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Visit to Portland

17 Apr

I had the opportunity to visit Portland, Oregon last week. It couldn’t have been more lovely. We walked around all over the city, ate a lot of great food, and drank a significant amount of amazing local beer. The culinary highlight (alas, no photo) was a plate of venison osso bucco served with nettles and spaetzle – this is definitely a foodie’s paradise.

To my great surprise, Spring had already arrived. I was prepared for grey and rainy, but there were daffodils and tulips coming up everywhere, and cherry and plum trees in full bloom. We even got one warm, sunny, perfect blue-sky day with no rain. Shocking!

Some of the spring flowers were almost on their way out already. This rhodedendron was just starting to look past its prime, but still lovely.

Portlandia jokes aside, I can clearly see why this city has attracted so much attention in the past few years: great bookstores, lots of green space, amazing food and beverage, and lots of yarn and craft shops.

Speaking of shopping, I was a mere 1.5 pounds under my 100 pound luggage limit on my flight down to the Bay Area – Quite the close call.

Our host and hostess are avid gardeners, and every windowsill is their home was covered by vegetable starts in tiny pots.

It was pure delight to see so many green, growing things when Spring hasn’t quite made it to my part of the world yet. I’m feeling inspired to make some changes to my gardening routine and see if I can bring a bit of Portland’s garden scene home.

Bringing the yarn and fabric scene home is already taken care of. 😉

Everything’s coming up gourd sprouts!

31 Mar

These tender green shoots are making me deeply happy.

I bought several packs of gourd seeds on last October’s trip to Yunnan province. By “pack,” I mean several unmarked plastic bags. There was a very nice lady selling gourds and melons and plants, and she had a basket full of seeds and I figured what the heck – it was worth a try.

The seeds lived in the refrigerator all winter and I planted them about two weeks ago. So far, the germination rate looks to be low – I planted about 25 seeds, and five sprouts have come up. We’ll see how this all shakes out. Anway, I’m very grateful for the five little shoots I have.

Happy Spring!