Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tuv haAretz NE Portland Garden Tour by Bike

This past Sunday I joined other members of Tuv HaAretz for a tour of extremely edible yards and chicken coops. Friend Beth was ride leader, friend Joel rode sweep. Beth's partner L was the organizer. I knew one other rider; our daughters went to the same preschool (said daughters are now, oh, 26 years old). Most of the riders were from Havurah Shalom, a couple from Kesser Israel, and me, the lone representative from Neveh Shalom.

I tried not to look TOO "lycra-spandex", but I still had the most colorful jersey - my Celestial Seasonings Red Zinger. Covered with flowers, so quite appropriate :-) Little Pink Bear also came along for the ride.

Drove over to Beth's place; we rode the 2 miles over to the ride start. I got my first-ever spoke card.

My first spoke card ever

And we're off

The first stop was a wonderfully mature urban garden with chickens. Huckleberries in the front, raised beds, fruit trees, raspberries and chickens in the back. The raised beds used the Trex planking. We should consider that; it does not rot. I was surprised how little space the chickens required. Tasty rhubard bread as well.

Urban garden


Next stop was a garden in a rental house, so lots of containers and plantings around the edge. They had a beautiful purple brussels sprout plant. Wonder what color the sprouts are? And if they are purple, do they stay that color when cooked? Minty lemonade and snap peas.

Purple brussels sprouts

Third stop was Willow Cottage, which seemed to house many people, had a great willow tree in the front yard, as well as a nice raised bed. Serious cabbage moth capture efforts going on here, and we were offered the opportunity to forage in the strawberries (mmmm). Nice little chicken flock in the back. I'm liking the gold-laced Wyandotte. Eggs were harvested; one was sent along for our post-ride spinach salad.

Urban garden


Somewhere in there was the climb up Alameda Ridge - 2 blocks, whacking steep. My bike computer read out 11%, but the post-ride analysis showed a bit of 15%. I went around on the left so I could climb without needing to stop. Regroup at the top. Whew.

House number 4 featured a classy chicken coop on the garage roof, which is ground level in the back yard, and raised bed vegetable plantings in the strip between the sidewalk and the street.

Chicken coop

We then wandered around for awhile before ending up at Beth and L's place. They've got a nice garden with spinach, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, onions, arugula, ... No chickens; they have an arrangement with Joel for eggs. We picked the spinach and some arugula; spinach salad was constructed. Nice picnic on the front lawn.

7.6 miles. I got a little crispy because I didn't bother with sunscreen :-)

All the pics here

Monday, June 15, 2009

Proud Parent, Part 2

Brian graduated from Oregon State University this past Saturday. He elected to participate in the Entire University Graduation Ceremony.

We got up at the crack of dawn and drove to Corvallis to join him for a pre-ceremony bagel.


Then off to Reser Stadium to get some covered seats - it had been raining off and on the entire drive down, and we didn't want to get wet.

Then lots of waiting, until we could see the graduation procession (all 2000+ participants) marching down the street. It was displayed on the stadium Jumbotron, and was completely impressive.

He's in there somewhere

Lots of processing in, then the speeches (good ones!), the PhD presentations, then the mass diploma presentation. Everyone received their very own real diploma.

Received the diploma!

Brian and parents

We hiked through the campus to have a celebratory lunch at McMenamin's.

Brian starts his 6 month intership at Mentor Graphics in a week.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Meet my Uncle Arthur

In previous posts, I've alluded to my uncle, whose life experiences got me into cycling. He's led a couple of bike tours for AYH, way back in the day, owned a bike shop, and is still riding. Arthur is my mom's younger brother. He's 12 years my senior.

Arthur on Carpenter Creek

He's currently on a road trip around the country, visiting relatives. He was here this past week, and he brought his bike, so we could go for a ride. First, there was a tire with a slow leak needing fixing, plus some brake adjustment. How many former shop owners and amateur wrenches does it take to fix these things? :-) My job was to provide tools - "do you have an (x)?" I always produced the (x). Arthur was impressed. The only tool I would have wanted to have that I didn't (and he didn't ask for it, but it would have been cool) is the Park Master Link Plier.

That all managed, I had to provide a route. Would we do an inner-Portland coffee-shop ride, or some of my favorite countryside around Forest Grove? Friend Rickey emailed wanting to do a ride as well, so we settled on a 20 mile flat loop out of The Grand Lodge, in Forest Grove.

Rickey: "you don't look old enough to be her uncle!". Art: "I'm not."

So we (Fitz, Art, me, Rickey, Kyle) headed out of Forest Grove on the following planned route:
W on Pacific,
L on Ritchey,
L on Stringtown
R on Dilley
R on Hwy 47
R on Old Hwy 47, go to the Lake Store
continue S to Gaston (forget the road names)
East on Gaston Rd to Spring Hill
R on Fern Hill
return to Grand Lodge.Eat tots.

Stringtown Road did not disappoint - the nursery out there was spectacular.

As we were riding with Rickey, there was a route adjustment - he wanted to climb Carpenter Creek and descend Plumlee. Those not up to the climbage could either take the original route, or walk it. We all went for it. No one walked it.

Arthur summitting Plumlee

Fitz and Arthur at the top of Plumlee

A pause for pictures and admiring the view, then on through Dilley and Old Hwy 47 to the Lake Store, for snacks.

Arthur at The Lake Store

Through Gaston and heading back north along Spring Hill, again by another favorite nursery where Hardebeck Rd comes in. The wheatfields smell heavenly.

At this point we've probably ridden a bit further than Arthur is used to. But it is flat now, and really, we are just about done. Really. Only a few more miles.

Spring Hill Rd

Nice lunch at the Grand Lodge afterward.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Proud Parent, Part 1

(graduation season. this is one of two.)

Rebecca is now Rebecca, M. Architecture. Thursday night was Thesis Exhibition and Review, and this afternoon was the University of Oregon Portland Center graduation ceremony.

Rebecca and Jessica

Rebecca and her Proud Parents

It was a nice, small, informal ceremony. The keynote speaker was excellent (Will Bruder). No academic regalia, no music, no procession. Each professor presented the graduates from their Terminal Project class.

Prof. Hajo Neis talks about Rebecca

We then enjoyed the reception, where, not only did I renew my acquaintance with Rebecca's fellow student whose mother I went to high school with (in TEXAS), but his grandmother was there. She and my mom were fellow Girl Scout leaders... They had a nice visit.

Then adjourned to The Noble Rot, for a celebratory dinner.

Jessica is looking forward to seeing Rebecca again. Wedding plans are up next.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Steeking Away

The Flora vest body is now complete, and I've grafted the shoulder seams together. Time to knit the front/neck band. But before I do that, it needs to be cut open.

Body done, shoulders grafted

Looking at the body, you'll see a checked knit area down the middle - that's called the steek, and that is what is cut apart. There is an edge stitch between it and the pattern area, where I'll pick up the stitches for the band.

The yarn is "sticky" - it won't unravel (I can attest to this, having had to do some un-knitting :-) ), so it can be cut right between the 4th and 5th stitches of the 8-stitch steek.

And here it is:

The completely cut steek

Now I need to buy a longer 3mm circular needle to pick up all 379 of those band stitches...