Sunday, October 19, 2014

UPDATE: CUTE LITTLE TUDOR



Daughter Hallie called yesterday. She and Nick have been so busy with their jobs and the work on their cute (but sadly out of shape) little Tudor that I haven’t heard much from her. It was good to hear her cheerful voice. We talked for half an hour or so – ironic since they’re coming next weekend for Elderberry Fest. (Such is the way of mothers and daughters.)

They’re enjoying the work on their house, she said. They had just had a consultation with a landscaper who will help them establish a rain garden. The City of Seattle encourages that with grants, I think she’s told me. I don’t know the status of that program. At any rate, the landscaper showed them how to pull the downspouts out away from the house. Hallie says they don’t plan a cistern. I suggested a rain barrel.

I'm reminded of washing dishes at the Gilbert farmhouse in my youth. We had no plumbing, remember, which means that we also had no drains. We carried the dishwater – soapy as well as rinse water – a few steps out the kitchen door to Grandma Ina’s rosebushes. (Deer love roses, but in those days we didn't see so many.) Even today, with better access to water in that place, it’s so dry that gardening is difficult. Still, I could do more with drought-tolerant plants if I would but try.

But -- I digress. Hallie took the photos here of a recent project to remove the deck from the back of their house. They’ve been saving brick – and searching for more – to reconstruct the back wall when the slider is removed. A contractor will do that work.

I guess a poorly constructed deck outside their bedroom was not what Hallie and Nick envisioned. Hallie prefers a private bedroom. The steps at the back door paralleling the deck are also roughly constructed and actually separate from the deck. 

Meanwhile, don’t open the slider and step out. KW

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

WATCHING A DOE


Looking westerly from June's field. Central Ridge in the distance.

I don’t talk much about hunting-related topics here. I know that some people don’t hold with it, but I grew up in an area where hunting wild game was (and still is) commonplace. When I was in school, much of the male student population was absent for a week when hunting season opened. The complaints of teachers and administrators were useless.

Although hunting is not my thing, I do live with someone who hunts and have come to see the other side of the issue. A wise hunter, I have learned, cares about conservation.

Deer season opened last Friday (Oct. 10), and Mike has yet to bag one despite the fact that the deer cavort freely in the open fields, gleefully waving their white tails at him. Beautiful as they may be, the deer are not my friends. I have struggled to establish a few trees and bushes which are constantly nibbled to death unless firmly protected in wire cages. The bucks will also rub the bark off even a small tree. And that’s not saying anything about the economic impact caused by their devouring the crops. Their numbers seem to be ever-increasing, and they are a nuisance. Furthermore, they are not afraid of us and seem to be gaining the upper hand.

But yes, they have their appeal. Yesterday afternoon Mike went out with his rifle to hide in some bushes and watch for a likely target. Meanwhile, the house seemed chilly, and I decided some baking would be just the thing to create a little warmth. As I worked in the kitchen, I noticed a young doe cross the lane from June’s to the north field.

When next I spied the doe, she was in the middle of the open field, having such a good time all by herself. She sat right down in the stubble and kept shaking her head, twitching her ears, and lazily cleaning her back. Then she stretched out for a nap, apparently oblivious to the fact that it’s hunting season. Maybe she sensed that the weather would soon change. Whatever, she appeared to think it an idyllic afternoon, and I hoped Mike hadn’t seen her.

Mike was out north someplace, but when he ambled up, he said he was unaware of the doe in the north field. I had to point her out as she was well-camouflaged in the dirt. Mike watched her for a while but eventually determined she was not only pretty far out but fairly small.

The pictures here I took of a small doe we encountered on our walk the other day. She was curious -- they are you know – and not the least intimidated. She paused a long time, allowing me to come closer and photograph her. She might be the same doe with whom I had a close encounter last month. She might be the same doe that lounged in the field. KW




Sunday, October 12, 2014

ABOVE THE OLD HOMEPLACE

Ken and Ginny gifted us with a set of pictures of the farm taken from the helicopter on Thursday, October 9. Here are those landmarks I photograph constantly from a different perspective. Here you see June's field with Little Canyon and Central Ridge in the distance. This is where we take our daily walks.

This is the only photo I cropped. See the little spot in the lower left corner? That's Mike and me.
 From over the north field
 And this is from the southwest -- behind the house and grove. You can barely make out the tiny spot -- Mike and me -- below the scab patch in June's field.
I like this picture. See the lane coming between the north field (left) and June's field (right). The house is situated so that the front porch looks towards June's field. The kitchen window faces the north field. This picture shows clearly that Jack and Ina, my grandparents, built their farmyard at the very edge of their property.

The fields are stubble at this time of year. I call it colorless. 
And now -- picture us waving frantically as the 'copter moved off toward Little Canyon.

Good-bye! 
Thanks for coming!

Friday, October 10, 2014

JUST A QUICK FLY-BY

Ken called about 8:30 yesterday morning (Thursday, Oct. 9) to say that he and Ginny were celebrating her birthday with a helicopter ride. The plan was that they would fly up the Clearwater River from Lewiston to Dworshak Dam and the reservoir. Then, they would swing over the farm -- if they could find it, he said. He had found a map online, and I knew that would help more than anything I could say. Watch for the helicopter at about 10:30, he said -- give or take.


Allowing plenty of time, I went out to wait on the porch. When Mike came along, he thought it would be better if we were on the brow of the hill east of the yard (June's field) where they could see us. That's what we did -- sitting on the stubble to wait. Somehow Bess and Nellie knew we were waiting for something -- just not what. Bess pleaded with Mike for something more exciting while Nellie wandered around, keeping us in sight.

It was almost 11:00 when we finally heard the whir of a helicopter. And there it was -- circling overhead. I was ready with the camera, but it was difficult to get good shots of a moving target.


The helicopter circled twice -- and then it was gone just as suddenly as it appeared. 




Thanks for coming by!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

COLORADO CACHING - PART 4



I didn’t get on the road this Monday morning until about 7:00 am so I was dreading the rush hour traffic.  Following Kelly’s (Yancey’s wife) recommendation I headed south on Washington which parallels the Interstate.  I had to contend with quite a few traffic lights but at least I wasn’t stuck in slow traffic.  I moved over to the Interstate a bit sooner than she had recommended (I was really getting tired of the lights) but it turned out fine.  It was cool this morning and getting cooler as I was approaching the Continental Divide.  I believe it got down to 36 degrees but at least it was sunny.  I stopped in Summit County and picked up a couple of caches just a few hundred feet apart and this allowed me to walk around and get warmed up a bit.

Bubbles
More bubbles
I traveled quite a distance before leaving the Interstate at Rifle.  I had lunch (my usual sardines) at a big Rest Stop there on the river that I had visited on a previous trip.  After lunch I crossed the Colorado River and picked up a cache at a boat launch.  Before leaving Colorado I found a really neat cache called “Bubbles”.  You can see from the pictures how it got its name. I stopped at the state line and hiked down a little hill to get “Welcome to Utah”.

I cut across the northeast corner of Utah on Hwy 40 and then north on Hwy 191 along the east side of the Flaming Gorge before entering Wyoming.  I love riding through the Flaming Gorge although the west side is longer.  I believe this was the first time I’d done the east side.  I rode Hwy 191 to I-80 between Rock Springs and Green River.  I decided to stay in Green River since it was closer and in the direction toward home.  As it was I traveled 467 miles this day.  

Flaming Gorge Motel
My smokey room
Some places are white collar communities and some blue collar.  Green River is black collar.  It’s much smaller than Rock Springs and I believe most of the residents work in the oil fields (hence black collar).  I got a room at the very cheap Flaming Gorge Motel.

 
I really didn’t mind except it was obviously a smoking room which I didn’t realize until too late.  It was an efficient arrangement with the refrigerator actually outside the building and the door flush with the inside wall.  A tall person may have had a problem with the toilet because their knees would have hit the wall.  I ate my dinner and breakfast the next morning at a Subway there.

I was at the Subway when they opened at 7:00 am and shortly thereafter I headed west on I-70 for about 25 miles before exiting northwest on Hwy 30 toward Kemmerer.  This is desert country and I stopped along the way for a cache called “hidden cove”.  It was about 50 yards off the highway near a horseshoe shaped hole about 50’ across.  At the closed end of the horseshoe was a cliff about 20’ high.  This cache literally added insult to injury.  Not only did I not find the cache but while climbing the cliff a soccer sized rock I was using as a handgrip broke loose and fell on my other hand below.  I sustained one bruised and one cut finger.  To add to my disgruntlement I had another DNF just west of Kemmerer.

Rendezvous State Park 
I finally found one just a short distance from the DNF.  My next stop was at Rendezvous State Park on the shore of Bear Lake.  The cache was  just in front of the park entrance kiosk which was closed this morning located in a decorative rock display.  It was an ammo box and so well done that I left a Travel Bug there. 

About 10 miles past the park I turned southwest toward Logan, UT.  This was another great ride through Logan Canyon.  I very quickly ascended a twisty road to the top of a mountain and then a very long descent through the beautiful canyon.  I reached Logan (home to Utah State University) about midday and it was getting really warm.  I stopped to get gas and strip off some clothes.  I also picked up a cache in Logan.  From Logan I continued west to where Hwy 30 intersected I-15.  I had to go back south on I-15 a short way before turning north on I-84 to retrace my route back to Clint’s.

I stopped for a cache at an exit that required about a ¼ mile hike and found a bunny resting in the sage bush next to the cache.  I stopped again for one called “Restful” located at a Rest Area.  I appreciated the stop because it was really hot.

I arrived at Clint’s around 4:30 pm having traveled 369 miles.  This time Clint was expecting me.  He loaned me his mountain bike and I got in a much needed 45 minute bike ride in and around the Gooding area.  After supper we took a walk around the neighborhood and he showed me some turkey vultures that regularly roost in some tall cedar trees right in someone’s front yard.  I couldn’t believe it.  In fact, I didn’t even know there were turkey vultures in Idaho.  I hadn’t seen any since I left the south.

I left Clint’s early the next morning and took the Interstate to Boise which wasn’t too bad.  I made a stop at the motorcycle shop where I purchased my bike to discuss a problem I thought I had but didn’t (another story).  I traveled home the same route I had taken down and stopped for several caches along the way.  I arrived home a little after 3:00 pm having traveled about 380 miles that day.  My total motorcycle mileage was 3,143 which came to an average of 349 miles per day. My new bike's mileage averaged just shy on 61 mpg which I thought was great considering a lot of my trip was on the Interstate traveling 80 mph.  I look back on this trip with many pleasant memories but in reality there were some pretty uncomfortable moments as well.  I don’t plan to go this late in the year next time to hopefully avoid some of the low temperatures.  M/W





Wednesday, October 8, 2014

A WARM AUTUMN


An interesting sky before sunset

We take a break from our Colorado adventure for a “home” update.

Mike and Little Bess hike to the target
We’ve said it before – it’s been such a lovely autumn. We often have a nice autumn in the Inland Empire of the Pacific Northwest. Some people think it’s one of our best seasons. But this year it’s dry – really dry. And it’s warm -- downright hot in the afternoon. Mike and I have yet to run the furnace or light the fireplace. Some regions report frost, but that hasn’t happened in our town or at Gilbert.

The shadow grow long as evening approaches
This morning I hung three loads of laundry on the line, and the clothes were mostly dry by mid-afternoon.

Mike took out our tomato bushes the other day because I just didn’t think those green tomatoes would ever ripen on the vine. (They’re now on the counter in the kitchen.) But here at the farm I picked two nice zucchini from a plant that appears worn out – tired of the fight to stay alive in the hot sun.

The moon was beautiful last night, shining brightly on the landscape. I was tempted to go for a moonlight walk, but my better judgment won out. You don’t know who or what you might meet in the night – or who might take umbrage. In fact, the coyote tribe held a yodel fest which went on intermittently all night.
 
The downside, I would say, is the bugs. Wasps have invaded the house, and while they aren’t really aggressive, I don’t care to have them around, hovering here and there. We also see many flies, “stink bugs,” and the occasional yellow jacket. Now and then a spider skitters away to hide, and they say that’s a sign that winter’s on the way. KW


Monday, October 6, 2014

COLORADO CACHING - PART 3



This day was predicted to be nice and it was.  I had a short but scenic and twisty ride planned but I wasn’t sure about the route because much of the road looked pretty obscure, like maybe it wasn’t even paved.  However, Yancey Google mapped it and what you could see through the trees looked fine.

It was Sunday morning and the traffic was light.  The first part of our journey was urban in Adams and Broomfield Counties.  Although the weather and motorcycling was perfect, the Geocaching wasn’t.  Yancey was leading and navigating with his phone.  I believe he was having a problem seeing the map because of the sun position and went past the first cache in Adams County and then we couldn’t find the second one.  Fortunately this is a county I had done on a previous visit so we proceeded on to Broomfield County where we soon found one.


Broomfield County is very small consisting mainly of the community of Broomfield so we were very soon in Boulder County.  Our first stop was along side the highway where the cache was hidden near a sign.  Just as we were about to leave a police car pulled in behind us on the road shoulder.  I thought, “Uh oh, what now?”  It turned out that he was just checking to see what we were doing.  When we told him, he was very friendly and even went to the trouble to make a phone call to check on the highway we were concerned about.  He assured us it was paved and in good shape and wished us luck.

Heading up the road for lunch
Yance bags one along Hwy 103
We soon entered Boulder Canyon on Hwy 119 which was a beautiful ride – a twisty road along side a stream with steep canyon walls on each side.  The traffic was heavy in this area, however.  When we got to Nederland which is a small resort community next to Barber Meadow Reservoir we stopped at a cafĂ© for a break.  We continued on this beautiful ride down to I-70 where we took a short jaunt west to Idaho Springs.  I believe we stopped there for gas.

Lunch at cemetery
Beautiful marker for 4 yr old child
Now we exited to the south on Hwy 103 which was the one I had been concerned about earlier.  Just out of Idaho Springs we stopped for another Colorado Spirit Quest cache at a beautiful cemetery.  The cemetery was on a mountain side with graves extending for a long ways up the mountain side.  It was such a beautiful spot that we had our lunch there.

The Gunslinger Cache
After lunch we proceeded down Hwy 103.  I don’t believe I have ever ridden a more enjoyable motorcycle route.  There were many 15 mph curves, perfectly smooth pavement with no potholes, just a moderate amount of traffic and beautiful Colorado mountain scenery.  We stopped for a half dozen or so caches along this route with only one DNF.  And we met the world’s oldest skateboarder.  I regret that I didn’t get a picture.  He was a really nice guy and told us a funny story about his confronting punks who were stealing a Geocache.  He may have been younger than he looked but I would judge his age to be well up in his 50’s.  He had long scraggly hair and wrinkled skin like one who was born with a cigarette in his mouth.

We arrived back at Yancey’s mid afternoon having covered just 153 miles getting Gilpin, Clear Creek and Jefferson Counties.  However, it was a fantastic day of motocaching. [To be continued] M/W