Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The Huntington Library

Last week with Kristen's Parents we visited the Huntington Library near Los Angeles. The extensive gardens were very impressive but we were most impressed with the manuscript library which displayed a copy of the Guttenburg Bible (1455), the Ellsmere manuscript of Chaucer's Cantebury Tales and first editions of Shakespeare among others.

The Huntington Library and the Getty, also near L.A., are our two favorite museums we have visited so far.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Our First Amanita Muscaria

We went to Mt. St. Helens today. We did not see Mt. St. Helens, it was shrouded in clouds, but we did come across a nice Amanita muscaria growing in a small crevice.

We also went to the Ape Cave today. We do not recommend it; cold, wet, dark, and very long. It may be nicer in the summer when water is not seeping through the rock and dripping on your head.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

New Hobbies

New hobbies since moving to Portland
  • Bird Watching - this is actually fun when you live somewhere with lots of interesting bird species
  • Mushroom Hunting - we have joined the Oregon Mycological Society
  • Gemstone/Rock hounds - we have been finding gemstones, rocks, and fossils in nature
  • Edible Plant Foraging - especially berries
  • Radio Scanning (mostly Todd) - CB, FRS, GMRS, Police, Fire, MURS, Ham, etc.

Wildlife in the City

Here is a partial list of the wildlife we have seen since moving here:

Mammals:
  • Nutria - swimming in the river at Wispering Willows Park
  • Mink - crossing the street near our house
  • White Tailed Deer - near a busy street by our apartment
  • Mule Deer - at the Smith & Bybee Lakes
  • Squirrels - various species but no flying ones yet
  • Chipmunks
  • Coyote - we hear them by our apartment but haven't seen any yet
Birds:
  • Great Blue Heron - all over, one right by our apartment
  • Great Egret - all over
  • Pileated Woodpecker - very colorful, Tualatins Hills Nature Park
  • Bald Eagle - two of them at the Smith & Bybee Lakes
  • Hawks - at the Smith & Bybee Lakes
  • MacGillivrays Warbler - outside our bedroom window
  • Stellars Jay - he is the blue jay with the feather crown
  • Western Scrub Jay
  • Robin - at Banks Vernonia State Trail
  • Humming Birds
  • (Lots of other species but not sure of the names)
Amphibians
  • Pacific Tree Frog - on our porch one night
Reptiles
  • Garter Snakes - every day during the summer in Tualatin Hills Nature Park

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Carpano Punt e Mes Vermouth

Many have heard Todd expound upon the many virtues of Campari. Tonight he discovered Carpano. Carpano Punt e Mes is a red vermouth that costs about $20 a bottle. At first this seemed an outrageous price, as most decent vermouths (Cinzano, Martini & Rossi, Noilly Prat) can be had for about $7. As it turns out, Punt e Mes is really quite the bargain. Its powerful, complex flavor cannot be compared to that of other vermouths. It is amazing on the rocks and will no doubt add an entirely new dimension to the Americano and the Negroni.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Classical Chinese Gardens

We went to the Classical Chinese Gardens, a.k.a. the Garden of Awakening Orchids, in Downtown Portland today. It was a serene and noisy extravaganza. Todd's favorite part was the many different species of bonzai trees, including Gingko. Kristen liked the indecipherable inscriptions of Chinese poetry. Although we could not read them we assumed they expressed extremely profound metaphors (but they might have said things like "No Littering" and "Bathroom this Way").

Friday, August 12, 2005

Kris, Todd, and Nutria in Beaverton

We just moved to Beaverton last weekend. Beaverton is a suburb of Portland, Oregon. This area is wonderful. We are one block from the 220 acre Tualatin Hills Nature Park and one block from the MAX Light Rail.


Tualatin Hills Nature Park is teeming with serpentine trails, winged creatures, and nutria. You might be wondering what a nutria is. A nutria is about the same size and shape as a beaver except it has a rat-like tail. We saw one this evening swimming peacefully by in a creek. They are native to South America and are invasives in this area, brought here by some maniac.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Chaos Crags at Lassen Park

We hiked to the Chaos Crags at Lassen Park yesterday. We found them beautiful but uninspiring. Or maybe it was just the heat.


(Melisa, Todd's sister, just loved this hike).

Subway Cave Lava Tubes

North of Lassen Park is a subterranean lava tube called the Subway Cave. A river of molten lava once flowed through here. Eventually, the lava drained away leaving this tunnel behind.

This 1300 foot long tunnel stays a cool 46° F year round making this a lovely summer hike.


Kristen charges fearlessly into the dark abyss.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Campari Sour

Campari is proof of divinity in man. This bitter crimson liquer is a most delightful and refreshing beverage. 2-parts Campari to 1-part soda water makes an excellent before dinner drink. If that is too bitter for you, try it with orange juice for a more subtle combination.

Inspiration came at the grocery store this evening for the Campari Sour. Juice of 1/2 Lemon and 2 measures of Campari.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Flutterby Alley

We went to Flutterby Alley again today. We discovered that browning pitchers had been replaced by green ones and most of the flowers had matured to seed pods since last month. The white spots you see on the top of the pitchers are translucent leaf windows designed to help beguile and trap insects.

 

Darlingtonia californica

But still no luck finding the Bladderworts :-(

Friday, July 08, 2005

Life, Cheese, and the Hereafter

We are moving to Portland at the end of the month. Our main motivation for relocating is to be closer to the Tillamook Cheese Factory. Although the desert like climate is a nice bonus, we are especially looking forward to the city's overabundant population of komodo dragons. You can go to Google maps to see a satellite image of our new apartment.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Once upon a Sticky Tendril



Round Leaved Sundew (Drosera Rotundifolia)
growing in Butterfly Valley

California Pitcher Plant



California Pitcher Plant a.k.a. the Cobra Lily
(Darlingtonia californica) in Butterfly Valley

In the beginning... there was a blog garden.

Last weekend we went to Lassen Park in dogged pursuit of the elusive carnivorous plant, Drosera angelica, which allegedly grows by Little Willow Lake. Unfortunately we only found mosquitos (swarms of mosquitos).