Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Quiet Day

I was tired today. I didn't get up very early and I didn't do much. I did do one load of washing and made pork stir fry for dinner, but that was about the sum of it! Well, I guess I did read the paper and part of a book on my Kindle as well.

I did have Forry bring the suitcases in from the Toad so that I could start packing for our trip to Pittsburgh on Sunday. We need to have some fairly nice clothes for the week we will spend at the Mennonite Convention and then some more casual stuff for the next week that we will be spending with our friends Leslie and Bill. Since I have retired, I really don't have a week's worth of "dressier" stuff, so will have to be a bit creative. I usually live in jeans or shorts, t-shirts and sandals...

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A day in Spokane today getting haircuts. No wi- fi connection tonight! :-(

A Trip to Spokane

Right after we arrived in eastern Washington, I called Sarah at Madelia Club to see when I could schedule haircuts for us both. To my surprise, someone had called Sarah just a few minutes previously cancelling her appointment for today! I had thought if we were real lucky, we might be able to get in sometime in August.

So today we went to Spokane and got the job done. Sarah just trimmed my bangs and then trimmed the split ends and evened up the rest. She did say that I was doing a good job of maintaining the contour of my bangs during the year as I trim them myself. (At anywhere from $7 to $10 a pop to have them trimmed and NOT having them listen to me about keeping the contour, I decided it was easier to do it myself! I only trim 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch at a time, so don't do too much damage if I slip...)

Then it was Forry's turn! It's been almost a year since his hair has been touched (he won't let me near it, just Sarah!). It really was quite long.

When it gets this long, it just makes ringlets at the bottom. I like it much better when Sarah layers it -- then he has curls all over!

We ran some errands, then went out to the RV Park where Juni and Tom were staying and got some time in with the dogs before we all went out to dinner. We took Juni and Tom to one of our favorite Spokane restaurants, Wild Sage. And it was delicious!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Petunias and ??

While we were visiting grandchildren last week, we stopped by a nursery and bought this gorgeous pot of petunias to set beside Auntie Violet's doorstep --

This morning when I went out to give them a drink of water, I spotted this interesting visitor. I know it is a big moth, but that's about as far as my insect identification skills go...

It stayed there most of the day, but I noticed this evening that it is gone.

This afternoon we took a quick run into Ritzville to the Farm Service Agency to take care of some paperwork for the ranch. I continue to be impressed with all of the young women that work in that office. They always seem to be extremely cheerful and helpful, going out of their way to make sure we get signatures on whatever papers that are needed for the very complex programs that they deal with. It's great that we can do some of it by email as well.

It actually got pretty warm here this afternoon -- I think summer is finally here. In a normal year, wheat farmers would be getting ready for harvest by the Fourth of July. As we drove around with Juni and Tom last week, we did not even see any wheat that is starting to turn golden. Due to all the rain this spring, it's still pretty green. It'll be the middle of July before they start -- at the earliest!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Departure Time

All good things eventually come to an end, and today was the last day of Juni and Tom's visit with us at the ranch. Their 42 foot Allegro Bus has been parked by Auntie Violet for the last several days.

The big consultation this morning was how best to back their motorhome up and out onto the lane.

Juni was the back-up director --

Forry was watching from the side to make sure Tom didn't back into the sagebrush --

A nice wide swing around by the grain augers --

Aha, success!

Now, they just need to hook up the toad, and they are off to Spokane!

Can you see why we all like RV parks that have "drive-through" spaces? Most RVers become expert backers pretty quickly (there's occasionally one that proves me way wrong!). It's usually a teamwork job. Each couple usually develops their own method of signaling and communicating. We've seen some use walkie-talkies and others use cell phones. Juni and Tom and Forry and I pretty much use hand signals.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Hawks Have Fledged!

The mystery is solved! The hawks are immature Red Tailed Hawks. Our neighbor Diane told us at church today that the ones they were watching near their house had fledged yesterday. Sure enough this afternoon as we watched, one after the other the two young one flew across the coulee to perch in the dead tree.

There has been the cutest little kitten hanging around the motorhomes since we arrived. One of the neighbor kids said that it had shown up at the ranch a week or so ago. Today it decided that it liked sleeping in one of our chaise lounge chairs. It is such a mellow kitten, it has no fear of the dogs. It lets them smell her and check her out and it makes no effort to scratch. Even when Izzie climbed up into the chair with her, she just purred. (I'm making an assumption here. I have no idea what gender it is...)

Izzie and Tica are seldom around other animals and this kitten absolutely fascinates them --

We had a fairly quiet day today. We all got going fairly early (for us anyway!) and went to church at Menno. It was great to see everyone!

After lunch, we all decided it was time for Sunday afternoon naps. Juni fixed spaghetti for dinner and now it's time for the Mariners game.

Saturday, June 25, 2011


This morning I noticed a hawk carrying a mouse over to one of the trees in the windbreak near where the motorhomes are parked. We realized that there was actually a nest way up in the crotch of the tree. If you look closely, you can see him in the middle of this picture that Forry took:

Here are the two motorhomes -- looking towards them from the shelter belt of trees:

And here is where we spent ALL afternoon, watching the hawks and their nest.

We had both sets of binoculars out as well as Forry's scope along with four or five bird books trying to figure out what it was. I was rooting for Swainson's Hawk ('cause I haven't sighted one yet), but we finally decided they are the "Harlan's Hawk" version of Red Tailed Hawks. Because these birds don't have the traditional red tail, they really had us stumped.

Of all the things I had imagined us doing while Juni and Tom were here, it certainly wasn't spending almost five hours watching birds! We had a great afternoon, with doves, blackbirds, both Eastern and Western kingbirds, sparrows and quail adding to the fun.

Friday, June 24, 2011


We were discussing what we wanted to do today. Tom wanted to take a drive around the farm and check it out and Juni was curious about the town of Ritzville. I wasn't going to go with Forry and Tom on the "check out the farm" trip, but when Juni wanted to check out Ritzville, I decided to go along. We unloaded the Toad, spiffed it up a little bit, and loaded us all up. We made the grand tour, in the process checking out wheat fields, summer fallow, and the neighbors' canola, bean, hay, and potato fields. On the way, I spotted a pair of burrowing owls along the roadside. Juni was able to take some really good pictures of the one that didn't fly off right away (I didn't get out of the car to try as I figured two people would really scare them off...).

When we got to Ritzville, we checked out all of the artwork in town, then stopped by Consuela's for something to drink and a snack. It was already almost five and the food smelled so good, we decided to stay and have dinner rather than go back home for spaghetti.

Juni and Tom's furkids were sure glad to see us when we got back. They are such a pair of characters -- and so full of energy! This is Tica, who will calm down enough to find a friendly lap.

This little imp is Izzie. She isn't very big, but she sure makes her presence known. She doesn't know how to go down the steps, but she was very anxiously awaiting us at the top.

We sat over at Tom and Juni's and got our doggie fix, then came home to watch the last of the Mariners game (Tom can't get it on his satellite...). I was going to get another picture of Tom's rig parked by Auntie Violet but I ran out of room on the card in my camera...

Guess I'll have to do it tomorrow.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Tree Heart Ranch RV Park?

It sort of looks like one tonight! Tom and Juni, our friends from Albuquerque, pulled in about four pm with their lovely new RV. They are parked across the end of Auntie Violet and will be with us for several days. We sat out in the lawn chairs and had gin and tonics and enjoyed a chance to relax and visit, catching up on all that had happened since we had seen them last in Albuquerque.

Their two dogs, Izzie and Tica, enjoyed checking out all the new smells on the farm. The neighbor's little kitten is VERY friendly and enjoyed teasing and played with the dogs. I'll have to get some pictures tomorrow of their antics.

This evening I put some Yukon Gold potatoes in the oven to bake; marinated some fresh asparagus in olive oil and balsamic vinegar; put some ribeyes on the George Foreman grill; took out some peach jam to go with the hard rolls I picked up this morning; opened some red wine that Juni had brought over -- and we had a feast!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Over the Mountains!

After final hugs to Daughter Mary Mae, Grandson Varick and Granddaughter Claire as they left for their last day of school today (Son-in-law Scott left for work before we were awake), Forry backed Auntie Violet down the road and into the cul de sac where we hooked up the Toad. Then south on Interstate 5, to 405 and then east on Interstate 90 all the way over Snoqualamie Pass, the Columbia River and past Moses Lake. We pulled into Tree Heart Ranch a little after five pm. Our ranch is midway between Moses Lake and Ritzville and midway between Batum and Schrag on Batum Road.

The farmland is leased to Barb and Jeff who live with their two sons in the farmhouse. We have an electrical hook-up, water and sewage on the west side of the wind break (the house and out-buildings are on the other side) back from the days when we used to have mobile home here for hired men. Our son Sean also had a mobile home here at one time.

We presently have a 50 amp and a 30 amp set-up, but Forry picked up the necessary box and wiring to put in another 50 amp hook-up for our friends when they come to visit in their motor homes while we are here. After we got both our water and electricity hooked up, Forry opened the storage unit to get out his electric mower. Due to all the rain this spring, there is a lush growth of cheat grass right where we park Auntie Violet...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Sixth Grade Graduation

Today was a big day for Grandson Varick as he "graduated" from the sixth grade at Lincoln School in Mount Vernon. Varick was one of four students to give speeches at the program. He and the girl he was partnered with wrote their speech together and each gave alternate paragraphs. Varick is twelve (turns 13 the first week in August) and already a bit of a character. He's been wearing this top hat to school recently.His mother told him he couldn't wear it tonight, but his teacher wanted him to...

This is a pretty talented group of kids. They sang as a group with two soloist groups and a band that were all part of their class. Varick got a Presidents Award for math and reading along with his graduation certificate tonight. We're all pretty proud of him!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Egg Drop -- But NOT Soup!

Today was the day of the big Egg Drop. All of the kids in Grades 3-6 at Granddaughter Claire's school took part, either as individuals or as teams. As an "End of the School Year" activity, the children package a raw egg in some kind of a padded container (less then 8 inches in diameter). The egg in its container is then dropped by teachers off of the roof of the three story school. The children whose eggs survive intact then break the egg (to prove it wasn't hard-boiled) into the garbage can and receive a certificate.

Each class had their eggs tossed off the roof as a group, then after all of them were on the ground, the children scurried to find and unwrap their package. Of course, some of them were already dripping when they picked them up! The kids were pretty creative about what they used to cushion their eggs and also about using plastic bags as parachutes or balloons to float them gently down. There are three classes in each grade and three grades, so there were nine drops altogether.

Both Daughter MM and Son-in-law Scott were working today, so the two sets of grandparents went to the school to watch the competition. We weren't sure that egg drops were on our bucket lists of "must-do" things, but we did have a good time watching the kids. Unfortunately, Claire's egg was NOT one of the survivors...

Sunday, June 19, 2011

My Dad...

Happy Fathers' Day!!!

For some reason I've been thinking about my Dad off and on all day today. He's been gone a long time -- over twelve years now, but it really doesn't seem like it. He often comes to mind when we're watching baseball games. Since some of my earliest memories are of playing with my Sister Sherry under the bleachers while he played Town Team baseball, I imagine that's probably why. I remember him squatting in the classic catcher's pose. He used to squat that way when he was chatting with other guys who were sitting down. I can recall my first glimpse of him at the railroad station when we (Mom and Sherry and I) arrived in Oklahoma where he was stationed at Fort Sill -- squatting down, smoking a cigarette, waiting for the train.

In later years, Dad umpired many baseball games (as well as refereeing for football and basketball). Our house smelled in season of analgesic balm that he used on his sore muscles. When he was too old to umpire, he remained an avid fan of the game -- you could count on baseball being on the TV any time you went to visit in the summertime. It was fun to watch a game with him -- he was always ready to comment on how he thought calls should have been made. If there was a questionable call on a game I was watching, I would pick up the phone and check to see what he thought. I find myself still thinking I should call and see what he thinks when something unusual happens during a game...

Forry and I bought a brick at the Spokane Indians Baseball Park in Dad's memory a few years after he passed on. It seemed a fitting memorial. When we scattered his ashes in Cow Lake as he had requested, I read the poem, "Casey at the Bat" in his honor.

I read somewhere that a person is never truly gone as long as someone still thinks about them. If that's the case, my Dad will live forever!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

A Very Rainy Day and A Dance Recital

It started raining a bit last evening, then it rained hard off and on during the night. It was still raining this morning and it seemed like there were showers most of the day. We did go downtown and checked both Home Depot and Lowes looking for another 50 amp electrical hookup for the ranch. Neither place carried such a thing and both of them recommended we check with Platt Electric. Unfortunately, Platt's is not open on Saturday afternoons and by then it was already after lunch...

Daughter Mary Mae and Granddaughter Claire left early this morning for dress rehearsal for Claire's Dance Recital tonight. We all had an early dinner this afternoon so that we could get to the school where the recital was being held early enough to get good seats. But, everyone else had the same idea! With both sets of grandparents, her parents and her brother, we needed seven seats. We couldn't get seats together and had to split up, but it worked out all right. They wouldn't allow you to use cameras with flash during the performances (they had a professional photographer) so this picture was taken with my iPhone:

This was Claire's Hip Hop number. She also had tap and ballet routines. We had not seen one of her recitals for three years and it was amazing to see what good progress she has made. Of course, the show was stolen by the littlest (three and four-year old) ones.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Just Hangin' Out

After a long day of traveling yesterday, we were ready for a quiet day today. Granddaughter Claire had not been feeling good yesterday and was still a bit droopy this morning, so her mother let her stay home from school. She stayed in bed reading most of the morning, then came over to the motorhome to hang out with us. We shared blueberries and cherries and just chilled.

Later this afternoon, Claire and I drove to the nearby grocery store to pick up some pork chops for supper. By the time we got back home, Daughter MM had returned from work and took both Claire and Grandson Varick to get haircuts. Shortly after that our son-in-law Scott arrived with his mother Diane and her husband Dorv. Scott had ridden over to Spokane for a conference with a friend, then returned with his folks.

Once again we are dealing with our daughter's in-laws and like our younger daughter's who we had visited in Idaho, we like Diane and Dorv very much. We had an enjoyable dinner on the back deck. Scott grilled the pork chops and some fresh asparagus and we had strawberry shortcake for dessert.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

On to Mount Vernon, Washington

Today was a traveling day. We took Interstate 5 all the way through Washington State up to Mount Vernon. We stopped while we were still in Oregon at the Shell Station at Exit 278 to fill diesel. We took on 48.38 gallons at $4.179 per gallon. Then we stopped again after we got into Washington at the Rest Stop at Exit 11 to empty out our grey and black water tanks. I thought it was thoughtful of the State of Washington to post this sign showing all of the free RV Dump Stations in the state.

One thing about being an RVer, you need to pay attention to the things that you don't even think about when you live in a "stix 'n brix" house. One of the resources we use quite frequently is a spiral bound book published by the Good Sam Club called Exit Now, Interstate Exit Directory. It has every Exit in the US Interstate Highway System and tells you what is there, whether it is a service station, restaurant or rest area. It's an invaluable resource for finding what we need as we travel.

Most dump stations are set up very similar to this one. There is a hole to connect your sewer hose to the drain, usually in the middle of a cement pad. Then there is a water hose to flush everything off when you've finished emptying everything. It was interesting that this dump station had a large sign saying it was "for RV usage only -- no commercial rigs!"

We pulled into Daughter Mary Mae's in Mount Vernon late this afternoon. It was hard to believe how tall the grandkids had gotten. Grandson Varick is now five feet and 1/2 inch tall! After making BLTs for supper, Forry fell asleep in his chair while I have been fighting with Blogger over loading that second picture...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Exciting or Mundane or ?

I got an email this morning from a colleague who commented on our "exciting" life after he had asked where we were presently located. I told him we actually live a pretty mundane life, albeit in some pretty interesting places.

I guess it's all in how one looks at it. If you approach every day as an adventure, life can be pretty exciting -- even on a mundane day. Today was a good example. I've neglected doing laundry while at Sister Sherry's and while we've been here at Daughter Dawn's (mainly so as not to fill up the holding tanks as we're not connected to the sewer). As today is our last day here, I asked her if I could do laundry at her house. I've been wanting to wash our bedspread and it's a bit much for the Splendide washer/dryer in Auntie Violet.

Being alone in someone else's space is very different from being in Auntie Violet doing loads of laundry between doing other tasks. Forry almost always has the television on, so it is never quiet. Other than the sound of the washer and dryer, it was pretty peaceful at Dawn's house. I spent the afternoon reading and catching up on Frontierville on the computer between loads.

It's not often that we have our daughter all to ourselves, so tonight after she got home from work, we took her out to dinner at Wellspring. We've eaten there once or twice before. Their food is definitely on the gourmet side. I had a cup of gazpacho watermelon soup (followed by spare ribs). It was an interesting combination of flavors. Forry had their signature prime rib while Dawn had half a roasted Cornish hen.

It certainly was not a boring day, nor was it particularly exciting, but it was enjoyable all the same...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Drift Creek Camp

Drift Creek Camp is up in the mountains above Lincoln City, Oregon. The property is leased from the Forest Service by the Oregon Mennonites. Son-in-law Todd had gone up yesterday to work on some projects before the camp opens for the first campers next week. The grandkids had one last day of school on Monday so they couldn't miss it (of course!) and go up with him. So today Forry and I took Grandaughter Havela and Grandson Micah up to the camp.

I had never been to Drift Creek, but had heard a great deal about it, so it was great to finally get a chance to go there. It's about an hour an a half drive over to Lincoln City and then another 45 minutes up to the camp. The road is very narrow, twisty and winding and a portion of it is gravel.

Havela convinced us that "the" place to stop for lunch was Mo's on the far side of Lincoln City. Forry had some great clam chowder and I had a delicious hot crab and cheese sandwich. Havela had steamed clams while Micah just wanted a cheeseburger. Not only was the food good, the staff was very friendly and accommodating. We'd definitely go there again!

Monday, June 13, 2011

More Strawberry Jam...

Forry and I made a Costco run today. He has been wanting to get one of the new really small video cameras, but waited until we got to Oregon to buy it so he didn't have to pay the sales tax in Idaho or Washington. It made his day as he also got to have a Costco Polish dog for lunch!

On our way into town, we passed a sign for strawberries, so stopped on the way back and bought another flat. Then I didn't know if Daughter Dawn had enough pectin and sugar left, so we turned around and made a stop at Safeway to get more. When we got back to her house Granddaughter Kyra helped me make a double batch of freezer strawberry jam. We ran out of containers, so decided to wait to do another batch until Dawn got home from work.

I put a couple of pork loins in the oven for supper and we had some fresh corn to go with it. Dawn came up with more containers, so I finished up another double batch of jam. That should make my son-in-law happy as he loves strawberry jam! It's been a long time since I've done any jam making. It was actually kind of fun!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A Very Special Day

Today was a good day, all the way around!

It's always been good to worship with the folks at Zion. Some of them have become friends over the years we have been visiting here and it was good to see them this morning.

I never could understand how my parents could "waste" a Sunday afternoon taking a nap. But it is a lovely way to spend a couple of hours. I am reading Land of the Painted Caves by Jean Auel and I curled up in the back bedroom to doze and read.

A little after four I went over to Daughter Dawn's (we are parked in their driveway) and put some Yukon Gold potatoes in the oven. Granddaughter Kyra made some poppy seed muffins (tinted purple) and Dawn made a tomato, palm heart and avocado salad. Later Todd barbecued some steaks. Our dear friends Pat and Warde joined us and we had a feast! With fresh strawberry shortcake for dessert!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Strawberry Jam and Messin' Around

It was one of those days when you look back and really wonder where the time went. Granddaughter Havela came over early while we were still taking showers and soon Grandson Mican showed up as well. We shared some of our morning blueberries with them while we ate breakfast.

After a bit, our son-in-law Todd came over and invited Forry to go strawberry shopping with him. Daughter Dawn was planning to make a whole bunch of strawberry jam. But, unfortunately the owner of the stand where Todd was going to get berries had taken his crop into Woodburn to the Farmers' Market instead. After quite a bit of looking, the guys finally ended up with two half-flats and we were able to at least make two double batches of strawberry freezer jam.

We spent a bit of time having Granddaughter Kyra model the clothes she was packing to take on her school trip to New York and Washington DC next week. Then we ended up making a trip to Goodwill to find the "perfect" small bag for her to take along with her carry-on duffel.

Dawn and Todd had a supper meeting this evening, so the Grandkids joined us for a shrimp supper. We spent most of it just messin' around and the day just flew by!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Safari Association of Ilwaco

We met a fellow along the way with Washington plates -- which meant, of course, that Forry would go visit with him... He told us about where he stayed when he was back in Washington. Safari Association of Ilwaco is a private park on the south end of Long Beach just outside of Ilwaco. You "buy" a lot in the park, then pay annual dues for maintenance. Since we have been sort of looking for a place we might like to settle in for part of the year, we decided to go take a look. There are several lots for sale along with the trailers or park models that are on them. And there were a few that were just the lots --

While the Park is in a pretty much treed area, most of the lots are actually quite open.

We kind of liked a couple of the lots that were located on corners -- they were a bit bigger than the other lots and didn't feel quite so closed in...

This lot already had a shed built on it as well as a privacy fence on the back portion --

The lady who showed us around and the people we met all seemed to be awfully friendly. In contrast to some of the parks we've been at in Arizona, the ladies didn't all look like they had just left the beauty shop -- and there is NO beauty shop on the property!

We spent more time looking around then we had planned, so unfortunately we had to stop in Long Beach to have crab for supper. Delicious!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Ten Years Later...

While my brother Pat and I were at Sister Sherry's last week, we were looking at our mother's angel marker in Sherry's garden. Looking at the dates, we realized that it would be ten years on the ninth of June since she had passed on.

Mother and Dad both had very green thumbs and always had quite a garden. Mom loved peonies and roses and Sherry has planted both on the farmstead. I counted eleven different kinds of peonies in bloom, plus several others that were already bloomed out. Here are a few of them:

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

From Touchet to Hubbard, Oregon

We got a fairly early start this morning getting ourselves and Auntie Violet ready to leave the Farm and head for Oregon. Sister Sherry took puppy Keiko into the vet for his six-month check-up. He weighed 103 pounds! He's going to be one big dog. They got back just as we were ready to head out the gate, so we had a chance for one more good-bye.

I did take one more picture of my favorite dog, Deacon. He's the one who persuaded me that big dogs were okay after we had gone through the trauma of my friend Gail being so badly bitten by the husky when we were in Alaska. How could anyone not think this wrinkled guy is to love?

It was raining lightly when we left the Farm and we had rain almost until John Day. The drive through the Columbia Gorge was gorgeous even on a rather dark cloudy day --

The rivers are all incredibly full. The Columbia is as high below the dams as it is above them. This is a tugboat pushing a couple of barges of wheat downriver --

We pulled into Daughter Dawn's house just outside of Hubbard a little after six o'clock. Dawn had just returned from her work at the clinic and Son-in-law Todd had dinner waiting. It was so good to see everyone! Grand-daughter Kyra and Grandson Micah have both gotten quite a bit taller -- Micah is all legs! And Grand-daughter Havela now proudly has possession of her driving Learners Permit.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Another Day on the Farm

We were up and going early this morning as the farrier was coming to trim all the miniature horses and donkeys' hoofs. Sister Sherry had kept them in the corral last night. Our task this morning was to collect nine halters and lead ropes and catch the critters and tie them to the fence for BJ, the farrier.

This big boy is Cougar. He was the supervisor for the whole operation.

As we were getting things organized, we heard a bunch of peeping and spotted four little newly hatched chicks. They were trying to follow their mother back into the hen house, but were too little to jump up over the door jamb. Sherry picked them all up to put them back where they belonged...

In the meantime, BJ was working his way through seven miniature horse and two miniature donkeys. I'll bet his back was sore tonight!

I think I must have made a half dozen trips from one side of the farmstead to the other this morning. I know I was more than ready to curl up with a mystery this afternoon and take a nap! Tonight we enjoyed one of Sister Sherry's wonderful asparagus quiches. It really tasted good using some of the Montana Mennonite bacon from last year's Mennonite Country Auction.

Monday, June 6, 2011

At the Farm

Today was an overcast, sort of chilly day. I did wander around a bit and take some pictures. It's pretty neat this time of year. Everything is quite green due to all of the rain this spring. And there's lots of things in bloom. These water lillies all came from one stalk given to Sister Sherry by the Garden Clug ladies of Mom's.

This pair stands guard over one of the ponds in the back of the house --

While this fellow guards the area between the shop and the house. Sherry is thinking about painting him, but can't decide what color. She's thinking black, but I think he should be blue...

After all, he is not too far from this handsome fellow --

As you can see by the pictures, everthing is quite lush and green!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A Day at the Farm

It was a nice warm day. It started out sunny, then clouded over a bit, but stayed warm. We sat outside and read all of the newspapers -- love the New York Times Sunday book section! Sister Sherry's friend Kathy was taking pictures of the mastiffs. She took this one of me and Keiko, the six month old puppy.

Keiko's ears and feet are already as big as the full grown dogs -- if he grows into them, he's going to be the biggest dog of the pack. He's a noisy one -- already has a big sharp bark. In contrast, Deacon didn't bark until he was over a year old and his bark is deep and mellow.

We didn't do a whole lot else today. We watched a great Mariners game -- so much fun to watch them this year!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Sherry's Farm!

We pulled into Sherry's farm about 4:30 this afternoon and to my joy, my brother Pat and his wife Cindy were still here as well. Sherry's friend Kathy is also here, so we had a delightful visit. My nephew Nicholas has been living here at the farm while he was attending Walla Walla Community College this winter and his mom Cindy had come down to help him clean up the trailer he has been living in.

We had taken Interstate 84 up through the corner of Oregon to the cut-off to Milton Freewater, then Highway 12 over to Walla Walla and then Touchet. It was a great trip, so nice to see all of the green after having been in the desert all winter.

It is quite an experience to be met by the mastiff pack. Sister Sherry now has four in her personal pack, plus she is also caring for Lara, the mother of the ones she has. The youngest male is from Lara's litter of 14 (!) last winter. He is six months old and a very mellow young man -- his paws are huge. If he grows into them, he is going to be the largest of the bunch!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Toad Returns

We checked in with the Jeep dealer about 2:30 this afternoon and Shane said they were within a half hour of being finished with the Toad. They sent their driver Kris over to the RV Park to pick us up and take us back to the dealership.

With the fan and radiator cap replaced, the oil in both the engine and the transfer case changed and a new pinion seal put in, we ended up spending the better part of a thousand dollar bill.... It's been an expensive month for the Toad!

It was a very nice day today -- one of the nicest ones we've had since we left Arizona. Forry is out this evening draining both the gray and black tanks so that we can get an early start in the morning. I'm really looking forward to seeing Sister Sherry!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Another Day in Nampa

First thing this morning we called Peterson's Stampede Chrysler/Jeep to see about getting the mal-functioning fan on the Toad taken care of. They are only a few blocks from Garrity RV Camp and said that they could take a look at it this morning. Naturally, the closest part was in Portland, Oregon and will be here in the morning (sound familiar?).

I'm not exactly sure what is going on, but I think it has to do with the Toad turning over 99,000 miles a couple of weeks ago. I think he's telling us he wants some TLC!

We've made arrangements to stay here tomorrow night as well. By the time the parts arrive and are installed, it'll be too late to think about heading for Touchet. If all goes well, we'll head in that direction on Saturday.

In the meantime, there was a pretty neat sunset tonight. After a chilly, nasty day, it was nice to see.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Dinner With Some Lovely People

When I listen to some people talk about their children's spouses or significant others, I realize how fortunate we are. We not only really like our sons-in-law, but we really like their parents as well! And we truly enjoy visiting with them.

This evening, we met up with our youngest daughter's in-laws who live nearby here in Parma, Idaho. We had invited them to join us for supper at the Nampa Sizzler. Jan and Jerry are a delightful pair and we talked for three hours straight! They were actually starting to sweep the floors in the restaurant... Of course, we chatted about our mutual children and grand-children, but the conversation ranged far and wide on other topics as well.

It was a nice way to end a day that had been a bit frustrating. We had driven back to the other side of Boise to the Outlet Mall to try to replace some broken Corelle plates (they don't take well to falling on the ceramic tile floor when someone forgets to put the holder bars in the cupboard before we move...). We discovered that the Corelle store had closed last August.

While we were there, the radiator on the Toad started steaming (though the gauge never registered hot!). We discovered that the electric fan was not running. So we are going to have to stay here an extra day and see what we can find out at the nearby Jeep dealer in the morning.