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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Easy Peasy Fudge


I think this was the first time I have made fudge. This recipe is so simple and so good. I can't hardly stay out of it. You can make this without the nuts.

3 cups of  semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick), cut into small pieces
1 cup chopped walnuts

Spray an 8x8 inch pan with cooking spray. Cut 2 pieces of wax or parchment paper long enough to extend outside the pan. Place them in the pan criss-crossed (this will create "handles" that make it easier to remove them form the pan).

Place the chocolate chips, condensed milk, and butter in a double boiler over a pan of shallow water on low heat. Melt the mixture, stirring occasionally.

Remove from the heat and stir in the nuts.

Pour into the prepared pan and refrigerate for 2 hours or more. Remove from the pan by gently lifting the handles of the wax paper. Cut into pieces with a sharp knife.

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Elk Rock Garden at Bishop’s Close

The Elk Rock Garden at Bishop’s Close, Portland, Oregon

What a delightful treasure this was, hidden in a residential neighborhood! I had never heard of Elk Rock garden and stumbled across it on Trip Advisor. This was once a private garden owned by Scotland native Peter Kerr, who moved to Portland in the 1888. It is located in the Dunthorpe neighborhood and overlooks the Wilamette River. 

Kerr, along with his brother, owned and operated a grain business. They both lived in a cottage on this property until his brother married and moved. Kerr lived in the cottage until 1916 when he and his wife built a larger home. The garden was designed by John Olmsted, who also created Central Park in New York. The property was donated to the Episcopal Bishop of Oregon in 1957 under the condition that it be open to the public.

The 13-acre garden features an array of shrubs and trees and a large collection of magnolias. Gravel pathways surround a central grassy area. An elevated pathway takes you around the perimeter of the property and up a hillside with spectacular views of the river. It is a very peaceful garden, a great place for meditation. There wasn't anyone there the entire time we were there, not even an attendant.


The Elk Rock Garden at Bishop’s Close, Portland, Oregon

The Elk Rock Garden at Bishop’s Close, Portland, Oregon

The Elk Rock Garden at Bishop’s Close, Portland, Oregon

The Elk Rock Garden at Bishop’s Close, Portland, Oregon

The Elk Rock Garden at Bishop’s Close, Portland, Oregon

The Elk Rock Garden at Bishop’s Close, Portland, Oregon

The Elk Rock Garden at Bishop’s Close, Portland, Oregon

The Elk Rock Garden at Bishop’s Close, Portland, Oregon

The Elk Rock Garden at Bishop’s Close, Portland, Oregon

The Elk Rock Garden at Bishop’s Close, Portland, Oregon

The Elk Rock Garden at Bishop’s Close, Portland, Oregon

The Elk Rock Garden at Bishop’s Close, Portland, Oregon


Two tired travelers!


Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy

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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Revisiting Columbia River Gorge and Multnomah Falls

Columbia River Gorge, Portland, Oregon  
A major highlight of any visit to Portland would have to be the spectacular Columbia River Gorge and Multnomah Falls, just east of the city. My last trip to Portland was in June of 2013, a much sunnier and warmer trip than our recent visit. To see how it looked then, take a look at my post from last year. This time, the weather was rainy, dreary and very windy. Michael opted to stay in town since he has an aversion to heights so I went along with our friends from Alabama, Paul and Cindy and our tour guide, Rick. 

The wind was powerful along the upper cliffs but by the time we had wound our way down the mountain, it was not so bad below. Several train tracks run alongside the river and meander through the dense forest and cut their way through tunnels under the mountainside. 


Columbia River Gorge, Portland, Oregon

The trip to Multnomah Falls takes you by several other waterfalls that are spectacular in their own right. Multnomah is the biggie though. At 635 feet, it is the tallest waterfall in Oregon. It is widely mentioned that Multnomah is the fourth tallest waterfall in the U.S., but according to the World Waterfall Database, this is not true (there are a lot of larger waterfalls, many of them in the state of Washington. Whatever the statistics, it cannot be denied that Multnomah is a stunning waterfall to see.



Multnomah Falls, Portland, Oregon


Multnomah Falls, Portland, Oregon

Multnomah Falls, Portland, Oregon  


Multnomah Falls, Portland, Oregon

Multnomah Falls, Portland, Oregon



Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy

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