A customer-friend who lives in Alaska is visiting her folks in Portland came to see us a week ago bringing along some lilac from bushes that had been subjected to much harsh weather in their long lives. Ed and I were still dealing with the hard hitting colds and no where near our best but we enjoyed talking with them greatly. Such an interesting couple, Bea and Deac!
Bea called Friday afternoon just as I was heading out the door to strings ensemble practice: the lot next to her parents was being bull-dozed for a new house and there were some good sized lilac bushes, including purple flowered ones. Did we want them? Yes!
For the most part Ed prefers scouting down wood on his own. He’s been handed a few too many pieces that were good for the woodstove, and some good only for composting. Heartwood decay, cracks and splits, mold… but Bea had shown that she understood wood with good spindle potential so he arranged for us to drive up there to collect it on Sunday.
Yesterday was Ed dad’s 80 th birthday. We picked up Aurora and drove the 153 miles to his house to help him celebrate. Just before leaving the house Ed phoned him to wish him a happy birthday. About 2 miles from his place Aurora phoned him on her cell and also wished him happy birthday, all in a ruse to completely surprise him when we pulled into his driveway a few minutes late. He was so shocked he scarcely knew what to do or say.His wife, Lin, had made three soups that morning and whipped up some southern corn bread right before lunch. She’d invited a houseful of friends and relatives so he knew that was happening but we were the big surprise. Ed bought some lobster tails which he loves but rarely gets to eat. I made a big batch of dinner rolls. The day was balmy and blue. If I hadn’t been the driver for the entire trip this post would be littered with all the beautiful scenes. Low white clouds against dark blue, sharp etched mountains. Green pastures dotted with sheep drowsing in the warm sun. Though the atmosphere seemed crisp and clear the blue sky seemed to be glazed with a slight milky film.
Knitting on a scarf was mindless and easy in that throng of people. Lunchtime came and the tables filled quickly, Aurora and I grabbed the chance to slip out onto the back deck and soak up the sun while eating in peace and quiet.
Back along the freeway racing the setting sun. The colors!!! We’ve been having some splendid blazing apricot, rose and purple sunsets – a rarity in Oregon. This time of the year anything other than grey rain is a welcome change but the rains haven’t set it, yet.
I finally convinced Aurora to take some pictures but by the time she took up the camera the vivid glories were fading. Here’s the best of her takes, not exactly what I was after but a fun picture with the slashing head and tail lights in the opposite lanes.
This morning also dawned breath-taking beautiful. This time Ed drove since we were taking his old Toyota pickup. More knitting time! I’m working on a cabled scarf, the 8 row pattern quickly memorized, with #7 / 4.5mm needles. The pattern called for #8 but I ripped back after doing 8 rows and moved down to a 7 for better stitch distinction. Three cables didn’t seem like enough so I added 24 more stitches for five cables. Much better!
Out from this little valley and we hit fog. Not terribly dense but enough to slow the drive a bit. Outside of Portland Ed negotiated the Terwilliger Curves and we were back into bright sunlight with Mt Hood shining in the distance. So warm and sunny. We had Googled the route to the house, which was in an area of Portland I have been to only a handful of times. I know I shouldn’t trust Google maps, it doesn’t have us in the right place, why assume it has anything else correct. But, I was in a hurry. Then the computer didn’t want to communicate with the printer so I studied the online map, jotting down the main off-ramp leading to the crossroad that was closest to the house. Past the Convention Center and its twin spires, carefully watching the signs. Rosa Parks Ave? What’s that, I don’t recall that name and suddenly I felt a bit disoriented. Portland has renamed a number of main streets: MLK for Union Ave, Cesear Chavez for 39th and now Rosa Parks for what? Next thing we saw were the exits for the Expo Center and Marine Dr. We’d missed the exit. During our wandering around (why no, we don’t own a cell phone) we saw a large sign:
FAR WEST FIBER
with the address and a phone number. Excited Ed pulled over so I could write it down and we could look it up and go for a visit after picking up the lilac.
Hurray, a road name that matched the one I’d jotted down. A few minutes more and we pulled up in front of the house. Such pleasant, interesting people! We could easily have spent more than the hour we were there. But finally, wood in truck, Ed asked about finding Far West Fiber. Bea grabbed her laptop and pulled up the address all the while her folks were looking dubious and muttering about it sounding familiar. Hahaha, the joke was on us. It’s a recycling center!!!
We still wanted to check out a new-to-us yarn store so Bea directed us to the closest neighborhood one: The Naked Sheep. Finding convenient parking we strolled in to the pleasant shop where the owner greeted us cheerfully and went back to assisting the other customers. I found just the yarns for a couple of baby projects in the line-up: Debbie Bliss Riva and an Elesbeth Lavold SensuAl skein. So soft. 98% baby alpaca. swoon. A ball of Cascade Yarns Cash Vero DK also jumped into my basket. Ed snapped up a reading light to attach to his book when reading in bed.
And, since we were close to NE Portland, we headed over to Twisted. Ed and I selected some notions, buttons, and a skein of yarn Dream in Color sock yarn for another pattern in mind and took them to the counter where we started chatting with Star Athena, yes the woman who single-handedly started Tour de Fleece. We had been to Twisted 3 years ago and had talked with her then. Bless her heart, she remembered our conversation about the TdF. I tend to get numb-brained when talking with people with a name. I’ve been meaning to tell her that a number of years ago (7? 9?) I heard her with her band on stage at a blue grass festival and loved her singing! But I didn’t pick up a CD (not sure they had one) and the years sort of blurred the memory. Anyway, I’ve been wanting to ask her about her singing, if she still works with a band or? But drats, the thought flew right out of my brain as soon as we started talking.
Driving home we encountered fog again shortly past Oregon City and it accompanied us home. Where it hung out all day. Dreary, and disappointing. I was all jazzed to go for a long walk in the bright sunshine once we got home. I should have shrugged on a jacket and hat but laziness took over with fondling new yarn, knitting and some reading.
Wednesday afternoon I washed a freshly plied skein of handspun then cast around to find a suitable drying spot. Ah-ha, hanging from the pot rack above the wood stove!