Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Sunshine on My Shoulders......

For the last week we've woken to 20-24˚F (-6.6 to -4.4˚C) temperatures and had highs in the mid to high 40's.  We've had brilliant sunshine everyday except for yesterday - it clouded over mid-day.

On Sunday we woke to another frosty morning, but by 11:30 it had warmed enough to venture forth for a walk.  Troubadour and I headed out through the neighborhood, cut through the tree farm at the end of the block and into the swanky neighborhood above us.  It is our short cut to the Bald Hill trail system.

While walking through the neighborhood we pass a fenced in slew of sorts and standing there waiting to catch a frog was a Great Blue Heron.  With the wetlands around here we see them quite often.

A little further into the neighborhood and just before the path over the railroad tracks to Bald Hill we met Tank.  He has a habit of roaming the neighborhood around his house and greeting everyone wanting some love.  Brad stopped to pet him and he followed us to the path where we stopped for a photo.

We continued down the path, cut across Reservoir Road and into Bald Hill.  Instead of staying on the paved multi-use path we opted to hike to the top.

The gravel and trails start just before the barn.  We climbed the back side around the hill and up the switchbacks to the top where we were rewarded with a view of the valley below.

(Looking West toward the coast, Mary's Peak in the center of the mountain range)
(Troubadour found a park bench)
(I joined him, but it was too bright to keep my eyes open without the shades on)
We checked the map of the trail system and found we'd walked about 3 miles from our house to get to the top.

A few yards up the hill we reached another park bench facing a more southerly direction.

(Looking southeast you can see the neighborhood we walked through)

(Troubadour soaking up the sun)
While relaxing on the bench, Troubadour spotted mistletoe in the tree above.

(Couldn't let that go to waste now could we?)
We decided to take a shortcut trail down the hill.  It was shorter, steeper, and a little overgrown. It's hard to tell from these pics how steep it was, but believe me the first part was a little slow going and you can't see the thawing mud under the leaves.

We made it back down to the paved path and continued home.  There was still ice and frost in the shaded areas, but that just made the sun feel warmer.  

Yesterday morning, as I was checking to see if the patio door was locked before I walked to the bus stop, I noticed a red glow in the eastern sky.  The sunrise was in full swing.  I quickly grabbed the camera, but I didn't do the brilliance justice.  I was surprised by how vivid the colors were as we don't see them like that very often.  This picture was taken at 7 am yesterday morning.

I managed to get a picture of Basil yesterday morning as well, since I already had the camera out for the sunrise.  It was still fairly dark in the house so the flash came on.  He likes sitting by the oil heater we have by the garage door.  It is drafty in that corner and the oil heater set on low keeps the chill at bay when the weather is cooler and the pellet stove doesn't come on near as often.

We are heading into a four-day holiday weekend here, so hopefully we'll have some time on the bikes.  I don't think it is supposed to get as cold at night so we'll see.

- Au Revoir

"  Keep your face always towards the sunshine - and shadows will fall behind you." - Walt Whitman

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Much Ado About Nothing

That pretty much sums up my riding of late.

Between running errands on the weekends and the weather vacillating between foggy, rainy, and cold I haven't been on the bike since riding to coffee a few weeks ago.

Troubadour is still commuting by bike, but our lows tonight are forecast to be 23˚F (-5˚C) with freezing fog come morning, so he may be taking the car tomorrow.  We'll see how the weather plays out.

We did have a few days off last week, which was nice.  My boss was on vacation in Hawaii and so I didn't have to be in the office and Troubadour took a few days off as well.

While not riding, we did manage to get a few home projects a little further along.  The cork flooring project we started last February, we finally have mostly done.  This last week we finished the hallway and spare room, which just leaves the floor in two hall closets and a walk in closet.  We also put the trim up around a few doors and ordered the last four interior doors that we need. It will be weird to have everything match.

Troubadour was out on a few dirt bike riding days at Huckleberry Flats with PolarBear, but I will let him post about those adventures.  He had a blast and the XT is still caked in mud.  Here is a teaser photo.

On one of our days off we walked downtown (about 5 miles round trip) and I remembered to take the camera with me.  Some trees still have leaves and with all our rain the grasses are a vivid green right now.

We also made a few trips to Portland and Salem and the skies were slightly dramatic to the West as we were driving home.  The setting sun trying to peek out from behind the clouds is always awe inspiring.  These two pictures were a taken a week apart.

(Looking West on I-5 heading South through Salem)
(Looking West on Independence Highway South of Salem)
I also passed the time doing a little baking.  Pumpkin squares were in order since it is that time of year.

You can find the recipe on my food blog at this -----> LINK.  They are gluten free and actually pretty healthy compared to some other recipes.

So there you have it.  Not a lot going on, but it is that time of year.  We have a short week next week with Thanksgiving on Thursday.  Last year we went on a long ride through the woods and this year, weather permitting, we are thinking of doing the same.

- Au Revoir

"  I love to talk about nothing.  It's the only thing I know anything about." - Oscar Wilde