Feeding Ducks

 

IMG_5759It was a lovely fall day….part of the time.  The rest of the time, it was showering violently. We took our daughter Patsy, and nephew, Jake, out apple picking.  That’s not where we ended up.  The first time we tried to go, the heavens opened up and a torrential rainfall fell on us.  So, we went on an errand instead, and we hoped it would quit.

We had very little time before we had to pick up one of our older daughters, but wanted the kids to have some fun. We stopped at a pond to look at ducks and let Jake run around a bit.

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The kids were joyful to see that some kind soul had put peanuts along the railings and on the ground.  They had the best time cracking them open and throwing them to the ducks.  Last time, we took some old bread, but didn’t have any today, so they were delighted that there was something to feed them.  They decided to leave some for the squirrels and ducks to eat on their own.

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After getting back in the car, we drove back towards home, hoping to pick apples and needing to pick up another daughter.  The closer we got to the apple orchard, the darker the clouds got, and again, the rain came down heavily.  We took the hint, and didn’t go to the apple orchard.   I was so glad the weather had cooperated long enough for the kids to get out for a little while, run around, and enjoy feeding the ducks!  We will have to try apple picking another day.

 

Silver Falls State Park

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This past week, we camped at Silver Falls State Park, near Silverton, Oregon.  It is a very large park, filled with miles and miles of hiking trails.  During the Great Depression, it was used as a site for out-of-work young men to do a huge work project.  So, there are many stone steps, some bridges, a lodge, and more.  Many of the buildings and trail improvements are from that time period and some have been added since.

One of the most interesting trails is the “Trail of 10 Falls.”  We hiked part of that trail one day, and another portion a different day.  A third time, we did another small portion.  We  ended up seeing 9 of the 10 waterfalls.  They were beautiful, as was the surrounding forest.

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On one of the days, my sister, friend and little Danait came up to enjoy the fun for a day.

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There was a nice swimming area we visited after our little hike.

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The second half of the week, Jake joined us.

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He was far more interested in lighting the marshmallows on fire, then waving them around to put out the fire he had created, then he was in eating them.  Fine with me.  It was well worth the dollar to see him having so much fun.  But, any boy who has so much energy should go on a hike, right?  So, Lovana, Patsy and I took him on one.  It was a little longer than I though it was.  After all, Rob dropped us at the lodge and was going to pick us up a the bottom of the trail, skipping much of the trail.  5 miles later……….

 

Everyone was still having fun!  I never would have taken him on such a long hike if I had been thinking clearly.  Lovana ended up carrying him a couple of times, but we all made it. It took us almost 3 hours.  We saw many waterfalls, and handed out Oreo cookies at the top of every big hill, of which there were many.  We ran out of Oreos, but continued on, eating peanuts by the handful.   Jake had a ball whacking the bushes with his stick, throwing rocks into the water, collecting sticks and pine cones, and all those things little boys like to do.  Lovana, Patsy and I loved the hike as well.  There were some places where long flights of stairs had been built from stone, which made the steep parts easier to navigate.  There were charming little bridges here and there, and of course, waterfalls galore.

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The trail even wound around behind a few of the falls.  We had a good time hiking.  That is the main activity at Silver Falls State Park.  Some of the trails were quite easy and short, such as the one to Upper North Falls.  Others were much longer and steeper.  There were several times when the switchbacks were quite strenuous for me, but were definitely manageable.  Lovana, powerhouse that she is, marched right up them, even jogging up the stairs at times.  For our long hike, having Rob drop us at the lodge, and traveling down the canyon was a little easier than doing it the other way around, I think.  There was still quite a bit of climbing, as the trail led down into the canyon, and back out again, and went up hills and down hills several times.  I’m hoping we can go there again. I hadn’t hiked there for many years, and I had good memories of the beauty found in the area.  I was not disappointed!

Outdoor Fun–Week of June 10, 2017

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We’ve spent quite a bit of time observing nature this week.  The older girls I homeschool are in the middle of a project for Biology.  They are observing plants, birds, trees, animals—whatever they can find and making a notebook for their end-of-the year project.

The younger crew found this dead dragonfly on the deck and enjoyed it for quite a while.

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Many birds have been seen.  The crazy woodpecker gave entertainment, along with ducks, geese, blue jays, robins, Rufus-sided Towhees, crows, and many more.

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The flowers are blooming like crazy and the garden is growing like mad!

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It’s a great time to be outdoors!  I go out as often as I can, even if I have to dodge raindrops!  Trust me, there’s plenty to do!!  That weed is purslane, and I continue hoeing it out–the purslane in the picture is gone now, thank goodness–I have been hoeing.  The garden is sure loaded with it.  I no sooner get it out then a new batch comes up.

Detroit Lake State Park-Memorial Day 2017

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We went camping at Detroit Lake for Memorial Day weekend.  We stayed 3 nights, and were blessed with exceptionally nice weather.  It was especially welcome since we have had such a rainy, wet spring.

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The wild rhododendrons were in bloom.

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There were a couple of unusual strains of Scotch Broom–usually it’s just yellow.

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There were many ducks and geese, but not as many as we have seen in years past.

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Even this chipmunk was cooperative when I wanted to take a picture!

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Some geese had babies.

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Patsy and I had a great hike one day, circling the campground.  One side runs along the road, but they’ve done a great job of making you feel like you are more secluded than you are.  The other side runs along the lake, and that is always a treat.  We talked to people who were fishing, and some caught fish, but we did not this time.

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We did enjoy some quiet time next to the lake, though, in the early morning on Saturday.  It’s rare for Rob and I to get any time alone, so that was one of my favorite times of the entire trip.  I also enjoyed time spent with family members who came up to visit us later that morning, and enjoy the lake as well for the day.  Rob cooked chicken over the fire, which is a favorite of everyone.  People pitched in and brought some things, so we sat and happily munched on chips, veggies, and melon.  One evening, we roasted hot dogs and marshmallows over the fire.  On Sunday afternoon, I got a big nap.  All in all, the trip was just what we needed–some time to get away from the hustle and bustle that our life is, and just enjoy some time out in God’s beautiful creation.

 

 

Icy Again–Really?

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This winter just keeps on coming!  Here, in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, we don’t see very much icy wintry weather very often.  This year is an exception!  Last night, we were treated with another round of freezing rain.  I guess Rob won’t be barbecuing today!

This batch of precipitation is supposed to quickly turn to regular rain and should be melted off by tonight.  School was not cancelled where we live, although a 2-hour delay would have been nice.  Rob had to drive in it to where he catches the school bus with a little boy who needs guidance on the bus.  He made it fine, but left super early to ensure that he could drive slowly.  Our deck was treacherous, to put it mildly, and the cars were covered with ice.  He drove a longer way that avoided hills, to avoid slippery slopes.

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The grass was crunchy when I walked out to take pictures.

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It’s beautiful, but dangerous!  I’m ready for spring, but there’s a lot of winter left…..So, I’ll enjoy it while it’s here.

Rolling Logs and Crashing Waves

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We spent Saturday night down at the beach.  The waves were majestic and extremely powerful. There were huge waves and they were picking up a lot of debris from the beach.  I enjoyed watching this log being tossed and thrown around by the waves like a toothpick.  It did remind me of why there are so many signs warning of danger from logs in the waves though, as I watched the waves effortlessly move it back and forth, and when I saw how many logs and other items were in the surf.

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This time, we stayed in a beach house in Lincoln City, Oregon.  We were with my sister and her family, and had a great time.  Since our time was so short, we spent most of our time there watching waves from the large, glass windows instead of taking trips to sight-see.  The view was amazing!

We stopped on the way there for a picnic.  That’s where I enjoyed watching the logs get tossed around from the safety and comfort of my van.  I couldn’t resist getting out for a closer look, and some photo opportunities.  Of course, the sea gulls were out in full force, and wanted our picnic badly.

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At one point, while we were in the van, one gull kept trying to come through the window for tasty tidbits he was interested in.  We had my niece, nephew and 2 daughters with us.  They all got a laugh as Rob turned on the windshield wipers to scare the bird away before it could leave any presents on the window of the van.  Other people were feeding them, so they quickly moved on to greener pastures, leaving our kids to eat in peace!

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Raccoon Tracks

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Our recent snow storm seems to have brought out some furry friends roaming through the neighborhood!  Yesterday morning, Rob pointed out some rabbit tracks in the fresh snow, and these raccoon tracks.  They were still there this morning, although fading a bit.  This guy came up the driveway and cut across our grass.  Then, he meandered down the street, off to nameless pursuits.  Although we did not see the rabbit or the raccoon, it’s nice to see that there are some animals roaming our new neighborhood.  I will continue to think it’s a good thing until the day one of them starts nibbling on my garden…….Until then, I loved seeing the tracks from our new furry neighbors.