Sunday, November 4, 2012

Day 5: Forests and trees

Jeff and I have walked in forests all around the world, but in Oregon more than anywhere else. 
We love the Oregon forests and all of the damp, lush, things that grow under the canopy. 

Today I am thankful for the trees of the world and all of the wonders that can be found in a forest.

Day 4: Chocolate cake. (Am I being superficial?)

I've been trying to eat more healthily lately, going through a lot of lentils and beans and soaked porridge. I shall have to do a blog post on soaking grains and nuts, if I ever get to feeling successful.
But, the point is, while I feel better when I eat this way, my mind lingers often on this chocolate cake that I made for Dolly's farewell lunch.

So, I shall make it tomorrow for Bethany's birthday dinner.
And I shall spend all day being thankful for chocolate cake.

Day 3: The littlest angel

We had Madelyn all to ourselves today, as Bethany spent the night at our house and left her here with us while she continued on her weekend of Time Out for Women. It was the first time that we have had extended time alone with her. 
This little angel came into our lives ten months ago and completely stole our hearts. She has such a tender personality and commands our attention with only a smile or a gesture. 

Today, I spent all day being thankful that Madelyn is a part of my life. 
And I think I got over that "Bethany having a fifth child" thing.
In case you were wondering.

Thankful Day 2: Ode to my firstborn

Day 2 happened to fall on Bethany's birthday. 
When Bethany was born, 32 years ago, I felt like my world was complete. We were as poor as church mice in worldly terms, but I was enraptured with my baby and would spend all day holding her and trying out the few, mostly hand-me-down, outfits that I had been given. She slept through the night from about three weeks old, usually in my bed because Jeff was working the night shift. She was a calm little thing and people often commented that she looked like a Gerber baby (and I had no idea what that meant, but assumed it was complimentary) or Winston Churchill. I didn't mind the Winnie thing, because I admire him.

Nowadays, it's hard to find a photo of Bethany without one of her babies in her arms, but I stole this one from her facebook album.

Bethany continually impresses me with her tenacity, creativity, and her desire to do what is right. She is a delight to her Dad and me and has given us five lovely grandchildren. 
Day 2 was spent being thankful for Bethany, even as I spent most of it caring for her children so that she could have a Time Out!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Thirty days of thankful

Yes, I know, I've got some catching up to do!
I started this little project on facebook, but then decided may, just maybe, I could manage slightly longer efforts with photos to boot! 

I am so thankful to live in this great country. It is the the third nation that I have called home, and I am proud and grateful for the part that each has played in my life. 
I love England for its tenacity and history and beauty and for the greatness of the generation that endured and fought the Second World War. And most of all because of the people, my people, who call it home. 
I love New Zealand for its heart and its food and its hills and native flora and fauna. And for the people, my people, who call it home. 
These two places call to me constantly with promises of welcome, comfort, and the familiar embrace of family and friends. I will yearn for them until the day I die.
But America is the country that inspires my imagination with a hope of true freedom. It is here that Jeff and I began our life together with nothing but love and dreams to our name. Almost thirty-three years later, we are surrounded by beloved family and friends and unlimited opportunity to help others. We are debt-free, educated, and employed. Things have been difficult for many people lately, but I still believe that the foundation of America allows for prosperity for all, if they are willing to work for it. 
God Bless the U.S.A. 
And vote wisely.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

What men love to do

Yeah, I'll bet this blog post gets a lot of unlikely hits, thanks to that title.
Maybe I should change it.

I just counted photos in the last post.
This one has only two.
And there was much rejoicing!

So, last week I made some unusual purchases.
Unusual, in that they are rare kinds of purchases.
I found a rather large television on clearance at Freddie's. It is 3D and wi-fi and LED and was only a third of the original price.
"I'll take it," I said.
Then, of course, I had to buy a wall mount and a new Blue-ray player, as our old VCR/DVD player just didn't cut it. According to the man of the house.
I also bought five smoke detectors from Lowe's.
Of course you do!

A week has passed, and this is the TV in the rec room, all wall-hung and polished and Netflix-ready.

And these are the smoke detectors, sitting in a sad little pile in the man cave.

I think I have discovered a new weapon that is vastly superior to nagging.
It's called blogging!
Feel free to exert peer pressure on the man of the house.

P.S. The television that was replaced was about twenty years old.
In case you were wondering.

Weekend magic

I need to get away, he said.
Again? she asked.

So they did.
They spent the weekend at the McKenzie River Inn, a bed-and-breakfast establishment that sits right next to the McKenzie River. 

The bed was mighty uncomfortable (curse you, memory foam mattress that makes all others seem inferior) but the breakfasts cooked by the lovely innkeeper, Ellie, were fresh and delicious.

On Saturday, after a breakfast of sausage, fried potatoes, English muffins with homemade plum jam and homegrown apple cider, they shook off their aches and pains and hit the road.

Forty-five minutes up Highway 126 is Sahalie Falls.
If you get to Clear Lake, you've gone too far.

Thick, spongy moss covers everything.

He took his binoculars in hopes of bird sightings, but forgot how noisy a rushing, turbulent river can be.

A three-mile hike makes a loop down the east side of the river,

which roars and tumbles and rushes along until it cascades over Koosah Falls, 

where everything is green and misty.

Layers of green.



The trail was, for the most part, soft and easy, covered with pine needles that were shed like tears from the trees above.

The trail crosses the river by Carmen Reservoir and heads north. 
It had been a damp and slightly drizzly day so far, but as they crossed the river the clouds lightened and the sun peeked out of the clouds.

There were curious sights along the trail.
And we are not talking about the mountain bike riders, who should be banned from the forest.

This fallen tree was completely cleaned out and hollow.

The ground is often littered with large and small basalt rocks, which were spewed from nearby Mount Belknap, which is now a mere crater for the price of its sins. Sometimes, trees grow right out of those rocks.

Behold, the root of the tree, which split the rock right down the middle.

Grotesquely formed fallen-tree roots are a common sight along the trail.

Sometimes, they are very large.

The damp forest harbours many fungus growths. This one, on the sawed off surface of a tree trunk, had a light green base with pink nodules.

These holes, near the bottom of a dead tree, were mysterious. 
They seemed to be too big for a woodpecker.

Hey Joe, this tree is pretty danged big. I don't know if we can move it.
How about we just build some steps over it instead?

The trail crosses back to the east side about half a mile north of Sahalie Falls, so they crossed it on this lovely footbridge which is made from a log.

The trail was even softer and cushier on the other side, which was just as well because her injured foot was starting to complain.

We should have brought the hiking poles, he said.

She agreed.
When they got back to the parking lot, they were hungry and so they feasted on eggs and cheese and apples and crackers.
At least we remembered to bring food, she said.
But no water.
They forgot the water.
This little chipmunk was appreciative of the cracker crumbs.

They drove south on the highway, looking for more waterfalls, but were lured by a field of basalt.

Trees, both large and small, are thriving in the rocks.

Sometimes, it's just rocks.

A left turn onto Highway 242 took them up a much narrower road to Proxy Falls, which is really two waterfalls. 

The trail is a little bi-polar.
It begins deceptively smoothly, 

but soon transforms into a rocky path through a lava bed.

They wondered how such a narrow path was ever cleared through so many large rocks.
No Google search has been able to answer the question.

A tree has to really want to live in order to survive in such an inhospitable environment.

And yet, there is beauty.

And moss!

They heard the Lower Proxy Falls long before they could see it.
And even then, they couldn't get close because he wouldn't let her climb down the cliff to get to the base of the falls.
This is one of the most photographed falls in Oregon and falls 226 feet.

A short walk and a bit of a backtrack (due to an ambiguous sign) later, they reached Upper Proxy Falls.

Another mystery.
They wondered where the water goes, as there was no outlet to the pond at the base of the falls.
When they got back to the inn, she researched a little and discovered that the water goes into a hole in the ground and resurfaces as springs a couple of miles downstream.

On the way back to the inn, hungry and weary, they wondered about the piles of brush that were lining the edges of the national forest. Even more mysterious, they were usually covered in black plastic, as if to keep them dry.

Ellie told them that they are part of a controlled burn programme.
So now you know.

The Christmas shop was too alluring, so they stopped.
They did not buy one of these large wooden chainsaw totems.
But they did buy a small raccoon ornament for their Christmas tree.

And, ever fascinated by the legend, he had to check out Big Foot.

And then they went back to the inn and ate warmed-up burritos that she had (luckily) made to take along.
And, after another uncomfortable night on the mattress from Hell, they ate another delicious breakfast of 10-grain pancakes, homegrown pears and blackberries, and bacon.
And then they went home.

Did you clear your mind, she asked?
Yes, he said.
Good, she said.