December 29, 2009

winter joys

you can't see the top of his cap but there was frost on it after his run

the suet and seed feeder and who's visiting is like watching TV ... today many visits from the smallest to the largest. bushtits, yellow rumped warbler, juncos, anna's hummingbird (it visited the suet feeder a few times between its sugar water feeding), female northern flicker, female downy woodpecker, starlings, scrub jay, ruby crowned kinglet, chestnut backed and black capped chickadees

me trying to hand feed the chickadees (black capped and chestnut backed)

December 27, 2009

new years thoughts

north wind unveils moon
life continues suspended
inside stove blazes
(21 jan 2008)
david & lydia

December 25, 2009

wishing we were together

the only thing better than this ... would of been a lot more chairs and plates around that table.

its 39' here today and of course the sun came out as I was driving David to work. I will drive over later and have dinner with him at the hospital.

where ever we find ourselves today, together in the same room or not ... we are wishing each of you a day of joy and fun with those you love.

December 22, 2009

December 19, 2009

no snowy owl

on the coast at Netarts (fogged in) but a nice long list of birds. one of the many was new to the life list ... hermits thrush at the Cape Meares Lighthouse.

~ blue heron
~ great egret
~ golden crowned kinglet
~ hermit thrush
~ brown pelican - in winter plumage
~ bufflehead - male and females
~ northern shoveler
~ bald eagles - 3

December 13, 2009

November 27, 2009

thanksgiving bird count

1 ~ anna'a hummingbird
1 ~ chestnut-backed chickadee
2 ~ black-capped chickadee
2 ~ red-breasted nuthatch
1 ~ yellow-rumped warbler
4 ~ dark-eyed junco
2 ~ house finch
1 ~ townsend warbler
30 ~ bushtits

clouds with light rain ~ 47' light winds from the southwest
3 feeders - seed, suet and syrup for hummingbird
1 hour count in a circular area in our yard

November 26, 2009

giving thanks

salt baked salmon (caught on the coast of oregon) ~ braised red cabbage with onion and apples (grown from local farmers) ~ garlic mashed potatoes (potatoes from local farmer, garlic grown in our garden)

November 18, 2009

October 28, 2009

taking in the sky

these were taken by David ... I love when his feelings of what he "sees" comes through in his photos. he may have more to add later but wanted to post this today.

October 14, 2009

fall pleasures

These beauties were overlooked in the garden a few weeks ago. Missing out on tasting their flavor for the season ... now have gone into bloom. I purchased a very small plant and different variety than what is mostly offered at our local nursery and planted it for David when he had mentioned he would enjoy one in the garden. With the size of the plant starting out so small we weren't sure it would produce this year. Today the plant almost stands as tall as me and is a beauty from the bedroom window at first light in the morning. So instead of tasting it we are enjoying their sweet scent here inside on a windy and rainy day.

Its pear and apple season here. Which means apple and pear sauce to enjoy for breakfast with yogurt along side our toast and tea. So many trees in our neighborhood with fruit scattered everywhere and no one partaking of it. A year ago our apple trees provided a good amount of fruit for apple sauce and 2 very small jars of apple butter. This spring our trees had no bloom thus no fruit. The last few weeks we have purchased apples from two vendors at our saturday farmers market and will continue to do so for eating and juicing. But there is something appealing to us both about partaking of fruits so freely given in nature.

Last fall we gleaned windfall apples from a lonely tree at Bald Hill and it provided us 2 pints of tasty apple sauce. David was out last week for a run in that same area and couldn't locate the tree and neither could we today. Instead on our walk we came upon 3 wild pear trees and the bounty above will become pear sauce and/or pear crisp. We may drive out to Finley Wildlife Refuge and see if the old apple trees their have anything to share ... in the meanwhile I had better round up a few more canning jars.

June 28, 2009

On the Oregon Trail

It is Sunday and I like to use this day for my longer runs if I possibly can. I have had a longer than usual mileage week mainly because I added a extra long run this week with a friend in town that is here doing a sabbatical from the Univ of Missouri. He runs quite slow and steady and that was a good thing to take advantage of in this time of aerobic base training. Regardless, I could feel it in my legs after our run out to Bald Hill and back.

So I wanted to come up with a different route today .... partly to freshen my view but also in comradeship with the daring bunch of ultra runners who just completed the Western States 100 mile run. It is probably the granddaddy of ultra runs and there is much lore about the trail and those who have completed it. Basically, it boils down to running from Squaw Valley to Auburn CA in the Sierra Nevada over peaks, descending into canyons and fording the American River in 100+ degree heat and hoping you get done in 24 hours so that you can get .... a belt buckle! Not to mention losing your toe nails, hypo and/or hyperthermia, various kinds of trauma from falling as you run through the night with a flashlight as your sole source of visibility, and not to mention the possibility of becoming cougar bait. The whole thing started as a horse race many years ago until someone took up the challenge to run it on foot in the 70's. Incidentally, there is a man vs horse 50 mile race in Prescott.

So in my own spirit of adventure I decided on a route that I had been thinking about but not quite yet come to the degree of fitness to feel comfortable about taking on. But after completing an 8K trail run race at the end of May and the continuing mileage I have put in, the challenge was on. So off I went with my little fanny bag and camera to record my outing "On the Oregon Trail".
Heading north into the hills and woodland

It was a perfect morning for heading out into the woods. It was sunny, cool and a mild wind was coming from the north. At this time of year the students have vamoosed home and the streets were even quieter than they normally are on an early Sunday morning. I was feeling comfortable as I headed out on Highland and slowly warming up for the first challenge that would be coming - the climb up that leads to Chip Ross Park Rd.

The cemetery at the edge of town is a reminder of the dangers
that lie ahead

This a beautiful little cemetery that seems like it was tucked into the outskirts of a neighborhood. But a closer look at the sign lets you know that it is 100 years old and everything else was built around it. Corvallis has some interesting cemeteries placed here and there throughout town. Lydia and I always enjoy going to the different ones particularly because of their age. As I ventured closer to the gate, I spotted a young buck grazing around the tombstones. It looked askance at me and slowly meandered out of range for my camera to capture.

The climb up to the ridge before heading into Crescent Valley wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. Possibly, because I had to stay focused when the sidewalk ended and I was in the bike lane on that curvy part of the road. You never know what someone will be engaged with while they are driving these days. But your mind will wander off occasionally to things like escape routes and how much further till I crest this hill.

I turn off the road and head towards Chip Ross Park along a road that has become as developed as the property that it leads towards. It is a nice little stetch of rolling hills that offers some nice views west towards Mary's Peak.

A pioneer's new settlement out in the wilderness

The quaint forms of entertainment the Oregonians have developed
Along with the small chapel carved out of the woods

The amount of development in this area always comes as some sort of shock whenever I go out there. Mostly because the impact of moving here and seeing these areas untouched created such strong memories for me. Even though I have seen these new monstrosities here before several times, it just doesn't reside in my brain like my first impressions.

The trail back into the wild

From the Chip Ross parking lot I followed a single track trail that goes over a hill and back down to Walnut. I have only run this trail once ... right after we moved here and it was pretty well traveled by bicycles and others. Evidently it isn't used as much these days as it was overgrown with briars which tore at my legs and almost took my cap off in one location. But just like being out on the road, it became a point of focus. Particularly, when I kept seeing what I imagined to be poison oak. Even then a random thought would take away from my vigilant steps - "I wonder if they ever trapped that cougar that was hanging out over here".
Back to civilization

Eventually, I untangled myself from the trail and stumbled down to Walnut Blvd. and Kings. From here it was gentle downhill or level sidewalk to the house. I felt good at the end and was keeping a nice relaxed pace for this stretch. I ended up being out for probably an hour and thirty minutes or so. It was a good combination of working up some hills, looking around, taking pictures and revisiting a place and memories along the way.

Who knows, maybe I'll keeping moving west into the McDonald forest next time I venture out this way!

May 4, 2009

a place to rest the mind

Photos on the Run

I have been reworking my running program of late. Well, I guess you are ALWAYS reworking it somehow being that there is always this sense that it can be improved. And I guess that is where the change is coming from ... meaning I don't have that presumption that at this point it can be improved.

As aging continues its relentless march and I notice the physical changes, I have started looking at alternatives that will keep me out there with my running shoes on. One of those things has been something that I have been exploring for a few years now and it is the ChiRunning program. Basically, it is a program that uses TaiChi as a model for developing a long distance running program. Without going into a lot of detail, you develop a more efficient form, increase you turnover rate and incorporate a forward lean to use gravity to move you forward. There is a lot of other aspects to it, not the least of which is keeping awareness of all aspects of what you are doing and how you are doing it.

This has been quite valuable to me especially after having had the meniscectomy on my knee. It felt like the right thing landing in my lap at the right time and I have to say that it has made a big improvement in how my body responds to the mileage. Rarely am I sore the day after a run. Of course some of that has to do with the fact that in developing the program one starts slowly to get the running form and cadence down to second nature and then you move up. I didn't actually start off that way and just tried to run my usual speed while utilizing the form and still didn't feel the effects in my legs.

But there has been some lingering doubts about whether that was the best way to go. Just recently I came across a program developed by a guy named Phil Maffetone who had worked with a couple of big name triathletes (Mark Allen and Mike Pigg) who emphasized low heart rate work with increasing mileage to develop an aerobic base upon which to build one's training. I have never been successful at making myself go out at "painfully" slow paces. And the funny thing is that I always burned myself somewhere along the line. It's funny that I can remember when I used to run in PV mall bumping into a high school cross country coach and running with him one day and in talking to him he was emphasizing the same notion. Unfortunately, I didn't give him much heed.

All of the blather above is just to introduce what's going on with my running. I'm using the ChiRunning form and running at low intensity and it has brought a lot of pleasure to my training. And the fact that spring is here has just heightened the experience. I read a couple of blogs that gave me the idea of documenting my time with some photos so I purchased a small fanny from REI last weekend that will allow me to pack my Pentax Optio along so that you fortunate observers of this blog can be spammed with random photos from my journeys. Shall we get started?

This is my first trip out with the camera so I headed down to the Willamette which usually gives me something to shoot. The weather has been relatively nice and this proved to be a great day without too much sun to wash out the pictures.

The fountain is back up and running for Farmer's Market

I followed the path along the river down to where the Mary's River enters the Willamette to get a nice water shot. Just as I got there I spot these birds in the water and whip out and fire up the camera hoping to get some focused shot just so I can look in the Peterson book to i.d. them as they didn't look familiar.

A pair of Common Merganzers (White - male)

So I think that was a lucky happening to catch on my first outing when all of a sudden the remainder of the merganzer convention follows after them.

I actually took another shot just like this one of almost the same number of birds. We have never seen them on the river before so pretty interesting. But generally one just has to keep their eyes open a bit around here and you will see something of bird interest. Like an eagle chasing an osprey for the fish it is clutching.

After the merganzer parade moved through I got my picture of the Willamette with a nice heavy cloud formation hovering above.

I moved along the bike path that follows the Mary's River which is one of my favorite places to go because it reminds me of what I moved here for ... a richly forested running path next to a continuously running quiet river. Evidently, it didn't even cross my mind to photograph it.

From there, it was my return across Hwy 20/34 back into the OSU campus ... another dismal looking place ;-).

A fellow traveler on the path

All the while I am running, looking around and taking in as much possible. And in the end, I can't tell you how much I am enjoying my time ... which I might add is starting to get longer and longer. And physically I don't feel trashed the next day. Who knows where this could lead?


March 15, 2009

good medicine

the hummingbird being the tiniest of all birds is thought to bring "special" messages. what is the hummingbirds message for us all? it is thought that the hummingbird teaches us malleability and to find joy in any circumstances. most of all he is said to be the symbol of good health. may each of us experience well being!

while resting this morning this beautiful bird came to our backyard and is finding his way to our feeder. without my glasses on all I could see out the window was a whirl of reddish copper. sometime later we had the chance to see him up close from the bedroom window and I laughed as I watched him chase an oregon junco about the yard.

what a sweet gift on this grey rainy day.

January 29, 2009

Starting off another 30 years

Yesterday marked our 30th anniversary and because it ends with a zero there is a certain significance attached above and beyond the years in between. We have had the week off together to commemorate this sacred event in our lives. It is interesting that we could not really come up with something "commemorative" to do. We came kind of close to going to Kauai but backed out in the end. There is something going on with both of us when it comes to making plans about spending time together.

It seems that nothing quite does it for us lately. We took some time off in September and eventually settled on going to the coast and traveling to Tofino in British Columbia which was all beautiful as you can imagine .... but not particularly fulfilling. When we talk about what we might like to do, there is a 3 step process that results. First, the requisite pause plus or minus a look on the face that gives the impression that you are seriously pondering the endless possibilities. Second, a stammering that generally comes out something like "I don't know". The third step being the grand fantasy that you will be relieved of responsibility by asking "What about you?".

The answer to this dilemma seems to come out in a couple of ways. One is that there just isn't that much that mentally stimulates us as they once did and most of those are now part of our everyday life. The second being that if we don't have any relationship to it, we're not interested. Not even curious. Period! And let's face it, the way we live our lives keeps us from relating to a lot of things and we get by just fine, thank you.

So what is a 50 something couple to do when presented with these stark facts of what it is like to have lived 30 years together and have exhaustively discussed what activities are of value and which are like "huh, should have saved my time and money"?

You do what you have loved to do together for the previous 30 years and brought meaning to your lives. You do what has created so many of the wonderful memories that you cherish. You go on a nice 2 hour hike in the McDonald forest with the sun shining to begin the next 30 years of your lives together. And you talk about some of your old times out in the woods with your boys and meals that you had together. About things that you have seen, heard and done. You look and listen for all the things that await you in the natural world. And you talk about those things that you haven't done but still have a yearning for in your hearts.

May today be the start of another wonderful 30 years of love and fulfillment!

What a beautiful start to our walk in the forest. It was a bit cold in the shade but the trail left plenty of opportunity for sunshine.
Mossy trees and ferns showered in sunshine

Sunshine resting on fallen maple leaves

This is one of those pictures you just happen upon (and now rests at the top of our blog) and you wonder what happened here! Another hiker happened by while we were taking this and offered the possibility that the plane may have had to return to the airport. More likely to my mind is that this picture is proof that UFO's exist and they are confirmed Zen Buddhists!

January 10, 2009

happy birthday mom

hassell faye (edington) scott
january 10, 1933 ~ october 21, 1976
my mothers favorite cut flowers were carnations ... today would of been her 76th birthday. I feel so fortunate to have the relationship I have with my two sons as I am aging ... may we all have healthy and happy lives in 2009.

January 1, 2009

first haiku of 2009

year's first rain floods ash
bonfire stink turns to laughter
wools dry by the stove

finishing up and starting again

debts paid off

house cleaned

washing rice and mind

welcome 2009