Monday, August 30, 2010

We are camped at Salt Creek with Daughter Mary Mae & her family. We are directly across from British Columbia and have NO Internet service!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Deer and Mini-Golf

We hung around the RV Park today -- and so did the deer. This lady is right outside Auntie Violet's front door. She and her girlfriend were mowing the grass.

The RV Park had a pancake and sausage breakfast this morning. You had your choice of blueberry or buttermilk pancakes and either pork patties or turkey sausages. This afternoon we checked out the mini-golf course (what Abe K used to call "putt-putt.".) Even though it is small, it was a challenge -- especially the last hole.

The deer came around while we were playing golf too. First there was the doe with her twins and then a young buck came visiting. He only had little short velvet spikes. The way he acted we wondered if maybe he wasn't last year's fawn.

I talked with Brother Pat and Cindy today -- they were busy canning spaghetti sauce as the tomatoes in his garden are finally ripe. Checked in with Sister Sherry who seems to be having a rattlesnake week. Earlier they lost one of the longhorn cows who had gotten bit. Maggie, the stray hunting dog who adopted Sherry a couple of winters ago, was much luckier. After an overnight stay at the vet's, she's home again and seems to be doing okay.

Tonight I baked a few of the potatoes Daughter Dawn had given us from her garden and grilled a steak. With the addition of cucumber slices and fresh raspberries we had a feast. This is our last night at the Sequim RV Park. Tomorrow we will be moving to the the county camp at Salt Creek.

(Pictures taken with my iPhone -- sorry they aren't real great...!)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Dinner at Three Crabs AND Root Beer Floats?

I can't help but remember the description I heard of a boy when I was very young as: "A piece of skin stretched over an appetite." Grandson Varick had a late breakfast of blueberries, orange juice, cereal and milk this morning; then a container of yogurt for lunch along with a slider hamburger and 1/3 of a cantaloupe. By five PM, he was -- in his words -- starving! After a stop at the Jamestown S'kallam Tribal Art Gallery, we had gone into Sequim to mail some letters and replenish the peanut butter supply. Our plan was to spend some time on the beach, then go to the Three Crabs for dinner later.

But since poor Varick was so hungry, we settled on a run to the end of the Point and back by the restaurant in order to get rid of some of his excess energy. A cup of clam chowder and a plate of fish and chips (proclaimed "Not as good as the ones he had at the Public House in Port Townsend...) later, he shared a huge piece of chocolate chip Oreo pie with Forry and me.

Then nothing would do for BOTH of the guys but we hurry back to the Sequim RV Park for Ice Cream Sundae Night so that they could get root beer floats! I dropped them both off at the Clubhouse with five minutes to spare. They showed back up at Auntie Violet a while later all smiles -- and I'm sure, very full bellies.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Sorting Through the Mail...

Along with Grandson Varick, Daughter Mary Mae also delivered our mail to us when she met the ferry. She's been faithfully gathering up and forwarding our mail for the last three plus years. I am still surprised how mailers can track you down. This batch of mail included two free farm magazines: Top Producer and The Progressive Farmer. I've not sent the forms for re-ordering these since we moved off the farm to Spokane over twenty years ago!

Here's a copy of Wheat Life, the magazine of the Washington Association of Wheat Growers and one of the Ruralite, Big Bend Electric Coop's magazine.

There's several church publications -- I expect that as I am on the Executive Board of Mennonite Church USA. Three copies of the Mennonite Weekly Review, one of The Mennonite and one of the Leader.

Ah, a copy of NurseWeek. I seem to get one of these every year or so. I can tell that they've done a mass mailing using the list of Registered Nurses licensed in the State of Washington -- it's the only list that lists my name with my maiden name as my middle initial.

A newsprint catalog from Camper World -- I can count on at least one in every batch of mail. There's also copy of RV View, the monthly magazine of Camper World. And let's see, a copy of Family Motor Coaching and one of Motorhome.

And then there's the mail: two letters about crop insurance; a newsletter from the Farm Services Agency; a couple of checks (nice!); a couple of bills (not-so-nice); a hand-written note (with a fountain pen, no less!) from Roy expressing his thanks that I am going to be a facilitator at the Health Sector Assembly in October; a letter from the Skagit County Auditor with the license tabs for the pickup at the ranch; two credit card offers (not nearly as many as there were a few years ago...); a couple of confirmation letters from my retirement account about deposits; two promotional letters from Good Sam; and of course, a letter from AARP!

Lots of filing of the important stuff; shredding of the stuff with private info; round-filing of the junk and envelopes; stacking of reading material and I'm done with the mail for another couple of weeks or so.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Boy On A Beach

Let's see now. When you take a twelve year-old boy to a beach with lots of rocks, what's the first thing he's gonna do?

Wow! That one went WAY out there!

Now, let's see, it's too big to throw in the water..., maybe I can use it for a teeter-totter --

We went into the clinic in Sequim today to get my blood drawn for a pro-time, then went to the beach at Port Angeles. Grandson Varick wore his swim trunks, but it was way too windy and cold to get into the water. Though he did get soaked up past his knees by a large wave when he was tossing rocks...
I needed a few groceries, so we ended up at Costco in Sequim. Forry and his grandson were both happy -- Polish dogs for supper!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Ferry, A Full Moon and A Grandson

Ensconced on Auntie Violet's living room couch is the outcome of our travels today! We took the Toad and drove to Port Townsend, parked the Toad, then walked onto the ferry to Keystone. After a thirty minute ride we met Daughter Mary Mae and Grandson Varick on the Keystone side and brought Varick back on the ferry with us.

This ferry is a fairly small one -- there's room for about 65 vehicles on it.

There is a full moon tonight. It was gorgeous as we watched it rise over the water.

After our return to the Port Townsend side we walked over to the Old Public House for a late dinner. I had a bowl of the most wonderfully delicious Corn Potato Crab Chowder along with some salmon fritters for dinner. Forry had a crabwich and Varick -- true to his sister's tradition -- had fish and chips!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Coastal Flowers

Forry couldn't understand why I would want to take a picture of these thistles! He called them Canada Thistles Cirsium arvense) and said they are definitely in the noxious weed category. We saw many fields on our way to Dungeness Spit that were heavily infested with them along the roadsides.

But, you have to admit, they are pretty!

We saw a lot of this plant along the coastal bluffs as well. It's like sunshine scattered amongst the fog.
Known as Puget Sound Gumweed (Grindella integrifolia), it blooms from May to November --

Today was another quiet day. I did one load of laundry and we took a walk around the RV Park and down the road and back. We watched both the Mariners game (boo!) and some of the Little League World Series games, but never did find a station showing the Washington State team.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Dungeness Spit

Today -- after watching another disappointing Mariners game -- we went north to visit Dungeness Spit National Wildlife Refuge. Dungeness Spit is one of the world's longest natural sand spits. There is a trail through the woods about 3/8 of a mile long that leads to an overlook on the bluff above the spit. We took the trail that far, but didn't go on down the rather steep bill that leads to the beach. From there it is a five mile (one-way) trip out to the lighthouse.

This mother and her twin fawns were in the meadow on the way to the refuge --

And then we saw this fellow --

On the trail through the woods --

The view of the Spit from the overlook --

Saturday, August 21, 2010

OK, I Know What Day It Is...!

One of the advantages of being retired is not having to know for sure what day of the week it is! But, it still shakes me up a bit when I realize I've totally lost track. I cheerfully entitled yesterday's blog with a proclamation that it was Thursday -- and didn't realize until I looked at it again today that it had actually been Friday! We bought an atomic clock earlier this summer that not only tells the time, but also the day of the week, the day of the month, the temperature, etc. BUT, it's on the wall behind me. Since we remodeled I sit at my desk facing the front of the coach and don't see it unless I make a real effort. What can I say -- I'm retired!

The Mariners played an early game today. They are in New York so it started at 10 AM our time. Ichiro started off with a home run which was immediately followed by another one. Then in the third inning, Ichiro again started the inning off with his second home run! Alas, Vargas wasn't up to par today and the Mariners couldn't hold on to their lead. ;-(

Now Forry is watching the Seahawks play the Packers. I know it's a pre-season game, but it's still too early for football!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Today is Thursday...(Oops, I mean FRIDAY!)

And what's on the agenda? Well, let's see. Laundry's pretty much done. House is pretty much clean. No conference calls on the agenda today. Guess we'll just have to break down and go for a drive.

We've been wanting to check out the Escapees RV Park near Chimacum, Washington, the Evergreen Coho SKP Park. It's one of the SKP parks where you can "lease" a lot for your RV. You can either live there full or part-time. When you are not there, you can put your lot in the rental pool which allows other RVers to use your lot.

The park is a Co-Op Park, basically run by the owners as volunteers. There is a paid manager, but all of the other work is done by the residents. You pay a price for your lot plus a yearly maintenance fee. Problem is, like many other retirement places, there is a waiting list! At this time there are 185 people on the waiting list! The average wait is five to six years.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Checking Out the Field

Forry trying to figure out what kind of grass?

Yesterday morning we walked through and drove around much of the ground that is coming out of its ten years in CRP this year. It is pretty nice to see what a variety of grasses, sagebrush, rabbit brush and yarrow there is.

There are different criteria for how you want to "bid" your acreage into the program. Each has different numbers of grass species as well as the addition of shrubs or forbs. I guess when they want to verify numbers they either put down a certain size square (say 10 foot by 10 foot) and count every plant within it. Or another way they put out a hundred foot line and count what ever is along it.

Today was definitely a "down" day. After getting in about midnight last night, we slept in this morning. I had a two hour conference call with the Racial Healing Task Force at noon. I've thrown a few loads of clothes into the washer/dryer, but haven't done too much else, besides take a nap and read for a while. I've got a couple of the new red potatoes from Daughter Dawn's garden in the oven and some thin pork cutlets simmering on the stove. After a day of overcast skies, the sun is shining and all is well with my world.

Late, Late, LATE!

It's a few minutes after midnight and we've just arrived back at Diamond Point and Auntie Violet!

We went to the ranch this morning; then went into Ritzville; picked up some mail that had been waiting for us since July 17th; then went to the Farm Services Office. We were there for two and one-half hours getting all of the paperwork done to re-certify and sign up two parcels of land back into the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).

It was a long trip back to the west side of the state!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Quick Trip Over the Mountains

A share of our farm that is not leased out is in the Conservation Reserve Program. Some of the acreage has been in the program for ten years and it is time to either renew it or take it out. Dealing with this cannot be done by email, computer or telephone, so we have to come back over to Ritzville for our appointment tomorrow with the Farm Services Agency. We came as far as Moses Lake this afternoon. We'll stay here tonight; go out to the ranch in the morning and take a look at the CRP ground so that we can give a good description of what's growing on it (the mixture of forbes and grasses) for the FSA folks.
We took Highway 101 over to Kingston, took the ferry to Edmonds, then caught Interstate 5 over Snoqulamie Pass. This lovely pair were on the road at the start of our journey on Rhododendron Road coming out of the
RV Park.
We are going to meet our friends Curt and Sarah for some Mexican food this evening. Curt is still harvesting, so it'll be a late dinner.

Monday, August 16, 2010

A Much Needed Rest Day

The beautiful drive along Hood Canal on our way to Sequim --

This is our friend Leslie on the beach yesterday morning with Forrest. Look at how bundled up the two of them were while Bill and I were wading in the ocean trying to get a look at what the gulls were feeding on --
Bill and his camera --

I'm writing this early in the afternoon as we seem to be having a decent Internet connection today. I don't know if it was because I was so tired, or just the way my karma works, but it was so awful last night that I gave up and wrote the blog on my iPhone. Then discovered this morning that it had uploaded it from the bottom in chunks that really didn't make any sense. I spent about an hour this morning re-loading it along with the great gull pictures I took of yesterday morning's feeding frenzy.
We slept in this morning until almost nine when the park's maintenance man knocked on the door to talk with Forry about the electrical issues we had when we hooked up last night. This park only has 30 amp service which is NOT enough for everyone to be running two air conditioners in their coach! It had kicked out a couple of times yesterday before we arrived (yesterday set a heat record for this area...) and it was still pretty unstable when we arrived. It is cooler today and there -- so far! -- don't seem to be any problems.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Moving Day Again

Today we buttoned up Auntie Violet and moved to Diamond Point RV Resort near Sequim -- a four hour drive from where we were in Ocean Mist RV Resort. It took a bit longer than usual as we were showing each step to Leslie and Bill as we went. They will be soon (within the next two weeks!) buying their own rig so were quite interested in how we went about it.

Bill and Leslie had stayed overnight in Aberdeen last night, then came back in time to join us for cinnamon rolls (a Sunday morning tradition at that RV Park) and peaches this morning (Sunday, August 15). After breakfast we drove down along the beach in their Jeep Rubicon. We ran into a feeding frenzy of gulls just off shore. There must have been hundreds of them wheeling and diving just above the waves. We could see that some of them were catching small silver fish about 1 to 1 1/2 inches long. There must have been a HUGE school of little fish that they were after. Bill and I waded into the ocean up to our knees, but we couldn't see what they were after.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Home Once More!

A member of the Phoenix Visitors' Bureau picked me up at the hotel this morning and took me back to the Phoenix Airport in plenty of time for my flight back the SeaTac. Forry had planned to call our friends Bill and Leslie to see if we could get together in Seattle when he came back to SeaTac to get me today. But instead, they suggested that they pick me up at the airport and come on out to Ocean Mist. It was a delight to get to ride in their bright yellow Rubicon.

We got here to the RV Park a little after five o'clock; visited for a while; then went in to Ocean Shores for dinner. And would you believe, after two weeks of looking -- and on our last night here -- we finally found THE seafood restaurant! Located at the rear of a fish market, Mike's Restaurant has fantastic seafood. I had a fresh crab (cooked after I ordered it), Forry had crab cakes, Leslie had some wonderful crab stuffed prawns and Bill had some delectable scallops. It was a great meal!

Bill and Leslie are staying in Aberdeen tonight, but will be returning in the morning for breakfast and to fly kites on the beach before we pack up Auntie Violet and head for Sequim.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Day One in Phoenix

Wow! It's really hot when you go outside and it's 107 degrees at 9 o'clock in the morning!
I had a very nice boring flight from SeaTac this morning. There were people from the Phoenix Convention Bureau waiting to give me a ride to the Wyndham Hotel. Very nice -- the have plug-ins all over the place. There's one on each side of the bed at waist height. I can actually plug in the chargers for both my iPhone and my Kindle without having to crawl under the bed and/or unplug something!

We met this afternoon with the Vice Mayor of Phoenix whose mother is Mexican and his father is Polish. He's a pretty devout Catholic who is looking for the churches to stand up against all of the hate legislation and talk. Many of the Arizonians we talking with today are working to register Hispanic voters -- they've invited college students to come and help -- almost like the voting drives in the south in the 60's.

There are 18 of us here in our delegation, most of whom I've met over the past few years, though only five of us are Anglos. We're definitely in a listening mode. We'll hear more from the Chief of Police tomorrow as well as other city officials and then in the afternoon we'll be talking with local church folks.

Day Two -- Phoenix

Another very long day of meetings in a very HOT city (111 degrees today). I can see why everyplace we've gone has AC!
We met with the Mayor & the Chief of Police today and got a lot of the history of Arizona's SB 1071.
This evening we met with about 70 local Arizona church members. Interesting discussions!

Sent from my iPhone....

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

At the SeaTac Airport

Late this afternoon, we took the Toad and drove the 100+ miles from Ocean Mist to SeaTac. I am flying out early tomorrow morning for a day and a half meeting in Phoenix. We decided it was easier to drive over today and spend the night rather than fight traffic in the morning. We are checked in at the SeaTac Holiday Express Inn.

Forry will go back to Auntie Violet in the morning then drive back over and pick me up when I return Saturday afternoon. There are fifteen or so of us going as a delegation from Mennonite Church USA to discuss with the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce and Convention Bureau the ramifications of holding our 2013 Assembly in Phoenix. I was invited because of my role as the Co-Chair of the Anti-Racism Team of the Executive Board. Most of the delegation members are from the Racial-Ethnic groups of the church.

It's going to be quite a contrast to go from the coastal beaches where the temperatures have barely reached 70 degrees to the 110 degrees Phoenix has been posting!

On the Beach -- With Sunshine!

It was a beautiful day today! The first really sunny day we've had in over a week, actually the first sunny day since we have been here. We finally got to sleep in this morning which in itself started the day off well. I did a couple of loads of laundry, then we walked down to the beach.

These are the dunes between the RV Park and the beach --

It's a good quarter of a mile walk through the grass over the dunes to get to the beach --
The tide was way out this afternoon, leaving neat patterns on the sand --

Monday, August 9, 2010

Moving Day & Recuperation...

Ocean Mist RV Resort has some very different rules than any place else we've ever been. Members are entitled to a two week stay just like at any other membership park, BUT you are only allowed to stay for one week on the dune side near the ocean (you're still a 1/4 mile away). Normally you spend your first week in the main park area, then the second week you move down by the dunes. Because she was very kind, the lady on duty in the office let us change it around as the grand-daughters were only going to be with us the first week we were here.

So today was moving day when we moved back up into the main area of the park. Which of course, meant we didn't get to sleep in this morning as we were supposed to be moved by 11 AM. It is just as much work to get ready to move less than a mile as it is to travel several hundred miles. The only thing we didn't have to do was hitch up the Toad. I had to chuckle as after we got everything done, I went to wash my hands and realized the one thing I hadn't done was turn the water on!

We didn't do too much this afternoon. I did put the beach towels in the washer -- and I hope they will eventually get dry in this humidity! Towards late afternoon, we went into Ocean Shores to pick up groceries, then went over to the Quinault Casino for supper. Forry and I split a delicious rib steak, then shared creme brulee.

Sunday, August 8, 2010


We actually woke up to sunshine this morning! There were scattered clouds, but lots of blue sky to be seen. Daughter Dawn and Son-in-law Todd were driving up from their home in Oregon to pick up the girls early in the afternoon, so they spent the morning packing. I told them that if they hurried up and got it all done, we would be able to go done to the beach one more time. And that's all it took!

These are some of the flowers and grasses along the path down through the dunes to the beach. I think the yellow one is Tansy Butterweed (Senecio jacobaea) or ragwort, but I am not sure.

Grandpa came down to the beach with us and the girls had a chance to try flying the drivable kite (as you can see, the sun has again disappeared...!) --

Dawn and Todd and Grand daughter Havela got here a little after two and we went back into Ocean Shores to eat. We had some great onion soup along with lots of crab sandwiches -- Grand daughter Claire once more had fish and chips! When we got back to Auntie Violet, it was time to load up all of the girls' stuff and have lots of hugs good-bye.
Auntie Violet seems very empty and quiet this evening...

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Rainy, Cold Day

I heard the rain early this morning on Auntie Violet's roof. It would have been a good morning for sleeping in, but this morning was "all you can eat" pancake and sausage or biscuits and gravy breakfast at the clubhouse from 8:30 to 9:30, so we had to get up and get going. We ate our fill and then returned to the motorhome for a quiet morning of reading and computer games. Since today was the girls' last full day with us, it was a shame it was so cold and rainy.

By two o'clock, the rain was down to a drizzle and Kyra persuaded me that they should go down to the ocean for one more swim. Sometimes I wonder about my sanity, but we went. We were the only people to be seen on the beach -- and nobody was playing in the waves! The only positive thing I can say is that it was a lot easier to walk on the wet sand then the soft dry stuff.

Claire didn't last long before she was back to be wrapped in a towel, but Ky spent a good well chasing crabs and flounders out in the waves. I think they were both glad to return to the park and get into the hot tub.
I made caramel brownies this afternoon for the potluck in the clubhouse tonight. After dinner we stayed and played a round of card bingo.

Friday, August 6, 2010

More Life at the Beach...

Life is so much easier when you've got bookworms in the family! They both came well supplied with their books, so we really don't have to worry about entertaining the grand-daughters.

This is mainly the bird life we have seen so far at the beach -- sea gulls in all stages of maturity --

And we've sighted lots of these little coastal deer, including several does with their fawns --

Here's Claire deciding that, once again, the only thing on the menu that looks good to her is fish and chips (we keep checking her for gills, but haven't found any yet...) --

This morning we drove down towards the Spit in Ocean Shores to go horseback riding along the ocean beach. Claire has gone to Pony Camp for a couple of years, but has never ridden a big horse. When the guide went to put her on the horse, she decided it was just "too high!" They tried her on a smaller horse, but she still thought it was too high and didn't want to ride. So just Grammy and Kyra went for an hour's ride down the sand.

Grandpa and Claire went shopping while we were riding -- we badly needed to get some dehumidifier for the motor home. The humidity here is extremely high -- right at 70% in Auntie Violet! My clothes are just not getting dry at all, nor are the beach towels.

After lunch -- Claire had her fish and chips, Forry had a crab burger, Kyra had a crab and cheese sandwich and I had a delicious crab Louie salad -- the girls and I went back down to the beach for a couple of hours. We had a light mist and then even a bit of sunshine, but after their time in the ocean, the girls were ready for the hot tub.

Tonight was Ice Cream Social night at the RV Park. Kyra, Forry and I all had banana splits with three scoops of ice cream, one each of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry with all of the toppings and lots of walnuts, while Claire had a chocolate ice cream cone. After all of that, I decided I was NOT cooking supper! Kyra said she was still hungry, so she had a root beer float and Claire had a strawberry cone. I didn't even feel guilty about it, after watching all of the calories the two of them expended running on the beach and chasing the waves.

And yes, I know, I missed writing something yesterday! I had uploaded a picture of the girls on the jetty to Facebook that I had taken with my iPhone, and I guess I thought I had done my blog... When I woke up to go the the bano about three o'clock, I remembered I hadn't done it, but wasn't about come out and turn on the computer at that hour...

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Fun at the Beach

After playing in the rather chilly Pacific Ocean, Kyra and Claire know how to end the day -- in the hot tub!

Auntie Violet is sitting just above the dunes at Ocean Mist RV Park --

We can see her as we walk back up from the beach --
The object is to watch the waves and try to catch them just right --

Watch close now --

Now if Grandpa can get all of the lines straightened out --

We can even fly our kite!

We did not see the sun at all today and tonight the fog has crept up the dunes into the campground. There was a pretty good breeze blowing which was nice for flying kites, but not for swimming. I waded out no more than my knees, but the girls spent quite a while jumping into and diving into the waves. Claire got chilled and came and sat on the beach wrapped in towels with Grandpa and Grammy, but Kyra kept at it for over an hour until I called her in and took them into the hot tub.

The girls spent the morning making plaster of paris molds and sidewalk chalk with the kits we bought in town yesterday, while I worked at the getting the laundry done that I had neglected all last week. The humidity is over 65%, so things aren't drying very well.