While that was processing, I baked some pumpkin bread with the last of the CSA pumpkin puree from last year.
My recipe makes two loaves, which I didn't realize until I already had the pumpkin thawed. I gave the second loaf to Sue when we walked yesterday. Before heading out to meet her, I had a little time to work on the Gingerbread Square block. Most of the candy is stitched now.
After that, I headed off to meet up with Sue at the Fanno Creek Trail. It was a nice warm morning...too warm for the way I was dressed. It's always a question this time of the year. Even when we're expecting warm weather, it's sometimes too cool in the morning. On Thursday we set a new temperature record in Portland. The old record was 79°F. set in 1996. On Thursday...
Cool! Er, warm...and nice. And it was nicely warm for our walk Friday morning. You may recall when I told you about an Oak Savannah Restoration Project going on at the Dirksen Nature Park. The Fanno Creek Trail passes through the park, and we've been watching the progress on this. You can read more about it at those links I've given you. For pictures of our first view of it, you can read this old blog post from back in October.
It's been a while since we've been able to walk on the Fanno Creek Trail. In addition to our record-setting temperatures, we've also had record-setting rainfall so far in 2016, and so this project has gone on without our vital supervision. Nevertheless, we were happy to note that progress is being made. Now, they've used the wood that was cleared from the land to build this fence. It snakes all around the perimeter of the park for quite a distance. Look closely toward the top of the image and you'll see it in the background.
Fanno Creek is an important wetlands (which also accounts for the pesky flooding during periods of heavy rain), and so it's good to see how well it's been maintained, restored, and improved over time.
On our return trip, we made a new friend in this Manx cat. He was on the hunt for small mammals, I'm sure, and he figured the only way he could get us to move along would be to allow this pest of a human to pet him...or her...always hard to tell with cats.
After a perfunctory visit, he thanked us to move along. Clearly he's hungry and we are disturbing the hunting environment with our noise and loud tromping about.
By the time we were finished with our walk, I had accumulated 14,000-plus steps on my 10k goal. A good showing, but it gave me the harebrained idea that perhaps I could beat my personal best by achieving a 20k day...and so I walked and walked and walked yesterday. First, I headed off for some new shoes, because my old ones were hurting my feet. That was perhaps the only sensible part of this agenda.
After that, I headed home. I filled the birdfeeders, dumped the compost pail, and walked around the yard. There are a few more blooming things to show you. For one thing, I've come to the conclusion that I need to stop whining about the tulips. The squirrels actually left quite a few in the whiskey barrels. Each year, the bulbs divide themselves, and I have more. It's just possible that they'll actually replenish their numbers from the ones that were lost to the dining pleasure of the squirrels.
The clematis blossoms have opened...
And the wisteria is starting to bloom.
This grows above the front door patio. It's unfortunate that it isn't an evergreen. It's beautiful when it's lush with foliage and blossoms. Right now it looks a little like the Addams Family lives here.
Also, the lilac is tantalizingly close to opening.
And the plum tree is in full bloom.
Of course, no walk around the house is complete without my jet-propelled furry feline friend.
We visited the greenhouse to find that more than half of the lettuce seeds have germinated now. I've removed the plastic that was covering them, and I'm just keeping them good and wet.
Four out of five of the sunflower varieties have germinated as well. I recall that last year one of them was slower than the rest.
Just the one at the bottom of that image remains unseen, and it's the "Cherry Rose" variety. Here's how it looked last year...worth waiting for, I'd say.
Also, one of the four zucchini seeds is now showing itself. These were surprisingly slow to germinate. Their seeds are planted fairly deep.
So far, nothing from the echinacea. If it doesn't show itself soon, I might start over again...or else look for some starts. I'm nothing if not impatient.
The cherry trees are a mass of blossoms now, and so pretty.
Even if we don't get cherries, the trees are so beautiful in the spring, and they're big enough now that they make good shade trees. The raccoons usually beat us to the fruit.
Oh yes, and here's another tulip.
I took a little time out for a nap after that, but then got back to walking. I walked around and around and around the outside of the house, as well as inside the house, out to the mailbox, and pretty much wore a path over the entire acreage. By day's end, I'd accomplished my goal of a new personal best, and then some. Yay me! It was tempting to walk just a little farther to get up to nine miles, but I was tired.
My feet and knees may never forgive me.
Since I haven't reported on the cat war recently, I should mention that the fireplace has become a demilitarized zone. Everyone has a place now. Maggie just recently discovered that lying in front of the fire is a great way to spend an evening.
They've been outside quite a bit lately, and Maggie actually shows herself. She still won't allow us to approach her when she's outside, but her jumpiness is beginning to wane. This morning, we thought it was time to put some Advantage on them. We don't have a flea problem, and we don't want one. So...if looks could kill...
He didn't stay mad long. Here, you can see that he's comfortable enough with Maggie now that he doesn't even bother looking at her.
I can't see you. You don't exist. You are in my rear view mirror...but I will not look. No, I will not look.
As for Maggie, she's all eyes and ears, but at least she's not hiding.
This morning, I continued on with the Gingerbread Square block. I started with some of the metallic gold floss. I love the sparkle it adds to these pieces, but man, what a bugger to thread onto the needle!
Just as I sat down at my desk to write this post, I spied a Peeping Tom at my window.
We have out-of-town guests coming on Monday. It's my cousin Sam and his wife, Janice. I haven't seen them in many years, and so it will be fun to visit. They'll be staying the night, and so I'll be spending some time getting things ready for them and planning some food. Sam and I didn't get to see one another very much growing up because my military family was moving around so much. Nevertheless, we were thick as thieves when we were together, and I can recall many fun hours camping, hiking, swimming, and generally hanging out on those rare wonderful occasions when we were able to spend time together.
It's been quite a few days since I did any sewing, and so I'm hoping to get back to that today too. The days off have been good, but I'm ready to carry on with my projects.