Dusting With Banana Peels

Friday, March 23, 2018
Hey guys!  I found this article on Apartment Therapy titled, Can You Really Dust Your Houseplants With A Banana Peel?  We Tried It, Here Are Our Results!  This is so far up my alley that I'm not even going to try to rewrite it!  I LOVE THIS!  x o, Karli

The Portland Mercury's Highball 2018

Thursday, March 22, 2018
Come participate in Portland Mercury's Highball event March 19th-25th--$5 specialty cocktails at some of the best bars in Portland!  I had the Mango Ginger Sting at Limelight yesterday, and this afternoon, Adam and I are heading over to Loyal Legion to say cheers over barrel-aged highballevardiers!  So come on out, drink some fun cocktails, and support local and community while you're at it! 

In My Garden, You Will Find: Corylopsis (Winter hazel)

Wednesday, March 21, 2018
Even though I am primarily focusing my gardening these days on Oregon and Willamette Valley natives, I still have spots in my garden for some longtime favorite non-native plants.  Many of these I brought with me from my rental, and have been growing in pots for many years.  A few, such as euphorbia, I will keep in pots, but as for the two varieties of corylopsis I had, they are now happily in the ground, growing beside other natives.

Corylopsis pauciflora (Buttercup Winter Hazel) originating from Japan
I love the Corylopsis pauciflora so much!  Originating from Japan, it has clusters of creamy flowers that hang down like little lanterns on reddish-brown branches.  The blossoms are starting to fade now, but this one was actually thriving to this height in a 1-gallon pot!  It will most likely get quite large here, maybe 12-feet tall.  I planted it a good 4-5 feet from the fence to allow for growth.

Amelia admiring a Corylopsis pauciflora much more mature in the Sellwood neighborhood.
We found a more mature one in the neighborhood of Sellwood in SE Portland a few weeks ago growing beside red-flowering currant.  Ours is also growing near red-flowering currant, as well as red-twig dogwood, mock orange, and Indian plum.

My other Corylopsis was only re-identified yesterday at Portland Nursery.  Thanks, guys!  I bought it there four years ago when I graduated nursing school, planting it in a 4-gallon pot that my old neighbor bought me as a graduation gift.  I knew the blossoms were very similar to the Corylopsis pauciflora shown above, but it bloomed about a month later and the blossoms were canary yellow.

I remember that it was sensitive to hot summer sun and sometimes got scorched if left under-watered in its pot for a few summer days in a row.  It has beautiful bright green leaves in the spring, which turn golden into the fall.  It grows much wider than it does tall, but might have been somewhat affected by its pot for the past few years.  I took a picture of it in full bloom down to Portland Nursery and they identified it as Corylopsis by its blossoms, then checked their database for varieties they had sold in past years.  It was then identified as a Corylopsis spicata "Gold Spring Spike Winter Hazel".

Corylopsis spicata "Gold Spring" in full bloom this mid-March
I'll be curious to see how this one does.  It's planted near native plants mock orange, Pacific Ninebark, sword ferns, wild ginger, common yarrow, and beneath four cedar trees.  I hope it does well--may need to water during summer until more established.  It will look nice as an edge to this particular garden bed.  It will take a few years to establish, but this particular garden design should eventually grow into a multi-layered understory for our backyard insects and birds.

Corylopsis spicata "Gold Spring" at edge of garden with Pacific Ninebark to the left and other native plants noted above but not visible in this photo. 
 And there, my friends, is a small window into my ever-evolving backyard habitat--a work in progress!

P.S.  As you can see, the rain has rolled back in after yesterday's BEAUTIFUL spring day.  Check out my post "First Day of Spring" for proof of how beautiful it was! 

First Day of Spring!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018
Today was a blissful day on this first day of Spring.  I don't really know how today could have been more perfect.  I picked up Amelia from school, and we spent most of the afternoon together at Portland Nursery. 

First Day of Spring at Portland Nursery

Water features at Portland Nursery
Hellebore patch in my garden thriving here in Milwaukie soil
Amelia at Portland Nursery
My little spring tulip (Portland Nursery)
To top off the lovely spring day, Adam made a delicious manicotti with green beans and a side salad.  It was SO good!  We ate outside on what will one day be a beautiful patio.  We've prepared the site, but haven't decided quite yet how we want to design this space.  The chickens tried to join us at the table for dinner, but they were politely and indiscreetly shooed away.  Best day in a long time! 

Sara Agah Franti Interview

Monday, March 19, 2018
I wanted to share with you podcast The Kate & Mike Show where Sara Agah Franti was interviewed!  This podcast is inspiring to me as Sara shares how she moved from her career as a nurse to entrepreneurship with her jewelry line LUA (which I love!) and how she has transitioned into the public spotlight as Michael Franti's business partner and wife.  Candid and thoughtful in this interview, I think you'll find inspiration as you listen, too.  x o, Karli


Save Our Centers PDX

Sunday, March 18, 2018
It's amazing to see what can be accomplished when community members activate to fight for a cause--never ceases to inspire me!  On St. Patrick's Day, my oldest, Sam, played with his school marimba band at the Sellwood Community Center rally.  Four Portland community centers, all of which my children have used many times over the years, are on the chopping block AGAIN.  The community centers at risk for closure are the following:  Sellwood, Woodstock, Hillside, and Fulton Park Community Center.  We need MORE community centers, not less of them.  This absolutely cannot happen--we must fight to save our centers!  

What can you do?  Sign the petition to save Portland community centers!  Sign today! 

Show your support by attending one of the budget forums wearing your neon-green #saveourcenterspdx t-shirts--we need large numbers to turn out at these budget forums!  Here are the details:

Community Budget Forum #1 @ David Douglas High School, April 3rd, 6:30-8:30PM.
Community Budget Forum #2 @ Roosevelt High School, April 17th, 6:30-8:30PM

For those community members involved in this effort, I am so thankful for you!  Because of you, those things that add value to our lives are protected--you fight to protect land, historic buildings, community centers, and so much more.  I love community, and I love the people that make up communities.  Never stop fighting, and if you are able to get involved, I highly encourage you to attend one of the budget forums!

St. Patrick's Day, 2018

Saturday, March 17, 2018
For the first time in many, many years, I took St. Patrick's Day off.  No babies, no exams to study for, and enough seniority at work that I was able to easily ask for the weekend off.  We headed to one of my favorite places to listen to live music, McMenamin's Edgefield.  And what better way to kick off the afternoon than with a pair of Irish coffees?

 We had the best time!  It wasn't too crowded, and there was back-to-back live music.  The Irish stepdancers of Yeates Academy of Irish Dance and Molly Malone Irish Dancers were there, and some of my favorite Irish bands, like Cu lan ti.  

We had Amelia with us all day--she loved the music, and Adam got to experience a St. Patrick's Day in Portland.  Not sure who does it better.  One thing's for sure--St. Patrick's Day is SO FUN no matter where you are. 

In the evening, we dropped Amelia off with family and headed downtown where it's REAL wild and crazy to meet friends at Jake's Famous Crawfish for dinner, which was genius, because with reservations, you get into the place, as well as the tents with live music.  These tents had a steep cover with a line around the block.  I will be doing this same thing next year! 

Adam and I at Jake's Famous Crawfish

Adam and I with our friends Stefan and Evalina

Adam's first martini xo

I can't think of a better St. Patrick's Day, and I've experienced quite a few crazy ones!  After dinner with Stefan and Evalina, we headed over to a friend's house where a bunch of people were hanging out doing Irish whiskey shots and sitting around playing Drawful2.  We joined in, where as usual, I came in with minimal points.  Got to bed at 1AM, and luckily was called off work in the morning.  Lucked out on that one.  Hope wherever you celebrated you had a great time, too. 


x o, Karli

In My Garden, You Will Find: Lonicera involucrata (Twinberry)

Friday, March 16, 2018
Just a baby, this Willamette Valley native is a lovely addition to the garden we are creating.  Its black berries will ripen in late summer, which our backyard birds will love.  One of my favorite features of the twinberry are the pairs of yellow flowers that give way to a pair of black berries, hence the name "twinberry." 

I plugged this plant into the handy dandy Native American Ethnobotany database and found that many different Native American tribes used the bark as a pulmonary aid for cough and congestion.  The poultice of chewed leaves or toasted bark were used as a salve for itching or open sores, even to treat venereal diseases like gonorrhea.  Juice from the berries was used to soothe sore eyes.  The Kwakiutl Indians used the bark for sweatbaths and even rubbed it on their breasts to help stimulate milk production.  It was used to soothe sore muscles and as a treatment for arthritis and rheumatism.  These are just a few highlights--there are many other uses listed!  Check out the link above.

It gives me great joy to learn about the medicinal uses of plants.  Even if I don't use my backyard native plants as medicine, having the knowledge about how they can be used is important to me.  As I continue to learn, I plan to experiment over the coming years, especially with the various berries several of our native plants will be producing.

I still love this video on elderberry by Rosemary Gladstar, and have watched it many, many times.  I hope to buy Rosemary Gladstar's book, Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner's Guide

What is growing in your garden?  What medicinal properties do your plants possess? 

x o, Karli

Shoot the Breeze

Thursday, March 15, 2018
There are times I find myself engaging with a complete stranger about something trivial, and an unexpected connection happens.  A line, or a queue as Adam would call it, seems to be the perfect time for this--you're standing in the check-out line and someone behind or in front of you makes a trivial comment, and then a meaningful connection strikes.  Love these moments!

For many, many years, I have been following Kristin Espinasse of A French Word-A-Day.  She posted about this very topic a few days ago, writing about the French phrase "an invitation to talk to strangers" or "parler de pluie et du beau temps".  Defined as "to talk about the weather, to talk small talk, to shoot the breeze.

It seems these encounters happen for her in grocery store lines, too.  Consider following Kristin's blog--it's a great way to brush up on your French, and her posts are sweet little snippets of her life in Provence.

And don't be shy about shooting the breeze with a stranger!  You never know--you just might find a friend.

Walk Out Portland

Wednesday, March 14, 2018
I had to work today, on this day my children participated in the Portland walkouts to take a stand against gun violence in honor of the seventeen victims who lost their lives on February 14th at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. 

Adam came to Sam's middle school to show support.  I am moved by these peaceful processions to show solidarity and support for the victims of school shootings, and to put pressure on Congress to adopt gun safety measures, such as banning assault weapons like the AR-15.

It broke my heart to see my littlest daughter holding up a sign of protest against gun violence at her elementary school.  But we have seen some of the most horrific shootings at Sandy Hook.  I thought that over five years ago, when the Sandy Hook shooting occurred, that the lives of twenty little girls and boys my own daughter's age, would be enough to prompt CHANGE.  But it hasn't, and here we are in 2018:  


We need change now.  I don't know how we will reach it, as the battle will be long, but I believe when we stand together, anything is possible.

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