmon Faverolles

Black Australorp

Buff Orpington

And here perfectly illustrates the salmon faverolles feathery five-toed feet.

And here is the lovely Orson cat. Whenever I photograph him outside he manages to look obscenely pissed.


This weekend Joel and I went to Baltimore to see our friend Patty's wedding. Patty was the wonderful woman who introduced Joel and I. :0) Unfortunately my photos from this trip are few because we left the battery charger at home but it was good regardless.

We got in to BWI a little before midnight on friday then rented a car and drove down to DC (45 minutes) and stayed with Joel's old college friend and his girlfriend. They had two cats, one of which was a bouncy little three month old cat. The other cat was an older very shy cat. The next day (still in DC) we were planning on going to the National Book Festival but it was raining so we decided not to. We ended up going to the Natl. Zoo which happened to be two blocks from our friends' house, and since it is a Smithsonian it was free. From there I took the train to Baltimore and Joel stayed in DC a while longer. Patty picked me up from Penn station where this statue is placed:

by Jonathan Barofsky

Then once Patty had picked me up we went to her bachelorette tea party. It was great to see old friends and have tea with them. Having tea together was a favourite past time of ours. We would sit on the back porch of their Bolton Hill rowhouse and drink blueberry or rooibos tea from finely painted china cups on balmy summer nights, lit only by candles placed at regular intervals on the porch railing. These are the wonderful memories I've come away with from my MICA years.

While we were in Baltimore we stayed with one of Joel's old coworkers who happened to be house/cat sitting where we were hoping to stay. They had three cats, though one was always in the basement or in an upper room (may as well give it away at that point, I think). Our favourite was Tolstoy. He was a very friendly, sausage shaped cat with no neck. When we first got there the power had gone out but he took to us straight away. I climbed into bed and Tolstoy followed suit and laid down on my stomach. When Joel came to bed Tolstoy snuggled in between the two of us. He's the kind of cat that I dream about.

Yukos was the other cat who could roam where he wanted. He was pretty skittish and didn't really warm up to us while we were there.

The next day we went to the wedding (sunday) but that wasn't until three so we stopped over at the Book Thing -- a free book "warehouse" -- and put together a nice 40 lb., box of books. They were pretty sparse but its because a couple people took hundreds of books earlier that day or the day before (they were public school teachers, so I was okay with it). Once we had our box almost overflowing we left and drove up to Middle River where the wedding was being held. The wedding was held outside with the backdrop of Back River (really, is that the name?). It was a beautiful combination of casual and elegant, traditional and personal. Patty wore a 19th century cotton slip and veil while Chad (her new husband) wore a dark brown suit. You'll just have to take my word for it because after taking photos of Patty with her mom and sister and then the flower girls/ring bearer my camera batteries died. Boo.

This is our dear friend Sarah with her brand new (three months old) baby, Violet.

And this is Violet with Cadence (her father is a drummer) another girl from our church.

Joel at the wedding.

They had lots of musicians at the wedding singing throughout the ceremony and before dinner. Caleb Stine played solo and also sang with Patty and another lady by name of Cathy in the Sacred Harp tradition. It was all very wonderful, I wish them luck on this brand new journey together!

21 September 2009

Labor Day, Farming & Kickball Barbecues

Its been a while since I last made a post. School is now in session and I'm working part time at the school library so I'm more than a little busy. I really like my job at the library, its great cause I can go at my own pace which one of the librarians said was fast though I was under the assumption that I was actually going slow. They would know better than I. Its also very quiet in the mornings (I work from 8a - 11a Monday & Tuesday) and a nice introduction to the day. My coworkers are all pleasant and amiable. I feel very lucky indeed to be working for them!

The second week of school we had monday off due to Labor Day, Joel also had the day off so we decided to go hiking on the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge. (Left side = WA, Right side = Oregon)

It was a beautiful day, not too hot or cold and as the day progressed it got cooler and cooler, but all in all very pacific. We stopped at a couple places to go hiking. I looked for mushrooms and Joel kept his eyes peeled but unfortunately we only saw one fungus the entire time (even though it had rained the day before) -- to say the least I was disappointed.

One of the hikes had a waterfall that was very lovely. It looked like the kind of waterfall that would be great for swimming under when it was hot out.

I like this guy. :0)

And I like him because he can bake delicious things like lemon meringue pie! This was his first time making a lemon meringue and he did a wonderful job.

A week or so ago Joel was able to get off work early so that we were able to go to Sauvie Island Farms. We got dahlias, red cabbage, bartlett pears and jalapenos. I pickled the jalapenos yesterday and Joel made pear jam.

And from our own kitchen garden we are starting to get ripe tomatoes! They are so delicious and we're having a hard time keeping up with them. I made a tomato paste the other day but I'm not sure that is something I really want to pursue...

And then from the "garden" of Forest Park I found this beauty. I actually found a whole patch of these (Alcohol Ink Cap Mushrooms, coprinus atramentarius) but then later found out they're not edible. Well, the thing is, they are edible but you can't drink alcohol from a couple days before consumption to a couple days after consumption of the mushroom due to symptoms closely related to poisoning. So I let them be for the mice and other things that delight in forest mushrooms.

Yesterday (yes, finally catching up to the present!) was a wonderful day. The morning and afternoon were enjoyable and slow going (can you tell how much I relish these moments?), interspersed by the occasional pirate bike move. Indeed, these people were moving someone's things from their old house to their new house. The leader had on a leather tri-corner hat and on his bike trailer he had a large pirate flag. Behind him were many other bikes carrying big trailers. One person had a couch, another had a mattress on their trailer. I just caught the tail end of it before they disappeared out of sight.

Then in the evening we (Clara, Kevin, Joel and I) went to the PNCA (my school) vs. OCAC (other art school) kickball tournament and barbecue. Luckily they didn't check to see that we all had school IDs so we were all able to eat. They had Widmer Bros. Brewery root beer (in a keg) and it was very delicious, we lucked out and got the last little bit.

Then Clara and Kevin decided they wanted to fit in and pretend to be art students (aka weird). So Kevin put leaves in his hair, "I'm just responding to the materials!" and then he and Clara put cake frosting on their lips -- then I did too.

Then we went to go watch the swifts. This phenomena is hard to explain and I'll admit that their is something a little lackluster about saying, "I'm going to go watch the swifts land in a chimney." But nonetheless we did it. The kickball tournament was at a park just across the street from the school where the swifts sleep at night. There are hundreds of thousands of these little birds and because they are so little I had a hard time photographing them en masse.

This is like a natural fireworks show in Portland -- people even clapped at the end. There were a couple hawks/falcons/birds of prey that swooped down to catch some dinner which provoked oohs, aahs, and angry noises from the crowd.

This is Gina who was a house guest of ours when she first moved to Portland. Now she goes to school with me. :0)

I'm also going to try to post a video that includes some hawk action and will hopefully convey just how many birds there were. This is my first time trying to get this to work so if it doesn't, you'll know why. Also, I happen to be an imbecile and think that when I turn the camera the video will stay upright. This is not the case.