Thursday, December 31, 2009

A trip to the Hoyt Arboretum

Tsuga sieboldii - Japanese Hemlock

Though its right on our own doorstep it had been over 10 years since we'd been up to the Hoyt Arboretum. So we took advantage of an afternoon off work & went for a tour along some of the conifer trails with Martin the curator.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Some Post Christmas Snow Flakes.

So Tuesday afternoon about 3:00pm it started snowing. Of course the weather men with all there sophisticated technology hadn't forecast anything more than a few flakes! Well Portland got about 3 to 5" in a couple of hours right before the afternoon commute. Apparently it turned into the worst Portland traffic backup in history with reports of people taking 3 to 5 hours just to drive from one side of town to the other!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Another busy day...

Off work this week & it was a dry sunny day so I worked myself to the point of collapse helping Chiyoko rake leaves :^)...

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Boxing Day Ice & Icicles

Boxing day we headed out for a bit of fresh air in the Gorge. We decided to go to Upper McCord & Elowah Falls. It was a lovely Sunny day but the wind in the Gorge was wicked gusting to 40mph with temps right around freezing. The Ice around Elowah & on the trail up to McCord was a lot of fun!! On the way back we made a quick stop at Multnomah. Despite the weather it was still crowded. The trail up to the Benson bridge was dry but the bridge itself was a sheet of ice were only the brave or foolish (me included) ventured!


Another great Christmas Dinner & afternoon spent with friends & family :^)..

Monday, December 21, 2009


Saturday morning we went to Uwajimaya, an Asian Supermarket in Beaverton. It's a big store where you can buy a lot of Asian Food. We arrived at 10:00 & there were not too many customers.

Chiyoko wanted to buy food for New Years & had to walk a lot around the store. We saw many "interesting" vegetables. We bought Satoimo (Taro), Gobou (Burdock Root), satsumaimo (Japanese Sweet Potato), Renkon (Lotus Root),we are looking forward to eat them at New Year.

We also bought umeboshi, kimuchi, mochi, azuki & Nattou. I'm looking forward to try all except the Nattou. Nattou is not very tasty!

We bought lunch at Uwajimaya & ate it at the tables near the entrance. We tried duck but there many bones & it was hard to eat.

日本語の宿題 十二月二十一日
Japanese Homework 12/21

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Trip to Uwajimaya

So last week we headed out to Lady Di's for English Christmas supplies this week we went to Uwajimaya so Chiyoko could stock up on Japanese Supplies for New Year. The small brown root vegetables are Satoimo 里芋 (Taro), the larger red ones are Satsumaimo さつま芋 (Japanese Sweet Potato), & the long tap root is Gobou 牛蒡(Japanese Burdock Root). We also picked up some pickled plums or Ume boshi 梅干 & Nattou 納豆 which is made by fermenting soy beans until they are particularly rancid :^)...You can read more about the delights of Nattou here. Oh & I picked up some Chestnuts to roast on the fire, not particularly Asian but Uwajimaya is about the only place I ever see them for sale.

Monday, December 14, 2009


日本語の宿題 - 十二月十四日

A Little Bit of Home...

So Sunday we headed out to Lady Di's British Store in Lake Oswego to stock up on supplies for Christmas :^)..

Black Pudding, British Bangers & good Bacon, all necessities of a Full English Breakfast.. Next week Uwajimaya.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Ice & Waterfalls

Horsetail Falls
After our coldest weather in over 10 years Chiyoko & I headed up the Columbia Gorge to check out some frozen waterfalls. I had to work until 12:00 so we only had 4 hours of daylight to play with. First we went to Mist Falls were we found 2 ice climbing groups. Next we headed on up to Horsetail falls & hiked the loop trail past Ponytail Falls, Middle Oneonta Falls & Triple Falls. My only regret was not taking the whole day off so that we would have had more time!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Too Cold......

[12/09/09] So the low temp this morning was 11.9F (-11.2C) our coldest temp in 10 years or more. Warmed up to about 28F this afternoon but now we are headed for the teens or lower again! Still cycled to work though :^).. This Ice sculpture was formed by water dripping onto a tree sucker growing in Sawdust at work.

Monday, December 7, 2009

More Christmas Decorating

So after setting up the house lights & the Christmas Tree comes the Nativity Scene. Anwen's away in England & Mirranda hasn't seen it yet so thought I'd snap a photo of my Avant-garde version before it gets disassembled :^)...

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Christmas Preparations

Lights up on the house without falling off the roof, Christmas Tree up & decorated without suffering a heart attack looking for the one light bulb out of 400 thats blown. Were off to a good start :^)..

Monday, November 30, 2009

Bananas Anyone :^)...

For the first time we had a flower on our garden Musa bajoo plants. However since it's already November 30th we are not holding our breath for any bananas!!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Cape Horn Loop Hike

After a deluge of rain on Thanksgiving day Sunday turned out to be a beautiful sunny & warm day. Chiyoko & I headed out with Nancy to hike the Cape Horn trail. This an an unofficial 7 mile loop trail built by local users over time. The cliff side views of the Columbia on this trail are unparalleled. However it's now drawn the attention of authorities and is about to become "official" and will probably be changed (some would say made safer others would say more mundane). We wanted hike it before this happened! If you love cliff top views go & hike this trail now!!

A Necessary Evil

A Necessary Evil of the Thanksgiving weekend - Leaf Raking!!!

Friday, November 27, 2009


Along with Nancy & Scotty we celebrated another great Thanksgiving hosted by the Turrell Family. After a fantastic meal there were more pie & desert options that you could shake a stick at. Here is one of my creations from what was available, Maple Cream on top of Whipped Cream on top of Mock Cheery Pie...... Shame I forgot the Ice Cream :^)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Birthday Treats

So I was suitably spoiled for my birthday. Mirranda made me a classic English heart stopping full fry up breakfast. It was just the ticket after a 13 mile run - yes i still ran even though it was my birthday :^)..

Breakfast served for lunch/dinner too and in the evening I had Chiyoko's home made birthday cake & a pint of Pelican IPA.

Pepper Harverst Part II

Well we should have enough Habaneros for the year :^)..

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Miku ready for her shichi-go-san (7-5-3) cenermony. November 15 (or there abouts) is a celebration day in Japan for 3 & 7 year old girls as well as 5 year old boys. This year while Chiyoko was in Japan her Niece Miku celebrated the san part!
[Wiki: Shichi-go-san].

Monday, November 16, 2009

4 Waterfalls & a Mountain!

With the promise of a dry day Chiyoko & I headed out for a Short hike to explore the waterfalls along the lower Starvation / Defiance Loop Trail. Since we found ourselves back at the car before lunch we headed on up to Hood River crossed over to Washington and hiked up Wind Mountain in the afternoon.There's a more detailed hiking report on the site.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Pepper Harvest - Part I

Picked all the Bhut Jolokia (Ghost Peppers) this past weekend before the rot set in! Hung them up to dry next to the hanging chickens :^).. So now I just have to figure out what to do with them!

Monday, November 2, 2009

A Halloween Reunion...

So Halloween 2009 was the second reunion of it's kind for ex Bourne Grammar School 1975 - 1980/82 Alumni Charles, Paul & Guy. Charles flew in from the UK & Paul from Denver. In our jam packed 2 days we hiked up Saddle Mountain, went to Cannon Beach and up to Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood. A few beers were drunk along the way & a few old tales were told & re told!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Table Mountain

Wednesday we had a rare opportunity for a midweek hike, we headed off with the intention of doing Hamilton Mountain but changed our minds en route for Table Mountain. We took the shorter route up the old Carpenter Lake Logging Road to the PCT. We then headed along the PCT for about a mile to the East Kiosk of the Heartbreak Ridge trail loop. Up to this point the hike was a country ramble, that changed in a heartbeat with the final 1.25 miles climbing over 1600 feet to the Summit. We returned by way of the West Way Trail which is even steeper in places but avoids a talus slope that most people would prefer to go up rather than down. You can find a more detailed trip report here & More photos here.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Eel bones anyone?

So Chiyoko got back from Japan this week, returning with all kinds of delicacies & tasty snacks for me to try. Here are two of them: Eel bones (crunchy) & dried baby Japanese Pilchards (haven't tried them yet)..

Monday, October 26, 2009

Nesmith Ridge Trail

Eric & I set out to follow the old Nesmith Ridge Fire Trail mentioned in Don Lowe's 1986 Book 50 Hiking Trails Portland & Northwest Oregon. It was a lost trail back then but recently some folks have retraced it & written up the route on The hardest part is finding were to begin, basically you have to bushwhack up from Upper McCord Falls to a bench area at about 850' with no signs of a trail. Once you have done this you can find a faint but followable trail the rest of the way (well mostly!!). The trail is not for the faint of heart it's steep & you will need your hands & head as well as your feet!. To make a day of it we continued on to Nesmith Point then returned to the trailhead by way of the more sedate Nesmith Point Trail. A more detailed trip report is written up here.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Off the beaten path.....

So Sunday afternoon I headed out with the intent of finding an off trail waterfall behind Shepperds Dell on Young's Creek in the Columbia Gorge. Trouble was once I got there I chickened out figuring the risk reward ratio was just too high for this day, I'll try again when things are not so wet & slippery. Instead I had to content myself with the forgotten spur trail to the top of the Wahkeena Falls & an old closed trail with lots of steps on it :^)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Miller Garden

Friday I went up to the Miller Garden in Seattle for the Fall Great Plant Picks Meeting. We arrived about an hour early so we had time for a look around the garden. Sadly the drive home wasn't nearly so fun, heavy rain coupled with a Friday afternoon combined to make the drive home from Hell, it took us 7 hours to get back. More pics here.

Cloudcap to Cooper Spur

Sunday October 11th, we thought we would try & get one last high elevation hike in on Mt. Hood before the winter snows came. Since Chiyoko was back visiting Family in Japan for a couple of weeks it just left Eric, Nancy & I for the day. We decided to go to Cloudcap as the road had just been reopened after more than a year because of the fire in September 09. The temperature dropped as we drove up the Coudcap road by the time we reached the trail head it was 25F but there were still some folks camping there. We dealt with strong biting cold winds at times and warm balmy sunny conditions at other times. A great day despite the wind.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Base of Tripple Falls

Since I already had wet feet from Oneonta Falls I decided to go & check out the base of Triple Falls. To get to the base of Triple Falls you have to leave the trail about half a mile before getting to the Triple Falls view point, take a steep scramble trail down to Oneonta creek & then travel up the creek to the falls.

Oneonta Falls

Ticked another off trail Gorge waterfall off the list on Friday. Oneonta Falls can be accessed by either traveling about a 1/3rd of a mile up the creek from Middel Oneonta Falls or taking a steep scramble trail off the Tripple Falls trail.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Pepper Power

This week we harvested the first of our Bhut Jolokia peppers. Here they are photographed with a few Habaneros. I took them to work & sliced them up. They lived up their reputation making the habaneros seem like tomatoes :^). Incredibly hot, a few people managed to down a few small pieces but nobody could eat them without pain.....

1 seed, 2 seed, 3 seed 4.....

We have been picking Japanese Maple seeds at work, this is a days work for Isidro, Sergio, Juana, Irene & Elizabeth. The plate on the right has 100 seeds on it, the plate on the left 500. From that we estimate the bucket at 50,000 seed.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Crown Point at Sunset

Sunday after the marathon we headed to a local hostelry to recoup on burgers & beer :^) After that we headed on down to the Portland Hikers get together in the Columbia Gorge and on our way home ended up at Crown Point right at Sunset.

Portland Marathon 2009

Survived another Portland Marathon - Just!
No records broken this year :^( - I was doing OK until mile 23 when my legs gave up & I had to hobble / walk / run the last 3 miles. Finshed in 3:49:19. Eleven minutes behind last years time! Chiyoko though broke her personal best for the 5 mile run finishing in 46:19

Piece of Pizza :^)

Chiyoko tried her hand at homemade Pizza this weekend.
Results were very good :^)..

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

First Snow

So Today September 29th was our first cold rainy Autumn weather day of the year. Hood was lost in the clouds most of the day but things cleared up for an hour or so around 4:00pm & I grabbed this image off the Timberline Cam of Mt. Hood with a fresh new layer of snow.

Just another mad cat pic!

Ready for Winter

Ready for the winter
4 cords of wood finally stacked!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Picking Plums

I caught Chiyoko stealing plums of the neighbors tree last week. She did make a very nice plum cake with them though :^)....

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Ghost Peppers

Our first Ghost Pepper
Naga Jolokia or Bhut Jolokia is currently listed as the hottest pepper in the World. Rating of 1000,000 Scoville Scale have been measured. That's about 200 times hotter than the average Jalepeno & about 10 times hotter than the average Habanero. This is the first time we have grown them & this is the first one to ripen....
Wikipedia Link

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

In Search of Slide Mountain

Well OK we knew were it was but not quite how to get to the top since there is no trail. We made it though and were rewarded with a great view of the West side of Hood & the upper Sandy River Canyon.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A couple of Old Photos..

Spring cleaning the old hard drive this afternoon I stumbled across a couple of old slide scans of the kids in 92 or 93. One is from the Top of Chinendere Mountain & this one from the stone hut on the way to Cooper Spur.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Heimlich Lives

So we thought Heimlich from It's a bugs life was a fictional character but then we found him chowing down on some Japanese Maples at work :^)...