Friday, December 26, 2008

Perfect Gifts...after Jesus, of course!

Every good and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is not variation or shadow of turning. James 1:17 NKJ

Alina, Evan, Olivia, Auntie Grandma, Amelia, Lydia (little Celia is on her mother's lap)
The above picture shows the last event from our own Christmas day with family and friends. We had two families join us, one (Jay's daughter's) family of four, and the other was the Doudin family of six with four lovely girls. So, twelve of us gathered to play and eat and converse and laugh. It was simply divine for this grandmother who misses her own grandchildren desperately at this time of year. The LORD provided me with comfort and joy! And then....

The perfect gift for an avid gardener is what My DH (dear husband) built me, a serious worm box so I can reap the benefits of vermiculture for my garden. Really, though, it is a lazy way for this gardener to deal with compost in the winter. The amazing box is in the sunroom where it is cool. It has handles and sits on rollers so I can pull it out. It is the most wonderful gift, the most perfect gift for the serious gardener who always wants more options. I am married to a wonderful man, and we had a wonderful Christmas; it's a wonderful life, as they say in the movies!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas 'Breaks' Part 2

Well, God did it again! He answered our prayers to bring Kelly all the way home to his lovely family for Christmas.
Although the gorge was closed Kelly felt like he could make it by going around Mount Hood. He and Melissa called me from the driveway in the car with all the kids. God enabled them the 'break' to get home. They did slip into town easily. And I am so incredibly grateful. This picture includes is most of the family, more joining them later in the week.

On the other hand, I spoke with Kimber who was in good spirits this afternoon. She'd taken a shower which turned out to be a family event with her husband Chris opening shampoo, conditioner, and body wash so she could let Isabella groom her. And she is in less pain today.
To be continued!

Trauma and Drama of a Christmas 'Break'

This darling girl of mine, Kimber, was having a great day off on Friday, beginning her Christmas vacation from the bank a little early with shopping and decorating. She wanted to hang her Christmas cards high and on ribbons. Standing on the arm of the couch to gain some height more than her diminutive 4'9" elevation grants her she began only to experience a slow motion fall to the floor, breaking her elbow. Surgery is to follow sometime this week...when there is a 'break' in the weather so they can get to the doctor's office and to a hospital.
Unknown at this joyous time of summer is that for Christmas all she wants is her right arm back! How do you wash your hair? How do you apply mascara? How do you put the turkey in and take it out? The trauma from the pain and the drama of a whole new life, like not being able to drive surround my darling Kimber with puzzling questions.

Fortunately we know from these pictures of our summer vacation, she KNOWS how to rest and relax. Maybe she'll get more than she'd planned for on this Christmas 'break'.

The other 'break' we are looking for is one in the weather so that Kelly can get home to his precious children. He flew in from Virginia on Saturday afternoon, and his wife Melissa got through the gorge allright. Then they closed it up tight due to snow and ice and wind. So, we are praying for a 'break' of another kind for them to be able to slip to speak.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Pretty Pansy Posing Politely and Peaking around the Petunia

This sweet Pansy has decided to blossom in my sunroom. She posed so sweetly peaking out from behind the Laura Bush Petunia as I sat in meditation contemplating the order of the room and whether I should destroy that order by setting up the treadmill.
She must have dropped seeds into the petunia barrel over the summer, and when I brought in the Laura Bush I brought in the seeds for litttle Pansy.

Does my friend Connie know what variety she it? You can see one of the Laura Bushes hiding in the foliage to the right. Others bloom above. They are delicate and fragrant, and this is the second winter for them. I've kept them going all this time!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Pittsburg Landing, Part 5 (The Leaving)

This herd of Mule Deer greeted us beyond the pond as we turned to leave. They meandered, then loped up the hill together as one. If you click on the picture you can see them 'up close and personal', and then their big "mule" ears, from which they get their name, really stand out.
Below is a rock face we passed on our way back up the canyon. This romantic display of two holes shaped like hearts was the perfect ending and good-bye to the splendid, divine, and romantic date. Click on the picture to see them up close too.

Th-that's all folks!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Pittsburg Landing Date, Part 4 (The Ranch)

There used to be a working ranch along the river, and we poked around looking at all the fascinating parts. This is the solar weather station. We thought perhaps the Forest Service used the ranch and would need weather data.
The chicken house was in disrepair, for sure, and I won't publish the picture of the tiny 'solar' outhouse. It was merely a tiny outhouse with clear, hard plastic roof!

The house has been used recently with mugs still hanging in the kitchen. We peered into windows to see bunks set up in two rooms. You can see the above-ground rock cellar at the back right of the house. It was a beauty!

The pond close to the corrals was so still I did not see that it was water and missed a picture of the coot floating about when we first arrived.

My sister Barb and I used to enjoy the frivolous occupation of imagining we live in places like this. I began speaking to my husband about how romantic it would be to live here; he pointed out the realities. This frivolous occupation is more fun with a sister who understands you will never really take up such a living; I think this kind of imagining frightened my husband! You have to admit going out daily from the little house could only bring more awe and reverence for God in such a scenic setting.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Pittsburg Landing Part 3 (The Hike)

The trail began easily enough on flat, grassy terrain. Then quite suddenly it began to rise among the rocks. At the top on the right, where the rock juts up, the trail took a turn for the worse (for us). It became steep, narrow and loaded with loose rocks. Becoming too treacherous and slippery for older, unbalanced folks like us we turned back. Even the short hike was lovely and invigorating!

Below is a picture of the trail on the opposite side of the river in Oregon. Just to the left of the tree you can see some 'fill' of rocks holding the trail in place. If you click on that you can get a close-up look at the trail!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Pittsburg Landing Date, Part 2 (The Snake)

The 'snakey' Snake River lays itself down along the bottom of this canyon. There were fishermen on the river Friday after Thanksgiving and several campers camping along the river in the campground.
These pictures above and below look north between Oregon and Idaho.

Doesn't this sand bar (below) on the Oregon side look inviting?

The picture below looks south between Oregon and Idaho as the river snakes even more and the mountains on the Idaho side begin to rise up.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Pittsburg Landing, Part 1

On Friday after Thanksgiving my Dear Husband asked me out for a date! We decided on Pittsburg Landing for the scenery, landscape and hiking potential. After driving down White Bird grade to the Salmon River, we headed up to the top of the Seven Devils Mountains for a breathtaking view and some lunch. The above picture was directly in front of us as we ate our turkey sandwiches in the warmth of the car. You cannot see the Snake River as it lays itself down at the very bottom of the canyon.

This was the view to the right of us. You can see the terraces of rock. There was a pretty good forest fire two summers ago in here, and the trees have not been harvested so they are abundant and burned black in the bark with orange branches of needles, being mostly pine. In the next post I will show you the Snake River and treacherous trail we hiked only a bit of before deciding to poke around an abandoned farm with a magnificent pond.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Festive Flowers for Thanksgiving

This little Calendula beside the house just popped its pretty head out for us when we toured the yard in the warm sun yesterday. Friends, Brian, Rachel, Kate, and Maggie, stopped by for a quick visit on their way to celebrate with other family members. As Kate ran around the dome climber Rachel and I admired this treasure. I was surprised to fine anything blooming, let alone something so delicate and lovely.

Another treasure peaked up from the barrels on the porch too! This "Pink" was one of several hiding among the foliage and leaves by the wood stored on the porch. I am so thankful for these precious flowers.
Below is the real treasure as Brian holds Maggie when they prepare to leave us for the feast at relatives. Maggie is such a darling plumpkin. I wish I'd gotten one of big sister, Kate, introducing my plaid stuffed bear (Belly Bob Thornton) to the cat door in the utility room.
Brian, of course, is a handsome treasure too!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Best Girls Visit!

I have moved away from my "Best Girls", and they honored me with a visit recently. I want to thank their husbands publicly because they, David and Steve, encouraged them to leave, drive the six hours to spend four days with me while they stayed at home with the children! Margaret, on the left has two children (Liam, 10 and Riley almost 7); Stacie, on the right has five children (Josh, 10, Marcus, 8, Jessica, 5 who stayed with Stacie's twin sister, Andrew, almost 4, and Jacob, almost 2). She is due in April with her sixth, and we are praying for a girl to accompany Jessica through life.

We prayed, laughed and cried, toured our ranch and the nearby countryside, studied the Bible and discussed our character flaws in order to improve our ministries. The "Idaho Retreat" was a true blessing for all of us. I feel completley filled up and nurished by the fellowship of saintly women!

My husband let us ignore him as long as we fed him well and made conversation at meals. Personally I thought perhaps he'd used up all his words for the rest of the year, but he is still speaking to me! Here he provided a little humor and entertainment with his moss/lichen mustache. What a character he is, silly man!

Friday, November 21, 2008


In class today we heard a 'kee-oo' sound several times. One of my students spotted this Red-shafted race of Common Flicker up above the patio in the rafters near an old robin's nest. We rushed to the window to observe this colorful bird as it flew to the ground outside one of our windows. It pecked around on the ground before flying off, and I was fortunate enough to have my camera nearby for snapping up these shots!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

My Precious Son

Kelly, my first-born, is a military man right now,
and he is pretty serious about it. He is at
Fort Eustis in Virginia for AIT in aviation (helicopter mechanics).
This summer, on a family vacation we took together, he was clowning around
with his dessert...a BBQ banana filled with Snicker candy bar slices, enclosed in foil and
heated over the coals until 'done', and then eaten with whipped cream on top.
He is usually a character, and it shows in the picture below.

We all miss him very much, praying for his safety, his protection
and his homecoming for Christmas.
What a gift THAT will be!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Bristle-Thighed Curlew?

I loved the vivid green colors of the mosses growing on lava rocks near the ocean on the Hawaiian coast near Kona when I accompanied my husband on a trip last March. All the small purple circles are tiny sea urchins holding tight to the rocks as the waves splashed in and out with the tides.

According to my Birds of North America field guide this was a Bristle-Thighed Curlew. A description follows: Winters on central Pacific islands (March was cold there!) Told from Wimbrel by contrast between bright-rusty rump and tail and someber brown back, note also the paler bill. Okay, you 'birders' out there, do you see the rust on the rump and tail? Do you see the pale bill? Would you consider the island of Hawaii a Pacific Island?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Snow, but...

There may be snow on the mountains this morning, but we still have some vestiges of summer.

Garden Tours

This 'Love in a Mist' continues to peak out from the foliage as autumn leaves begin to cover Janet's garden east of Kamiah where Rachel, Maggie Pearl, and I toured last week.

Now doesn't this look like a pleasant place to sit?
I wish we'd had our lunch to eat as we sat to inhale the vivid fall colors surrounding on this

Autumn Reflections

As I waited for Rachel and Maggie at the Clearwater River bridge this scene took my breath away!

There is not a picture of the worms at Connie's garden because I didn't think you would appreciate such; it is something I treasure, but I'll keep the image to myself!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Swan Lake

My husband likes to take me for drives, and on Saturday we finished up out at Tolo Lake. The colors were stunning and vividly autumn. The site at the lake was awesome, floating and at rest were the migrating swans. I'm not certain, becasue I couldn't get close enough to tell whether they are Tundra Swans or Trumpeter Swans. They are both known to migrate through here.

Tolo Lake was a meeting place for the Nez Perce Indians. They camped here, collecting bulbs on the Camas Praire. It is named for an Indian woman who ran to the Florence Mines to tell the news of the war breaking out on the Salmon River in 1877 when White Bird's band and Chief Joseph's band fought the U. S. Army. The lake is about 35 acres just west of town about six miles.

The Canada Goose in the center gives us a comparison of size. It is typically 16-25 inches long whereas the Tundra Swan is 36" long and the Trumpeter Swan is 45" long.

Even in this close-up there is not enough information to make a certain identification. Nevertheless, it was a unusual and exciting site to see. On Sunday they were gone and replaced by Snow Geese.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Gone, but not forgotten...

Gazing from my studio to the garden I see bare beds, empty tomato pavillions and vacant spaces for which I am planning already. However, the rememberance of what was there is always with me in more than memory, but in pictures too.

Here are: Calendulas, Buckwheat, and Zinnias with Tomatoes in what was the peas early on. I'd already forgotten about the Zowie Zinnias and Caliopsis. We don't have early pollinators so I always plant buckwheat early to draw them in for the tomato blossoms. Buckwheat reseeds itself and it easy to pull up if it is in my way. It is beneficial to the soil, drawing minerals from the deeper regions closer to the surface. AND! it is a lovely white bloom in the garden.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Bloomin' Garden!

The tomtoes are dead and gone, the squash baskets are empty, but these little beauties are still blooming! They are:

...a Petunia surrrounded by Michaelmas daisies, one double bold pink Hollyhock, some tiny yellow and gold Marigolds, and three little button-like wine-colored Knautica Macedonicas.

Friday, October 17, 2008

More Gardening Options

My "Squash Baskets" were built out of 'sheep fencing' which is wire fencing with 2" X 3" holes and 4 feet tall. I had used it for compost piles cutting it to 12' lengths, pulling it into a circle and fastening it to hold garden/kitchen refuse, leaves and rabbit doo. When the compost was finished I cut them in half (so they are only 2' tall) and placed them in the yard between trees so they'd get some shade, but not too much.

I filled them with the finished compost, adding more so they'd be full and planted squash seeds. We don't water our lawn, so by July when the lawn doesn't get mown, the squash can run all around the yard as much as it wants. Watering can be tricky, but a 3-gallon bucket with holes in the bottom and filled once a week usually works just fine.

I also have the "Porch Option". Last year my gardening friend, Rachel, helped me hang bird netting from the porch roof down to the containers. I'd planted Scarlet Runner beans and Climbing Canary Nasturtiums. The colors were stunning, although not apparent in the picture. The containers shaded the porch too much; I won't do it again.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tomato Pavillion Part 2 (the "how-to"part)

In colder climes, where I live, it is prudent to cover the garden beds in order to warm up the soil and get tender plants out early. Later in the season (about mid-August) it is necessary sometimes to cover the bed in order to prevent frost damage!

The picture above is one taken of Marshall Bean's garden, from whom I got this idea. He does his a bit differently than I, but the picture shows the framework with the tomatoes pretty well. Below is a picture of my garden with the 24-inch pathways and the 30-inch beds. It is late July, and the tomato plants look vigorous. The framework is tall enough for my 4-foot tomato cages.

My dear husband cut rebar to 24-inch lengths for me. I pounded 12 inches of each piece into the ground along the edges of all the beds at 30-inch intervals. Then I placed a 9-foot piece of pvc pipe on one piece of rebar and bent it over the bed to the other side and onto the other piece of rebar. You can see in the picture above that the bed on the left has 1-foot pieces of pvc over the rebar that isn't used for the pavillion. This is done on all beds so that I, and my visitors, don't injure or impale ourselves on the exposed pieces of rebar.

I make my garden beds about 30 inches wide (because I'm not 5' tall yet) with 24 inch paths between . I lift out 8-12 inches of dirt from the path to put on the bed, raising it some. Then I fill in the path with deep layers of straw. When it rains in the spring I can still walk out in the garden and plant early greens and flowers due to the deep straw pathways. We have sticky, impenetrable clay soil which does not absorb water well.
Each bed is about 20 feet long, and I use electician's tape to attach a twenty-foot piece along the top to tie it all together. And then I covered the framework with heavy plastic for the pavillion.
Pvc pipe comes in 20-foot lengths, so I cut 1 foot off each end and used those to cover the rebar on the beds which don't have the pavillion over them. Over the squash beds I have a shorter framework using 6-foot lengths of larger, more pliable black pvc pipe. These are merely to get the squash started early in the season. Later they sprawl outside the framework, so I cover them with inexpensive sheets and bedspreads from the thrift store. This keeps the frost off until about 25 degrees, which it was this year in late September.