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!

Thanksgiving

thanksgiving

My Thanksgiving celebration turned out a bit smaller than planned, due partly to weather and the long miles between Portland and Klamath Falls.  My eldest daughter and her sweetie didn’t make it this far south, and I missed her. However, my youngest daughter living in Klamath Falls came with my granddaughter Hillary and their new exchange student from Thailand, Kwankae.  The man behind the camera is Melody’s long-suffering husband, Kevin.  My sweet little grandson had to do the court ordered thing and spend the holiday with his father in Portland.  Families can certainly get complicated, can’t they!

With horrendous icy road conditions, my sister was afraid to drive out to Rocky Point in her 2 wheel drive vehicle, so Mo made the trip to town twice to pick up Sally and my niece Savannah and return them late in the evening.  That amounted to about 4 hours of icy driving, but Mo felt it was worth it to get Sally and Savannah to our home for the celebration.  Thankful.  I am just really thankful for so very much.

Just a little aside here: My sister and I share the same mother, she died when we were small children, and we were separated.  I didn’t find her until 36 years later.  Sally lived in many parts of the country before coming to live with me in Klamath Falls in 2003.  After a year, she moved out on her own, making her own life and focusing on raising her fantastic, talented daughter Savannah.  Of course, sisterhood isn’t without flaws, especially since we didn’t grow up together and came from such different backgrounds.  For 36 years I didn’t have a sister, and now I do. 

Thanksgiving 2010 (25) I had fun spending most of Wednesday cooking all that I could do early so Thursday morning was a breeze.  Woke up too dang early, though, probably just excited, but at least I was awake in time to get the 20 pound turkey stuffed and in the oven before 8.  Got a comment from a friend about our Thanksgiving table…not yet piled with food.  Usually I forget to get the photo before dinner and then it’s too late after dinner and all the food is all messy looking.  This time I forgot to take a photo of the food!  LOL  Here’s one of everything on the counter where we filled our plate.  Turkey, old fashioned bread  dressing with onion, celery, and tons of sage, mashers, gravy, homemade cranberry sauce, southern sherry glazed yams with pecans, fruit salad, that silly green lime jello thingy (for old time’s sake), and 4 kinds of pie for dessert. The daughter that couldn’t make it had our traditional cream cheese veggies with her, so we didn’t have them this year.  Somehow the plates were completely full anyway, even if two chairs were not.

Thanksgiving 2010 (19) Mid-afternoon, with the sun shining and making the frigid air seem a bit less daunting, we all bundled up to go outside and try out the new Costco sled I picked up the other day.  Of course, Mo’s antique sled with runners, a real one, did much better in the snow and the three teenagers had a good time laughing and falling and playing in the snow.  They were great sports, no complaints at all about the weather, the cold, or Grandma’s silly plastic sled.

Just for fun, here is a photo of the last time I had Thanksgiving for my family.  A few more managed to get to Klamath back then in 2003, and it wasn’t easy then either. Thanksgiving has always been special to me, it’s the holiday that is specifically for family, without any other agenda, and I love that about it.  Well, of course, there is the food part, but without family that would be irrelevant. 

family copy

Melody is in the front row with my grandson on her lap, Hillary and Savannah have changed a bit in seven years, I think.  I am on the right, next to my first-born daughter, my sister next to her, my two grandsons in the rear (both now Iraq veterans), my middle daughter next to her husband holding my first great grandchild and a step granddaughter.  These family pictures track the history for us, the changes in family dynamics, where everyone has been, where we are going perhaps.  Yes, it’s a bit nostalgic, and yes, so very much fun, and yes yes yes, I am grateful for my family.

September 19 Visiting my son in Missouri

Shutins to Johns Our planned route today through Southern Missouri meandered through the hills and valleys of the Ozarks.  When we woke this morning, the humidity  was so high that the windows were covered with water so heavy it looked as though it had been raining.  All that humidity creates a steamy murkiness to the skies that dulls the view a lot.  Route 160 through the Ozarks is narrow and winding, and only occasionally opens up enough for a view of the larger landscape.  Again, I was disappointed in the lack of anyplace to stop, or park, or even slow down a bit to take some photos.  We passed some picturesque old barns, farms, and fences that would have been pretty  to photograph.  Instead, we kept ambling along, with not an inch of shoulder on the road, and I took a few very bad photos through the windows so that I could remember how we traveled.

Shutins to Johns (11) The focus for this day wasn’t to spend time seeing Missouri, it was to get across Missouri so that I could visit my son who lives near Joplin, on the western side of the state.  His life doesn’t allow him much opportunity to travel, so it is good that I can go to him. We planned to park in his yard, after he assured us he could plug in the MoHo and there wasn’t any problem with being there. 

Once we arrived, however, it was pretty clear that was a mistake.  John’s home is more than 100 years old, a remodeling work in progress, and the electric system couldn’t handle the 20 amps we needed just to run the air conditioner.  With the temperature in the mid 90’s and the night time temperatures not much less, air conditioning was a requirement and we relocated to a nice park not too many miles away.

Missouri_to Kansas (6) Once settled into the Big Red Barn RV Park in Carthage, Missouri, with full hookups and the air conditioner funning full blast, we relaxed into visiting with John and his friend Shannon.  Supper at a new local restaurant gave us time to talk and laugh together over a good meal, and keep nice and cool while doing so.

It was great to spend some time together, to catch up on family goings on, to share some hugs.  I am hoping that John will make it out west again soon to visit and see his sisters.  The last time he was able to come west, (other than when he was truck driving) was for our family reunion in 2007. John loves Missouri.  He has lived here for most of his life, and his father is close by.  He loves the warmth and doesn’t mind the humidity.  He just laughed at me as he watched the water pouring from my body and my dripping wet hair.

More photos are here, (some the not so good windshield variety), and others of my son are linked here>

 

Teaching in Lincoln and visiting Branson, Missouri and my son

Transcribed form the little red leather journal in April 2011

May 14th, 2007

Lincoln 048 While we were in Lincoln I worked during the days and Mo checked out the town. She found Pioneer park where we rode our bikes one evening after work. She found another lovely park with a lake where Abby got to go swimming until Mo later saw the “no swimming” signs. Then at Pioneer Park Abby went swimming again, although for Abby it really is more like wading.

One evening we went to dinner at what used to be the Fireworks Grill and had steaks with Charlie (a fellow teaching soil scientist) but it turned out to be a real disappointment. Evidently the real Fireworks place has moved out of town on the south end somewhere and we never could find it. Bummer. I ended up eating out with the survey people several nights, including a night at the Cajun place, a night with Doug and Jim and Doug’s wife at the Italian place, Mo and I had pizza at Chicago Pizza and that was really great! Mo also got a chance to see the Haymarket park and sculpture downtown and to visit the capitol.

Lincoln 055 Lincoln 054 When the weekend came, we decided to leave for Branson on Friday night so that we could get there early enough of Saturday to get settled in before time for our shows. I got off work at 530 and we took off south towards Missouri. We got to go into Iowa as well on the way so we could get another state on that trip! I drove a little bit but got tired and went into the back to rest. Loved that part, although it was pretty bumpy and I finally got up around midnight and Mo said she was looking for a place to pull over. Those roads in southern Missouri don’t have much shoulder so it wasn’t easy to find. We were really surprised when we turned a corner and there was a Wal-Mart just waiting for us! Mo said, hope there are some rv’s there and as we drove around the parking lot we found a lineup and we pulled in and settled in for a good nights sleep! Thank goodness for Wal-Mart. In the morning we had a MacD’s breakfast since it was right there and then decided to take HWY 65 all the way south past Branson to Arkansas so we could get that sticker as well. The gas by the border wasn’t too expensive. Back to Branson to find our campground and we were really glad that we had switched since the other one I had originally wasn’t nearly as nice. In spite of the chain link fence, it was a comfortable place.

Lincoln 056 We settled in and didn’t have much time to get ready for our 3pm Broadway show. Decided to leave Abby in the motorhome rather than the kennels and I made sure all the windows were closed in the MoHo and we took off. Turns out that I opened the window instead of closing it and when we got back Abby had jumped out of the truck, was running around on the highway until someone found her and brought her back to the park. She was down in the kennel barking like crazy! What a horrible feeling that was. Just too close, too close to losing her. She was pretty contrite after that and we could tell she was a bit depressed and even more worried than usual.

The Broadway show was really good with lots of great costumes and fun singing. We enjoyed it. We came back to the MoHo and settled in after the trauma with Abby and got ready to go for our evening show which was “that 70’s Show”. Well, what a shock that turned out to be. The venue was a crummy old restaurant in a Ramada Inn that had been converted to a dingy bar, exactly like the 70’s. We knew something might be wrong when a tall thin woman in a very bad blond wig and heavy makeup waved us in from the parking lot. There were probably 20 people altogether in the audience. Funny thing, though, with the free cokes and popcorn and the campy entertainment, it actually turned out to be fun, with some good singing and lots of comedy. We ended up really enjoying ourselves.

Lincoln 060 Lincoln 072 Our next show wasn’t until 11 pm at the downtown Owens’s Theater. We walked around early and watched the fireworks on the River Front but when we got to the theater, the show had been cancelled. We were pretty tired anyway and so it wasn’t too hard to just go home and crawl into bed after that very busy day!

Sunday morning we got up and got ready for my son Johnny and his wife Linda to arrive, cooked a good breakfast and sat out on the covered deck overlooking the Branson trees with our morning coffee. A really lovely moment. The kids got there around 10 or so and we had a great visit. Took them first to the Duck rides. It was great fun and we all enjoyed ourselves. Then Johnny drove us around the different places where he had lived and played as a young boy and we went to the little town of Harrison? For lunch. We ate rather boring food at the Olde English Pub restaurant and then just went back to the campground and visited until they headed back for Joplin.

Lincoln 064 Mo and I got ready for our big night out at the Mickey Gilley show. This one was interesting, and kind of fun, but the people were really really old who were there. It was country music from the era after the Merle Haggard and Hank Williams Jr time and before the current time so we didn’t know the music that well, but the entertainment was still fun. Sort of campy Branson kind of entertainment I guess. I would imagine that you have to have tickets for the special appearances and special shows, some of them were already sold out when we ordered our tickets so the shows that we saw were more ordinary. After the show we walked down to the riverfront area and really enjoyed seeing how nicely they have upscaled everything there. I could definitely spend some time in that place for sure! We were really lucky because while we were in Branson it wasn’t too hot and didn’t rain or anything unpleasant at all.

Lincoln 079 Monday morning we got up and had cereal for breakfast, broke camp, and headed north by traveling across HWY 65 through the Ozarks into Oklahoma (another state) and along the eastern border of Kansas on what was called the Military Road. It was interesting to see Fort Scott and the restored buildings where 160 people lived at what was once believed to be the final frontier of the west. Back to Lincoln that evening and off to work the next morning for the field day with the students.

Tuesday evening was our chance to ride our bikes at Pioneer park and it was really lovely. Cool and breezy and very pretty and green, with a truly wonderful paved bike trail. Mo finally figured out that we could put a muzzle on Abby and she does ok in the car waiting for us. The muzzle seems to keep her calmer than when she gets herself all worked up and barking.

Wednesday morning I worked, met with the lab people, and managed to get out of the center at 11:30 when Mo picked me up in the MoHo. We bought a taco on the way out of town and headed west to Edna’s house. The trip was fairly uneventful, with clear skies and some cloudiness as we approached Colorado, but we managed to miss all the big rain storms that Edna was getting.

A long weekend at the Brookings condo

Transcribed in April 2011 from very sketchy notes in our old leather journal, with help from the photos.

03_Nov_Brookings003 03_Nov_Brookings004 Mo has a condo in Brookings that overlooks the Pacific from high on a cliff.  Although she offers it as a vacation rental, she can stay there for 17 days per year without losing any of the tax benefits.  We had to leave Molly at Double C for boarding, however, since the condo association has a “no pet” rule. 

03_Nov_Brookings001 03_Nov_Brookings015 Mo’s brother Roger and his wife Nancy drove over from Corvallis to spend the weekend with us.  We had a great time walking the beaches, cooking and eating out a couple of times.  The condo is quite comfortable with two full bedrooms and an incredible view with a deck for sunset watching.  The beach is private, and there is a very long steep staircase leading down to the water.  We found three big old whale vertebra bones that we rescued for garden art back home. 

03_Nov_Brookings038On the way home we stopped at the Jedediah Smith State Park, a cathedral of silent redwoods underlain by thick moss, ferns and shadowy paths.