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We just returned from a late afternoon neighborhood walk. It is a cool and mildly blustry day and when walking a windbreaker shell long jacket with a wool sweater underneath I was clothed just right for the weather. Back in my old home of sea-level town of Berkeley this would have been considered a cold day, but here at an altitude of 3600 feet there are different measures of what the mammalian body soon considers appropriate. Along our walk I met a dog named Brogan, a sixty pound lab type who was shedding his winter coat. He still had quite a lot of long hair but it was getting patchy so his bodies thermometer considered even the present nighttime weather to be spring like. Probably it is not uncommon for larger dogs to live totally outdoors in this area, human doors that is, and have only an unheated dog house with a cloth door to keep out the wind and some of the cold. My point is that this weather, although noticeably less balmy than Berkeley is easily adapted to by our local inhabitants.

One thing which I soon noticed is that everyone’s home here is thermally insulated and wind-proofed. That is in stark contrast to nearly every home I ever visited in my fifty years of living in Berkeley. People there believe the climate is so mild that they don’t need to bother with insulation, they don’t have double pane windows and don’t even bother to seal up noticeable cracks under the doors. Consequently, homes there, even the expensive ones tend to have a strong thermal gradient from floor to ceiling. The temperature there usually bottoms out at about 43°F in the winter, which isn’t very cold, but if the wind is blowing in under the door and the heater is on, the celing might be 80°F and your feet will feel like they are freezing. People living in apartment houses surrounded by other heated by adjoining apartments wouldn’t have so much of a problem, especially if they have small windows.

The Hollingshead Park (44.070 -121.287) is less than a half mile walk from our house and like our house is on the outer and flatter slopes of Pilot Butte. The butte is one of three volcanoes within the city limits here in the US, another one is also in Oregon, in the metropolis of Portland. Our volcano has been extinct for 190,000 years so it isn’t like living under the constantly rumbling Mt. Vesuvius, in Italy which threatens to erupt at any moment and destroy the city of Naples.

We have driven to the beautiful viewpoint at the top of Pilot Butte, and have walked around it, but we haven’t yet climbed it on foot along the circular path around it to the top. That is probably a local Bendite pleasure, the many visitors, short on time would instead scurry off to the more spectacular Mt. Bachelor and the Cascades. Back in my running days I would have considered it a pleasantly short jog, only one quarter of my ususal run, but now it will be a challenge even for a leisurely one hour walk.

By city standards Hollingshed Park is quite large being about 330 yards by 200 yards of groomed grass. It has many varieties of local trees and has the restored remnants of an early farm, complete with an old style farm house, a large barn and several other buildings, and a park like area of planted fruit trees. It is reminiscent of the farm near Homedale, Idaho where I spent much of my childhood. It also has a community garden where individuals can have their own mini-farm. I will watch what is planted there because I am considering having a small garden in a portion of our front yard, where there are already strawberries, and tulips growing. There is a short growing season, between the frosts, so gardens must be planted on certain days.

Living in Bend is easy because everyone has enough space and just walking the neighborhood is a pleasure.

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