Late Easter Family Time

Current Location: Rocky Point Oregon: Sunny and a predicted high of 74 F

Late Easter 2014_293 As beautiful as springtime is here in this part of Oregon, I still can’t bring myself to change the header photo to this blog.  I love seeing that image of Antelope Canyon.  There were many high points on our travels this past winter, but somehow the light shining into the darkness, illuminating everything with wild colors, is the memory I return to most often. 

It seems as though we experienced the essence of opposites during the trip, and the other memory that comes back repeatedly is the brilliance of every shade of green that we entered on Snake Creek in Florida.  Green water and red desert.  I can’t quite pick my favorite, and I guess I don’t have to. 

April has flown by with all the springtime chores that accompany the reawakening of the earth.  At last the tulips bloomed, the daffodils finished this month in full glory, only now beginning to falter with the warm days and still cold nights.

Late Easter 2014_335 I love Easter.  I have no clue why.  As a kid, it was the Easter Cantata at church, the new fluffy dresses, the Easter hats, and Easter dinner.  When my kids were little, I made Easter baskets for each one, going way over the top with my own creations filled with See’s Candy that I really couldn’t afford.  The actual day should be irrelevant, since we aren’t a “churchy” family.  However, this year we celebrated our family Easter a week late since part of the family couldn’t be around on the actual Easter Sunday. 

Big surprise.  It was a great family time, a lovely day, and yet, it did not feel like Easter.  I guess there really is something to the idea that people all over the world, in spite of their particular bent on religion, are celebrating Easter on that particular Sunday.  It was subtle, but we talked about it a bit.  We could feel the difference.           Check out the cat with his place setting! Mo left her chair to take the photo!

I still had all the Easter/Spring decorations up, with eggs and bunnies, and pastel colors everywhere, but we didn’t color eggs.  We didn’t have an egg hunt.  Somehow it seemed like a bit too much trouble. 

Late Easter 2014_311 Since Deborah has been living in the cottage in Grants Pass, she has enjoyed the friendship of wonderful neighbors.  Karen and Glenn have children and grandchildren of their own, but they are all a bit distant.  They have taken it on themselves to adopt my daughter, taking her to Sunday brunches, to outings at the Moose Lodge, keeping an eye out for when she gets home from work in bad weather.  Not bad neighbors to have around when you are a woman living alone as Deb is right now.

We invited them to join us for our celebration, and they decided it would be fun to drive their fifth wheel over the mountain to camp at the big house with us.  The weather and scenery between Grants Pass, just two hours away, and Rocky Point, is fairly dramatic.  They laughed and thanked us for adding a bit of snow to the spring mix for their entertainment.

Late Easter 2014_285 Mo opened up the cabin, and again a pipe was broken in spite of the heat we left on during the winter while we were away.  Mo fixed the pipes while I vacuumed out all the spiders accumulated on the ceiling and in the shower for my spider phobic daughter so she could relax and enjoy her little vacation time in the cabin.  Once the wood stove was cranked up, the cabin was warm and cozy for Melody and the kids.

Karen and Glenn had so much fun camping at our place in their older fifth wheel that they drove home and the next day bought a brand new fifth wheel!  Looking forward to seeing that one! 

It seems that the major focus of the non-Easter celebration was eating.  Deborah made a truly magnificent eggs benedict casserole, and we slathered it with at least a quart of hollandaise sauce.  Karen made another kind of tasty breakfast casserole, so we had two main dishes before the dessert course of fruit crepes, one of Melody’s great accomplishments.  She can even flip those thin crepes in the air like a pro.  Delish! 

Late Easter 2014_279 I had some Key Lime juice brought home from Key West and this was my chance to make a Key Lime cheesecake to share with family.  Yum!  We were all too full to eat much of it, so I had some to share with the Quilt group on Tuesday.  Perfect.  Now I want to make another one, cut it up into nice small servings, and freeze them.  Just for me.  It was that good, and made me smile as I remembered all the great Key Lime stuff to be found in Florida.  Still hoping to make some Key Lime hollandaise someday when I get around to it.

I have been quilting on the fabulous new Bernina in the mornings when it is too chilly to be outdoors, and then going outside for gardening time.  The greenhouse needed some spiffy work, and the soil was a bit hungry so I added some organic manure/compost to the raised beds.  Mo and I will get the roof back on today, removed over the winter to keep it from caving in due to the weight of the snow. 

Late Easter 2014_348Late Easter 2014_353Still working on the photo project, importing all my photos into Lightroom and publishing them to my SmugMug website.  I think my most favorite feature of the SmugMug site is the ability to sort and organize my photos into folders and sub folders.  Unlike Google, where there is no ability to do that, it makes it so much easier to find stuff.  With thousands of photos on Google over the last few years, I really hate having to scroll down and down to find something from long ago. 

On Smug Mug, I can go to a fold called “Holidays”, down to a folder called “Easter”, and then find each celebration listed by year. I have chosen to keep family celebrations private unless you have the link, however the photos from our trip are “public”.  SmugMug also has a feature that keeps people from grabbing my photos with a right-click.  Pretty nice.  The website was recently updated and I am still trying to learn about all the features.  It sure does make it a lot easier to share photos and to find them online.  Also, SmugMug doesn’t mess with my photos the way Google does.  (PS.  I just noticed that I have TWO logos on the lower right of these photos.  Hmm…seems as though I did it once in Picasa and then again in Lightroom.  As I said, I am still learning!)

Late Easter 2014_296 Mo ordered a VuCube portable satellite receiver almost five months ago from Camping World, and it was an excellent price.  We had hoped it would be delivered in time for our winter trip.  Nope. Mo’s willingness to wait saved her a couple of hundred dollars.  It was finally delivered a few days ago, and yesterday we managed to figure out how to hook the thing up to the TV in the cabin.  It is now working great with our extra Direct TV receiver, and the next job will be to figure out how to get it all hooked up in the MoHo.  Since the rig was built prior to 2007, our TV isn’t digital, and there is an input for cable but not for satellite.  Also, with a smaller rig like ours, we have to figure out how to add two more boxes that require a power outlet to the TV which is built in to a fairly tight space.  Stay tuned.

I did finally manage a day in the MoHo to get her all spiffy again after three months of wandering.  Deep vacuuming, polishing and carpet shampoo were part of the mix.  I found myself sitting in the lovely sunshine at the dining table, feeling as though I was right at home again.  Time to go on another trip!Late Easter 2014_345

In a few days, we will head west to the our favorite campground at Harris Beach State Park.  As much as I loved the Florida beaches, Mo found herself missing the wild rugged Oregon Coast.  We thought about traveling upcoast toward Florence to camp at Tugman State Park, but the weather may be a bit iffy, with rain and wind predicted for a few of our days, so we might just sit tight in our favorite place and enjoy the wild coastal weather without adding a bunch of extra driving to the menu.

We will be back in time for another celebration, this time a Mom’s Day brunch in Grants Pass with Deborah, and Melody and the kids coming over from Klamath Falls to celebrate with us.  More food!  Good thing I am getting outside most days to garden!


On the Road Again

Finally time for the spring flags Seems as though I just got home from Texas, but when I looked at the calendar it has been over two weeks since I returned.  Geez.  Don’t blink, or life will speed right over you, minus the speed bumps to slow you down!

I love these tiny daffodils The MoHo is in Brookings, where the snow never flies and chains are never required,  and we try to get over there for a road trip at least once every month.  A week or two on the road is always a great reprieve from everyday life, even if that everyday life is really quite wonderful.

For our last few trips we have traveled a good distance, often heading south into California to find warm sunshine and blue skies in the winter.  This time we decided that it would be great to just hang out in our own beautiful state of Oregon and explore the hidden nooks and crannies in the Willamette Valley and surroundings that we have missed while running off to the coast and then heading south.

the greenhouse is ready and waiting for a new crop Mo found an Oregon website of all the covered bridges in the state, something Oregon is famous for, so we have the google map with 71 bridges pinpointed to guide us.  Will we see them all?  Of course not.  Who knows how many we will actually see, but it gives us a little bit of something to make us move from one place to another at least.  We have no plans, no reservations, no particular destination.  We are going to wander for two weeks and see what appears.  Oregon is just so beautiful this time of year, especially on the west side.  The flowers are blooming, the orchards are blossoming, the grass is green and often the skies are blue. 

morning light coming through all the flowering trees ready to open Here at home, on the east side of the Cascades just south of Crater Lake, spring is just barely coming out.  All it takes are a few more warm days and I should have at  least the beginnings of flowers and blossoms on our own trees.  With a little luck, we won’t miss the tulips coming into bloom that I planted last fall.

coloring eggs with silk ties I returned from Texas barely in time to take a breath and prepare for Easter.  With my oldest daughter in Texas, my middle daughter plying the country with her truck, and my son way back in Missouri, once again I was blessed by the fact that my youngest lives in Klamath, close enough to bring the family for a wonderful day of spring time celebrations.  This year they came the night before so they could be here for the early morning festivities.  With the kids now 19 and 13 the Easter Bunny doesn’t have to stay up late to hide eggs any more, but we still love that big Sunday morning breakfast and waking up together for coffee and family time.

killer baby back ribs in the big green egg by Kevin the bbq king006 Kevin, my SIL, brought his Big Green Egg  BBQ and smoker out for the day and made some of his famous baby back ribs while Melody followed some great instructions for coloring eggs with silk ties.  They were gorgeous!  We are all planning to collect more ties for next Easter. 

The rest of the day we made an Easter cake for entertainment.  With some internet searches, the kids decided on the “bunny butt in the stump” chocolate cake.  I had to buy fondant for the bunny and the decorations.  That was a shocker!  Fondant comes in a tub for about 20 bucks, and then I had to buy the different fancy colorings to go with it.  It feels a bit like play-doh and tastes a bit like old gum.  Ah well, the cake and frosting were fabulous and the decorating was so much fun.  Who cares if you don’t eat the fancy green leaves and cute flowers.  My 13 year old grandson was pretty good at flower making, and while I expected my artistic granddaughter to do well with this, the grandsons enthusiasm was a surprise.  We had a great day together.

013002 Monday morning I was back to work, again racking up two weeks straight of soil survey work to give me the freedom of another two weeks off so we can amble off in the MoHo.  I spent the rainy weekend in between finally finishing the quilt table runner for my friend Maryruth and finishing up the baby blanket I started over a month ago when Mo’s new grand niece was born.  Sure glad I got it done before she was too big to care!.  An easy pattern with inexpensive yarn that is washable made it a simple gift.  It was cuddly! 

Blogging of course slipped way back to the bottom of the list.  Reading blogs slipped as well.  In fact, I realized that I was letting the blog world take up much more of my time than I wanted.  I made the difficult decision to stop following many blogs so that I wouldn’t feel as though I was always behind.  I have heard other bloggers mention this problem lately.  Some have discussed it much more eloquently than I can. The whole thing has just expanded exponentially.  I went back to my original reason for blogging, keeping track of my life for myself, my own personal diary, and letting those who care about me know what I have been up to.

Grants Pass House 002April morning (18)   Of course, I have made some real friends through this blogging thing, and of course there are some old friends I continue to follow, but I am giving myself permission to opt out, to quit worrying if I am blogging enough, or am interesting enough, or paying enough attention. I refuse to compete for comments or readership.  It is just too yukky.  If you are still here reading, thanks.  In the mean time, I’ll do like several other bloggers have done recently and be really happy that I can look back and see what I was doing this time of year back in 2010 or 2008 or whenever.  I can’t count the times that Mo says to me, “When did we do….?” and I will answer, “Let me go check the blog”.

Today and tomorrow we will load up the Tracker one last time before bringing the MoHo back home.  The kayaks are coming down and going on top, the bikes are going on the rack in back, we are packing shorts and raincoats, and everything in between.  Wednesday morning we will head for Brookings.  I haven’t a clue where we will go next except it will be somewhere right here in Oregon.

Spring snows and off to the beach!

Spring snow (24)Spring snow (9)It’s been a week and a half since I had the chance to sit down to my personal computer and think about writing something about the passing days.  They have been so full. The sadness in the southeast, and the devastation and lost lives was heartbreaking.  With no time for blogging or reading blogs, the news about Al and Kelly’s Max still came in through Facebook and I was saddened again. Somehow when sadness intervenes I go quiet, it’s hard to write about my “stuff” when others are going through so much.  This morning the sun is shining, and Mo and I are packing the MoHo for a trip to the Oregon Coast, and it’s time to start writing again!

Of course, as mentioned in the last post, I have been working three weeks straight through, with last week requiring a trip to town every single day.  It was time for the formal Progress Review for the Klamath Soil Survey, and I couldn’t manage that Spring snow (14)one from home.  I loved every minute of it, long days going over all the details of years of mapping the basin, and this time I was only a participant, with no stress, no management responsibilities.  Yeah, I am still working after retirement, but I don’t have any of the stress of the job.  Chris is a great project leader, had the review well prepared, and the regional specialist who reviewed us is one of my favorites.  We have a long history going back many years. 

Spring snow (19)The daily trip to town was a bit daunting, for a couple of reasons.  Spring keeps trying to show up around here, but as the joke going around the internet says, it isn’t installing properly.  I woke up on Thursday to an inch of frozen snow and ice, and slid all the way to town on that stuff.  Ugh. Since I left early, I had time to slow down and appreciate the gorgeous skies and blue waters of Klamath Lake, and even pulled over a few times for photos.  I kept thinking, “Just slow down and appreciate the beauty instead of complaining about the snow”.  Then I slipped on the ice and managed to keep from sliding under the car with some fairly weird body moves. I was rewarded for my efforts by suddenly looking into the eyes of a blue heron right in front of me, trying to fish, and wondering where the snow came from.  Of course, 30 miles each way isn’t bad when the weather is good and the sun is shining, but when gas is at 3.95 per gallon and I am driving my Dakota it gets a bit depressing.  The Dakota gets about 15 mpg, so you do the math. 

second location for the greenhouseFamily Easter (40)While I was intently focused on work stuff, Mo was valiantly working away on the greenhouse.  We had a bit of a funny start with the project, funny unless you are the one wielding the shovel.  We decided on a location for the house, and my job was to remove the sod from the 10×12 space.  Took me a couple of partial days to get the job done and I was extremely proud of myself.  Mo came in the house after I was done, looking sheepish.  Seems as though we had located the house straddling the official property line, and half of it would be in the “road” if the county ever decided to enforce the rules.  We thought the house would be something we could move around at will, but after reviewing the complex directions, Mo decided that she didn’t really want to ever move it once it was built.  So, I got out the trusty sharp shooter spade, and once again lifted a 10 x 12 square foot area of sod.  This time, Mo helped move it all after I did the cutting and it only took us a day.  When I came home from work the following night, Mo had faithfully replaced all the sod squares in the original site.  By mid summer, no one will ever know we tried to build a greenhouse in the road.

Family Easter (41)The rest of the week, while I worked, Mo patiently fiddled with the instructions and put that thing together.  I swear it was like some sort of evil erector set. The directions were ok, but the drawings were a bit weird.  I think Mo spent 3 hours trying to understand just how to put the top beam together.  The kit is all screws and bolts and straight pieces of aluminum.  It’s a good thing I wasn’t the one doing it, or it would still be in a pile somewhere!

Spring snow (4)I am excited about the project, though.  When I got home from work on Friday it was completely finished, and now we are going to town today to buy the raised bed materials for the interior.  We also decided to put down a floor of 1/2 inch hardware cloth wire to try to keep out the voles and rabbits.  The sun was shining beautifully yesterday, but the wind was cold.  I stepped into the greenhouse and reveled in the warm, humid air.  I will have at least one 10×12 space of deer free, frost free gardening, at least as long as I remember to never leave that wide door open!

Family Easter (8)Last weekend we took some time out from work and greenhouse building to celebrate Easter with family.  My daughter and son-in-law, my two grandkids, and my sister and niece all came out to Rocky Point for a celebratory brunch and Easter Egg hunt.  We had a great time, and I made Mo’s favorite orange walnut coffee cake to go with the zip-lock bag omelets.  I love those crazy things, always perfect for fun and laughs in a crowd. The kids then colored all the eggs and Kevin and Melody played Easter Bunny hiding them in the yard.  We had some moments of snow flurries, but the sun came out warm and bright in time for our festivities.  Then the kids decided to hide the eggs for the adults and we had lots of laughs together over that one.

Family Easter (20)I think the funniest moment of the day, however, was trying to explain to my daughter’s Thai exchange student why a rabbit would lay eggs.  It’s hard enough to explain to our own kids, but when you add the cultural differences it’s even funnier.  We finally went to the internet to discover that the tradition goes back to the middle ages and morphed into the Easter Rabbit sometime during the 18th century in Germany. It was perfect family time, even though I rarely manage to get all my family together at once, I am still so grateful for the ones that live close by.

Family Easter (26)The sun finally came out and in spite of the cold temperatures, Mo managed to get the MoHo all washed and shiny and I cleaned out the interior.  The MoHo is five years old, and now and then something needs replaced.  We had the original CO2 detector that is supposed to only last five years.  Sure enough, it started screaming at strange moments having nothing to do whatsoever with CO2.  The problem is that the original unit is no longer made, and the new one is a different size than our original.  Mo had to cut out a bigger square in the wall to install the new one, but now all the green lights are on and there are no weird screams in the night. She had to find the replacement on the internet, since the local RV shops only carry the type that have both CO2 and propane detectors in one unit.  Dumb.  We already have a propane detector near the floor and the refrigerator, where propane might actually show up. Now we are all good to go, with safe detectors.  I remember the explosion in an RV at the Sands RV Resort in Desert Hot Springs last winter that was caused by leaking propane.  Good detectors are important!

why don't they make these things the same sizeworking on the MoHoI now have a whole week without work, and Mo and I decided it was a perfect time to head for the coast.  We miss the beach, and this time we are going to Brookings, where Mo once had a condo overlooking the ocean.  We will camp at Harris Beach State Park for a few days, and then drive north to South Beach where we will meet her brother and his wife for a couple of days of more family fun.  Of course the kayaks are going on this trip, and we hope to test the waters in the Chetko and Pistol Rivers and maybe Brookings Harbor.  The best part of this plan is that we have sunshine and temperatures predicted in the 70’s!  On the Oregon Coast!!  Some of our fellow RV’rs haven’t been so lucky lately, so our timing is perfect.