30 March 2008

Aunt Anita's Visit

Quite a lot has happened around here in the last month or so, despite a lack of evidence on this blog. But that will be remedied in the coming weeks... you'll just have to wait a little longer for that.

One big event recently was a visit from my Aunt Anita. She had a business trip to Spokane, and managed to squeeze in a weekend trip to visit us beforehand! On Saturday we showed her around Portland and took her out for brunch at Besaw's, a great little casual restaurant that is quickly becoming our Portland brunch favorite. After lunch we drove her down the Gorge back to our place, taking a brief detour along the Historic Columbia River Highway and a few stops for waterfalls. She'd been up since 4am traveling, so we retired early.

On Sunday we took her for a tour through our forest and along the river. There was still plenty of snow on the ground in the shadier spots - up to 2 feet - despite the relatively warm weather. After the property tour, we walked down to the neighbors to pick up some eggs, visiting with the chickens and donkeys while we were there.


That evening our friends Amy and Andrew decided to take a scenic drive up our way with their kids Claire and Ethan, stopping in for a visit. We all enjoyed a meal of pork burros, a recipe that is the first strong contender for favorite recipe of 2008.

Monday morning it was back to the airport so Anita could head off to Spokane. Come back soon, and next time bring the rest of the family, too!

- Mike (& Corinne)

07 March 2008

Leif, the Artist

Since Leif left Insitu a little over a year ago, he's been concentrating on his painting. His short-term goal was to have a gallery showing somewhere in the area, and he recently achieved that goal. For the month of March, the Solo Gallery in Hood River showed a series of portraits he's done in oil on canvas. His opening was very well received and well attended, and he had a great write-up in the local arts/culture/social magazine, Rediviva. Time will tell if he can turn his skills into a living, but he's clearly having a good time in the process. It was great to see the reactions of all of the family and friends who were seeing Leif's work for the first time. Not only are his paintings enormous, but so is his talent.

You can see some of the works on Leif's website. His site also includes a time-lapse video of each work, assembled from individual photos taken while the works were in progress. Look at the bottom of each page for the link to these videos.


In addition to his painting, Leif also has a budding DJ business, Suspended in Sound. On the same night as his gallery opening, he also was DJ at a party down the street from his show. Leif really knows how to get a room moving; now if he could only do it a little bit less loud (I guess that means we're getting old.)

- Mike (& Corinne)

04 March 2008

Max, the Hunter

Since we've moved to Trout Lake, we've been slowly transitioning our cat Max from being indoor-only to giving him some time outdoors. Initially we would only let him out for short periods, and we would follow and monitor him while he was outside. Later as all three of us got more comfortable, we began to let him outside on his own; we would just leave the front door cracked so that he could push it open when he was ready to come inside. We still limit his outside escapades to daytime; we're still not comfortable letting him out at night with all of the coyotes we hear (and occasionally see).

Max makes it fairly clear to us when he wants to go outside. He'll wait by the front door and meow whenever he sees us; sometimes he'll even lead us to the door. He's been good about coming back inside before it gets too dark outside, but several times recently he's managed to get outside at night. One night he snuck out a window in the bathroom which was left opened after being cleaned. On another night he managed to shoot past us as we came in the front door. Corinne and I grabbed flashlights and very slowly chased him around the yard, trying not to make too many fast or startling movements while at the same time trying to keep up with his moves. You can't really appreciate the expression "herding cats" until you've tried it.

Why does he want to go outside so much? That became clear recently: hunting. We knew he could hunt; when we lived in Husum Max caught 5 voles in the house. We were proud of him for catching them, but a bit distressed that there WERE voles in the house. I guess he was just waiting for an opportunity.

The first Trout Lake animal he caught outside and brought to us was a bird, probably an Oregon Junko. There was no question that he brought it to us, either; we were sitting in the great room and he just dropped it in the middle of the floor and proceeded to bat it around. Corinne felt bad for the bird, so she told Max that he was only to catch mice from now on.

A week later, Max caught a vole - this time we were upstairs in our bedroom, so he brought it there. The tally so far is up to 5 voles and still only the one bird; I guess he was listening! Thankfully Max has killed all of the animals before bringing them inside, but twice now he has started to shred them on the floor after briefly playing with them. We try to give him a little time to enjoy his kill, but as soon as any blood appears it's time for an airborne burial - hurled into the woods.

Now if he can work himself up to catching gophers, then we'd REALLY be appreciative.

- Mike (& Corinne)