Signs Of Spring? Ha!

Just as I was making note of flower buds and alder catkins, Mother Nature came back with a reminder that it is still winter. It’s been in the twenties at night all week, with occasional occasional light flurries. Last night it started in with some serious snow, and I woke this morning to bluebird skies and a couple of inches of powder. Just enough to make everything beautiful. Sounds like potential for more on the way, too. Still sneezing and itching my eyes, but at least it looks like winter’s hanging on for a bit longer. Might as well enjoy it. Stay warm everyone!

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Oregon Fun

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One of the best parts of a book tour is visiting with good friends. The Portland book event was fantastic–full house, great food and beer, and what I thought was a pretty challenging (at least for me) conversation with my buddy John Larison. Huge thanks to Leila and crew at Patagonia Portland, and all the friends and readers who showed up on a stormy night. Portlanders are not deterred by a little wind and rain!

The pictures here, as you can see, are not from the reading. In all the chaos, I somehow forgot to even snap a single shot. Perhaps these are more interesting, anyway. I spent the day of the reading on a North Coast river with Kate, Crump and Annie hanging out in the pouring rain, watching the river rise, and hooking a fish or two along the way. Then I had to white knuckle it through 50 kt winds, falling trees and Portland traffic to make it to the event on time.

Afterward, our crew shambled around Portland, eventually finding awesome late-night drinks and Vietnamese food at Luc Lac. Lots of fish and book talk, and then Larison and I stayed up most of the night with, yes, more fish and book talk. But when I closed my eyes to sleep, the picture below is what floated through my head. Huge thanks to JL and KT for making the time and being there. Love you guys.

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Taste Of Spring(er)

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In the midst of what’s been a long stretch of rain, wind and more rain–seems like we’ve had a power outage about once a week since September–I was dreaming of spring. I know, it’s early. Not even winter yet, for heaven’s sake. But the rivers were blown, the Sound a sea of whitecaps, and my office an icebox. In other words…yuck.

So I dug around in the freezer and came up with a big chunk of Columbia River spring Chinook, the greatest eating fish in the world, and at least to us, the true symbol of spring in the Northwest. And thanks to the miracle of modern vac-sealing technology, it looked pretty good. Almost eight months in the freezer, but my mouth started watering just thinking about the possibilities.

Thawed it, salted it, scraped the skin to remove moisture (Skyla scaled it before freezing back in April) and threw it on the grill. The fish had lost a bit of its usual deep-red coloring, but otherwise, it was all the there: dripping fat, crispy-on-the-outside-melting-on-the-inside texture and savory, crunchy skin. Exactly what we needed!


Pacific Northwest Impressionism

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Just another beautiful day in paradise, as they say. The deluge here has gone on and on, to the point where even us dyed-in-the-wool wet-siders are craving a little relief. Wind and horizontal rain have forced me to cancel two crabbing trips in the last week. Today I’ve had calls from friends with water coming up through concrete-slab floors and septic systems backing up. The drains for the sunroof in my car backed up and filled the driver’s seat with about ten gallons of water, which caused a wet butt on the way to a meeting I was already late for, a string of four-letter words, and later…a feeling of gratitude when I compared my “flooding” to that of my friends.

With a slight shift in the jet stream, cold-and-wet has turned into warm-and-wet literally overnight. The Pineapple Express is now in full effect. Temps soared to 60 degrees this afternoon, and the cool air trapped in my office caused crazy condensation on the outside of my windows. This photo was taken from my desk–if you squint and use your imagination, perhaps you can see some impressionistic beauty in it. Or maybe, like me, you just see more rain…

So here’s to a little drying out. And to keeping fingers crossed that our home can weather the weather in the mean time. Good luck out there!


The Mossmobile

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How much does it rain here? Well, moss only grows where it’s really wet, chilly and dark, right? This isn’t a picture of some broken down heap in someone’s yard, either. That’s the back of my everyday transportation, parked out in the open and driven regularly. And yet, the moss, algae and lichen continue to grow. And grow. Last year, I had to pull an alder sapling out of the driver-side back window sill.

So, when someone who’s considering a move to the Great Northwest asksĀ about the weather, I just show ’em my car. It’s the perfect proof of our climate here. Either that or a sure sign of lazinessĀ from an owner who hasn’t washed his car in 22 years. But I prefer the former.