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Showing posts from November, 2013

Ending November

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This morning I took 8-year old Z-bub, 6-year old Dinkum Devo, and 4-year old Mizelle up to the lake, which is really a flood diversion reservoir managed by the Corp of Engineers.  It is a great place to walk and to bird watch.

Unfortunately, it is currently being drained. Or as they call it, "the draw down."   I'm not sure if it s done for repairs on the earthen dam or if it is just an annual event.  Each time there is a "draw down" the beaver dam collapses and the ducks and other water fowl head for other wetlands.  But lots of walkers, bikers,  dogs, and horses take advantage of the trails.  And hunters, too.

I forgot my binoculars but was able to see Red-tailed Hawk, Kestrel, Northern harrier, and a Bald Eagle soar overhead.  Using my cheap cell phone, I snapped this photo of the kids being rock-climbers on the dam slope.   The camera was safe and warm at home, snuggled in the cupboard with the binoculars.

The inversion that is currently above the valley kee…

Foggy Mind - Pumpkin Face

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After yesterday's feeding frenzy,  I woke this morning in a fog.  When I looked out the window I realized that I was in good company.  It was also freezing.  The calendar says it isn't winter yet.  Nobody told the weather.

I checked the heater in the bird feeder. I set it on the rock waterfall because the birds already flock to that spot.   That little device has been working overtime by several years.  I've wondered if it would wear thin and produce an electric shock.  It does look a bit worse for wear.




Jack Frost creates delicate filigree for such a cranky old fellow. The Yew is evergreen.  The berries are poisonous.



The Burning Bush.  Also warnings about Toxicity.

The Star Magnolia.  Harmless!


Mizelle's face has her own creative efforts from chowing down on leftover pumpkin pie.  Pumpkin pie - very edible.  Eating it at grandma's computer?  Dangerous!




ABC’s of Thankfulness

Last year I did a daily thank you note on Facebook.   Many people did the same this year, but not me.  I accepted a challenge to post daily on my nearly abandoned blog.  Because today is Thanksgiving I also challenged myself to sit down at my computer and quickly compose an ABC list of thankfulness.  Without stopping and without making changes.  Here is is: 


AAudubonBird Watching, of course.BBrothersFour of them.CCoffeeMy morning sustenance.DDaughtersThree lovely.EElectricityLight up my life.FFriends/FamilyGood Friends are Family.GGrandchildrenI would not be grand without them.HHusbandMy earthly rock.IIce-creamYeah baby.JJesusMy Heavenly Rock.KKeyboardAlways connected to my hands.LLoveWhat the World Needs Now ♪♫MMoneyMore would be better.  Snort.NNatureAmazing creation – all of it.OOatsHot with blueberries for breakfast.PPetsEven those cold fish ><>QQuiescenceWe all need a time out.RReadingB for Books was taken SSistersTwo remain... and one remembered.TTiresAnd what they roll…

The last Thursday in November

Always Thanksgiving.  The last Thursday in November.

The ones I remember as a child included dinner ending with pie.  Lots of pie.  I can't think of any of my mama's pies that weren't spectacular.

Turkey was so so.  I'm sure my aversion to meat was already in motion.  My youngest granddaughter does not like meat either.  When she is at my house I prepare an extra helping of whatever I'm having instead of meat.  She is happy.

Neither did I partake of the turkey stuffing in my early years.  Mama cut the onions and celery up so that they were  recognizable.  I was picky about that. I still am not crazy about hunks of onions in food, so they get pulverized before I put them in my dishes. I like chunky celery now.  Thank goodness my childhood antipathy for some crunchy good things went away.

Mashed potatoes and gravy was never left on my plate.  Licked it clean.  I am still a 'tator' girl.  Fried, baked, boiled, hot, cold.  As long as it is cooked.

In the past 1…

I claim Ignorance ...

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I claim ignorance because I don't have the shopping gene.

My complaint about the sizing of women's slacks/jeans came back to bite me yesterday.  I took my granddaughter shopping.  She's almost 17, so we toiled through places I rarely see.

Look at this:

cell phone shot I stand corrected.  But remain unfitted.

Through the Dining Room Window

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Today is the last day the neighborhood robins and friends can drink at the rock waterfall.  Tomorrow it will be winterized.
 Note:  Cedar Waxwing down in front

  You can see the net over the pond and on the lower level of the fountain which deters Herons and Kingfishers from having our fish for their winter feasts.
The pesky magpie!

In case you might feel sorry for the thirsty bunch, please know that I will be putting up my heated bird bath to keep the feathered flock coming back!  

Conversations with Grands (and other stuff)

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(October)
I took Squeak (17 mos) for a walk with his 9-year old sissy, Curlymop, and their  4-year old cousin Mizelle. Although there were plentiful leaves on the ground, the air was still and nothing falling at the moment. Out of the corner of my eye I detected a movement ahead and high above us.  It was one huge elm leaf on a slow dance descent. It landed right on top and completely covered Curlymop's head. She stopped, turned around, and looked and me with a questionable tilt on her eyebrows.  I smiled and pointed at the top of my head.  She reached up and discovered her adornment. She laughed, "Oh Grandma!  I though you patted me on the head." Later, I shared the moment with her auntie Karmyn.  She laughed out loud and said,  "I think that old tree patted her on the head!"

*****

(September)
Mizelle: Let's play SPY, gwamma.
Gwamma: Spy? How do we play that?
Mizelle (with an exasperated sigh): Like we did before~!
Gwamma, totally bewildered: You need to remind m…

Too Long

I purchased two pair of sweats yesterday.  One for me and one for my husband.

When I shop for any kind of  pants, jeans, slacks, whatever... I never pay attention to the length.   That is because I am short and in the fashion industry long legs are the rule.  They are always toooooo long and I have to hem them.  If I can find a pair of jeans that are marked "S" for short (not to be confused with S for slim) it is the exception.   Women's pants usually come in one length.  But if you are lucky, you can find them in two other lengths:  short and long.

My husband tried on his sweats and mentioned they were a little long.  I responded "welcome to a woman's world."  He told me he wasn't complaining, he was just responding to my query about whether they fit him.

That brought me to the age old question:  Why don't women's pants/jeans come in waist width and length like men's?

WHY?

An Old Cold Spot

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My brother Mike emailed me this photo last night.  He said this was a goodbye salute that he snapped today in his garage where this old freezer has been chugging away since 1988.  That was the year our mama decided she was tired of bending over and digging through it.  Besides, she no longer needed the capacity and hadn't for several years.



Mike and my sister-in-law  spent the next 25 years "digging" through this old freezer.  My sis-in-law was very good at keeping it and the cupboards stocked.  The two of them kept promising each other that "It is going to die soon, so we will just keep it until that day."

Twenty-five years may seem like a very long life for a freezer.  It is MUCH older than that. Sears only sold Coldspot through 1976.  I thought that my parent's purchased this freezer in the sixties.  My brother said he put the serial number 'on-line' and it matched a 1953 manufacturing date.   Here is a close up of the make and model that Mike in…

Hummingbird in Winter

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The thermometer said 18 degree on my patio when I woke up at 6:15.  I rushed out and grabbed the frozen hummingbird feeder and set it in hot water to thaw.

Then I found my art lamp and WR found some wire to extend the feeder over the 60 watt bulb.

Minutes after returning the feeder with its warming light,  the sun began breaking over the Blues and streaming through the neighbor's almost leafless maple trees.

And then ...


The hummingbird has survived the freezing night and is enjoying my thawed out feeder above my lamp.  Now, what to do to make this a more permanent solution.
Already I have had suggestions from mug warmers, hand warmers, aluminum pie plates with Christmas lights, and plumbers tape. Of course, I would have to find one of my glass feeders for some of those options.
Any and all suggestions are welcome!

A Sunny Day on The Creek

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A pair of Hooded Mergansers with the sun shining on the water.



A Great Blue Heron pretending to fish.  


An immature Horned Grebe:

A Typical Fall Day?

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I didn't get a post in yesterday for my 30 days in November.

Yesterday's birding quest in the morning ended in the middle of nowhere in a downpour.  Yes!  I did look at the weather report -  it was off by several hours with the predictions.

Grand Auntie Fern's check up at the clinic went well.  She is 104 and now in a care home. This summer she fell and broke her hip.  Things have gone down hill.  She is unable to walk.   However, her wonderful sense of humor is intact along with lots of 100 year memories. But short term has been zapped and she now thinks she is a little girl and wants to go home to live with her dad.   Her heart rate and blood pressure are better than mine; she may outlive us all.  Next week it is the eye physician, and the week after that is the dentist.  Hopefully there won't be any snow and ice until after these are completed for the year.

Lunch with my "almost 17" year-old granddaughter yesterday was fun.  We ate Chinese food.  My "…

Blankety-Bank

The people at our bank have always been wonderful.  They are just local yocals as are we.

A few years back a larger bank bought them.  Yet we still had the same friendly atmosphere.

This fall the bank decided to upgrade the computer system.  They chose a three day weekend and we were advised that during those three days we could not access our accounts.

We didn't think that would cause us any problems.  Well, we were wrong.

The first thing that happened after the switch  was our inability to view all of our accounts on line.  It isn't as though we have lots of accounts.  We have three.  One of them is a business account that we use to keep our small business ( and I mean minuscule) items separate.

My husband, WR,  called in the following week and the customer service person at the call center was able to work the problem through which had something to do with passwords.  The customer service representative asked WR if he used the bill pay.  WR answered No.  The business accou…

Sunday

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I took a walk above the diversion dam this afternoon.  I loved the sun reflecting off the stubble field, and the snow in the more distant foothills.

The wind was blowing and the birds were not active.  It didn't seem to bother the ducks, however.

This week my 4-year old, 6-year old, and 8-year old grandchildren made "shoeboxes" for Operation Christmas Child.  They found things that they really wanted to have for Christmas, too.  But I hope they learned something about sharing from the experience of picking things out for someone else.  The boxes were due at church today so I snuck around and took a quick cell phone shot right after the service ended.


Doesn't seem possible that the holiday is speeding towards us again. $igh.


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Cat and Muse

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My desk top around my computer is a mess. This is one of the reasons.


She knocks everything off the shelves, rubs against my screen, sheds on my mouse pad, and walks on my keyboard.

Wide and Perfect

The search for a dress to wear for my daughter's wedding has been discouraging.

Nothing fits.  My body has changed.  I've gained weight.  The clothes are yucky.  You name it.
Today I was downright blue.

On a phone call, the grooms mother mentioned that she likes to go to a consignment store in her town that often has some very nice and gently used dresses.  She had been there the day before but hadn't found anything for her.  Still, she encouraged, that doesn't mean I wouldn't find something.

I told my husband I would drive over there today.  I kept putting it off with other tasks and errands that needed to be done.  When he got home from school I had still delayed the shopping trip.  He offered to go with me.  It is an hour drive so the company would be nice.

The store was very small and I almost felt claustrophobic when I walked in .  You could hardly walk through the aisles for the racks upon racks of items for sale.

The sweetest young woman showed up by my sid…

Today's Headlines

 Vice President Joe Biden called the wrong Martin Walsh.

"You son of a gun, Marty!"  (Huffington Post)
The VP not only called a number and congratulated a stranger for winning an election, but then he called a second wrong number and did it again!

The Veep keeps us in good humor with all his little mix ups, which leads us to another fellow who mixed up music with weapons....



Man Attacks Cab in San Diego with a Didgeridoo.


'A Southern California man has been arrested after police say he whacked a taxi with a didgeridoo in an argument over the fare.'  (NBC News)


While we are on the subject of down under....



Pet Kangaroo Gets Loose in Texas.


'Midland County Sheriff says deputies thought dispatchers were crazy." (ABC News)

Wild turkey in my yard make me 'hoppy', but then I get excited easily.
And speaking of things that make me excited NOT....



Reports of Domestic Incident turns out to be Couple Building IKEA Furniture.

'A concerned neighbour reported hearing ba…

Where is My Cell Phone

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Last month my four year old granddaughter asked me if she could look at the photos on my cell phone.  I answered, "sure" and then went on with whatever I was doing.

Later that day I picked up the cell phone and found the following new shots in my gallery.  She was busy.


The land line phone in my bedroom:


The pink Anemones blossoming next to the patio:



The Lobelia in the front yard.  She's not supposed to go out front alone!



This one had me going for a few minutes.  ????  Scratching head. AWWW! The fish food container that Grandpa left on the patio table.

Grandma (me) at the computer through her own reflection.


There you have it.  The world as seen through the eyes of  Mizelle.

A Loving Son

A family sat in front of us at church this weekend.  We know Buzz, the "old man."  My husband played softball with him years ago, and now I see him regularly where we both volunteer.  Of course we see him and his wife across the way at church, yet have never  been more than friendly acquaintances.

Still,  I was very interested when I saw Buzz sitting with his wife, and what appeared to be children, grand children, and great grand children.  
They filled the long pew  just in time for the music to start and for everyone to stand up again.  One of the adorable babies began to fuss and the young father picked her up and headed out to the foyer.  That left an open seat next to Buzz's daughter, right in front of me. 
There was no hesitation when the other young adult male scooted around another family member and claimed the seat next to his mother.  I was pretty sure about that.  They looked so much alike.  I figured he must be around 20.
He put his arm around her shoulder an…

The Topic is Food. What else is there?

I am not strictly a vegetarian.  I just prefer not to eat meat.

I will have a small amount of turkey at Thanksgiving Dinner, chicken is acceptable if I am truly hungry, and I won't turn down a fresh halibut or salmon dinner.  But, I sure do pay attention to their origin.  I prefer free-range poultry and wild fish or I say Pass the Tofu, please!

You can't be so picky when you go to a restaurant. Restaurant food is, of course, my favorite food because I don't have to prepare it.

It is getting easier to order non-meat dishes at restaurants.  Years ago a picky eater was pretty much confined to green salads and bread when dining out.  Now even my favorite Mexican restaurant here in town has vegetarian choices.  One of the local Chinese restaurants offers non meat eaters a soy or gluten based substitute in their chicken dishes that are delicious.  It is a rare menu that doesn't at least offer a "garden-burger" to the vegetarian diner.  It may be a bit more difficu…

Veterans and Daughter's of The Revolution.

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When I was a very small child my mama would  tell me about Titus Travis.  He was a soldier, she would say, and he fought in the revolutionary war.   "We are Daughters of the American Revolution," she always added proudly.  She never had the time, the energy, nor the resources available to pursue a membership in the woman's group, but it was always apparent to me that she would have under the right circumstances. 
About 10 years ago I decided to find out more about this man and his wife, Elizabeth, of whom I am an 8th generation descendant.  (My brother Mike also got the genealogy bug and he continues to follow leads on so many of our long gone relatives.)
This past year I brought my information to the Columbia River Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) which culminated in my membership being confirmed just a few weeks ago.
DAR is a non-profit women's service organization and "an inclusive geological society."  I don't know how much…

Sunday Walk

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We were able to get out this afternoon and walk my favorite place.   I took this shot with my cellphone (which has lots of problems so I was surprised my quick photo looks as clear as it does.




(My agreement to post every day didn't promise there would be words.)

Technological Memories

Yesterday The Hubby tore my computer apart.  It had been running slow and crashing while I was working on a project.  It is amazing to me that he knows how to do this.  After all, he's old enough for medicare.

I can remember feeling the same way back in the 50's.  Yes, I can remember them.  My brother Nick made his own radios.  I can't remember if he had kits or just used household objects.  But I do remember the "crystal radio" and hearing the sounds of an AM radio station crackling through it.  There was also one he made that you could attach to metal objects that were grounded - like the telephone - and it would pick up any strong signals along with lots of static.

Television wasn't a 24-hour concern when it came to our house.  When the programming was done for the day, you heard the national anthem and then the test pattern appeared until the next day dawned.  I don't have any memories of day-time television until I was a bit older, although "Ho…

Talking to Hyacinths

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Working in the flowers is mostly a pleasurable activity for me. The month of August, however,  required a lot more sweat and drudgery from me, and much of that time I was on my knees. That is because in late July we were invited to be a late submission to an annual pond and garden event that raises money for a worthy cause.

The September weekend event may be timed to allow for more people to take part and more money to be raised.  It isn't, however, timed to take advantage of the the more prolific garden colors.  In fact,the majority of our colorful bloomers were past their zenith, and many had no blossoms at all.

This made me spend more time with some of the fall blooming plants.  They were faithfully fertilized, dead-headed, and weeded daily.

The pond is entirely my husband's domain.  The water-lilies had been stunned by a algae bloom problem earlier in the summer and had been "iffy" for several months.  They would be a disappointment. But, the  water hyacinths ha…

It Was A Dark....

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It was a dark and stormy night.  Well, that is what the weatherman predicted.  So far, he was right only about the dark.

In fact it got dark way too soon.  Booo to the time change.

There is snow on The Blues and the furnace is happily chugging away at the expense of our pocketbooks.

ElGee, the cat, has started draping herself all over us if we happen to sit down anywhere.  Her  favorite spot is on my computer desk...especially if I'm sitting there.  I get frustrated when she keeps rubbing back and forth on the screen in front of me.  Sometimes she even steps on the keyboard and clicks on something that causes me to pick her up and set her on the floor and shoo her away.


The trees have deposited their attire on top of roads and yards and rooftops.  The leaves fly into our garage when we raise the door and accumulate on our shoes for deposit on my floors and carpet.

The geese and ducks have chased the light of day from their far north breeding grounds and I often hear them calling…

Poor Deer

We've been driving the road out of the valley over 45 years.  The dusk and dawn trips have always  provided sightings of white-tailed deer, (and even once we saw a moose!)

Two weeks ago was the first time that we've had a very unfortunate sighting...and encounter.

It was getting dark that Sunday night as we turned east, away from the Columbia River, and towards the valley we call home.  The hubby was driving and I was chatting about nothing in particular.  There had been little traffic, so I noticed when a dark sedan came up quickly behind us on the two-lane road.  We were going 60 mph, the posted limit. He quickly passed us and disappeared around one of the many wide corners on this route.

"That guy must not know about the deer crossing at dusk," was my observation after he zoomed away.  "He would never be able to stop if one runs in front of him."

My hubby confirmed his agreement. We rode on for several miles in silence until we began the climb up the lof…

Baby Huey . . . .

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In early May of this year, a little mallard hen and her chicks spent several days in our backyard enjoying the security of our fence and the pleasure of our little pond.

A long story made short --  she and her 8 babies were chased by a dog.  My 3-year-old and 5-year-old grandchildren helped me gather the surviving six ducklings and carry them into our yard.  Mama Duck needed no more encouragement to follow us then her babies excited peeps.

She decided it was a good place to be.




Eventually, someone left a gate open, and the Mama Duck decided it was time for her family to head out. Immediately they  encountered another neighborhood dog which paid no attention to them whatsoever. Unfortunately, Mama Duck squawked with alarm and they all scattered... leaving one duckling behind.

We made some calls and another neighbor had a friend with domestic ducks who agreed to take the baby. But it had to be kept in its own container and not with the other ducks.  We were told that it was lonely.

A w…

A Favorite Flower for a Fun Day

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I love all my flowers.  Each one is my favorite when it blooms.

But, sometimes I admit to bias towards the Ligularia that grows beneath the Smoke Tree.

When I bought it, the Ligularia was post bloom and nearly dead in its little container.  It was some kind of late season sale and I could buy everything for 90% off.   That was probably 15 years ago.

It grows a bit larger every year but doesn't seed.  The blooms last for a short time, but I leave the stalks to dry until I can't put it off any longer and then clip them off.  It appreciates the shade of the smoke tree and wilts if the sun reaches the greenery.

This photo was taken in 2007 --  but you can see how large the leaves are and how perfectly the yellow spikes display their confetti style blossoms.



This  was an early morning capture this summer -- a brave stalk sneaking a peak through the branches of the Smoke Tree.



I guess I admire the fragile beauty and its stubborn resolve.  It keeps coming back -- through cold winte…

My Ghouls

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My granddaughter and my daughter,


and my granddaughter,


and my grandson, the taller one on the right.


Yeah.  Those are the ones that take after grandpa.

Dogs

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There hasn't been a dog in residence for over 10 years now.  In dog years, that is a life time.

Many times I get that little pinge in my heart when I'm out walking and stop to pet another walker's furry friend.  Most of my neighbors have dogs that are the recipients of the doggy treats we keep in the garage for just that occasion.  Oh yes!  Lots of scratches behind their ears and baby talk.

It is easy to get a "fix" of doggy love at my middle daughter's house.  They got a puppy last summer  - some kind of a fox terrier, Jack Russel, and Pomeranian mix.  "Mugsy" has ears that stick up and make him appear much taller.  He is a blur when he runs, and he can jump up and peak over things that gives one the impression that he is on a trampoline.   For some reason he has decided I am
 his long lost mother.  I have to meet him by the door because he gets so excited that he goes potty.  Then he bounces and yips  and won't stop agitating until he has a…

Gobble, Gobble

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These wild turkeys in my neighbor's yard don't know what happens in November.

During the summer there were two adult females and 17 "poults" that wandered through our neighborhood daily.  They have all grown, and the count is down by at least two.   I'm not exactly sure what they are eating in "Bill's" yard, but there may be lots of tasty grub thriving under the new fall of walnut leaves.

Listening and seeing these wild creatures is enjoyable.  However, knowing that their introduction to the hills around the valley has not been kind to the native grouse is not.