Portland – Winter into Spring 2021

When we last posted, we anticipated being in Portland until late January 2021 … little did we know that we would be here until mid-June!  Portland schools have reopened with in-person classes split into halves for 2 1/4 hours either morning or afternoon, four days a week.  Sammy attends the school where Brad teaches, so “someone” needs to pick him up around 10:30 each school day, with home-based education for the remainder of the day.  Of course for a seven year old, when you leave the school building you are “out of school”, so this presents some challenges.

We have been able to incorporate some ‘field trips’ into the school schedule.  In March we went to Taulatin River NWR which had a pleasant walking trail.  The wildlife viewing was not spectacular, but we did see deer, Canada Geese, a Bewick’s Wren, and we had a great view of a Bald Eagle.

The family took a weekend vacation to a ‘mountain house’ rental.  We joined them for part of one day.  It was heated by a wood burning stove that was perfect for s’mores.

The gray, rainy weather that dominated Portland’s weather throughout the winter finally began to break as April arrived.  Kajsa & Brad painted the house, changing it from a very pale slate blue to a striking slate blue.  The family all helped!

We also helped them purchase and plant 12 blueberry bushes.  The four year old was ready to help!


Kajsa had a local landscape designer visit and help with selecting plants for their front beds.  We had pulled out the old, overgrown arborvitae plants and helped plant the fifty new plants she purchased.  We think it looks lovely with the new paint job.

Portland has a beautiful Japanese Garden.  It is supposedly the most authentic outside of Japan.  So after picking up Sammy from school, we went there on a field trip.  It was beautiful and peaceful, but not Sammy’s “cup of tea”.   He was most excited about the dark-eyed junco that we saw.

Another “field trip” was to the Evergreen Aviation museum.  Home of the “Spruce Goose”.  Anders made a hit with the staff wearing his Space Suit.   The kids enjoyed the museum and their playground.

Spruce Goose

After the museum we visited a local winery for some tasting.

The kids did a butterfly hatching science project.  The butterflies just recently left their chrysalis.

Of course, throughout the months we have enjoyed Brad and Kajsa’s company, frequently playing cards (Euchre, 9’s, Canasta) and board games (Dominion and Wingspan).  Kajsa has introduced us to an Ohio euchre tradition — when you are one point from going out, you are “in the barn” and you put the scoring cards behind your ears to look like a cow (don’t ask me!)

And there has been time for just “hanging out” with the family.


We are now planning to remain in Portland until the end of the school year in mid-June.  We are both fully vaccinated against Covid-19.   The first week of May we are planning a trip to the Oregon Coast, Cape Perpetua and the immediate area, while Kajsa has a week off from work.  When school ends we will join Don & Eve, Kajsa and family, at Black Butte Ranch (Don in renting a house for them, and we will park our trailer nearby.)  Then we will be ON THE ROAD!  Crater Lake, various Wildlife Refuges in that area, Oregon Caves, Castle Rock NWR, Redwoods, various Wildlife Refuges around Sacramento, then off to Utah!

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