Fabulous Friends Fabulous Days Fabulous Fun

Continued from this post:

As I wrote yesterday, Jeanne (my friend from Vermont) arrived on Monday, Labor Day, a very short time after Phil and Joanne left for Eugene.  I haven’t seen Jeanne since her wedding last year, when I traveled to Vermont to participate in one of the most wonderful weddings I have ever experienced.Jeanne at Rocky Point (2 of 4)

Jeanne has many friends in Klamath Falls, and it gets pretty crazy when she visits trying to fit everyone in.  Most of her friends are high energy, very physical folks.  Big time bikers, runners, hikers, and white water boaters.  Just like Jeanne.  Thank goodness I have a couple of decades on them as an excuse for not being able to keep up, not wanting to, actually.  I’ll settle for a flat water paddle and a long walk any day!

Jeanne at Rocky Point (1 of 4) Still, Jeanne made sure she had time for us, spending a couple of days and a night in the cabin.  After a nice walk in the neighborhood, we settled in at home for some of Jeanne’s favorite ribs.  I don’t think I have made them since the last time she visited, but I am sure glad that was her request.  Got the recipe from a local Rocky Point resident famous for his cooking.  Something about a few hours braising in pineapple juice and seasonings before they go on the grill with sticky sweet gooey sauce makes them fall off the bone tender and so tasty.  Yum.

Once again we pulled out the dominoes.  Jeanne and Alan found out while visiting us a couple of years ago that our domino game was one they actually liked, but  forgot how to play it.  Alan, now her sweet husband, actually bought her a set after they left here last visit.  Hopefully this time she will remember.

Jeanne and Sue heading north toward Crystal Spring The next morning dawned the most gorgeous, smoke free, bluebird sky day we have seen in weeks.  By nine Jeanne and I were on the water, launching at Malone Spring and traveling north to Crystal Spring.  

the sandhill cranes take off for usmalone spring to crystal spring The canoe trail is within the boundary of the Upper Klamath NWR, and parallels the steep eastern flank of the Cascade Mountains.  As you can see, it winds through the marsh, with lots of meanders.  The water is crystal clear, but filled with plants and fish and birds abound. 

Rocky Point to Malone Spring In this photo, from a larger perspective, you can see the upper part of the canoe trail in relation to our place in Rocky Point, in addition to Pelican Bay where we kayaked with Phil and Joanne, and the spring run to Harriman Springs where we took Judy and Phil and Joanne as well.  It is nice to have options based on how much time we have and how many miles our guests wish to paddle.  The run with Jeanne, (and the same run later with Jimmy and Nickie) is about 8 miles round trip.

crater lake I would have loved to linger at the spring, but we had only 4 hours to make the round trip because Jeanne’s friends were picking her up for another adventure.  Hiking down to the water of Crater Lake for an icy swim and the long steep hike back up were next on the list. I begged off this one, even though invited since I wasn’t sure my recently rebuilt innards could handle the climb back up the long steep trail.

After Jeanne left, Mo and I had a day to get the new wood stove moved into the apartments, finish up a few details, and buy groceries for the next round of guests.

I was so excited to have Nickie and Jimmy (The Intrepid Decrepit Travelers) send a text message saying they were heading our way and would we be home.  I had already practiced a couple of days of food, so I just did it all again for our new company.  Good thing we all like salmon!  The End of the Day (3 of 7)

They arrived on Thursday afternoon, and didn’t take long to arrange Tergel in the shop driveway, get her leveled with the slides out and join us for more make it yourself wraps and fruit.  I have found this to be a great way to do lunch for a bunch, laying out spreads, hummus, cheeses, veggies and several kinds of tortillas for everyone to put together their favorite.  Takes a lot of the pressure off!  

Mo took a break from our guests to try to catch up on getting the lawns mowed while the three of us took Mattie for a nice long walk along Rocky Point road while we chatted and got caught up on all the recent doings.  I was really impressed with Jimmy’s recovery and his strength walking after such recent knee surgery.  Way to go, Jimmy!

We had so much fun with dinner and conversation I completely forgot to take photos.  Guess that is a good sign. 

The next morning we were again up early to get out on the creek before the warm temperatures took over.  Sadly, the bluebird skies had disappeared and smoke from the California fires was once again muting the horizon and the distant mountains.Nickie and Jimmy on Recreation Creek (1 of 1)

Still it was beautiful out on the water.  Jimmy and Nickie have a tandem Sea Eagle, but opted instead to try our hard side boats.  It was just at the point of being a bit too long, but everyone did fine and instead of having to rush off when we reached Crystal Spring, we had the luxury of lolling around above the beautiful springs before taking our time going back downriver.

Nickie wants a photo of the wocus (1 of 3) The current is almost negligible, just enough to feel it a bit as you are paddling upstream, but not enough to really get you moving downstream.  Nature was good to us on this day because the afternoon winds never appeared.  Good thing there isn’t much current!  Mattie is new to kayaking, and this was only her third time out.  She is just a bit nervous.  For who knows what reason, she decided to jump right out of the boat into the water.  It was COLD, and I think she was quite happy that Mo was able to haul her back in within seconds.  She didn’t try it again.

at Crystal Spring (1 of 1) While floating around the spring, my phone rang.  What??  I didn’t even remember that it was on and certainly didn’t expect to have a signal. Sure enough my friend Marti, from Idaho, was calling trying to figure out how to get to Rocky Point.  I told her we would be there in a couple of hours and that hopefully she could relax on the porch till we arrived.

The End of the Day (2 of 7) When we got home, Marti was waiting patiently enjoying a book and the shady porch with her dog, Rueben.  Rueben was a very excitable dog, and we had no idea how he and Mattie would get along, but they were just fine, if a tad rambunctious. I offered the cabin to Marti and Rueben, and Jimmy and Nickie decided it was nap time in Tergel!

Understand, Marti is a river rat from way back, guiding on the Rogue River in years past, and running the Grand Canyon and so many others I have no idea about.  Still, I had offered to take her out in our lake kayaks, but after so many trips I felt a bit worn out.  The look of disappointment in Marti’s eyes when I started to beg off another kayak trip was enough to get me back in my boat once again that day for a second paddle down to Harriman Spring.

Marti on Pelican Bay (6 of 10) I got a good deal of paddling in during that week, for sure, and I loved it.

We had planned to go out to supper, down the road once again to the local resort, but everyone was so relaxed, and there was so much food left over that we decided to eat at home.  I marinated and broiled some chicken and made another fresh salad to go with all the rest of the goodies.  We feasted, laughed and talked until everyone just plumb gave out and meandered off to bed.

Saturday morning dawned smoky and warm, and I think Nickie and Jimmy were not happy about having to return to Nevada City and the huge Butte Fire smoke that was affecting their area.  Still, everyone was up early, sharing coffee and fruit before they buttoned up Tergel,  hooked up Smartie and headed down the road toward California and Marti continued her Oregon travels heading toward the coast.  The End of the Day (7 of 7)

This last photo might just give an idea of how much fun we have with these great friends of ours that we never would have known if not for RVing and blogging about it.

I think this may have been the busiest week I have experienced with company since my family reunion back in 2007.  It was so much fun to see everyone, but I must say next time I hope all our visitors won’t have to schedule during the same week.

 

September Transitions, and some Fabulous Visits from Fabulous Folks

Current Location: Rocky Point, Oregon with blue bird skies and  41 Degrees F at 10AM

Deer in the yardDeer in the back yard here in Rocky Point.  Good thing I have a deer repellent that works.

It has been an interesting year for me.  A time of decisions, transitions, changes, and progress.  When my birthday rolls around, I like to take a few moments to re-evaluate.  Turning 70 is a milestone, one that seemed an anti-climax after thinking I was “almost” 70 for so long that when it happened, it didn’t seem all that different.

IMG_5100I had a great birthday, made more so my social media, Facebook of all things.  I love getting birthday cards, but the plethora of greetings that come my way from all over the country and even far parts of the world really add a celebratory air to the day, even one spent doing errands.  Of course, the errands in town were topped by a celebratory cocktail at the luxe Basin Martini Bar right in Klamath Falls, and tasty tapas for supper.  Lots of cards, fabulous presents, phone calls, a wonderful day.  Lucky me.IMG_5090

More is on the agenda in the coming two weeks, but that story will come later.  For now, my big job is to try to track what has happened and where we have been during the last few weeks since I last had time to write. Thank goodness for calendars and photos, or I wouldn’t have a clue where to start.

After our visit with Judy early in August, we spent much of the month working in earnest at the apartments and in Grants Pass.  It seemed as though every day we were driving one place or the other with tight schedules, deadlines, meeting contractors and realtors. 

The realtor part was a bit tiresome, because in spite of the fact that I sold my house on Painter in 11 days, the closing hasn’t been so timely.  Once again we were delayed by the big California lender, with more requests showing up even after I had signed my part of the closing.  After the last snafu, where we all decided to start over with a new lender and a closing date in December, some details shifted, and once again closing is imminent.  We will see.Getting close to being done (16 of 35)

Getting close to being done (23 of 35) The rest of the projects were incredibly successful.  The apartment painting project is at last completed, and looks great.  Did the final walk around this week with our contractor, who does great work if always a bit behind schedule.  The flooring project was completed through Home Depot, a process that entailed repeated trips to the store in town, myriad phone calls between shippers, installers, coordinator, schedulers and such.  What a process!  Still, the contractor also did a great job and we love the results. 

IMG_5060 The apartment is at last completed and ready for us to begin moving in some of our furniture.  We have tentatively planned to have it habitable by November. 

flooring carpet and divider in apt a (1)love love love the weather maple laminate flooring The Grants Pass cottage was also part of our projects.  With the high heat and low water well numbers, we make it a point to return at least every week or ten days to spend 2 or 3 nights there.  My biggest job is moving the single water hose, attempting to keep the few plants alive and healthy.  The grass is doing fine with the daily watering at 2GPM that I have set up on a timer.

walnuts, plums, and pears (31 of 36)  Exciting forthcoming project for the cottage is the installation of a new water holding cistern, scheduled in mid October.  Once that is completed, we will be able to set up timers and sprinklers for more areas on the property without worrying about running the well dry.  Grants Pass water is notorious for salts and iron, but we won’t bother setting up filtration systems until we have a new house to protect once we move there for good.

1-cottage acre  (7 of 12)-001 In the mean time, Mo is working on all sorts of projects, including clearing out the main part of the old building she plans to use as a workshop.   She tore out the old windows to make more storage space, re-worked and removed a bunch of old cabinets to build a workbench, and managed to install a nice window air conditioner that Melody gave to us when she moved out of the Painter Street house.  Yay!   

walnuts, plums, and pears (1 of 36)walnuts, plums, and pears (10 of 36)walnuts, plums, and pears (33 of 36) On an earlier visit we cleared out all the old stacked carpets in the mud room, cleaned up and painted it, and Mo fashioned new frames for the door and window from some old wood she had on hand.  Looks great.  Every project we do at the cottage must be tested against our willingness to see it come crashing down when it is time to raze the cottage and build the new house.

Mo redid the window trim in the mud room Lots of wood working stuff over there to keep Mo happy for years to come!

I haven’t quilted a thing.  The sewing machine managed to come out for a few days while I worked on my first quilted clothing project, a jacket I plan to use for traveling.  It was so much fun, but oh my, don’t let anyone look at it too closely.  So many mistakes, and I learned so very much about what NOT to do when making a quilted jacket.  Photos of this little project will probably show up in the next posts which will be sometime after early October. 

MoHo traveling has been on hold as well, with our last trip to Waldo Lake the last time we tucked away in our cozy rolling home.  Both of us are getting serious hitch-itch, day dreaming about the time when we will get that baby rolling again for something longer than the trip back and forth to Grants Pass now and then.

Family Sunday (41 of 99) With all the work we were doing, Mo and I still managed some fun times during August.  Melody and her clan, along with the new guy in her life came out for a great family day/BBQ with us and we laughed ourselves silly playing Bocci ball on the very sloping lawn.Family Sunday (97 of 99)Family Sunday (85 of 99) Mo and I took a break to chase down the SuperMoon rising over the boat launch in Rocky Point, a quiet and lovely moment in the midst of all the busy days.Waiting for the Supermoon at Rocky PointSupermoon over Pelican Bay at Rocky Point

I spent a lot of time walking Mattie, who seems to think that our long walks are the perfect time to find the biggest thing possible to carry home.  She carried this bone for more than 3 miles, and it was worth it, because I think two weeks later there are still remnants of it lying around the house.

IMG_5079 Daughter Melody is one of the lead stars in the play Chicago, put on by our Klamath Falls Linkville Theater.  I have tickets for the closing show in October, but decided that I had to see it before then, so I’ll be in the audience tonight, in the front row.  I have heard my daughter sing “All That Jazz” for years, but never starring as Velma on the stage.  I am thrilled!

Chicago 2 As the month of September continued, however, all work stopped.  For some reason, all our friends who had promised visits seemed to converge at once on Rocky Point in the first week of September.  We knew Phil and Joanne were coming, and I had scheduled Jeanne’s visit for months.  But suddenly Jimmy and Nickie were heading our way and I was not about to miss time with them.  To add to the fun, an old friend from my working days in the 80’s in Idaho retired, and called to say she would like to stop in and say Hi.  I hadn’t seen Marti in 40 years maybe? so of course I wasn’t going to say no. 

Scheduling all worked out perfectly, in the long run, with one set of folks replaced by another set within hours, and sometimes overlapping. 

Badger Lake Hike with the Hartwigs (17 of 36) First to join us were Phil and Joanne from Eugene.  Our history goes way way back, to 1977, with some gaps in between, but you know how that can be with old friends.  They came down on Labor Day weekend, and settled into the cabin before we had a make it yourself lunch of vegetarian wraps and fruit. 

Badger Lake Hike with the Hartwigs (6 of 36) Our destination that first afternoon was a six mile round trip hike on the southeast side of Fourmile Lake, just west of Rocky Point near the Cascade crest and into the Sky Lakes Wilderness. We had a wonderful time on a lovely hike that meandered around Fourmile Lake with views of Mt McLoughlin, and a final destination of Badger Lake. 

Badger Lake Hike with the Hartwigs (35 of 36) We earned our supper, and enjoyed the planked salmon, zuchinni rice ( a new recipe I love with shredded uncooked zukes added to hot rice, corn, black beans, and peppers), cole slaw from an ancient recipe Joanne remembers from the 80s, and my favorite dessert to make, a French Apple Gallette.   

The next day was supposed to be hot, so we planned to get out on the water early.  Phillip is a great cook, and I remember the days when we shared working weeks at the Forest Service work center and Phil would make huge breakfasts, eating three times what I ate and staying skinny forever.  He is still pretty darn slim, but maybe the marathons have something to do with it.Hartwig making eggs before we left (1 of 1)

I made the potatoes but Phil scrambled the eggs with leftover salmon, cilantro and who knows what else.  They were so good and I don’t even like eggs.

Phil and Joanne on Pelican Bay (1 of 1) We decided to kayak from the main dock in Rocky Point, traveling southward toward Harriman Springs so that they could get used to paddling on flat water and not be out too terribly long. 

We were treated to lots of pelicans and smooth silky water and Joanne, unused to all that shoulder work, did just fine.  As often happens when we introduce folks to paddling, by the time we were done they were asking about kayaks.  Of course, Joanne is hoping for a tandem kayak so she can ride in the back and Phil won’t know when she isn’t paddling.

Melody and Robert drove out from Klamath Falls just in time to see Phil and Joanne and take a little paddle of their own on the bay.  Joanne and Melody figured out that they hadn’t seen each other since Melody was just 16!

Robert and Melody kayaking Pelican Bay (1 of 1)

That evening we decided to try out the Harriman Resort for dinner.  The resort is still trying to get it’s sea legs and still doesn’t have a liquor license.  Instead we shared a great bottle of wine before we left, and trundled down the few hundred yards to the restaurant.Pelicans on Pelican Bay (1 of 1) Pelicans on Pelican Bay (1 of 1)-6

It was an interesting experience.  The restaurant is beautiful, and we all ordered halibut, which was quite tasty.  However, Phil and Joanne are fish only people and the garlic mashed potatoes came smothered in a rich, dark beef gravy!!  Now what chef puts beef gravy on a fish plate!  The waitress was quick and accommodating and the offending gravy was gone when the fresh plates were quickly replaced.

We rounded out the evening with our favorite Racehorse dominoes before everyone crashed happy, tired and satiated from too much food and laughter.

I think I’ll continue the rest of the story in the next blog since this just keeps on going and I want to share all the photos. 

Next: Jeanne arrives from Vermont and Nickie and Jimmy arrive from points north

 

Out the door and down the road, another day on the water, Odessa Creek Launch

Current Location: Rocky Point Oregon 59F with a predicted high of 83 and sunny

Odessa kayak_001 When we returned from our gorgeous paddle the other day, I thought, “Let’s keep the kayaks on the truck and then we can go out again without reloading!”  It isn’t that much trouble loading up our lightweight boats, but it is still nice to put on the hats, grab the sunscreen and simply jump into the truck on a sunny morning for another day on the water.

Odessa kayak_003 Mo suggested that we drive down the road a piece to a launch site that we haven’t been to for some time.  Odessa Creek Campground is about 6 miles east on Highway 140.  It is a quiet little camp with no fees and a small launch site to the wide creek that meanders out to Klamath Lake proper. 

Odessa kayak_010 It is a pretty place, with lots of cover and shade, but it as usual, for this time of year, the mosquitoes are horrendous.  There was someone camping in a big tent and I didn’t envy them in the least.  We made quick work of the launch knowing that once we were out on the water, we would escape the nasty little critters.

Odessa kayak_011 We were on the water by ten, a bit later than originally planned because we waited for the temperature to rise a bit.  The weather was perfect, and the lake was calm and glassy for most of our 7 mile paddle.

Odessa kayak_022 We love paddling meandering streams, but being on the lake near the shoreline has meandering ins and outs as well that provide interest.  Paddling around the hills west of Bell Bay, we found the little cabin that was one of our first paddle destinations when we got our first kayaks back in 2005. 

odessa route This time, with the glassy water and good weather, we decided to strike out across the bay toward another peninsula, marking the entrance into Shoalwater Bay.  We camped on the east side of this bay back in 2011. 

Odessa kayak_040 Being on the lake, even as close to the shoreline as we were traveling, was surprising.  The perspectives change and shift so much when traveling at lake level.  Klamath Lake seems huge!  It is a magnificent lake, in spite of its quirks.  A shallow lake formed in volcanic sediments, the lake is naturally high in phosphorus, and thus home to lots of algae during the summer months.  The algae is actually harvested and sold as a food supplement.

Odessa kayak_037 Paddling through some of the green stuff yesterday, I thought how great it would be if we could eventually figure out a way to create fuel from algae.  Then again, the empty solitude of Klamath Lake on a sunny warm early summer day is quite a treasure.  So many places we have traveled, and many waters we have kayaked, don’t offer that great empty silent solitude.

Odessa kayak_032 The only noises we heard were the birds and from 20 miles away across the lake we could sometimes hear the trains that follow along Highway 97 north from Klamath Falls.Odessa kayak_014

The most fun to watch were the grebes, both Western Grebes and possibly Clark Grebe, and either a pair or rednecked grebes or eared grebes.  They dove too fast for me to get close enough to them to be sure.  The best part was watching the grebes do their amazing water dance, again too far away to photograph, and too sudden to catch them in the act.  It is really something to see, however, and worth just sitting around in the water waiting for the pair to do its thing.  Of course, I was delighted to find several of my white pelican friends soaring over the water.  Such amazing birds.

grebes I did steal this photo from the internet with kudos to whomever managed to catch these birds doing their mating dance, running along the surface of the water.  Before they start the run, the pair will paddle beside each other with their heads going up and down, extending their necks and retracting them, and then suddenly they take off in perfect unison. Odessa kayak_044As we approached the shoreline on the east side of Ball Bay, I was surprised to see eagles in the trees.  There were two adults and a very large youngster with the brown and white colors typical of juvenile bald eagles. 

Odessa kayak_069 By afternoon, as we meandered back to our launch site at Odessa, the sun was high and hot and we were glad we were ready to get off the water.  We even had enough time to get back home, unload the kayaks, and fill up the truck for a load to the dump.  Our rural dump is now only only open one day a week, and we were surprised that there wasn’t a line of waiting folks.  With the price raised to $13. for a small load, I am glad we don’t have to go very often.

Odessa kayak_070 Evening was a treat with wine and snacks at Wes and Gayle’s place next door.  It is always fun when they come back from Arizona to spend a few months here in Rocky Point.  We have some fun plans in the works for the summer with them, including an evening at the Britt in Ashland for Lyle Lovett and His Large Band.  Looking forward to sharing our favorite little camping spot with them as well, with a trip to Medicine Lake in the works for late July.Odessa kayak_007

The flowers are blooming, the iris and peonies are opening at last, the lupines are reaching their full height.  Ahh…June.  Probably the best flower time here at Rocky Point.  Odessa kayak_004_01

 

Let there be light

Rocky Point Oregon clear and 59 degrees F  Today’s low 42 high 75

blooming in june (15) It is mid June already.  Solstice is less than a week away and the skies are still light late into the evening.  I know there is rhythm to the patterns of the seasons, but it always seems to me that the longest day of the year should come in mid summer and not while I am still trying to feel summer is coming.  Even in our forest, where sunrises and sunsets are obscured by the huge firs that surround us, the light lingers.  I remember my days living in North Idaho, when the skies would be light after ten pm and I would rise with the sun and the birds at 4:30 in the morning.  Sometimes I miss that, those incredibly long days, but I really don’t miss the winter dark at all.

skylights (25) Speaking of light, we have honored the solstice month of June with light.  As mentioned before, we live in the forest, and in addition, the house has long wide porches.  I love the porches, but they do limit the light coming into the house.  We started the project last year, ordering special heavy snow load, no leak skylights, but by the time they were delivered, the weather had turned and our contractor thought better of opening up the roof to the skies during winter.  I was getting impatient with the wait.  Somehow as spring progresses and the sun moves higher into the sky, we get even less light in the house than in winter when it is low on the horizon.  In winter, we also get reflection from the snow that makes the house brighter.  As spring progressed, everything just seemed to get darker and darker. 

Let there be light Until finally, Peter showed up with the windows and his happy crew to install our skylights.  Peter is one crazy guy.  I know contractors can be an eccentric bunch, but Peter was especially so.  Still, he did a great job, got it done on time, and kept us entertained in the process.  He was the proud poppa of a new baby and wasn’t getting much sleep.  The nice thing about Peter was that he actually worked right alongside his crew throughout the project.  It is wonderful to have light in the house, somehow it just changes everything.  Jeremy loves to sleep on the carpet in the brilliant beams.  That warm sunlight is good for his achy old bones, I am sure.

skylights (26) Of course, with all that gorgeous light, it became obvious that we needed a good carpet cleaning.  I called some company called Blue Heron in Klamath that uses a dry cleaning method involving organic materials made from corncobs.  He did a great job, with barely any dampness to the carpet at all, so now everything feels really fresh and nice. 

We were looking around today and talking about just how incredibly busy we have been.  I guess June is always like that, and if you throw in a second house to think about, it just gets a little bit crazy.  We spent some time at the cottage, after Mo had an arborist take down the two most dangerous trees that were hanging over the roof.  I am sure some of those oaks must be at least 100 years old.  The madrones are probably not as old, but they seem to lose their tops with age, so I suppose more tree work is in our future. I counted more than 20 trees on that .89 acre Grants Pass property.  Love that shade, though.

skylights (29) Right after we got back from our camping excursion, Dan and Chere (Mo’s brother and his wife) brought their motor home to the cottage for a long weekend visit.  Mo and Dan spent the entire time working with wiring, eliminating some of the most glaring problems, and figuring out what was what with the breakers.  It IS an old house, and for some reason almost everything was hooked up to just one circuit.  Dan and Mo are a great working team, and Chere and I spent a lot of time watching them run back and forth with a mission.  Then part of the time Chere and I just went to town to check out the Old Town section of Grants Pass, buy goodies at the Saturday Farmer’s Market, and do a little shopping.  I found a pair of Oofos, and after reading Sherry’s rave about them, decided to get a pair.  What luxury.  It is kind of like falling into one of those Memory Foam beds, only for your feet.  Luscious.

trees gone from the cottage After all the hard work, we went to dinner at the wonderful Taprock Grill and watched the beautiful Rogue River sliding by on what felt like a very summery evening.  Of course, we had picnic lunches out under the trees, and big breakfasts to share.  It was a nice time spent with family and we got a lot done.  I spent a long time dealing with a weed in the field that is on the noxious weed list for Oregon.  We will see how that goes.  I took some hand quilting and knitting with me, but I haven’t had my sewing machine out for more than six weeks now.  Mo thinks summer isn’t quilting time.

Gardening has been big on the list as well, at both places.  After being in Grants Pass with our limited water, I love so much coming home to Rocky Point and our deep, cold, fabulous well with unlimited water.  Here I can hose down driveways and run sprinklers as long as I want to.  Funny though, I keep catching myself thinking I need to turn off the hose.  Oops, nope, I am not in Grants Pass where I have to make sure the hose trickles at 2.0 gallons per minute.  I test it with a bucket, and that way I can run the hose all day to water the fruit trees and shrubs without running the well dry. 

oak overhanging the cottage is out nowThen of course, there is kayaking.  I am sad to say that today was the first time we have had our boats out this year.  But oh what a perfect day it was.  We were on the water by 9am, early enough that it was still cool and the birds were out in force.  We decided to go south into Pelican Bay, and then back north through the marsh on Crystal Creek, crossing the Wocus Cut back to Recreation Creek and back south to the Rocky Point boat launch.  Crystal Creek was thick with birds today, especially the terns, which must have been breeding with the black tipped orange bills and all the ruckus they made as we passed.  It was fun to watch them dive for fish.

Crystal Creek Kayak (33) I saw a beautiful great egret, a couple of blue herons, American white pelicans, some kind of hawk, and even a turkey buzzard, a bird I don’t often see soaring over the lake.  Red wing blackbirds were everywhere, and I am pretty sure I saw a tri-color blackbird as well.  The surprise was a night heron flying right in front of my boat, low over the water to disappear in the tules.  The weather was perfect, and the stiff breeze coming from the south made paddling against the current in Crystal Creek a bit easier, and wasn’t hard enough to slow us down when we were traveling with the current on Recreation Creek.

Crossing the Wocus Cut is always beautiful, and this time of year the water was deep enough to make the crossing easy.  There are canoe trail signs to mark the route, because it is easy to get lost in the refuge when the tules are high.  On the northern horizon are the peaks of the Crater Lake Rim, to the west is Mt McLoughlin, to the east, the expanse of Klamath Lake, and to the south the beautiful, still snow covered Mountain Lakes Wilderness. 

Great Egret shaking it up We have been just so busy this spring, and when the weather would break, it seems we were always doing something else.  Out there on the water I was reminded of why I should just drop whatever I am doing and get out in the boat more often.  What a treasure we have right here in our back yard.  Of course, I took my camera with me.  I do have a Pelican waterproof case, but I usually hang the camera around my neck while paddling so I can get photos of the birds.  I also had my cell phone with me so I could play with the MotionGPS app that tracks our route.  Coming into the landing, I decided to put the camera back in the case and took off my life vest (where the cell phone was located) before exiting the kayak.

Does anyone remember my little video from last year about how easy it is to exit a kayak?  Well I am glad I wasn’t taking a video today, and I am especially glad that I had taken off my vest and stowed the camera.  Today I managed to dump myself right into the lake as I was trying to get out of the kayak.  The very cold lake!  Luckily we live less than a mile from the launch, and when we got home I dumped my very shivering self right into the hot tub in the bright afternoon sunshine!  I was warmed up in no time!

Crystal Creek Kayak (60) Speaking of back yard, we are planning some summer camping trips to take advantage of our choice to stay around home this season.  After the fourth of July we will go camping at our favorite little lake just south of the state line, Medicine Lake.  I think the last time we were there was in 2009 before I moved back here from California.  A short trip to Lapine and the famous Sisters quilt show will be extended by camping up at East Paulina Lake south of Bend.  In August we hope to get back over to the beautiful Oregon Coast and try out a new campground that we always drive past and never actually camp.  Harris Beach is so wonderful, but it is time to give some of the other coastal campgrounds a try.  Then right after Labor Day when the heat dissipates a bit, we will head for John Day country, Joseph, and Wallowa Lake. 

Crystal Creek Kayak (67) I spent some time fiddling around with the blog, attempting to use a new template.  It seems that my old template (borrowed from Laurie of Semi-True Tales) is out of date and won’t allow me to add the Google plus buttons at the bottom of a post.  I thought it would be nice to have that, since I do use Google Plus, but some long time honored readers didn’t think much of my new plan.  No one else said much, but if one person was disturbed, I suppose others might have been as well.  Besides, it was really bugging me that I no longer had that nifty “stretch” feature I inherited from Laurie, and that I couldn’t get the header photo to be in the center of the page.  I backed up the old blog template before changing, and it was a simple matter to just reload the old template.  So no Google plus buttons. 

common tern I also tried to shift to the new Google plus comments, but that was a fiasco as well, since anyone who isn’t a member of Google plus could no longer comment.  Like Erin, I dumped that one as well.  Hopefully with all the Google changes, everything will still work.  I do really enjoy reading Rick’s updates on what Google is doing, and how to deal with the little stuff that comes up now and then.  Every single time I have asked Rick a question, he has responded almost immediately and unselfishly with help and advice.  They charge big bucks for that, you know, and Rick just pops in and answers detailed complicated questions for so many of us. 

In my spare time, (yeah right!) I decided to get down to the real planning for our winter trip.  As usual, after Christmas this year, we will travel south to our favorite little desert haunts, Joshua Tree, Desert Hot Springs, and Anza Borrego.  This time, however, we are just going to keep going and travel east and south for at least three months.  I am having to plan a bit more in advance than I might like because we will be in Florida in February, busiest time for some of the places we want to go.  It is hard to try to figure out exactly where we will be on an exact date in order to make some kind of reservations.  But I am trying.  I have been pinning and saving all sorts of campground, kayaking, and sightseeing information from some of my favorite southern bloggers including Sherry and David, Karen and Al, Randy and Pam, TravelBug Susan, and lots of other blogs.

Capture No, we didn’t start in the middle of the creek, that is just when I turned on the MotionGPX app.

We hope to be in Big Bend National Park in Texas by mid January.  Although I read several blogs that talked about visiting Big Bend, I didn’t keep track of who was there when.  If you happen to read this blog, and you happened to have posted about your visit to Big Bend, could you drop a note or comment and let me know where to look for those posts on your blog?  I have tons of stuff of everything from South Padre Island east to Key West and back north into Georgia.  We have traveled south to Tucson and Bisbee and east to Las Cruces, so those are knowns.  I even traveled across I-10 with my daughter last year, and Mo and I looked longingly south toward Big Bend on our very first trip in the MoHo after we bought her in New Braunfels.  But Big Bend?  Nada.  You know who you are, send me a note, please?

Oh yeah, in the midst of lying around eating bonbons, I decided that I needed to refinish my dining table.  I am just doing the top, thank goodness, because the rest is fine.  Sometimes I can be really stupid, and last year when learning to quilt, I used some spray fabric adhesive without protecting the table properly.  Wouldn’t you know it, it took the finish right off!  Ugly and yes, very stupid.  So I bought a can of Formby’s, some steel wool, some oak stain, and some polyurethane and tackled that project this week.  By the time company arrives on the 24th, I’ll have a very smooth, very shiny, very new looking table top.  It is actually kind of fun  seeing the transformation, and so far it is looking really good.

Crystal Creek Kayak (58) Stuff comes in threes, and my third stupid move for the week was freaking out with Jeremy.  Now Jeremy is very old, 17 years, and he has been a perfect cat for all those years.  Until recently.  Now sometimes he gets confused and forgets where his box is.  Gah.  Thank goodness at least he doesn’t spray or urinate.  But still, I saw him in a familiar pose on the newly cleaned carpet and picked him up and put him out on the porch.  Jeremy is an indoor cat, and he is also very arthritic.  Within minutes he was gone like a shot, and we had no clue where he was hiding.  I felt really bad, and Mo and I walked the area for a couple of hours calling him.

0009 Finally, just as it was getting dark, he came up to the porch.  He was pretty quiet and very slow, and was completely saturated with dark brown heavy dirt.  Who knows what hole he found to hide in.  The rest of the evening he was quiet and stayed under the bed.  I woke up at 5 this morning thinking I had probably killed my cat and was scared to look under the bed for him since he never came up to sleep with me as usual.  But no, my very dirty cat was in the living room waiting for Mo to build a fire.  The mornings are still cold enough for a fire here, and once the hearth was heated I dunked Jeremy in a warm bath and tried to get the worst of the dirt out of his fur.

My gorgeous, sleek, 13 pound perfect cat has become a very skinny crippled up 7 pound old man.  He can still see and still hear, although not as well as before, but his life most of the time seems good.  Most of the time he is happy, but sometimes when he gets quiet and sleeps all day and doesn’t move around a lot, and when I see him stumble when his back end doesn’t work properly my heart knows that he won’t be around for long.  Like so many of us, I may have to make that choice someday if I see he is hurting too much, or if his eyes tell me it is time.  I certainly don’t want him to disappear into the forest and get eaten by a coyote because I have put him out on the porch in a fit of frustration!  Geez!

Snow in November Snow in March

Home in Rocky Point Oregon: current temperature 36 Degrees F  high 43 low 25 partly sunny

snow flurries on Klamath Lake Winter is long in this part of Oregon.  The snows start in earnest in November, with a few skiffs sometimes showing up in October.  The snow can be deep, and while we can get down to zero F for a week or so, the winters aren’t nearly as bad as places like Minnesota or the Dakotas.  Still, they are long. I love winter at Christmas time.  I love winter in January when I can enjoy it and then take off for California.  I love winter in February least of all, and ever since I moved from California to snow country in Northern Idaho back in the early 70’s I have done everything possible to get out of winter in February. 

But winter in March is different.  Even though it is cold and the snow is really tiresome by now, it feels different.  The days are getting longer, just a bit, but it isn’t dark any more at 4:30 in the afternoon.  When it snows, it is usually a bit wetter, and there are patches of blue amid the fluff of snowy clouds. The air feels different.  And the birds are back.  snowgees

Early in the morning I can hear them down by the lake, but they are out on the water in places we can’t get to yet with the snow and ice all around.  Still, we walked down there this morning to get the mail.  Gingerly picking our way through the re-frozen slush in the driveway and hoping our boots didn’t crash through the crusty snow banks down by the water.  When I went in to town yesterday, in the midst of a blustery snow storm, I saw open water along the edges of the lake, and saw that the swans had returned.  I only had the iPad with me, and there was traffic and snow, so it was a quick photo, but it still made me really feel the difference between the deepening winter feeling of December and the promise of winter eventually ending.  Maybe not in March, but still eventually it will end.

There is an aerial survey of the birds in Klamath Basin that is updated regularly, and even back on January 30, we had almost 44,000 tundra swans in the refuge complex.  I love the swans especially, and the snow geese, they look like flapping sheets in the wind when they fly in unison and rise and fall over the landscape.

Horse Fever horses in Ocala will always bring back great memories of sharing this with BelI  am still having a bit of trouble writing about Florida.  My friend Bel, in my life for 19 years, passed away while I was there.  I was with her when she passed, probably the hardest thing I have ever done, and yet a gift I will always be grateful for. If you read my blog in the past, you know about Bel and my visits to her, my worries over her access to health care, some of her life difficulties.  This is our happy fun travel blog, how in the world do I talk about this here?  I guess I just can’t.  Up close family, up close friends, real words coming out of real mouths with sound, seem to be the only appropriate way for the moment.  I didn’t plan to say anything at all when I started this blog, and yet some of you are those real friends with real words who were there for me on the phone and on Facebook, of all places, as I was going through it.  So I needed to acknowledge that somehow after all and thank you.  Enough for now.

visiting Deb in San Antonio (15)On the way home from Florida I was so happy to have almost three full days in San Antonio with my daughter Deborah.  She took off work on Thursday and Friday and we spent our time together driving around to places she loved in her new home, seeing where she worked, eating great Texas food that her sweetie prepared for us.  I ate ribs and cole slaw and Texas beans and cheese bread and brisket and omigosh…the heartburn!  I am not used to eating like that, but it sure was fun to let go for a few days in spite of the heartburn.

IMG_3481 We checked out some quilt shops and picked out fabrics for the quilt I will make for her someday, we wandered off to Palmetto State Park and Lyndon B Johnson State Park, and spent a night in lovely Fredericksburg.  It was cool and breezy while I was there, but the sun was brilliant and gorgeous.  South Texas is a great place this time of year, even though the blue bonnets have yet to burst.  The grasses are greening up, and did I mention that sunshine?  Ahhhh.  It was so healing to be with Deborah, who knew and loved Bel, to have her to talk with about it.  I was blessed by two daughters on this trip actually, with Deanna re-routing a Tampa load to go through Ocala, where she met me for a long breakfast full of big hugs. Daughter Melody stayed with me on the phone a lot and son John called a few times as well, and of course Mo and Maryruth and my long time friend Laura from Coeur d Alene, a respiratory RN.  It was wonderful to have so much support and understanding.

It was good to get back home.  I did a deep clean on the house before I left, and Mo was away at her brother’s while I was gone, so we came home to a cozy, clean, wonderful home.  Mo beat me home by a day, so when I returned the house was still sparkly but was WARM with a nice big fire going.  Snow still on the ground, but sunshine and blue skies were wonderful.  And silence.  The nights are so dark and starry under the hot tub and the silence is just so SILENT!  No street lights, no traffic, no trains, all the stuff of towns and cities are absent here in the forest. 

We are settling in, enjoying home a bit before we decide just when to wander off to the cottage in Grants Pass and maybe get some beach time. Here at home I have a big quilt to finish binding, and fabric to play with, soil survey work waiting and all sorts of “retirement” projects that I still have yet to get to after three years as a retiree.  I am never, never bored.  Ever.

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