The Promontory Walk

Last week Jeff and I parked at the old Armory on John Adams Ave, for you local folks, and walked up the bluff on a long ago closed road that goes up to Promontory Avenue. 

This cross marks Promontory Ave, its been there a long time.  Don’t know the story behind it.  We continued walking the the bluff trail a little ways, just to see where it goes, but it clearly went on far longer than we were prepared to go, so we turned around and said we’d save it for another day.  Curiously, the bluff trail cuts thru some peoples yards, and it feels a bit strange walking those bits.   I guess you’d have to be prepared to see people walking thru your yard all the time if you lived there.

It was very pretty, and pretty steep, our calf muscles really felt this walk!

Jeff is a great companion to take a walk with, he studied geology in college and he is always sharing his vast storehouse of naturalist knowledge with me.  He also know birds, plants and trees pretty darn well too.

On this walk, he pointed out the many old volcanic activities, we saw lots of basalt and lava in various forms.  Here are some basalt columns, that have broken off the bluff and fallen over on their side.

The whole forest is covered with large boulders which are in turn covered with ivy and moss and it all looks very LOTR (Lord of the Rings) like in there. I swear, I saw something moving!

I huffed and puffed my way to the top, and over the broken off bits of road, all the while wondering when I’m going to start (physically) showing any effects of all these walks.

Yes, this is the road!

At the same time, I am enjoying the deep leafy green shade, and am assured of an awesome view at the top.

Is it worth it? Yes, unquestionably, Yes!
and then, we have to walk back down.

Christmas Cookie Baking

Baking Christmas Cookies is an old and honorable tradition, which I like to uphold every year…to the delight of my friends and family. This week alone, I baked with Jeff at my house and with Melissa at hers.

Altogether, we’ve made Christmas Chocolate Chip, Shortbread Cut-outs, Soft Gingersnaps, Salted Mudslide, Rollo Cookies, Caramels and Marshmallows.
Whew!

The main reason for baking day with Melissa was to learn to make Caramels.  Which are delicious and a bit of a process.  Here they are cooling in the pan.  This was after stirring a vat of lava for a LONG time.

Here is Zac cutting them, I am wrapping them, we took turns, the cutting became a bit arduous.

Melissa is salting the Mudslide Cookies, Zac is sneaking one and Brandon looks on.  Here is what the guys are doing when not sneaking cookies:

They play Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, which makes a guy hungry, don’t ya know?

While the Salted Mudslide Cookies didn’t have any problem disappearing, Melissa felt the recipe was in need of revision, which she is already plotting out in her head.

Here is the recipe, try some yourself, see what you think!  http://www.howsweeteats.com/2011/08/salted-mudslide-cookies/

 

A Trip to Amber Hill Nursery

Lacy Lady Primula

I’ve been telling my friend Jeff about how great Amber Hill Nursery is for years, so we finally managed an afternoon outing together.

It was the most perfect day to go visit a nursery hidden deep in the back hills of Beaver Creek, warm, sunshine, just a ruffle of wind, just beautiful.

The kitty came out and said hi and wasn’t afraid to ask for belly rubs.

One of the things I really enjoy about Amber Hill Nursery is that I can count on finding something I haven’t seen before somewhere else.   They have a huge variety of Japanese Maples, we bought our variegated one from there, several years back and its enjoying its place in the front yard.

After walking the paths all around for a bit, we settled in to find some color spots,  for our planter boxes.  That is where we happened across this unusual form of Japanese primrose, called Primula sieboldii:

This is why I come to Amber Hill, never seen this before, had to have it!  Jeff also found a pot of dwarf Japanese irises which he bought for me.   When I was growing up, the driveway to our house out in the wilds of West Salem had clumps of dark purple Japanese Iris and I’ve always retained a fondness for them.

Jeff is the sort of friend that knows that, as well as the kind to buy them as a kind gesture.  I planted them out front, will have to take a picture as soon as there is something to take a picture of.

Here is Jeff, I made him stand still and smile.  He doesn’t like pictures taken anymore than I do, its an introverted thing.

Here is what Jeff bought to plant in his planter box, only I forgot what they are.  They have a rich, velvety color and he also got a deep red one, called “Vampira” or some such name.  Funny, I think a spin off the Twilight Series and other such vampire stories that have been popular lately.

How does your garden grow?

So far, really well. (cross fingers, hold breath, water daily, say your prayers and add lots of mulch for good measure)

So far:  Sage, Basil, Oregano, Cilantro, Lavender, Zinnia, and something Jeff shared with me that looks like Cocks Comb.

and of course my Nemesia collection, to which I added one more (Violet Ice)  since the post on Nemesia’s.

Jeff and I went out to attend Clackamas Community College’s Horticulture Departments annual Plant Sale,where most plants sell for just $1.00.  Only when we got there, it wasn’t open yet, the line was way long, people were carrying their own boxes and crates and wagons and there was about five or six tables of plants…clearly the pickings for the people at the end of the line would be slim to none.

So we opted out.  We took a walk around instead, went for hamburgers, then stopped at the local nursery and picked up what we were looking for.

Christmas Chocolate Chips

Baking up a bunch of these modified for Christmas Chocolate Chip Cookies!

My friend, Melissa is opening her yarn shop tomorrow, and I promised a Grand Opening Batch.

Then there is People Who Need Cookies, like Chris and Jeff.

Jeff, the self-described “Cookie Monster”!

“feed me cookies!”

Enough of those guys, here’s the recipe all ready!

Christmas Chocolate Chip Cookies

4 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

1 1/2 cups butter, softened

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

3/4 cups brown sugar, firmly packed

3  large eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla

1 teaspoon either almond or rum extract

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 cups mixture of white, dark and semi-sweet chocolate ( I open all packages, dump in large ziplock, then measure out my two cups, saving the rest for next time)

1/2 cup finely flaked, dried coconut

Mix all things together in the usual fashion, chill, form balls and roll them in a bowl of granulated sugar.

Bake at 375 for 8 to 10 minutes.

Enjoy 😛

Making Cookies & Christmas Cards

Yesterday Jeff came over with some unsalted butter, brown sugar and powdered sugar and his mom, Vi.

We parked Mom on the sofa with her knitting and books while we put on aprons and proceeded to make three double batches of cookies in a row.

Two batches of Snicker-doodles, Chocolate Crackles and a Chocolate/Mint Pinwheel that utterly failed as a pinwheel but tasted good all the same.

In between baking, cooling and chilling more dough in the fridge we sat at the table and made cards. Jeff had never done so before, and he had some fun trying out stamp sets for the first time.

He used the Snowman Parts Stamp Set to make these; here is a sense of Jeff’s humor.

and he enjoyed the Winter Tree Scenes Set too.

I added finishing touches to his cards using markers and chalks. Between us, we impressed ourselves!

Here are some I made:

If you are on the receiving end of our Christmas card list, you now know the story of your card:)

Cookie anyone?

Ode to Scooter the Cat

Scooter, sleeping in the old milk box on the porch at Jeff and Vi’s

Sad news today, Scooter, aka Booger, has died.

Approximately 13 years ago, I found him wandering in my parents cul-de-sac, sneezing with some type of kitty cold, thus the name “Booger”. The neighbors said he’d been there about two weeks and no one claimed him, so I scooped him up and took him home…which was Jeff and Vi’s.

scooter the cat Scooter resting under the birdbath.

Scooter hopped out of the car and followed me right into the basement and meowed at Jeff and looked cute. Jeff was instantly smitten, and there he has stayed ever since.  (Only Jeff insisted on calling him Booger, which I could never bring myself to call him, so I stuck with Scooter, which, if you had met him, really was a Scooter!)

This week he was not doing well, Jeff took him to our local vets and discovered he had colon cancer.   We are all sad,  Scooter was a great cat, cute, not much trouble and did I mention CUTE!

He was always doing the cutest, dumb stuff, like sticking his entire head in Jeff’s extra large coffee cup.  Or jumping up on the window ledge, slipping and falling off.  Or rolling in paper, that cat loved paper with a un-holy passion.  I used to bring over my packing paper when we received a package in the mail like that.

We’ll Miss You Scooter/Booger!

Jeff & Scooter Scooter in Jeff’s lap in their front yard.

Native Tourist

Jeff, Joanne and I went to visit the Oregon City Municipal Elevator.

OC Elevator

Here I am, a Webfoot Oregonian, and here I’ve lived, in Oregon City for over five years now, and I have never been to “The Elevator”.

Jeff & Joanne at OC Elevator

So I took my trusty point & shoot, coolpix and acted like a tourist, in my own town.   We entered and rode up from the bottom of the cliff.  The tunnel that goes under the railroad tracks is lined with all these 3-D or holographic pictures of the original wooden structure thru the re-building of the one we see today.

Pictures in the tunnelstairs up the cliff side

To tell you the truth, those pictures make me feel a little dizzy, every time you move, so do they.

If you feel adventurous, you don’t have to use the elevator, you can take the stairs and hike all the way up the cliff side instead.  Joanne did.  Jeff & I weren’t feeling the adventurous feeling.

stairs up the cliff sidestairs up the cliff

So we rode up and took in the view.  Its a stunning view, all the way up I-205, across the old Arched West Linn Bridge, and down the Willamette River and the Willamette Falls Locks.  (The Locks is another area I have yet to go see up close and in person.)

Joanne going in OC ElevatorJoanne at top of OC Elevator

Joanne takes one look from 130 feet up and steps back against the column.  She tells us she can see just fine from there, Thank you!  Jeff I and go right up to the windows and marvel at the view.  It is a really good clear day, we can see a long ways out and around.

top of OC ElevatorJeff outside top of OC Elevator

Here is what we can see just from two directions.  I was trying to refrain from taking a ton of pix from every angle.

Elevator View over West Linn BridgeElevator view down to Willamete River

These are both of our Oregon City Bridges that cross the Willamette River.  The pix on the left shows the old West Linn Arch Bridge going straight over, the pix on the right shows the green of the newer OC bridge that is part of 205.

Top of OC Elevator roundhousepath from top of OC ELevator

From the Elevator roundhouse, which has more historic pix and plaques and info, two paths curve off in opposite directions that take you to the road at the top of this cliff.

Lavender at top of OC ELevator

Here is my final view, through the lavender they have planted in a little bricked off area, with benches scattered around.  I could not resist the pix thru the lavender, since I have a “thing” for lavender and it is blooming all over the place right now!

Dessert Bar Time

Sometimes we just need a good excuse to clear off

the bar.

dessert bar

Here’s how it works:

Spend two days cleaning the bar and the kitchen table off.

Scold Chris for immediately spreading his pile of papers all over the table, right after you’ve cleared it off.

Make Double Chocolate Chip Cookies using the big scoop.

Make Lemon Curd.  Just about kill your wrist with all that whisking, so it doesn’t curdle.

Make Shortbread.

Scold Chris for putting papers on the bar you’ve just cleared off.

Yell at the cats for being up there too.

Make Rhubarb Buckle

Make Chess Pie and three pie crusts.   Wonder how it will turn out because you never made it before, but since it’s a Test Kitchen recipe, it will most likely be good.

Realize you have a can of Wilderness Cherry Pie Filling and think what a good extra topping that would make alongside the Lemon Curd and the Shortbread.  Easiest thing you’ve done all day.

Make two Triple Berry Tarts.

Send Chris to the store for Whipping Cream & Ice Cream.

Pooh-Pooh him when he complains about all the work he has to do.  After all, you’ve just spent two days straight in the kitchen, slaving over the proverbial hot stove.

Make several batches of ice tea.

Set out everything on the bar.

Da'cat & Momcat

We moved the couch around to open up the living room.

Susan & Jasmine

Vi, Susan & Jasmine, my knitting buddies.  Looking at a History of the American Quilt Book.

Joanne, Jack and Jeff

Joanne, Jack & Jeff.  Maybe you had to have a first name with “J” to sit at the table…

Desserts were devoured.  Chess Pie was a hit.  So was the Lemon Curd and Shortbread.

Now I wonder how long the bar and table will stay clean???

Knitting at Jeff & Vi’s

I am ready to turn the heel on this Sockina Cotton sock that I started and have only knitted on at Jeff & Vi’s while I am visiting. I discovered this self-patterning yarn while cleaning up Vi’s stash and decided to have a project that just stays there.

It is surprising how much knitting can get down while you are just sitting around the living room visiting with your friends.  Maybe I should stash a project at all my friends houses:0

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