Showing posts from 2019

Ice Can Look Nice

When there is an inversion and the fog rolls into a shivery valley it is both dangerous and breathtaking. Walking on the gravelly path seems stable, but even the small twigs that stick up around the edges grab onto the moisture and create little artistic ice crystals. a male house finch adds a spot of color! After a few days of this wintery chill,  a warm Chinook wind blew in.  It was probably pushed ahead of what the weatherman called an "atmospheric river" which drenched the west siders way beyond seasonal norms. It is forecast that  Christmas will be warm and no white stuff falling.  At least not here. **** May there be moments of peace and hope in your hearts as you celebrate this holiday. Hug each other.  Feed the birds ****

Here and There but not Everywhere

I've scattered a little of me everywhere the past three months.  I've gardened a little.  Birded a little.  Traveled a little.  Grandmothered a little.  (Is that a word?)  Water colored a little.  Remodeled kitchens a little.  And I've improved my health a little. Obviously I've 'littled' way too much this season. The weeds still grow with gusto in our gardens.  I don't think the birds or bees really care about the ones that drive me crazy.    Here's a young hummingbird enjoying  the  'salvia hotlips' that we planted with the hummers in mind. Twice this summer I've been a farmer at my eldest daughter's.    This last time was when she and her husband took the eldest boy to college 6 hours away.  I made sure that all the creatures were cared for and her farm was not unattended.  On the first night  around 3 a.m.  I awoke to the loudest thunder I've ever experienced.  Not to far away a house was damaged when the lightning str

June is History

Our house was chaos the past few months.   A new patio was built and some inside stuff fixed because the walls had to be opened to inspect damage. And our third grandchild graduated from high school.  I pulled up this photo that I took with my digital zoom from across a huge auditorium to share and just now read the caption on one of his neighbor's mortar board.    (This was nothing like High School Musical) Jammin' is heading off to college this fall.  He got a good scholarship and will be studying Physics, or possibly Astro Physics.  He's not entirely sure.  Not being sure is an acceptable position to me. In June I also drove to Oklahoma with two siblings.  It was a brother's 83rd birthday and his 60th wedding anniversary. Many friends and family surprised them.  It was lovely.  And, a long drive.    Then a few weeks ago, with major help from my 14 year old grandson Zbub, I stayed at a daughter's small farm to take care of the

Remembering A Sister-in-Law

Cemeteries were visited and flowers were placed on head stones this weekend.  One of the ones visited is very tiny and sits on a small rise surrounded by miles of agricultural land with fields of wheat, canola, and alfalfa. That is where my husband's late sister rests. The scent of alfalfa blooms waft in the breeze over the dusty markers inside a chain-link fence.  It isn't your normal manicured grave site.  It's just dirt. She began showing signs of something being not right soon after she turned 50.  We noticed that she couldn't remember the rules of our Saturday night card games.  Her symptoms progressed causing her to loose her job working for an accountant.  She tried working at lesser jobs, but she couldn't keep up with any of them.   She would ride her bike to the store and forget why she was there.  She might wake up in the morning and find all of her kitchen towels and oven mitts on her patio.  A difficult thing for us to  handle was how she became sus

Remembering Auntie Fern

Great Auntie Fern would have been 110 today. There were times that I thought Auntie Fern might outlive all of us, and then halfway into her 108th year she was gone.  I miss her.  We all do. Fern on her 107th Birthday in 2016 enjoying a brief walk I got involved with all of her medical care, sort of by accident or maybe by providence,  when she was 99.  (My husband is related by way of his late "Gram", who was Fern's older sister.)   We would stop at the retirement home to visit, and sometimes have dinner with her.  She loved company.  That's how the home happened to call us one day to say that Fern had been ill.   This presented a problem for the staff because after a certain number of days a resident would have to move to a higher care facility.   I offered to take her to the  clinic and get some help for her. When the doctor walked into the examination room he took one look at me and asked, "Are you just here today, or are you committed to the

Kickin' Dirt

I took two spills in the snow which was deep and long lasting. Over a month!.  The first tumble was when I fell in the deep snow wearing my husband boots. I was out there before dawn to scatter shredded apple in the back yard for the over one hundred hungry robins that were showing up with the sun.  Plus quite a few other birds as well.    The 2nd time was a foot slipping out from beneath me while making a short trip across the asphalt.  That one hurt .. and twisted my ankle.  The x-rays at the walk in clinic (joke, as I didn't really walk in) showed that all the hardware from a previous break was intact and no broken bones.  Just a sprain which kept me off my feet for a week. But now I'm kickin' dirt. The snow is gone everywhere except in shady areas behind fences and houses and where the trees cover the walking path. This is Chance, one of my grand dogs on our walk today.  He was a rescue while yet quite young.  He has never quite gotten over whatever happened t

Snow, Feezing Rain, More Snow, More Ice....

......Collapse. The sound of our patio collapsing under the ice at 2:30 in the morning was enough to age me five years.  I won't prove it by posting a photo of me. And, DARN.  That Insurance deductible already had a home somewhere else. I'm ready for winter to end.

Robins of Winter

I've learned much about the robins and winter residents this month.  The first thing is that if you give robins blueberries you might as well go buy a bunch more of frozen ones.  Once they've had frozen blueberries they give you the bird eye until you give them more.  I do provide many choices:  chopped apple, oatmeal, sunflower chips, raisins, grapes, mealy worms.  They eat them all.  But don't ever start with blueberries. Robins also get very domineering and territorial.  One will decide that the feeding area is his or hers alone.  It becomes a chase and fight zone.  So be prepared to shovel snow and create various spots in the yard so that more robins can become land owners. Two days ago I went out early and the robins were waiting.  The frenzy started so I stepped back thinking I would get a nice photo (which I did.)  The surprise came when one of the fleeing robins decided to land on my head.  I was startled but stayed composed in spite of the worry that it w

Cold February

I should never gloat.  Not that I was gloating.  But I did say that our moderate weather had been a blessing.  Then we got blasted, of course. The weatherman said today we were on our way to the third coldest February on record.  It isn't all bad, though.  Did you read that the cold weather will most likely kill off lots of the invasive stink bugs.  The ones hiding in the garage and storage addition will most likely survive.  We certainly hope to see less of them this summer. The birds have been very hungry which gives me an opportunity to invite them into our yard with fruit, nuts, seeds, mealy worms, and water.  There is heater in the water feature so it supports a lot of winter drinks. Some even bathe in the freezing weather. One of the birds that I only see during periods of snow and low temperatures is the lovely Varied Thrush.  We have been listening to their mournful sounding call every day with appreciation.  They must be singing their thank you for the hospitality.

Tapioca pudding

We've been on a kick lately.  Tapioca Pudding.  I made it twice in the microwave, but couldn't get it to turn out the same each time. So then I switched to the old bring to a rolling boil method. Which has worked.  However, my recipe seems not quite as sweet as what you buy in the dairy section at the grocery store.  Not to mention that  I have twice forgotten to add vanilla.  I made pudding today with added sugar and REMEMBERED the vanilla.  Real vanilla.  During my childhood it was such a treat to have tapioca pudding.  We had a small farm so the major ingredients were there at hand.  Mom ALWAYS used the method where she beat the egg whites separately and then added it before serving  to make a fluffy dessert.   There were so many of us that she probably made a triple batch.  I don't remember ever getting my fill.   Always left wanting more. "More" is a silly family joke from my aunt Myrtle.  (Everybody should have the opportunity to have one like her.) 

OOOPS....spoke to soon


The Blues

 Watching the weather channel makes me feel very guilty. In some states, friends have endured weather colder than Antarctica.  But, in our little corner of the world it's been a fairly easy going winter.  The local snow pack is currently 93%, so at least the mountains around us are getting some normal winter moisture. From our back yard we can see the Blue Mountains over the neighbor's fence.  And, they're on my mind. I'm hoping that winter snow pack is protecting the beauty that bursts forth in May.  Here are some samples to distract from that polar vortex . . . . . . Lady Slippers / Orchid Family                                                           Striped Coralroot / Orchid Family Field of Balsomroot / Sunflower family Small False Solomon Seal / Lily Family Wild Iris Heart Leaf Arnica Yellow Lupine Pine Tree                                             Larkspur Of cou

Phone Home

Today I sat in an office waiting room and felt bereft because I left my phone at home on the charger. Every so often this happens, leaving me feeling vulnerable and sort of technically naked.  It was not boring as I watched people come and go. I got there a bit early  - just an offer to pick up someone else who had an appointment. I twiddled my thumbs,  is that even allowed anymore? A middle aged woman and an early teen age girl sat the closest to me, both nose deep in their electronics. Suddenly there was a loud wail from one of the offices hidden from view.  The sound caused the other woman and I to `eye meet` with a similar opened mouth surprised look. We began to talk about voices carrying, about kids with no inside voice control, and then she told me how her mother learned to "holler" clear across the military base to call her and her siblings home.  She pointed to the girl and said that her youngest could have put that crier we heard to shame with her wailing

Seventy Six Daze

On May 1, 2018 a 37-year old man dropped his two children off at school; the daughter in 8th grade and the son in kindergarten.  He drove towards home and waved at his 36 year old wife as she headed out for her job.   He made several more stops. He purchased some food items and some other specific things from the local super center. From there he drove to a park several miles away on the edge of wilderness area and proceeded to walk down to the river and perhaps back to his car.  Picking up his cell phone he sent several suicide texts to his wife.  She didn't see them until she got out of a hearing she was transcribing as the court reporter.  By that time, he had most likely followed the railroad tracks and turned south towards the  foothills of the Cascades where the trees began to shelter and hide other flora and fauna that thrive in the mountain greenery. That was the beginning of the 76 daze that our family struggled through in agony.  We all attempted to support our younge

Chatty Cat

We got elGee twelve years ago...... just temporarily.  She has been a timid cat that loves the two of us, but still runs and hides under the bed when visitors arrive. Her age hasn't been officially calculated, but everyone thinks she is fourteen.  Age can cause problems and she is currently fed carefully because of some kidney issues.   Another problem that may be part of her aging process is that she has become sort of chatty.  Lately when she attempts to meow to get our attention there seems be a crack in her voice or a lowering resonance that causes her to quite literally say, "hello!"   This happens every day.  Then last week she began to say "I love you."  We've gotten a lot of giggles and of course reply, "hello, I love you, too!" Today she said "Grandpa." She stopped right at the office door, sat down and looked at my husband and clear as a bell she said it. "Did you hear what I heard?"