Friday, October 30, 2009

A posie for you and some love for my favorite Portland tree, Harlequin Glorybower

fall bouquet
It's Friday. You deserve some flowers. These are from our garden after I roamed a bit with the clippers. Zinnias and perennial sunflowers here, but other blooms still going are the mexican sage, nasturtiums, sedum, salvias, and then there's all of the foliage color going strong.

The view out the kitchen window into the garden....
The summer sleeping place transitions to fall

That's my favorite Portland tree, Clerodendron trechotomum (Harlequin Glorybower) turning over the next phase of its season. I wrote more about it and this special sleeping place here. The fragrant white Autumn blooms have turned into these mesmerizing vivid turqouise and fushcia drupe and calex parts.

If you happen upon one of these trees at this time of year they'll stop you in your tracks. They almost look unreal. Here you can see some of them in mass.

Fall approaches: Harlequin Glorybower

And because it's just screaming for a macro, here you go: I think it needs a Star Trek soundtrack behind it, all those blinking lights sounds.

Drupe and calex of Clerodendron trechotomum

The colors in the garden are popping with the backdrop of our returning grey skies. Enjoy them now, for we both know what is coming....

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Anatomy of a Walk: this time with music

I did a post a few years ago called Anatomy of a Walk. We did this same walk last weekend, near the same time of year, but this time I made a movie for you, instead of photos. Just a simple walk around my favorite local park here in North Portland, on a crisp fall morning with the one I love and two maltipoos. All is right with the world.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Another segment of the Campaign for Monday Morning Cuteness

Monday mornings can be rough. Lucky for you, Wink's sister Ginger came to stay the weekend with us. She's a little one, but she's rough'n'tough'n'tumble and she snorts. See how brave she is?
Ginger is visiting

Of course it was time for portraits. They wouldn't hold the red rose or sit in the big fern-backed rattan chair, so we went for the fur setting instead.

Wink and Ginger

Sisterly profiles.

Sisters: A Profile
Doesn't Monday morning already feel a little bit easier?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Encounters in an urban garden

urban garden
This past August the Earl Boyles Community Garden in Portland was completely trashed by vandals. It was heartbreaking. It hit a nerve with many gardeners: all of that hard work stomped on (literally).

And urban gardeners are probably a little more familiar with this particular nerve. Gardening in close quarters, and often in front and beyond the security of fences, our gardens are out there for all to enjoy.

I’ve written plenty about how our garden has connected us to many people and wonderful things: this post is not about that. This is about the encounters that aren’t so wonderful.

  • The stray 40 ouncers are one thing, but I always wonder why people think they can just throw their cans in our clematis.

  • After a long day of gardening I left a bag of potting soil at the gate entrance. Next day it was gone. I still wonder about that. Did someone just throw it over their shoulder as they were walking and walk off down the road with my Whitney Farms Weed Whompin’ Mulch? Yes, it was a bag of the good stuff, dangit!

  • One spring morning found me gazing out at the former patch of red tulips, shorn clean overnight destined to be in vases in someone else’s house other than my own. I scoffed, because it can be hard enough for me to pick from my own garden but not so hard for someone else. Speaking of picking…

  • Our neighbor once discovered a stranger deep in our garden picking flowers, with buckets and clippers in hand. He confronted her and she argued that he had a right to be there (she did not). A week later, AdRi came upon her doing the same thing. Indignant about being asked what exactly she was doing, AdRi chased her off but not without seeing the buckets of flowers from other gardens piled up in her van.

  • I don’t know if finding a dead cat under an overgrown lavender counts, but it still didn’t smell good.

  • This week I confronted boys who were carrying a fight off of the street and into the garden, grabbing handfuls of gravel for weapons to throw. I love when the garden attracts kids, but not in this situation. Let’s just say the young man had a foul mouth and a mighty big temper for a 12-year old, and I hope he doesn’t plan any retaliation. It’s this kind of stuff, as an urban gardener, that bums me out.

  • And then there’s the scary. Early one dark morning I came face-to-face with another human being on the other side of our kitchen window. A woman was trying to explain to me she was just passing through, but from where she was, deep in the garden, I knew that wasn’t the case and the voice that came out of me, one of fear yet determination, told her to leave and to leave now. I came to find she was sleeping in our garden, and as the police officer noted upon visiting as a follow-up to the situation, noted our garden is truly perfect for a peaceful, reclusive nap. Especially for the homeless.

  • I can’t begin to list all of the hysterical things I’ve been witness to while in the garden, but one of the best is the man jogging down the street, in a full running ensemble, while smoking a cigarette.
I know that the many wonderful experiences outweigh any traumas, and I thought exactly that when I first read about the Earl Boyles garden vandalism. Work parties and donations soon followed, and neighbors, gardeners, and community members rallied together to help restore and replace what was lost in that fine community garden.

But then this week I read this, and the amazing donation of 1,515 pounds of produce from an inmates garden was turned over to these gardeners to help replace their bounty. And my hope was restored and I was reminded that I was right: garden folk are a good people, and gardens, no matter where you may grow, bring us together more than they tear us apart.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Apple season: stories and a link for you

bucket, mid fill
It's high time for apples. Apple cider, fresh, apple crisps, applesauce and apple butter. I've written plenty about apples, including my memories of the big red apple barn in Ojai we'd go to as a child.

But I read this post today and was mesmerized, and then Lisa referenced my slow cooker technique for making applesauce and apple butter. But oh, how she tells it so much better than I. Go read about Uncle Hal and his memories growing up making apple butter.

Stories involving scent, flavor, seasons, can transport us to our childhood and familial connections. This is a wonderful story.

Finally, I'm itching for a good apple crisp. Favorite recipe? Please tell.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Dear Blog Letter: various sundry items to keep you occupied

Dear Blog,

It’s been so long. So long since I’ve really let it loose here. I know there’s been a lot of gardening, canning, cooking, puppy snorggling, but not even that stuff much of late.

Blog, I’ve been busy. I’ve thought of you though! And oh how I’ve been cheating on you. Twitter is my mistress. Facebook not so much. But both are distractions. I’ve had many random thoughts, but not so much cohesive blog post thoughts. Here’s a random list of things I’ve been thinking about.

My parents are traveling across New Zealand and Australia connecting with my sister and her family. It’s been 8 years since I’ve seen my sister and I miss her. And my parents never cease to amaze me. My dad is turning 70 next month and they just hiked across the better part of the SW United States.

Speaking of hiking. I was completely enthralled with the recent PBS special on the national parks. Now I’m consumed with planning national parks trips and exposing AdRi to the experiences of my childhood and visiting as many national and state parks as possible. Only now we have Google maps. The best reminder about the national parks special? National parks are for the people: they are for us. They are for everyone.

I’ve been enjoying some wonderful blogs of others lately. They include Chiot’s Run, I Digress, Diggin Food, Bridget Polloud, Chook Goes Bokk and AmLo Farms (my sister-in-law's blog whose garden is full of chickens, goats and my adorable nieces, oh and my brother too. :) ) You should go visit them. Be inspired and perhaps laugh a little.

I’ve been working a lot lately people. A lot. And while I’m so, so, so grateful to be busy in a time that's challenging economicly for many people, this is a lot. I’m now working with freelancers and subcontractors and am envisioning building my little team. My desire to do good work for good clients is proving to be the right thing to do and I’m just so very pleased about it.

Wink had several seizures last month and it scared the bajeezus out of AdRi and I. We think it has to do with a change in her flea medication. So scary to see your little furball outside of her body contorting. Did you know that when dogs have seizures they aren’t able to regulate their body temperatures? That means they can cook themselves. She hasn’t had one recently and I’m hoping that continues. But still: scary.

My gardening column in Just Out is on winter haitus, but for a few bits for the holidays etc. I'm thankful for the break and will be back full swing in March.

Because I can't fathom doing a post without including a photo, I give you a photo of my hair. I told you I've been busy people. But not too busy for hair.
very important photo

The trees are turning here in Portland, and while I realize I’m more a fan of spring blooms, I did catch myself saying out loud yesterday, “Oh wow” when I came upon a whole block of bright red-turned maples in Northwest Portland. Breathtaking. Wow.

The Botany of Desire is coming to PBS and I can't wait. Watch this and get excited with me.

Have a weekend for me, will ya?

Friday, October 09, 2009

I'm on the newstands!

I had a few days last week when I was checking out the magazine section impatiently waiting for the latest Fine Gardening to hit the stands. But I had a good reason. And then I saw it.
Pondering the magazines

The latest Fine Gardening was on the newstands. And my first national gardening magazine piece was published. See? It's me there.
Hey that's me in Fine Gardening

And it's a whole page.
and that's a full page article in Fine Gardening

I was so flattered when Michelle at Fine Gardening approached me about writing an essay about what I would wish for if a genie granted me three wishes for my garden. Fine Gardening! Totally honored to know an editor at Fine Gardening reads my blog. It was a lot of fun to write and I hope you'll check it out. The illustration that accompanies the story is fantastic.

Ooh! And here's a bonus. I submitted an idea this summer and it's in the magazine too. And the photo is one you my blog readers may recognize.
Bonus piece I gave for Fine Gardening

You never know the path blogging may lead you on. I'm very happy about this path. Have a great weekend.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

I went to the land of giant pumpkins

Where the pumpkins congregate in crowds.
the land of pumpkins

Where some get extra help and heft.

Where they slurp and sip.
slurp while you sleep

Where they go for rides with special care.
pumpkins go for a ride

And they even have handlers. (Protection from the paparazzi.)
pumpkin gets a lift

Pumpkins in front of their cribs. Or castles.
Pumpkins in front of the hay castle

And where pumpkins are pampered. That's a Heavenly Bed.
all tucked in for a nap

But alas, we're all judged, aren't we? Including the pumpkins.
pumpkin judges

And then they're dropped from the sky by helicopters.

Wonders never cease to amaze me. And that includes pumpkin growers. If this isn't awesomeness, I don't know what is.

P.S. This was the Great Pumpkin Weigh-Off at Bauman Farms in Gervais, Oregon.

Friday, October 02, 2009