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.


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.


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


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.



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


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


The second half of the week, Jake joined us.



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.



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


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.


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


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




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


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.


The wild rhododendrons were in bloom.


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


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


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


Some geese had babies.



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.


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?


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.


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


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


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.



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.


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!


Raccoon Tracks


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.

Ice and Snow Storm


We are in the middle of yet another snow and ice event here in our part of Oregon!  It is so unusual for us to have this much cold weather, but this winter, it just keeps coming.  Today, we are trying to thaw out from our latest blast of winter chill.


This latest event started with 4 inches of snow pouring down on us during the day on Saturday.  During the night sometime, the precipitation changed to freezing rain–liquid moisture that freezes on impact and builds up on everything.


It is beautiful, but very dangerous to shrubs, trees, people who try to drive in it, etc.  People tried to stay home if they could.  Even church was cancelled.


It was a perfect day to stay at home, cozy beside the fire!

During these storms, it is common to lose power.  We were prepared.  We have lots of firewood, and heat with a wood stove.  We have a back-up generator that the house is wired for, that won’t run everything, but would keep a few lights on and the freezers running if needed.  (I think the freezers would stay frozen for quite a while in this weather, though, since they are in the shop)  We have plenty of food on hand, and could keep some outside if needed.  Should all else fail, the camper sits right next to our house and is heated with propane.  The propane tanks are full.  Rob made sure that the camper was prepared for the ice blast by keeping it heated, the water slightly running, hot water tank warm, etc.    It’s easier to enjoy these storms when you are prepared–it takes all the anxiety out of the situation as long as no one has to drive.  No one did.  It was a very relaxing weekend!


Winter Beach Day


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.


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.


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


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.


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!


Patsy even made a snow angel on the deck.