Monday, June 30, 2008

Water Surfing on the Willamette

It was hot, hot, HOT here in Portland over the weekend - Saturday it was 100 degrees in the shade at our house. ick. In the morning we went mountain biking up at Haag Lake which is on the way out to the coast. It was still pretty hot there - but much cooler than town. The highlight of the day was heading out on our friends Becky & Daren's boat for the evening. We hit the Willamette about 5 pm and stayed out until just about dusk at 9:20ish. Here are two pics of Thor & I water surfing behind the boat. Thor is much more comfortable than I am (as evidenced by the fact that he is not holding onto the rope in a double-fisted death grip like I am!)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Bridgetown Velo Fashion Week

Not really - but our new team t-shirts came in and we picked ours up at the Mt. Tabor race last night. As you can see the women's shirts are orange and then men's are a nice heathered-navy. (secretly I like the men's style more). Now Thor will be able to cheer at races in style for the rest of the summer!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Thor's Fishing Trip to Juneau

Thor just got back last night from his trip to Juneau to visit his friend, Phil Richard, and go fishing. Here are a few pictures to give you an idea of his trip. For a full story - shoot Thor an email at Enjoy!

Around the Garden Update

I thought it was time to post a few updated shots of the garden now that we've been getting some sun! The carrots are going wild (bushy tops towards the left in the picture) - but they're not that big yet (I tried eating one - still thin & flavorless) -- I'm really most excited about the rhubarb considering that it started as nothing when I originally planted it in April. The poppies along the back fence are all doing well too -- we should have some large, blue Himalayan blossoms soon!

I made my first harvest of peas last night. Yum!!! I feel like these peas just exploded off the vine early this week. I swear we didn't have any this past weekend and then when I looked yesterday there were a ton. I put them in my salad and they were delicious ( I might have saved one or two peas for Thor...maybe).

Here's a shot of one of my tomatoes that I started from seed - they are doing great. I think this plant is about 2 feet tall right now and it is just starting to get some blossoms.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A New Dahlia

Our yard is filled with Dahlias - and they are coming up in the strangest places! On my last trip to Tacoma, however, my mom had an extra dahlia bulb and I just couldn't resist. It's a Tahoma Frills variety -- and it should bloom white in 6-8" wide blossoms! Here's the 'before' picture. It's the very, very little green sprout on the left of the pot! (don't worry - it's pretty much impossible to see right now)

The Maple Container in the Back - Take 2!

Remember when I thought this pot was too yellow? (Click here for original post) Well, I added a little reddish-purple plant to the maple container.

It is a Sedum cauticola that produces little purple flowers in the fall. In retrospect I am wondering if I should have picked a plant with more height to it...

Monday, June 23, 2008

Mt. Tabor Pictures - June 18

Last Wednesday a photographer from OregonVelo was up snapping shots at the Mt. Tabor race. They managed to get a shot of myself and some of the other members of Bridgetown Velo. Here are the links to the pictures:

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

New Blooms in the Garden

It has finally been sunny here for a couple of days in a row, and it is amazing what a little sun will do for the garden! Here are some new flowers that blossomed in the last day or so. Enjoy!

This is some variety of lily that is blooming in our back yard near the raised veggie beds. It is GORGEOUS! Sort of a mauve-rose color with gold strikes right down the middle of the petal. This is the first one to open up - I can't wait until we have a whole backyard full!

I had a hard time getting a good picture of the Lychnis that is blooming in our front parkstrip. I think this plant generally comes in white or a deep fuschia - so far everything we have blooming is white.

Nasturtiums!!!! I planted these guys in a planter box at the back of our house - I have them mixed in with geraniums that are already blooming. This combination was inspired by the planter boxes that we always had growing up in Alaska. The nasturtium variety that I planted was 'Alaska'....I think. Of course I can't find the seed envelope now - so I think I must have thrown it out earlier this spring...sigh.

This is a spirea of some sort. I had always heard they bloomed - but didn't really believe it because I thought mine just looked like a bush! So I was awfully surprised to see these pink blossoms pop out earlier this week. The entire plant is just covered with them!

Wooly Sunshine
. I picked three of these up as bare root plants at the Naturescape native plant sale earlier this spring in February. They are a good drought tolerant native that thrives in rock gardens and well drained soil. They're doing great out in our front park strip!

Monday, June 16, 2008

A Weekend in Seattle

On Friday we hit the road for Seattle and arrived in town around 9:30pm. We scooped up Kathryn and headed off to our favorite restaurant: Santa Fe Cafe. They have the best tortilla soup & chile relleno tart - try it! I had a Havana Side Car for the first time on recommendation of the bar tender. Very good - not too sweet - which I thought was a nice change from most sugary cocktails.
Saturday morning we got up early and met my Aunt Susanna at Coastal Kitchen for breakfast.

Kathryn, Thor & I all had the Huevos Rancheros and they were excellent. Last spring we went here for breakfast with Thor's mom and his uncle, Fred. Fred had the Huevos then and we were all super jealous - so it was nice to get back there to try them myself.
After breakfast we headed to the Olympic Sculpture Park in downtown Seattle. It was Thor & I's first time there and I really liked the way they had the park laid out. Here's a shot of Thor & Kathryn in front of my favorite sculpture - a series by Richard Serra.

After our trip to the sculpture park we were in bad need of a second injection of caffeine! So we tottered by Herkimer's near Kathryn's house and then headed home for an afternoon of garden work. I thinned tomatoes & pulled dandelions while Thor busted out Kathryn's concrete path that lead from her back door out to her garage. Very exciting.
We decided to go to the Mariner's game on Saturday night even though they were playing a terrible team, the WA Nationals. We figured the Mariner's were so bad it might be an evenly matched game and therefore worth watching. Here are a couple shots from our evening at the ball park - it was CHILLY - but we had a great time.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Front Porch Container

There was a large container on the front porch when we moved in - I kept waiting for something to pop up...but nothing ever did - so we finally decided to plant it. It's sitting to the right of our front door:

  • Heuchera 'Peach Flambe' Coral Bells. This is the plant in the lower right hand part of the container in the picture.
  • Sedum 'Ogon' Sedum makinoi. This is the plant in the lower left hand part of the container. It is a Zone 7 plant with yellowing flowers in the summer that attract butterflies.
  • Gold Fountains Sedge Carex dolichostachya 'Kaga Nishiki' Great green sedge in the back of the container. It does well in dry conditions - at least better than most sedges do.

The Maple Container in the Back

When we moved into this house there were a lot of containers left behind by the previous owner. Most of these had dead annuals in them or bulbs like lilies or dahlias - anyways - I've removed most of these and have been replanting the containers with perennials, succulents and some edibles. I'll post a series of snapshots of the containers and descriptions of what I have planted in them in the next few weeks. Right now I think the overall color tone of this container might be too yellow -- so I may divide it at some point.

  • Coral-bark Maple Acer Palmatum 'Sango Kaku' Mine is little, little, little right now. He was very sunburnt when I picked him up in the 50% off section of the Portland Nursery. I cut back all the sun burned leaves & branches and now it's starting to re-bud and grow again. I think it will be a great container plant!
  • Evergold Japanese Sedge Carex morrowii 'Evergold' This grass has variegated green and yellow 1/2" wide leaves that forms a clump 12" tall x 18" wide. It works well in containers, rock gardens & water features and does well in full sun to part shade. It is hardy down to -10 to 0 degrees F.
  • This container is partially planted with a creeping golden ground cover that my mom says spreads terribly and is awful. I kept it in the container - and I won't be moving it from there!

Dominic David Nardecchia

Katy & Andy had their baby last night! (well - Katy actually had the baby....and Andy came screeching in from Las Vegas around 11:30 just in time to catch all the action). Lil' Nick was born at 2:50 am this morning (June 12) at OHSU in Portland, OR. We found out late yesterday afternoon that Katy was in the hospital so Stacy & I headed over to join Becky & Daren around 7:30 to keep her company for a bit. (A side note - Becky was INVALUABLE. She's a trained professional folks, and it showed! She answered all Stacy & I's crazy questions about babies & the birthing process - PLUS she could read all the monitors and electronics Katy was hooked up to. I don't think she & Daren can move to CO - what will the rest of us do here when we all have kids 5 years from now!)

Here are a few fun shots of our evening in room 20 on the 12th floor.

Katy - still in self-described denial over realizing she is having her baby 6 weeks early!

Yummy yum yum! The hospital tries to help Katy fuel herself up for her marathon task with their tasty fare!

The doctors asking Katy who the father is: "I don't know!" she's shrugging. (Just kidding Andy!!!)

Stacy describing her worst day ever at the GW Hospital (you'll have to ask her for details!)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Wooden Bridge Farm

LOOK at these beauties!!!!

Thor loves - and I mean LOVES - fresh eggs. So when I stumbled into a little stall at the Eastbank Farmers Market two weeks ago that was selling fresh eggs I knew I'd stumbled onto a gold mine. I almost bowled a woman over in my haste to secure a dozen eggs for Thor as a surprise (and good thing I did too - it was their last dozen of the day at 4:30). When I got home I told Thor to close his eyes & hold out his hands and I carefully placed the carton into his outstretched hands. "EGGS!!!!!!" Thor screeched , and then immediately looked at me out of the corner of his eye and said, "Why didn't you get more?"
So last week I went back, dutiful wife that I am, and bought two more dozen. This time around the farmer himself, Dan Turner, happened to be working the stand. Turns out he delivers eggs to Portland every two weeks and you can get on his delivery if you commit to eggs for a quarter. His new quarter was just about to begin (today, in fact) -- so Thor & I hopped on board for 2 dozen fresh eggs every two weeks through the end of August. YUM!!!!! I'm not sure you can get on mid-quarter - but it's worth shooting him an email ( if you're at all interested. Wooden Bridge Farm eggs are absolutely delicious!

Who's been painting our roses red?

Well - actually a salmony-apricot color and deep fuschia! (Someone gets the Alice In Wonderland reference, right?) We have roses!!! They finally blossomed. I noticed the bushes back in February tucked way bay in behind our Hydrangea, but they looked a little choked out - like they might not blossom. Surprise! I ran back inside to get my camera and snag these shots. These are obviously two different types of roses -- but I didn't realize how tricky it would be to identify them! They may remain mystery varieties in our yard for quite awhile.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

a relaxing weekend trip

On Saturday Thor & I drove out to our friend's (Becky & Daren) parent's ranch near Husum, WA. It was sooooo relaxing and wonderful. They are on a couple hundred acres just north of Hood River, OR near the White Salmon river. The ranch has two cabins on it, a barn, and a number of other smaller structures. The main cabin has a wonderful, wide porch on the front that affords an amazing view of the valley stretching out away from the cabin. The ranch is open pasture so there are cows & calves wandering all over the place - it's great! Here's a picture of the main cabin - and then a shot of the view from the porch:

Today we spent the majority of the day exploring on our mountain bikes. We rode some old rolling logging roads, and then climbed up, up, up to the top of the ridge overlooking the ranch. Phew! The downhill was definitely the best part of that ride. Here's a shot of Thor & I post ride (after a few refreshing beers, of course!)

Friday, June 6, 2008

Sugar Baby!

I forgot to mention this little lovely in my earlier post about what's planted in our garden. We're growing a watermelon!!! At least I'm trying to anyways (Anna's the inspiration for this addition. She & Harrison grew one last year in their roof top garden in Hawaii). The 'Sugar Baby' variety is an Ice Box type of watermelon - they get to be about 5-7 lbs at the time of harvest. I selected this variety to try because it sounds like people in Michigan & North Dakota have had success with this type. Did I check to see if they're the same zone as I am? Nope! I just assumed we both had chillier summers than a typical melon would we'll see how my less than stellar research fares me. Now if only it would turn into summer here in Portland! I'll never get a melon if the sun doesn't come out!

my new hot ride

Hottie hot hot (the bike - not me!) While not the lightest or the most high-end of rides out there I am pretty excited about my new Bianchi San Jose single speed cross bike! I've had this on layaway since February and have been plugging away at it all spring. I just picked it up last night.
My idea is that I can use this little beauty to commute about Portland instead of my road bike that I use to race on -- then in the fall I can give cyclocross a go. Everyone in Portland is absolutely MAD for cyclocross. I am undecided about whether or not I will like hoping off my bike every hundred yards or so to run over and around obstacles, but the dirt part looks like fun!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

1st Mt. Tabor Race - June 4

Apparently our camera is not the best for athletic events....or we need a little operator education as to which setting the camera needs to be in to capture bodies in motion....or perhaps the operator just needs to practice with the camera. In any case - here is the one shot of me that Thor managed to capture at my bike race last night:

Can't tell which one I am you say? Let me help you out. I'm on the far left with the orange shoulders. It would have been a guess to identify myself even (since I had multiple teammates out in orange jerseys) - but I recognize my bright blue shoes.
The much better shot is the picture of my entire team taken after the race. There are a few girls missing - but this is a pretty good representation of the group. From the left : Abby (who won the race! She is a powerful little speedster!), Amy, Shana, Rachael, Me, Beth & Michelle.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

veggies in the garden this year

So this is what the garden looks like now in early June:

These are the following little plants that I have planted in the raised bed:
  1. Carrots: Danvers 126 Daucus carota var sativus. These little guys are supposed to be a good variety for cool weather and dense, heavy soils - perfect for our clay like raised bed at this time! I just thinned them out to one plant every 3" -- it was sad to yank all the other little plants out.
  2. Peppers: Miniature Red Bell, Sweet Peppers Capsicum annum. I started these inside and they didn't sprout for ages. Just as I was about to give up on them they poked their little heads out of the soil! I have three of these plants in my raised bed now. I'm crossing my fingers that they produce some peppers this year!
  3. Beets: Early Wonder Beta vulgaris. Planted these directly outside. Seem to be doing fine so far....Stacy has had trouble with hers 'bolting.' I think this means they are flowering early. So far no problems with mine that I can see.
  4. Tomato Cherry: Rainbow Mix Lycopersicon lycopersicum (Hybrid). I started these in pots indoors and I think they are doing really well. The reason that I only can think this is that my tomatoes got mixed up when I moved them into larger I can't figure out which are my rainbow tomatoes and which are my jelly bean tomatoes. I have these planted in containers on these SE side of my house.
  5. Tomato Grape: Jelly Bean Red & Yellow Lycopersicon lycopersicum (hybrid). I started these inside as well -- same as above. Looks like they're doing well so far, but hard to tell as I don't know which are which and it's possible that all I have right now are cherry tomatoes!
  6. Tomato Bush: Italian Roma Lycopersicon lycopersicum. Once again - I started these inside, but these I was successfully able to keep separated - so I know where theses are planted. I have four plants right now planted in my raised bed in front of the Himalayan poppies that I put in. So far they are looking okay...although there are some holes missing out of the leaves.
  7. Lettuce Leaf: Red Sails Lactuca sativa. I started this outside back in April - it's starting to look harvestable!
  8. Spinach: Bloomsdale Spinacia oleracea. Started this outside as well - these plants are looking slighly larger than my lettuce right now.
  9. Basil. I originally planted about 30 starts of Aroma 1 Ocimum basilicum. These were looking great for awhile -- then I moved them outside. My guess is that I moved these outside too early during the cool spring that we're having. They are pretty stunted and yellow looking right now (about 1.5" tall). My mom came to visit this past weekend and noted that her starts were about 6" tall. So I broke down and bought four basil starts at the Portland Nursery this past weekend. This kind is 'Genovese' Ociumum basilicum - they are supposed to be nice & spicy and good for making pesto. Yum! All my basil is in containers on the SE side of my house - I'm thinking that gets the best sun right now (see above picture).
  10. Onions: Borrettana (Storage Onions) Allium cepa. Planted these in the raised bed -- of course I didn't mark them -- so I have them mixed up with the other onions I planted. Hmph. Note to self: next year make better notes when planting!
  11. Onions: Candy Hybrid (Sweet Spanish Onion) Allium cepa. Once again - don't know where these are planted. Sigh....
  12. Peas Snap: Cascadia Pisum sativaum. I planted these earlier this spring and built a trellis on the advice of Stacy who said that even if the package said they were self supporting I would wish I had a trellis. So far these guys are going like gang busters! One third of my trellis didn't sprout -- so I replanted the seeds today - we'll see what they do.
  13. Bush Beans: Nugget Phaseolus spp. I just planted these today. Supposedly birds will LOVE hopefully they won't all get eaten before they mature.
  14. Squash Summer: Scallop (Patty Pan) Blend Cucurbita pepo. I just planted these today - I am excited for them to sprout! I think they will be great on skewers on the bbq!
  15. Rhubarb: Hmmm. Somewhere around the house I have the tag for the variety of Rhubarb that I planted this year. I LOVE rhubarb custard pie. So of course I had to add this little delicacy!
  16. Asparagus: Once again. Can't remember the exact variety I planted. The closest I have is Asparagus officinalis. This little veggie takes some work! It takes a year or two for this to produce a crop - you dig a deep trough to plant your asparagus crowns in -- and then carefully fill in around them with soil during the first summer. You don't want to harvest too heavily the next year, but watch out for disease in the fall or the crowns will rot over the winter!
  17. Artichoke: 'Green Globe' Cynara scolymus. This isn't actually in our raised bed - when I bought the plant I thought I could put it in a container - but apparently I didn't read the tag very carefully! This guy grows to 4'-6' and needs full sun! So I moved a bunch of plants in our front yard so I could put this in on the NE side of our house - I think it should get quite a bit of sun there. I am not sure how long it will take for this to get full grown - but it should be a nice mixture of evergreen and large, lavendar-blue flowers in the meantime.
  18. Mache: Valerianella locusta. This was a gift from Stacy - she brought over 5 plants for me to put in our raised bed and so far it's doing really well. Mache is a variety of salad green - you hear it called by a bunch of different names including Lamb's Lettuce (because the leafs are the shape of a lamb's tongue.