Saturday, July 14, 2018

Ending a trip and getting ready for the next one


We decided to drive home on Hwy 84 through the Columbia River gorge so we could stop at the Bonneville fish hatchery which is just below the Bonneville Dam.  It’s a huge facility and the most of ponds were filled with 4” baby fish.  Big fish happen in the fall.  We were surprised when a blue heron took flight from one of the cages near us and landed on another cage before taking flight.  I had no idea they were so huge!.  Alexia was entertained by feeding the trout, then told us that her hands smelled like fish!

The grounds are well manicured, absolutely beautiful and very unhatchery like.  This little house holds the viewing window so you can watch the sturgeon swim in their pond.

Reflections on the Sturgeon Pond.

We stopped at the Peter Skene Ogden rest stop so see if anyone was bungee jumping.  It’s a very steep and deep canyon.

There were jumpers and there’s someone at the bottom of the bungee in fact. This gorge was cut by the Crooked River.

Alexia plays Pokémon and wanted to go down to the Old Mill District Sunday afternoon for the Community Pokémon day and also their celebration of two years as a game.

There a lot of people walking around, staring at their phones, and also a lot of people sharing information and giving advice.  There were also a lot of people floating the river.  It was over at 2:00 and I was ready well before that to leave.  My dogs were barking!

She asked me if I would mind giving her a knitting lesson again to see if maybe she could get it this time.  I started trying to teach her four or five years ago and still had her yarn and needles.  I think it’s all the hours of flute practice, but she got it.  Her first try had a number of mistakes so she asked me to show her how to cast off and then we started again.  She has about 8” knitting since yesterday and last night when Ian said goodnight, she told him that she was going to bed to but first she needed to finish her row.  Spoken like a true knitter!!

Yesterday was my volunteer day at the High Desert Museum and she’s so skinny that the costume she wore last year still fit her.  We were on a lunch break with with non-period appropriate brown bags - oops.  It was 97 degrees, the hottest day of the year so far, and we ended up leaving an hour early.  After all, we’re volunteers!

She pointed our this sign to me.  It’s new and tickled my funny bone.

She asked if we could go back to the museum today since it’s been years since she’s gotten to see the exhibits.  Miss Emily was going to light the wood stove at the Miller Ranch House and bake cookies today which Lexi was anxious to see.  Emily is getting better with her wood stove cooking, and in spite of them being rich and very buttery, Lexi ate four of her them.  We both love that museum but after being on our feet for almost four hours, we decided to skip Summerfest, a craft festival in downtown Bend.  We had planned on that this morning but when she pulled the plug on that plan, I wasn’t sorry in the least.  It’s 93 degrees. My dogs are barking again!
She and I worked in the community garden of our church this morning and she wants to go to church with me tomorrow morning.  We’re going to Redmond after lunch so she can see Uncle Matt and Aunt Julia’s new house and pack our bags sometime in between since we need to leave Monday morning at 7:00 for Tacoma.  We didn’t get a housesitter until Tuesday so that’s a relief.  It’s been a busy week.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Portland Trip, Day 2


The Japanese Tea Gardens far exceeded my expectations.  Even with the many visitors I had a feeling of privacy, rest and peace.

I was inspired by the deliberate placement of color and shapes, something I hope to be able to apply here in our high desert yard.

We walked over the koi ponds on wooden walkways.  The fish were huge!

Reflections on a koi pond!

Alexia really wanted to have tea in their tea house which was absurdly expensive but the experience was absolutely worth it. I’ll forget what we paid for it but I’ll never forget that we did it.

When we left, the line for admission snaked around the ticket building and down the street.  Boy was our timing good.  We walked the 1.3 miles back downhill to the Goose Point Max stop - ouch my feet! - and stopped for a late lunch in downtown Portland at the Rock Bottom Brewery.  The Max ticket is for all day so you can get off and on at will.  Our ticket doesn’t say “Senior” it says “Honored Citizen” - so special.  We saw this guy from our table, doing his part “Keep Portland Weird.”

We got to MacKenzie Stadium a little before 6:00 for the 7:00 DCI show.  The first band was from the National Guard for the national anthem, and The Battalion from Salt Lake City were cued up to be the first performance band of the evening.  Parking is always the problem so people continued to pour in through the first couple of the nine competing bands.  Grandson Logan’s performance was our reason for the trip.  All the rest of frosting.

The percussion section includes xylophones and marimbas in addition to the drums on the field.  Only half of the performance is music; the other half is dancers, flag corps and “baton” twirlers who also use wooden rifles. It’s wonderful and exhausting to watch.  When the brass instuments turnEdit to the stands and unload their music full volume, my hair stands on end.  We watched the last band from the top of the stands and then bolted for the car, us and a whole lot of other people.  Last year it took us over an hour to get out of the parking lot.  As it was we got back to the hotel about 11:00.

We stayed at a Best Western by the airport and our suite had a separate room for Lexi, all paid for with credit card points.  It was an easy off and on the freeway, so with the total breakfast they served downstairs we were on the road home by 9:00.  And I can see that I’ll need to finish up with a third post.  This one is long enough.


Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Quick trip to Portland


We picked up our 13-year-old granddaughter at the California/Oregon state line, halfway between Reno where she lives and Bend where we live, and she’ll be with us for the entire month.  It was July 4th and we quickly realized that few restaurants were opened.  We ended up eating lunch at the Indian casino on the Chiloquin reservation, a surprisingly good lunch.  Ian bought a pack of fireworks at Costco and we started setting them up after dinner.  This is called Poopy Puppy because when lit it produces, well, use your imagination.

Alexia and I walked down to the end of our driveway with camp chairs to watch the city’s firework show launched from Pilot Butte.  A couple of neighbors joined us and Ian stayed in the house with Sammie who was beyond frantic.  There were plenty of illegal fireworks set off in the neighborhood which made for a very entertaining evening but rough on pets.

Thursday morning we were on the road by 9:00 with plans to stop at Timberline Lodge for lunch.  This is the hotel used in The Shining and friends jokingly warned to watch out for the twins!

It is truly on top of the world.  Ian pulled into this space and I made him move the car to an interior space.  The drop-off here is at least a hundred feet with no guardrail.  This is the timberline, no trees grow above it, and many skiers were still enjoying the snow.

Timberline is a WPA lodge finished in 1937 after the six-mile road from the highway was completed.  It was built during the Depression by local craftsmen, many of them over 50.  The furnishings were created by local woodworkers, weavers and blacksmiths.  Many of the original work has worn out and the replacements are still made by local craftsmen.  The Portland Handweavers Guild continues to provide yardage for the curtains and bedspreads.

We got to our hotel by early afternoon and Ian wanted to chill in our room and take it easy.  The reason for the trip was grandson Logan’s DCI (Drum Corps International) performance the next evening.  And that’s when I realized I had forgotten my book, Kindle and iPad.  This was our first trip to Portland and the place I wanted to go was Powell’s book store.  Ian surprised me when he decided that we should go there right then, so we drove two miles down to the shopping center by the airport and IKEA where we parked for free and caught the Max, the light rail commuter train.  Looking at the freeway traffic from the window, I was so glad we didn’t drive in!

Powell’s City of Books is absolutely a destination.  Ian didn’t find any of the books he wanted, but Alexia found two and I found a used copy All Over but the Shoutin’ by Rick Bragg which I’ve been wanting to read for a very long time.  The previous owner left a note in the front that I have left there:  “I thoroughly enjoyed Rick Bragg’s descriptive writing and his honesty in storytelling.  Hope you enjoy it too.”

Ian’s place to visit was Chinatown for some authentic Chinese food.  For the past 15 years he has talked longingly about a place we ate at in New York, where the meats hung in the window and were sliced fresh for meals.  I didn’t like it then and I didn’t like it this time, but I couldn’t complain since I just left Powell’s.

The next morning we ate breakfast at the hotel and caught the Max for a quick trip back to Portland.  Alexia’s choice of a Portland destination was the Japanese Tea Gardens so Ian asked if we thought we were up for a 1.3 mile walk from the rail to it.  She was in track and field this spring and thought it would be a breeze.  We didn’t know it up straight uphill!  And it was a warm humid day, holy cow!  We did it but boy were we dehydrated by the time we got to the top.  First we had to walk through the Rose Test Gardens which are flat, thank goodness.

Fortunately is was still morning so wasn’t too crowded yet.  What a magnificent display!

This was one of Alexia’s favorites.  She quipped that it was a whole sunset in a single flower!


To be continued.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Miller Homestead


Matt and wife Julia came by this morning to pick up my credit card, remeasure and go to Lowe’s to buy the PVC plumbing.  Once again the water is off so I thought I’d take a moment on this last day of the month to blog about my volunteer opportunity at the High Desert Museum.  The name of the homestead living history area is the Miller Ranch and Sawmill and the time setting is 1904. This is an “upscale” homestead at 12 x 20’ with a porch instead of the traditional 12 x 16’ homes.  And these are homes.  This is a replica of a homestead that was home to a family of seven.

The porch area and the wood floor are atypical but possible because of the sawmill, though we always point out that the point of the sawmill, which is owned by four homesteading families, was to build the barns and sheds to protect their livestock.  Without their well-being there would be no homestead.  That’s the backbone of our story and we embellish on that.
The Homestead Act of 1862 permitted citizens (including freed Blacks) to pay the $10 filing fee and apply for the 160 acres.  The catch was that they had to live on it continually for five years and prove up at the end of that time.  If they were successful, the land was theirs, free and clear.  You would think that digging a well and establishing water would come first but this was the era that believed in dry land farming.  The ill-fated homesteading community of Fort Rock (southeast of here) optimistically build their homes because they had two years of good rain.  The wells never emerged and it never rained again.

Each of us living history interpreters has a story that we make up individually.  Candace is a retired nurse so plays the role of an apothecary and midwife.  She greets people with “and how are you “feeling” today?”  The porch is also a stage of sorts.  In the back right you can see a collection of small brooms.  Children love the sweep the porch.

I’m Mrs Wilson, a neighboring homesteader, and bring my spinning and knitting when I pay a social visit to Mrs Miller.

There’s a complete wood shop and a couple of volunteers spend their shifts here.  Yesterday we were joined by Robert, his first day as a living history interpreter.  He has worked Mondays as a greeter and wants to try his hand out with us.  He is just beginning to work out his story to find his role and I could tell he was nervous.  Ethan got him going with the cross-cut saw, and by the end of the day he had helped visitors make little slices from logs.  The kids were thrilled to have something to take home.

A new and larger wood shop is under construction and when it’s completed, the old one will become a blacksmith shop.  There are already volunteers in the wings to take that on.

The outhouse is always popular with the kids, so when I’m doing a tour inside the house and the kids learn that they would have climbed a ladder to sleep in the loft if they lived then, I show them the chamberpot.  They are floored and grossed out.  I remind them that the alternative is to hike down the ladder and walk to the outhouse, not inviting in the dark or snow.

Yesterday was Ethan’s birthday and Emily, a paid summer intern, wanted to bake him an apple pie.  She had made a rhubarb pie on Tuesday with one of the volunteers who is a wood-stove and castiron cook.  This is only the third pie she has made in her life.

She got the crust a little thick but otherwise she did a great job.  She is also a wilderness guide so easily managed the wood stove and kept the temperature even for the 90 minutes it took to bake.

Yes, the crust was too thick and the recipe she was given had too much butter.  That recipe called for 3 cups flour and three sticks of butter.  I sent her my standby Better Homes and Gardens recipe with two cups of flour and 2/3 cups of butter.  She’s pretty proud as she should be, and she wants to do it again.  She cut the first slice for Robert and butter literally drained from it as she plated it.  We laughed but it was delicious.

Sophia our littlest volunteer could hardly wait.  She excels at helping the children play the traditional games of that period.

I really don’t enjoy carding wool so have readjusted my basket with prepaired roving, at least I’ll see how it goes next visit.  When we were in Red Rock recently I asked our old neighbor Tom to make me a couple of dowsing rods.  He taught me how to dowse but I left my rods behind in the move.  Linda, our director, is interested to see if this works out.  I’m a little worried about the sharp rods and children, but I do want to try it out.

Oh, and here’s the pie crust recipe I sent to Emily.  It hasn’t failed me yet, and in fact, Matt and Julia just brought us raspberries and rhubarb from their yard.  Ian wants a pie.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Transitions again

My son Matt is redoing our master bath and installing a walk-in shower.  He came to the house, picked me up and we went shopping at Home Depot for fixtures and plumbing.


The bathroom is completely gutted and one of the changes is to elevate the bathroom counter from 30”, which means you’re bowing to the faucet, to 36”, the normal height.  The unfortunate part is that while he’s done some plumbing, he’s a tile setter by trade, and bit off more than he could chew.  We were without water in the house for most of last weekend which was in convenient but also sobering when you stop to think how much of the world lives without running water or even fresh water.  


We were watching our grand dog so on top of needing to bring in bottled water to flush the toilets and to drink, we had two dogs to provide fresh water for.  Rusty is quite content to stay with us so at least that wasn’t a problem.  Our neighbor Lee came over Sunday afternoon to give Matt a hand, and also son Josh had returned by then and was also helping out.  The short of it is that even though Matt throught he could tie into our old copper plumbing, it just didn’t work.  Matt is a project supervisor for a local home construction company and so talked to one of their plumbers who told him he needs to start over with PVC, which was also Lee’s advice.  Matt wants to do it so we’ll start over  this weekend and continue using the guest bathroom in the meantime.


We were very happy to have water again because we had an appointment on Tuesday to have our carpets cleaned.  Furniture was piled everywhere, inside and out, which was unsettling since we had to leave it like this overnight, then vacuum the carpet before moving things back.  I learned from Sean the carpet guy that our carpets are Orlon and that’s why they’re not wearing well.  The stairs carpet is cut nylon and looks great.  His advice was to be sure we get cut nylon if we ever decide to replace these.  But first comes the bathroom!


I’ve been commissioned to make a red hat for one of Josh’s FedEx truck drivers.  I want to use handspun yarn so picked out the colors i want to blend, cleared out the area around the drum carder and reached into the accessories basket to find my drive band looking like this. I’m not surprised since it’s 20 years old but it’s another inconvenience.  I asked for help on a Facebook spinning group and after several unsatisfactory phone calls explaining how to measure so that a custom band could be made, I ended up talking to Susan’s Fibers whom several people had recommended.  She has already shipped it!

So I bought two more Blogger apps just now.  The first one was bogus, came up with a Google warning stating as much.  The second one appears to be working so I’m going to go with it for now, crossing my fingers.  It takes about an hour for a single post using my laptop!  I take my photos on my iPhone and have to jump through hoops to use them in a Microsoft application, i.e., Blogger.  For now I’m back in business.