Posted by: kdeversblog | August 27, 2017

Fran’s birthday

It was so nice to have Elli here for Fran’s birthday. It was a quiet celebration and that pleased all three of us. It was nice to have a simple salmon dinner and sip French champagne while we caught up with our news. Elli and I had fun shopping at Olive & Vine in St. Johns for a Moroccan themed collection of goodies Fran can use to make the dishes she tasted while in Morocco.

Fran loved Elli’s gifts and I’m hoping to get an invitation to dinner when she makes her Moroccan dish. I had been planning and working on her gifts for the past month. I bought a top and Capri stretchies from Dharma Trading company online. I dyed them a pretty light grey and used a lapis blue to tie dye the top.

Then I decided I would make a long necklace to go with the outfit. Friday night I went to Beading Happy Hour at Belladonna Beads with Elli. I made Fran’s necklace and Elli make a pretty shell necklace that matches one of her favorite color combinations.

Sitting outside in the evening enjoying the cooler temps and one another made for a sweet time together. Macky and Maxine kept us company as well. I’m so grateful to be near my daughters and I cherish any bit of time we can spend together. Happy, happy birthday dear Fran!

Posted by: kdeversblog | August 26, 2017

Total solar eclipse August 2017

Rather than join the throngs of people traveling to be in the path of totality, Elli and I settled for “partiality” and were glad we did. I don’t enjoy throngs of any kind so our neighborhood location suited me perfectly.

We took our eclipse glasses and my dogs, Macky and Maxine and walked to the St. Johns Community Center. On the way we stopped and watched the moon take a bigger and bigger bite out of the sun. We had an extra pair of glasses and when we were close to the park we saw a young couple squinting at the sun. We gave them our glasses and assured them they were safe. They were thrilled to be able to watch the show.

It was amazing how much light we had even when there was only a tiny crescent of sun left uncovered. We noticed a change in the quality of the light, though and the temperature dropped a bit. The dogs were happy to sit with us and we found the perfect bench where we could keep watching in comfort.

Dogs are smart and of course they don’t stare at the sun! It was so much fun to be in the park and there were a lot of families there explaining the eclipse to their kids. It was relaxing and fun – no traffic and no throngs!

On the way home Elli pointed out that the eclipse was showing up on the sidewalk and street. The light filtered through the tree leaves and created little crescent suns. It was the same principle as a pinpoint camera. We could actually watch the progress of the eclipse as the sun moved across the sun by looking at the crescents on the pavement. It was a lovely finish to the experience to be walking through the eclipse under the trees.

Posted by: kdeversblog | August 25, 2017

A step back in time

What could be more fun than dressing up in medieval garb and going with my daughter, Eleanore to an SCA event? This one day was so relaxing and fun I forgot to look at the time. Since my work day always consists of meetings and deadlines this time-free day was lovely.

My tunic was a replica from the Byzantine era that I made several years ago. The light muslin fabric was perfect for the warm day. Elli made her gorgeous 12th century dress made out of light weight wool, and the vibrant orange fabric made her easy to spot. I especially like her turquoise booties made by a master shoemaker friend. She figured out how to construct her braid covers that were a popular adornment in that era. Her hair isn’t actually that long!

The SCA stands for the Society for Creative Anachronism and it started in the 1960s as a lark by a group of friends. Since then it has grown to an international organization with a complex and layered structure. There are guilds for members with skills and crafts they would like to share. Members can receive recognition for their contributions to the group. Some members refine their fighting skills though tournaments and can rise to different levels such as knight or king. The geography is divided into baronies that cross states and countries. We are members of the Barony of Three Mountains.

This event took place at Trojan Park in Rainier, Oregon and was a camping event for several days. I liked seeing the array of tents and most sites had a day tent for cooking and eating and separate smaller tents for sleeping. While Elli and Leith taught their class I took a walk along the river and gathered branches, grasses, and flowers. Back at the day tent I sat outside and put together a decoration to hang on one of the tent poles. While I did this, Leith and Kelly’s daughter Tully played tunes on her guitar.

The fighting that takes place in the tournament follows very specific rules and the fighters wear protective armor. The helmet is the heaviest piece (Leith’s weighs 16 pounds) and all together the men are wearing a substantial amount of gear. The referees keep a close eye on the fight and often the fighters will declare themselves “injured.” Most of the men know one another and there is a great deal of mutual respect. The goal of the fight is not to actually hurt their opponent, it is to earn points and move up in rank based on their skill.

Posted by: kdeversblog | August 20, 2017

Surrounded by love

I have a separate and unique relationship with each member of my extended family. Together we support one another and nourish our own community. In this gathering I feel valued and respected, surrounded by love.

Posted by: kdeversblog | August 17, 2017

2017 summer family gathering

Thanks to the generosity of Maurice and Cheryl Willey we had an amazing family gathering in July 2017. Eleanore helped out with the communication and I’m sure it felt like “corralling cats.” But even so we all got together at the McMenamin’s in Centralia, Washington. There were two people missing from our gathering, the two Mary’s. Hopefully will see them both at the next family gathering whenever that is.

We had a sumptuous dinner Saturday night in the green room at the restaurant followed by birthday gifts for Maurice (age 70) and Nick (age 35). It’s fun to realize that when Maurice was 35 on the exact day of his birthday Nick was born so this was a momentous birthday. And it won’t happen again this exact spread of years.

The next morning everybody wandered down to the McMenamin’s and we joined together for a fabulous breakfast.

Maurice said a few words to express how touched he was that everyone was there and how much it meant to him and to Cheryl to see us all together. It was a wonderful time for all of us and it meant so much to each one of us. We are an amazing gathering of family, different from one another but sharing a sense that we belong together. We respect and love one another.

Later that morning Cheryl, Maurice, Fran and I went to the Rectangle gallery that is just across from the McMenamin’s. I love the gallery and the space provides a beautiful showcase for the lovely art it holds. My favorite painting was on display so I got to see it again. I can’t afford it it’s almost $1000 but I can take a look at this photograph and enjoy it that way.

I’m grateful to Maurice and Cheryl for their generosity, to Elli for keeping the communication flowing, and for the effort everyone made to join in the gathering. I look forward to many other opportunities. Hugs await!

Posted by: kdeversblog | August 17, 2017

Back at my blog

After more than a year being away from my blog, I finally am stepping back into it. And in the meantime WordPress has made improvements including adding an app. So, I’ll be giving the new bells and whistles a try to see what works best for me.

A couple of weekends ago my daughters and I had one of our annual mother daughter adventures. We went to Centralia, Washington and stayed at a lovely Airbnb called Gathering Grace, actually in Chehalis the neighboring town. We cooked most of our meals there and ate on the open porch. The house cat called Gracie kept us company. An unnamed tiny green frog also peered at us before scrambling back to his hiding place.

The only downside in our stay was the lack of cooling in the rooms. We were experiencing horribly hot temps, spiking into the 100s and sleeping was uncomfortable. But we made the best of it and it was very special to have time to chat and explore the sister towns with Eleanore and Frances.

Posted by: kdeversblog | March 28, 2016

French Dinner

It seems that lately I’ve become very interested in all things French. I decided to have a French dinner and pretend I was sitting among the lavender fields in Provence, savoring my meal and feeling the sun on my face.

I had a purchased a delightful wine called Gentil “Hugel” from Alsace which is in the Northeastern part of France. I prefer sweet white wines and this is the specialty of the Alsace region. The Hugel family has been growing grapes and producing wine continuously since 1639. Click here to see their website where you’ll find lots of information about the wine and the great photos of the land, the family, and their events. They also have fun videos in English and French on YouTube with links on the website.

wine

The Gentil was a bit drier than I like since my favorite is the Muscat grape. However, the Hugels do have a sweeter wine available and I have a couple others to try as well, also from the Alsace region. It was still delightful and went well with my meal.

What to have with wine but cheese, of course and it had to be French. I chose a mild sheep cheese called Secret de Compostelle. Sometimes the raw milk comes from Spain and the cheese is produced in France so it is a multi-cultural experience. The taste is similar to a Manchego but a bit milder. I love it.

cheese

I wanted to make something contrasting to the cheese, so I looked online for a recipe to make crispy basil chips. It was so easy and they sort of melt in your mouth. I know that they can be used as a garnish for lots of things, but I just ate them plain. Here’s a good recipe. I didn’t use oil spray, instead I just poured on some olive oil and rubbed it gently all over the leaves.

Then there was the baguette, and I remembered I had some smoked salmon. So, along with some olive oil on the baguette first, and capers on top it was perfect.

Salmon

This is spring so asparagus is “popping up” everywhere and I found an unusual recipe online for baking the asparagus. It had a French influence so it fit the menu and it was yummy. Salmon and asparagus go well together.

asparagus

When I was selecting all of these items at our brand new New Seasons store in St. Johns (Portland, OR) I stopped by the pastry section and asked about French desserts. They had several so it was not easy, but I chose the cherry frangipane tart. I love almond paste and pie cherries so it definitely spoke to me.

tart 2

It was a wonderful meal with very little leftovers, other than cheese, wine, and a few basil chips. The cheese is such a delight and the only thing better would be sitting in an outdoor cafe people watching and listening to the lovely French language while sipping wine and nibbling on cheese. I wouldn’t understand 99% of what I heard but that’s OK, French food transcends language barriers!

Bon apetit!

Portrait short hair-small

 

 

 

 

Posted by: kdeversblog | January 26, 2016

Steigerwald Wildlife Refuge in January

The Columbia Land Trust gathered twenty of us together on a bus and we traveled East on Highway 14 along the Washington side of the Columbia River. January 23rd was a chilly and wet Saturday, but we were ready for our adventure.  Everyone was prepared for the winter weather with waterproof jackets and hoods, water bottles, hats, scarves, hiking boots, binoculars, cameras, and even a few umbrellas.

Our trip leader was Sarah Richards, Development and Communications Assistant at the Columbia Trust. We were joined by Wilson Cady, retired from the Camas Mill and a walking encyclopedia of information about wildlife in general and birds in particular. Steven Clark, a biology professor at Clark College and his wife, Cherie Kearney, the Columbia Land Trust’s Forest Conservation Director were also with us. The three of them shared stories about the history of the refuge and restoration plans. They also pointed out birds and explained their behaviors and habitat needs.

This is what makes the Columbia Land Trust tours so valuable to those of us who attend; the trips are much more than just visiting fun places. We learn about the places and the critters who depend on them. As our understanding grows, we realize the impact of our human activities and our responsibilities to protect these places and the wildlife.

We stopped at Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge. steigerwald_lake_NWR_sign_08-02-09

Steigerwald Map

As we walked along the path, we learned that the open land at the refuge used to be underwater as wetlands and provided a rich habitat for all sorts of wildlife. Even the delicate fungus Tremella mesenterica, commonly called “witches butter” finds refuge on a tree branch.

Currently the land is dry, and in this condition it has been overtaken by Reed Canary grass that is extremely aggressive and spreads by rhizomes underground. It doesn’t have seed pods and provides no food for wildlife. Cat tails are about the only plant that can survive in the same area with this grass. Cat tails emit an herbicide that kills plants that try to get near it. In this open field of Reed Canary Grass there were “island” pockets of cat tails claiming their own territory as well as a small stand of Himalayan Blackberries. The line of Cottonwood trees has survived through both wet and dry conditions because they are located on a raised sandbar.

Mt Hood Steigerwald Lake Natl Wildlife Refuge 14 (1 of 1)

From the perspective of a naturalist, this refuge is an ecological desert. But there is hope, plans have been proposed to flood the area and recreate a wetland habitat. The water is the only way to kill the grass and allow native plants to become established once again. This is a perfect way station for birds and would provide welcome sanctuary for winter waterfowl and Eagles. The Audubon Society has an informative link with photos so you can see the birds and the terrain.

We saw hundreds of crisis-crossing trenches made by voles that are the highways they traverse from one den to another. It’s a race for their lives to outrun a predator that spots them. The trenches have sides that are the same height as the voles and this helps them hide.

The refuge is a wonderful place to walk and spot birds and waterfowl as they pause on their journeys.

You might even see a deer as the sun begins to sit lower in the sky.

deer in path

Once the restoration takes place, the walking path will be moved to the top of a new dike so the view will be spectacular and the refuge will be an even more welcoming and sustainable home for wildlife.

rainbow

 

 

Posted by: kdeversblog | February 22, 2015

PDX to SEA by train

image imageWhat a fun train ride to Seattle this afternoon. It was a sunny day with lots of blue sky and a few puffy clouds. The train was pretty full but thinned out as folks got out at stops along the way. My seat mate got up and found a seat elsewhere midway through our journey so that was great.

I took a lot of photos along the way. I was on the east side of the train so I want to be on the water side going back so I can get photos from that perspective. I might turn them into an art project, not sure at this point.

Here are photos of Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Rainier. So beautiful!

 

 

Posted by: kdeversblog | February 21, 2015

Veggies started

image image image Some of the veggies wintered over such as the leeks and onions. I made sure that all of the potato volunteers have found a new home in the compost bin,

I planted starts for two types of kale, collards, spinach, romaine lettuce, and arugula.

Decided not to cover the beds with plastic but I did sprinkle everything with diatomaceous earth. It makes everything look white but keeps the slugs at bay. They won’t crawl over the tiny bits because it hurts their skin. Do slugs have skin? Whatever it is that covers their body does not like this white powder. It doesn’t hurt the plants at all so it’s a great deterrent.

i love going out and seeing this new life. We will have some cool nights in the next week so I may need to cover them but for now they can enjoy the sunshine, as we all are!

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