Here in Portland, we have had cold rainy Spring weather up until July 3rd. I kid not. It went from the upper 50s to the 90s in 48 hours and I’m still kind of working out the kinks in my brain. Our lawn is still totally lush and green and requiring frequent mowing. Last year this time? It was a matted-down dead prickly sea of brown (except for the dandelions, those bastards are unstoppable); we spent last year’s 4th of July sitting in the shade with our feet in a kiddie pool. Our garden this year is going strong, except for the tomatoes, which we planted a bit early and who got utterly pommeled by some nasty hailstorms and then finished off with an extra six weeks of winter. I seriously doubt any of them will bear fruit by next freeze. It’s pretty much tragic since the only thing I really care about, vegetable garden-wise, is a really good tomato.
We went for a couple of hikes up in the gorge in the past couple of weeks. It was wet and rainy and Ronin was crabby since she didn’t nap but we had fun. Everything was very green and drippy.
The snails were out in force and we had educational moments every 30 feet or so along the way. Ronin was pretty interested in watching them sit there poking their antennae in and out; it was slow going for a while.
Well, she did nap after all, for a short while. Everyone was happier afterward.
We had mentioned to her that maybe we could go see the big fish and we’ve learned that once she gets something fixed in the brain, if that thing does not come to pass, there will be a massive shrieking meltdown. So we went to the hatchery and watched some enormous sturgeon swim around for a while.
This fish is like 800 pounds and ~12 feet long. I will think about this every time I go swimming in any large river for the rest of my life.
In addition to the underwater viewing window, we can feed little brown trout-snacks to a raging pondful of massive rainbow trout. This is a big toddler pleaser. I like them too but mostly I kind of wish I could have one to take home for dinner.
Another outing had us wandering through the cottonwoods near Smith Bybee lake. Ronin liked walking on the fallen beaver logs. Those crazy animals can chew down a tree that is over a foot in diameter. How the hell? (And why?)
At the end of the walk is a little observation building with a handful of little windows at various heights that look out over onto the marsh. The idea is, presumably, to observe nature without disturbing the nervy little ducks. They even have windows low enough for Ronin to peek through but she’s not a quiet observer. We didn’t see any ducks.
We did see some of these.
The lake is higher than normal and the metal walkway out to the observation building was flooded. Ronin thought this was great. It was all we could do to keep her from completely stripping off her jacket and shirt and diaper (it wasn’t warm and the water was super cold).
Unfortunately, Ronin walked right off the edge of the grate in the split second that Joshua looked away from her and she fell in the lake up to her neck. This bent her right out of shape and we immediately had to strip her of her sodden jacket/shirt/diaper. The tragedy of the moment was swept away finally when we discovered this teensy little green frog. Ronin really liked this frog and we sat and watched him quake in fear for quite some time.
I carried Ronin all the way back to the car hugged in my sweatshirt to keep her warm. Little monkey.