No…not really…the rain returns on Sunday. But TODAY…today was the most spectacular day we’ve had since October!
I left work mid-day thinking I’d so some work in the yard and pot a few plants on the deck. Once home I grabbed a bite, changed into a t-shirt (really) and sandals (not kidding!), ventured into the sun to put the cushions on the patio chairs and…
…SCREW the yardwork!
Sometimes you just have to take advantage of the beautiful weather. Waste a little time. RELAX! After all, this is only the second 60+ degree day we’ve had up here since early December!
I put some classic Grateful Dead on the stereo, popped a beer and lay back in my chair to catch some rays. OH BOY!!!
The birds were everywhere…hairy and downy woodpeckers, goldfinches in full mating color, white crowned sparrows, towhees, chickadees, juncos, house and purple finches, nuthatches and even a coopers hawk. Better yet..NO INSECTS! Nope…still too cold for them little buggers.
WHAT A GLORIOUS DAY!!!
I tried to take a picture…
…as you can see, my skin is so white the reflected light just kills all detail. Better than a face lift!
And that’s Spring in the Pacific Northwest!
With all the nice weather we’ve been having lately I was considering taking the beard back to a goatee for the Summer when a friend asked what I was planning for the St. Johns Bizarre. The bizarre being a “Keep Portland Weird” event, I replied “I was thinking of shaving half my beard.”
Having not seen my chin in a full 8 years, I needed a little liquid encouragement to actually do the deed. So, Friday night, with the help a nice 20 year scotch, I pulled out the clippers and attacked my face. Leaving me with this…
What I didn’t plan for was living with my weak chin once I shaved the other half of the beard.
Oh well…there’s always scotch!
The annual migration of plants, from indoors and various plant sales, are starting to hit the deck. Due to a late cold snap, some will have to stay in the house a bit longer, like these beautimous Rex Begonias.
But others are just waiting to be transplanted to larger pots where they can roam freely, and many perennials are just waking from their winter slumber.
Spring can be very long and wet here in the Pacific Northwest so having even the littlest bit of color lifts my spirit. And…fortunately…the annual Master Gardener’s Sale is the first weekend in May. Unfortunately, I seem to have a problem keeping my money in my pockets at a plant sale. So, I should have a fantastic looking deck in about a month and if the rains stop about the same time…I’d be happier ‘n a coon dawg on a bare leg.
As my father so colorfully puts it.
Saturday was 66 degrees and sunny…Sunday 58 and sunny. The clouds moved in Sunday afternoon but it was still warm and dry.
Right now…33 degrees and this…
Like they say…if you don’t like the weather in Oregon…wait 5 minutes.
This has been an unbelievable weather year. Fortunately…it’s been good for Oregon…for the most part.
Now you know why I’ve been absent for so long.
Somebody lacking depth perception and ‘nose in’ parking skills creased the passenger side door of my truck in the university parking lot. TWICE! They must also lack insurance as they neglected to leave a note. Thank you very much, dickwad!
Yesterday my insurance company called to confirm a visit by the adjuster and left the following message: “There is no need to be present while the adjuster is evaluating the damage however, he will need to enter the vehicle so please leave it unlocked.”
Leave my truck unlocked and unattended in a major(?) city? I think the customer service rep. has been practicing her parking skills in the university parking lot.
Ya gotta’ love the Portland Mercury!
Last night we joined Brenda and Thomas and Brenda’s ‘rents from WI, Bev and Bill and about 500 of our closest friends and neighbors for a grand Portland tradition…Swift Watch.
Mark, Bev & Crash (Brenda) - having more fun than they're showing
Yep…there we were sitting on our blanket eating Bev’s tasty party snacks, Sungold tomatoes, cheese and crackers and washing it all down with a local brew while 10,000+ Vaux’s Swifts swirled above our heads, creating quite the vortex, before diving into the school’s old boiler chimney for the night. This was the first time I’ve witnessed this phenomenon and I’m kicking myself for not having done it sooner. What an amazing experience!
The chimney at Chapman Elementary School
Swiftly soaring Swifts
This has been going on for many, many years, long before I ever visited this state. Evidently, the Vaux’s Swifts began using the chimney due to lack of habitat (read logging) and the school was forced to not use the boiler the entire month of September to avoid baking those little beauties. September being a cool month in Oregon, although you wouldn’t know it this year, the children and staff had to bundle up in order to stay warm. Thanks to many nature-minded residents and the Audubon Society of Portland, money was raised for a new, more efficient furnace and the old boiler chimney preserved for the swifts. We owe them much gratitude!
Now, every year, literally thousands of people from around the city and State and country (Bev & Bill) come every September night to observe this fascinating event that peaks mid-month.
A few friends
The Audubon Society of Portland staffs a booth each night as well to answer questions and educate the masses on Swift behavior and the history behind this event. I really can’t think of enough adjectives to describe what a thrill this was…and we were treated to a very special guest about midway through the roost. A Peregrine Falcon came flying into the swirling flock and tried to nab an hor’s d’ouvres and the crowd went wild! It was exhilarating to watch as the enormous, swirling vortex above the chimney turned into an undulating black cloud surrounding the falcon, forcing him out of the area and then, within seconds, back in motion above the entrance to their avian hotel.
Turning in for the night
The birds begin gathering about an hour before sunset and finish their descent into the brick tube just about dark so it’s a nice evening out and you can make it home long before your bedtime. If you haven’t taken the time to see this, you’ve gotta’ check it out. Go tonight! You won’t regret it.
My favorite woodpecker, the Northern Flicker, makes regular visits to the suet feeder on the deck. I only wish I could catch a shot of him with his wings spread. They are a brilliant orange which you see hints of in his tail feathers.