Nature’s Goodness and 7/30-8/2 FFU’s

*FFU=Friday Follow Up

Hey, all!  It’s that time of the week again to post my Friday Follow Up.  For those of you new to this blog, my FFU’s are where I blog about where I’ve been and what I’ve done for the last week in my attempts to fulfill my mileage for this year’s mileage goal.

My mileage goal is 2000 miles before the end of the year.  I’m nowhere near halfway there, since I keep coming up with stuff that takes my mind off that goal.   But I’ll address that topic another time, and what I plan to do about it.

I know I missed my FFU’s on the 27th, but I’ve got a good excuse.  Willow and I were kidnapped by aliens.   Here’s proof:

Take me to the mothership!

Don’t buy it, huh?  Dang.  Well, I really do have a good excuse.  Wednesday the 25th through Sunday the 29th I was at the NW Kidney Kids Kidney Camp, so I was not able to do my regular walking.  I DID walk, all over the blasted camp as a matter of fact.  I wore my pedometer and kept track.  And I got a bajillion photos and tons of footage, some of which will hopefully make it into documentary form.  Whee!  But you’re going to have to wait on that.  Sorry!  Don’t want to spoil it for everybody by letting you get sneak peeks and all….  Perish the thought that I try to get interest in the film project by actually showing you bits of what we came across.

Anyhoo, for this FFU, I’m going to focus on the days since I got back from camp.

Monday’s Highlights-

I was brain-dead and exhausted.  I slept for neary 13 hours after I got back from camp, since I was ran pretty ragged.  So I took a break.  Sorry.

Monday I walked .84 miles.

Tuesday’s Highlights-

Tuesday I got to enjoy the Mother Nature part of the week.  Micah and I went for a walk on Springwater Trail.  It’s gorgeous out there, y’all.  While we walked, I discovered an abundance of all things yummy:  blackberries, elderberries, plums, Oregon grape, apples, filberts (hazlenuts–still not ripe), walnuts (still not ripe), wild raspberries and more.  A veritable smorgasbord of goodness.  I pledged to come back the next day to do some picking.

Mmm. I’m envisioning nummy jelly…

It was a beautiful day, and Micah and I were really having fun with the walk.

Micah on the trail.

Tuesday I walked 5.87 miles.

Wednesday’s Highlights-

I promised myself I would go back to the Springwater Trail and harvest some goodies, so I did.  Willow and I went berry picking along the trail.  We got some nice, fat blackberries.  Willow probably ate as many as she picked and I’m surprised she didn’t turn purple from all the blackberry juice (I know our hands were coated by the sticky stuff by the time we were done), or at the very least turn green from an upset tummy.  But she did okay!  We walked a long ways, too, and she isn’t used to walking as far as I am.  She was a trooper!

Willow has sharp eyes and was a natural berry picker.  She also seems to have inherited my eye for the weird and wacky.  She pointed out the following tennis ball to me:

This doesn’t seem like all that big of a deal, since the relative scale of the items in the picture are hard to tell.  However, that tennis ball was actually the size of a basketball!  Where do you get a basketball-sized tennis ball?  And imagine the size racket you would need to play tennis with it?  Heck, imagine how big and strong your arms would have to be in order to whack it?

Willow also seems to have inherited my love of adventure and exploring, because she just HAD to go off the trail in order to investigate the creek.

Anyway, we had a lot of fun.  I got sunburned THROUGH my shirt again.  The sun rays out here must be hella strong these days.  We got TONS of blackberries, plus some elderberries and Oregon grape.  I’ve never made elderberry jelly or Oregon grape jelly, and now seemed like as good a time as any to try it.  Got some recipes off Google and we’ll see how they turn out!

Wednesday I walked 5.44 miles.

Thursday’s Highlights-

I wasn’t done berry picking.  In fact, I’m planning on going again next week, too. I want to get oodles and oodles of blackberries and other berries so that I can make jam and so we can have plenty frozen through the winter for my smoothies and for the occasional berry crisp or pie.   Mmmm….pie….

So Micah tagged along for round #2 of berry picking along Springwater Trail.  We found a really nice patch of berries and picked and picked and picked and picked.  I also got some more Oregon grape and elderberries, because I didn’t get enough the day before.  I would still like to get some more, but we’ll see about that.

We passed by Cartlandia and found some neat food carts and even a bicycle repair cart (which was a pretty nifty idea considering the bike traffic on the trail) that had a couple of fun statues on the roof.

Wheee!

The menu on this cart was kinda cool:

In addition to the Badass Burrito, this place also serves an American Outlaw Burrito and a Godzilla the Monster Sandwich. Sounds like heartburn central. Yum!

The great thing about the picking of the blackberries is that the vacant field we were picking in was right next to some warehouse business.  I believe this business employed mostly Mexicans, because they were blaring Mexican music so loud, we could hear it all the way across the field.  So we got to pick to fun music and dance and sing along with words we couldn’t even say.  Viva la picking berries to music!

Later that evening, I went for round #3 around the neighborhood.  Now, this is something I’ve been meaning to do for a while.  It turns out I should have done it a couple of weeks ago, because this one place that had a ton of raspberry bushes (my absolute favorite berry) was pretty much played out.  I got less than half a pint.  😦  However, the blueberries were just starting to come in, so I got about a pint of those.

See, during all of my walks around the neighborhoods within a couple mile radius of my house I’ve been scoping out the landscape and making mental notes to go “shopping” for produce when it finally comes in.  We don’t really have space for a garden at my place, but lots of the neighbors do.  And when their bounty comes time for harvest, they’ve got it coming out their ears and can’t possibly keep up with it.

I know where to find apples, pears, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, green beans, plums, cherries, lettuce, zucchini, tomatoes, rhubarb, walnuts, pumpkins and much much more.  All I have to do is wait for it to be ready.  And the neighbors (thank goodness for kind neighbors) are more than willing to share their luscious fruits and veggies.  Yay!  So my task for the next couple of weeks is to harvest a bunch of this. My dad is thinking about getting a dehydrator, too, so that will be even better, because we’ll be able to freeze, can and dehydrate to our hearts content.  YES!  This winter our grocery bill should be much less as a result.  Best of all–all of this is FREE.  Aren’t nature and friendly neighbors grand?

So my round #3 consisted of picking pears, green beans, raspberries, plums and blueberries.  Willow led; I followed.  She got a kick out of that.  We had a blast.

Thursday I walked 6.83 miles.

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6 thoughts on “Nature’s Goodness and 7/30-8/2 FFU’s

  1. What a great endeavor! I stumbled on your blog looking for local (pdx) elderberry picking. Can you share where you access the springwater trail? So much closer than going all the way to canby! Warmly, celeste

    • Absolutely, Celeste. Here’s link to map: http://www.portlandonline.com/parks/finder/index.cfm?action=ViewFile&PolPdfsID=425&/Springwater%20Corridor%20Map.pdf

      I usually access the trail on 82nd Street–it’s somewhere between Flavel and Johnson Creek Boulevard. Trimet (bus 72) actually stops right in front of the entry to the trail there! On SE 45th?, Trimet (bus 75) has a stop right at the trail, too. Other places I’ve gotten to it is off of 122nd and 136th. Out there, the trail is between the major roads of SE Foster and SE Holgate. I picked all of my elderberries along the stretch between 82nd and 45th, though. I wouldn’t be surprised if you can find them all along the length of the trail, though.

      • Oh, and the jam and jelly making session was lots of hard work, but what was made was DELICIOUS! Especially the elderberry jelly, since the last time I had that was when I was a kid and my mom made it. So that was a fun trip down memory lane. 🙂

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