After two sunny weeks of very unusual weather, we are back to the usual… rain, wind and cold. This is going to push my garden work back a week or so. But that’s okay, I have lots to keep me busy.
For this blog, I want to share some things I have found around town that are different, quirky, or just plain cool.
This beautiful pathway in a front garden is a combination of climate, pavers, and lots of time. The patterned concrete bricks were laid down flat to give traction on the gentle slope, where it can get slippery with our rains. To me, it looks almost like a green, fuzzy, stained glass window.
Here is another thing that is perfectly Portland. In this tiny free library down on Salmon Street, a box of Corn Flakes rests next to the books, ready to be taken by anyone who needs it. These little libraries are managed by the people who install them, who make sure they are stocked and kept in good condition.
While graffiti can be a nuisance in some places, these added words and letters on an electrical box in Laurelhurst Park made me smile. Delighting in my memories, and making new ones, is how I like to spend my time.
I hope you had a good day, and sleep well to have another one tomorrow.
Rain was predicted Wednesday, but not until later in the day, so after working all morning, Auntie Bridgett and I enjoyed a walk to the Belmont Library. She had books to return and pick up, and I always like to see what they have.
I found a book called Art Quilt Maps by Valerie S. Goodwin. Valerie is an architect who also happens to be a fabulous quilter and artist. She loves maps, quilts, and haikus! I will be reading it closely and trying some of my own art map quilts this winter.
On the way home, we walked on a side of Alder we usually don’t, and discovered something new. One of the lovely old Victorian homes now has a tiny free library out front! It’s hard to see because the trees are a bit overgrown, but it is well built and I found a small coloring book for Kestrel.
Near the library is our newest sweet chestnut tree. Remember I told you about chestnuts and how only a few are the kind you can eat? This is one on those!! This makes five, I think, that we have located. We will be going by with bags, come November, and picking up a few.
We got home, worked some more, and had dinner. I was thinking of going out and enjoying the park when whoosh!! Rain, wind, thunder and lightning! It was amazing!
Grandpa Nelson and I tried to sit out on the balcony and enjoy it, since we have a nice overhang, but the wind and splashes chased us inside. Then hail started bouncing off the railing and balcony floor! And just a week ago we were complaining about the heat.
We made sure we knew where the flashlights were and settled in for the evening, since walking through a forested park during a lightning storm is a bad idea. I felt so cozy and wintry, I even dug out my knitting needles and some new yarn I found on the sidewalk and started a scarf.
You remember our house in Salinas. We had a whole room for books…three walls of seven foot high bookcases. Plus books in the family room, living room, guest bedroom, and Auntie Bridgett’s office downtown.
We don’t have that much space here.
The rooms in our new house are bright and friendly, but a bit smaller than before…so, less room for books. We gave away tons before we left town, to friends, students, The Salvation Army, but there were still too many.
Our new house is a short walk from the lovely Belmont library and within fifteen minutes of Powell’s City of books. That sort of availability makes living with less easier. But sometimes a person just needs to pick up The Moon is a Harsh Mistress to read before bed, you know? So we kept Steinbeck, Twain, Heinlein, Asimov, Schultz, Shakespeare, and a fair–sized avalanche of art books.
It turns out that the local library, the tiny free libraries, and Powell’s are part of a larger book ecology, a circle of life for books. These places also accept books! Yesterday we carried bags and bags of books to the Powell’s on Hawthorne, and they bought quite a few of them, giving us $39 in gift certificates! Bonus: What they didn’t want, the library accepted, and gave us a receipt for our taxes.
Win. Win. Win. Circle of life. Buy a book, sell it back, buy it again, give it away…
Last night we wanted a nice long walk, and we wanted ice cream. We headed south, toward Division Street.
Just down our own block, we walked past the house where the flamingos are out in the yard. They were all wearing eclipse glasses!! This cracked us up. The whole city has gone eclipse crazy, with lots of visitors coming to Oregon to see next week’s solar eclipse. Hotels and rental cars are all booked. But these flamingos are ready.
We walked through a lovely neighborhood called Sunnyside, with interesting gardens and all sorts of decorations, like the Giving Tree, where people are invited to write what they are thankful for and hang it on the tree, announcements of neighborhood picnics, and cats.
We stopped at one of the tiny free libraries that are in many of the neighborhoods around here. They are smallish boxes, like a cupboard on a pole with a (sometimes) glass door. I had brought a book to share, a copy of “It was a dark and stormy night” that I have had for years. I traded it for a new copy of “Junie B Jones is a Party Animal” which I can share with you when you come up.
When we got to Division Street, about a mile south of our house, we stopped at Salt & Straw Ice Cream. This is a famous ice cream shop and there is always a line. We only waited a few minutes, time for me to decide on a tiny but delicious strawberry basalmic and pepper ice cream cone. Grandpa Nelson got a cinnamon snickerdoodle milkshake…he loved it! We sat in a nice shady patio and enjoyed our ice cream while happy kids ran around, giggling like goofballs.
Auntie Bridgett prefers frozen yogurt to ice cream, so we walked just a block up Division to Eb and Bean, a tasty frozen yogurt shop. She had a peanut yogurt cone, which was very, very good.
Heading home, we walked up Caruthers Street, and the name was very familiar. The other streets around it are Lincoln, Sherman, and Grant, who are all Civil War heroes and Presidents. Once I got home I realized that I had just photographed Finice Caruthers’ grave in Lone Fir Cemetery the day before, and read about him in my Portland history book, “Portland: People, Politics and Power”, by Jewel Lansing. Caruthers was a pioneer in Portland, getting one of the first Donation Land Grants just south of the main part of downtown.
He was one of the men who made decisions that got the city started. He died young, with no children to carry on his name, so he is mostly forgotten. But this street, and now you and I, remember him! The history of this city is long and complicated, but I feel like I am starting to put some of the pieces together.
On our return walk, we saw more gardens, and cats. We had walked about three miles, so we were tired out. But it was a lovely evening!