Ft. Stevens State Park-2017

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Ft. Stevens State Park is up at the tip of Oregon, by the ocean.  We love to camp there because there’s so much to do in the surrounding area.  The park has a lake, Coffinbury Lake, where we like to fish.  Even on a “bad” fishing trip, we usually catch something.   On this trip, we went fishing 3-4 times, and caught a total of 5 trout.

For the first 1/2 of our stay, Rob and I only had 1 child with us, Patsy.  That is such a difference from our “norm” that I did nothing but sleep and fish for the first day!  During the second half of our stay, our nephew, Jake joined us, giving us a little more excitement:)  By then, we were rested up, and enjoyed doing things with both kids.

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Rob helped Jake catch a little bass, but we did not keep it.

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One day, we went crabbing off a bridge in nearby Seaside.  We got 2 keepers!  A kind man who was cleaning his freezer drove by the bridge where we were crabbing and offered us some old clams and some clam guts.  We gratefully accepted and that’s what we got the 2 keepers on.  We pulled up lots of females and too-small crabs on our usual chicken, but there were so many traps in the water that the larger, male crabs must have been in the mood for a change.

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We were disappointed because we were not able to catch razor clams this year.  Last summer, we had so much fun and got a lot.  We brought all of our equipment, but were informed that razor clamming was closed due to some kind of toxicity in the clams.   Sad as we were, we did not want to take any chances eating unsafe clams, so we did not follow any (bad) advice we were given by several older men to “just do it anyway” because they ate them and were still alive.  No thank you.  It may open again in October, we will see.

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Instead, we visited nearby Battery Russell, and the Ft. Stevens military museum and the site where the actual fort had been.  Most of the information dealt with defending the coastline during World War II.  Jake especially loved the guns, tanks and other military items.  It was his first time there.

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We saw deer, squirrels, birds of all sorts, and elk!  Several elk were meandering through the nearby town of Hammond one day while we were driving through.  I’m glad I don’t have to contend with those coming near my garden!!

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Of course, no beach trip is complete without digging in the sand, for the kids, at least!

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We went down by the wreck of the Peter Iredale, which is the carcass of a ship that’s been down on the beach near our campsite for as long as I can remember.

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We went to the mouth of the Columbia River and the kids fed the seagulls the old pancakes that were leftover from breakfast.  We got to see several boats, some of which were going out (maybe fishing) and some coming in (probably bringing in cargo).

We drove over the 4-mile bridge that separates the state of Oregon from the state of Washington.  We always enjoy doing that and the kids love it, too!  Between all of those activities, the kids built Legos, watched movies, and read books.  They listened to stories on c.d. from the library while we drove.

On Friday morning, we packed up early and headed back home.  It was a fun, busy, educational week, packed with lots of outdoor activities.  It was especially satisfying because we had wanted to give Jake experiences he did not usually engage in, and boy, did we succeed.  He wants to go camping some more, and that’s just how we wanted it to turn out!

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Tulip Fields

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Yesterday, we visited the Wooden Shoe Tulip Fields near Woodburn, Oregon, USA.  The flowers were in full bloom, and the sun came out for just long enough for us to enjoy our outing.

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You can see the mud puddles, but there was a path made of hazelnut shells that we followed to reach the tulips, so even Ja’Ana’s white tennis shoes came out unscathed.  (Of course, when she was a toddler, she could go outside and play in the dirt in a white dress and come back clean–how does she do it???)

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They loved going on a field trip instead of doing book work for part of their homeschool day.  Two cousins, forging memories in a field of flowers.  It doesn’t get much better than that!

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Crabbing on a Pole at the Oregon Coast

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Too bad it is a female!  Rob and Patsy spent some time trying to catch both fish and crab off the jetty at Newport, Oregon.  They have tried twice in the past few days, but so far, no keepers.  Here’s hoping……

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Everything that was caught went back into the bay.

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There was lots to look at, though, as there always is at the beach.  We were marveling at the size of the rocks the jetty was built with.  The kids wanted to know where they came from and how in the world anyone moved them here to build the jetty.  We don’t know.  Maybe the mountains.  Maybe a big truck.   All we know is that they are huge!

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The waves were really crashing.  It was beautiful.

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In the midst of it all, the wild strawberries are bravely blooming.

We had fish from the grocery store for dinner last night.  Some fishing and crabbing trips are like that.  We didn’t catch anything edible, but instead, added many more fun memories to those we already made.  This summer is not going to be the same as last year’s “Summer of Adventure,” but I have a feeling that although it’s not summer yet, new adventures are already beginning.

Mystery Bird

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Yesterday afternoon, we were treated to the sight of a large bird soaring over the river.  At first, the girls thought it was a bald eagle, but upon further examination, it did not have a white head and black body.  As it circled around, presumably looking for fish, we wondered if it might be an osprey.  Some of the kids thought it might be a hawk, but I’ve never seen one fishing before.  Maybe they do, but the ones I’ve seen have always been searching for mice and other things from fields.  Before we could decide, it swooped by one more time and flew across the river, to perch in the top of a tall tree.  We could never see it closely enough to identify it, but no matter what variety it was, we enjoyed the noble, majestic sight of it very much.

We had another snow day Monday. It’s unheard of here in our part of Oregon to get 4 inches of snow on March 6, but we did in our back yard.  It melted quickly and we were off to do errands in the afternoon, since Rob got a day off work because the schools were closed.

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For the most part, we have had extremely rainy weather lately.  There is standing water all over.  This picture really doesn’t give justice to the gorgeous rainbow we saw, though.  No matter how much rain—there’s always a rainbow, if you just look hard enough.

Outdoor Games

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Spring is getting closer!  We had a beautiful, sunny day today and it got me to thinking about outdoor activities the kids could do.  My nephew, Jake, figured out the first one on his own.  When we were getting our taxes, he found these perfect stepping stones and had a ball jumping from stone to stone across the area.  Those are the best kids of outdoor games, in my opinion, because they use imagination.

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Triumphant!  King of the Rock!!

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Patsy decided to set up the croquet in the soggy, soggy yard–boots are a necessity here in rainy, rainy Oregon!  It was good to get out some of the outdoor toys and games that have been stored away all winter.

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Jake loved it!  He also took the 1 badminton racket we got at a yard sale last weekend, and the birdies we purchased today, and hit the birdie around for a while.  I was throwing it to him, like one would a baseball, and he was trying to whack it back, as one would do to a baseball…..hmmmm….we are going to try to find another racket, for sure.

The kids also ate popsicles and blew bubbles.  After all, there were a few rays of sunshine!   I was very pleased to see them playing outside this afternoon.  It has been a record year for rainfall, and so they have been cooped up, playing Wii, reading, playing games, etc. more than I’d like.

When Jake’s mama shows up in a little while, I’m hoping he will be pleasantly tired, and ready for a quiet evening at home.  His big sister, Michaela, participated in a Special Olympics basketball tournament today, so he stayed the night, and hung around with us today.  We had a lot of fun!

 

Winter Beach Day

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Yesterday, we drove down to the beach.  Our intention was to take the girls to the outlet mall to spend Christmas money they had received and to enjoy a family day.  After an uneventful drive down, which only took a little over an hour from our new place, we ate lunch at a favorite restaurant.

While we were eating, rain showers blew in, pounding the windows of the restaurant with driving rain, driven with wind.  No matter how many times I see that happen, I’m always amazed at the ferocity and strength of the rain.  I enjoy watching it, especially from the comfort of a nice, warm room.  Thankfully, as quickly as it blew in, that shower disappeared, leaving us to freely walk to our car without getting drenched.  We did see several hardy souls heading down to the beach, though.  Thankfully, they were well-bundled up, as the stormy clouds promised another shower in the near future.

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After eating and shopping, we couldn’t resist parking for a while to watch the ocean.  No matter how rainy and wet it is, the ocean is one of our favorite places and we never grow tired of watching the ever-changing waves.

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Although we did not choose to join the brave souls who walked on the beach on this blustery day, our fun was not diminished at all by the weather.  It’s just a part of life on the Oregon Coast, and we embrace it.  It’s one of our favorite places to be, rain or shine.

Another Snow Storm

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Snow is rare here.  Last week, we had a snow even that lasted 1 day.  Starting Wednesday, we had another snow event.  This one was bigger.  We still have over 4 inches on the ground, 4 days later.

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On Thursday morning, Patsy and I took a long walk.  The streets were covered, and it was so quiet and muffled.  These fallen leaves reminded me that it is not technically winter yet–just the end of fall.

School was cancelled for the last 2 days before winter break after thousands of school children were stuck in school on Wednesday when it started.  Our schools here dismissed 2 hours early, and kids did make it home in good time, although it took a long while for the busses to drive slowly and safely through the ever-increasing snow.  In Portland, Oregon, they had a much harder time, as many schools did not let out early.  Some of those kids did not get home until 11 that night!  Glad we don’t live there!  Patsy goes to school close to our house, and I had instructed her to just walk home if they let her out early, not to wait for one of us to come pick her up.  It’s a good thing, since it took me more than double the usual time to get back to my house.  She just marched on home, like a trooper, and then we all just had to wait for Rob to get home safely.  Thursday was one of the most restful, relaxed days I’ve had for a long, long time.  We were all snow-bound at home, had plenty to eat, a warm fire to sit by, and got to enjoy each other’s company!

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Patsy even made a snow angel on the deck.