Pretty Planet

Dear Liza,

The weather is getting nicer here, with just sweaters needed most days. I had to get out for a walk.


Everything is blooming! This chestnut tree is about fifteen feet tall, which means it is just a baby. The pink blossoms stand straight up, about six inches tall, and the bees love them.

Banks of rhododendrons planted in the 1920s line the sidewalks of the Sunnyside and Laurelhurst neighborhoods.

Since it is almost June, the roses that Portland is famous for have started blooming, as well. They look particularly nice when growing a bit wildly by a wonderful old house.

And, of course, it rained a bit while we were out. Not enough to be miserable, just enough to decorate the roses and remind us of what makes this part of the country so lush and green.

I got home, a bit damp, but happy to live on such a pretty planet.

Love,

Grandma Judy

New Beginnings Again!

Dear Liza,

No matter what sort of mess we human beings get ourselves into, nature just keeps on growing and changing.

Baby grapes are forming on a tiny vineyard on Belmont Street…

That crazy annual TREE that isn’t a sunflower is charging up to thirty feet tall…

Irises are going absolutely insane…

And Rhododendrons are making a real spectacle of themselves.

It’s really nice to know that there are some things we haven’t messed up yet!

Love,

Grandma Judy

Cat Out and About

Dear Liza,

It is cold again this morning, but clear and sunny. I have two things to report that I have seen while still in my pajamas.

First, we have our first Rhododendron ready to bloom. These are magnificent plants that grow as bushes in California, but become major trees up here in Oregon. Many in the parks are 30 or 40 feet tall, and become their own ecosystem of birds, bugs, and small animals.

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Blooming Rhododendron!
Ours has been kept trimmed to “only” come up to the second story landing. While all the other plants are kicking out seed pods and getting ready to retire for the winter, the Rhodies are budding up and looking good. Here it is. I will keep you posted on bloom progress.

Second, our cat, Mouse, has been out and about exploring since the weather got cooler. She had chased a squirrel up a telephone pole, met the dog next door, and watched people coming and going.

This morning she decided to explore the ledge right outside our window. It starts out being about 4 feet off the ground, and as it rounds the corner, the hill drops off, and it becomes about 20 feet off the ground.

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Kitten out and about
The ledge is too narrow to turn around on. Mouse walked forward as far as she could, lost her nerve, and stopped. Sniffing and thinking fast, she discovered reverse gear as Bridgett squirmed and covered her eyes.

The reason this is a happy story is that kitten figured it out, came back around the corner, and sat on the ledge. She and Auntie Bridgett both caught their breath and all is well.

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Oops! Can’t go that way…
Now off to feed the kittens and hens at Auntie Katie’s!

Love,

Grandma Judy