We're going to enjoy a family dinner today. The kids will be up later, and we'll have ham and all the fixings...or at least the fixings that we all like. But let's back up to yesterday because it was a busy day, and I have lots to show you.
It was the first sunny and dry day in quite some time, and so I jumped at the opportunity to get outside for a walk. Since we were planning a dinner out, I wanted to be sure and get in my 10k steps. For my walk, I chose the Loop of Doom, so named because it is seemingly uphill all the way. Quite a while ago, I created this map of the loop from a satellite image of the surrounding area.
Loop of Doom
I would estimate the distance to be about five miles, and it takes me about an hour and 15 minutes to walk it. Yesterday, it took a little longer because I stopped to take pictures of every blooming thing and a few things that were not blooming. Before I started, however, I took time to dedicate the Gracie Memorial Catnip Garden.
Also, I stopped to admire this double daffodil that has opened in our yard. Pretty. I learned in the pollinator class I attended recently that "double" flowers of any kind are not favored by bees. Apparently, they can't get their little nectar gathering tools down into that maze of petals. Oh well.
So, off I went down the driveway we share with four other neighbors. We have a new neighbor directly down the hill from us. "New" if living in a place for a couple of years still counts as new. They aren't particularly friendly, and I gave up trying to be neighborly with them some time ago. Nevertheless, I appreciate that they planted daffodils along their portion of the shared driveway.
There are a few of these white ones with orange centers. During pre-internet days (back in the 14th Century), I recall reading in our local newspaper that there was a search going on for bulbs from this variety. Apparently, they were becoming scarce, and so the hunt was on.
When I got up to the main road, I could see Mt. Hood, although it was a little hazy.
There are lots of wildflowers in bloom now. Here's a little bush growing by the side of the road with some tiny white flowers on it.
Get up closer, and they look like this.
Here's an apple or pear or something...there are a lot of fruit trees growing wild by the side of the road. I imagine they got their start from an apple core thrown from a car as it passed by.
Most of these I cannot identify. This is some kind of blooming tree.
I believe this is a periwinkle.
They were blooming in abundance all along the road yesterday.
This is some holly growing wild by the side of the road. There are holly farms growing in the vicinity. The birds eat the berries and then drop seeds along the way.
This one is getting ready to bloom.
And there was this sign: no idea.
Here are some more violets. These grow in our woods.
I passed by a pretty green pond along the way. There were two portions. This was the lower portion.
This was the upper portion. I could hear water running, as if a stream were emptying into it somewhere, but I couldn't see it anywhere.
I've always loved these split rail fences, especially when they are covered in moss.
This is the first trillium I've seen blooming.
Here are some more little violets.
This stuff has enchanted me ever since I learned its common name: Duck's Foot.
Also, the ever-present Oregon blackberry.
When I walk the Loop of Doom, I always walk in a counter-clockwise direction. I do this because Sue and I walked it clockwise one time. What an ill-fated walk that was. We came to this fork in the road. The right fork looked like somebody's driveway, and so we continued on to the left. Oh. My. Gosh. Hours later, we found ourselves at the very bottom of the hill, and it was a long, long, long walk back up the hill to my house. Now, I recognize this fork when I see it, but just to be certain, I go always the other way.
Continuing on to the paved road, you can see the other side of the hill from the Three Cats Ranch. The Willamette River runs through this valley.
My 10k steps were easily fulfilled by the time I got back home. Since I'm making a big dinner today, I got to work doing some things ahead, and then I had some time to do a little sewing before we went out for dinner. For one thing, I made this little tissue cover as a pay-it-forward gift for a friend from high school.
And I finished all but the hand stitching on Block #48 for the Live, Love, Teach quilt. This morning I finished the hand stitching, and it was ready to take its place among the other 47 finished bocks for this quilt. This is Collis's original block:
Here it is rendered in fabric.
Then, I had just enough time to get ready for dinner. We had dinner at the Joel Palmer House in Dayton, Oregon...about half an hour away.
Joel Palmer was an interesting character and one of the original Oregon pioneers. You can read about him and the house that bears his name right here, if you're interested.
We were celebrating 400 days to retirement for Mike. And as of today, it's 397 days. Yes, we are counting.
The mushrooms are the thing at the Joel Palmer House. They used to do a huge dinner called "Mushroom Madness". It's been a while since we've been there for dinner, and Mushroom Madness has been taken off the menu. Now, one can choose either a five or three-course meal. In a massive show of restraint, we ordered a three-course meal, but as you'll soon see, it was still a whole lot of food. Here's a little bit more about the family that owns the restaurant.
In preparation for dinner, I'd barely eaten all day, and so when they served up this "amuse" of a carrot tartare, I started eating it right away before I remembered to take a picture. It was so yummy...just a little bite of grated carrot that was slightly pickled.
Then I had wild mushroom soup for my first course.
Mike had the tomato bisque. It was made without cream, using pureed onion as a base. It was really quite tasty.
Then to cleanse our palates, they served this little shot glass sized gazpacho of ginger-cucumber on the right and tomato-lemon balm on the left. This was incredibly delicious. I could have eaten a whole bowl of it.
For the main course, Mike had the beef stroganoff. It had a lot of wild mushrooms in the mix, served over a rice mixture.
I had the beef tenderloin with porcini mushroom sauce served with mashed potatoes and a few bites of broccoli. Delectable.
For dessert, we each had creme brulee. That little black hunk there is a candy cap mushroom. The candy cap mushrooms taste like maple syrup.
And as a parting gift, they brought us this soft little cookie with some cream cheese frosting on it. It was a good thing because I was still hungry. Not.
And that was Saturday.
The food pictures were all taken with my phone, and you know there are always some kitty pictures on the phone. Smitty is always getting hold of it and taking selfies.
And now he's started taking sneak images of Maggie. He's planning to use them to extort her at some point in time.
Here's just one more way they amuse themselves jockeying for Top Cat position.
Today I'm baking a pie and getting my baked beans going. They roast low and slow all day in the oven. Most everything was done yesterday, and so there won't be too much work today.
I hope you'll have a chance to celebrate Easter in the way you most enjoy and that you have a lovely day!