07-10-2022 Hot August Days

The following is a photo-dense post of my overheated brain ramblings on a hot summer day. Nothing exciting here, except I wanted to remember just how I felt and how I was filling up my time.

I do remember “Hot August Night” and the days when Neil Diamond was so popular.  I loved his songs back then.  Now “Hot August Nights” is something that friends do when they drive to Reno this time of year.  We aren’t doing either, listening to Neil Diamond or driving to Reno.

August here is about cutting, trimming, more cutting and trimming, and then some more.  It is about making an attempt to keep everything at bay, to deadhead all the flowers and cut back the overgrown shrubs and grasses trying to take over the more polite blooming things.

I am cutting back the beautiful daylilies which are no longer beautiful.  After all that gorgeous bloom I am left with stiff brown sticks and floppy, strappy dull green leaves that get in the way of the lawnmower as I try to keep the lawn trimmed, a weekly chore.

Tucked away in our beautiful Japanese maple is an old birdhouse that my friend Bel made back in the mid-90’s.  Some of her creations have weathered well, for almost 3 decades now, others have been left to memory only.  My kids remember Bel, and she lives on in moments of laughter when we remember some of her antics and talk about “Crazy Bel”.  It is always with affection, and this little birdhouse is just one of many little leftovers of Bel that are lying around here at Sunset House.

In addition to the mowing and trimming, there are the moles.  We have tried most everything.  Last year the solar sonic stakes seemed to help, but this year I am afraid the dang critters have decided that the awful beeping whining noise won’t kill them and they dig holes right next to the loudest ones.  Almost always in the greenest part of the lawn, where the soil is damp from night sprinklers.  I carefully dig the piles, move the dirt, rinse off the grass and sometimes try to flood them out.  I finally resorted to the poisonous gummy worms, and stuffed them down the holes at least 12 inches to keep any animals from finding them.  Maybe they have slowed down a bit, but this morning, there was another gross, ugly, huge, muddy mound of red dirt in the middle of the lawn.

Then there are the weeds in the pasture.  Weeds on the Oregon state noxious weed list that I am technically required to manage although our neighbors have all of them including yellow starthistle which I do NOT have here.  False dandelion and the obnoxious  and very invasive redstem filaree that I have been fighting since last year.  Ugh.  I am no longer an organic gardener, tiptoing through the weedy fields, hand digging them out by the roots.  The evil spray stands at the ready. I despise those plants which take out every bit of drought tolerant grass in their shadow.

At this time of year, the roses are tattered, and the summer blooming phlox have big heads that are screaming to be trimmed. 

The dahlia that was so gorgeous a month ago seems to have some kind of browning thing on the leaves, I have no clue what, but it is ugly.  Even some of the marigolds look a bit weird.  Who can kill marigolds? 

I walked to the lower end of the pasture to try to get an image that might show how the non-irrigated pasture is much more of the property than the tiny green lawns.  As I say every time I write, I love those green lawns.  They are cool, and soft, and welcoming when it is hot and smoky outside.  At the far corner is an old English walnut tree, one of the hundreds that were planted in this area in 1906. 

The walnuts are ripening, and will no doubt be gone by the time we return in October.  The crows love them.  The apples on the antique Gravenstien tree are almost ripe, and we are counting the days, hoping for a pot of applesauce ready for jars before we leave.

We have a mama catalpa tree between the house and the RV shed that was here when we bought the cottage.  She has grown a few feet since then, but probably won’t become incredibly huge in our lifetime.  She also makes babies, and this little one seeded in a flower bed and last spring Mo and I decided to plant it in the pasture. 

It has grown almost 2 feet since then.  It is fun to watch a tree that started from seed grow to a strong tree.

My son’s memorial tree is doing great, too.  The leaves are thick and shiny, and much more filled in this year.  I know that when we return from our “big trip” the tree will have started to turn.  Sweet gums turn early here, and this one is an especially colorful variety.

Speaking of the big trip; Mo is working on finalizing all the MoHo check-ups to prepare us for 8,000 miles or so on the road.  With just over a week to our departure, it seems that we have everything on track until I suddenly remember one more thing to do.  Big job today was writing up a formal caretakers list for the people who will be watching our home and well while we are away.  Of course we are happy to have the house occupied and protected, but the bigger issue is making sure the water systems are all functioning properly as the hot summer comes to a dry, hot fall.  I am making lists, taking photos, writing down phone numbers and contacts for everyone who will be here. 

Walking around the house to check on the annual beds is part of the morning routine.  Today it was especially important, because, sure enough, at 2 AM, I discovered we had no water.  By the waning low orangey light of an almost full moon in the southern sky, I wandered around with a flashlight trying to figure out what went wrong.  Checking all the outlets for broken hose ends, or blown out drippers.  When I finally opened the well cistern that contains 1700 gallons of “bad water”, I discovered that that cistern was completely full.  Inside the pump house I could see that the pressure tank from that cistern was at full pressure, but the Reverse Osmosis unit was on red, indicating a fault somewhere.  Sure enough, the 1700 gallon tank of “good water” was completely empty.  The RO unit was caput.  Lucky for us, our water guy encouraged us to buy a backup motor for that unit last year, “just in case”.  He couldn’t get here until 2, and by then it was too late to contact Florida for some random connections he needed to understand before he could complete the installation. 

Ah yes…no water for another day, and all the little flowers are looking up at me with reproachful faces…where is our water???  Once the RO is repaired the good water cistern will have to be filled.  That takes all 1700 gallons of the bad water to make about half as much good water.  So it will be two more days before the cistern is again full and we are on track with all the timed watering that keeps everything in such a fine balance.  Are you worn out yet reading about this?  Me too!!  I am actually ready for a break, for a vacation!  I am no longer dreading being away in the hot summer, I am actually looking forward to thinking about something besides the well and the water and how much stuff is growing and what I need to cut back and trim!  I am just grateful that this big water kerfuffle happened while we were still here at home and not a few thousand miles away.

(Update: still no water, thanks to another kerfuffle with the motor our guy ordered for us last year.  However, we discovered that the water trucks going by every day on our road are just fine with delivering 2000 gallons of fresh city water to our cistern for a very reasonable $120.  Should hold us until the RO gets repaired, maybe not until Monday)

Mo and I decided that we needed a little bit of a break from everyday stuff.  It was time to get out the bikes and take an early morning ride along the Rogue River.  The Rogue River Parkway has nice parking and a paved bike trail that meanders along the river from the town of Rogue River to the Valley of the Rogue State Park a few miles south and east.  Mo filled the bike tires and then said to me, “You might want to be sure that you can still do this.”  To make a long story very short, I couldn’t.  Leg strength is too far gone to manage getting on and off the bike, much less peddling, and my balance is shot as well. 

Broke my heart.  I love my bike, even though it is 24 years old. With it I have biked Utah slickrock,  Priest Lake rocky trails, Florida Snake Valley paths around the alligators, around my lovely little Hauser Lake where I lived when I bought the bike, and so many untold rides with Mo on trails around lakes, up mountains, and exploring random rv parks.  I now have to let go of this one.  Folks mentioned an e-bike, but that wouldn’t get me off without a possible bad fall.  My legs aren’t just weak, but they can collapse at any time without warning.  So I am letting go.  My beloved bike will go to my daughter Deborah, who said she would love to have it. That makes me happy inside.  I told Mo I would donate it before I would think of selling it, so I am glad it will stay in the family.

(Another update since I finished writing yesterday:  Many suggestions have come to me, e-bike, recumbent bike, tricycle, etc.  And yes, all might be possibililties, but for one reason or another they are not options I choose to follow.  I can still kayak and walk and hike, and biking is a secondary passtime that we can only do easily when we are traveling.  There aren’t many good biking opportunities near our home here in hilly Grants Pass.  I don’t want to try to lift and haul some heavy thing in the Tracker.  So, thank you to those who saw the facebook post and offered condolences and ideas.  I am just fine with what I CAN do.  So for now no expensive heavy things are on my list of priorities!)

Summer Doings

I am writing this post in late August, the 22nd actually, and a large thunderstorm has just passed over the east side of the Cascades.  We don’t often get moisture this time of year, so it was a surprise, lovely and luscious and more than a little bit scary.  Hopefully there is enough rain in the storm to offset any chance of lightning strikes starting more fires.  The temperatures have dropped considerably this afternoon, and I had to actually put on a pair of sweat pants.at Brats Brews and Blues

The month of August seemed to fly by, and somehow one of our favorite little gatherings slipped by without even a mention.  For the past 11 years, Klamath Blues Society has hosted a Brats, Brews, and Blues Festival at the Pelican Marina in Klamath Falls.  It usually runs from early afternoon to about 7 in the evening, with local blues bands on the venue for some delightful entertainment.  The bands come and go and are at various levels of excellence, but for a small out of the way town like Klamath, it is still great fun to go listen to music on the shore of the lake and pay 20 bucks for a bratwurst and 6 beer tickets.  Melody and Kevin emcee=ing at the Brats, Brews, and blues Festival

Each of those tickets buys a very small sampler of beer. but It’s all for a good cause, with proceeds from the event go to Camp Evergreen, a youth bereavement camp run by Klamath Hospice for children who have lost loved ones.  A couple of local breweries are there to peddle their wares and this year the midges were absent and the weather was perfect.  This year the event was in early August, and for once, Mo and I weren’t off traveling somewhere.

 IMG_3671Even more perfect, my daughter Melody and son-in-law Kevin were the emcee’s for the event and my daughter Deborah now lives close enough to join us for a great afternoon.  It was sooo much fun.  We ran into our neighbors, Wes and Gayle, who enjoyed the event as well.  Not as much as I did though, since I had my daughters there to get me up out of my chair and dancing.  Once I started, there was no stopping.  I would try, but then that dang beat would keep me going and laughing like crazy and trying to keep from falling on my face, I just kept on dancing with my girls.  Haven’t had that much energetic fun in a very long time.Sue at Brats Brews and Blues

The other summer doings around here have been a bit less delightful.  Our giant ponderosa pines have very long needles, lots of them, and every summer it is a big job getting them off the roof.  Mo is the ladder climber in the house, since I get wobbly and goofy up there.  I can do the roof part, but that part where you get from the ladder to the roof not so much.  I watched her up there, holding the ladder for her ascent and helping jockey the blower cord around so it didn’t get in the way. Day 5 Summer Lak_036DSC_0038

Other excitement around here has been even more subtle.  I have been watching flowers bloom and trees grow while Mo mows.  She built this place a year before I knew her and I was comparing some of the photos of what it looked like in 2002 and what it looks like now.  It is so much fun seeing tiny little trees that were a foot or so high now reaching for the sky at more than 30 feet.  Something has “grabbed” in the last couple of years and everything is growing like crazy.  Starting to look like a jungle out there in spite of the challenging climate we have here in the mountains. Day 5 Summer Lak_048DSC_0050

Somewhere toward the end of July we traveled a few miles east to the Running Y Resort for their “big” garden tour.  One of the gardens there was carved out of all that rocky basalt with an incredible amount of work and planning.  She won “gardener of the year” for some sort of statewide thing, and said she was amazed that she won over some of those lush Portland landscapes.  We drove through the resort roads from garden to garden, marveling at the variety of stuff that could be grown in a dry rocky landscape. 

The Running Y Garden Tour Winning Flower BedDay 5 Summer Lak_050DSC_0052

I also thought that I should have a garden tour of my own!  Instead, when the kids come to visit, I just take them on the “garden walk”, telling them how things are doing and what is what in my Rocky Point landscape.

My Flower Bedfront south flower bed

I still have issues with the deer, spraying the very smelly Liquid Fence at least every two weeks to keep mama deer and her babies out of my flowers.  When we got back from the last trip she had nipped a couple of flower heads off the rudbeckia sunflowers, a plant I thought deer didn’t eat, but she hadn’t touched anything else.  Next door at Wes and Gayle’s, she even ate all the herbs on the porch.  I didn’t think deer liked strong flavored herbs, but I guess since all my flowers tasted like rotten eggs and old milk she figured something was better than nothing.  Go me!  Sorry, Gayle.

From the Heart

“It shifted from being written directly to my family and friends to something with more explanation and less from the heart, if you know what I mean. “ “paying too much attention to the reader community and not enough to my own preferences. “

DSC_0006 Words this morning from a trusted friend brought me up short. I know the feeling, and I fight it sometimes.  Case in point: my last post and this one.  There is enough going on around here that I have some things to write about, some life to share, and yet I found myself liking the way the last post looked so much that I didn’t want to upstage it with a new one that wouldn’t have those photos of my pelicans.  Now just how silly is THAT?!  Mo said, “Well, why don’t you just put the pelicans up on the header photo?”  Yeah, ok, I’ll do that, and yet the thoughts behind why I didn’t want to write a new post were still somewhat interesting to me. Sounds like I may be slipping into what this friend described in that last sentence I quoted in the first paragraph!

the lily in the cabin bed My Goal: write from the heart.  Write about stuff, explain stuff, but keep the heart in it.  Write as if I were writing to a trusted friend.  Of course, some stuff I wouldn’t even write to a trusted friend so I won’t write that part in here.  Those parts are saved for private journals that even my kids will never see. The good thing about this goal is that when I go back and read (and I DO go back and read my own blog), it will be entertaining and fun, and will help me remember not only what I saw and what I did, but how I felt about it.  At least that is the goal.

the hedge rose, blooming here at Rocky Point Personal journals, on the other hand, can be incredibly depressing to read later.  I journal a lot when I am angry, depressed, or just plain falling apart.  Not fun reading.  On another note, I don’t seem to have a lot of personal journaling going on now as I did when I was younger.  Life is less full of angst and worry and frustration.  I guess after 66 years, it is about time, right?

I think especially of this kind of “from the heart” writing when I think of Sherry’s story of David’s journey.  I have mentioned them often enough that anyone who reads my blog has probably found theirs. Good news today with 8 million stem cells in his collection!  Then, again from the heart, Laurie Brown’s eulogy to her Dad. Semi-True Tales of the Road has been one of those that stands out so far above so many of us that it is hard to see it wind down a bit. The only blog I read for years, I still always watch for a post from Laurie. Many folks mentioned her great campground reviews, but when I think of Laurie, I think of great food stories, seriously funny moments (aka Desert Hot Springs), and the clay oven. 

Merikay and Craig walking down to the docks from Rocky Point Resort Speaking of bloggers, last week brought us another blogger meet-and-greet treat, with Merikay and Craig visiting our world.  They spent a long time hiking the trails of Crater Lake, many that Mo and I who live an hour away have never traveled.  Then they camped a couple of nights right here in Rocky Point, giving us the chance to get Merikay and Craig out on Recreation Creek in the kayaks. 

OK Merikay, you can do it I love showing someone how much fun it is to get out on the water in a kayak and this was no exception.  We had a perfect day with water smooth as glass for our morning adventure.  Getting into a kayak for the first time can be a bit daunting, and once out on the water, it sometimes takes a few moments to get used to that wiggly feeling.  Within a short time though, that feeling goes away and your body settles into the balance much like it happens on a bicycle.  We had a nice, short paddle for their first run, and I do hope they will try it again.  It is such a great way to get up close to the birds and feel a silence on the water that is hard to find any other way.

A little benefit of blog meet-and-greets are the photos!  Loree has photos of Jeana on her blog since they met up as Loree traveled east, and we got a great photo of Loree on Jeana’s blog as well.  Now isn’t that just fabulous?!  Somehow the photos that others take of you are quite a bit different than the ones you might put up on your own blog.

DSC_0020 Later that afternoon I invited Merikay and Craig to the house for supper, along with our closest neighbors, Wes and Gayle, our Tucson friends who live here in the summer. We had appetizers on the porch, dinner inside at the dining table, and dessert back on the porch, all accompanied by a few different wines supplied by each of us.  I thoroughly enjoyed myself, especially since hostessing a meal is a favorite thing for me to do.  I was having so much fun I forgot to take photos of the table, the food, and my guests.  I guess that is a good sign.

Fourth of July was wonderful.  I do love the Fourth, not for any particularly patriotic reason, but for its ability to bring up happy childhood memories and to create small town joys. As I spent the morning making potato salad and meltingly perfect chocolate cupcakes, I remembered my foster mother, who loved all holidays and taught me to appreciate them with huge church picnics, decorations for everything, and always always great holiday food.

2012-07-04 Veterans Park Celebration (48) With Melody and family in town, Mo and I drove in for the celebrations.  Klamath Falls once again scheduled the holiday parade for 5 in the evening, ending in Veteran’s Park, where the fireworks were scheduled to go off at ten pm when it is finally dark here.  It is much nicer to have a later parade and only have to drive to town once.  When the parade was in the morning, it was harder to figure out what to do with ourselves while we waited for the fireworks twelve hours later.

Kevin and Elric for the sheriff's department This time, the parade was nice, but I still wish we could get more marching bands to come. There was only one.  Parades need music!  There were lots of red white and blue decorations, however, and the Shriner guys in their little cars always make a parade seem like the real thing. Of course, seeing my son in law and my grandson representing the Klamath County Sheriff’s department was a treat.  Kevin is a reserve deputy, and Elric got a big kick out of being in the cop car in the parade.  UhOh. Elric is now Xavier, but I keep forgetting.  I have no clue why teenagers think they have to change their names, but I am trying to get with the program. Seems to me that Elric is enough of an interesting name, but n-ooo-ooo. He has to make it more interesting! He is 13.  What can I say…

yum2012-07-04 Veterans Park Celebration (96) Hillary/Axel (remember that other name change I mentioned in the last post?) spent most of the time between the parade and the fireworks volunteering for the face painting booth.  Terrible me, I can’t remember what the booth was promoting, but it was some sort of socially redeemable venture, I am sure.  We had fun watching her and as the evening wore on, the line grew exponentially.  Word was getting around that she was painting some fairly radical faces, unlike the typical butterflies and such.  Well, with a name like Axel, who would expect butterflies anyway?

By the time the fireworks started, we were all starting to get fairly chilled, but the bugs weren’t out this year so that was a blessing.  Why don’t I remember that even if it is 90 during the day, the air will require sweats, jackets and even gloves by ten pm.  I hate to say it, but when the fireworks began we were pretty disappointed.  It may have been because of the high winds that evening, but once again the big booms couldn’t seem to rise above the trees lining the lakeshore at Veteran’s Park. 

2012-07-04 the Fourth It made for some interesting photos, especially with the full moon rising right where the big fireworks were exploding, but it also made for a few unhappy folks hanging around all evening waiting.  Next year we may just give it up and go check out the fireworks at Lake of the Woods, closer to home for us, but not part of that small town Klamath thing that we love. 

I guess the small town Klamath thing means there isn’t enough money for a big town fireworks show. 

The Delights of Traveling Close

Melody in the Wocus Cut Something wonderful happens when summer finally arrives.  The family is nearby, the porch is inviting, the kayaks are waiting, the flowers are blooming.  Ahhh.  It takes a long time for summer to actually show up in this part of Oregon, but when it does, it is worth the wait.  While most of the country swelters and much of the west in on fire, here the mornings are still cool, the nights chilly enough for a comforter, and the daytime temperatures are in the mid 70’s.  That is a Rocky Point summer.

how are you supposed to get your mouth around this? My daughter was blessed with a three day weekend and if you remember how life is when you are all working full time, it takes a couple of days to catch up on chores at home.  The three day weekend gave her a chance to play, and this time their version of play was a night at the Casa del Sol (our little cabin by the house), with burgers on the grill, marshmallows in the wood stove, and a morning on the water with mom. Somehow busy-ness gets in the way of recreation, and I have only had my grandkids out in the kayaks a few times.  I love seeing the look on Hillary’s (who is changing her name to Axel but I still am not “there” yet) face when she gets on the water.  She loves it.  Melody kept exclaiming, “This is amazing, Mom, this is amazing!”.  Grandson Elric chose to hang out at home in the cabin with dad and when Melody, Hillary, and I returned we were treated to a great late brunch cooked up by the son-in-law and grandson.

Axel on Cyrstal CreekGood things do come to an end, and the kids headed back to town.  Of course, for Mo and I it didn’t matter that it was Sunday night.  Mo wandered off to a place we have wanted to camp for a few years and never remember.  She called me and said, “Why don’t you meet me and Abby out here at Eagle Ridge, and maybe bring some supper?”  Great plan again!

evening kayak on Shoalwater Bay The last time we were at Eagle Ridge we still had the sailboat, and the winds were challenging as usual on these mountain lakes.  Once again I remembered why we decided kayaking was easier than sailing!  It is a lot easier to launch a kayak than a sailboat and even with all the paddling, it is a lot less work. Eagle Ridge is a Klamath county campground about half way between town and Rocky Point, maybe ten miles from home for us.  There are a few primitive sites, no charge, no dump, no amenities except a great view of Shoalwater Bay, a launching dock, and sites right on the water.

  The road to the park is about 4 miles of rough gravel and dirt, with not a few bumps, but the MoHo handled it just fine.  No one else on the road to kick up gravel to worry about.  Except for a couple of fishermen in the early evening, we had the place to ourselves. 

Eagle Ridge and Shoalwater Bay Shoalwater Bay is on Klamath Lake proper, and the native algae that our lake has made famous was in evidence.  Great kayaking, but probably not something to swim in.  It is perfectly safe, but green.  I think there is a Blue-Green algae company that is still making a good profit from Klamath Lake.  I guess it is the reason our lake is so gorgeous and not surrounded by development.  John C Fremont, back in 1857, said this lake wasn’t fit for a horse to drink. The algae is supported by all the natural phosphorus in the lake because of all the volcanic ash from Mt Mazama (Crater Lake) deposited several thousand years ago.  The ambient phosphorus load is a big point of discussion about our lake, especially when trying to determine how much phosphorus is coming from the agricultural lands on the Sprague River which feeds the lake.

If you want to see incredibly clear blue water, just head up the hill to Crater Lake.  Merikay and Craig are hiking there this week and have some really gorgeous photos of all that blue clarity.  Notice, however, that all that clarity doesn’t do much for the water birds.  On the other hand, here on Klamath Lake, water birds are everywhere.  My favorite, and in my opinion the greatest of all, are the American white pelicans.  They winter in Mexico and South America, but every year in March they return to Klamath Lake and the first pelican is the sign that spring is coming, much like the first crocus. They have a 9 foot wing span, and fly in formation much like fighter jets.  I suppose it is my favorite part of kayaking around here, coming upon a raft of pelicans and watching them fly.  I especially love the black wing tips that don’t show until they are airborne. I don’t often put in a slide show, but I do think this one is worth the band width.  Check out the pelicans that we found on our paddle.

https://picasaweb.google.com/s/c/bin/slideshow.swf

sunset over Shoalwater Bay from Eagle Ridge Park campfire at Eagle Ridge Park, all to ourselves We watched the sunset over the bay, and found enough old driftwood to built a nice campfire on the beach in front of the MoHo. I heard recently that Oregon is the only state in the west that doesn’t currently have any large active forest fires.  Notice all that green grass and moist vegetation.  Of course, it won’t be like that later in the summer, but for now having a campfire was delightful.

The night was silent except for the lake breezes and dark until the moon rose.  Not a soul around, and just four miles from the highway.  Nice.

the morning pelican paradeMorning came slowly with Eagle Ridge directly east of us, and the dew was thick on the windows.  We even had to turn on the furnace for a few minutes with morning tea as we watched the day lighten.  Deciding that breakfast back home would be nice, we drove the few miles back to Rocky Point and cooked up a nice Sunday breakfast (even though it was Monday) watched the news, and got ready for our day, much refreshed and renewed by our little side trip.

The flowers are starting to bloom more and more, and I am enjoying the gardens now that the heavy labor of May cleanup has dissipated a bit.  We had another load of juniper delivered, and it is piled high in the MoHo shed, so the big job of splitting and stacking has begun. July is about good weather and having fun, but it is also about getting in the firewood, spraying the deer repellant, and mowing the lawns. 

DSC_0026We keep driving to Grants Pass, thinking that someday when we are “old”, we will settle over there out of the snow into a better growing season.  I looked around last week at this beautiful place and said, “No”.  Let’s just stay here till we have to go into a home somewhere.  Worst case scenario, we have to pay someone to help now and then with the hard stuff.  But every time I drive to town, or over the mountain to the “other side”, and then return I feel my breath quicken at the sight of that murky lake below in the sunlight.  I am thrilled by the birds, the silence, the clear sunny skies, the forest.  It is home.  I guess that is why we have a motorhome after all, we can leave in the winter, we can travel if we want to, but we have home right here.  I don’t want to give it up, even for a growing season that would let me have more flowers.

A parting thought here, one that came to me last week as we were traveling home from Oroville:

picnic at Eagle Ridge July 11 2004sailing at Eagle Ridge, July 11 2004 Sometimes, when riding in the MoHo, memories wash over me in waves.  Maybe it is the vibration, maybe the changing scenery flying by.  Somehow the complexity of my life flows by me like the trees rushing past, ephemeral, hard to catch, hard to track.  I was once known for my phenomenal memory, spitting out dates like “Oh that was on a Tuesday in 1987”.  Memories used to be like individual stories, with a beginning and an end, solid and real and separate.  Lately, as life gets more and more full, and the memories begin to stack up, they are becoming more fluid, overlapping each other and flowing by in complex scenes, just as rich, but somehow with more flow. I wonder if that is what the old folks in the rocking chair on the porch are experiencing, that magical, colorful flow. I like it. 

 sailing at Eagle Ridge in July of 2004

Summer Solstice

The longest day of the year, the shortest night, the beginning of summer, time to celebrate. I love to celebrate the turning of the seasons, the changing of the light. I ring bells at Winter Solstice, with that wonderful feeling that winter light will be lengthening and summer returning.  In the midst of the summer solstice is the thought that already the sun is turning away.  Strange thought when summer has only just begun to warm the forest here and the trees are only now fully leafing out. The weather on this first day of summer did not disappoint us, with the hottest temperatures of the year so far.  It was a gorgeous, crystal clear, beautiful, 80 plus degrees today, and I think I could see the tomatoes growing taller as I watched them.

the maple has leafed out all the way for the Solsticeclose enough to the house to make bringing out the food easyWe didn’t do a Solstice party, but we did have a bonfire last Sunday night. With the formal notification of the beginning of fire season, the last day for outdoor burning was June 20, so we invited the neighbors and built the last big outdoor fire of the season.  Wes and Gayle live most of the time in Arizona, relocated there after many years in Oregon.  Their place here is a lovely mountain homeGalye and Wes James come to Rocky Point for the summer from Arizona, just across the road from our house, and it’s nice when they return for the summer. They waited a bit this year because of our cool temperatures, so we were glad to see them come back in time for some neighborly visits before we leave for Alaska.  Of course, it’s also nice that they are here since Wes is our resident summer lawn mowing person  and house care-giver while we are gone. Wes has no grass to mow next door and seems to get a kick out of riding around on Mo’s mower.  At least that is what he says.  Personally, I just think he is a truly kind and generous neighbor! Gayle has treated us to many lovely meals, both here in Oregon and when we have visited them in Arizona in the winter.

I cleaned the tines first, really, they make a great hot dog cooker if they don't fall offWhen I invited them over, I said to come for hot dogs and a meal composed entirely of non-home-cooked food.  Most of the time I love to cook, but lately with the extra work weeks taking most of my time, not so much.  Our get-together was more about a chance to have a fire and enjoy the outdoors than it was about eating. We did have a good time, in spite of the store bought picnic, and the hot dogs roasted over the fire on a pitchfork hit the spot.  I even found humongous marshmallows, big as a fist, labeled appropriately “campfire marshmallows”. did you ever have to eat a sticky marshmallow with a fork and put it on a plate? I laughed so hard when we tried to eat them, they were HUGE and sticky and Gayle needed a fork and a plate to deal with just one.

In the past couple of weeks we had 7 cords of juniper delivered, huge rounds that Mo splits with the hydraulic splitter.  It’s a hard, hot, and nasty job, and this time she has avoided huge divots in her legs created by flying chunks of wood with the soccer shin guards I got her for Christmas. Mo does all the splitting and we share the stacking chores.  The loads come 3.5 cords at a time, and it took us three days to do the first load.  Today we DSC_0008started on the second. The juniper is reasonably priced firewood, but it is full of huge knots, one of the reasons it looks so beautiful in woodcrafts. Juniper is encroaching on the native grasslands in Oregon, and the juniper eradication program is making an attempt to take it back a notch.  The result is lots of big, dry juniper, needing a home for the winter.  We are happy to oblige.  I love it.  see that thing sitting in the chair? Wes is still slapping mosquitosIt crackles and snaps, not a problem in our enclosed stove, and it burns hot and long.  Mo loves it less, see previous entry regarding shin divots. Today she said something to the effect that we had enough juniper for a couple of years and next time we were going to order it split.  She thinks the cost of split wood might not be as much as a busted splitter.

Mo fed our campfire with some of the huge rounds that were impossible to split to a reasonable size. I brought out the fancy Thermocell mosquito repellent device, along with the Off Clip-On device and tried to keep the biting monsters at bay.  Wes was about ready to head back for Arizona, since even with the fire smoke and all the devices, the mosquitoes still were trying to have us for dinner.  Must have something to do with the nice days warming up and everything is hatching beautifully.

Maryruth visits (8)The weekend of the 12th was the big graduation weekend in Klamath, and town was filled to the brim with celebrants, including my niece Savannah.  My granddaughter Hillary will also be graduating in a few weeks from Klamath Union High School. Hard to believe that little baby girl is through with high school.

On Friday, the 10th, my friend Maryruth ( we are getting close to 50 years of friendship) and her husband, son, and daughter-in-law returned from an Albany graduation via Rocky Point.  Mo and I turned over the big house bedrooms to them and spent the night in the guest cabin with Abby and Jeremy.  It was a great way to be sure that the cat didn’t do his friendly cat thing and scratch at the guest room door till they opened it and purr all night on Maryruth’s chest. The cabin is a real treat, with morning sunlight and a warm little wood stove for the night chill.

Maryruth visits (28)I cooked a real supper for them, no store bought stuff this time, plank grilled salmon with lemon hollandaise, fresh asparagus, and salad from our greenhouse garden.  I even made an old fashioned apple dump cake for dessert.  Yum.

One of the great old traditions of Rocky Point are the amazing little steamboats that come here every year. Not your average big boat, but beautifully built little water crafts that are operated by true wood-fired steam engines. We heard the toots from the house and decided we definitely needed to run down to the lake to check them out. We also wanted to check out the newly remodeled resort.  Rumor had it that there was a new bar adjacent to the existing restaurant, so we were happy to find out the rumor was correct. After walking along the dock to admire the steamboats, we enjoyed the beautiful view of Pelican Bay from the restaurant for just the price of a round of drinks. It’s wonderful to have friends stop in and visit. It’s also nice to have a special little place close by to have a nice dinner with a gorgeous view.  Note to self: dinner at Rocky Point Resort soon!

Maryruth visits (29)