Easy Hike At Beverly Beach State Park


On our recent trip to the beach, we camped at Beverly Beach State Park, near Newport, Oregon.  At the campground, there was a little trail bordering a little creek.  One day, I decided to hike along it for exercise.  The day was rainy and cloudy, but I walked between showers.


The hike was extremely easy, although a wheelchair would not be able to navigate the path, as there were many roots sticking up and the path itself was narrow and sometimes muddy.  There were clearly signs that this little creek had recently flooded over its banks in places, but it was not hard to hike.  I wore old tennis shoes and did fine.  I only travelled a short while on the hike, as the family wanted to do something else.


A couple of days later, Rob and I went down the trail again, to see if we could make the short loop.


We walked east, down to the end of the campground on the little path.  At the end, there was an adorable bridge and we crossed it to the other side of the creek.  We then hiked west, hoping to make a loop back to our camper.


There were many beautiful mushrooms and ferns growing on the trees.  There was also quite a bit more water on the path in places.  After we had gone a while, we reached a place where the path was closed, due to a tree that had fallen in recent storms.  So, we just backtracked where we had hiked, and went back to the camper.  It was a short, easy hike and gave us time to chat with each other while enjoying some time along together as a couple.





On our recent trip to the Oregon Coast, we were taking a scenic drive  in-between rain showers and pulled into a view point to just sit and watch the majesty of the Pacific Ocean.   Rob was able to capture this photograph of a seagull perched on this sign.  We thought it was rather funny as seagulls are always trying to get people to feed them old bread and it seemed like he was warning us to not leave any unattended!  Unfortunately for him, we had not come prepared this time with any scraps for the birds.


Later, when the rain cleared for a few hours, we were able to get down onto the beach and enjoy seeing more gulls.  Even though they are one of the most common birds at the beach, we never get tired of watching them.


When we got too close, they took flight, heading off away from us intruders who had dared to invade their patch of the sand!


Rainy Oregon Coast


Recently, we went camping along the Oregon Coast.  As usual, it rained.  Thankfully, we have a camper, which enables us to camp even during inclement weather.  This view of the Pacific Ocean was taken right before the clouds opened up into a heavy rain storm.  Literally 2 minutes after it was taken, we were driving through a heavy rainfall.


We were heading south on Hwy. 101, towards the town of Newport, and drove past Agate Beach.  The mix of clouds, sun and pouring rain did not make us want to get out and hike along the beach, but we still enjoyed looking at the majesty of the ocean, and the beauty of the scenery.

Wooden Cutting Boards


One thing Rob likes to make in his shop is cutting boards.  He takes different kinds of wood and glues them together.  Then, he cuts and shapes them into cutting boards.  Over the years, he has made many different shapes and sizes.  We have given these cutting boards as gifts on many occasions.

For the last few years, this has been our gift of choice for wedding gifts.  Because the cutting boards take quite a bit of time over several days, sometimes he can’t get one done for each new couple and we have to give them something else instead.  This happened when our nephew, Geoffrey, got married this fall.  He got a different present, but Rob really wanted to make him a cutting board.  So, in December, Rob started a new batch of boards.  Geoffrey and his new wife, Keri-Anne, will get one for Christmas, along with a couple of really nice knives from the Kershaw knife sale.  A couple of other people will get one as well, and we will have a few extras for the next time a wedding gift is needed.


After the wood is glued, dried, shaped and sanded, the cutting boards are covered with mineral oil. After that’s had a chance to soak in, we usually wrap the cutting board with white tissue, and send it on it’s way to the recipient.  All the new owner has to do to care for their new cutting board is  occasionally rub mineral oil over the cleaned surface.  Otherwise, they just need to wash the board in a sink, with hot, soapy water as they would do with any other cutting board.  Rob does not recommend washing them in the dishwasher, or soaking them for prolonged periods of time in water.  It may ruin them.


Here is the finished product, ready to go to its new home.



Willamette Falls


Oregon is known for it’s rain and the weather is certainly living up to its reputation this fall and winter.  We have had a lot of rain here–way more than the average for this time of year. Over the last few weeks, the rivers have been filled to the brim, Mt. Hood is covered with snow, and some flooding has occurred.  Today, Rob drove up to Oregon City on an errand.  He pulled over and took a few shots of the swollen Willamette River, and of course, Willamette Falls raging and foaming with so much extra water going over.  It was an awesome sight to see that much power roaring and crashing over those rocks, when it wasn’t that long ago when the river was low and lazy.  What a difference a few weeks make!


Last Minute Christmas Gift–Potholders


Cast iron is hot, and it’s easy to get burned, whether you are cooking inside or out.  One quick and easy Christmas gift you can make for an avid cast-iron cook is some potholders.

I started with scrap fabric.  I didn’t want to use anything that cost a great deal, because cast iron can be very messy, especially if you are cooking over a fire.

I cut 10 inch squares of fabric.  Other sizes would work fine, that’s what I had.  I also thought it would be big enough to grasp a pot or pot handle.  I cut a back and a front from fabric, and a layer of Insul-Bright.  The Insul-Bright is a batting that has a layer of heat reflecting material.  It is supposed to protect the user from getting burned.  It is not recommended for use in a microwave.  I plan to give these as Christmas gifts to those who need to grab a pot, so it will work fine for me and keep the heat from seeping through the fabric and burning anyone.


Once I had them cut, I layered them.  I put the 2 main pieces right sides together, and the Insul-Bright on top and pinned all around.FullSizeRender

I sewed around all 3 layers with a 1/4 inch seam, leaving  a gap, as shown in the picture.  I clipped the corners and trimmed.


I turned them right side out, pressed, and pinned the hole shut.  I topstitched all the way around.  Then, to hold all the layers together, I topstitched from corner to corner, making a big “X” on the potholder.

Cost breakdown:  Fabric–free- Mine were scraps from previous projects years ago.  You could use old jeans, or other used clothing.  You could ask people who sew for scraps, they usually have lots and would love for them to be used.  Insul-Bright–I paid around $5.50 for a yard. I got mine at a quilt shop, but JoAnn’s also carries it. I think I can get about 12 from this yard (I used some for another project, so I’m guessing a little).  Thread–I had some.   For me:  Around 50c per pot holder.  It would be more if you purchased new fabric.

Time used:  About 15 minutes per pot holder.

I plan to make some more.  I’ve decided there are a few people that I want to remember at Christmas.  They are quick and easy and they look very nice when finished.

Munsen Falls


Last spring, we went on a hike to Munsen Falls.  It is located near Tillamook, Oregon.  When visiting the coast, we had seen the sign many times, but never stopped.  When on a day trip, which included the Tillamook Cheese Factory, we finally stopped.  We did not read about the falls before we went, so it was all new to us.  Here’s what we found.

The road leading into the State Park area was very rough, but we drove slowly and made it fine.  Once we arrived, there was a gravel area to park and turn around in.  In March, 2015, there were not very many people there, even though it was spring break.  We started along the trail, and found it was very easy to navigate.  It was also very short.  Later, I looked it up and found it was .6 miles.


We saw many pretty wild flowers along the path, including this trillium.


It was very lush and green.  Soon, we reached the falls.  It is reported to be the tallest waterfall in the Coastal Range and it was beautiful.  You could not walk in very close to the base of the falls, though.  There were signs stopping people from that, but we got a good view of the falls, a short hike to stretch our legs, and had a nice time with the family.  We would recommend it for people of all ages, but not someone in a wheelchair–the path was too uneven for that, in our opinion.  We hope to go back.IMG_0974

Kershaw Knife Sale


In the wee hours of the morning, last Friday, Rob crawled out of bed and headed out to the Kershaw Knife sale. He picked up his friend, Russ,on the way, and our nephew, Steven, joined him there.  It was pouring rain, cold, and dark.  Rob wisely took an awning with him, put it up, and joined the throng waiting in a long, long line.  Soon after arriving, he found a group of friends who had been there since 11 the previous night.  They gratefully crawled under the awning as well, out of the rain, and all proceed to wait until 9 a.m., when the sale opened.  Some went for coffee.  Others took turns sleeping a while in the van.  Pretty soon, a family member of the group of friends showed up with a stove and some sausages and proceeded to cook up some breakfast for the whole  group under the awning.  Lots of stories were swapped, and Rob said they had a great time catching up.


Once they got inside, it was worth every bit of inconvenience.


There were tables and tables of knives for sale.  Rob, Russ, Steven and all of the other guys (and a few girls) were able to shop for knives to their hearts’ content.  After Rob got home, he collapsed into bed for a well-deserved nap.  Soon, there will be new knives popping up on the Uncle Rob’s e-bay store. 

For years, even before Rob had an E-bay store, he has been going to the Kershaw Knife sale.  It has become a fun tradition for him and some of the boys and men he knows.  He would take our girls, but they don’t see it as being quite as fun as he and our nephew do!  Ja’Ana went once, and says she would go again “some day.” One memorable year, the older 4H boys were helping Rob get some projects ready for a 4H club meeting.  He invited any who wanted to go to the knife sale to come to the sale, and then come out to the house to make up  kits for an upcoming club meeting.

After picking up a van-load around 3 in the morning, they headed out to the sale.  After the customary waiting around, drinking coffee, visiting, etc., they were allowed their turn into the sale.  The first thing one of the boys did was cut themselves pretty good.  Luckily, the Kershaw people have bandages, and  first-aid supplies handy under every counter.  So, they fixed him up.

Once the group got back to the house, they went out to the shop to make the project kits.  Pretty soon, one of our girls came running into the house for not only first-aid supplies, but a bottle of cleaner and rags.  She was distressed because there was “so much blood all over.”  Of course, my mind immediately jumped to “bad shop-type accident”and I tore out there,  but it wasn’t that at all.  When I got out there, I found that my nephew had put his hand  into his pocket to take out the new pocket-knife he had just purchased, but accidentally opened it in his pocket.  The knife was so sharp that he cut himself badly while fishing it out!  Rob had the situation totally under control, and fixed him up along with the other boys who has begun getting cuts at the sale and all the way home in the van as they tested out their new knives.  I went back to fixing lunch.

Once the projects were mostly completed, they trooped in to eat.  They make a cook feel good, let me tell you!  I kidded them quite a bit about the number of Band-Aids adorning their fingers– multiple fingers in several cases, while I fed them lunch.  I will point out that one boy only had one little knick, but that was the exception!

Late in the afternoon, we loaded them all into the van and started the journey to take them all home.  We had no sooner settled into our seats when we heard the clicking sounds of knives opening in the seats behind us.  I still remember vividly when Rob roared, “Shut those knives, NOW!”  He had horrible visions of our van full of young men with even more cuts, since it was now dark outside.  They quickly complied.  Not even one argument.

At each house, Rob got out of the van and explained why he was returning the kids covered with cuts.  Without fail, each parent said they were just actually surprised there weren’t more cuts!  Finally, they were all dropped off, and we returned home.  During the weeks that followed until Christmas, we all gently teased the boys about the cuts, especially Steven who had at least one on every finger.

On Christmas Eve, our traditional time of opening gifts, I opened up a package that held several brightly-colored, extremely nice kitchen knives Rob had purchased for me at the sale.  I still have them, and absolutely love them.  I do have to confess, though, that the first time I used one of them, I cut my finger pretty badly.  In the end, when I told the boys, the joke ended up being on me.  They were gracious, and didn’t tease me too much, though.

Those boys are young adults now.  Steven, our nephew, is still in the area, through with college, and is a machinist.   The other boys?– They’ve grown up to be in the Marines, are finishing their educations, and work at various jobs.  We are so proud of those boys. They mean a lot to us. We feel privileged for the time we’ve been able to spend with them and many others over the years.

Suet Bird Feeders


Last month at 4H, Rob decided to have the Outdoors Club members make bird feeders that would hold a purchased suet block.  He has only a one-hour block of time to work with the kids that take the Outdoors project, so the kits needed to be pre-cut.  He had some scrap cedar fence boards to work with that someone had kindly donated.

He cut the larger, flat boards 6″ x 8″ and the end pieces (2 of them) 3/4″ x 1-1/2″ x 6″.    The wire is 1/2″ x 1/2″ square mesh wire and it was cut to 5″ x 6″ size.  He gave each member 2 kits, and provided hammers, 1-1/2″ galvanized nails, and 4–1/2″ roofing tacks to hold down the screen.  The kids hammered the end pieces onto the flat boards and then attached the screen.   One end piece is attached right on the end of the board.  The other one is attached about 1″ down from the end, so that a hole can be drilled for hanging. You could adjust that measurement a little bit if your suet block was a little bigger or smaller.  It needs to fit into the opening, so make sure it will before hammering.  The 2 sides are left open so the suet block can slide in, and easily be replaced when eaten by the hungry birds.


As is this picture, 1/2″ fencing staples can be used instead of the roofing tacks, but they proved to be much harder than the roofing tacks for the younger members.  Our members range from Kindergarten through high school.  The older ones help the younger ones, but the projects need to be do-able for all ages, as much as possible, without being boring for the older ones.  It’s a challenge, but having the older kids be junior leaders helps tremendously.


The 1/4″ hole needs to be drilled in the top for hanging, and the suet feeder will be done.  Rob estimates that this project can be made for $3 or less.  He came in far under that price because the boards and wire had both been donated.  He had to buy nails, etc., but got a really good sale on the suet blocks–only 67c each.  Each member got to make 2–one to give away for Christmas and one to keep.  Everyone seemed to enjoy making the suet feeders.