Right Now 1.17

posted in: Blog, Life, Right Now | 0

I considered doing a year in review post, but I decided that it was time to look forward instead. We are deeply entrenched in our ‘new’ life and that’s what I want to focus on, so here goes.

We had wonderful, glorious, foggy days in December that allowed for hiking, road trips to the coast, good food, and being in the moment.

We hit the Ecola State Park trail to Indian Beach at the coast. This was our first hike with decent gear: hiking boots, day pack, and rain jackets. We were prepared and that made a huge difference in our enjoyment level. We’ve focused on trails with moderate difficulty and have found them to be the most satisfying. The combination of elevation gain over a short stretch and what I call ‘tree bones’ make scampering up or down a switchback physically demanding. We are keenly aware that people regularly lose their lives on these trails. It’s easy to lose your footing. The view is totally worth it though.

I had to zoom all the way in to see this little lighthouse. It was just a speck on the horizon as you can see from the photo below.

The coast is rockier here than further down near Tillamook where we usually go. We’ve avoided the area near Cannon Beach because of the crowds, but if you can get out on a weekday it’s not bad.

Going earlier in the day helps, too. There’s usually a line of traffic from Portland to the coast by 11am on weekends.

The foggy mornings call to me. It’s so nice to have a forest five minutes away. We are still exploring trails and features. The moss turned green overnight and mushrooms appeared everywhere. Where there are mushrooms there are slugs, so I am pretty happy. I miss the insects and other creatures but I’m starting to focus my attention to the micro-world. I picked up the Audubon field guide to the Pacific Northwest to help identify what we find. This year I am focusing on trees and edible plants.

It’s hard to get a sense of scale with the natural features here. At first glance these trees appear to be ‘normal’ size until you put a person in there for perspective. They are really tall.


We love our windows and miss having a garden, so we decided to create a green curtain. So far everything is doing well except for the rosemary plant. They don’t get enough light here.

Our last hike was at Cape Lookout out the coast again. We stopped for breakfast at the Tillamook Cheese Factory on Dec 26 and then hit the trail. They had a snowstorm a few days before and
we weren’t sure what we would find. The trails had a lot of pellet snow along them, but the day was mostly sunny and windy.

We’d hoped to see some whales as they passed the cape, but the water was too choppy. The views were spectacular and well worth the very wet and muddy moderate hike.

 This was a hike that you really need the waterproof gear for. Here you can see the ‘tree bones’ and mud. There were about a dozen areas like this along the trail.

We put the hummingbird feeder out in December and now have 3-5 feeders every day. This is one of the regulars, a male Anna’s hummingbird. We have a couple other that don’t look the same but they may be female or juvenile, which make them hard to identify. They are ready in the morning when I bring the feeder out and now don’t mind if we stand in the door and watch them. We established this routine right before the snow and ice came. Grrrr.

We started getting snow back in the middle of December and it’s been pretty regular since. I could write a few posts on this topic alone, as many readers have probably heard about our experience on the National news. It’s been interesting. Alexander was allowed to walk home from school in the first one back on Dec 14. It’s a five mile walk. It was 15 degrees out. It took him two hours. To be honest, he’s been traumatized by the experience. I’ve contacted the school, school board, administrators, and even the newspaper but haven’t received much of a response. It was such an epic fail on their part that I’m at a loss for how to deal with it.

We’ve been hammered by snow and ice regularly for two weeks now and the city is shut down. We are on our 10th snow day off of school. Orion has yet to attend one session of this trimester of college, which started early last week. I’m focusing on hygge which means good food, a warm fire, comforting music, and board games. (I’ve started a Hygge board on Pinterest to ponder the mood.)

We got a good 8 inches of snow last week and I headed out to the forest with my camera. I ended up hiking four miles that day and boy, was I tired when I got home. I took a small thermos of hot tea and rewarded myself on my last stop before heading home. Overall I would have to say that Portland’s spirit has persevered during this challenging winter.

Other things:

I’ve been obsessed with theartofmanliness.com.

My friend Jennifer turned me on to Pocket to manage online articles to read. This gets me through my regular commutes in to the Pearl.

I’m loving my Instant Pot more than I’d ever imagined. Rather than make Instant Pot recipes I just adjust my own to work. I make double or triple batches of rice and freeze for later. I cook a large batch of potatoes in a few minutes. I keep hard boiled eggs in the fridge for the teenagers to snack on. It’s been a game changer.

I’m doing a scrapbook spread a week in my Traveler’s Notebook. I missed scrapbook last year and think this will be manageable.

We are watching Sherlock, OA, Traveler’s, and Bull.

I’ve been reading, reading, reading.

I’m working on kits and should have something up within a month. Keep an eye out!

How about you?