5/19/12

A Walk on the Wild Side

We're wild women, my friend Sue and I.  Sue is even wilder than I am.  She's a social worker, like me.  But she still works, which would drive any social worker wild.


But that's not really what I meant when I said we walked on the wild side yesterday.  Sue and I have walked the Fanno Creek Trail most Fridays for about eight years, rain or shine.  Just now, while I was searching to link to the trail, I discovered that it starts far earlier and ends far later than I ever imagined!  Sue and I have some exploring to do, I guess.

As an aside, did you know that Sue and I trade back and forth a perpetual trophy we refer to affectionately as the Weenie Award?  The Weenie Award is held by the last one of us to weenie out on our walk for some reason.  Usually, it is awarded for the weenie who is too much of a whiner to walk in the rain.  Being a whiner makes you a winner.


But to get back to our wild walk from yesterday, I don't know when I've seen the trail looking so beautiful.  Having two weeks of uninterrupted good weather certainly makes a difference in the landscape.  The Fanno Creek Trail is beautiful any time of year, but yesterday so much was blooming!

There were wild roses in pink and white:



And these growing all along the trail.  No idea what they are, but they appear to be some sort of a berry.


For as many years as we've walked past these next trees, we've never seen them in bloom as they were yesterday.  They look a lot like a golden chain tree, but the blossoms are pink and not as long as the blossoms on a golden chain tree.  Does anybody know what they are?  They were so beautiful, I took lots and lots and lots of pictures of them.  And then I couldn't decide which one to post.  You get to see my favorites.





This next image is actually from our walk the week before, but I forgot all about it until I went to post the images from yesterday.  We saw a mother duck and her ducklings.  I only had my phone with me, sadly, and so this isn't a terrific image.  You get the idea, however.  She was none too happy about us standing there eyeing her and her youngsters.  There were four ducklings altogether.


We see all sorts of things along the trail.  We see lots of Nutria, which are considered an invasive species.  I don't care.  I think they're cute.  While we've never seen any beavers, we do see evidence of them in the form of their lodges, and yesterday, we saw a good-sized tree that had been felled by a beaver.  It's a common problem in this area.  Any new saplings have to be protected from the chewing teeth of beavers.  We've seen lots of different species of birds, including Great Blue Herons and large woodpeckers, among other things, and we see the wildest of animals as well . . . the Great Rolling Strollers.


Today we're going to plant our vegetable garden.  It's the last dry day before some rain is predicted.  I'm only planting about half the garden this year.  The past two years have been rather unproductive in the garden, and I'm not feeling like working as hard at it . . . which pretty much guarantees good weather for the summer.  

We've already decided to leave the tomatoes potted in the greenhouse, although I will plant the cherry tomatoes in the outside garden.  They always produce an abundance of cherry tomatoes, even if most of them never make it past the garden gate.  Most of them go straight into my mouth.  Also, I'm only planting the things that we generally eat.  I've experimented with different vegetables, and even if productive, I find that only certain things are reliably eaten.  If we're not going to eat it or use it in some way, I'm not going to grow it.

So here's what's on the list of garden vegetables for the year:  Green beans:  eaten fresh or canned.  I like to make dilled beans too.  Zucchini:  I don't think a garden can be a garden without zucchini, eaten or not.  Actually, I'm all out of zucchini relish, and I'll be making lots of that this year.  Beets:  We are a beet-loving lot in the Stanbro family.  We eat them fresh, or I pickle them.  I have some left from last year, so I doubt I'll pickle any more this year.  That means I won't plant as many.  Corn:  Enough said.  Lettuce:  I plant red leaf, butter lettuce, and romaine.  I plant it in stages so we have lettuce the whole season long.  Yum.  Kale:  A new vegetable to the garden, so we'll see how it does.  I've become a kale lover over the past year.  I like to thinly slice a clove of garlic and then stir fry the kale and garlic together in extra-virgin olive oil.  I lid the pan to steam the thick stems until they're tender.  Yummy . . . and it smells really good too.  

In addition to the vegetables I plant lots of varieties of sunflowers.  I love sunflowers, especially the red ones.  Also, I've taken to planting zinnias.  They add so much color to the garden, and they make great cut flowers.  They last and last and last in a vase.  And that's about it.  Other things around the yard include two varieties of cherry trees, strawberries (domestic and wild), raspberries, and plums.  Oh yes, and I can't forget the artichoke that Erik and Mae gave us last year.  Maybe we'll get some artichokes this year because the plant is thriving.  

I haven't yet drawn out a plan, and so I'd better get to it.  Time's a-wastin'.

5 comments from clever and witty friends:

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

Beautiful tree! I don't know what it is but I love the flowers. We have beaver here, in fact our subdivision lake has them, but I don't know about the Nutria. Most of the river rats I am acquainted with are oh, about 5-7 yrs old and human! LOL

Diane Wild said...

Your garden plan sounds perfect. And thos zinnas..butterflies love them, but you probably know that.

BillieBee (billiemick) said...

I'm not a good reader....I saw the word walk and then I thought you said your friend was 'wider' than you. I thought you were in trouble there for a minute....giggle.

Great photos!

quiltzyx said...

Thanks to you & Sue for taking us along on your wildside walk! Gorgeous photos, as usual. :D

Maria Kievit said...

Another way to eat kale is to put peeled cut up potatoes in a big pan, put kale on top, and a sausage to cook with it, and then after the potatoes are done, mash kale and potatoes together. A yummy Dutch treat that now even my Canadian children will eat!. I usually harvest the kale in the fall, after the first frost or so, as then the taste is better, and will strip it from the big stems, put it in a freezer bag and while it's in its frozen state I crush the kale, to make it smaller and easier to eat and mash. My mother in law freezes it too after she's cooked it (blanched) it first. Afterwards she treats it the same I do. Once you've mashed the potatoes and kale, I stir a good dash of vinegar over it, and cut the sausage up. Make some gravy with it, and you've got a one pot meal that's hearty and delicious in winter times.......