Monday, December 31, 2012


The Oregon Coast
The second half of 2012 really got away from me this time! When I last posted in mid Summer I was still strapped into a back brace after spinal surgery in late June! By August I was traveling East to spend a glorious week on the coast of Maine... on Monhegan Island and at a niece's wedding near Bar Harbor. Both locations renewed my childhood memories of rough Atlantic beaches, salt water, and the taste of lobsters and clams!


Wonderful flower gardens on Monhegan Island

An island of fishermen and artists

The historic Island Inn and neighboring house

View from the lawn infront of the The Island Inn
Then it was on the the wedding.....

Back in Oregon we headed for the beach to introduce a visiting cousin to our side of the country!
Cousin Susan at Hug Point

At Haystack Rock

Flying kites with Brayden
September brought another Cycle Oregon for Fred...

There's nothing like a ride around Crater Lake!

 In early October it was back to the East coast for my 50th reunion in Northport, NY. I also spent some time in New Haven with my High School friend Bonnie where we enjoyed a day touring the Yale campus!

Back home to a modest grape harvest and copious amounts of pears and apples! Thanksgiving found me very thankful for a healed spine and wonderful friends and family!
Grandchildren Brayden and Saskia

I hope that the New Year brings a new vision for our country...common sense solutions to the upward spiral of violence and anger that seems to have permeated our society....and the world in general. We MUST come together on some of these issues like gun control and a dead-locked Congress. Has technology taken away our compassion and the basic social skills that make us human? Have we lost the ability to focus or to see the other side of the issue? Our children are growing up without the innocence that once came with playing hide and seek and hopscotch. Do we take them camping and bike riding so that they will grow up appreciating the natural world....or just let them play aggressive video games? Do we really want to take pleasure only from our memories of what used to be? We can do better.....

Monday, July 30, 2012

A Slow and Patient Summer....

It's been awhile since my last post....partly because I had spinal surgery near the end of June and have been in a slow recovery mode ever since! I've had lots of time to gaze out upon the garden, and only recently have been able to walk around it. The Summer has crawled to slow motion in my mind as I watched the roses come and go and then bloom again (thanks to the deadheading done by others!) Now the Lilies are ebbing and the late Summer flowers are starting to emerge.

It is a frustratng thing when you are not able to bend or twist for 3 months! When something drops on the floor or you see a lovely weed that needs to be pulled, you can only call for help! A very frustrating thing indeed...especially when I honestly like to weed and pick up things!! If it's located in the area from my knees to the top of my head I can handle it .... beyond that I am forced to use "the Grabber"! Have you ever tried to move a pile of decaying grass clippings with one of those things!!! With two more screws added to my spinal column ( I already have 18 in my neck from an operation 5 years ago) I am beginning to feel like one of those robotic toys! I know that it just takes a bit of patience and I will soon be able to garden, hike and ride my bike again. My nemesis now is the back brace that needs to be worn whenever I am up and about. I think I know what the Victorian ladies felt like, but this happens to be worn on top of whatever outfit you may be wearing! ( mostly T-shirt and yoga pants)

Thanks to Andreea Ghetie, one of my students who has graciously volunteered in the garden! She also gets a little help from Lucca....who would rather she be playing ball!

But the Summer hasn't all been lost.....we've had quiet times with family and friends around the fountain....and Lucca has learned to walk slowly next to me and not to walk between my legs! He has also enjoyed all the balls that I have thrown to him while I sit on the deck reading or daydreaming of what I could be doing!

A very exciting project also commenced in late June when our large Solar array was built. This was fun for me to see from a distance and finally close up as I was able to negotiate slopes! It is located in a sunny field just below one of our vineyard blocks, and started producing electricity just a week ago! What we don't use goes into the grid. Oregon Summers are normally quite dry and sunny and even our grey Winter days capture enough energy to make solar an efficient system here.

I am now looking forward to seeing the tomatoes ripen, and the beans and squash grow! ( and perhaps designing a solar shade garden under the array?!!)In another month I should be ready for more activity but I am not entirely upset by this time of 'rest' definitely gives you a different perspective and makes you realize how much we take for granted in this world.


Friday, June 1, 2012

Let Summer Begin......

It's the first of June and the Iris and the Peony are brightening up the garden! The various shades of green are accented by these new blooms that punctuate the garden of my favorite times to be outside.  It's Rose Festival time in Portland and my roses are just starting to bloom, while the streets in Portland are already filled with cascades of roses. For now....up here at Cloudrest, the Peony rules!

The Iris are accented by Geranium macrorrhizum, and the blue gray leaves of Rosa glauca.

Large clusters of chartreuse blooms cover the Euphorbia wulfenii.

Masses of white blooms cover Choisya ternata, tucked between the variegated leaves of Cornus`Hedgerow Gold' and Spiraea 'Limemound'.

Purple Salvia and Euphorbia polychroma share garden space with Alchimilla mollis , ferns, daylily....and my favorite copper 'Tulip'.

Down in the Potager garden my favorite Deutzia is in full glory....with flower clusters so perfect that they just don't look real!

Also in the same garden the Royal Sunset rose has produced it's first bloom! This will fade to a soft pink.

Another rose that has just about taken over the vegetable area ( it's tree-like at 10ft. by 10 ft ) is covered by masses of individual single red roses). Unfortunately, I've misplaced it's name and must do some research!

And to accent our new pot from Tubac, Arizona... Abelia x 'Kaleidoscope' shines at the end of the deck

It's a cheerful time of the year!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Spring Awakens Slowly

Spring has been slow to materialize here in Portland this year....But at least on a few days, when I took my Illustration class out to sketch, we were able to enjoy some of the forest gems that were emerging from a soggy forest floor. There's nothing prettier or more uplifting than the bright greens of new foliage sprinkled on the forest floor or scattered in the canopy above!

The exercise was to walk slowly down the path ( located behind the main buildings to the north of the main campus of Portland Community College at Rock Creek) ....stopping every 10 steps to do a quick sketch ( of only 30 seconds or so!) and then moving on to do another sketch....and another! With 20 students I had a hard time getting them to spread out a bit, or to not spend too long on each sketch. The idea was to look at the overall shapes and patterns of dark and light, and to quickly sketch your impression...then move on...

We found many clusters of Trillium, lovely fern and Vanilla Leaf, moss-covered logs, and lichen covered tree trunks.

A walk in the forest in Spring is magical!

Back in my own garden, the new leaves are emerging and new pots are brightening up the decks....Even Lucca seems to be waiting for warmer temps and the Summer to come!