Thursday, October 29, 2009

Dog Day on Sauvie Island

After MSU's crushing loss to Iowa on Saturday, we decided to hit Sauvie Island on Sunday morning to lift our spirits. We headed over with Eric and Kelly and their puppy Pinot (who is getting so big!!) and of course, Bucktown.

It was sort of a dreary day, but it felt right for an autumn morning surrounded by pumpkin patches. We walked the beach for a few hours, and we were literally the only ones out there so the dogs got to run free. All these pictures are just for cuteness' sake!

Buckley chasing after Paul

I urge you to click on this picture to enlarge it, and look at Buckley's face. It will make your day.

Are these dogs ready to go or what??

Best buds!

A Blue Heron that we spotted

Obviously something smells very interesting...

A makeshift jungle gym!

Wheeeeee we're spinning!

Buckley scaled this thing in about 5 seconds

The daddy-doggy shot

We topped it off with lots of food and caramel apples at Kruger Farms. A glorious day. I bought a pumpkin too, meant for making pumpkin bread with, but don't have a recipe. Does anyone have a good one??


Monday, October 26, 2009

Japanese Gardens

Autumn has definitely arrived here in PDX! In Portland this does mean gray skies and rain... but through the veil of drear, believe it or not, one can actually enjoy some amazing autumn colors right now. And of course this also means my camera has been in overdrive.

We visited the Japanese Garden on Thursday, about a 30 minute walk from home (awesome) to see all the fall foliage. We just so happened to visit on what we're told was the peak day for color, before all the leaves started dropping off. Double awesome.

The five traditional gardens are maticulously tended to year round for all (well, all with $8) to enjoy. As you might imagine, these gardens are a very peaceful and zen place to be. Everyone is hush hush, kind of like a library. And of course, the gentle kachik-kachik-kachik of eight zillion cameras floated through the air as well. It was a very popular day for photographing. :)

On our way up to the gardens we strolled through the International Test Rose Garden. Surprisingly, some of the roses are still in full bloom or are just starting to bloom. I thought they would all be wilted away for sure. And after a fresh rainfall, I couldn't resist some close-ups.

From here on out are Japanese Garden pictures. I recommend clicking on any of them you find interesting, to enlarge them in a new window. There is not really much I need to say about them, as they pretty much speak for themselves, so I will probably shut up for most of the rest of this post. Most of it.

A floating leaf friend right in the middle

The Japanese Maples all looked like they were on fire

An upskirt shot of a maple

These little water bugs were so cool... they just skated across the water surface like it was ice

Quite possibly the most photographed tree in Portland

That's it, hope you enjoyed! Up next on the blog, a Mayo/Fischer/doggy trip to Sauvie Island for a day of beachcombing. But not til tomorrow, cause I'm sleepy.


Sunday, October 11, 2009


Drink it in

There is definitely a reason Portland is nicknamed Beervana. On a rare Saturday off for me, Paul and I took advantage of a couple local beer festivals to sample the bountiful hops Oregon has to offer. First up was the annual Oregon Bounty Fresh Hop Beer Tastival at Oaks Amusement Park, a riverside amusement park that has been in operation for over 100 years. And only a quick 5 mile bike ride from home!

Fresh hop beers (sometimes called wet hop) are brewed with fresh, just-picked hops, in this case grown locally (sometimes by the brewers themselves). Most often, after hops are harvested they are dried in a kiln and then packaged tight for shipping to brewers. The beers at this festival were all made with the full wet hops, which creates an intense earthy flavor rarely found in other beers. And it's a just plain really cool way to celebrate and reconnect the beer to the land.

Waiting for the doors to open at noon

38 beers on tap, all ready to go

The crazy kegcycle that Hopworks Urban Brewing brought. A pedaling party!

Aaahhh... fresh hops

The guide listed all the varieties of hops used... never really knew there were so many!

There were 38 brews on tap, but at $1 a pop for a 4 oz. taste, we had to pick and choose. :) For anyone interested, we landed on:

Astoria Brewing Company Hoptimus Prime 2.0 Pale Ale
Barley Browns Brewpub Roadside IPA
Beer Valley Brewing Co. Leafer Madness Imperial IPA
Double Mountain Brewery Killer Green IPA
Lompoc Brewing Crystal Wheat
Lompoc Brewing Millennium Imperial IPA (my fav of the day... ohmygodsodelicious)
Pelican Pub & Brewery Elemental Ale

I sincerely wish we would have had more dollars...

Who loves beer? I do.

It was a gorgeous, sunny mid-60s brisk autumn day, so we took the party outside to the park grounds.

Climbimg trees after a few beers is a good idea

Enoying the sunny lawn spot where I parked myself

The best part... free train rides all day! The slower-than-walking-pace (literally) train goes in a big circle around the festival. I realize this is mainly for small children... but it was free.


The fest from the train

Since we couldn't imagine Hop Fest getting any better than that sweet train ride, we decided to head out on that note and make our way back downtown to the Brewpublic Killer Beer Fest at Bailey's Tap Room.

Just for the day, Bailey's replaced their 20 taps with all local one-of-a-kind beers. Most of these were just one-off brews, so it was a special treat to be able to try so many of them at once.

They had a HUGE turnout for this event. I have never seen a bar so swamped with people and bartenders sweatin' quite like this, so we decided to each do a 5-taste flight and then get outta there. Between the two of us, we had:

Barley Brown's Baker City Wild Wet-Hopped American Strong Pale Ale
Brewed with fresh hand-picked unknown hops that grow wild on the side of the road in Baker city. Bad ass!
Vertigo Midnight Harvest Fresh-Hop Ale
Start-up brewers Mike Haines and Mike Kinion hand-picked fresh Willamette and Cascade hops through the night for this one.
BJ's Enfant Terrible
Started as a base beer from their 2007 OBF entry, then racked into clean whiskey barrels and fermented with a Lambic yeast/bacteria blend.
Walkabout Jabberwocky Strong Ale
Dark and hoppy American strong ale with a smooth creeping palatability that has been known to "knock a dick in the dirt."
New Old Lompoc Barrel Fermented Centennial IPA
100% fermented in a vintage white English oak barrel, brewed with crystal malts to give it a rich golden color.
Double Mountain Abbey Hoffman Belgian Brown Ale
Spicy and robust, 7.5 % ABV but well masked with yeastiness and delectable almond notes.
Block15 Bourbon Barrel-aged Fat Monk Dubbel
Aged in one Pappy Van Winkle 20-year-old bourbon cask, this batch only produced 3.5 kegs. *Holy crap, this one took the cake! One of the most delicious, rich, caramely beers I have ever had the good fortune of tasting.

Line 'em up, knock 'em back

After sufficiently drinking myself silly, accusing the bartender of losing my credit card, finding my credit card in my bag and apologizing profusely, popping over to the Benson Hotel happy hour for a glass of wine that I clearly needed, and hitting Taco Bell hard... it was time to call it a night. What a glorious, glorious Saturday off.

In closing, a lovely sunset from a few nights ago:

To Life, Love, and the Pursuit of Hoppiness!