Tag Archives: WIlsonville

In which Ben takes a winter walk, and pretends to be a lumberjack

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Friday and Saturday, 12 & 13-Feb-2021



Portland doesn’t really see much winter. Sure, there’s a dusting of snow once or twice. Every few years a bit of accumulation, maybe. But nothing that sticks around for very long, and temperatures almost never get below freezing. Wilsonville’s a bit further South, and farther from the river, so we see even less out here.

Less doesn’t mean none, though.

This time, we got ice. Not a little ice either, but quite a lot of ice. Tree-snapping, power-line breaking, road closing and car enshrouding ice. Multiple inches thick, solid accumulating ice.


It was quite a surprise, actually. I’ve gotten so used to the regular weather of Oregon (sun in the summer, rain in the winter) that I don’t really even look at the weather reports. If I bike in the summer, I don’t bring rain gear. If I bike in the winter, I wear the rain gear regardless. It’s simple and predictable.

When I heard trees starting to shatter on Thursday night… well, that’s not quite what I expected to hear on Thursday night.

When I got going in the morning, the first order of business was to sneak outside and assess the damage… mostly because I’m understandably paranoid about my freshly-repaired convertible… since everyone knows that Mustangs, while clearly the coolest thing on the road, aren’t particularly resilient to falling trees. You know, unarmored canvas tops and all.

Thankfully, while quite a few limbs had fallen nearby (or slid into the car, in some cases) no real damage was to be found. The real issue was the sidewalks – with so many trees and limbs down, most of the roads and sidewalks around my place were impassable.

The roads were out of my reach – the trees fallen across the roads were huge, and fell in ways that weren’t safe for me to try and remove without power tools and far more experience than I have.

The sidewalks, however… those were small enough branches that my axe and I could do some solid work. A quick breakfast was had, and then branches were hacked apart by the energized Ben. Partially energized by the breakfast, but mostly energized by finally having a chance to swing an axe for a good cause!

With all of that completed, I put all the tools away and set out for a bit of a winter wonderland walk.

With rain gear secured, and a helmet on my head to protect against the constant icefall from the trees, I headed out into the great Wilsonville arctic wilderness! My first stop was exploring the nearby park, though on the way I ran into a few other adventurous souls exploring around, and we even grouped up to pull a few of the larger branches out of the streets and off of the sidewalks… but overall, I saw almost no one on my wanderings – the park was beautifully quiet, though the ever present sound of icefall and snapping tree limbs did keep me pretty well focused on the present.

It was really nice, honestly, and quite helpful for keeping a present mind. Which makes sense, since… you know… falling tree limbs and such.

I wandered, explored, enjoyed taking photos, and greatly appreciated the chance to feel the cold. It’s been ages since it’s really felt like winter…

In Oregon, winter almost always stays in its little box up in the mountains, which can be nice when you’re commuting, but it definitely leaves me feeling a little sad and stuck. I’ve missed waking up to a snowstorm, to snow days, and to forging around town through the cold on a completely unnecessary quest to get some silly thing to cook for dinner. It’s not about the destination, but it’s about forging out into the cold, and feeling like an intrepid explorer!

Thanks to this unexpected ice storm, I got to relive a bit of that adventure – and even better, it was all melted away by the time I had to get in the car and drive to work on Monday morning.

I guess there can be some advantages to winter staying in its corner, after all.

Poking around Wilsonville- Early October

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It’s finally Fall.

I mean, okay. Technically September is also the Fall, but… the equinox was on 22-Sept, so that barely counts. And even then, the air hadn’t started crisping up, and the leaves hadn’t fallen into that beautifully crackly carpet on the sidewalk.

That’s the real sign of the Fall – and one of those many little reminders of how much I love this season. 2020’s been draining though, even though it’s my favorite time of year, and so I spent the first chunk of Autumn just laying low – hanging out at home, going to the gym, and taking nice walks down to the river near my house.

Forgive the lack of awe-inspiring mountain views, but please enjoy some of the little smiles. The day-to-day sights that bring a little bit of happiness to my life, and give me that little extra spring in my step as I crunch down on a perfectly dried out leaf.

Oregon Wildfires – the air was not good. Mid-September, 2020

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September, 2020

 

Man.

2020 is just… not great, man.

It’s scary – I saw someone say that we shouldn’t think of this year as the worst wildfires in a decade… but instead, think of them as the best wildfires for the next decade.  Every year, they get a little bit worse… hopefully we can reverse it, but realistically…

Well, let’s just simplify it and say that I’ll be buying a heavier-duty respirator, instead of the small one that I’ve got now.  Maybe one of those ones with a self-contained tank, or hip-filter or something?  We’ll see.  I’ll look on the fire-fighters supply store and see what I can source this coming Winter.

For now though, the fires burn, and I stay indoors.

From the 10th to the 17th, roughly, Wilsonville stood on the world stage as having some of the worst air quality in the world – top 10 for almost every day, and literal worst for a few hours on the 10th.  My worksite was closed that whole time, though thankfully I already have a working from home setup, so it didn’t affect my ability to get things done too harshly.

Physically, it was rough – headaches, light nausea, that sort of thing… but again, thanks to already having a full fridge and a good set of facemasks, I was pretty well protected from the ash and smoke.  I just stayed home, and did my best to not refresh the air quality page and the evacuation orders page too often.

 

There’s not much else to say, really… I took a few pictures to give some visuals to it… so sit back and enjoy this quick glimpse into what living on Mars will probably look like.

I guess, since we’re having so much trouble getting a manned mission to Mars set up … we’ve decided to bring Mars here?

Sorry, that was the only viable joke I could think of for this whole thing, so I had to fit it into the blog post somewhere.