Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Winding down

Our summer that is.  Seems like another season has come, and is going all too quickly to suit me...sigh.

I am weary of hot days in the 90's, but still.  Saying good-bye to summer is a little bit sad, it's like waiting forever for a dear friend.  They finally come, and it's time to leave before you realize it.  Just freaks me out how fast life is going.

I've already noticed signs of Autumn.  Cool nights, brisk mornings, the horses losing their summer coats, the trees shedding their leaves, and the changing colors all around us.  And most noticeably for me, it's dry.  Everything is dry, crunchy and so very, very brown.  This has been a hot, dry summer, and it's been a perfect summer for tomatoes.  I've never had such a bumper crop and a perfect one at that, of tomatoes!  They're absolutely beautiful in their perfection; and oh so, delicious.  We've been eating rather a lot of tomatoes lately.  I'm not complaining.

We've got a very large forest fire fairly near to us right now.  It's burning in excess of 3500 acres of pristine timber and forest lands.  I don't think any homes have been lost, but if they don't get a handle on it soon, that's likely to change.  The smoke in our valley was very intense last weekend and on Monday.  The winds have shifted now, and have redirected the smoke northerly and east from us.  What a relief!  Sure made for some beautiful sunsets though...

We will be saying farewell to summer with a bang!  Or more appropriately, with a splash!  We're leaving Friday after work for our vacation.  We're heading south and east to the McKenzie River Valley. We're taking our dogs and our camper and heading out on a road trip.  I can't wait!!!  We'll drive until we find a place to stop for the night, catch some sleep, wake up, have breakfast and then head to our pre-destined Olallie Campground on the McKenzie.  On Sunday (last day of summer), we're taking a whitewater rafting trip down the Upper McKenzie.  I've never done this before, and am super excited!!!  Sounds like so much fun to me.  Only problem is, I won't be able to shoot many pictures unless I buy one of those waterproof jobbies.  We'll see...I don't want to not live in the moment by trying to take a bunch of pics, but still.  It's a gorgeous river, and it's hard to imagine not having a camera in hand.  Let's hope I don't fly out of the raft and go bobbing down the rapids like a very large beach ball.  Picture that, if you will.  :)

On second thought, forget I said that.

We'll spend the first couple nights at Olallie, which is right next to the river.  From there, we're heading to a different campground near Cougar Reservoir.  Here, we'll enjoy the lake and hit the trail head to Cougar Hot Springs, which is a 1/2 mile hike to a gloriously beautiful and natural hot springs with 6 pools stair-stepped down the mountainside.  The incredibly hot mineral water bursts forth out of a crack in the wall of a small cave and cascades down into the increasingly cooler pools.  The top-most pool is very hot, and they gradually get cooler down to the bottom one.  I hope to try them all!  The mineral waters have a refreshing and especially rejuvenating effect on both body and mind.  Very energizing!  The whole area is in an old growth forest of Douglas firs and Western Red Cedars, and lush vegetation...canopied by starlight, it must be magical.  I definitely will have my camera here.

After that, we're heading south again on Aufderheide drive, which is a scenic bypass ending 60 some miles later at a small town.  We plan on stopping whenever and wherever we want to, and hope to visit many different mountain lakes and campgrounds, eventually ending up in Bend, which is the heart of Central Oregon.  I'm pretty sure we'll be ready for a hot shower and a nice dinner out by then.  :)  

Then it's on to Sisters, probably camp there for a night and decide which of 3 different routes we'll take to head back home.  We hope to have created some wonderful memories, relaxed and energized ourselves all at once.  We're all packed, camper is road-ready, groceries were bought today, caretaker is taken care of and we are mentally, already gone.

We sold our little "Ruby's Roost" last night.  This was one of my hubby's projects, and we had plans to use it to comfortably haul our dogs in when driving our truck.  We have a regular cab in our truck and it's a wee bit too crowded for comfort with 2 big Labs in tow...and you just know they think they have to go everywhere we go, right?  Anyway, a little extra cash for the road is a nice blessing.  If nothing else, it will pay Hannah for her critter care while we're gone.

In other news, I found Eagle's boots.  I would like a little ketchup with my crow, if you please?

They were on the floor, in the back seat area of my car.  I have no idea how, or why they were there.  I do not remember putting them in there, nor does my's a mystery to be sure, but a happy one.  So...that's something else I'm grateful for.

Anyhoo...hope you're all in good health, good spirits, and ready for a little change-o-the seasons.  Ready or not, here comes Autumn.

Let the squirreling begin...

Blessings, Lorie

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Living, learning and milestones

The two go hand in hand; living and learning.  As a rule, I'm a grateful person. I've always found it easy to find reasons to be thankful, which in turn, gives me a sense of peace and a better outlook on life in general.  Like my mom used to always say, life isn't fair.  And it could always be worse, so give thanks for what you have.  Have you noticed though, that it seems like the people who have the most to be thankful for, are the ones complaining the loudest?  Is it just because they've always had everything so easy, that they can't handle obstacles, tribulations that life will always have?  One of those things that I've often pondered, and still have no answers.  

As is usually the case, we've been quite busy lately.  Nothing new there.  We got our camper, picked it up several weeks ago and have already used it on a couple of weekend excursions.  It's a cool little camper, and I'm really liking it!  It's an 8 ft. long, fits in the box of our pick-up with no overhang in back, and has a full-size bed over the cab of the truck.  It has a 2-burner stove, single sink and a nice sized fridge.  The kitchen table/booth makes another full-sized bed if needed.  We've pared down our essentials from what we used to carry in our big horse trailer, but we have room for everything we need.  Less is enough.

The first trip we took was up to Flying M on that last miserably hot weekend.  We took Ladde and Missy and went riding, and played in the creek with the dogs when the heat got to be too much.  Good times.  However...this is where the lessons in life come in.  Apparently while we were gone from our camp site, someone took it upon themselves to rummage through our tack room and steal Eagle's boots.  I guess I have to be thankful that, that's all they took.  I just realized they were gone last evening when I needed them for Harley.  The farrier was out, and Harley had a toe crack, so Troy trimmed him a little more than he normally would have, causing a bit of tenderness.  I had planned on putting the boots on him for a few days so he would be more comfortable.  *sigh*  I just felt sick.  Those boots are expensive, and we don't have a lot of expendable income, especially right now, when I'm trying to pay off the balance of our hay bill, my enormous dentist bill and now our camper.  Why is it that some people think they can just take what isn't theirs?  I don't understand how a person can live with themselves, when they steal from other people who have worked hard for what they've got.  I just don't get it. So now, when we can afford another $250.00 that we can just blow, I'll be replacing those boots.  Why?  Because we still need them.  I just hope that they get their just rewards, and have someone take it upon themselves to lighten them, of some of their personal property sometime.  I'm probably being petty, but that's how I feel about that.  :(

Anyhoo...second trip with our camper was weekend before last.  We found a new caretaker.  Oh the joy!!!  Hannah is a delightful young woman of 21, who has a lot of horsey experience and lives very near us.  I enjoyed meeting her very much, and feel like she is honest, responsible and has plenty of savvy to handle our herd.  For that, I am overwhelmingly thankful!!  Now when we want to travel, I will feel confident in leaving our horses (and cats) in Hannah's capable hands.  So...about the trip, left the horses home and the hubs, dogs and I headed to the beach.  It was delightfully cool...sigh.  Perfectly comfortable temps of low 70's, plenty of sunshine and a delightful ocean breeze.  We got the last available spot in the campground.  We didn't have an ocean view, but we were tucked into some trees and slept listening to the sound of waves.  Perfect.  

The next evening we headed to one of our favorite little restaurants for some fish & chips...when we came out, we noticed that some kind, considerate driver bumped into our back camper jack and ripped it loose in the corner.  Accidents happen, I understand that.  However, there was no note, no apology, not even a kiss my ass.  Nothing.  Again, it just amazes me that someone can damage another person's property and then just drive away, like nothing happened.  What is the deal?  I wasn't raised that way.  I am NOT that kind of person.  There are plenty of worse things that can happen.  I know that.  But seriously?  Where is the kindness?  Where is the sense of right-doing vs. wrong-doing?  Are there no longer people who follow that age-old "do unto others as you would have them do unto you"?  Huh?  Again.  Karma.  Hope it bites YOU in the butt!!  Big time.    

All toll, the last several weeks have been good.  We've been blessed, enjoyed some family time and we're doing well.  All good stuff.  My niece Shannon was involved in a car accident.  Apparently her heart stopped beating and she passed out.  Drove off an embankment, but was otherwise unhurt.  An ambulance was called, and while in the ER, it happened again.  They determined that she needed a pacemaker, so the following day, the surgery was done and she is doing well. Sore, but well.  She'd just had her 49th birthday.  Enjoy your lives because you just never know what's around the next corner.  Live well my friends.  This is one of those situations where she could have felt sorry for herself, and maybe she is to some extent.  But while visiting her in the hospital, I started talking about how fortunate she was that she had just left a stop light, and was going very slowly. She could have been on the freeway, which just a while earlier, she had.  Blessing. Her heart could have stopped beating in her sleep, with no doctor there to resuscitate.  She likely would have died in her sleep.  Blessing.  There were no other cars involved in her many blessings and reasons to be thankful. 

We all have our guardian angels who watch over us.  I know that.  I know it.   And I choose to continue giving thanks every day.  I'm sure that sometimes what we consider bad luck, are really blessings in disguise.  That is how I choose to believe.  I don't see everything, and I probably realize very little of the "big picture".  I give thanks for all the times I was watched over and had no clue.  That's a big reason to smile, put on your big girl panties and give thanks!!

As for sweet hubs turns 65 today.  *sigh*  Brother and sis-in-law took us out for dinner last weekend.  Good food and good company.  Where has the time gone?  I can hardly believe it.  He has reached "official retirement age". Old fart status.  He'd kick my butt right now, if he was here.  :)  And I'd probably deserve it, because he absolutely isn't retired.  He works hard, every single day.  And you know what?  I am sooooo thankful for my husband!!  He also decided to kick the smoking habit yesterday.  *fingers crossed*  This is a big one.  And tough.  I sure would appreciate any and all of your prayers cause heaven knows he's gonna need all the help he can get.  I hope he does it, for good.  

So anyway, I wish you a happy, happy birthday honey!!!  And many, many more...

You are gonna LOVE the cake I've got for you!!!  Life is just too darn short not to have cake.  Am I right???

Blessings to all,
Lorie @ Cingspots