4/23/11

First Warm Day of Spring

It's the first 70 degree day of the year!  I don't think it hit 70 at our house because we are at 1,400 feet of elevation.  But in the valley, it definitely got that warm.  The latest record for the first 70 degree day was in 1967 on my birthday, May 5th (or Cinco de Mayo for those of you who pay attention).  Here's what our weather man had to say about 70 degree days:


So, here it is, April 23rd, and we're just hitting 70 degrees.  By the way, Portlanders are never happy with the weather.  When it rains we complain about the dampness and the cold.  When it's warm, we complain about being too hot.  I think we're so used to complaining about the weather that we don't know any other way to be.

We used the day to attend the Farmer's Market, which was mobbed because of the good weather.  ("The sun is so bright," we whined.)  We had our usual breakfast of coffee and the yummiest huevos rancheros, made with farm fresh eggs, lots of veggies and beans, and home made tortillas and salsas.  There's so much food here that we generally share one plate between two people.



It's hard to tell what this is now that it's smothered in salsa, but there are carrots, beans, kale, baby bok choy, and lots of other good things.  A flavor sensation.  We bought some soup, and some fresh spring asparagus, along with a potted bleeding heart to take the place of our lilac bush that died.  And I decided I wanted a mixed bouquet for Easter, even though we don't really do much for Easter.  (Me?  I buy flowers.)


When we got home, George was beside himself waiting for his sunny day walk in the woods.  They had to wait for me to put on my boots and grab my camera equipment. 



The trilliums are in full bloom now, and as usual, there are thousands of them.



There are zillions of these little yellow violets--about the size of a dime.



We have about 6 3/4 acres of land, and I'm guessing 2 acres are wooded.  Originally, the woods were so dense with blackberries and snags that they were impassable.  When I started staying home full time, Mike took the tractor in and cut paths so that we could walk through.  (I'm hoping for grandchildren some day, and we hope to build a tree house then.)  We put some chairs in three locations so that I can sit when George and I walk.  It's so peaceful on the warmest days of the year to sit in the shade and look up at the leaves.



We have some pretty big timbers in our woods.



Big Douglas Firs and Hemlocks.  This one happens to be growing over a nurse log.  The nurse log is very nearly decayed out from under it, which gives you some idea how old the tree must be--maybe it got its start during the civil war.  Who can say?



George isn't as spry as he once was, and he gets tuckered out on our walks.  There are a lot of steps for someone with short legs.  He always looks for the shady spots to lie in.



See what I mean?  He is a redhead, after all.  He doesn't want to get sunburned.



We always take a walk around the house after walking in the woods, just to see what's growing and what's dying.  (There's always plenty dying, believe me.)  Here are some of the rare tulips that have escaped the notice of the deer . . . so far.



I read recently that, while we think of dandelions as weeds, they are one of the first edible greens to grow in the spring.  Before the days of refrigeration, they were cultivated to stave off malnutrition and starvation at a time when people's larders were empty at the end of a long, cold winter.  About the only thing they had left to eat were pickled meats.  Dandelions are apparently very nutritious.  While I know they can be used culinarily, I didn't know how valuable they were historically.  I figure if the "big one" ever hits, we should be in good stead since we always have a bumper crop.



The dandelions, along with the thriving metropolis of squirrels and gophers, should feed us for a long time.

I don't know what this next bush is, but it has the most beautiful and delicate flowers.  They bud out looking a lot like pussy willows, and then the flowers open.  It's hard to get a good image of them because it so often rains on them.  They are easily bruised by the raindrops.  This is the first day I've seen them fully open.


There wasn't much wind today, which helped to keep us warm on our walk.  When we built the wind turbine, we had to top the trees around it so they wouldn't block the wind.  Our closest neighbor will use the wood to heat his house.  For now, he has it all stacked up under the wind turbine, and it's aging so that it will burn well.



I've always had a fascination with sundials.  My dad was a watchmaker by trade, but his career was in the Marine Corps.  He used to read a children's book to me when I was very little.  It was all about different kinds of time pieces, and my favorite was the sundial.  One day when I was shopping for bird seed, I spied this sundial, and it was irresistible to me.


It says:

The time to be happy is now.
The place to be happy is here.

I found it at a time when those words were particularly significant, and it practically spoke out loud to me.  The wand that casts the shadow on the numbers is called a "gnomon."  I learned that when ours got broken under the weight of the snow one winter.  Now it gets put away each winter season.  Mike was able to repair it by drilling out the old gnomon, and I was able to get a replacement from the manufacturer.

So that's about all I know for this warm day.  Tomorrow's forecast?

Who would have thought it?  Really?  Rain in Portland?

4 comments from clever and witty friends:

Sandi P said...

Beautiful pictures and it looks like it was a great day to be outside. I love the sundial. I would like to have one some day. They have always seemed a bit exotic somehow - LOL. Of course, here in SE Georgia I wouldn't have to worry about my gnomon being damaged by any snow.

MareeR said...

The white flowered shrub is a star magnolia and I think it is called Magnolia Stellata. I have a small one - the flowers are beautiful.

Bayside Gal said...

Beautiful photos! We have your rain LOL. I can't think of a better way to spend a day than walking in the woods on a spring day.

quiltzyx said...

I love it when you take us along on your walks!

Thanks so much.... :^)