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Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Ultimate Driving Experience?

The drive between Reno, Nevada and Sacramento, California spans a beautiful pass through the Sierra Nevada mountain range. The rocks hang over the edges of cliffs, waiting for the winter freeze to loosen their hold, and summer’s heat to bust them loose to slide down to the freeway. Some of their precarious positions worried me.

However, it was really other motorists that posed the perils on the last leg of our journey.

Three of those drivers moved in and out of our company as we simultaneously viewed the sights and their poor driving exhibitions.

Little Subaru took up residence in the left lane, maintaining the same speed as the car to its right, holding up both lanes of traffic.

Ms. Continental abstained from cruise control, but kept her motor mouth engaged. She passed us going 90, and then braked abruptly and rode flush on the bumper of Little Subaru. She pulled into the right lane and tried to bully the other driver as well. (Earlier, she showed her true colors by pulling out from between two trucks and nearly forcing us off the road. With no apparent knowledge of our presence, she continued to drive with one hand and talk with the other.)

Mr. Taurus appeared to lack mountain driving experience. His face was white and strained. I wondered at first if he’d eaten bad food, because his wife and two kids in the back seat were also pale and pinched.

Little Subaru refused to obey the signs that demand slower traffic keep right. I cut him some slack because the furrows, dug by the winter chains from heavy semi trucks, in the right hand lane were deep and rutted .

Eventually, Little Subaru’s annoyance of Ms Continental two-inch buffer from his tail lights won out. He signaled, jerked, and bounced into the uneven lane,

We were nearly sucked into the jet wash when Ms. Continental floored her massive engine and roared up the highway. A few moments later we saw the back end of her car lurching upwards and her bright red brake lights signaling that she had found her next tail gating victim.

We passed Little Subaru and then Mr. Taurus.

“Mr. Taurus has that look about him,” I told the hubby, “ that makes me want to be miles away when we get to that 4% downgrade ahead.”

The hubby nodded in agreement.

Therefore, it wasn’t a surprise when 10 minutes later the hubby looked in his rear view mirror and announced,
“Hold on to your hat, here comes the downhill racer.”

Sure enough, Mr. Taurus flew by us like a Whistling Pete. His eyes were wide and his expression maniacal. The wife and kids were in typical crash landing position as described by your friendly skies flight attendant.

“Wooo---- howdy,” the hubby hooted.

While sailing under cruise control we eventually caught up with Mr. Taurus. Hysterical laughter painted his and his passengers faces. They’d faced the mountain and survived.

For another 25 miles we played cat and mouse with Ms. Continental; we maintained a constant speed. She continued to swerve and bully, speed up, brake, and then slow down.

At last, the road leveled out and straightened its approach to Sacramento and the notorious highways of California. The three exasperating drivers soon disappeared into the throng; to be replaced by thousands more racing to get somewhere else.

So were we.

Sunday, August 26, 2007


Two hours into our road trip, a highway patrol passed us on a mountain curve. Three curves later we caught up with him before he even exited his car. It was early. I prayed that the driver was alive inside of there and not under the influence .The very first rest stop employed a congress of ravens. I took a picture so that Robin of Pensive would notice that they have a bump on their beaks.

Whereas Crows are happy to congregate most anyway, including inside the city limits, Ravens prefer the country. Ravens can be as large as some hawks. When I encounter a Raven, I think of Edgar Allen Poe. Once upon a midnight dreary.

Eastern Oregon. So much different than the green picturesque Oregon coast that Shelly Dupree speaks of with such longing and desire. I drove highway 95 (a two lane highway) from Ontario Oregon to Winnemucka, Nevada . There wasn't much between me and the open spaces except a few barbed wire fences. Once, after about a 20 miles straight stretch the road curved slightly to the left. The hubby opened his eyes and acknowledged,

"Hey! A Curve!"

On our 750 mile drive to California we left Washington, briefly entered Idaho, spent hours on the Eastern most edge of Oregon and put the pedal to the metal once we entered Nevada.Somehow, the hubby got to do all the freeway driving time.

We were on the road for 12 hours. When you don't have to fight traffic the road rolls at a much faster pace.

We got here early evening, which gave the hubby an
opportunity to perfect his grandpa skills on the newborn Dinkum.I put this picture in because the Ramblin Irishman is always loving on his grand kids, too.

Here are two that think a few smiles will distract Grandma
and her camera so they can garner some attention.

They were so right.

Hey - Susan in VA , Kila, JJ, Barngoddess, Wolfbaby, and all you other lovely ladies and your posing kids. Did these two know how to say cheese, or what? Peanut turned 2 on August 4 and Goober
was 5 in mid June.

Hope to find some time to catch up on my seventy jillion blogs I love to read. You all know who you are!!

I'm missing Fun Monday, but I'm going to try and find time to read the entries after bedtimes this week.

If I had the time to write for Lisa's topic "Why Do I blog," I might have said:
I blog, therefore I am.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Granny Blogger

Thank you Jammin' and Buttercup for my very special treat in the mail today.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Project

The hubby's project this summer: Create a small pond next to the house and a creek that trickles beneath the bridge and into the larger pond. Build a deck next to the larger pond on which we can set a table and umbrella. Lay a cobblestone walk from the patio to the side of the house.

The summer was busy and continues to stretch him in 100 ways. However, his goal is nearly accomplished. Just a few finishing touches.

In the meantime I enjoy the little babbling brook, the water flora, and my coffee each morning.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Fun Monday #30, Little White Lies

TheOtherBear is hosting today and she's asking for an awful lot.

She looks quite HOLY and we all know what she is wearing under the Robe. She has convinced me and I'm laying it all down, folks. I need forgiveness.


I was fourteen.

I was shy. (Oops, that’s another little white lie.)

There were two wonderful things I was looking forward to that fall: The annual Fair in Puyallup, and my first year in high school.

Like most kids heading into high school I'm sure I thought I was ALL THAT and more.

My best friend moved to another town, but she was coming back to stay with me and go to THE FAIR. We had plans.

Yeah.. the fair had scones with strawberry preserves, hamburgers that we ordered without onions, cotton candy, and snow cones. There were carnival rides and games. There were even rodeo events and display booths that could occupy us for hours. However, they didn't. CUZ...we were lookin' for guys. We KNEW they were lookin' for us.

It wasn't a surprise because it was part of our plans when two handsome young men cozied in behind us in line for the octopus and squeezed into the seat across from us. It didn't take long before we were enjoying the carnival and the rest of the evening as a foursome.

The Western Washington State Fair attracts folks from all over the state, and these two fellows were strangers.

When the hour arrived that we were supposed to meet my brother for a ride home, we told our new found escorts that we had to leave.

"Give us your names and telephone numbers," was their parting request.

I don't remember how my friend responded.

I just know that I lied.

"My name is Karen."

I don't know why I lied - well, yes I do - I didn't want my mom to know about him. I figured I'd never see the fellows again so my name didn't make any difference. It was my first experience in "picking up" a guy, in the most innocent of ways.

Has anyone ever told you that one lie leads to another?

School started the next week and I was higher than a kite with anticipation.

The first day of class is when I experienced the "Be Sure Your Sins Will Find You Out" clause. I bumped into him between classes. He was a Junior transferring in from a different school.

"Hey Karen!" He called to me as I kept walking.

When he caught up with me and tapped my shoulder, I had to turn around.

"Karen, I'm so happy to see we're going to the same school."

I gulped. And to this day, I still think about what a lousy thing I did.

"I'm sorry, my name is Pamela not Karen. You must have me mixed up with someone else."

I think he shook his head as you would if a fly was buzzing around it.

"This is just crazy, " he stammered. "You look exactly like her."


I'm sorry I never told him the truth. Having lied once was bad. The second lie made it impossible to pursue more than a friendly smile and a hello for the next two years.


Hey Other Bear, do you think you can forgive me?

There's got to be better lie stories out there then this one, so make sure you cruise over here for some real whoppers.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Yes, It's a Shoe

I suspected all along that they were out there.

When I awake with the first sunbeams through the Maple trees, I sometimes hear the distant whistle of a teensy tea kettle somewhere in the honeysuckle.

If I peak cautiously through the window shades, a flash of color disappears beneath the rosebush. Those leaves shape into fine little tubs to catch the spray from the sprinklers. Maybe the older ones enjoy a nice soak. The rest of them are familiar with the watering schedule and most likely take pleasure in a brisk but satisfying shower.

While weeding beneath the Viburnum I hear them talking; I recognize the sound, but you might mistake it for crickets. My innocent smile denotes my pleasure in the cadence but does not alert them to my clever discernment.

Sometimes it is frustrating to reach for what appears to be a perfect tomato, only to discover that they drilled into it during the night and hollowed out the ripened flesh.

Nothing in my garden is safe from the little marauding thieves. There are leaves torn in my basil and chunks removed from the ripest strawberries. The little trails through the beets and the carrots indicate the foraging is a daily routine. Sometimes the missing portions of the leaves in the bean and squash appear to be specific designs. The patterns are ideal for their impish hats, trousers, and skirts.

Then yesterday, one just barely escaped me!

A sweet craving sent Kim and I on a late evening forage of the small strawberry patch. I walked to the opposite side as she began pushing aside the greenery for a closer inspection. There were many plump berries available, and Kim’s fingers grasped the closest one.

That is when the little one made his self known. He jumped right out of his boot, left it securely in her grasp, raced away, under and through the camouflaging plants and dived under the fence.

“Oh look!” Squealed Kim, “A Little Shoe!”

I, of course, took a photograph!

Friday, August 17, 2007


I've been busy and distracted - some bad distractions and some wonderful distractions.
The unfortunate side effect no time to write or to water color. And it's going to get even busier for awhile. We plan on heading south soon to see our new grandson Dinkum. See his picture in previous post.

Tonight as we ate dinner on the patio we enjoyed the hummingbirds. There were three or four of them buzzing around. We have several feeders close by. The light was fading fast. I took one photo using auto focus, but it was too dark. My camera can be adjusted to let in more light, but by the time I could find my glasses and the instructions it would have been midnight.

So, I tried one with a flash. That little fellow was certainly surprised!

Our water hyacinth bloomed for the very first time. It is beautiful.

Curlymop came for a very short visit. She was beautiful, too.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

He Is Perfect

So my middle daughter says, of her son born at noon today.

7 pounds 5 ounces.

he's got
All his fingers, all his toes.
His mommy's eyes, and his daddy's nose
grandma's smile, and grandpa's hair
but grandpa's head is nearly bare!

Welcome... uh... I think I'm going to call him Dinkum.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Fun Monday #29, Favorite Treat

Beckie from Give it A Try, One Day at a Time hosts today's Fun Monday. She wants to see our favorite treats.

I love whole wheat fruit bars so much that I often have cravings for them. The ones pictured here are raspberry filled. Other fruit choices are strawberry, blueberry, fig, apricot -- you get the idea.

They are packaged and sold under a locally owned market brand. I'm sure the "Whole Wheat" thing is just a gimmick to make me think I'm eating something that is good for me. It worked. I'm hooked.

The other thing I truly love is chocolate.

While driving in Seattle this weekend I snapped this bumper sticker on a chocolate lovers side window.

That pretty much sums it up.

Check in at Beckie's to see other's favorite indulgence.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Objects in Mirror

are much closer

then they appear.

See! I took this one through the back window. It's definitely closer!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Reflection in Sugar Water Revisited

My accidental photograph magically transformed into fantasy by "The Artist Formerly Known as Purple Worms."

You meet incredibly talented people in blog land.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The Hopyard Hobo - Part 7

Written by my late father (1900-1977)

Part 1 of my father's short journal told about the depression and his experiences in California. Part 2 narrated a satisfying 5 weeks living off the fat of the land on a self sufficient farm in Southern Oregon. Befriended by a Hop grower in Part 3, he was hired as a chauffeur and then offered a job in the hop fields. Dad described his first impression of life on in a Hop Yard in Part 4. His high hopes of continuing the easy chauffeur type duties were doused by a hard dose of manual labor. The teasing by his fellow crew members and the young Russian beauties are not mentioned again. I think this says much about his discretion; Dad didn't kiss and tell. Part 5 describes a Hop Yard in the 1930's with detail - just in case you wonder where your beer has its earthy beginnings. Dad became the nozzle man on the spraying crew and a raise in pay. Nora, the bosses daughter, eloped in Part 6. He didn't suggest it in any way, but I wondered if Nora was trying to force my dad to declare for her by asking him to help her. In any event, he vowed never to interfere in a love affair again.
(My brother told me recently that "Putnam" was not really their name - Dad apparently believed he should not reveal identities. I think I met a very old "Mr. Putman" once when I was a child.)

Here is Part 7.

July and half of August had passed. We had already repaired hop baskets, patched hop sa
cks, and repaired the bailor (word smeared ) for a crop which Mr. Putman said was the finest he had ever seen.

The whole Willamette Valley was seething with the influx of hop pickers. They came in dilapidated old Fords, Chevrolets, Stars, etc. Some have real houses on wheels and look prosperous in spite of the depression. They brought the whole family, even to the baby, the cat and the dog. How they can haul so much in their flivvers is a mystery to me.

Many of these pickers were city people out to enjoy a vacation, enjoying camping out of doors and making some money besides. Others are known as rubber tramps, since their life is spent mostly on the road picking apples, pears, cherries, or oranges. Still others were college students intent on making some money for the coming school year. They were ambitious to accomplish something. Many of them knew not what, but they were going to try.

The great influx of hop pickers certainly boosts trade a
nd business. The town of Independence, Oregon in normal times has twelve hundred but during the hop picking season the post office handles mail for ten to twelve thousand. Stores, show houses, and in fact everything and everybody are busy. And Dan Cupid is in the romance business in a big way. Every type of romance was represented in 1933. Some lead to jealousy and hatred, some were only short infatuations that lasted for a day or two, while others continued for the season and will be renewed again next season. Married men and women flirted with other wives and husbands. All in all, this repeal of the dry law has revived a highly romantic business - - the large scale production of hops.

Most hop growers furnish camp ground, wood, water, and tents for the pickers. Putman's camp was located along the banks of the Luck
imute River, with nice, large evergreen trees for shade and windbreak.

Pickers begin camping about a week before picking time. When the twenty-eighth of August came the campground looked like an army camp or a tent city. There were about seventy tents, with one or two automobiles to every tent. The great depression surely had taken a heavy toll. Many of these pickers had been in permanent business up to the last year or two. Now they were out chasing seasonal work, or even mythical promises of work. One wonders how they will manage much longer.

Well, here we were, on the twenty-eight of August, beginning to pick on forty acres of Early Cluster hops. Twenty-four acres of Late Cluster were not ripe yet. There were nearly 500 pickers lined up with their big wooden hampers.

Hops are measu
red by baskets, two hampers making a basket, which weighs fifty pounds. It takes a good picker to pick two hundred pounds per day. Many never pick over three baskets. Their pay is one cent per pound. After a picker boards himself there is very little money left.

But most hop pickers are happy-go-lucky people, here today, and waiting un
til tomorrow

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Reflection in Sugar Water

Click to enlarge for sky reflection in hummingbird feeder
Not what I was aiming for, but I'll take the credit. (Yes, I was on the trail of a hummer and it buzzed out range before my shutter snapped)

Monday, August 06, 2007

Fun Monday #28, Aprons

Ms Cellania (ChrisB) is hosting today's Fun Monday. Her quest: I would like you to 'show your aprons' it can be your favourite or an unusual one or more than one. Be creative as you like; and secondly if, like me, you have lots of 'tea towels' that are brand new (or could be an old favourite) I would like to see those as well and hear the story behind the picture- was it a gift from a holiday, a present from auntie that you only use when she visits etc...........

I forget to wear an apron. I have a few hidden somewhere.

Usually I splash spaghetti sauce on my favorite white blouse before I remember. Or, while adding mustard to the potato salad, the container burps a dollop on my tan slacks. After those type of events you would think that grabbing an apron would be my first course of business upon entering the kitchen. My mom was more concerned and always donned hers.

Mom’s apron was forever damp from leaning over the sink or the stove. Beneath the waistband, it was soon threadbare.

In the early years, she wore a bib apron that required strings tied around her neck as well as in the back. However, as she aged and put on some extra weight around the middle she only wore half aprons.

Money was always scarce and a new apron was not a priority. In the event that a house dress wore out or became too small, mom would salvage the least worn material, cut a pattern, and sew it into an apron. When the apron wore out she cut the usable pieces into squares to be used as cleaning rags.

She was the original recycler.

The picture below right is me and my mom in her apron on the slope above our house. On the left, Grace, my mom's mom, looks just as I always remember her... in her apron. I couldn't find a picture of the hubby's Gram Jennie in her apron. But, I kept one of her aprons when she died. It looks like something she purchased in the seventies.

Grandma Grace had a half-brother who ranched somewhere in Idaho. He and his wife Eliza, in her apron, are in this amazing photo from the late 1800's. I hope Ree from Confessions of a Pioneer Woman stops by to see this one.

Grandma Grace's mother was Augusta.She wasn't camping in the picture at the left taken around 1900.
This was a way of life as the family followed the crops and greener pastures.
She's wearing her apron.

Great Grandma Bessie, on the hubby's side, didn't take her apron off when she posed with her family.

Most likely she was busy puttering around in the kitchen in 1944 when she was summoned.

There were so many great ladies in our family that wore aprons. I may go shopping for a special one just for me.
In the meantime, grab your apron and get cookin' over to Ms. Cellania and visit all the other participants in today's Apron FUN.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

The History of Aprons

I don't think our kids know what an apron is.

The principal use of Grandma's apron was to protect the dress underneath, but along with that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven.

It was wonderful for drying children's tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears.

From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven.

When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids.

And when the weather was cold, grandma wrapped it around her arms.

Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove.

Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron.

From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables. After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls.

In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees.

When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds.

When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the men knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner

It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that "old-time apron" that served so many purposes.

Author Unknown

Friday, August 03, 2007

Hummingbird Morning

Sub Adult Rufous Hummingbird

This morning I digitally captured him as he waited on a twig of the Cistena plum... waiting to chase away the other hummingbirds that dare to intrude upon his territory.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Sunflowers and Moon

My neighbor Bill is in his mid eighties. He spends most of his days gardening accompanied by his trusty dog Allie.

The other morning as I left for work he beckoned to me.

"Would you mind taking a picture of me with my sunflowers?" He asked. " I want to send them to my kids so they can see how big they grew this year."

Bill in his garden knee pads and gloves.

To his right and out of view there were some not quite as tall, but so large that the stalk could no longer bear the weight. This enormous head was bowing to the earth in heavy seed. It won't be long before the finch will invade his garden in a feeding frenzy of song and winged acrobatics.

This flower was at least one foot across.

That evening we drove about 17 miles out of town where I noticed the moon rising above the golden wheat fields and the mountain foothills.

And it's only just a reflection!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

July Perfect Post

Original Perfect Post Awards – July 2007

The Perfect Post Award is not a prize. It is a monthly opportunity to honor someone whose post made you laugh, cry, believe in magic, or think for a long, long time.

Stories driven by the simple events in the every day lives of my blogging friends draw me. The charming tale I chose to highlight today is no exception.

Susie Q !! Please accept my nomination for a July Perfect Post: M'lady's Tea Party.

I invite all of you to hop over to ~Rabbit Run Cottage~ and read the delightful narration and view the accompanying photographs. What could be more fun than a little girl's tea with dogs, cats, hats, and ker-splats? Although brief, it will lift your spirits and brighten your day.

Visit Lindsay and MommaK where the entire list of this months nominees are posted.