Posts Tagged ‘oregon coast’

garden chat


Little by little our spring veg garden is coming along. I’ve felt really relaxed about it all this year, and it’s been coming together naturally and at an easy pace. I am sure I’ve overlooked some things, and still need to do a bit of direct sowing, but I think I’m almost finished planting starts. A lot of them are in the hoop house, soaking up the extra warmth. The hoop house is almost weeded of the grass that runs up the sides (in the sections not shown in the photo) , which got pretty thick this year, and the garden is holding us over with kale, small treats of arugula, and the last few carrots while we wait for new greens and peas to start picking up the pace.


I just planted cucumbers and squash last week. In the past I have tended to plant them a little too early. I’m hoping the timing aligns, so that once they are ready to go in the ground, we are past the threat of excessive soaking rain and coolness. I saw the first sign of basil germination yesterday. I wish I might have started basil a little bit sooner! I like to grow a lot of basil each year, in a few successive plantings. I did pretty well last year, and we still have a little bit of pesto in the freezer to look forward to. One of my favorites.


Since moving the tomatoes from the house to the hoophouse, I am seeing visible growth by the day. Some of them seem to have doubled in size since this photo was taken less than a week ago.


I keep talking about making a rhubarb galette or pie of crisp or what have you. It’s time to actually do something about that.


We were able to take the fencing down from 2 of our fruit trees this year, as they are finally tall enough to reach out of harms way of nibbling deer. A deer can strip a little tree of new growth pretty quickly. We expanded the fencing around the other 2 trees and all of them are looking pretty happy for the changes. We should have quite a few pie cherries this summer, and I think we might have our first small set of plums this year.


This is a fairly regular harvest these days – though more so on the greens than the carrots.


What’s happening in your part of the world? Are you growing food this year? Anything you’re particularly excited about? A funny little thing I’m looking forward to is parsnips. This will be my first time growing them.

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mushrooming_3_editThis week I had the strongest urge to head into the woods and find some mushrooms. It’s full blown mushroom season in the pacific northwest, and the woods are alive with new life as the rain returns and quenches the thirst of late summer.



Processed with VSCOcam

Processed with VSCOcamI was especially keen on finding some chanterelles. They didn’t appear right away, but to my surprise, the first thing I found was a king bolete. King of the forest! Porcini!  Delicious, beautiful bolete! I thought it was pretty lucky, but then happened to find a few throughout our wander.


hedgehog_1_editThe mushroom above caught my attention, as it looked similar to a chanterelle from a distance, but on closer inspection we found it was actually a hedgehog mushroom. The giveaway is the spiny or toothy looking underside – like the body of a hedgehog.



big_brown_1_editA deer mushroom? Not sure about this one. If I would have tried harder to identify it, I would have paid closer attention to how the stalk snapped and what was going on in those gills.

mushrooming_1_editSO many kinds of mushrooms in the woods right now. So many I could hardly begin to share them all with you!

conch_0_editI think this might be a Red Belted Conk (the orange-hued one). If so, it has some pretty powerful medicinal properties.

coral_0_editA type of coral or club mushroom. Many of this group are edibile, but can be hard to ID (we didn’t pick any). There is a salmon-colored coral mushroom that looks a lot like this one pictured, that will dye wool a purple color!

hydnellum_peckii_0_editThis crazy looking bleeding mushroom was new to us both, and totally freaked us out. We thought for sure it was deadly poison (or some weird, confectionary delicacy?). This is Hydnellum Peckii, and while it’s not edible, due to it’s bitterness, it’s actually not known to be poisonous. It works symbiotically with conifers, as do many mushrooms, and plays it’s important part in the ecosystem.

toad_1_editA patient, quiet toad who let me get incredibly close for a photo.

mushrooming_2_editDeer ferns galore.

chanterelle_4_editThe chanterelle! Steven spotted this particular patch on a little hill.

chanterelle_3_editWhen harvesting chanterelles, cutting above the stem base will allow more chanterelles to fruit in the same spot later. The beginnings of more chanterelles are contained in the stringy mycelium that connects to the mushroom base. It’s important to understand how to properly harvest mushrooms so we do not cause unnecessary harm to the delicate ecosystems we are disturbing.

Processed with VSCOcamThe chanterelle is, for sure, my favorite mushroom. Their unique, earthy, spiciness and full texture is hard to beat. That color is so beautiful, and their smell is unmistakable.

mushrooming_4_editWhile we ate dinner last night, enjoying the experience of the mushrooms we found, I said how, in many ways, it feels much more exciting to eat food that I have found in the wild than the food I have grown in our garden. It makes me feel alive and a part of things in a way that is deep and enduring. Like an animal. A part of the universe. I feel encouraged to learn to identify more of the edible plants around me. We live in such a lush and amazing place here.

Note: My main resource for mushroom identification is All That the Rain Promises and More: A Hip Pocket Guide to Western Mushrooms, by David Arora. It fits in my back pocket and is packed with PNW mushroom knowledge. As with any kind of wildcrafting of edibles, be sure you can 100% identify that the plant you pick to eat is what you think it is. And be sure to always treat the land, and the plants and animals that you encounter, with the utmost respect and care.

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This week we brought home 10 asparagus crowns, purchased on an impulse at our local nursery. You can read about our whirlwind project over at Tend today. We are feeling happy to have this bed made and planted. It feels like we just made a big, exciting investment, though it cost almost nothing and will provide food for many years. If our plants are healthy and happy, the asparagus patch could be a longer term resident of our home than we are!


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so squirrelly






It’s been quite a time with this little critter. It has broken into our house more than once (once through a tiny hole related to the ducting coming into the house (which has since been sealed) and once right through the front door), chewed the insulation under the hood of the car up, has been burying what appears to be bird seed in every potted plant it can find, and is sneaking into the garage every chance it gets. This is just to name a few of it’s shenanigans!

Steven found some organic cotton and wool stuffing samples we’ve had laying around, and thought that maybe if he put it out for the squirrel to find, it would lay off a little. A crow took one tuft, another disappeared while we weren’t looking, and this one sat in that planter pot for at least a week, untouched. We had an incredible rainbow appear recently, and I hopped on downstairs to grab the camera, and who should I see right outside the glass… What timing!

That wad of stuffing was at least the size of a baseball. I watched in awe as it stuffed and stuffed (with it’s little partner in crime nearby). The material somehow disappeared into the squirrel and finally, with a big bit of fluff hanging out of it’s mouth, as you see, it trotted off. Amazingly enough, we haven’t seen much of it since, so maybe it finally acquired enough for that nest it’s been building! Now we just can’t help but wonder where that nest might be…


You can find me at tend today, sharing what I’ve learned about deer resistant gardening. And any of you with deer and gardens – I’d love your 2 cents!

I hope your week’s off to a great start. xo

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big storm

Hello from a coffee shop… We have been in a big storm here on the central Oregon coast and have had no power for 2 days now. We were hoping to have power restored this afternoon, but so far no such luck. There is major flooding in parts of our local area, and lots and lots more rain in the forecast. Some of the wind gusts in the last couple days have been as high as 90 miles per hour and there is damage of various kinds throughout our town. On the way into town today we saw many trees snapped or fallen, a power line down, a business that had been hit by a fallen tree, and many patched roofs. Grateful our house is fine and dry, but we have had some mishaps in the yard. A newly built section of fence was blown to bits, a planter box was blown off the wall, and cold frame glass has been blown out all over the place. It seems like the winds are calming down at this point. Sure hoping so.

Obviously this puts a hamper on production in studio a la infusion. It’s hard not to be able to get any sewing done right now. We’ve been making the most of this time though, cleaning and rearranging the studio, cleaning house, early to bed… And with a camp stove and a little inverter we have been able to make coffee in the morning (big deal here! : ) and have warm dinners by the fireplace. Hope to be back up and running soon.


Update…Here is a video we found, taken just a few miles inland from us: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HiRAQQgeA2w&feature=endscreen&NR=1 We have friends that live out this way. Really gives a sense of how major this storm has been.


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Not something you get to see everyday. Maybe once in a lifetime if you are lucky… Such a wild experience, to observe this magnificent, massive cat.

You can click the images, if you want to view them larger.

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A beach visit this week. We were feeling full of life, warmed by the sun and the sparkling blue sky. When we arrived, we discovered the tide was incredibly low and the beach was completely covered with Jellyfish – for at least a mile it was thick with dead jellies. We also found many dead and dying Northern Fulmar. There has been some concern about a possible dead zone here, after a recent finding of hundreds of dead starfish on the beach, so I called the Department of Fish and Wildlife. They are not sure of anything at this point, but there is a lot of interest in the localized phenomena and they are “watching.”

After a bit of research on my own part, I discovered it is not unheard of to have large wash-ups of starfish after big storms, but this seemed so extreme to me and the timing with the other deaths of animals made it all the more noteworthy. As we walked the beach, amongst all these dead things, watching the plovers run along the shoreline in search of food (they are so amazing!), I couldn’t help but think about the recent massive oil leak. Seeing all these dead and dying animals really affected me. As we drove home that evening I felt a bodily sadness. I love the ocean and all that it sustains in a way that is indescribable. To know that it is suffering is painful.

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Living on the coast and in the trees offers me a unique opportunity to observe the life forms that live in their natural habitat right up close. As the summer really warms things up, the bees are returning (yay! we were worried for a while!) and the hummingbirds are more playful and the goldfinches and sparrows visit our deck for the organic sunflower seeds we offer. I appreciate their visits and the constant reminders of how important it is to live with respect for other creatures. They all live with respect for each other and it works so harmoniously.

Blue Jay

Yesterday, while in my sister’s backyard cleaning a window, a little bird came near and perched on a low wire. She was chirping and chirping and chirping with such a clear intensity. She was but 6 feet from my head and she was defininitley talking to ME. While trying to sense what she was telling me, I turned to my right and took notice of a dead shrub in a large planter pot. Nestled in the base of the plant was a small nest made of woven dried grasses, and in the nest were 4 tiny eggs, each about the size of a small grape tomato. I let my sister know so she will take care to leave it alone and keep her little ones away from it. Even though I don’t speak bird I got the message. It’s a fun and worthy challenge to try to understand the communication of other creatures. It is also important not to alienate ourselves into the confines of humanness. We are creatures too, and this goes far beyond simple humanness.

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