Portland: The "Green" City

When our new town dropped off our trash cans, The Bean and I took a moment to stand in front of them, just staring.

Green is for recycling.  Brown is for yard waste.  And the itsy-bitsy, teensy-weensy, pocket-sized trash can is for regular trash.

It’s amazing how three different-sized trash cans can say so much without saying a single word.

After spending the appropriate amount of time gawking at the oversized yard waste bin and shaking our head at our new midget blue trash can, The Bean and I rolled up our sleeves and dived right into being green.

We read all the instructions on what Portland considers recyclable, carefully pondering every item we threw away.  We spent the week learning everything we could about recycling, about composting, and about all the proper do’s and dont’s of sorting and storing recyclables.  We got a second trash can for our house and set it up next to the first, and even went as far as crushing and cutting-up some of our trash in order to have it fit properly.

After a long week with a heavy learning curve, The Bean and I proudly dragged our trash bins to the corner.


We had a filled-to-the-brim green recycling trash can and a blue landfill trashcan with room to spare.  We had done it!  We had embraced our new, green lifestyle with enthusiasm.  Viva la environment!  Long live Mother Earth!

We stood there, heads held high, smiling proudly as we watched the trash truck pull up to our curb….

…..and watched it pick up both the recycling as well as the regular trash can, one after another, and dump them both in the same hole.

What the heck, Portland.


Remember, people, I am married to an accountant.  Even the little boring things like trash service are run with the precision of a navy warship.   Not only did The Bean call twice to double check all the details involved with trash pickup (recycling/regular occur weekly on the same day, and yard waste is every other week), but there’s a little color-coded chart hung in our kitchen with the trash pick-up schedule for the entire year.  

It’s both creepy and sexy – creepy that someone’s brain actually works like that, and sexy, because I’m married to that brain and it means I never have to worry about stuff like that again, leaving me at least 15% more space in my brain to think about horses.



I keep trying to finish my several half-written blog posts.

But then I look out my front yard:

And I find myself unable to unpack another box, much less sit down in front of my computer.

So I take the kids to the park:

Sometimes I head downtown and go to the park by the river:

And, well, once I’m there I can’t help but explore a little:

And maybe even walk along the river a bit:

When I get home, I realize I really ought to take advantage of the good weather and work a little on our rock wall.
After being left unattended for six months, the vegetation around our new house went a little wild.
When we arrived, we found this instead of a rock wall:

The green in Oregon doesn’t mess around.  It’s kind of like The Blob from the 1950s horror film- whatever it touches, it swallows up.
At any rate, the green was pretty, but not very good for the wall, so it had to come down.  After a day or two (working around the rainy days), we’ve made some progress at beating back the bush:

Slowly but surely, we’re getting there.

I even found a new friend while trimming back the ivy:

Is that, or is that not the creepiest root you’ve ever seen?

I’ve decided he can stay.  I’ve named him Siegfried, and he’s now the official guardian of the wall.

I’m not the only one who found a friend.  The DragonMonkey found a caterpillar while we were out trying to reclaim our property, and became immediately enthralled.

He named him Green.   “Gween the Caterpiwder”.  He played with him for well over an hour, trying to feed him leaves, giving him kisses, and singing him songs.  According to him, Gween was his “fwiend”, and “I wuv my fwiend.”  It took a pretty good song and dance on our part to convince him to release him back into the wild.  We have got to get that boy a bug cage.

Speaking of fun things to do, when the boys get a little older I think I’m going to spend a summer working on a treehouse.  There are the remains of an abandoned one in the tree in my front yard, and every time I look at it I get ideas:

Can you see why I’m having trouble going back inside?

Even when I do make it inside it’s hard to stay focused. 

Take a look at the view from my bathroom window:

Seriously— that is the exact view from my bathroom window.  I know that because I took it with my camera phone as I was sitting on the toilet going pee sat quietly in my bathroom and pondered how elegant and feminine I am.

Of course, I don’t spend all my time out exploring or working in the yard.

Sometimes I just sit on my front porch:

I have the world’s most incredible front porch.  If it weren’t for the Oregon mosquitoes which seem to think that I am the tastiest little morsel in the universe, I would drag my bed out onto the porch and just live there.  The photos on the internet showed a tiny, bland little porch – boy, was I surprised.  The porch is much larger than it appeared at first glance, the railing fits my heiny perfectly.

 I know it’s the middle of summer and that the weather is great and that I’m seeing Portland at its best, I can’t get over just how much I’ve fallen in love with this state when I haven’t even been here a week.  There is just so much to see, and so many places to explore.  When I open my front door I can smell green things growing, and rich soil, and clean, fresh air.

I can feel my blood pressure even out, and my pulse drop, and the knots in my neck relax.

We’re drawing up the plans for a chicken coop for the backyard, and on Saturday (weather permitting) I get to drive out and visit Scandia Morgan Horse farm.

Man, I love this state.