Saturday, December 12, 2009

Baby it's cold outside!

It's been a long week, with temperatures hovering between 10 and 30 degrees keeping water lines (and my fingers) unfrozen has been a major effort. We're warmed up now..... expecting a high today of 40 degrees! We had ice pellets and rain last night and there's something falling right now, but at 6 AM it's still dark and only 31, and I haven't worked up the courage to go outside and look. The trailer passed all the cold with flying colors I must say. I think I've been more comfy than many of my coworkers who live in drafty frame houses with inadequate electric heating. The birds at my feeders have been eating me out of house and home, and I found they've been very appreciative of the pound cake that didn't come out quite right, in addition to huge quantities of sunflower seed. They're going to miss me when we move out.

I have to say the most unexpected event of the week was a visit from the Goshen Fire Department. I was watching some crazy Danny DeVito Christmas movie when I started hearing sirens.... which didn't fit the movie, so I went outside to check it out.... a glow in the distance looked like flashing emergency lights, and low and behold,(insert the choir of angels singing) around the corner came three fire dept. vehicles - a full hook and ladder, a pumper and a van.... all decorated with Christmas lights. I waved at the one in front and out jumped a guy with a bag of candy canes - we wished each other Merry Christmas, and I thanked him and all the guys for all they do, and then I waved at the others as they passed by. They continued on around the loop blowing their horn and tweaking the siren........ a unique training exercise I'd say! and what fun!! Probably the closest I'll come to attending a Christmas parade this year.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Home Sweet RV Home

I've been here at the RV park long enough now to feel settled in. The fall colors are really popping out now that days are so much shorter and we've had a couple of frosty nights. I've got plenty of entertainment right outside my door, as you'll see from the slideshow at right - birds galore, and a little kitty friend who came to watch them the other day. I've counted at least 10 different bird species at my feeder - often all at the same time, but many are so shy that the minute I approach the door to take a photo they disappear. I'll say one thing, they are eating me out of house and home. If the volume of sunflower seeds that has disappeared is any clue it's going to be a very cold winter!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Moving on

Some of you know we've spent the past month madly packing. Our house sold, and with a 30 day escrow we really had to hustle! Steve just arrived with the u-haul at The Ranch this evening. I've been staying in the RV at an RV park near work. It will be a strange couple of months, but we've had worse! Steve will be back by the end of the month to cheer on the Ducks at the game against SC. Go Ducks!!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Summer Travels

I guess a late update is better than none!
We had a great trip in July as we wandered our way down to Nevada for the annual Happy Birthday America BBQ. We spent several days at Eagle Lake, just north of Susanville in California. We’d never stayed there before so it was an experiment. A nice quiet campground which we had almost to ourselves, a nice view of the lake, and though we never saw him, we had an antelope snorting and whistling at us every evening.

We lounged in camp, read, and whipped up a great new Dutch Oven recipe, "Pete's Pot roast". Check The Cookhouse blog for that. We took a side trip one day, down to Susanville to visit a bookstore and stock up on some California history titles, then over to the Belfast petroglyphs. If it hadn’t been so hot we probably would have stayed longer, but we got several nice shots, enough to study the glyphs at my leisure.

The 4th of July BBQ was the usual success. Matt won the croquet match this year, but my camera was acting up so I don’t have shots of the “awards ceremony”. There was a really good turnout this year, with some folks showing up that we hadn’t seen for awhile.

Closely following that trip was the annual Tailgate Training Camp. We tossed horseshoes, did several sets of 12 oz. curls, tent set-up, and the camp cook hustle, and I think we’re ready for the first game!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Coast Fork Cowboy Festival 2009

It’s 8 PM and it’s 82 degrees outside, and 71 in, so guess here I am?
I keep promising myself I’ll update this blog, so I’m starting with today and working back through events we’ve missed.
’Just got back from the Coast Fork Cowboy Festival up in Creswell. An evening out was my reward for spending most of the day putting garden produce in the freezer. This year the festival was a little different than past years. In honor of Oregon’s 150 birthday, and Creswell’s 100th, all the entertainers are homegrown Oregon stock. I bought CD's from two of the acts.... it's great to be able to hear them in person, sort of a test-drive before you buy!

Joni Harms is a local Oregon girl from Canby. In addition to being a member of the Grand Ol’ Opry she’s won a bunch of awards for her music, which is very western, not “country”. Her family ranch was homesteaded back in 1870. It’s not on the CD I bought, but she performed one called the Oregon Trail about a Texas cowboy following an Oregon cowgirl as she heads back to Oregon. I need to get that one! She writes as well as performs, and since I don’t track such things it was interesting to hear in her introduction to songs who else had recorded them.

The other album I bought is by the High Strung Band. This is a family band with three really talented kids. Their performance was mostly instrumental, which is the best way to really enjoy their great fiddle and mandolin playing. It’s really uplifting to see such talented kids.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Spring Camping

Ah signs of spring. The skunk cabbage is one of the first flowers to bloom.... very showy when you pass a swamp full of them. As far as the aroma.... the name says it all.
We did see a lot of these, as well as other wildflowers, on our recent camping trip to Nehalem Bay.
We met the Barrens there and had a great time. The weather was beautiful, though a bit chilly. You'd think we were at the North Pole, looking at the way Grayce and I were dressed. We had a lovely hike to the tide pools, and enjoyed the waterfall and all the starfish and sea anemones. More pictures in the slide show to the right. In the photo looking out over the dense shrubs you can just catch a glimpse of the top of our RV.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Spring is coming!!! it just isn't quite here yet... so what to do, what to do, to keep entertained untill it's warm enough for us fair-weather gardeners to head outside. My activity of choice has been to make small pieces of wood out of large pieces of wood - otherwise know as whittling, or carving. When I was in college I carved quite a few signs and sold them for for spending money, so I started one for practice, then took a class at a local woodcraft shop. It's been fun, and I've learned a lot I can put to use whilst sitting around the campfire. Here are a couple of samples of my projects so far.

The sign is a shortened version of the ones I made in college.... it was a small piece of wood so I had to shorten the full statement:

The first carving class I attended had several small practice projects. Not too exciting, but they were good practice for technique.

The next class had a rabbit as the project - in honor of Easter. I chose to customize mine with a bit of western flavor. Meet Texas Ranger Jack A. Lope. You can't quite see it from this angle, but he has a ranger badge on the left side of his little vest.

I'm not sure what I'll do with him, but he was fun to carve, and paint. My next project will be some kid of forest spirit - we'll see how that comes out!

In the meantime, Steve's catching up on things that fell apart or were neglected while he was basking in the Texas sun. And then, camping season is coming up, so he's got the rig to get ready. We're traveling to Nehalem Bay in a little over a week, so maybe we'll have some pics to share from the trip!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Oregon Trail ????

I got back from Texas last Monday. I stopped in Seal Beach and visited with my family. Had a nice visit and a welcome break from the drive.

I had no vehicle problems or weather problems heading home. I enjoyed the lowered fuel prices. Can anyone explain why diesel was the cheapest in Yuma, AZ. I paid $1.75 a gallon there while paying $2.05/$2.12 elsewhere.

It is sure cold here. I enjoyed above average temp's in San Marcos during my 3 months there. Mostly average in upper 70's and 80's.

My plans now include getting the taxes done, packing and sorting, keep the house ready to sell, and some work on the trailers and such.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Headin' Home

Well, Steve has had to leave the balmy skies of Texas behind. He's on his way home.... wait 'til he sees the to-do list waiting for him! Ha! He won't have time to complain about the chill and the rain!
Really, spring is on the way here. The tulips are pushing up leaves, trees getting ready to bloom. It just isn't warm yet! It's a good time to get out the maps and plot some camping trips, so that's on the to-do list also.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Home Improvements

In case anyone thinks Steve is just on vacation while he's in TX I thought I'd post some evidence of his progress. Maybe he'll chime in with a few more details later. He did describe the joys of wall texturizing in his post on Jan.14th so check that out. Click in the center of the slide show just to the right of this column and it will open up the album, click "slide show" at the top left and you can see full-size photos with the captions.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Caught the robber!

It's been awhile since I've posted anything - not too much exciting going on in the foggy, cold northwest! I do have to stake my claim as a successful trapper however.... This rascal has been stealing cat food, shredding the storage container and the panel that covers the cat door in the shop, scaring fish in the pond (and swiping one occasionally I suspect) for several months. Earlier efforts at trapping were unsuccessful but I think the cold weather made the pot of cat food more appealing. All I can say is, I'm glad I never met this guy in a dark alley.

Look at the photo closely - that flat panel is the trigger - it used to be attached to the cage, but not anymore! There was also a little tuna can in the corner (it held the bait) it used to be attached to the cage by a couple of wire attachments too - not anymore. The trap is made out of bent wire fencing surrounded by a layer of chicken wire.... not anymore! The 'coon tore away the chicken wire and excavated a hole big enough to bury a chicken in his unsuccessful attempts to get out.

A lively 20 pound 'coon in a wire trap is a handful - especially at 7:30 in the morning when you have to get to work. Bless his heart, my neighbor Jim offered to take the critter upriver and "give him a new home." I hope it's far enough away that he's become someone else's problem and doesn' t come back here. I hate to think of the alternative. There's certainly something appealing about a raccoon - they're smart, they're cute, they have "hands" and eat the same things we do... well, close. I haven't eaten much cat kibble lately! I guess I admire their ingenuity and stamina... 'just wish this one would demonstrate it somewhere else! Respect aside, if he comes back he's getting turned into a hat! Adams Taxidermy just set up shop only a mile down the road!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

News from the Republic

Howdy y'all! I'm taking a break from taping dry wall. I'm painting several walls and taping and mudding some dry wall.......I look like the abominable snowman. The weather here is very variable in temperature. We have had some days in the 80's and a lot in the 60-70's and a few cold nights. It has been sunny for the most part. Over the weekend Kendra, Skot, and Mahoney helped me cut down some dead trees. Had a nice time and fed 'em a steak dinner.

I miss the wife but I won't head home until I get the painting done and some other projects done unless the house sells in Oregon. We had another offer from a guy who made and offer last May. The guy offered 40,000 less than he did we declined any further negotiations.

I enjoyed the end of football season and watched most of the games over the bowl season. I bought a big screen HD set from Kendra and really have enjoyed it.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Happy New Year everyone!

What a busy holiday we had. I barely got out of Oregon ahead of a pretty nasty storm, and was very happy to arrive in the mild Texas winter weather. Two weeks few by with the regular holiday festivities and a little bit of work on the place. Steve will be there for another month or two, painting, tractoring, cutting down trees..... fun stuff! I'm supposed to be keeping up with the chores here in Oregon, but the weather isn't "conducive" . . . though my little weather station says "sun" it's misting right now, and it's all of 41 degrees (we're expecting a high of 50, while San Marcos is expecting 61 - cold for them!)

I've got a nice fire going out in the shop to warm it up and will be working on storing all the Christmas lights I took down yesterday. It was a very modest display compared to past years, due to the fact that it was just me putting it up, but I did come up with a new display for one of the flower beds.... a tomato cage turned into a tree surrounded by silk poinsettias. The "tree" was so thick with lights that it looked green during the day and my neighbor actually thought I had planted a small tree in the tub!

One of my hobbies while in TX is trying to outwit the squirrels. I thought I had it this time, with a very clever Rube Goldberg type of pulley arrangement for hanging the feeder. Steve said two days after I left they had it figured out.... apparently launching from the tree and flying over to grab the feeder, somewhat like the Flying Wilendas!

I'm proceeding with packing and tossing preparatory to an eventual move. How did we ever accumulate so much STUFF! I don't think I could have ever managed to put my life into a covered wagon and head west. It would have taken several wagons!