Sunday, October 31, 2010


Thanks to Grand daughter Claire, Auntie Violet was celebrating Halloween today --

We had thought we might have a Trick or Treater or two, but it was not to be. Seems that almost all of the folks here at 99 RV Park are Seniors -- there are NO kids to be seen!
This morning we drove down to Hubbard to go to church at Zion -- and to get hugs from the grand-children! It was a beautiful drive with all of the color in the trees --

These very red trees were in a nursery along the road by the airport --

After a ghoulish fund-raising dinner put on by the youth of the church, we came back to Vancouver to watch the fourth game of the World Series. Forry has been rooting for the Giants, so he was happy about today's win, but I am pouting...

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Down the Columbia Gorge

Auntie Violet is parked close to the fence that separates 99 RV Park from Hwy 205. She was sleepy this morning -- said she was used to being woke up by the roosters at the Farm!

As you can see by the picture, it is a rainy, wet day here. It started raining during the night and hasn't really stopped since.
We left the farm about 1 PM yesterday and drove Highway 12 through Touchet, then Hwy 730 to join I 84 at Boardman, Oregon. It was a beautiful drive through the Columbia Gorge. There was lots of color from the red of the sumacs to the yellows and bronzes of the deciduous trees among the evergreens.

We stopped at the rest area on the other side of Mosier, taking time to stretch our legs and walk a bit. We arrived at 99 RV Park near Vancouver at 6 PM. It was still light enough to put down the jacks and hook up the electrical and water, but it was dark by the time we extended the slides.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Corriente Cattle

This handsome gentleman is a Corriente bull. Sister Sherry has been pasturing a small herd of Corriente cattle in her pasture near the river this summer. The fellow who rents the pasture says that these are the kind of cattle that the team ropers like for their great horns. I really like the black tips on his white horns.

The ladies of the herd are all different colors --

There was even a yellow one earlier this summer who did not survive a rattlesnake bite --

When we walked yesterday, the dogs were much calmer -- they did not have near the energy of the day before. We walked up the pasture the other way so that we could get a better look at the cows.

Forry is beginning the process of buttoning up the RV this morning. Auntie Violet is ready to get back on the road. I think we will be heading down the Columbia Gorge. As we watch the weather reports, it seems like every part of the country is having strange weather. I just want to get somewhere without snow!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Walk in the Pasture

Yesterday, we took the dog pack and went for a walk in the pasture. Most of the plants were hit by the hard frost a couple of weeks ago, but this Bull Thistle was still green and gorgeous.

It had lots of buds that will probably not get a chance to fully flower as we continue to more into fall.

Sister Sherry seems to go nowhere without a shovel in her hand. During the spring and summer months, she keeps a wary eye out for rattlesnakes, now she was digging up small bull thistle starts wherever she spotted them.

The dog pack started out running way ahead of us. But by the time we turned back, they were sticking pretty close. We kept counting to make sure we had all six. Sherry wouldn't worry so much if it were just her dogs, but Ranger, one of the visitors, had not been out in the big pasture before.

The dogs were pooped when we got back -- and so were Sherry and I! We all took a nap before we went out to the pool for a swim. It had to be a short one as we wanted to watch the first game of the World Series. Forry is rooting for the Giants, while I want the Rangers to win. We had season tickets when we lived in Spokane for our local Spokane Indians team, which is a farm club for Texas. There were several players I saw last night who had started out in Spokane.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Operation Horse Rescue

One of Sister Sherry's goals is to provide refuge for many animals. These mares were on their way to a slaughterhouse in Canada when a rescue group in Yakima intervened. Sherry has given them a home ever since.

The mares had been kept pregnant to provide the urine for the making of the drug premarin (which fell out of favor with all of the bad publicity about hormones). When production of the drug pretty much ceased, they had no use for the mares, so were sending them to slaughter. They now spend their days out in the pastures of the farm, occasionally coming into the corrals for water.

Yesterday I brought my laundry over to Sherry's big washer and got a start on it. Hopefully, I'll get it finished today. Forry spent most of the day working on getting a handle bar installed on the right side of Auntie Violet's entrance. My sole contribution to the task was getting to hunker down in the front slide (which is opened to take on diesel) with a wrench to hold on to a bolt while he tightened it on the inside.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Dogs, Dogs, Dogs!

All I was doing was trying to drink a glass of wine and work on my Frontierville homestead on the computer. But the mastiffs decided I was not paying enough attention to them! On the left is Chatter and on the right is Ranger. For such big dogs, they are extremely affectionate, laying those big heads on your lap and expecting (and of course, getting) their ears rubbed.

This beautiful young lady is Chatter. She was two years old last Saturday. She and her two sisters did VERY well, getting their first points, at the Mastiff show last month. Her sister weighed in at 188 pounds, and they are pretty much the same size -- they are NOT little dogs!

This gentleman is my favorite of all the dogs. Deacon was Sister Sherry's first mastiff and was just a big puppy went I first met him. He'll be four years old on Valentine's Day. I had gotten a bit dog-shy after my friend Gail had been bitten so badly while we were in Alaska together. (I tended to unconsciously move and put Forry between me and any dog we happened to meet while we were out walking.)

But Deacon would NOT allow me to ignore him -- or to stay away from him! He was bound and determined to snuggle with me. He even climbed into the shower and enjoyed sharing my bath (he and I wouldn't fit in together anymore!)

He is a very mellow dog, doesn't get upset at all about all of the visitors and the comings and goings. Too bad he's too big to live in a motor home!

Monday, October 25, 2010

More Wandering Around

I was out earlier this morning wandering around. Of course, the minute the goat saw me, she thought I should have brought the kitchen garbage out for her --

The guinea hens were just glad to be let out of the chicken house so that they could ramble --

As you wander down through the peony and rose garden, you run into the memorial for our mother. Her ashes were scattered among the flowers and this angel stands guard --

Today the house smells of onions, garlic and tomatoes. We're making a batch of spaghetti sauce from the last of the tomatoes. The dog pack members are all sleeping -- sprawled across the various beds that Sister Sherry has all over her house. It's sort of funny to sit among them -- it's like being in a symphony of snorers in many tones and keys.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

And Then There Were FIVE!

Sister Sherry started with the one mastiff, Deacon; then ended up with part interest in two sisters, Corine and Chatter. Deacon is fawn colored, Corine is apricot colored and Chatter is a brindle. Then yesterday Sherry's friend Tracy showed up with two more! Ranger is a full brother to Deacon while Ladybug (another brindle) is a sister of Corine and Chatter. Ranger and Ladybug have come to stay at the farm while their owners are on a Caribbean cruise.

This was the scene this morning when Forry walked in the door. All five mastiffs had to greet him along with Maggie (a black hunting dog that got lost a few years ago and found a home with Sherry as well).

I took this picture yesterday with just the home three. You can see all the different colors of the breed in this shot --

We were going to go into church at the VA hospital this morning, but the new dogs were a bit restless during the night, so we decided it might not be a good idea to leave them all home alone. Ranger has been prowling all morning, just can't quite settle down... At the moment he wanted to sleep under the table where I am using the computer, but Ladybug was already sleeping under it. So he calmly moved me and my chair back out of the way and is now snoring on my feet!

If nothing else, this dog pack will give your daily chuckles!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Wandering Around the Farm

It rained off and on during the night and it's overcast and rather dark this morning. I was up early and sort of wandered around the farm. Sister Sherry's place is always fun -- there are so many things scattered around -- you always find something new.

This dinosaur hides in the roses and Russian sage --

While this fat frog revels in the rainy morning --

The giraffes check out the water tank --

While the zebra looks around for predators? --

When I came inside, the dogs were all awaiting their breakfasts. But Deacon took time to come put his head on my knee and tell me "Good Morning!"

Isn't that a soul full look for so early in the morning?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Deacon Comes to Visit

Yesterday we packed up; put everything away that was going to stay in storage; tidied up the ranch site and headed out. It was late in the afternoon before we got going, so did not get to Sister Sherry's until just before sundown. At the moment Sherry has three mastiffs in residence, but will have a couple more after the weekend (she'll be dog-sitting for a friend).

Deacon, who is Sherry's original mastiff, is the most lovable soul. He's 2 1/2 now and has really filled out -- all muscle. As we were getting Auntie Violet set up, he was watching very closely. Sherry came inside to visit a bit. Deacon before has just sat outside and waited for her. Last night he got brave and actually came up the steps. Trouble was, he wasn't sure how to get back down! Sherry had to coax him to try going down -- but then he just took a big leap. It's a good thing she had a hold of the grab bar -- or she'd have been on the ground too.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Last Night at the Ranch

I spent most of the day doing laundry and putting stuff away. Forry took a quick trip in to Ritzville to pick up our General Delivery mail. We had been waiting to get our ballots from Daughter Mary Mae. Now that we have them, we will pack up Auntie Violet and head for Touchet in the morning. We'll spend a few days there with Sister Sherry and get re-acquainted with all the mastiffs.

From there we are not sure of our next move. We'd like to get a few things done on the RV before we head south, so that will entail a trip to Chehalis and Uhlmann RV. We've been talking about wintering in the Brownsville, Texas area, but we shall see.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

More Details to Take Care Of

We spent another day today taking care of business. First to the courthouse in Ritzville to pay our second half property taxes. The first half is always due in April and the second by the end of October. I should have had my camera with me -- there were some beautiful hibiscus blooming on either side of the courthouse steps.

From Ritzville we drove on up to Spokane. We had to take care of some stuff at Scottrade so parked downtown in River Park Square. It was sort of fun to run into some folks from Ritzville as we left RPS -- Dennis was one of Forry's high school classmates. (We saw them again later at Costco as well...)

After we finished up, we went on down the street to PF Chang's. We weren't sure whether we would have a late lunch or an early dinner. As it turns out today was the first day of their new Dim Sum Happy Hour menu. We ended up having several small appetizers that were really good. A nice way to have a lovely meal!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Business Details

As we get ready to start heading south, there are always things that need to be taken care of. We try to do as much as possible (banking, bill paying etc.) over the Internet, but there are still some things that have to be done in person.

Last week while we were in Ritzville, we went to the Farm Services Agency office and signed several documents for the farm program. Today we drove into Moses Lake to deal with insurance for both the ranch and for next year's crop. I'd sure like to know the number of documents we have signed over the years! If you add up the number of nursing notes, IVs, etc that I signed during my nursing career and what I signed as a hospital administrator, it would probably scare me.

I was tired enough today that I really did not want to go into town, but I had purposely emptied out much of what was in the refrigerator before we left for Sundance. We really needed to restock. We thought about eating in town, but settled for pick-up at KFC. We hadn't done that for a long time and it was actually pretty tasty.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Once Again, We Return to Auntie Violet!

Aw, how nice it is to walk in the door -- even though it was cold (Forry had left the furnace set on 65.)! It has been a l-o-n-g week and I am very tired.

Gail and I got to spend some quality time together at the spa this morning. I sat and visited with her while she got her pedicure, then when she left to catch her flight back to Florida, I enjoyed one myself. Gail is one of those wonderful friends that you may not see for a very long time, but with whom you pick up the conversation just as if you had seen each other yesterday. It has been three years since we have seen her and Dan and it was such a delight to spend time together!

We got back into the Spokane airport a little before four o'clock, then picked up Son Sean and took him out to Casa del Oro for dinner. We'll not see him again until we return in the spring -- but we can count on talking with him on the phone at least once or twice a day!

It was full dark when we got back to Auntie Violet back at the ranch, even though it was only a little after seven. It's a good clue that it is time to start heading south!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

We Are Done!

Yesterday Forry went to the beading class and I showed the gorgeous necklace he made me (while I was busy facilitating!). Today he went to the silver making class and made me this really neat ring --

I am the envy of many of the spouses here, who really appreciate the beautiful work he does! He sets a pretty high standard -- maybe I should keep him?

This afternoon we drafted the statement for this year's Health Sector Assembly in a group that consisted of the facilitators and a volunteer from each of the six small working groups. Tonight the whole group reviewed, critiqued and finally approved the draft document. So my work portion is done. Our flight doesn't leave until 3 PM tomorrow, so my friend Gail and I are going to the Spa for pedicures in the morning!

The aspens have really turned color during the few days we have been here --

This is the creek that winds its way throughout Sundance. You hear the sound of water no matter where you are --

In the midst of all of this glory, we had a lovely worship service late this afternoon for the Protestant contingent (the Catholics went to Mass down in the valley). If there was ever a place to appreciate the wonderful creation we live in, this is certainly it!

Friday, October 15, 2010

A Good Day at the Health Sector Assembly

It is only 10 PM, but I am exhausted. We had an early start to the day with several provocative, pithy speakers on issues related to the new Affordable Health Act (aka Health Care Reform). There was some discussion time with the whole group, then we retired to our small group sessions this afternoon. I have a good, but tough, very smart group of ten which I am facilitating.

When our small group adjourned at 5:30 I decided to walk up the mountain (1200 feet difference in elevation between the meeting areas and our cabin!), then walked back down again with Forry for dinner. Did I say that I am exhausted? I'll be off to bed as soon as I send this!

While I was busy in the sessions this morning, Forry went to the Art Shack and made me the beautiful creation in the pictures below --

I had been wanting a longer necklace and he sure came through! I envy the spouse's free time while they are here, but when I get such lovely gifts, I cannot whine too much!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Today at Sundance

This is part of the creek that winds its way throughout the property at Check SpellingSundance. They told us that most of the red and orange foliage is past its prime, but that the yellow aspens were just coming into theirs --

This is typical of the kind of cabins/condos at the resort. This one is much bigger then the one we are in which has two units. This one has six units. (I was so busy admiring the foliage, that I didn't even notice the car with its hood up...heck of a photographer!)

Sundance is an interesting combination of luxury and rustic. All of the buildings are built to look like they are old and have been here forever. This is the spa where we spent most of the morning after a nice sleep-in. Forry had a deep tissue massage while I had a Wild Ginger Scrub and massage. A lovely way to start the day.

This is the entrance to our cabin, Mandan 8. We are pretty much at the top of the mountain, but right next door to the spa.

You can see the huge timbers that were used in most of the construction in this picture --

And this is what you see when you are driven up to guest registration. This is the first time in the ten years I have been coming here that there are flowers still in bloom.

It was very warm today -- short sleeve and t-shirt weather! We wandered around a bit this afternoon. We had hoped to ride the chair lift up the mountain to see all the colored foliage, but they closed it last week as they prepare for ski season.

We had an exciting beginning to the Assembly tonight. Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin came to speak to the group about her new role in Washington DC. Dr. B has been a part of the Assemblies -- until last year when she had to stay in Washington for confirmation hearings. She is a family doc from Bayou LaBatre, Louisiana where we have actually visited her clinic.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sundance, Utah

This morning we flew to Salt Lake City where we were met at the airport by Medallion Limousine Service and driven up the Wasatch Mountains to Sundance. I will assist with facilitation of the break-out groups for the Health Sector Assembly which starts tomorrow evening. In return for my facilitation services, we get to come up a day early. I've been coming to Sundance with the Assembly for the last ten years and have never stayed in the same unit twice.

This is looking down into the living room from the upper level --

And this is the bedroom --

The kitchenette is on the upper level as well --

This little balcony opens off both the bedroom and the kitchen --

I'll have to take some pictures outside tomorrow. It is absolutely beautiful up here!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Dinner at Gordy's

One of our favorite haunts when we used to live in Spokane was Gordy's Szecheun restaurant up on the South Hill. We had come up to Spokane this afternoon so that we wouldn't have to leave so early tomorrow morning to catch our flight to Utah. After some discussion about where we might eat, we settled on Gordy's. I really like the smoked pork he uses in several of his dishes. Tonight we had it in a bok choy noodle dish.

The other dish we had was black chicken with dates and sweet potatoes. Both of these dishes probably looked a lot more appetizing before we had dug in!

My only gripe about Gordy's is that they only serve white rice -- maybe some time when we come we'll be surprised to see some healthier brown rice. It's very much a minimalist place. All that is on the tables is a bowl, a napkin, and a set of chop sticks at each place setting. But, oh is the food ever good!
We need to go over to Group Health early tomorrow morning to pick up some prescriptions and to get my blood drawn. Then we have an 11:11 flight to Salt Lake City.

Monday, October 11, 2010

RV Design

It's always interesting to look at different motor homes and see the various design details that manufacturers come up with. Sometimes it's the little things that make life a bit easier or that make people say "I wish we had that in our rig!"

One of the things that everyone remarks about in our Alpine coach is the garbage chute. Because we have the Hydro-Hot heating system for both heating and hot water, we don't have a hot water tank. So in the corner by the sink where it would have gone there is instead an opening --

Which opens into a compartment that is accessed from the outside --

Into that compartment goes the kitchen garbage can --

With room along side of it for spare bags --

And when it's all closed up, who would suspect that the garbage is hiding inside?

In Al, the first motor home we had, the garbage can was ALWAYS in the way when I was working in the kitchen! I really like this design feature of Auntie Violet's.