Friday, August 26, 2011

September Serendipity

This is my list of free and low cost events around the greater Portland area for the month of September.  I compile this list for the homeschool group that we belong to, which includes kids 9 and under.  I look for events that have some educational or cultural value which do not specifically exclude this age group, and many have wider appeal.  This month's guest celebrity proofreader is Tonje Langeteig.  So with that in mind, please doublecheck any event for typos, mistakes, and cancellations.  (Just kidding, Tonje!)

September is when corn mazes and pumpkin patches open, and pears and apples ripen at pick your own farms. Check for a special listing of pumpkin patches and corn mazes. Check for even more local farms. 

Swift Watch”, most every evening in September, Chapman School, 1445 NW 26th Ave., Pdx. Free. This is an incredible natural phenomena that everyone should see. Every year, there is a tremendous migration of Vaux’s Swifts passing through Portland, and they have been roosting on September nights inside a chimney at the Chapman School for years. Each evening at sunset, huge flocks gather, swooping and circling before finally diving into the chimney for the night. Raptors naturally see this as an all-you-can-catch buffet, so they can be seen doing their best to snatch the fast little birds. You can witness this amazing event perfectly well without binoculars, etc. and it’s thrilling even for little kids. Humans similarly gather in large numbers on the lawn. There is a hill where the kids like to “sled” while waiting. Bringing an old piece of cardboard or two to slide down on, is a good idea. It’s in a residential part of the Pearl, but parking isn’t difficult as long as everyone is courteous to residents, and it’s very Trimet accessible. Lots more information on this amazing display here:

Oregon State Fair”, continuing Friday, August 26- Sunday, September 5. At the state fairgrounds in Salem. All the details here:

Oregon Symphony Waterfront Concert”, Thursday, September 1, 5PM Portland Youth Philharmonic, 7PM Oregon Symphony, Tom McCall Waterfront Park, 1020 Naito Parkway, Pdx. Free. “The annual tradition of launching the Oregon Symphony season with a FREE park concert continues with the much anticipated Symphony performance at Tom McCall Waterfront Park. No tickets are required. Bring chairs or blankets for lawn seating. Closing festivities include the traditional grand finale — Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture with an elaborate fireworks show, complete with military canons from the Oregon Army National Guard 218th Field Artillery.”

Ten Toe Express Walk- Historic Sullivan’s Gulch”, Thursday, September 1, 6PM-8PM, meeting at Lloyd Center Max station. Free. “Walk across a gulch created by the catastrophic Missoula Floods. Hear the gulch’s stories – geologic and human – and explore the neighborhoods along its rim: Sullivan’s Gulch, where large old homes and trees offer beautiful walking, and Kerns, where light industry has thrived for over a hundred years.”

Around the Campfire at Oxbow” has two great performances in September deserving of special note. “Rick Meyer’s Old Time Music Show”, Friday, September 2, 8PM, and Oregon Shadow Theatre presents, “Anansi the Spider”, Saturday, September 3, 8PM, Oxbow Regional Park, 3010 SE Oxbow Pkwy, Gresham, OR. $5 day use fee per vehicle. This is part of Oxbow’s series of summer shows for overnight campers, but we saw the Oregon Shadow Theatre’s show there last year, informing the park rangers when we entered and when we arrived at the show that we would need to be let out of the gate after the show was over, and all was well. Rick Meyers’s show is highly entertaining and he plays some very unique instruments well-loved by the pioneers, including banjo, guitar, autoharp, musical saw, spoons, jewsharp, limberjack, washboard, ukulele, and washtub bass. Here’s the description of the Oregon Shadow Theatre’s show: “Anansi the spider is clever, witty, foolish and greedy. He loves to eat and he hates to work. Anansi plays tricks on everyone and gets into a lot of trouble. In this story Anansi meets a River Goblin, fights a Chimpanzee, and plays a trick on his whole village.” These shows are magical, and outdoors in the park is even more so! and

Labor Day Weekend Carnival Extravaganza!”, Friday, September 2- Sunday, September 4, Train times at 1PM, 3PM, 5PM, and 7PM, Mt. Hood Railroad, 110 Railroad Ave., Hood River, OR. Al tickets $5 per person. “A celebration of hard working people” The Mt. Hood Railroad along with Cascade Amusements Incorporated will be celebrating Labor Day weekend offering train rides at our “LOWEST TICKET FARE OF THE SEASON” in honor of all you hard workin’ folk. There will be amusement park rides onsite along with games, food and of course, Train Rides. All scenic train rides are 30 minutes long and board 15 minutes prior to departure. Carnival opens at 12pm. Amusement ride tickets can be purchased in advance at $10 for 10 rides. On-site ride ticket prices are $3/ride or 10 for $20.”

Annual Dahlia Festival”, continuing September 3, 4, and 5, indoor Display Hours 10 am to 6 pm, field Hours 8am to 6pm, Swan Island Dahlias, 995 NW 22nd Ave., Canby, OR. Free admission and parking. “A must see for the dahlia lover, or if you just love flowers. View over 400 floral arrangements of dahlias in our two indoor display rooms. These displays vary in size from teacup to floor to ceiling extravaganzas!! This is the largest display put on by one grower anywhere in the United States! Floral arranging demonstrations and talk on dahlia culture, take place, twice daily during the show at 12 noon and 3:00 pm. Questions are answered from guests in the audience during this demonstration as they fashion colorful dahlias into elegant table arrangements or wedding baskets. Live dahlia tuber dividing demonstration 12noon to 5pm each day during the festival. You can also take a stroll through and view over 40 acres of dahlias in full bloom during the show. Be sure to take some cut flowers home with you to extend your visit and remember the beauty.”

International Vulture Awareness Day”, Saturday, September 3, 11AM- 3PM, Audubon Society of Portland, 5151 NE Cornell Rd., Pdx. Free. “Vultures are beautiful, they’re “nature’s recyclers”, and they need our help! Join the Audubon Society of Portland in celebrating International Vulture Awareness Day. Learn why vultures are so important; why some vultures species are endangered; and most important, learn what you can do to help them survive. This FREE family event includes displays, refreshments, and fun activities for all ages, including Crafts and Puzzles
, Children’s’ Photo Op, Storybook Time (of course with a vulture theme), Vulture Talks
, and “Fun Facts” about Vultures. You’ll meet Ruby, the Turkey vulture that lives at Audubon as an education bird along with the other education birds that are permanent residents.”

Guided Walks at Leach Botanical Garden”, Every Saturday, 11AM-12PM, meeting in front of the manor house at 6704 SE 122nd Ave, Pdx. Check out what's blooming and explore different sections of the Garden with your volunteer guide. For the walk on August 13, our gardener, Courtney Vengarick, will be leading the tour. These seasonal walks are free and appropriate for all ages.

Guided Nature Walks”, Saturdays, 10AM-11:30AM, Tryon Creek State Park. “Join a park ranger for a free, guided nature hike to explore the forest and stream ecosystems and natural history at Tryon Creek State Natural Area. Topics will vary from week to week but will be appropriate for all ages. Parents must accompany kids on all hikes.” September 3: Ethnobotany; September 10: Stories About Stumps; September 17: Conifers of the Creek; September 24: Forest Fungi.

Pioneer Farmstead Day”, Saturday, September 3, 1PM-4PM, Champoeg State Park. $5 day use fee per vehicle. “Join more than 60 costumed volunteers for a day of 19th century life! 19th century games, chores, music, and refreshments will be available. See wheat threshing and winnowing, butter churning, spinning and wool carding, blacksmithing, wood working, pioneer games, and much more…” This is truly a special event, with lots of hands-on history demonstrations for kids. 

Civil War Reenactment”, Saturday, September 3- Monday, September 5, Fort Stevens State Park, Hammond, OR. Admission Saturday and Sunday is $20 per vehicle, Monday is $15 per vehicle. (This includes the State Park $5 day use fee). “Daily Battles - Authentic Rifles, Cannons, Uniforms, & Strategies, Daily Battles - Authentic Rifles, Cannons, Uniforms, & Strategies, Watch An Army Surgeon at Work. It’s An Immersion Into A Distant Time & Place.” I called and was unable to find out what the hours are for this event! I was told that the grounds open at 8, and the museum usually opens at 10 but will most likely open earlier for the occasion. Maybe it’s like the real war, and will be fought pretty much as long as there’s daylight? 

Portland Pirate Festival”, Saturday, September 3, 10AM- 12AM, and Sunday, September 4, 10AM-10PM, now in St. Helens, OR, and with lower ticket prices than previous years, especially if you buy them in advance. Not only is the festival tremendous fun, but there are some authentic cultural performers and some actual history sprinkled throughout, certainly enough to get many young people interested in the real history of pirates, which is fascinating. Dragon Theatre Puppets will be there. (Alas, Captain Bogg & Salty will not.)

Mr. Ben,” performing Sundays in September at 10AM in Kenton Park (donations requested). He also has regular gigs around town. They are Mondays at 5PM at Mississippi Pizza, 3552 N. Mississippi Ave, Pdx., Tuesdays at 9:30 at Woodlawn Swap N Play, 704 NE Dekum St., Pdx ($5 for nonmembers); Tuesdays at 10:30AM at Milagros Boutique, 5433 NE 30th Avenue, Pdx, $3 per walking human, and Wednesdays at 10AM at Eco Baby Gear (but Sept. 28 this is not on his calendar), 2122 SE Division Street, Pdx, $5 suggested donation. He introduces playing the ukulele to kids as young as 3. “Though most people know me as a performer, I think of myself first and foremost as an educator. Music education is the real motivation for why I do what I do. I believe that music should be and can be more accessible to all people. My primary goal is to eradicate the myth that some people are simply “non-musical.” We are all musical, and anybody can learn to play music. Yes, even you.”

Stretch, Dance, Play!”, Tuesday, September 6, 3PM, Midland Library; Thursday, September 8, 10:30AM, Hollywood Library (free tickets will be given out at 10AM); Thursday, September 8, 4PM, Northwest Library; and Thursday, September 15, 10:30AM, Ledding Library of Milwaukie. “Jumping, spinning, leaping, soaring – so many ways to move. Join Growing Arts movement educator Iris Nason for an engaging creative dance experience. Children learn body awareness and creative self expression while connecting with their friends and families as they sing, sign, stretch, dance and play!”

Pittock Mansion Fall Migration Bird Walks”, Thursdays, September 8, 15, 22, and 29, 7AM-9AM, Pittock Mansion, 3229 NW Pittock Dr, Pdx. “Everybody loves spring migration, but actually the most interesting birding of the year at Pittock Mansion is in September. What with all the befuddled immature birds migrating through, you never know what might show up! Wink Gross will lead Thursday morning bird walks at the Pittock Mansion, starting each day at 7AM and going to 9AM or whenever you have to leave. Meet at the Pittock Mansion parking lot.”

Mimi and the Magic Pea”, Friday, September 9, 6:30PM- 9PM, Multnomah Arts Center Auditorium. This is a book release party for a new lavishly illustrated book by MAC director emeritus Leo Franz and MAC instructor Sophie Franz entitled, “Mimi and the Magic Pea”. “Ever had your parents threaten to move? Right when you’re in the middle of an important neighborhood war? Well, Mimi has to face up to these two fronts, and do some fancy foot work when a scheming witch steps forward to really complicate her life. Explore Mimi’s world (alleys, forts, the cavernous Arts Center, a magical house, and all of her special places). Get to know her family (dog, mom, dad, fifth grade sister, and second grade brother), and her friends (Waylon, Peachy, Roy, Greg, Mike and Miss Alida). The beautifully illustrated Mimi and the Magic Pea blurs the line between the ordinary and the extraordinary from start to finish. The forces at work in Mimi’s life (and the lives of her family members) continually straddle that line." 

A Walk in the Old Growth”, Saturday, September 9, and Friday, September 30, 9AM-11:30AM, Forest Park. $10. “Hike through a nearby grove of low elevation old growth forest. Along the way, we will discuss the natural history of the area and learn more about the old growth ecosystem. We will spend a bit of time in the grove, discussing the natural and human history of the forest. With luck, we may spot one of the bald eagles nesting on the property. This a moderate hike, covering roughly 3 miles of hiking over rolling terrain, with minimal elevation gain.” Register online here for Sept. 9: and here for Sept. 30:

A-WOL Dance Collective presents, “Art In The Dark”, Friday, September 9- Sunday, September 11, 8:30PM, Mary S. Young Park, 19900 Willamette Dr., West Linn, OR. Ticket prices vary. “Creatures of imagination soaring through the air, swinging from vines and bounding through the forest hiding behind trees. Set in the depths of a forest-y park, audience members sit sprinkled through the trees and witness a show full of wonder and awe. Aerialists suspended from branches, clad in brightly colored, creature-like costumes perform to an eclectic soundtrack of electronic-infused music under theatrical stage lighting. This experience is Portland’s best kept secret, it’s memorable, and all who attend return the next year with a friend. Art in the Dark is a full length, evening production set in a unique and rare outdoor theater style setting. The show is enjoyed by all ages.” A-WOL are amazing, and they offer classes in aerial acrobatics to adults and kids.

Oaks Park Not Back To School Day”, Friday, Sept. 9, 11AM-4PM. “Discounted ride bracelet price of $10.00 for home schoolers and their families.” They do not traditionally request proof of homeschooling status. Be there or be square!

West Linn Arts Festival”, Saturday, September 10, 10AM-6PM, and Sunday, September 11, 10AM-5PM, ball field at Willamette Park, 1100 12th St., West Linn, OR. “A wide variety of artwork from approximately 100 top artists from the Pacific Northwest, Great music, Delicious food and drinks, and many other attractions designed to welcome families and kids of all ages.”

Muddy Boot Organic Festival”, Saturday, September 10- Sunday September 11, at St. Philip Neri Church, 2408 SE 16th Avenue, $7 for 13 and older, $5 in advance, 12 and under free. “The Muddy Boot Organic Festival is a bustling 
sustainability-themed Outdoor Festival featuring live music; sustainably 
produced food, beer and wine; information booths and vendors selling green
 goods; educational workshops; discussion panels and fun activities for families and children. The theme of this year’s festival is ‘Health + Happiness: Sustaining Vibrant Communities."

Lone Fir Cemetery Guided Walking Tour”, Saturday, September 10, 10AM-12PM, entrance at SE 26th Street between Stark and Morrison Sts, Pdx. $10 suggested donation. “Come for an informal history lesson while enjoying the beauty and tranquility of Lone Fir Pioneer Cemetery in SE Portland. Friends of Lone Fir Cemetery conducts monthly tours, highlighting Portland’s founders, pioneers, its famous and infamous alike, as well as interesting headstones and monuments. Come visit this hidden jewel! Explore 30 acres of mature trees, a very special rose garden and fascinating architecture in this unique place, the only cemetery in Portland listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Suitable for all ages. No advance registration required. Meet in the center of the cemetery, at the soldiers’ monument.” Lone Fir was the first public cemetery in Portland, and a tour is a must for anyone learning about local history.

Mid-Autumn Festival”, Saturday, September 10, 2PM, Gregory Heights Library; and Monday, September 12, 3:30PM, Woodstock Library. “Join family and friends in celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival, one of the oldest and best-loved holidays in Vietnam and China. Make a paper lantern with artist Jean Choy and enjoy snacks. Knowledge of Chinese is not necessary, but adds to the fun.” 

Ten Toes Express- Going to the River”, Saturday, September 10, 9AM-11AM, meeting at N. Prescott Max Station. Free. “Walk from the Overlook neighborhood to Swan Island and explore the scenic viewpoints of the working Willamette River and the history of harbor and shipbuilding in Portland.” 

Nadaka Nature Park and Garden Project and Education Birds”, Saturday, September 10, 10AM-2PM, Nadaka Nature Park, NE 176th Ave and NE Pacific St, Gresham, OR. “Get to know Nadaka Nature Park and Garden Project and visit Audubon Society of Portland's Educational Birds. In 2009 Audubon Society of Portland worked with the Wilkes East Neighborhood Association, Trust for Public Land, and the City of Gresham to purchase a 2-acre undeveloped parcel known as the Nelson Property. Thanks to funding from Metro and East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District (EMSWCD), the successful acquisition of the Nelson property provides a key connector from park-deficient Rockwood Neighborhood to a difficult to access 10-acre natural area previously known as the Nadaka Open Space located just north of NE Glisan…The project brings together diverse community organizations to develop and maintain a community garden, orchard, rain garden, natural meadow, restrooms, and nature-based play area on the Nelson Property. Come explore and learn more about Nadaka Nature Park and Garden Project. The project brings together diverse community organizations to develop and maintain a community garden, orchard, rain garden, natural meadow, restrooms, and nature-based play area on the Nelson Property.”

Brick Builders”, Saturday, September 10, 10:30AM, Beaverton City Library. “Come and make a monthly connection as we create, build and challenge with all things LEGO. Registration is required. Please phone (503)350-3600 to register or sign-up in person at the Children's Desk on the first floor of the library. Registration begins one month before the session.” 

Van Oodles”, Saturday, September 10, 2PM, Kenton Library. He also has regular gigs, Tuesdays at 10AM at Sound Roots, 3954 N Williams Ave., Pdx, $5 suggested donation per person; Tuesdays at 12PM at Mississippi Treehouse, 3742 N Mississippi Ave., Pdx; Wednesdays 11AM and 1PM at Milagros Boutique, 5433 NE 30th Ave., Pdx, $3 per walking human; Thursdays at 10:30AM (except Sept. 1) at The Warehouse, 3434 SE Milwaukie Ave., Pdx;, and Fridays (except Sept. 2) at 10AM at Café Au Play, 5633 SE Division St., Pdx. “From beat-boxing and a cappella to funny accents and pitch-shifting, Van Oodles uses a range of vocal techniques and effects to bring his quirky cast of characters to life. More than just having fun, kids learn from Van Oodles songs because they can understand and visualize the lyrics: a bee stuck in the house, washing clothes on a Sunday, a ladybug taking flight.”

Shrewsbury Renaissance Faire”, Saturday, September 10, and Sunday, September 11, 10AM-6PM, Kings Valley, OR. Admission $11 for adults, $5 for seniors and children 6-12, free for kids 5 and under, free parking. There is also a $1 off coupon on their website for adult admission: “Come be thee blythe and merry at the Renaissance Faire! Just 15 miles and 500 years away from downtown Corvallis. Here enchantment awaits young and old alike as jousting knights and noble steeds clash on the tourney fyld while minstrels, troubadours, jongleurs, dancers and bards fill the lanes with delight. With over 125 artisan stalls and 1,000 costumed players, visitors can browse the village for unique hand made goods and one of a kind treasures while surrounded by Renaissance revelry and entertainment. Eat, drink, and be merry, for food purveyors are on hand within Friar Tuck's Forest, and children delight in games and adventures. The only Fair of its kind in Oregon, this exciting event offers an educational interactive adventure in history, welcoming families and children. Modeled on the merriest of elements from the times of Shakespeare and Elizabeth I, and set in the historic renaissance of 1558 to 1603, here all the Faire is a stage, and everyone a player!” This is a really large and festive Ren Faire which succeeds in creating a living history atmosphere better than most. Definitely recommended. 

Create Your Own Toys in Origami”, Saturday, September 10, 2PM, Albina Library; and Saturday, September 17, 1:30PM, Gregory Heights Library (preregistration required; register online “Paper artist Yuki Martin will introduce models of origami toys that are not only fun to make but also fun to play with! Featured models include jumping frogs, finger puppets, ninja stars, spin tops and more. Come transform an ordinary piece of paper into a three-dimensional form!” 

Dutch Oven Cookoff and Blackberry Jam”, Saturday, September 10, 11AM-4PM, Philip Foster Farm, 29912 SE Hwy 211, Eagle Creek, OR. $5.00 for individuals or $20.00 per family. “Oldtime music and dutch oven cooking combine for the perfect day to visit the Philip Foster Farm. Bring your instrument and join a jam session, or sign up to compete in the cookoff. Guests are invited to watch and learn from our excellent competitors as they vie for awesome prizes in dessert, bread, and main dish categories. Music Jam from 1:00 to 3:00 (musicians with instruments get in free). Cookoff judging begins at 1:00.”

Mosaics and Poetry”, Saturday, September 10, 2PM, Nortwest Library. Suggested for ages 8 through adult. “Help create the neighborhood’s newest mosaic sculpture! If you missed creating the sculptures in front of Chapman school, here’s another chance to be part of neighborhood history. Participants will make a small mosaic, using broken tiles. Then, your artwork will be installed on the sculpture at 26th and NW Thurman in front of Friendly House. You can also try your hand at making a French calligramme, or shape poem, where you write a poem inside a shape of your design. We will include a calligramme on the mosaic sculpture!” 

“Bird Walk at Graham Oaks Nature Park”, Saturday, September 10, 8AM-11AM, free. Preregistration required; call 503-620-7454. “Discover the many treasures of this 250-acre, Metro-owned, natural area on a free expert-guided bird walk with Elaine Murphy. Metro staff and volunteers have planted over 150,000 trees and 100 million grass and flower seeds, to enhance existing oak savanna and Douglas fir forests at Graham Oaks Nature Park. The result is an area rich in wildlife and fauna. Espy blue birds, nuthatches, perhaps even kingfishers on the 3 miles of trails that meander through the park. We’ll meet at the Lower Boones Ferry Backyard Bird Shop (16949 SW 65th Ave, Lake Oswego) at 8:00 a.m. on September 10, and then carpool to the start of the walk. The walk will last 2 - 3 hours.”

Music in Action!”, Saturday, September 10, 2PM, Central Library (free tickets will be given out at 1:30PM); Friday, September 16, 10:30AM, Capitol Hill Library (free tickets will be given out at 10AM); and Saturday, September 24, 10:30AM, Albina Library. “A freewheeling fiesta of songs, creative movement, comedy and audience participation led by the irrepressible (and bilingual) Rich Glauber. Using guitar, accordion and his joyful personality, he turns every show into a community celebration. Presented in English and Spanish.”

Barn Dance”, Saturday, September 10, 6PM-9PM, In the Manson Barn behind the Visitor Center at Champoeg State Heritage Area, $5 day use fee per vehicle. “Join the fun! Lively music, and the caller and costumed volunteers ready to guide visitors through the steps of reels, waltzes, and many more dances.”

Hardy Plant Society of Oregon Fall Plant Sale and Garden Expo”, Saturday. September 10, and Sunday, September 11, 10AM-3PM, Portland Expo Center. Admission is free, but the Expo Center charges $8 for parking, $7 for carpools of 3 or more. “The best plant sale in the Pacific Northwest, featuring expanded space for plant vendors; botanical displays; garden artists; horticultural books for sale.”. The Max Yellow Line Expo Center stop is right there.

Incredible Insects!”, Saturday, September 10, 2:30PM, Hillsboro Main Library. “Learn the characteristics that make an insect an insect, solve some insect mysteries, and talk about where to find insects outside. Our hour together will end with a wonderful story, the "Bugliest Bug." Class will be taught by Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve staff or trained volunteers. For families with children of all ages.” 

Sarracenia NW Open House”, Saturday, September 10, and Sunday, September 11, 10AM-5PM, Eagle Creek, OR. $10 per vehicle, which puts you on the guest list and entitles you to a free venus flytrap. Preregistration required; register online here: Sarracenia NW is an amazing carnivorous plant nursery that is not normally open to the public. “Many of the southern varieties of Sarracenia will start producing their best pitchers of the season! Tropical plants also perk up in late summer as the temperature cools down. September is often the best month to visit the nursery because it's often sunny and mild. We will also have light snacks, Voodoo Donuts, Hawaiian coffee and Italian sodas waiting for you.” 

Grieg Lodge Open House”, Sunday, September 11, 1PM-3PM, 111 NE 11th Ave., Pdx. “Everyone is invited to take a peek at what goes on inside Portland’s historic and vibrant Norse Hall, home of Grieg Lodge since 1928. Enjoy our hospitality and a showcase of Nordic arts and crafts including demonstrations of Norwegian folk dancing, Hardanger needlework, rosemaling decorative painting, cooking, and much more. Also building tours, and visits to our renowned library. The doors are wide open! Velkommen!”

Fogelbo Swedish Pancake Breakfast”, Sunday, September 11, 9AM-1PM, at Fogelbo, a historic Swedish log home at 8740 SW Oleson Road, Pdx. $6 per breakfast. This event is listed as “tentative” so please doublecheck for updates before going. “Harmoni Lodge and New Sweden offer Swedish Pancakes, all the toppings, sausages, juice milk and coffee in the gardens at Fogelbo.”

Second Sunday Series at the Plankhouse”, 12PM-3:30PM, Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, Cathlapotle Plankhouse, Carty Unit, 28098 NW Main Ave., Ridgefield, WA. Free with $3 day use fee per vehicle. The Plankhouse hosts a series of presentations on Chinookan culture, archaeology, and natural history the second Sunday of every month from April-October. Join us for "Wapato for the People" presented by Melissa Darby at 2pm. Darby will use archaeological evidence to examine how Native People used this important resource.

Orchids and Bamboo Ensemble”, Monday, September 12, 4PM, Woodstock Library. “Enjoy traditional Chinese and Vietnamese music in celebration of the Lunar New Year.” 

The Gift of El Tio”, Monday, September 12, 7PM, Broadway Books, 1714 NE Broadway, Pdx. “Larry Buchanan and Karen Gans will be here to present their memoir, The Gift of El Tio. In 1995, geologist Larry Buchanan discovered an enormous deposit of silver beneath a remote Quechua village in Bolivia and unwittingly fulfilled a 400-year-old prophecy that promised a life of wealth for the villagers. In 1995, geologist Larry Buchanan discovered an enormous deposit of silver beneath a remote Quechua village in Bolivia and unwittingly fulfilled a 400-year-old prophecy that promised a life of wealth for the villagers. Thus begins the couple's life-changing, ten-year journey in the Quechua community. and their evolution from outsiders to trusted friends. In alternating narratives, they present unforgettable characters in a clash of cultures. This book transports the reader to the starkly beautiful Altiplano of Bolivia. Its themes will also lead you from the world of black and white in to the paradox of gray. Dr. Larry Buchanan and Karen Gans live in Ashland. A portion of the profits from this book are being donated to the village of San Cristobal, Bolivia.”

Home School Day at the Oregon Garden”, Tuesday, September 13, 10AM-2PM, Oregon Garden, 879 W. Main St., Silverton, OR. Adults $8, students $6, kids 7 and under free. “Kids will have fun participating in the following educational topics:
• Wetland habitat & aquatic insects
• Fun with edible plants
• Forest habitat & wildlife
• Forest fire truck & wildfire prevention
• Tree and leaf identification
• Creation station
• Honey bees & the world of insects
• Tropical plant adaptations The Oregon Garden would like to invite all home school students ages 5-12 to a fun filled day of outdoor learning. Experience the beauty of the Garden in late summer bloom! Learn about your natural world and get inspired with fun science and art activities. We offer hands-on, self-paced learning stations throughout the Garden.”

Portland Taiko”, Wednesday, September 14, 12PM, Portland Center for the Performing Arts, Antionette Hatfield Hall Rotunda Lobby. 1111 SW Broadway, Pdx. Free. “Portland Taiko, a premier Northwest taiko drumming ensemble, returns to PCPA Noontime Showcase to perform some audience favorites from its large repertoire. Taiko is a dynamic and evolving performing art combining rhythm, movement, energy, and culture into a single art form. Through artistic excellence and innovation, Portland Taiko affirms Asian American pride, inspires audiences, builds community, and educates the public on Japanese traditions.”

Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus”, Thursday, September 15- Sunday, September 18, Rose Garden, Pdx. and

Mt. Angel Octoberfest”, Thursday, September 15- Saturday September 17, 11AM-12AM, and Sunday, September 18, 11AM- 9PM. Free admission to some events, cover charge for the Biergarten, Alpinegarten and Weingarten . These rates are different each day/evening; see website for details. Ages 20 and under admitted free with a paid adult. “There is no more appropriate setting for an American version of the "Old World" Oktoberfest than in Mount Angel, Oregon. The small community was settled by German pioneers in the 1800s and readily reminds one of the rich Bavarian countryside. Oregon's oldest and best-loved Oktoberfest began in 1966 as a traditional harvest festival to celebrate the bounty of the earth and the goodness of creation. It is Oregon's largest folk festival.” 

Children’s Book Fair”, Saturday, September 17, 11AM, North Portland Library. “Get free books and enjoy entertainment and activities including book making, button making and art tables! Storytellers and personal readers make up the People Who Read Center. Our superheroes Bookman and Bookwoman return to champion reading and fight illiteracy. Painted Sky’s Northstar Dance Company will be kicking off the Children's Book Fair: Do the Right Thing and READ! by performing a short dance program. By combining traditional Native American dance and music with contemporary elements of jazz, tap and hip-hop, this group performs a colorful, high energy show that celebrates rich Native American traditions.” 

Autumnal Equinox Celebration Star Party”, Saturday, September 17, beginning at dusk, Rooster Rock and Stub Stewart State Parks, $5 day use fee per vehicle. There is no formal registration for the event itself, just show up and enjoy the evening. You don’t even need a telescope to participate; other members are enthusiastic to share their views. This is a good opportunity for beginners to get acquainted. Come and observe your favorite objects and spend a wonderful evening with friends, and friends you haven’t met yet.” If you are planning to go, be sure to call 503-797-4610 #2 after 3PM on the day of the Star Party to make sure they’ve determined that the skies are clear enough for this event to happen. Lots more info here:

Aquifer Adventure”, Saturday, September 17, 12PM-4PM, Columbia Slough Trailhead, NE 166th Ave. and Airport Way, Pdx. Free, no preregistration required. “Big and little pirates alike are welcome to join us for a family festival all about groundwater! Play fun games and go on a scavenger hunt in search of hidden treasure - not gold, but groundwater, a precious resource that flows beneath your feet! Come dressed in yer finest pirate togs, or else the Cap'n might make ye walk the plank!”

Cooper Mountain Bird Walk”, Saturday, September 17, 8AM-11AM, Cooper Mountain Nature Park, 18892 SW Kemmer Road, Beaverton, OR. “Join Bonnie Deneke and Sue Carr for a bird walk at Cooper Mountain on Saturday, September 17 from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00. We will look for Cedar Waxwings, Western Bluebirds, and any migrants going through. It is steep terrain at Cooper Mountain.”

Campfires and Candelight at Fort Vancouver”, Saturday, September 17, 4PM-10PM, Fort Vancouver National Historic Site and Pearson Air Museum, Vancouver, WA. Free. “Join us for the annual Campfires & Candlelight, which allows visitors to walk through a timeline of historical reenactors. Visitors begin at Pearson Air Museum, where they walk through the museum's exhibits and then along the historic Spruce Mill Trail. Here visitors will continue walking back in time, beginning with a World War II encampment of soldiers, then further back to World War I, Civil War soldiers, Oregon Trail pioneer families and fur trade encampments of metis families who worked for the Hudson's Bay Company. Then, having walked back into time, visitors will enter the Fort gate and be greeted by Hudson's Bay Company employees throughout the reconstructed fort as they reenact "The Night of the Shark." The Shark was an American vessel that became shipwrecked in the mouth of the Columbia River and the Hudson's Bay Company at Fort Vancouver prepared to give aid to the shipwrecked American sailors. The timeline along the Spruce Mill Trail opens to visitors at 4:30 p.m. The Fort gate opens at 5 p.m. and closes at 10:30 p.m. There is no admission charged for this large-scale reenacted event, which is made possible thanks to hundreds of volunteers.”

Forest Grove Sidewalk Chalk Art Festival”, Saturday, September 17, 8AM-4PM. “This event encourages you to "release the artist within." Come and create a masterpiece on the sidewalks of historic downtown Forest Grove. Work individually or as a team. There is music, balloons, and other great entertainment. Come and join us. Saturday, September. 17th from 8-4 PM with a pre-registration opportunity on Wednesday, Sept. 14th from 5-7:30 PM at the Valley Art Gallery. Valley Art Association's Sidewalk Chalk Art Festival has been a Forest Grove signature event since 1990. The festival falls on the third Saturday of September every year rain or shine.”

Tart and Sweet”, Saturday, September 17, 2PM, Pastaworks, 3735 SE Hawthorne Blvd., Pdx. Free. Author presentation. “The craft of canning has undergone a renaissance, attracting celebrity chefs, home cooks, and backyard gardeners alike. Canned and pickled foods have become a cornerstone of the artisanal food movement, providing an opportunity to savor seasonal foods long after harvest and to create bold new flavors. Jessie Knadler and Kelly Geary's 'Tart and Sweet' is the essential canning manual for the 21st century, providing an easy-to-follow tutorial on small-batch canning and 101 sweet and savory recipes for preserved fruits and vegetables.” 

VegFest 2011”, Saturday, September 17, and Sunday, September 18, Oregon Convention Center, 777 NE MLK Jr. Blvd., Pdx. Adults $6, kids under 10 free. $1 off admission coupon available on their website “VegFest celebrates and promotes sustainable, compassionate and healthy food choices and lifestyles. This low-cost, fun and food-filled event welcomes everyone! VegFest features: Food Samples!, Speakers and Classes, Cooking Demonstrations, Ask the Experts, Family Activities, Restaurants, Non-profit organizations.”

Sturgeon Festival”, Saturday, Sept. 17, 9AM- 1PM, Water Resources Education Center, 4600 SE Columbia Way, Vancouver, WA. “This FREE family event celebrates the ecosystems of the Columbia River. 9:30AM- Steve’s Creature Feature reptile show; 11AM- Fish Dissection; 12PM- Scene a Sturgeon Photo Challenge Family Exhibit Display. More about the festival and the photo contest (open to all):

"Serbian Festival", Saturday, September17, 11AM- 10PM, and Sunday, September 18 11AM- 6PM, St. Stephen Serbian Orthodox Church, 11447 SE 27th Ave, Milwaukie (across from Milwaukie High School), free. "Delicious Serbian food including roast pig and lamb, desserts, live music, national dance, beer and wine, kid's activities, and more.”

Hood River County Fruit Loop Pear Celebration”, Saturday, September 17, and Sunday, September 18. “Bring a friend, family and have fun at our celebration at the peak of pear harvest. Hood River Valley is famous throughout the nation and the world for its wonderful pears. Autumn is the perfect time to take a leisurely drive on the back roads of the Hood River Valley, the largest pear growing region in the U.S. During the peak of pear harvest, fruit stands and attractions all along the valley's scenic Fruit Loop celebrate with special activities. Sample more than 18 varieties of pears, enjoy pear desserts, artisan foods, a glass of pear wine, live music, a corn maze, and more. Check out many varieties of locally grown fresh pears, pear desserts, pear wine, live music, BBQ, lavender farms, alpaca babies and more. Many farms feature picnic areas.”

Kids in Nature: Sensational Salamanders”, Sunday, September 18, 10AM- 11:30AM, Tryon Creek State Park, $10. Preregistration required. Suggested for ages 3-7. “Spend the morning as a herpetologist – explore the park and learn about the salamanders that call Tryon Creek home. We will check out pit traps, observe salamanders and learn about these secretive creatures.” These programs have always been excellent. 

Animal Skulls”, Monday, September 19, 3:30PM, Hillsboro Main Library. Preregistration required; online  or at the library. “For grades 1-3. Animal skulls tell amazing stories about how animals live in their habitats. Learn about different kinds of teeth, the main parts of a skull, and how to determine whether an animal is a carnivore, omnivore, or herbivore. Dress for a walk outside.” 

Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge Bird Walk”, Tuesday, September 20, 8:30-11:30AM, meeting at the Tualatin River NWR parking lot, 19255 SW Pacific Hwy, Sherwood, OR. “Join Barbara Allen of the Audubon Society for an easy 2-3 mile walk through savannah, forest, and wetland habitats. We will be looking for waterfowl, shorebirds, unusual migrants, and local resident birds. Registration is required, call Barbara at 970-209-9209 to RSVP (maximum of 15 participants).”

Identifying Hawks in Flight”, Wednesday, September 21, 7PM-9PM, Heron Hall of the Audubon Society of Portland, 5151 NW Cornell Rd., Pdx. Class is $15 for non-members. Preregistration required. (There is also an optional field trip on Saturday, September 24 to Bonney Butte- see website for details). “Each fall large numbers of birds of prey – hawks, eagles, falcons and osprey – fly south across the continent as they migrate to their winter homes. Individual birds seek out landscape features that help them stay aloft and avoid those that don’t. The result is concentrations of migrating birds at predictable times and places during the migration season. Helping beginning bird watchers recognize and identify hawks in flight is the focus of this class. A Saturday field trip to Bonney Butte, a hawk migration study site near Mt. Hood, will provide an opportunity to see many migrating birds and practice newly learned identification skills. Instructor Steve Engel spent four seasons at the Goshute Mountains in Nevada as an observer, counting migrating raptors for HawkWatch International.” 

Equinox Sunset Walk”, Wednesday, September 21, 6:30PM-8PM, Leach Botanical Garden, 6704 SE 122 Ave., Pdx. $15. “Preview fall highlights & enjoy some multi-cultural Equinox traditions. Space is limited; pre-registration required. To register contact or 503-823-1671 or pay for your event online.” 

South with the Sun”, Wednesday, September 21, 7:30PM, Powell’s, 1005 W. Burnside, Pdx. Author reading. “As one of the most successful polar explorers ever — and one of the last of the "modern-day Vikings" — Roald Amundsen left his mark on the Heroic Era. Amundsen's career of adventure began at the age of 15. Twenty-five years later he was the first man to reach both the North and South Poles. In 'South with the Sun', Lynne Cox, adventurer, long-distance swimmer, and author of Swimming to Antarctica, gives readers a full-scale account of the explorer's life and expeditions. She also recounts how Amundsen's exploits inspired her to follow her dreams.”

Portland Regional Gem and Mineral Show”, Friday, September 23 and Saturday. September 24, 10AM-6PM, and Sunday, September 25, 10AM-5PM, Washington County Fairgrounds, Hillsboro. Admission $5 adults, free for kids 12 and under. Free parking and excellent MAX access. There will be more than forty dealers and more than 100 exhibits, plus educational programs, kid’s games, door prizes, and much more.

"Professor Banjo", Friday, September 23, 6PM, Secret Society Ballroom, 116 NE Russel St., $8 adults, $6 kids, kids 3 and under are free. “Professor Banjo is joined by the Small Time String Band, Fiddlie-I-Ay, and Riley Calcagno - all contributors to the new album! Paul Silveria performs for families as the banjo-slinging, old-time singing "Professor Banjo" entertaining children with sing-a-longs, dancing games, and stories, all accompanied by lively old-time music that parents can enjoy, too! Professor Banjo's shows are fun for a wide range of ages - from toddlers to tweens who still like to get up and dance around!" Professor Banjo is awesome! 

Sobre Viviendo”, Saturday, September 24, 10:30AM, Sellwood-Moreland Library; and Saturday, September 24, 4PM, Holgate Library. “Join Ecuadoran mime Omar Vargas in a performance of classic pantomimes from around the world, including interactive games for children.”

TaborFest”, Saturday, September 24, 10AM-9PM, TaborSpace, 5441 SE Belmont, Pdx, inside the Mt. Tabor Presbyterian Church. Free admission- donations requested. This is the major annual fundraising event for this awesome community coffee house. There will be an open house from 10AM-6PM with kid’s activities, food, a raffle, free workshops, yoga, acupuncture, live music all day, a community bbq at 5PM and square dance at 7PM. Professor Banjo will play at 10:30AM.

A Pika’s Place”, Saturday, September 24, 1PM-3PM, Leach Botanical Garden, 6704 SE 122 Ave., Pdx. Free. Author reading. Come celebrate National Public Lands Day with Oregon authors Bobbie Snead and Terry Irish as they release their new children's book A Pika's Place. This authentic Oregon story describes how a mountain pika finds a territory of her own on our Oregon public land. Books will be available for purchase with part of the proceeds going to Leach Botanical Garden. Light refreshments will be served. 

Mt. Tabor Park Birding Walk”, Saturday, September 24, 8AM-11AM. (Come into the park from SE 69th Avenue off SE Belmont if coming from the west, or from SE 69th Avenue off SE Yamhill if coming from the east.) “Join leaders Toni Rubin and Dena Turner of the Audubon Society at Mt. Tabor Park as we check out the area for resident song birds and fall migrants. We will meet at the volcano parking lot on the east side of the park.” 

Autumn Lantern Mobiles”, Saturday, September 24, 2PM, Capitol Hill Library. Free tickets will be given out at 1:30PM. “Make your own decorative lantern mobile! Under the instruction of artist Cindy Lommasson, participants will paint a tissue paper ball in autumn colors then cut paper leaves to ‘fall’ from the bottom of the globe. Add a ribbon at the top for hanging and take home a beautiful, seasonal decoration for your room.”

Clark County Fall Exploration”, Saturday, September 24, 9:30AM-3PM, $15. “Adults and children 6+ (with guardian). Discover how bees make honey at Henke’s Honey Farm in Battle Ground. Then tour the scenic backroads of Clark County. Pack your lunch for a picnic at Lewisville Park. After lunch, tour the Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge.” Event #85805, preregistration required, register online:

Grupo Condor”, Saturday, September 24, 3PM, Belmont Library. “Enjoy traditional folk music featuring Spanish, African and Native American influences. Learn about the instruments and the importance of each culture's contribution to this enchanting music.”

36th Annual Cider Squeeze”, Saturday, September 24, 10AM-4PM, Philip Foster Farm, 29912 SE Hwy 211, Eagle Creek, OR. Admission $5 for individuals, $20 for families. “Bring your apples, press ours, or buy cider. Vendors, food, craftsmen and musicians all day. Fun for the whole family. Tours of the house, store open for historic books, toys, games and souvenirs, 1860's barn with corn-grinding and cross-cut saw, Build a log cabin, use the laundry scrubboard and wringer, check out our new wagon shed, and visit a living history log cabin. Blacksmithing and woodstove cooking demonstrations.”

Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival”, Saturday, September 24, 9AM-5PM, and Sunday, September 25, 9AM-4PM, free admission. This amazing festival is dedicated to the complete process of making things from natural plant and animal fibers with obvious cultural and historical value. In addition to a bazillion cool workshops for teens and adults, they offer tons of demonstrations and hands-on crafts. “Activities take place each day from 1–3 pm in the Activities tent on the central lawn. Some activities may have a small fee to cover cost of materials. There will be a special make and take‘ activity on Sunday at 11:30. Come create a rhythm instrument to use in the sing- along with the Eleanors at 1:30 pm. Watch for crafters and artisans sharing their specialties each day during the festival. You can pick up a daily schedule at the main gate information booth. Sheep shearing Sunday 9:00 am until finished. The Festival shearer, John McKergow, will offer sheep shearing services to interested exhibitors at Bay 7 (behind the livestock barn). Prices are posted and payable to the shearer. Visitors are welcome to watch! Duck herding. That‘s right, duck herding. Come watch the skilled bearded collies ably managed by Tish Pollock as they demonstrate their herding abilities by moving a flock of ducks on the central lawn at 11 am Saturday and Sunday.”

komedy 4 da kids”, Saturday, September 24, 3PM, Woodstock Library. “Angel Ocasio presents a bilingual and interactive performance combining physical comedy, juggling, balancing and magic.”

Polish Festival”, Saturday, September 24, 11AM-10PM, and Sunday, September 24, 12PM-6PM, 3900 N. Interstate Ave., Pdx. Free admission. “The Polish festival is an event for families and singles, adults and children, for food connoisseurs, music lovers, concert goers, dance enthusiasts, … It is for everyone. During the festival, we provide non-stop stage performances, including a few dance groups and music bands, polka contest on Saturday and Sunday, a street dance, delicious Polish food and imported Polish beer. The event is held on Failing Street between the two historic buildings of the Polish Library built in 1911 and St. Stanislaus Church built in 1907, both located on N. Interstate Avenue in Portland Oregon.”

Acorn Pudding and Extracting Volatile Oils”, Saturday, September 24, 8AM-12PM, Wild Food Adventures, 4125 N Colonial Ave, Pdx. $25 for adults, kids 7-17 pay their age, kids 5 and under free, $3 discounts for adult family members attending together, Native Americans, Scout Leaders, and full time college students. “Get hands-on experience on how some wild plants are processed for grain, flour, and essential oils. We'll see how to shell, grind, process and leach acorns so that they transform into wonderful additions to breads, muffins, pancakes, and pudding. By the end of the workshop we'll have gone from bitter acorns in the shell to a sweet acorn pudding that any normal human would enjoy. Also learn how to make a distillation setup from simple kitchen ware. We'll make a distillate from mint that you could use to flavor teas, use in cooking or aroma therapy.” Dr. John Kallas, who teaches these workshops, is a marvelous local resource. 

Dutch Oven Baking and Butter Churning”, Saturday, September 24, 1PM- 4PM, Cedar Creek Grist Mill, Cedar Creek Grist Mill, Woodland, WA. Donations accepted. “This is one of the most fun days at the Mill every year. Our visitors will be treated to fresh baked bread made from our own grain and enhanced with fresh churned butter. Visitors will be greeted and given a "Working Tour" of how this mill still works today. Huge pulleys and belts spinning above and below are turning and churning to produce flour, corn meal and even apple cider (the last Saturday in October). These samples are given to the visitors for take home and a first hand experience of the products. No gas or electricity are used, simply mother nature's water power. All that work here are volunteers and are more than happy to explain how this process works to any and all.”

Thurman Creek Watershed Hike with author Laura Foster”, Saturday, September 24, 9AM-12PM, $10. (The time for the hike is not currently listed on their website- you should doublecheck this with them before registering if it has not been updated.) Preregistration required; register online here: “From quiet streets in the Willamette Heights neighborhood to the Wildwood Trail, this walk highlights a watershed which once fed the wetland that is now the filled-in Guilds Lake Industrial Sanctuary. Serene streets, serene trails on an early autumn morning. Start at NW 53rd Drive trailhead. The walk covers the Birch, Wildwood, Aspen trails, streets of Willamette Heights, plus Leif Erikson and the Wild Cherry Trail.” More about the guide here:

Know Your Place: Oregon Humanities Event at Cooper Mountain Nature Park”, Saturday, September 24, 3PM-5PM, Cooper Mountian, 18892 SW Kemmer Rd., Beaverton, OR. Free. Preregistration required; call 503-797-1650 option 2. Oregon Humanities and the Metro Natural Areas Program are bringing provocative people and ideas together on a few of the 11,000 acres that voters have protected across the Portland metropolitan area. Filmmaker Matt McCormick guides participants through discussions and exercises focusing on astute observation. Drawing on his background in making visually striking documentaries about Portland and the Pacific Northwest, McCormick describes his creative process and how thinking cinematically can yield deeper experiences with place. Bring a notebook, pen and camera. Wear sturdy shoes. Bring water and a picnic, if you’d like.”

Bird Walk at Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge”, Saturday, September 24, 8AM-11AM, free. Preregistration required; call 360-253-5771. “Join wildlife expert Elaine Murphy on a free guided bird walk at the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge. With over 5,200 acres, this refuge provides wintering habitat for waterfowl and offers a variety of habitats such as seasonal wetlands, permanent wetlands, grasslands, upland forests, riparian corridors, oak woodlands, and cropland. Many geese, ducks, and swans spend the winter and many other species are found year-round. We’ll meet at the Vancouver (8101 NE Parkway Dr, Vancouver) at 8:00 a.m. on September 24, and then carpool to the start of the walk. The walk will last 2 - 3 hours.”

“Sing Along With Me (Canta Conmigo)”, Sunday, September 25, 2PM, Fairview-Columbia Library, Fairview, OR. “This interactive, bilingual program features traditional songs from all over Latin America. Participants will explore their musical creativity as they sing and compose music under the instruction of musician Gerardo Calderón, as he enthusiastically shares his knowledge of Mexican and South American folk music. Presented in English and Spanish.”

Neighborhood Foraging- Fall Harvest of Fruits, Nuts, and Vegetables”, Sunday, September 25, 1-4PM, Wild Food Adventures, 4125 N Colonial Ave, Pdx. $22 for adults, kids 7-17 pay their age, kids 5 and under free, $3 discounts for adult family members attending together, Native Americans, Scout Leaders, and full time college students. “We'll bushwhack through Portland's urban neighborhoods to find some of Fall's best and diverse delectables - nuts, fruits, and greens. Wild as well as landscaped edibles will be devoured. You will later find most of this abundance in your own neighborhood.” Dr. John Kallas, who teaches these workshops, is a marvelous local resource. 

Right Where You Are Now”, Sunday, September 25, 2PM, Powell’s, 3415 SW Cedar Hills Blvd., Beaverton, OR. “Craigmore Creations announces the release party for their newest book, ‘Right Where You Are Now’. On Sunday, September 25th at 2:00 pm, come to Powell’s Books at Cedar Hills Crossing for a book party like no other! Put on your favorite pair of PJs to snuggle up for story time, fun activities, snacks and a chance to learn about the past of our amazing world. RSVP at and your family will receive a limited edition signed gift from the artist. Meet author Lisa Montierth and illustrator Ashley Burke, enjoy a live reading of the book, show off your favorite PJs and be entered in the best PJs competition, and get a free entry to the raffle. Prizes include signed copies of the book, high quality limited edition art prints for your bedroom wall, gift certificates and much more! Right Where You Are Now is a bedtime story for children. Vibrant illustrations transport readers millions of years back through geologic time, from worlds of flowing rivers of lava to the tribes of early Americans. A new and exciting journey begins with every turn of the page. Right Where You Are Now is scientifically accurate, so it’s more than just a bedtime story—it’s an educational adventure.”

Forage Feast Sundays- Portland Parks”, Sunday, September 25, Free. Advance registration required. “Join fellow foragers in a monthly gathering of foraging and feasting together. Forage for wild edibles in the mornings at a local natural area, then head to the kitchen in the afternoon to take on the Iron Chef challenge of concocting amazing culinary delights with the day’s findings. Harvest plan: Acorns and possibly other nuts, if someone wants to share any good trees they know about. 
Dinner Plan: Traditional acorn mush. Acorn biscuits. We may not have time to fully leach the acorns in one day, so the actual dinner may take another day. Lots of details here:

Backyard Birds with Cathy Schar”, Tuesday, September 27, 6:15PM, Leach Botanical Garden, 6704 SE 122nd Ave., Pdx. Please RSVP to Bich Trinh by email or call 971.222.6139. “Backyard Birds with Cathy Schar. Photos and sounds of about 25 common backyard birds in the Portland area including resident and migratory species from hummingbirds to scrub jays.”

Surprise! Pictures”, Thursday, September 29, 3:30PM, Belmont Library. “How do you turn a snake into an elephant? Or a person into a monster? Look at books like "What is This?" by Antje Damm and Josse Goffin’s "Oh!" to create pictures that fold and turn into new pictures. Led by artist Addie Boswell, draw and color your own SURPRISE! pictures using heads and tails, and tops and bottoms. Great for children ages 5-10 and their families.” 

60th Annual Greek Festival”, Friday, September 30, and Saturday, October 1, 10AM-10PM, And Sunday, October 2, 12PM-8PM, Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, 3131 NE Glisan St., Pdx. “Immigrants for Greece began arriving to the Northwest in the late 1800s to work in fishing, lumber, railroad and other jobs. Settling in Portland they established their church, Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in southeast Portland. Moving to a new and larger church on 32nd and NE Glisan in 1952, the mortgage had to be paid off. The ladies decided to help by holding a bazaar with their handwork, food, pastries, music and dances from their homeland. This was the beginning of what is no known as the Annual Greek Festival which is one of the largest of its kind. The Greek Festival remains a wonderful opportunity for us to share annually with over 15,000 guests from the Portland Metropolitan area our beautiful Greek Orthodox faith, our cherished cultural traditions, food, music, and dance.”

1493”, Friday, September 30, 7:30PM, Powell’s, 1005 W. Burnside, Pdx. Author reading. “Charles Mann's study of the pre-Columbian Americas, 1491, was a surprise bestseller. Now, in ‘1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created’, Mann has written a fascinating account of the ‘most momentous biological event since the death of the dinosaurs.’ More than 200 million years ago, geological forces split apart the continents. Isolated from each other, the two halves of the world developed totally different suites of plants and animals. Columbus's voyages brought them back together — and marked the beginning of an extraordinary exchange of flora and fauna between Eurasia and the Americas.”

"19th Annual Portland Juggling Festival", Friday, September 30- Sunday, October 2, Reed College Sports Center, 3203 SE Woodstock Blvd., Pdx. Details TBA. "The Portland Juggling Festival is one of the largest regional juggling festivals in the United States, with jugglers from around the world and down the street joining together to share their knowledge and show their skills. We have performers, hobby jugglers, and beginners joining together for a two and a half days of throwing. Expect a big show Saturday evening, workshops for beginning, intermediate, and advanced jugglers, and vendors of every variety of juggling prop."

Friday, August 19, 2011


Justy's Produce in Milwaukie has organic, pick-your-own Desert King figs!  At $2.99 a pound!  The season for figs is very short, and they are one of those fruits that inspire some serious devotion.  I happen to really love figs.  Jasper's not exactly a fearless eater, and I've noticed it really helps him if he feels like he really knows what a food is and where it comes from. And figs are interesting.  They are not exactly a fruit.  Inside a fig are hundreds of tiny flowers.  Tiny fig wasps are their pollinators. The female, after she lays her eggs inside the fig, dies and is digested by the fig. Male wasps live just long enough to mate with females and chew an escape hole for them.  Females coat themselves with pollen and fly off, finding another fig to crawl into to lay her eggs.  Many kinds of figs will not produce edible fruit without their corresponding species of fig wasp to pollinate them.  But Desert King will, so never fear, there are no dead wasps inside these figs!   The ripest ones are soft to the touch and drooping off their branches.  They are a gorgeous pink inside, and very sweet.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Falls Creek Falls

A HUGE beetle we found. It made quite a racket when it flew.
Falls Creek Falls in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest is one of the first places we hiked after moving to Oregon.  We thought it was gorgeous, and decided to return. Any time of year it's truly spectacular.  Trail #152A follows the creek to the waterfall, so you are accompanied by the music of the water. There are two bridges to cross on the way to the main falls.  In the summer, the cascades that roll under the second bridge have dried up completely, and all of the trail is dry.  This time, we also explored Trail #152, which rises high above the falls to sweeping vistas of the forest and valley.  There were also far more wildflowers and gobs of oozing yellow slime mold to be spotted amidst the trees.  
A variety of wintergreen, possibly white-veined.
Slime mold was oozing all over the fallen logs on trail #152! Slime mold is a protist; not a plant, animal, or fungi. And it moves.
Prince's Pine (a wintergreen).
Indian Pipe or Ghost Plant, a true plant that does not photosynthesize, but gets its nutrition as a parasite, feeding on fungi that in turn feed on the roots of conifers.  They are abundant on trail #152.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

More Weekend Fun

"The Northwest Fossil Fest" at the Rice NW Museum of Rocks and Minerals promises to be pretty neat. It's Saturday, August 13, 10AM-4PM, 26385 NW Groveland Drive, Hillsboro, OR. There will be free admission to the festival and the museum, displays, fossil identifications, and kid's activities. During the age of dinosaurs, Oregon was under water, so the interesting fossils found here tend to be marine animals or newer ice age animals. This year's festival is focused on Miocene marine mammals. "North America Research Group is sponsoring a free event for families to learn about fossils, fossil collecting, preparation, identification, and display. There will be guest speakers--including Dr. William N.Orr {co-author of the definitive text on Oregon fossils} --informative displays, demonstrations, and educational activities for children." Details including a schedule of presentations can be found on their website:

"Taste of Micronesia", Saturday, August 13, 10AM-7PM, Blue Lake Park, 20500 NE Marine Dr., Fairview, OR.  $5 parking fee per car.  "Join the Micronesian Islander Community for the 'Taste of Micronesia' festival, a free event featuring cultural dance, live bands, and authentic cuisine from Guam, Saipan, Chuuk, Pohnpei, Palau, Yap, and the Marshall Islands." 

"Polynesian Music Festival", Saturday, August 13, and Sunday, August 14, 11AM-6PM, Uwajimaya Grocery Store, 10500 SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Hwy., Beaverton, OR.  "A free family event featuring food, a marketplace, en entertainment including the Elmonica Polynesian Dancers,  Kaleinani o ke Kukui, Hula Halau o Mahaia, Uncle Ross Oana, and many others."

"Into the Garden", Saturday, August 13, 7PM, Prior Day Farm, 9233 N. Bristol Ave., Pdx.  $15 adults, $10 students, seniors, and artists.  "A site-specific dance performance featuring Japanese Butoh dance masters Hiroko and Koichi Tamano of Harupin-Ha, and Arizona dancer and choreographer Delisa Myles."

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Trail of Two Forests

The Trail of Two Forests, near the Ape Cave at Mt. St. Helens, is really fascinating.  We'd never stopped there before, because after coming to explore the Ape Cave, we assumed we wouldn't have enough time left to explore there as well.  This time we decided to stop and see what it was like, and were pleasantly surprised to find that it's only a 1/4 mile loop walk to see it all.  The name refers to the present forest, and the forest that stood there 2000 years ago, until lava engulfed it.  Surprisingly, the lava cooled faster than the trees burned away, so casts of the trees are clearly visible. Upright trees left round holes in the rock.  Fallen trees left tunnels, and some are open to crawl through.  Jasper was at first reluctant to try this, but after the first time crawling through,  he was reluctant to leave!  A Northwest Forest Pass is required to park here; one can be purchased at the Ape Cave Visitor Center or online.  

Monday, August 8, 2011

Upper Ape Cave

A portion of the cave wall.
On a hot summer day, the Ape Cave's cool interior is very inviting.  It's a lava tube at Mt. St. Helens, a cave formed when the outer part of a lava flow cooled and hardened while the inner part continued to flow away.  The entrance is somewhere near the middle.  The Lower Ape Cave has a fairly smooth floor, and dead ends.  You have to watch your step in places, but it's easy for most children. The Upper Ape Cave is much more challenging.  This part of the lava tube experienced many places where the roof of the tube cracked while cooling and partially caved in.  The roof does remain high enough to appease mild claustrophobics, and no crawling is required, but there is much climbing over boulders.  The few places where the cave narrows are quite windy.  The biggest challenge comes about 3/4 of the way through the cave, when there is about an 8' precipice that must be climbed.  Footholds have been carved, but they are precarious to use.  My husband said they didn't bother him, and lifting Jasper up was no problem, but honestly this climb scared me. This year I made my husband  bring along some rope, and he tied it to a boulder at the top, which made climbing a cinch for me.  Tall propane lanterns are available for rental, and many people enjoy using them and claim they are superior because they provide the most light.  My vote definitely goes to small LED caving lights that go on your head with an elastic band.  I personally think the lanterns are fine for the Lower Ape Cave, but who wants to climb over boulders while carrying a lantern with glass on it?  Or carrying anything at all, for that matter?  I was especially determined that each of us should have our own light source and that our hands should be free.  We brought a fresh pack of spare batteries and had no worries.
Water has been dripping on this rock, probably for thousands of years, and has created a bubbly, eroded surface.

Tantalizingly close to the exit is a skylight.  
When we emerged from the Upper Ape Cave, we discovered a carpet of wild strawberries.  The trail back down to the entrance is full of small wonders.  Strange patterns in the rocks are revealed to be rippling, oozing lava that has since hardened.  Piles of buckled and cracked rocks tempt children to climb them.  Openings in the ground reveal lava tubes on a small scale that must be crawled into.  The peak of Mt. St. Helens can be glimpsed looming overhead.

A Northwest Forest Pass, daily or yearly,  is needed to park at the Ape Cave.  It can be purchased at the Visitor's Center, or online.

A brown millipede.

Sickletop lousewort.

A view of Mt. Hood.

Avalanche Lily.