Love that wood heat…most of the time

we go from this:                                                                    to this:

wood to the porch (1)wood to the porch (20)

with this: 

wood to the porch (4)That pile on the porch is about what we use in two weeks keeping the house warm.  This time we only made it to Monday, though, which means we burned half a cord of wood in about 10 days.  Whew!  Today it was about 10 when we got up and by the time we started to move wood it was all the way up to 18.  I don’t believe it, though, because with that little soft breeze blowing, it felt like it was 10 again. 

I love wood heat.  It keeps me warmer than any other kind of heat, bar none.  I am warmer in my house here than I ever am in California with the gas turned up as high as I can stand it.  It cost me 400 bucks a month to heat my house in Jamestown during the winter and 500 a month to cool it in summer.  Yeah it was older and not very well insulated, but still.  When I am tromping up the stairs here, however, hauling the wood from the trailer up the steps to the back porch, huffing and puffing away, I wonder just how long we will manage to do this.  Once back inside the warm house I have no doubts at all.  Love it. 

DSCN6227 It’s been a quiet week since New Years.  We have been staying home, feeding the fire, doing small house chores.  I have been working on soils “stuff”, knitting, and finally getting around to reading “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”.  The Kindle I ordered should be here sometime this week, and my first purchase will be the next book in the series.

I actually managed to get out my cross country skis, (the first time since I left Klamath to work in California in 2006) and shusshed around on the local roads a bit.  Cross country skis on my feet aren’t made to go down hills.  At least not any more.  Guess I am going to have to practice a bit and get my balance back, but it was still fun.

that was fun! Yesterday my daughter Melody brought her family out to Rocky Point to enjoy the deep snows and get in some great sledding.  The skies were sunny, with temperatures that weren’t so cold you couldn’t have fun and we certainly did.  Mo has an old sled that is everyone’s favorite, but the big green thingy I bought from Costco wasn’t a bad ride either.  Kwankae, Melody’s exchange student from Thailand, had a great time as well, laughing in the snow.  This is her first year for snow, since that is something you certainly don’t find in Thailand.  I loved the chance to make a couple batches of peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies,  knowing that I could send most of them home with the kids. We all drank hot chocolate and ate cookies and laughed about all the “air time” the kids got jumping over the moguls on the old roads around our house.  Speaking of wood heat, after we all got back in the house, everyone really loved backing up to the wood stove to warm their buns!

time to warm the cold snowy buns! and drink hot chocolate

In less than two weeks I’ll be flying to Florida with my eldest daughter to board a cruise ship to the Eastern Caribbean.  Yippee!  Wood heat is wonderful, but white beach sand heat is a whole lot better!

2010 Part 3

October 2010We returned from our cross country trip on October 1, still in time to see all our own trees slip into their fall finery.  It was a lovely month spent home catching up on chores, winterizing our place for winter and decorating for Halloween.  I made a short trip to Portland to visit with my daughters and grandsons, meeting a friend in town from New York and enjoying all the delights that the city of Portland has to offer.

While driving in to town for my work days, I saw Klamath Lake filled with migrating water birds, herons, egrets, myriad kinds of ducks and geese, with a few white pelicans still hanging around much too long. 

We emptied out the hot tub and readied it for another winter of steamy soaks under the stars, and Mo raked needles and burned debris for days on end, even after our early October snows. After all our camping and traveling, it was wonderful to have a month at home.  I knitted a lot and cooked some really great meals and even settled in to reading a couple of excellent books.  It was a lovely month.

November 2010After some rescheduling excitement, our new Canadian kayaks were delivered just in time for our planned California trip.  We made reservations all down the coast wherever we could find estuaries and rivers to kayak.  The new kayaks are amazing, a full 15 pounds less in weight while adding an extra foot in length from our previous boats. 

 In spite of the rainy weather on the coast, we still managed several perfect days in the boats, and even found some sunshine here and there. As lake kayakers, we were thrilled and sometimes a bit overwhelmed by our adventures into the estuaries, dealing with tides and that wild place where the rivers meet the ocean.

Our perfect two weeks ended with a visit with my lifetime soul friend and her husband in Oroville before we settled the MoHo into her berth in Redding.  This winter for the first time we decided to store the MoHo about 3 hours from home, in a place that doesn’t often freeze and rarely gets snow. 

We got home in time for me to work some more, and then plan a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner for my family at home in Rocky Point.  Nature provided the entertainment, with deep snows for the teenagers who loved all the sledding, especially with Mo’s real sled with real runners.

December 2010With the early winter, in early December  Mo and I were plowing and shoveling almost every single day.  As luck would have it, the weather cooperated for Mo while I left for a week to visit my friend in Florida.  She didn’t have to plow a single day while I was gone.  However, the weather didn’t cooperate nearly as well for me, where Florida had record breaking cold, with lows in the 20’s in Ocala.  Still, it was wonderful to have some time with Bel and to again feel that magical feeling that I get around that part of Florida.

We ended the year with a trip to the California deserts, searching for sun and warmth and finding cold weather, rain and floods.  When the sun did finally come out, though, it was gorgeous, and the warm water of the natural spring fed pools at our resort more than made up for the cold weather. 

As this New Years Weekend comes to a close on this Sunday evening, I am amazed at how filled this year has been.  The clichés about time flying so quickly are real, as this first anniversary of my retirement passes by. I did so many things I wanted to do. I managed to bake some seriously fabulous cakes, and tried out new recipes.  I gardened a lot during the spring and summer, and I actually did forget what day of the week it was occasionally. 

Our plans for the year ahead are still nebulous, still open.  I will be taking my daughter on a Caribbean cruise in a couple of weeks, and Mo and I will travel south to the deserts again in February, hoping for sunnier weather than we found last time. We are thinking of going to the RV Rally in Bend this July, but other than that, the world is wide open to us, to whatever adventures appear.  The Wheel of Fortune is turning for me this year, magic happens.  Who knows what will come next?

2010 Part 2

May 2010

Good morning.  The temperatures here have managed to rise to an amazing 18 degrees and the sunshine is bouncing off the snowbanks into my office window.  Beautiful.  I managed to complete my collages last night for the year after much agony about just what to include.  When I take sooo many photos, it’s an amazing exercise to decide just what might work for a summary.  I challenge you to try it. 

Surprisingly, a few have commented about enjoying this format, so what I thought was a purely personal exercise has turned out to be a bit entertaining as well.  The collages will enlarge to original size if you click on them, so be forewarned.  If anything catches your fancy, of course the Picasa website listed on the left side of the blog will take you to my photo albums. On to the next third of the year.

We spent most of early May in California, finalizing the sale of the manufactured home I had lived in while working on the soil survey for Tuolumne and Calaveras county area.  I learned a lot during those years, and met some wonderful people, especially some of the great young men and women who worked with me and for me.  We packed up the last of my belongings into a truck and trailer and traveled home May 14th for the final time. During the time I lived there, I counted nearly 40 trips back up I-5 to Klamath.  Let me tell you, I am a bit tired of that highway! 

Even though I actually retired in January, and had a small get together in Sonora for my “retirement party”, I thought it would be a lot more fun to host a long May weekend retirement/camping party at our home in Rocky Point for friends and family.  I learned what a great group of friends I had, with many people coming from California and Oregon to celebrate with me.  The burning ban held off until May 31, and we had big outdoor campfires every night with lots of good food.  We laughed, talked, ate, went kayaking and many guests spent time touring around the area, with the late spring snow at Crater Lake an especially  big hit. Mo and I actually went out to the MoHo for a bit of a reprieve while we turned the house and guest cabin over to kids and friends. It was a wonderful time, and I so appreciated the friends and family who came to celebrate with me.

June 2010By June, the the flowers were beginning to bloom and the lawns started to green up beautifully.  I love the flowers and flower beds, Mo loves her gorgeous green grass, so she manages the lawns and I do most of the planting and playing with flowers.  We took out a sweet gum that couldn’t handle the late hard spring freezes, and planted a flowering pear that hopefully will. We thrilled at the  growth on all the trees Mo planted when she built this house in 2001. I learned that in order to garden in Rocky Point, I need to adjust for the extremely short season, and to buy some kind of super powerful deer repellant. 

We took a break from all the gardening with a fabulous trip to the Oregon coast for camping and kayaking.  One of the high points of the year for both of us was the magical, rainy day that we slipped into the Little Salmon River and slid quietly past some seals to land on an ephemeral tidal island of sand at the river outlet.  It was one of the special moments of the year that stands out among all others. Later in the month, one of Mo’s army friends visited us from Texas and gave us the opportunity to play travel guide for a lovely trip to the still deep snows of Crater Lake.  We don’t often think to go there unless we are showing guests how lovely and magical it is.

July 2010The collage for July was the most difficult to create, since we had such a fabulous time doing so many different things.  The Princess cruise to Alaska was the highlight. Our tour was just 7 days, traveling as far north as Juneau, and stopping in Skagway, Ketchikan, and Victoria after a Seattle departure.  It was an amazing experience and only whetted my appetite for more.  Mo traveled the ALCAN back in 1974, in a scout when the roads were still unpaved.  We have a trip to Alaska on the ALCAN on our big lifetime list for the MoHo, but aren’t quite sure just yet when. 

In spite of the grandeur of our cruise, the camping trip to gorgeous and pristine Waldo Lake in the Cascades was another highlight.  We have wanted to camp on that lake for several years and have never managed to get there.  The mosquitoes are legendary, and they didn’t disappoint us. The water was pure and perfect and the kayaking was thrilling.  We had the entire campground almost to ourselves, probably because of the mosquito reputation for that time of year. 

We ended the month with several days camping at Mo’s brother’s place in La Pine for their annual family reunion and gathering.  Mo’s family is big and active, and golfing and kayaking were major activities for the weekend. It was another wonderful time of good food and great conversation and Mo’s brother Roger and his wife Nancy were incredible hosts. I learned that paddling upstream can make for some very funny moments.  We paddled about an hour, passing campers waving in a campground, only to fly past them in about 10 minutes going back down the Deschutes River.  I can’t wait to try out our new kayaks on that river to see if the light weight makes any difference going upstream.

August and September Road Trip

If I thought making the collage for July was hard, that was because I hadn’t yet tried to tackle some kind of summary of our six week cross country trip in August and September.  I took more than 4,000 photos on that trip and learned some very good lessons about photo management and storage.  I also met some folks from the RV blogging community, including Laurie and Odel, who I have followed for years, not realizing at the time that there is a big world out there of RV bloggers.  My participation in this amazing world increased exponentially during this trip.

Mo and I sat in the hot tub on New Year’s eve trying to capture the moments that stood out for us.  It’s nice to try to do that sometime without the photos to trigger memories. Random moments that stand out for me, in no particular order:  Looking a little black bear in the eyes as I paddled a creek in Killarney Provincial Park. Seeing the Colorado Rockies in full aspen glory for the first time. Standing on the Maid of the Mist at the base of Niagara Falls. Watching the wildest waves and wind I have ever seen on Lake Superior at Pictured Rocks.  Walking across the Mississippi at Itasca. Climbing 85 steps of gorgeous canyon at Watson Glen New York. Spewing out the first taste of a box of “dry” red table wine from the Finger Lakes District. Eating perfect walleye on a rainy day in Duluth.  I can’t summarize this trip at all, actually, it’s all back there in the blog.  Thank goodness I wrote about it as it was happening, but then that’s why we blog, right?

Tomorrow I will attempt the final episode of this year in review.  I guess it seems to be the thing to do.  Everywhere I turn on the news, someone is listing the top ten, or the worst ten, or the year in  review, or some such thing.  My favorite list among those out there is the one that talks about what has become obsolete in this last decade.  That one really makes me wonder how things will change in the next one.  Mo and I figure we should have ten good years of travel ahead of us before we need to slow down a bit.  In reality, any day could be our last, so my goal and my learning this year is to stay in the moment and appreciate every single tiny one.

2010 Keep it short, right? hahahahahaha Part 1

familyMo and I have an inside joke.  I worry things to death and she thinks in a very straightforward way.  I have 12 thoughts to every one of hers.  Her thoughts are usually practical and help get things done.  My thoughts are usually all over the place and don’t accomplish a lot.  Last night as the evening settled in to a close along with the year, I thought a lot about what I learned this year.  This morning at 4am I woke up thinking about all the things we did this past year, all the changes, trying to decide what and how much to write.  Lots of the stuff I thought about wasn’t the least bit blog worthy, and other stuff was probably not blog appropriate. Somehow, in the early morning in the dark, I realized how important the family times were this year.  This great group includes Mo’s siblings and their offspring, my four kids, grandkids, great-grandkids, friends that are so dear they count as extended family.  We managed wonderful visits this year with lots of people who are important to each of us, and who are scattered all across the country.

I was delighted this morning when I opened the “Travels with Emma” blog and found lovely collages of the previous year.  Ahh.  Perfect.  With kudos to Judy for her idea, I decided that would be the simplest way to try to share and summarize the year just past.  If it gets too long, you can just click that little x on the upper right corner of your screen and ‘poof’ I’m gone. With that in mind, I decided to write exactly what I wanted to, with pictures! I did figure out some of the things I learned this year, but that is fairly boring, so I won’t elaborate too much.  For instance, I learned that I don’t have to spend a lot of money, and I learned that I could actually wait to get something I think I desperately want.  See what I mean?  Silly stuff for someone just turned 65.

January 2010January was momentous for me.  I retired from 30 plus years as a soil scientist with the USDA-NRCS and celebrated with a 14 day cruise through the Panama Canal.  Mo and I spent many sea days actually relaxing and the five port days were perfect.

Our cruise with Celebrity on the Solstice was wonderful, and we spent days in Cartagena, Colombia, in Costa Rica, and three ports in Mexico. 

We came home to the manufactured home where I lived in California and put it up for sale for the last time before returning to Rocky Point and a reasonably mild winter.

February 2010In February, we took a short trip to McMenniman’s Brewery at Edgefield in Troutdale (about 300 miles north of Rocky Point east of Portland) and enjoyed a day trying out finely crafted beer and walking the gardens.  The day was fabulous for me, since I spent a couple of hours in the Ruby Spa getting a facial with all sorts of amazing aromatic oils and soft lights.  It was an easy trip since Mo was already in the area house and dog sitting for her brother away in Hawaii.  When we returned home to Rocky Point, the winter was already fading and we actually started raking pine needles that month.

We moved most of my furniture out of the mobile in California to Rocky Point and  I spent much of the month fixing up my part of the house, painting my bathroom, doing all those little things that feed my nesting spirit.  It was my first winter back in Klamath since I left in 2006 for California and I was so grateful to be home again, with my daughter and grandkids just a few miles away in town. Just so you don’t get confused; Rocky Point is part of the Klamath Basin, which I refer to as Klamath, although I may call Klamath Falls (city) Klamath as well.  It doesn’t help much that there is a “Klamath” in California, both the river and the town, and the national forest.  Just to be clear. 

March 2010Since March in this part of the country can be incredibly tiresome, we planned a trip to the warmest place in the US that we could think of, Key West.  It wasn’t THAT warm, however, with the coldest March on record, but we still wore shorts and enjoyed the velvet balmy air.  I learned that Key West wasn’t the least bit tacky if you looked in the right places.  I loved it.  We spent time on the water, exploring the Dry Tortugas for a day, kayaking the lagoons on the bay side of the keys and eating.  Lots of amazing seafood, key lime crepes for breakfast, and still brilliant in my memory is a crab stuffed shrimp with key lime hollandaise.  We walked everywhere in Key West, and the rental car developed a thick layer of dust while we explored the side streets and took photos of conch cottages and turquoise water.  We flew to Miami and rented a car for this trip, but cruised through the gorgeous state parks dreaming of the winter when we will take the MoHo south and spend it in Florida.


April 2010Winter showed up again at Easter in Rocky Point, but by April we were able to slip out of the MoHo barn and travel north to Silver Falls State Park near the town of Silverton, Oregon.  We spent a nearly week camping in the rain, hiking the falls, and enjoying a visit from my daughter, Deborah who lives in Portland. Silver Falls is the largest state park in Oregon, and certainly one of the most beautiful.  We camped without hookups, since the electric sites were all reserved by a flotilla of baby fiberglass rv’s, but it wasn’t a problem at all.  We stayed warm and comfortable and had a wonderful time.  We visited the Oregon gardens, reveling in all the brilliant early spring blooms, toured the town of Silverton, and spent a day trying out more finely crafted beers from 100 or so breweries at the Oregon Garden Beer Festival. I learned that I could actually drink a full, entire beer if it was really good.

That’s part one of my year summary, with two more to follow.  It’s a great pastime for a snowy New Year’s Day at home. I love going back over the memories, looking at the pictures, reading my own blog and trying to sum it up.