Saturday, June 18, 2016

RE-CONNECTION



What a great re-connection with cousins I haven't seen in waaaayy too long...........seriously!!  Decades!   My cousins were all seeing another family member graduate from University of Oregon in Eugene.  I was so looking forward to them stopping by on their way back to the Bay Area in California.  Debbie is my God-daughter and she has grown into such a beautiful young woman........inside and out.........a complete delight!   Her husband Greg was great to get to know......he has such a thirst for all information.......and it shows itself in many various ways with intelligence, wit and humor........I just ordered from Amazon Greg's book.........."I The Jury" on being a member of the jury on the infamous Scott Peterson trial........I can hardly wait to read it.
 This is Greg.............
 The time together went by all too quickly.........It was raining and hailing out in a show of unusual June weather for Oregon.........I know we are known for rain, but this was just really poor timing and unusual.  Poor Norm was out there trying to barbque and cover the barbeque with the cover at the same time.....Interesting it was..........Funny is was for sure!
 I caught up with the years with Barbara and Dave, shown here with Norm and myself as they were heading back to California.  And so many laughs!   That always feels good.  Blows out all the 'gunk' that's going around much of the world these days.......   So many years were covered and I'm sure there's going to be a lot more when (notice I said not "if" but "WHEN")  they return.  Hopefully, they'll stay longer so we can show off some of our areas a bit.  
 So, Debbie,Greg, Barbara and Dave.......until next time.........Love you all much!!

Monday, June 13, 2016

SOME EARLY SUMMER HAPPENINGS.

Hasn't this been a crazy weather year?   One day it's as hot as autumn and then it's cool and raining....This first photo is a chair that Norm built for the new deck.  We were one shy and he built this in about 2 days.........Lots of varnish...Spar Varnish??   so it should do well through the winter.   
Have you noticed how so many plants and flowers seem about a month ahead of schedule?  I'm seeing Queen Anne's Lace and Michaelmas daisy blooming when they usually come late summer....Our birds in the Norm-built bird houses have been having a hard time lately.  I don't know what happened to the bluebirds.....I thought they were settled in the nest they choose.  Now I just don't see them at all.  A clue might be the swallows and how they're having to worry about the scrub jays that have discovered there's a food source in that little box.  I hear all kinds of panic and the swallows are flying frantically around and there's the nasty jay with his head in the nest box.   I don't know how far back the swallows built their nest.  I hope it's not on the front wall just inside the opening.  I've gone out a number of times clapping and chasing the jays away.  It's sort of funny that after I send the jays flying off, then one of the swallows 'chases' the jay further.............Like he had something to do with it.  A bird with ego.........I just hope those new little baby birds will make it to adulthood.   Could be the jay got into the bluebirds nest too.....I saw it was causing trouble at that nest, too, a few weeks ago


 Let me introduce you to our good friends, Ginny and Dick........This day we took them to lunch to celebrate Dick's birthday...........Nope....I'm not telling!   But he IS amazing!!   And Ginny is a retired flight attendant and her smile is always there.........she is one of the happiest ladies I know.  Love them both!
 OK..........here are some of my flowers blooming in the garden.  I fooled a little with editing, which I enjoy doing here and there.........I like to see the different effects I can get.  The lower photo was actually a sunset that I fiddled with.  You'd never know it was a sunset, huh?   It's looking over the backyard fence and beyond the hills towards the west.
 So..............I'll be having my cousins come to visit tomorrow........I haven't seen them in ages and I'm definitely looking forward to catching up!  That will probably be my next post...........And wouldn't you know, instead of 100 degree weather like last week...tomorrow there is a strong possibility of rain!   I'm hoping the weatherman is wrong.........as they so frequently are.  Maybe the Heavens will be kind...........
OK, boys and girls.........Have a good rest of the week, enjoy the summer and stay safe...

PS.........prayers and healing thoughts for Orlando...........XOXO

Friday, May 20, 2016

ED & NANCY AT MASTER GARDENER'S DISCOVERY CENTER

 What a special couple of days, oh, about a week ago.  Our friends, Ed and Nancy, were over from Port Orford to take a wine tour in our Umpqua Valley.  It was great catching up and re-visiting our friendship.  3 Years is waaaay too long a time!   So, there was lots of talking, talking, talking, etc.  And I'm not to known to be the silent type......lol
 On last Friday, the weather just couldn't have been more perfect for a local trip to our Master Gardener's Discovery center.  I've been there a few times before, but every time we visit, it's always different..........I don't think I've been in the Spring before and the sights and smells were a pure joy.
So, the first photo at the top of the page was a "Betty Boop" rose, I think.  I enjoy the ruffles of some of my David Austin's at home but I also admire the simplicity of others......like the Betty Boop.  There's probably a specific name for them, but I don't know it.

The next shot is of Ed and Nancy as they study some of the plants.  I could hear them referring to various flowers and plants and using all the botanical names......They are Master Gardener's themselves and have a beautiful wildlife garden at their home on the coast.

Now here below, you have Norm trying to charm the "Potted Lady".  She was unmoved so I felt not a bit of jealousy.......surprising since she was so pretty.  You can tell how 'smitten' he was by his closed eyes.......basking in her super firm body.......Thankfully, she couldn't be bothered....
 This last scene was one that Nancy thought had good composition and interesting light/shade......I agree and like the way it turned out.   I'll be posting more photos of the Discovery Center on my Facebook page if you'd like to see more.
A special place with special friends.........life is good!!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

DOES JON SNOW LIVE???

Guess what I was doing as I uploaded these photos??   Game of Thrones is back and it's as all-enthralling as ever......The good guys don't always live and the bad guys are oh-so-awful!!  Arggh!
 I realized that I hadn't posted anything about our Grandson TJ and our great grandchildren, Aiden and Tabaaha........Here they are below with TJ playing the horsey and the two little ones (maybe not so little anymore) as the riders.  If TJ looks tall standing next to the patio door...........he is!  6'4" or so.....give or take another foot......;-)  


 this is just a little finch that happen to stop by and take in the ongoing battle between the bluebirds and the swallows.  The swallows are the underdogs but they are persistent.  I just hope time doesn't run out for them and they end up with no babies this year because they can't seem to move on to find another nest site.   I have an idea they are ones that either used that particular next last year to raise their babies or they might have been the babies.  Because they are very attracted to that particular site.

Here is beautiful Tabaaha.  She had been concentrating on coloring after dinner.  She's funny as how she's only been here once before and had to check out everything.......behind doors, in drawers, closets, little boxes, anything and everything.  Girls at t his age are so curious so I really didn't mind.  I was right behind her, though, just in case......
And here we have TJ and Danielle's son, Aiden.   He's 4 years old now......growing fast and learning the ways of the world even faster....I felt good about getting his photo here and he's smiling.......He never stops moving and most of my photos of him are of the back of his head.   hahaha.....



Here I end with some of my roses from this year.  I'm just so in love with my garden this year.  You'll be seeing more as the non-ending blooms continue.   I planted about 5 plants in the garden today and I can now officially say that I've reached my limit......there is no more room for anything.  At least if I consider how ones already established are going to continue to grow larger.  It's always so tempting to get just one more little green treasure.........or red, pink, yellow, white, etc.  Or different textures....I could go on.......you that are gardeners know what  I'm talking about.

Have a good week and enjoy the warm weather...........94 degrees here today but it's a fairly dry heat.......So feel good and open yourself to Spring Fever.......





Thursday, April 28, 2016

FEATHER DRAMAS @ THE SMITH'S

 Such a on-going show in our little backyard this year!  Looks like the first photo here will lead me to show how the little crooked birdhouse that Norm made....very much like this one shown here, blew off into the 'wilds of Roseburg'.  We don't normally have the types of winds that we used to experience on the coast.  Anyway, off it flew and I asked Norm to make another one just like it since it was one of my favorites.  Below is the in-the-rough beginning.  Further down you'll see Norm working on it as it nears completion.
 Above is one of my first of the David Austin roses...........I love this rose.  It's so delicate in appearance, has a beautiful fragrance and seems pretty hardy.......I'll try getting some slips soon.
 Just a little house or purple finch that visited.  Since he arrived in the middle of the great war between the swallows and the bluebirds, I think he just wanted to watch the sport.  He hung around for a while as the show went on around him..........
 Now this birdhouse is the one that the swallows used to raise their babies last year.  There was a confrontation between the two last year, too, but they finally settled into agreeing to disagree..........The bluebirds, which I thought were friendly, sweet little guys, that just spread happiness all around where ever they came.....Oh, so wrong!!!   They are aggressive and relentless in their declaration of territory.....So, whenever the swallows would begin patching up their previous nest the bluebirds would move over to stand on top of their house.........like the photo above.  There is another birdhouse that  the male swallow would sit guarding the female's work.  (typical) but this year the bluebirds would take that guard station over, too.  The bluebirds finally started going into the swallows nest and I think they destroyed it.  Everytime the swallows come in now, the bluebirds are right there and I[ve noticed the swallows have given up...........can't blame them, but I'll miss watching the new brood being raised.
 A few days after the destruction of the swallows nest I thought it was pretty funny to hear some birds just fussing away........there on top of the bluebirds birdhouse was a bright big blue jay...........what goes around comes around, don't ch'a know?

Through this time of torturing the poor swallows, the bluebird of happiness were busy attacking every window around our house.  Their reflections were as relentless as they were.  Norm started threatening about getting his b-b-gun when they started leaving messes on our brand new deck.  I started dropping blinds and doing everything I could to discourage them, at least around the deck. Something finally worked.....About this time I noticed there was all kind of dried weeds on the front porch.  A pair of sparrows were now trying to build a nest on the timbers over the porch.....the bluebirds eventually scared them off, too.  I read on Google that the aggressiveness of birds is based somewhat on the size and strength of their beaks.....I'd never thought about that before, but it makes sense, doesn't it?
 So hear in the ever so talented husband of mine, finishing up the new birdhouse.  See all those little shingles on the roof?  A hassle, apparently, to tack on. The shingles are fairly thin and would frequently split when he would try to tack them on.  He must have worked all day on just the roof.  Finally, it reached a stage of painting and then 3 coats of varnish.  I think it looks great!



Monday, April 18, 2016

TRAVELING UP THE NORTH UMPQUA AKA STEAMBOAT INN

 A week or so ago Norm was asked to help friend, Dick, with a 'not-working-right' lazy susan in the kitchen and it was down low rather than above the counter.  After quite a frustrating and long afternoon both Dick and Norm's arms were covered with dark bruises from elbows to hands.....taking turns crawling on the hands and knees was hard work.  It was all fine, though and it's to be expected for 2 senior 'gents' to have a few dings here and there as well as the bruises.  So, Ginny, Dick's pretty wife, wanted to take us out to a special meal......(I had a 'sympathy' bruise).  We had all heard about Steamboat Inn so off we went Saturday morning..........It far exceeded my expectations!  The weather was perfect..........white dogwoods in full bloom could be seen hanging onto the hillsides overlooking the North Umpqua river.  Beautiful!

Much to the utter annoyance of the men, we stopped a few times here and there for me to take some photos......And the landscapes just kept getting better and better.  I think my preference is the mountains compared to other surroundings and I was so in awe!!
 Our lunch at Steamboat......actually we ordered breakfast since they serve either up until the dinner hours........was delicious!  and a very nice selection..........Loved the young waitress so friendly and in a natural way........nothing artificial about her.   Our table looked out onto the beautiful garden pictured above.  That path you can see in that photo leads down to their cottages and they also look over the river.  Steamboat does have dinner open to the public and reservations are a 'must'.  They have local chef guests that change every weekend.  Guests get first chance at the reservations.  The cottages rent run generally in the $200+ per night.  It is a destination site and really calls for the time to look around and appreciate all that it has to offer even if just for a meal.  Inside the lobby there are photos of some of the more famous guests of t he past. (Jimmy Carter for all you Democrats, Hemmingway for those fans of his)......
 After lunch was when I picked up my camera and started wandering..  It just got better and better and truly, the photos don't do any justice at all to the enormity and grandeur of the view.  You follow a path down and then onto a rock overhang.  The sound of the rushing of spring water pouring downstream and bubbling and bouncing over all the rocks, little islands and brave little trees that stand tight against the force of the river just kept my camera snapping a mile a minute.  I wish I could have

been able to post more but time and space won't allow that.  Do yourself a favor, though, and if possible take a trip to Steamboat Inn.  You won't be sorry.

an after thought..........walking down the path over the river, watch out for the fresh, healthy poison oak.........


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

OAKLAND SEEN AS AMERICANA

 Norman Rockwell would  have loved this town in the spring.  The older buildings with so many beautiful established plants, trees and more give a bygone days kiind of feel.  It seems like there is a lilac in every yard and on every corner..........Here below you can see Ginny given homage to her favorite fragrance......The lilac pictured on top is closer to being a tree rather than a shrub.  I love that gorgeous old brick in the background, too.
 Lauren, Ginny and I had the usual good lunch at Tolly's.   I should have taken a couple of photos of that,too.  It's one of the more popular restaurants in this area.  There is one particular artist who places a lot of his paintings in Tolly's.   His work looked familiar but I thought it was just that I admired his style.  Everytime I go in there I have to take a few minutes to look at John Benjamin's newest (and older) works.  This time I spent a little bit more time and read the  bio on him,  There I saw how it was his work that I would seek out to study and look at for in 2nd St. Gallery in Bandon when I lived over on the Oregon coast.  The same gorgeous blue sky is what I remember.  The first painting of his that caught my admiration was a long and narrow canvas with just a little strip of land at the bottom but the emphasis was on that gorgeous blue sky with just a few puffy clouds......Absolutely beautiful!.....I just fell in love with it.  I've looked and hoped to see where he might have a website, but no.........I'm out of luck.  Good to know, though, that he lives in the area and much of his work is of various pastoral scenes from the Umpqua Basin that I find so inspiring......I can only imagine what beautiful works, Elaine Roemen could catch if she were here......

 After lunch we wandered with camera and every place reminded me of Norman Rockwell paintings....Americana, small town style.  Love it!
 And the flowers are so happy........tulips, scilia, wallflowers, roses getting ready to break open, lavender and iris.........Many, many more....
We hit a couple of antique shops on the way..........unfortunately there was one that was so overwhelming with the smell of cat that we just couldn't stay...I couldn't care how many bargains there were.  It was truly over the top.......They needed the lilac aroma badly.......

This Saturday, we're supposed to be going to the famous Steamboat Inn.  Hit a waterfall or two, also.......I'm really looking forward to it.  It's open for breakfast and lunch Saturdays and Sundays without a reservation.......dinner is a different story.  Guests that are staying there have first priority and reservations are required.  They have a different guest chef every so often.  I'm not sure if that changes every weekend or longer........but it's somewhere to go when you want something very special...........so I've been told.  I'll let you know about lunch and hopefully some good photos.
Have a great weekend!

Friday, April 8, 2016

A MORNING FOR THE BIRDS



Beautiful weather the last few days..........I think with such super days all the folks we passed in our jaunt to Stewart Park duck pond, were friendly, smiling and just happy to be out and about.  Spontaneous conversations popped up here and there.......one lady on her way to play golf greeted us like long last friends....


 My niece, Lauren, was down for a few days visiting us.  Which is always a treat for Norm and I.  She and our friend, Ginny, had met last fall and so the two met up again as we all did a photo shoot with the morning catching the birds at being birds.  They're pairing up and one couple of Canada geese had a flock of goslings......I counted 9.






This little cutie and her sister (not shown here) were excited about feeding the birds.  Some looked bigger than her..........but she found out soon enough that they'd scatter if she ran at them.  Great fun!
And speaking of birds, we have our usual Hatfield vs McCoys battle in our backyard.  The western blue birds and the swallows.  We went through this last year until they could learn to ignore each other.  They each take over one of Norm-built birdhouses, both lined up on the fence and facing each other.  Stay tuned for further developements............


This group of ducks just spent so much time upside-down they made me laugh.  As they had bottoms up, they would sort of bob up and down like those little bobbing balls that fishermen use.    

Here is one final long view of the pond.......from here we went on to Oakland to have lunch at Tolly's...(Yum!)  Then toured the small town dressed in all it's Spring finery.......I'll continue our photos in my next post.

So..........here in the Umpqua area don't put away your winter woolies just yet........a small chance of showers tonight...........No moaning now.....most aren't quite prepared yet to jump into the heat of summer.  It was 91 degrees yesterday!  Record breaker for sure.  Summer will be here soon enough

Nite for now.............

Sunday, April 3, 2016

BRIGHT DAYS OF SPRING

 Wow!  I was shocked to see how long it's been since I'd posted here on my blog!   I guess I just needed a bit of time doing other things for a while.  Like making new friends, facilitating A Course Of Love group, gardening, etc. etc.  Day to day in getting familiar and comfortable in our new home.  It's been over 2 years now and in some ways we still feel like newcomers.........other times, not quite 'old timers' but not the new kids on the block anymore.

Our garden is thanking El Nino for the wet winter......I think anyone living on the west coast is thankful for the abundance of the rain.  Even with some of the problems it might have caused.  Quite a number of hillsides and rocks not wanting to stay in place.  Thankfully, no one was hurt that I know of.  Oh.....one woman I believe was killed up in Florence when her house slid down.  

I actually haven't been taking as many photos but have been exploring some of the arts and crafts.  A little painting and sketching.......did Zentangle until I got a little bored with it.  My newest is Iris Folding.  I love it.......It leaves a lot of area for creativity.  Something like Origami but more expressive, I think.  


Above is one example of a card I made up.  After cutting out a particular shape and using a pattern you start folding pieces of paper.......on overlapping another........It's a little time consuming but I enjoy it.  

And Norm?  It's been a long time in developing but it seems he's made some sort of woodworking items for everyone one of the women in my art group.  Some have a specific item in mind and wonder if he can accomplish what they can't find at the stores (without $$$$)   Small items.......but he comes through.  Lately he's been repainting our outdoor furniture.......love the new soft mint color.  He has some men neighbors who stop by on their walks if they see the garage door open.........which means he is accepting.......

Now with such warm weather happening I'm spending more time gardening.  There are a number of plants that I thought I'd lost.............particularly ones I brought over from the coast.  The prize goes to a couple of peony that not only popped up through the creeping phlox, but one has about 6 or 7 buds all ready to bloom with exuberance!!  




I saw that on the last post back in May of 2014 I showed our new pergola.  At the time it was placed on a cement patio.  Just last week we had Precision Plus build a deck.........Although I like to call it a 'back porch'............on top of the cement..........They used Timber-Tec rather than wood.  I love it!  It's maintenance free and it matches the pergola so perfectly you'd think they were all installed at the same time in the same material.  I can't say enough for the workmanship of the crew, also.  Precision Plus earned the top spot for building the best decks in all of Oregon.  Everything they did from the foundation to the final touches was accomplished perfectly.  No rushing through to hurry and get the job done..........and I do know they have a big job coming after ours.  The photo below shows one angle of it.  Norm still wanted that screen cover over the top, more to insure privacy than another else.  The pergola does have more slats now.  So. there is more shade.  All in all, the result more than passed our expectations.
 My niece might be coming this week for a visit and I'll have more photos and tales to tell in a few days..........I hope.   Next weekend, TJ and Aiden will be coming.......more on the adventures of grandson and great grandson......
Our friends, Ginny and Dick, will be taking us up to Steamboat Inn for lunch and photos of waterfalls I hope.  Steamboat is a internationally know resort where 'serious' fishermen from round the world come to try and thin out the fish from our lakes and rivers........The beginnings of a good summer....
till next time..........
It's good to be back...........

Saturday, May 10, 2014

THE PERGOLA

It's up and running now but it was clearly a disaster when Norm and I tried putting this up by ourselves.  We got it about half way up.........trying to connect the two sides........it swung, it swayed, it swung again, and swayed and crashed down with a mighty roar!  Barely missing hitting us on the way down.  These are steel beams........light steel, but still would have left us seeing stars had it landed on our heads.  Within a few days, help arrived in the form of Clayton and Danny.......Angels from Umpqua.  The directions said it was "easy to put up......only taking a couple of hours.  Ha!  It took 4 of us, at times and about 3 hours to get it done.  But, it's up and now nicely shading our little patio.  I think eventually it might look nice to have wisteria growing over the top.  But that's a project for another day.  And I might want to wait until the many, many things I've planted lately, start filling in so I don't bury ourselves in greenery and blooms.  



And speaking of blooms, the rhoddies and azaleas in the front are just gorgeous!  They were here when we moved in and have a number of years growth.  Big and lush.........with hydrangea starting to bud.

Seems like some good spring showers have graced our areas lately.  And in a couple of days the temperatures are supposed to go shooting back up into the 80's again.  Good........I ordered a half a dozen Virginia Creepers to plant.  I see them on the freeway overpasses, and saw them in their autumn beauty while in Scotland.  Seeing them growing up on century-old castle walls is something I won't forget anytime soon.  And I expect nothing less for here!!  So......I'll get them off to a good start tomorrow when it dries up a little and hope they grow quickly.

I went with a friend the other night to the Roseburg Unity Church.  They have A Course In Miracles group and I've very much missed being a part of a study group since I've moved over here.  Those of you who know me, know that this is very much a passion of mine.    What a great bunch of people.........I know I'm going to love it......I already do and it's like a part of me 'coming home'.

So.......all in all, life continues to slowly evolve with Norm and I.  He still has very little voice from a medical procedure of a couple of months ago.  This week we see an ENT doctor to see what he thinks of it.  Obviously, Norm is not a happy camper regarding this.  Hopefully, he'll feel better later next week.

I hope all you Mom's out there have a perfect Sunday..........My own has passed on but not a day goes by that I don't think of her and miss her.  And in gratitude I thank her for her love.