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)