Snowy December Days

Current Location: The Cottage in Grants Pass Raining and 45 degrees

At the moment, Mo is outside washing the MoHo.  Yes, washing it in the rain.  I am pretty sure she is thinking that she needed to get the salty residues removed that are left over from our last trip to the coast.  It was raining back then as well, and we put her away without our usual cleanup.  After 9 years on the road, the MoHo still looks shiny as new.  Good paint and good care make a difference.

The MoHo is ready to head for California

More than a week ago, the snows hit hard all over Southern Oregon, even here in the Rogue Valley.  When we arrived at the cottage yesterday, our neighbor told us that there was more than six inches of heavy wet snow dumped on Grants Pass, and he was without power for 48 hours after a big old oak fell on his power lines.  We were lucky.  Mo had the trees trimmed last month and we didn’t have a lot of debris down to contend with.  According to the neighbor, he watched our Christmas lights go on and off with the timer with considerable envy. Everything here was just fine and the house was nice and cozy since we left the gas heat on 55 degrees.  Just enough.

One day of snow on Old Fort Road

Since the first snow fell at the apartments, we enjoyed home time, cozied up with the fire and actually relaxing a bit.  I worked on homemade Christmas cards with daughter Melody up in Apartment B (my crafting and quilting apartment) and managed to get a decent number of Christmas lights up to make everything cheery.

Mo taught Jacob (one of the tenants rooming with grandchild Axel) how to run the plow, so that when we are away, the driveway and parking lot will stay clear.

The kids were excited about making a snowman.  (Kids are loosely defined ages from 16 to 46)

It was a very cold week, and quite delightful. We decided to return to Rocky Point to spend a few days working on painting touchups and other little chores before our planned quickie trip to California.  While we were there, the big snows hit, including the one that dumped on the Rogue Valley, and Mo and I shoveled the driveway by hand.  With the plow at the apartments, we relied on the 4 wheel drive in the pickup to get us up and down the road leading to our house.  It worked.  We didn’t get snowed in, and even managed to get the trailer hooked up for the trip to Grants Pass to pick up the motorhome.  Mo wanted her big compressor in the RV shed with the MoHo.  Gotta keep those tires up!

My favorite view between Klamath Falls and Rocky Point

Driving from the brilliant sunny skies of the east side of the Cascades to the gray, rainy skies of the Rogue Valley was a treat.  For the first time in a few years, crossing the High Lakes Pass was a bit of a challenge.  Not too much, just a bit. Seems as though the wet, heavy snows were too much for the big trees on the pass and one had fallen across the road.  Traffic backed up for awhile before some logger with a chain saw managed to clear the road.

High Lakes Pass lies between Rocky Point and Grants Pass/Medford

Tomorrow we are heading to California.  Friend Maryruth’s mother is celebrating her 90th birthday and Maryruth is putting on a very big party.  The MoHo is ready and waiting, and we are hoping that the weather continues to be only rain as we will be traveling south on I-5 over the Siskiyous in the morning.  We do NOT want to chain up the MoHo, in fact the main reason we bought property in Grants Pass was to be able to travel north or south in the wintertime without having to get out of the snowy Klamath Basin.  Of course it snows in this part of Oregon, but thank goodness, not nearly as often or as long, and hopefully not tomorrow.

Raking in the rain vs shoveling in the snow

Again, mid January, we will again travel south.  Desert Hot Springs is calling, as it does each winter.  I called to find out what kind of rules Catalina Spa and RV Resort might have this year.  It changes every year it seems, ranging from a maximum of 2 nights with our Passport America card, to no discount nights unless you sit through the long and boring sales pitch.  Imagine my surprise when they said, “No problem.  You can stay for 30 days and half price (22.50 per night) with your PA card, leave for two weeks and come back again if you like.”

Catalina spa_181
My favorite hot pool at Catalina Spa and RV Resort

What a treat?!  If I hadn’t already made reservations for Catalina State Park near Tucson I would have reserved more than the 4 nights we had time for on this round.  I love that pool.  Love it.  I am excited about three weeks in the south this winter and hoping that El Nino doesn’t send us any big southwest surprises, but we will be ready for whatever comes.

Today I raked leaves on green grass in the rain.  A far cry from shoveling snow in Rocky Point and Klamath Falls. 

On another note, I am letting this particular post be a test.  I am writing it with LiveWriter…planning to pop it over into the html tab of blogger after in insert the photos from SmugMug links and see how it does.  Erin sent me the instructions, so we will see how it goes.  Then, just for fun, I am going to try to build the same post from Blogger.  Just to see the difference, if any.  Then, at last, I will write the same post over on WordPress, using their fancy smancy editor, and see how the whole thing looks.l

This was a great plan when I started this day, and now it is after 5pm and I am nowhere near finished.  I am working on my laptop, the one I use for traveling.  I upgraded it to Windows 10 Pro, and decided to just wipe the thing clean and start fresh.  So far so good, but as I am beginning the blog, I realize that I have yet to install Lightroom and Picasa.  That done I start again, but ohoh…some of the photos are on my iphone and ipad…and what do you know, I haven’t downloaded and installed iTunes yet.  Ok…that done and now I can finally get around to finishing this post! 

Here we go.

 

 

 

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October and November

Current Location: Old Fort Road, Klamath Falls, Oregon, at 9 degrees F and cloudy.

1-11-03-2015 Hiking to the TowerOur new digs: closeup on the upper right is a view of the apartments from the tower trail.

I am sitting at the same desk as usual, but the view outside my window has changed.  Instead of the dark forest I am looking at open sky and the back side of Plum Hill in Klamath Falls. Life has finally shifted a bit, and Mo and I are now spending most of our time at our cozy apartment only 3 miles from town.  Yes, we still have the house at Rocky Point, decorated for Christmas, on the outside at least, and still comfortable for Rocky Point stays now and then.

Putting up the decorations (2 of 10) We also have our little cottage in Grants Pass, where we also spend time, working on the property, enjoying the little cottage and the green grass that pops up when the first fall rains come to the Rogue Valley.

Cottage before dirt leveling (34 of 40) It is all part of the transition from living in the woods, plowing snow, driving 45 minutes each way to the grocery store, and our plans for the future, living in mostly snow free Grants Pass.  We chose Grants Pass because of the lack of snow plowing and shoveling days, the proximity to the ocean, and the ability to travel north or south on I-5 when we want to soothe the hitch-itch that strikes often.  We are gypsies.  That travel bug is ingrained, and not likely to dissipate any time soon. 

Hiking to the tower with Melody and Mattie (1 of 1)-5View of Klamath Falls from the tower trail near the apartment

The apartment in Klamath Falls is an interim stop, at least that was the original plan.  At the moment, I feel so comfortable and cozy here, enjoying it so much that I don’t think I will ever want to leave it.  I love the Klamath Basin.  Here on Old Fort Road, we are at the edge of the high desert, with tall ponderosas and a few Doug firs around, but the hills are also covered with sage.  Love that smell, love that air, you all know I love the desert. 

Each of our places has its own special feeling.  Rocky Point for the huge cool forest in the summer, the beautiful refuge just a short walk from the house, the birds, the deer.  It is a wonderful place to live in many ways.  Grants Pass is wonderful in spring and fall, ten to twenty degrees warmer than either Rocky Point or Klamath Falls, with good shopping just minutes away, and yet a lovely rural feeling on our little piece of land that was once part of a walnut grove more than 100 years old. 

Old Fort Road is part of the magical basin, with views of Mt Shasta, the Klamath River, the dry winter air, and as stated before 10 to 20 degrees cooler than Grants Pass in the summer.  I am glad that at the moment I don’t have to choose any one of these places over the other.  Of course, the MoHo always waits as well, with the road to the desert, to the ocean, to other mountains always waiting for us.  It may be a bit complex at the moment, but it is so good and I feel incredibly lucky.  And thankful.

I keep waiting for life to settle in a bit, for things to slow down.  I have waited since mid October when we returned from Ireland, all through the month of November, and here, finally, on the last day of November, I have some time that isn’t allocated to anything else.  I can write.

I began this post as usual, with a visual cruise through my photos.  I have to admit I was a bit shocked to realize that I haven’t written a thing since we got back from Ireland, six weeks ago!  Geez. I do have some good reasons.   IMG_5337Just a couple of days after our return from Ireland, best friends Maryruth and Gerald drove up from California to spend a long weekend with us at Rocky Point.  Daughter Melody was starring in the musical Chicago, playing Velma Kelly, and they wanted to see the show.

Chicago the Musical (36 of 300)Chicago the Musical (226 of 300)The final performance of the show was amazing, and the reviews reflected what a wonderful job the Linkville Theater did with the staging, the casting, the dancing, and of course the music.  It was wonderful.  I was amazed at how a small community theater could put on a production as lavish and complex as Chicago.  Fabulous.  And not just because my daughter had a major role. Lower Klamath and Tulelake NWR (20 of 27) Lower Klamath and Tulelake NWR (22 of 27)We had a fabulous weekend, visiting the Lower Klamath Refuge where Judy volunteered this summer, enjoying the gorgeous skies and the birds. We shared good meals and lots of talking and laughing and fun.  It is so wonderful when friends can visit.  Next month we will go south to visit them and share in Maryruth’s mother’s 90th birthday celebration.  Elsie has been in my life since I was 18, and is like family to me.  Looking forward to seeing everyone at the big gathering.

Kayaking Pelican Bay (3 of 46) A few days later, Mo and I managed to get out on Pelican Bay for another gorgeous paddle.  With the fall migration in full force, there were so many birds out there.  Gorgeous skies and perfect weather are part of the Klamath Basin wonder in October.  Late September and October are the very best months to be here, in my opinion.  Nearly perfect, and no mosquitoes.

installing the cistern (13 of 17) We spent a few days in Grants Pass, for an exciting project on the property.  With a low GPM well, Mo decided that our solution would be to add a cistern, rather than taking the chance on a new well.  The cistern holds 1750 gallons, is filled automatically by the well pump, then the water is pumped from the cistern through the pressure tank to the cottage.  Now we can water the trees and small lawn during the summer without fear of drawing down the well too much.  Cottage before dirt leveling (15 of 40)

There are 27 trees on the .89 acre, several of them are gorgeous old oaks and a couple of pines and firs that are more than 100 years old.  Tree work was in order, and it turns out that the guy who ran the backhoe for the cistern installation was also an excellent arborist.  He did a great job on our trees, removing dead branches and making it much safer. He also removed 5 huge stumps that were still in place from tree removals prior to our purchase of the property.

moving with Don and Dan (17 of 19) Then it was time for the “big move”.  Late in the month, Mo’s brothers drove down to Rocky Point to help us with the heavy lifting.  Dan and Chere came from Beavercreek near Portland, and Don came all the way from Spokane.  I have no idea how we would have managed without them, short of hiring some expensive movers, which we promised both brothers that we would do when it comes time for the next move.

don dan and dogs We had fun in the midst of the moving stuff, and I did my best to cook good meals and make sure that both homes had food and beds for everyone, even though said beds were in transit.  Dan and Chere’s two dogs were especially helpful, making sure that everything done just right.  They also provided a bit of entertainment and company for Mattie, who has developed a great love for big dogs.  Most of the time, they know how to play with her and like Judy’s Emma, will lower themselves down to her level for playtime.  It is fun to watch.

Apartment A as we settle in (2 of 16) By November 1, our target date, almost everything we needed to be comfortable in the apartment was moved and we settled in. We spent five beautiful days doing the “nesting” thing, enjoying the sunshine, the smaller space, all the little things that can make moving to a new place fun and exciting.

Apartment A as we settle in (7 of 16) As the main cook, I was a bit concerned about my new kitchen.  Compared to Rocky Point, my current apartment kitchen is about the size of my big counter in RP!  I discovered that a small kitchen has some advantages:  I can reach all the drawers from one standing position, the floor is a quick wipe up rather than a major mopping event, and without a dishwasher, running a sink of soapy water as I cook keeps things in line.  I am actually enjoying it, although I still sometimes open four cupboards before I remember exactly where I have stored a particular item.

Another fun thing about the apartment is that we actually have two.  One for living, and the one next door for an extra guest bedroom, storage of “stuff” and best of all, an entire dining room and living room for my sewing, craft, and quilt room!  I can make a mess and don’t have to keep cleaning it all up mid project.  I do love that part.  In RP I did my sewing on the dining table which required lots of bringing out and putting away of stuff when meal times approached.

Hiking to the tower with Melody and Mattie (1 of 1)-3 With the early November sunny weather, I took some time to explore places to walk nearby.  Daughter Melody  and grandson Xavier live in another apartment in the complex and it is fun to walk down the path to her door and go for a spontaneous walk together. 

IMG_5359 Granddaughter Axel and her room mates also have an apartment here, and just last night Mo and I were invited to dinner at her place.  This family compound thing can be pretty nice at times.

Mo has had these apartments for years, and decided last year that property management companies and weird renters were no fun at all. Now it is an inside deal, everyone pays their rent on time and pitches in to keep the place looking nice.  It is a good place for us to be while we transition, and I get the benefit of being closer to my daughter and grandkids.  Mattie at Mills Beach (8 of 41) Mattie at Mills Beach (12 of 41)Mattie LOVES the beach!

At last, with the major chores of moving behind us, it was time for a quick trip to Brookings.  The MoHo was waiting patiently in Grants Pass and we needed a break.  Seems as though the only way to get a break from chores is to leave home where there are no chores! 

IMG_5373 We had a great three days, enjoying the clearest skies I have seen in a long time at the ocean.  Judy had mentioned that Harris Beach SP would be closed to camping this season, so we didn’t even bother checking.  We decided to stay at Beachfront RV Park, on the Harbor.sunset and sunrise at Beachcomber campground (11 of 12)

It was so much fun to listen to the surf all night, and to watch the waves right outside our front window.  One morning we drove up to check out Harris Beach, and were surprised to discover that the campground is still partially open, albeit without reservations.  As usual, the front view row was full.  We were glad that we did something different this time.

morning beach walk (2 of 16) I loved taking Mattie for walks right out the door to the beach.  It did rain on one day, but that was the day that we had scheduled some maintenance for the MoHo generator.  Seems as though the fuel pump gave out.  Brookings Harbor RV Repair had good reviews, and Mo decided that a trip to Brookings was worth it to get someone we could trust for the repair.  They did a great job and I would highly recommend them for this kind of work.

sunset at Harbor (17 of 23) With a few days of gorgeous beach time and quiet afternoons in the MoHo reading and napping, we were rejuvenated and ready to return to Grants Pass.  We hauled the tractor from Rocky Point to the cottage on our way to the beach, and Mo was ready to make an attempt to level the huge pile of dirt left behind from the cistern installation.

Cottage after dirt leveling (3 of 5) She made quick work of that pile and got most of it leveled and moved in just one day!  We raked  and moved a LOT of rocks, and then seeded the sticky red soil with a good fall mix, hoping that it will take before spring. 

Back to the apartments with a load of firewood from our stash in Rocky Point, and we settled in for the rest of the month.  I enjoyed cooking and sewing a bit, going for walks with Mattie, visiting with kids, and doing a little bit of shopping in town (takes 8 minutes to get to the main intersection of Klamath Falls!).  First snow at the Apartments (3 of 17)

The day before Thanksgiving, we got hit with the first snow and some really cold temperatures.  It is still white out here, and Mo was really smart to haul the tractor back from Grants Pass so that she could plow the apartment parking lot.  With just a tiny walk to shovel, we got the snow removal job done in record time.  One BIG benefit of not living in Rocky Point.

First snow at the Apartments (7 of 17) By Thanksgiving day, the skies were clear, and the temperatures were in the single digits.  It was a great day to travel over High Lakes Pass on Highway 140 to Shady Cove, where daughter Deborah  and her sweetie Bob hosted a fabulous Thanksgiving dinner for us, and for Melody’s family, and Bob’s parents, who live in Rocky Point. 

Mo, Melody and Robert, Deborah, and Bob carving the turkey All I had to do was bring the candied yams!  Such fun having daughters who take on the big family celebrations sometimes and being only a guest.  We had a lovely day, with sunny skies and a warm cozy home to enjoy. 

Front row: Sharon (Mo), Sue, Axel, Melody, Xavier Back row: Jack, Bob, Jean, Deborah, Robert and Mattie watching it all Instead of driving all the way back to Klamath Falls, Mo and I opted to take the short drive to the cottage and spent the night there before returning home to the apartment the next afternoon.  thanksgiving travels With a shortage of groceries in the Grants Pass fridge, we decided to go out for breakfast.  Sitting at the warm and cozy dining room at Elmer’s, with the sun pouring in through the windows, the fire crackling in the fireplace, and a fabulous breakfast, I felt that crazy happy feeling that comes without warning.  I do love that feeling so much, can’t make it happen, can’t really explain it, and it comes quite often ever since I first noticed it while hiking in Joshua Tree last winter. Later we actually managed a little bit of shopping on Black Friday, something I usually avoid like the plague.  However, most of the stores we visited mid morning in Grants Pass were not busy at all. First snow at the Apartments (2 of 17)

Home now, settled in and cozy with a nice fire going, office space all set up and comfortable, quilting and card making projects waiting in the apartment next door.  Life really IS good.

 

 

10-03-2015 Belfast, the Titanic, and the Devils Causeway

Ireland Day 13 and 14

Good morning.  I took a little break from the Ireland posts for a few days.  Currently in Rocky Point the skies are partly cloudy, the temperature this morning before daylight is a balmy 50 degrees F with rain coming tonight and tomorrow.  Much needed, although the timing could be a bit better.  It is Halloween, and the rain is set to begin around 5 this evening.  Bummer.Kayaking Pelican Bay (33 of 46)

Our home.  Pelican Butte reflected in Pelican Bay on a gorgeous fall afternoon.

For us, the weather has been perfect, almost. We have been moving part of our home to Mo’s apartments in town, leaving the other part here at the big house in Rocky Point.  Mo’s brothers were fabulous, Dan and his wife coming from the Portland area and Don coming from Spokane to help us do the heavy lifting.  moving with Don and Dan (1 of 19) Original plan was to simply use the pickup and trailer, but after many days of sunshine, rain was forecast for our single moving day, so we rented a U-Haul. 

don and dan don dan and dogs

moving with Don and Dan (13 of 19) Good plan!  We never could have done it otherwise, and we never could have done it without all the great help we had from Mo’s wonderful brothers, and the dogs of course.

After the move, the sun came out and we slipped out on the creek for a gorgeous fall kayak.  Kayaking Pelican Bay (2 of 46)Brother Don, who builds his own very fine wooden kayaks, was less than excited about our older kayak, since it developed a big leak in the back end, and he spent much of the trip bailing with a sponge.kayaking on Recreation Creek with Don (21 of 26)

But those are other stories to come later.  I still have a few more tales of our trip to Ireland to complete. 

Belfast continued: On Saturday morning we woke once again to impossibly good weather, with a bit of cloudiness, but no rain in sight.  We had prepared for this trip, knowing that Ireland was always rainy, knowing that we would have to deal with raincoats and umbrellas and be willing to accept that there is a price for all this green. 

Belfast from the Bus (1 of 8) Somehow God and Mother Nature smiled on us for the entire 15 days we spent in Ireland, with an unheard of two weeks without rain except for that little spitting shower we encountered at Newgrange early on in the trip.

1-10-03-2015 Belfast The day began with a bus tour of Belfast rather than a walking tour. 

1-10-03-2015 Belfast1 Since the city is not exactly charming, I didn’t mind that much, especially when we saw the graffiti, and the giant fence between a Catholic and a Protestant neighborhood to prevent them from throwing bombs at each other. 

1-10-03-2015 Belfast2 All the guides proclaimed how peaceful things were now, how wonderfully calm it was and yet the depression and sadness in the air was palpable.  I can imagine, like most big cities, there are wonderful aspects to Belfast, but we didn’t really have time to explore in depth.

Belfast Titanic (1 of 32) After our bus tour, we took in the Titanic Belfast, the world’s largest Titanic museum located at the port of Belfast where the Titanic was built. If you click on the link to the museum, you will see some rather impressive moving graphics. The videos on the website are very good, showing what I tried to manage with my phone to much less success. Belfast Titanic (12 of 32) The museum is huge and glitzy, and quite Disneyesque,  There are several floors of excellent displays relating to the design and building of the great ship, as well as its demise.  There was a cafeteria and a restaurant, a bar and a gift shop with lots of Titanic memorabilia for sale.  Belfast Titanic (21 of 32)

In spite of how well done and obviously expensive the museum was, the commercial aspect of the whole thing really bothered me.  Let’s make a bunch of money on the crash of a ship and the loss of all those lives.  It didn’t feel like a memorial, but more like a Disney ride.  Belfast Titanic (19 of 32) The museum is part of the Northern Ireland attempt to increase tourism in Belfast, which still lags far behind that of the Republic. Still, riding the little cars that followed a track through the darkness to the sounds of the rivets pounding steel was fun.  The museum does an excellent job of showing the complexity of building a great ship in the early part of the 20th century.Belfast Titanic (23 of 32)

However, we had something much more wonderful in store for us that afternoon, the finest reason of all to visit Northern Ireland, an excursion to the Giant’s Causeway on the Atrim Coast.  Just a little over an hour north of Belfast, the Causeway is a magnificent exposure of huge hexagonal basalt columns that resulted from ancient lava flows from fissures in the underlying limestone.

Belfast Devils Causeway (48 of 49) Quoting from the UNESCO website:

The Giant’s Causeway and Causeway Coast is a spectacular area of global geological importance on the sea coast at the edge of the Antrim plateau in Northern Ireland. The most characteristic and unique feature of the site is the exposure of some 40,000 large, regularly shaped polygonal columns of basalt in perfect horizontal sections, forming a pavement. This dramatic sight has inspired legends of giants striding over the sea to Scotland. Celebrated in the arts and in science, it has been a visitor attraction for at least 300 years and has come to be regarded as a symbol for Northern Ireland.

The property’s accessible array of curious geological exposures and polygonal columnar formations formed around 60 million years ago make it a ‘classic locality’ for the study of basaltic volcanism. The features of the Giant’s Causeway and Causeway Coast site and in particular the strata exposed in the cliff faces, have been key to shaping the understanding of the sequences of activity in the Earth’s geological history.

Belfast Devils Causeway (15 of 49) The visitor center was excellent, filled with fascinating displays that we chose to forego in favor of the real thing.  With just under three hours to spend, we wanted to enjoy the hiking, the views, and the geology, although I  would have  liked to see the displays if there had been time.Belfast Devils Causeway (17 of 49) Belfast Devils Causeway (27 of 49)

We had just enough time to walk the trails to the famous part of the Causeway so often pictured in photographs, with hundreds of people playing on the steps of the columns and crawling around with delight. Belfast Devils Causeway (25 of 49) It might have been nicer if not so crowded, but I guess that is also the price to pay to visit a World Heritage UNESCO site on a sunny Sunday in early October in a land where it has been raining for months.

Belfast Devils Causeway (37 of 49) Belfast Devils Causeway (38 of 49) Once we passed the most popular area, and continued along the narrow trail, the crowds thinned a bit and we had time to drink in the magnificent views of basalt flows, columns, the red interbedded laterites, and basalt chimneys.  Again, it was an exhilarating and beautiful hike, and the area is managed extremely well with the visitor center built into the side of the mountain and using renewable resources for power.

Belfast Devils Causeway (43 of 49) It was a wonderful afternoon, with the sounds of the sea and crazy wild trails to follow along the rocky coast. 

 Belfast Devils Causeway (23 of 49) Mo and I talked about this as I was writing, and for her, the Causeway was one of the highlights of visiting Ireland, and for me it is still a toss up between the Causeway and the Cliffs of Moher.  I would suggest not missing either if you choose to visit Ireland.

Note: Since I am already nearing the end of my monthly data usage allowance, with 13 days left to go, the link to the photos on SmugMug will be added to this blog at a later time.  Check back if you want to see them, or remember to go to my SmugMug photo page with the link listed in the left sidebar of the blog.

Next: Leaving Belfast, we return to Dublin, and our last day in Ireland

 

10-08-2015 Home from Ireland and Back to Rocky Point

Current Temperature in Rocky Point Oregon 70 F and partly cloudy

We are back from our trip to Ireland.  Hearts and memories full of wonderful sights, beautiful sunny days in a country known for constant rain, and the green that comes with that rain.  I had no way to blog while we were traveling, but instead of trying to recreate the trip from memory with the help of photos, I actually managed to write “live”.  So you will be reading after the fact, but the words were sent via long emails at night to my daughters.  It was my plan for making sure I didn’t lose track of what happened each day, and more importantly, how I felt about what was happening and what I was seeing.Rocky Point yard While in Ireland, I did have access to the internet, due to the excellent WiFi available to me each night, but the iPad isn’t all that conducive to making comments, and we were having much too much fun to spend time reading blogs for sure.  However, I did check in now and then with some of my favorite folks. 

Rocky Point yard Reading Nickie’s story about her visit with us, I was struck by Judy’s comment about our choice to leave this “beautiful place”.  Yup, we are selling the “big house” and leaving this beautiful place, not immediately, but soon enough.  I laughed at this because Judy lives in a nice cozy RV full time without any yard word at all, so maybe she forgot what that is like. It has been wonderful having a place like this to live and to share with friends and family.  I’ll miss it, but I won’t miss the work.

Rocky Point yard When we got home yesterday, this is what greeted us at the “beautiful place”.  Work, and a lot of it.  The fall winds came and dropped a ton or so of pine needles on our yard.  Everywhere.  Ponderosa pine needles that stick into the cracks of everything and bury themselves into the grass and hold on for dear life in spite of hard raking, with branches from the trees and other kinds of debris mixed in with pine and fir cones.

Even with my constant spraying of deer repellent, the deer managed to eat our little flowering plum down to the ground while we were away. If you look closely, you can see the stems of the poor little shrub and what are left of the leaves at the bottom.  Rocky Point yard

Rocky Point yard It IS a beautiful yard, and it IS a ton of work.  Mo and I spend upwards of 40 hours a week between the two of us in the spring and summer keeping it beautiful.  It slows down a bit in the fall, but then again as the needles start to fall we are out there raking and raking and more raking, burning, and cleaning up all the flower beds.  It is nice work, satisfying work, but exhausting.  We would rather be traveling and actually relaxing a bit now that we are both in our 70’s.  It is time for change.

Rocky Point yard So, Judy, think about all that work and then ask again why in the world we would be ready to leave!?!  I thought about this today and realized that I am always careful to post photos of the place in its prime, after those long hours have yielded lovely manicured beds and mowed lawns, all neat and orderly.  Thought it might be fun to put up the photos of what it looked like after two and a half weeks of neglect. 

I now have several hundred, actually a couple thousand, photos to process, and as I work through the days, I’ll add the photos to the emails and voila!, a blog story will be born.  Stay tuned.

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