Life and the Rest of May

Current Location Rocky Point Oregon Sunny and 45 F with a predicted high of 75.  Perfect

Quilt Show_071 If the month of April at Rocky Point is mostly about winter cleanup, the month of May is definitely about gardening.  Real gardening, not just all the cleanup, but the kind of gardening that rewards one with watching beloved perennials grow lush, shopping for the hundreds of annual plants required to keep some color in the yard over the summer, and planting all of them.

Quilt Show_043 The house at Rocky Point is on land that isn’t really that big, even less ground than the Grants Pass winter cottage, but there is a lot more to do here it seems.  Lots of nooks and crannies, lots of different planting beds, and of course, lots of pine needles to keep digging out of the rocks.

IMG_4100 A big job this time of year is getting those pine needles off the roof.  Mo does the climbing and I hold the ladder and manage the electric cord for the blower.  I laughed this time as she carefully crawled back down from the steep side of the eaves and I said, “How much longer do you suppose?”  We love it here, so much.  But it IS a lot of work at times, and the question lingers…how long will Mo be able to climb that roof to blow off the needles. 

In the mean time, after returning from the coast before Mother’s Day, we spent some extended time over at the cottage, doing some of the cleanup jobs that are on the list over there.  The nice thing about the cottage is that there is really no deadline.  Other than burning the debris in the springtime burning window, we have as many years as we need to get that .89 acre cleaned up and ready for us to live there.  The defining moment may never come, then again it could come all too soon, maybe when Mo no longer wants to plow snow or blow needles off the roof at Rocky Point.

As luck would have it, we decided to be in Grants Pass for Mother’s Day, with a plan to do the classic Mother’s Day activity of Sunday Brunch at a beautiful restaurant.  Daughter Melody and the kids drove over on Sunday morning to see the cottage and share the morning with me, Mo, and Deborah at the Taprock Grill next to the Rogue  River.

Mothers Day 2014_039I had so much fun watching all the moms and grandmas and seeing all the flowers and presents and everyone posing for family photos at the various lovely sights in the park adjacent to the restaurant.  I felt like I was right in the middle of a middle America tradition that somehow remains the same in spite of a changing world.

During our time in Grants Pass, Mo split the rest of the oak from the tree we took down last year, moved a flower bed that was right in the middle of the planned new drive entry to the MoHo shed, mowed the acre and did a ton of weed eating.  We cleaned up the outside corner and built a mound, bought a couple of crepe myrtle trees for color, planted the mound, and Mo burned a ton of debris. 05-24-2014 Grants Pass Memorial Day

We parked the MoHo along an old cement patio and it felt just like our own private campground.  Even though Deb was gone and we could have stayed in the cottage, we chose to enjoy our own space in the MoHo, sitting on the patio watching the sun set over the hill to the west is a special pleasure of the land in Grants Pass.  At home, our sunrises and sunsets are blocked by the high Cascades and the immense forest.

sue Deanna Deb on Mothers day

Our choice to be in Grants Pass that weekend was especially auspicious, since daughter Deanna and husband Keith once again were traveling south along I-5 and I got to see them twice in less than 30 days!  On the Saturday before Mother’s Day, they parked at a nearby rest area for the night and met Deb and I for breakfast at Elmer’s not far off the freeway. 

Grants Pass_016 Sad thing about the Grants Pass cottage, even though it has more land than Rocky Point, there is no place to park the big rig there, and the roads leading to the cottage are too narrow with weight restrictions so the kids can only park downtown at WalMart to spend some visiting time with us. 

With their LA arrival time scheduled for the next day, they had a few hours to do some sightseeing with us, and Deb and I drove them through the gorgeous Applegate Valley not too far south of the cottage.  Deanna and Keith are saving money while trucking with a plan to buy property somewhere eventually, and of course I am hoping that will be close to me here in Oregon.Grants Pass_005 

Lucky for me, the springtime beauty of the Applegate was fabulous, with blue skies dotted with puffy whites and new fresh green bursting out all over.  I love the Applegate area, with farms and wineries, and for Deanna and Keith, who love being a lot farther away from town than I do, it was perfect.  We spent quite a bit of time looking at some interesting properties that really caught their eye. 

Nothing was decided, but I am glad that there will be sweet visual memories of the lovely Applegate area in their minds over the next few years as they make decisions about where they might want to settle down.  No snow, kids! Although they also love Alaska, so I suppose snow isn’t yet much of a deterrent to them. Deanna and Theron

Deanna became a grandmother for the fifth time in May, and once again I am a great grandmother.  Theron was born in Wenatchee this month, brother to Orion and Tearany.  I am glad that Deanna has the opportunity to be close to these grandchildren in spite of family complexities.

Grants Pass_037 I have that crazy obsessive feeling that often happens this time of year: too much to do and not enough time: too many choices: too many things I want to be doing!  Obviously, writing has slipped to the back of the list and I am simply keeping track of what is going on with short notes on my Google calendar.  I do love that particular application.

Grants Pass_038 On another note, an application that I don’t love quite so much is HGTV’s House and Landscape program.  I actually paid for the stupid thing and spent quite a bit of time trying to at least get a rudimentary replica of the cottage and grounds set up so we could get some ideas about what me might like to eventually do there.

Not so much.  The learning curve is huge, and I am not completely stupid.  The software is cumbersome and after a day or two of fiddling with it, I decided that a piece of graph paper and a pencil was the better option.  Maybe some snowy winter day I will get back to it.

Grants Pass_056 In the midst of gardening and landscaping work at two homes, I am trying to have time to quilt.  Our quilt group gives away “huggie” quilts to anyone in the community who is hospitalized or has lost a loved one.  They have given away 141 quilts in the last six years since they started doing it.  As a fairly new member, I have yet to complete a huggie quilt, and am now working on one.  I am a new enough quilter that it is extremely hard for me to give away a quilt to someone I don’t know. But I decided it is time to step up to the plate and the quilt is in the works.

Grants Pass_019Tiny living room in the cottage all painted an pretty thanks to Deborah’s hard work

Late in the month, Deborah was sent to Dallas for a work related training, and her company allowed her to fly home to Grand Junction instead of Grants Pass.  When she moved home from Colorado last year, she had to leave most of her belongings in a storage facility and this was her chance to get everything back in one place.  With a bit of complexity due to missed flights, she finally got everything on the truck and headed west via I-70 and Highway 50, the Loneliest Road in America, and pulled up to the Grants Pass cottage late on Sunday evening.

Grants Pass_012 Mo and I were waiting with supper and hugs.  The next day, with help from neighbors Glenn and Karen, we all unloaded the truck into Deb’s new storage place, just a couple of miles from home.  The cottage is tiny, but at least she can go down to her storage and get things like her blender and spices, and other small things that she has missed so much in the last year while adjusting to her new life.

Bessie Lane Oroville062John Jr, Deanna, Sue, and Deborah in 1966 in Oroville California

For me, getting Deb’s stuff out of storage had another benefit.  Deb was the caretaker of several boxes of very old family photos.  When I think of my “bucket list”, getting all the family photos scanned, organized, named, and catalogued is huge on the list.  I took back the boxes and started the scanning project.  I know it is morbid, but there are many people my age leaving the planet, and the one thing I want to have completed before I do so is the photos to the kids project. 

Sue004My mother who passed away in 1952, me at 3, and my grandmother who passed away in 1993.

I knit during the early news programs, quilt till it gets warm enough to get outside, garden as long as my back holds up, and then try to work on photos the rest of the time.  I barely scan blogs any more, and like last month, I rarely comment.  Thank goodness for Facebook, a bit quicker and I can at least let folks know I am still around and reading.

Friend Jeanne sent an email yesterday, complaining that there was no blog and wanting to know what in the world I was doing.  Friend Mary Ann from Albuquerque sent an email asking if I had done something with the Mother’s Day blog she thought was up there and couldn’t find.  Nope, no blog.  Just a quick facebook post with photos!  So, for my two most loyal friends and readers….here is the blog! 

 

April

Current Location Rocky Point, Oregon 55 F and overcast today with rain coming tomorrow

DSCN9054 When I look through the previous years of journaling my life, April is notoriously empty.  I looked at the calendar and couldn’t believe that we have been home almost an entire month and I haven’t written a single word about ‘life’.  Thinking I could do a bit of comparison, I traveled back through the blog and found that almost every single year since I started blogging has just two posts or even less during the month of April.

One is usually about Easter, and the other one is about gardening.  In fact, I could almost post last years blog from April and it would fit this year without a hitch.  I can remember times in my life when everything shifted at such a pace that there would most certainly be huge differences from year to year, even from month to month.  I have to say how grateful I am for a life that is just a bit more predictable, a bit more calm, a life where April means gardening, cleaning up the pine needles, and decorating for Easter.

DSC_0007 If I had lived a safe, predictable life for the last 69 years, it might be different.  I could be hankering for change, for adventure, for variety.  I have been blessed with more than enough adventure, more than enough variety, with parts of my life so long gone and so unrelated to this current existence that I barely recognize myself in those old stories. Instead, I am celebrating sameness, celebrating the repeat of the seasons, celebrating watching planted trees mature and gardens fill in over the years. You might have had to have lived a mixed up life like mine once was to really ‘get’ this.  I now have adventure and unpredictability in small manageable doses, enough to keep me energized, but not enough to make me crazy. 

IMG_4098Predictably, this year in April, we have been working daily at the big house in Rocky Point.  The beautiful forest makes for lots of springtime debris to be raked and burned.  Gorgeous flower beds must be uncovered, trimmed and weeded in order to once again be gorgeous.  Grass needs mowing and fertilizing, raking and over-seeding.  (Mo handles most of the grass stuff and I do most of the flower bed stuff.) 

In between all the yard work, I have been quilting.  When my sweet little Bernina 1230 needed some serious repairs (she is after all more than 30 years old), I succumbed to the siren call of a new sewing machine, the Bernina 550 Quilters Edition, outfitted with a special stitch regulator for free motion machine quilting, and a superb walking foot for getting through all those thicknesses of fabric and batting.  Mornings are cool enough that I can spend them at the machine working on a springtime quilt I started a year ago before going outdoors as the days warm up for afternoon work.

Grants Pass work-003 We took a few days early in the month to work at the Cottage, with a chance to mow and rake and share meals with Deborah.  While Mo and I were gallivanting around the country this winter, Deb was busy painting the cottage interior, making things look so much cleaner and brighter.  Mo and I loaded up the tractor to take over the hill so we could do some dirt moving and tear down an old building or two.  The burning season will be short this year, with the serious drought, so we needed to do this job as soon as we could manage it.  More to come, but it is nice to see the place looking cleaner outside as well as inside. 

overhanging branches and the old coop are gone Daughter Deanna and her husband Keith managed an I-5 run through Medford, and we celebrated with a spontaneous morning breakfast.  I can’t believe just how quickly those two move back and forth across the country.  Just two days prior to our breakfast, she and Keith were having breakfast with son John and his dad back in Missouri. Deanna and Keith are dealing with new rules for California emissions that have created epic troubles for their truck and for them.  They haul to Canada and Alaska, haul all over the country, have to have a heating system that will work in sub zero temperatures, but the new law requires some sort of emission thingy that is giving them tens of thousands of dollars worth of headaches.  Deanna is needles to say, furious.  Once again they are back at their home base in Washington, waiting for Cummins to get the dang thing fixed.

Grants Pass work-015 It is amazing to me that after three months on the road, with almost daily writing, that I have no desire whatsoever to track my life with a journal.  Or maybe not so amazing.  After sewing all morning and gardening all afternoon, I fall into bed much too early, attempt to read some blogs or a book and am usually asleep within minutes.  Now and then I attempt to make a comment or two with the ipad fingers, but that usually results in some stupid sort of typo that I can’t undo, so I just give up.

To all those loyal readers out there, who followed along on our travels, I am glad you have so many other places to go for entertainment.  To all those bloggers who may or may not have noticed my comments, sorry.  I am trying to read, but commenting isn’t coming very easily these days.

Deanna came through on I-5 so we were able to meet for breakfast with Deb I decorated the house for Easter almost immediately after taking down the Christmas tree in early April.  That felt just plain crazy, actually, and I hope I don’t have to do that again.  If we travel quickly after Christmas in the future, I will make an extra effort to get the Christmas decor put away before we leave! 

It has been nice this year to have Easter late in the month, and for us it will be even later.  Due to some family commitments, we are having our traditional Rocky Point Easter celebration next Sunday.  The weather has been gorgeous for the entire month, with moderate daily temperatures and nights barely near freezing.  The sun has been invigorating, an unusual thing for April in this part of the world.  There have been times when we are still looking at snow on the ground in April.  It is beautiful, but does engender a bit of concern for the coming summer season.  The predictions for mixed snow and rain next weekend will be a bit of a damper for our Easter celebration, but are definitely a good thing for the water situation here in the Basin.springtime at the cottatge is so nice and green

Another little extra time user in my life has been the addition of the Adobe Lightroom software.  I started shooting RAW format photos while traveling, but didn’t have the time or the computer hardware to handle them well.  Once home, I installed Lightroom, and with encouragement from both Erin and my daughter Deanna, I have learned to import, develop, and manage the huge RAW files into something useable.  Of course, with all those old files from the trip, including several hundred from Antelope Canyon, I haven’t picked up the camera once this month to shoot anything new.  The few photos on this blog were actually shot with my iPad. In addition to taking a break from journaling and reading, it seems I also have taken a break from carrying the camera around!  lightroom

This time last year I was still working part time, and as most full time retirees say, how in the world did I have time to work? Hopefully after next Sunday I will manage at least one more post for the month of April with photos of our belated Easter celebration.

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!

Late Spring Snow and we are going camping?!

Home in Rocky Point, Oregon
Current temperature: 40 degrees F, with melting snow on the ground.  Lo tonight: 30 degrees F with a chance of snow
late spring snow at Rocky Point Yes, we are going camping.  We are leaving tomorrow for the eastern side of Oregon, planning a combo boondocking/rv park trip to the high sagebrush desert.  We did plan to leave on Tuesday afternoon, but some severe weather warnings were a bit daunting, and we decided to postpone our little journey until the weather shifted a bit.  Good thing!  Yesterday afternoon the snow hit and by 5pm we had snow on the trees and even some snow sticking to the ground.  The weather report optimistically says that “with warming temperatures and longer days, the drooping crabapples in the late spring snowground temperatures should be warm enough that the snow will not stick”.  Ok then.  It is now almost noon in Rocky Point, and true to the forecast, most of the snow is melting, but more may be coming tonight.
Mo is bringing the MoHo up from the shed to park in the driveway, ready for loading.  As much as we love having the place in Grants Pass, it sure is wonderful to have our rig right here when we are ready to travel.  No trying to remember what to take, what is at the cottage, what is in the MoHo.  Just walk outside, check the cupboards, and pack accordingly.  Nice.
Speaking of weather, my daughter who relocated to Texas last year has now relocated again to Grand Junction, Colorado.  Closer to me, closer to her son, and better jobs for both her and for her sweetie.  She drove north through Texas with a U-Haul the day of the tornados.  She missed them.  My son lives in Joplin Missouri, and while he was hit by the last big tornado
May flowers on May 22
there, the small twister that touched down in Carthage missed him by 15 miles.  Truck driver daughter and her husband are delivering jet engines to Winnipeg, and so she is also out of the line of fire. I just can’t imagine what those people in Oklahoma are going through.  Can’t imagine.May flowers-011
Mo and I watched the news, and said our thank you’s for the gift of living in a place without tornados, hurricanes, or major floods.  It can almost make you feel guilty for being so lucky in the midst of such horror, but I do feel lucky, and blessed, and sad for those people who have lost everything.  Of course, disaster can strike anywhere.  We live in Earthquake country, are surrounded by volcanoes that could decided to heat up at a moment’s notice, the wildfires of our hotter and hotter summers could strike anywhere, and of course winter can deal some pretty angry blows.  Nothing like a tornado though.  However, I often talked to people from hurricane country or tornado country who looked at me like I was crazy for living in earthquake country California.  It is all about where family is and what you are used to, I guess.
still green in mid May.  we love sitting on the front porch here



May flowers on May 19
Since we got home from Death Valley, we went over to the cottage and worked a bit, mowing and trimming and fixing up little things here and there.  I was treated to a Mother’s Day brunch by my Klamath Falls daughter and family, and Mo and I did our annual outing to the Taste of Klamath event in town that we have enjoyed for several years now.  Small town stuff, but nice, and it supports our local historic theater, the Ross Ragland. We are gardening, and until yesterday, the weather cooperated perfectly.  It has been unseasonably warm, with temperatures in the 80’s here at Rocky Point.  That is a lot more like July and less like May, but it made working in the yard an absolute delight.  80 degrees and sunny skies with a nice breeze is just about perfect as far as I am concerned. 
DSC_0017The only thing that seems to keep eluding us is a kayak outing.  On the days when it might be something to do we seem to always have something else more pressing taking up our time.  Ah well….eventually those kayaks will get on the water again. We actually planned to take them on this trip to the east side, but the weather predictions have us thinking otherwise.  Why load up the kayaks if it is going to be in the 50’s with possible rain?!  Nah…we will wait for better days.  I guess you could call us fair weather kayakers, although I do have photos from years past when we are on the water as early as March!
I did manage to get in on the Google Plus Hangout that Rick set up for us to learn a bit more about how it all works.  It was great fun seeing everyone online and joining in on the conversation.  I haven’t managed to do the Skype thing very much since I didn’t think I had the bandwidth.  Maybe I can manage hangouts now with distant kids and friends.  I hope so.
On our agenda for the next few days: Plush, Oregon, home of the famous BLM sunstone diggings.  Hart Mountain Refuge, home of hundreds of pronghorns and some beautiful natural hot springs and a small developed hot spring pool.  Summer Lake, Oregon, home to another wildlife refuge, more hot springs, and untold numbers of waterfowl. Ana Reservoir RV campground, on the Ana River and the reservoir, not far from summer lake will provide us with electric and water and a place to dump after three nights boondocking on BLM lands.  Should be a nice trip.  I don’t imagine there will be any kind of internet, or even phone connections to speak of, so I’ll just have to get caught up on photos and stories when we return to Rocky Point.
In the mean time, I thought it would be fun to put in a couple of photos from our very first camping trip to Hart Mountain back in 2004, before we had any kind of motorhome.  I think this may have been the last time we tent camped.  In spite of discussing carrying tents and sleeping bags in the motorhome for getting really out in the boonies, we have yet to actually do that.  Somehow the comforts of home win out.  I spent a bazillion years tent camping, and I do love it, but oh oh oh….it is so nice to have shelter and a bed off the ground.  If I could just figure out how to see the stars at night from the MoHo the way you can seen them from a tent it would be perfect.  My best memory of Hart Mountain is sitting by the campfire watching the stars come up right on the horizon, just as big and bright as they were in the entire huge sky.  It was amazing.
9-05-2004 Hart Mountain

April and Time to Get on the ROAD!

huge lilac bush by the old shed I know that life is either very good or very bad when I don’t have time to write.  This time it is very good.  Thank goodness.  It was the same way when I kept all those handwritten journals so many years.  When things were good there are very few entries, when things were bad there are pages and pages of them.  If my daughters ever find my journals after my death they would think I lived a horrible life if they didn’t know otherwise. That seems kind of sad to me in a way, but I suppose journaling is a form of self therapy and when things are good who needs therapy!
oaks leafing out at the cottage and potatoes in the dirt p8ileMore than a month has passed since I last wrote in this particular journal, but the one that is now getting filled up is the Google Calendar, with what the weather was doing, where we were, and all those dang dentist and doctor appointments.  I guess that is what life can be reduced to sometimes. I love going back to the blog to remember what we were doing, however, it is a lot more fun that looking appointments on a calendar, and I don’t want April to be a giant black hole. 
The calendar looks really good today, with reminders of what to do next.  “Pack for trip”  “Send in last timesheet” and other such exciting little things.  I have worked in town all week, so Mo has been taking care of home stuff, including setting up the complex sprinkler system and washing the cars.  We finally have spring weather here in Rocky Point and the grass might need some watering while we are off wandering around the desert. Friends are back to house sit, but they don’t have a clue how to work with Mo’s intricate battery timed watering system, so by the time we leave it will be all automated and running and hopefully no hard freeze will mess it all up again.  You never know in this part of the world.
Mo is mowingEaster was so dang early this year that I barely had time to put up decorations before it was over, so I decided that April was Easter month and the decorations only came down a couple of days ago.  Now all is quiet until Halloween and the only yard decorations will be whatever happens to be blooming. We had a simple Easter dinner and egg hunt here in Rocky Point, and then Mo and I spent a lot of time over in Grants Pass taking care of cottage chores.  April at the cottage-004 I even managed a bit of quilting here and there in between trips and chores and work and appointments.
I think I raked a total of twelve full days to get all those oak leaves up and burned.  We tore out the old wall between the kitchen and the bathroom and Mo got a new one framed and drywalled, and it is ready for taping.  The roof no longer leaks, the kitchen floor is now dry with no hidden wet surprises appearing, and the little cottage feels nice and cozy.  We like staying there, especially this time of year.  More than once this past month we left spitting snow and icy roads to drive over to Grants Pass and green grass and blooming spring flowers.  Ahhhhh.  Spring is one of my favorite times, so it is a kick to have spring extended this way as we drive back and forth between home and the cottage.  Daffodils over there have been gone for three weeks and they are just now coming into full bloom here at home.
This last week was our annual progress office review and I delighted in the role as a worker bee rather than the supervisor.  No stress!  I love that part of working as a retiree part time.  I am no longer in charge.  Another ahhh.
After a couple of trips to the cottage and a lot of work around home, we are both ready to make use of that great motorhome that is sitting over there waiting for us.  This time the decision is to head back down 395, the back side of the Sierras, the eastern slope of California.  Our destination: Death Valley.  We haven’t been there since 2004, although several times in our travels we have passed by it on both sides.  This time we will just explore the valley.  Our route home up 395 will bring the MoHo back to Rocky Point and her home berth, ready and waiting for summer camping trips.  No more snow to worry about.
two burn piles down and the field is mowed On the way south we have a couple of fun stops as we amble toward 395.  It is that blog friend thing that I treasure, we will visit old and new blog friends in Placerville and Nevada City.  More to come on that after I get photos and permission to post them!  Then it is over the mountain and into the desert.  Abby will be with us, but this time I decided to let our 17 year old kitty Jeremy spend the time at his cozy little home at the vet’s.  I’ll miss him, but desert heat can be daunting, and if we take Abby in the Tracker with air conditioning, it is worrisome to leave Jeremy in the rig, especially if we don’t get a spot with hookups.  Our route can have weather running the gamut of freezing nights to days over triple digits.
Jeremy loves being outside at the cottage Furnace Creek now has 21 sites with full hookups, but we can’t reserve any because the season officially ends on May 1, our arrival date, so we are taking our chances.  Worst case scenario can be that we will have to return to higher ground and lower temps.  Either way, it will be great.  We are planning a loose trip with options open to whatever fits and whatever works.  Just a trip with some time in the desert!  It is one of the reasons Mo and I like where we live.  We have ocean coast within a short drive, and desert just the other side of Klamath on the Nevada side.  The other delight for me will be heading east from the I-5 over the Sierras and not having to slog our way south through the San Joaquin Valley as we do every winter on our way to Desert Hot Springs.  ahhhh. 
On another note…reading blogs seems to be slipping away from my list of priorities.  Of course there are still a few that really matter to me a lot, and so I wade through the long list to check on those few, how many of you do that as well?  There are some writers that make me laugh out loud and I look forward to that.  Others who have photos that take my breath away and I am always waiting to see what is next.  Others I have come to care about, for whatever reason, and I want to know they are ok, or where they are, or what is happening for them.
I am not going to list them here, or link to them because somehow that just doesn’t seem fair.  Each writer spends time and energy putting themselves out here for whatever reason and that should be respected, I think. But as I do this, and read so many blogs of “stuff”, I totally recognize that my blog is also full of “stuff” that is only relevant to me, and trying to write for anyone but myself is a waste of time.  Someone is looking at my header on google reader or feedly and cruising right by whatever I have to say. 
dvandvegas 069 Some have the skill to write daily in ways that I don’t want to miss, but whether I have the skill or not, I certainly don’t have the desire.  I have no need or desire to put up ads, so what do I need to worry about readership for anyway?  It is so easy to get sucked in by the stats, who is reading, where are they from, what do they look at.  I HATE that, I hate it that I still look at the stats and that I think, “Gee, I should post something so people keep reading”.  Dumb, just dumb! I should post something just because I want to know what I did in April of 2013.  We all talk about this now and then, I know.  I see little blurbs of people saying they aren’t reading as much, and more blurbs of apologies about why they haven’t written.  I catch myself thinking that way as well, that I should say why I haven’t written, but nobody really cares, do they??  If they are friends, they know why I haven’t written, and we have probably been emailing all along.  If they aren’t friends, they don’t care why I haven’t written!
Ah well, enough of my little rant here….it is time to pack! Here is a little photo of us back in 2004, the first time we visited Death Valley together, pre-blog of course.