28 July 2008

central oregon: days 2 & 3

My field partner (and survey manager) noticed how I tended to rely solely on the GPS and not at all on my compass (are those things still around?). So he gave me a refresher course in orientation and bearing reading. By the end of the day I was at it like an old pro. He also kept marveling at how smoothly the surveys were going and said that tomorrow should be a light day, and some of the folks are leaving earlier than scheduled. I am hoping for a few extra hours on my way to the airport for a quick trip to the High Desert Museum in Bend – if not time for an entire visit, at least enough time to pop into the gift shop for a t-shirt for Eric, as his old HDM shirt is long past it’s prime.

central oregon: day 1, or:an inauspicious start

I started packing for my field trip to central Oregon at around 9:30pm on Friday. I’m quite used to traveling for work, so I thought it would be a routine pack up and that I’d be in bed by 10:00. Wrong. Should I bring my low-top hiking shoes, which I (and my feet) would prefer, or should I bring my massive boots, just incase? If I bring my big boots, do I wear them on the plane (keeping shoe doffing in mind) or pack them, relinquishing valuable packing volume to a pair of shoes I’d prefer not to wear. Do I really need to bring rain gear, if two forecasts for the area are predicting 77-80 degrees and sunny the entire time? Thundershowers are not out of the question…. And don’t forget the cell phone charger!

As Eric was dropping me off at the airport, I got halfway through the sentence “I’ll call you as soon as I get there” when I realized that I had forgotten my cell phone. I couldn’t (and still can’t) believe it. I panicked a bit more than usual, quickly eyeing the security line and determining that, short as the line was, I couldn’t take a cab home and back in the hour I had before my flight. I’d just have to figure it out. Prepaid disposable cell phone? (the mere thought of those make me feel a little nauseous) buy a phone card and hope I have access to a landline? I was relieved when I remembered that one of the people I’d be meeting in Bend is one of my colleagues at the office, and one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet, and that she’d probably let me use hers (she has).

I arrived in Redmond to clear, crisp weather – ahhh, the high desert! I had a leisurely drive to Sunriver (an (overly) planned resort community), where my colleagues had set up headquarters in a nice rental house. After a brief orientation, I prepared to head out into the field with my partner for the day. Change of clothes, pack my lunch and my three-liter camelback bladder, to go in my pack. Except, this is the bladder that doesn’t have the screw-on lid attached to it (the tether broke some years back), so I had a three-liter bag of water and no way to keep it closed. My misadventures in packing, I started to call it.

Well, I did remember the important things: my laptop, my camera, and a cord so the two will talk to each other (photos coming soon!).

24 July 2008

I feel myself becoming one of those bloggers who always takes pictures of their food

...but I just had to show you the best pancakes ever.

Blueberry pancakes with blueberries from our garden. Eric mixed them in with some Snoqualmie Falls Pancake Mix.... yum!

WIP Thursday

I've just finished the Kimono quilt top, and I'll give you a peek, but I'm going to wait until the recipients get it before showing the whole thing....

Quick on the Kimono quilt's heels is the Red Quilt....

And the Stained Glass quilt patiently awaits the love it rightfully deserves...

19 July 2008

if life gives you sour cherries

make cherry cobbler!

Some generous soul at my office brought in a bucket of sour cherries, which I had never seen fresh before (apparently they perish quickly, so are hard to find fresh, even where they are grown more commonly, as in the southern US). Lacking a pie pan, I made a cobbler with them this afternoon. I'll let you know how it went after Eric and I partake of it tonight.

17 July 2008

WIP thursday

In the garden... we've got blueberries! (and one sungold tomato, and that basil I swore off? it's growing like mad in the background)

We also have a few baby lady birds left (who have completely taken care of the massive aphid infestation we had on the hops), and one was in the pupa stage this morning as I roamed the garden with my camera...

this is what the baby lady birds look like -- pretty ugly compared to their post-pupa phase, eh?

we've also got sugar snap peas...

our solitary honeycrisp apple (about the size of a golf ball)...

...and broccoli that we'll have for dinner tonight



In the craft room... the kimono quilt pieces are all cut out, and the "sleeves" are pieced.

13 July 2008


I just finished my first swap. I was assigned to an Australian woman, who sent her color preferences to the swap coordinator (as did I, for the person assigned to me), and I made six placemats and eight napkins (six plus two since I had extra fabric), both based on patterns from Amy Carol's book, Bend-the-Rules Sewing. It was at once a challenge and a blessing to be selecting fabrics for someone I didn't know (sure, she says she likes pastels, but maybe she doesn't really like pink? oh well, she can regift it if she doesn't...). With quilting, choosing the fabrics is one of my favorite parts -- but it certainly is one of the more nerve-wracking parts, since you can always rip the seams out of a block and start again, but you can't change what a fabric looks like, short of dying it, and that's just not in my game plan.

The napkins were easy (hemmed rectangles), and the placemats were a bit more challenging, as they required me to make binding tape, and obviously had more steps (though it was the same steps six times, so they were still relatively easy).

I have received word from the recipient that she got the package, and that she likes the placemats very much (yay!), so I can now show them to you!

Pattern: Placemats and Mixy-Matchy Napkins from Amy Carol's Bend the Rules Sewing, for the BTRSswap#2.
Fabric: Posh by Chez Moi, for Moda.

I also stepped in and made a Pleated Beauty Bag from the same book, for a woman who had participated in the previous swap, made a bag for the person she was assigned to, but unfortunately didn't receive one from the person assigned to her. The swap coordinator asked for volunteers and I raised my hand. This project was a fair bit more challenging than the placemats and napkins, but I am very happy with how it turned out. It goes in the mail tomorrow, I hope the recipient likes it too.

Pattern: Pleated Beauty Handbag, from Amy Carol's Bend the Rules Sewing.
Fabric: Zazu (TG-18) in lime colorway, by Tina Givens for Westminster Fibers.
I hand embroidered the birds in three colors: a dark tan, olive green and chocolate brown.

Now don't get me wrong. I thoroughly enjoyed these two projects, and I hope to do a swap again, but I have to be careful. While I was working on these late one night, I was looking around my sewing table for some notion or other and came across Seamus' cicada pouch that I had started, and nearly finished, before the swap came into my life. It was rediculously close to finished, and what's worse is that I had put off sending Isabella's quilt until I could send the cicada pouch with it. So yes, Isabella's quilt is still here, and not wrapped around Isabella like it should be. In fact, it's now spent more time slung over the back of a chair than it spent in the making. I was startled at how I had so easily put off the projects I'm working on for people I know and love, to work on projects for people I don't know, and will probably never meet. That's just not right. So while I enjoyed the swap (there is something about making something for a total stranger that is fulfilling), and I liked these projects, I won't do another swap unless I am without other projects in the queue, however unlikely that may be.

09 July 2008

06 July 2008

flower foto

hike: monte cristo

South Fork Sauk River, from the Monte Cristo Town Site Trail, mile (approx) 0.75.

To celebrate the Fourth, we decided to go hiking. On Frank's advice, we went on a hike to the old historic silver mining camp of Monte Cristo. Off the Mountain Loop Highway, a two-lane scenic highway that winds around Granite Falls, Darrington and Arlington (the latter two being near where I hiked last weekend with Elise). We also used our hiking-with-dogs book, which was apparently published before 2006, when we understand some winter storms did a number on the trail.

Finn sporting his new threads.
Decked out with a day pack (with first aid kit and emergency blanket, our lunch and snacks, extra clothes, and water), and Finn with his brand new dog-pack (with his lunch and snacks), we hit the trail at 12:01pm. We got to the trailhead just fine (the Mountain Loop Highway has also had it's share of trouble over the last few years), but the trail (Monte Cristo Town Site Road/Trail) had issues. It had some mass wasting damage that we couldn't identify, it just looked like a five-foot-deep canyon cut into snow and forest slash (the WTA trail report calls it a clay slide), and then the bridge that the book refered to has been washed out completely by the South Fork of the Sauk River. We talked to a pair of outbound hikers who informed us that the only way to cross the river was via a log crossing.

Eric and Finn, post log-crossing (we took Finn's pack off to let him dry and regain his composure).

Now, incase you weren't aware, our dog Finn -- once he figured out how -- loves to swim. I think he might think twice about swimming in swift, cold current though. He got close, too close, and fell in for a short, heart-stopping moment. Fortunately, his dog-pack has a handle on the back so you can grab the dog as though he were a piece of luggage, which Eric promptly did. We had to hand Finn to each other to get on and off of the fallen log that was passing for a bridge that day, which was a little nerve-wracking for me, who naturally lacks the upper body strength that Eric has (I hike faster to make up for it... where did we put that medicine ball anyway?).... to say nothing of how Finn was feeling about the whole ordeal. But we managed to get to the other side and get our hike back on track. I must say, regarding the river, that it has some of the clearest water I have ever seen in a mountain river. The road continued on the other side, but was laden with issues there too....
Trail washout (or river expansion, depending on your perspective). The trail consists of an old railroad grade, though we marveled at how they apparently buried the old rails instead of pulling them up as is usually the case.
There were many trees down, which Finn lept over without a second thought, and a few that provided me with camera fodder....

Interesting lichen on a fallen tree. Looks like a sea coral to me....

The undersides of fir needles, taken from above.

We reached the town site of Monte Cristo, a cluster of five one-room cabins, some mining artifacts and a rail car turntable. The trail continues to Silver Lake via Poodle Dog Pass, but we decided that that would be a hike for another day. We had our lunch of PB&J, sunflower seeds, carrots, pluots and nectarines, and Finn had a half-sized meal of kibble (he usually doesn't get a mid-day meal). We took advantage of the solitude, scenery and the auto-timer on the camera and took some family portraits. Then we headed back.

Family portrait at Monte Cristo.
Dicentra leaves with water droplets.
Gratuitous scenery shots....
Eight miles total, 500-foot elevation gain, out-and-back hike. Not bad for our first of the summer. Next up: Taylor River or Mt Rainier (Sunrise area).