Dustin' off the Harley

We here in the beautiful PNW finally began to have our summer on Labor day, September 1, while I was in Hawaii.  Since my return home we've continued to have decent weather for the most part.  But the upcoming week looks like autumn is sneaking in slowly.  Saturday, though, was to be absolutely, drop dead, GORGEOUS!!  

Rick hasn't been doing too well in giving his Harley the attention (using it, that is) it deserves so he suggested that we go for a ride on what looked to be our last beautiful summery day of the year.  I wanted to swing up to Chinook Pass to give the wildflowers another chance and he was already thinking of the same destination.  We tried to see the wildflowers at the normal time last year, late July - nada.  So this year we waited an extra month - zip.  How about now, another month later?


So about 11AM we hit the road and the weather was great for a motorcycle ride.  Except for the deep woods along highway 410 from Greenwater to Crystal mountain.  Brrr....

We got to the pass and wandered around Tipsoo Lakes finally getting the shots of the wildflowers.  I don't think I've ever seen them so dense, nearly every variety that blooms was blooming right now!  Some of the daisy types were drying out but the majority were in perfect bloom.  And there was a thick lenticular cloud over Mt Rainier.  Such a great day for photography.  

From the pass we headed down and pulled into a small trailhead parking area with a picnic table and outhouse and had a quick watery beer.  But we were hungry, so we hit the road again with a diner as a goal.  We checked out Whistlin' Jack's right down the road from our Bumping River Road (Lily Lake is down that road!) but Rick decided it looked like the kind of place that served chintzy thin hamburgers so we moved on (no, he had nothing visual to go on, just making another assumption).  We headed for the town of Naches another 30 miles or so further down the road.  When we got to the Nile area there was a detour, the highway was closed due to a huge landslide that took place nearly 2 years ago.  The detour took us through some pretty landscape and when we got back to the highway there was an interesting looking diner on the corner called the Wood Shed.  It was very unpretentious but the smell coming from the smoker was irresistible.  And they even had a patio to eat on.  Good 'nuff, we were staying!  It couldn't have been better, the food, the weather, the band softly tuning up and the local women with their short hair and too much makeup!

We continued on to the town of Naches, gassed up, took a quick side trip and then headed back toward the pass, daylight was burnin'!

When we stopped once again at the pass to use the restroom it was nearly dark enough to need a flashlight.  The previous 50 miles were not too comfortable for me but I'd thunk it over and knew I needed (1) another layer to be warmer (2) the restroom (3) earplugs and (4) to request Rick to not have so much fun and drive a little slower.  After accomplishing all that I enjoyed the last 55 miles much more. 
We got home in the dark and were slapped in the face by a smattering of raindrops but overall we had a great last day of summer!

A Day at the Fair

A while ago I got an invitation to buy discount fair tickets from BECU and the discussion began - to go or not to go? Rick didn't seem to want to go. But I wanted to go, especially with family, to get shots of kids on rides. I bought everyone's tickets and then left for Hawaii.

When I got back Rachyl mentioned that she and Shirley and all the grandkids would be going on Tuesday. Hey! I don't have anything going on - I'll invite myself to follow them around with my camera!

The weather was absolutely perfect, you couldn't have planned a better day to spend outside at the fair. Warm and sunny, we even managed to get sunburned!

There was nothing outstanding about the fair, especially when the focus was keeping a nearly 4-year-old, a 5 and a 6-year-old happy. But watching them enjoying themselves was very satisfying.

Especially Hunter. That boy could NOT keep his attention on our group and how to follow us. He walked slowly, lagging way behind because his head was turning constantly trying to take in everything around us, it was all so interesting. That'll be my greatest memory of Hunter's visit to the fair, that and how every time I tried to guide him back to the group he'd push my hand away, not wanting to be touched. I finally just began to tell him I'd touch him if he didn't catch up.

Shayne is in a stage where pouting is a regular thing if he doesn't get his way. He kept being reminded, though, that he WOULD get to do everything he wanted, we'd be there all day, we just couldn't follow his schedule, we had to space things out.

Joe - he's getting so big. I really can't recall him giving us any trouble. He seemed happy to just do things our way and was a real help with Hunter on some rides that needed a guide. I'm sure helping Hunter actually squelched his ability to just have fun some times, but he didn't seem to mind. What a great big brother and big cousin.

Shirley already knew what interactive things the boys should do so Rach printed up a schedule of those things and we fit them all in. There was a tractor pull and "Let's Pretend Farm Time", free face painting, the Planting Patch, and, just for Shayne, the "Wool Riders Only Mutton Bustin'".

All the boys participated in the tractor pull. Hunter was actually a little too young for it but he gave it a good try. Joe and Shayne both completed the first round but Shayne had to leave before the finals to go mutton bustin'. Joe did the finals and couldn't complete it, they double the weight the kids are required to pull and the weight is actually moving up an incline on top of a foot (or sled) that the kids have to drag.

Shayne has done the mutton bustin' a couple times but Shirley wasn't sure he'd do it this time because his confidence-builder, Dad, wasn't there. He actually was on the back of the sheep before he chickened out. What they do is just hang onto the sheep while the sheep bolts across a long pen, usually taking about 6 seconds. It's a real competition that the winner of each round is invited back to a final competition to crown the Puyallup Fair 2011 champion. Then the champs are all flown to the Nationals, this year in California, Fresno, I believe, for one last competition to crown the national champ.

But the winning interactive event was the "Let's Pretend Farm Time". They got to choose a character and get into costume and participate in basically a one-man show, they were more like props, but really cute props. Joe was a cowboy, Shayne was a cow and Hunter was a sheep. But Hunter stole the show. He was supposed to sit on the side during most of the play but, as he was when we were walking around, he was enthralled with everything around him. So he was up checking things out in the stage area. Then he discovered he had a tail and was playing with that. It was too cute! I think Rach, Shirl and I all had tears in our eyes, laughing so hard! Such a cute little boy up there in his own little world! And when it was time to introduce the players he told the MC his name was "Sheep" which started all the following kids in that direction (the pig ended up saying his name was "Oink").

We warned them when we were wrapping up the trip, letting them know that this would be the last ride. I think they were all pretty well worn out. Shay and Hunter both fell asleep in the car. 

An all-around fun day for kids and grown-ups alike!

To Look at My Pictures...

don't click on them!  Instead, right click and choose "open link in new tab" or "open link in new window". (then, of course you have to GO TO that new tab or new window and then close it after you've viewed the picture)

Apparently they're trying to make things "better" and, as usual, they're just screwing things up.  In a week or 2 you might be able to just click on them again but for now, please do it the hard way.

And, remember, every picture in this blog will open in a larger format if you click on it.

Thank you for your support...


Well, I started to try to map this whole thing out, day by day but, in the end, it was all just a huge work-fest so I'll just cover some of the work I did.

The day I got there I decided to try to cut back some of the huge buffalo grass that likes to take over the WHOLE FREAKIN' ISLAND and ended up covered with it's little spines, very similar to fiberglass, so I quit and never looked back.  Well, not until I couldn't avoid it any more.  I eventually learned the correct way do deal with it.  You use a hedge trimmer and cut it down slowly, the top 18", then rake it up so you're not walking in it, then the next 18", rake, etc.  When you get to the very bottom you kinda whack the trimmer right into the lowest, thickest part of the clump - Buzz, whack! Buzz, whack! until you get through the whole thing.  The killer?  In a week it'll be 12 - 18" tall again!  Don't forget to throw poison on that clump once you get it down to the ground!

The day after I got there I was up early enough and the clouds and a light mist kept it cool enough to do some raking in the driveway and create, pop and tear a big blister at the base of my thumb!  But I did manage to get a large share of the gravel back into the holes in the driveway so it's a little smoother to drive up and down.

Next I was fixed on getting the garden that I put so much work into last year back in shape.  It was actually pretty good, mom kept plucking the little invasive things that threatened to reestablish themselves EVERYWHERE so I mainly had to trim out excess palm trees and rake, rake, rake.  

During a break I went down to where mom and Vilma were working in the new "screenhouse" that they're gonna use to grow veggies.  I got down there and noticed that their banana garden was looking lousy, actually, it always did look lousy!  I started to trim and rake and got it all cleaned up too!  Unfortunately I put the fronds where people walked and mom slipped on them and fell, oops!  It was soft ground so she was fine but I got busy making the steps she needed to get up and down that hill pronto.  They came out right nice, if I do say so myself...

They've been living with bare studs for 7 years now and are looking forward to having drywall - less geckos, ants and heat, cleaner, hey, it could even begin to look like a real house!  But first they have to pass the framing inspection.  To hang the ceiling drywall first they needed to make vent holes to prevent dry rot and install hurricane straps (which should have been installed before the roof went on).  I tried to use the drill to make the vent holes but it was a man's job - it just ripped out of my hands.  In the process I learned the prep work so Dad and I worked out a system:  I did the prep and cleanup and he drilled the holes.  My job took an hour and a half and his took about 5 minutes.  That's fine, so long as it gets done, and it did.  At one point dad touched the insulation on the underside of the roof and the drill pulled him backward off the ladder but he landed on the futon I was using as a bed - whew!  He was OK.  Then I worked my arm into a frenzy, my elbow hurt so bad it woke me up and I couldn't back to sleep,  Then I got distracted and a wire got damaged and had to be replaced, $42 and 3.5 hours work.  Dad finished up the outside hurricane straps that had to be done.  Hopefully the inspector will come out and give them the green light so they can start hanging drywall.
One day I was about to shake out a sheet from our drilling project and spotted my 74 year old mother perched on top of a ladder in her "work muumuu" stitching that screenhouse together - MOM!  So what did I do?  I ran for my camera, what else?!?

I took the time to clean up a bottle mess under the house which made it look much nicer, trimmed all the hibiscus and weeded that whole side and eventually ended up hanging the green screen that mom has been wanting up for years on the hot side of the house, to shade and cool it.

One of my last projects that I thought would be easy and fun ended up easy enough but not so much fun.  I attempted to make Ma an arbor from sticks.  I mistakenly used green sticks which were flexible instead of old, aged, rock-hard sticks that would have been stiff.  So my finished product was flimsy and unusable.  That's OK, I'm sure Ma will beef it up and make it what she wants.

I guess I was getting a little worn out by the end.  I requested that we go to Hanalei and finally said I wanted it to be my last night there because sunset and moonrise (a full moon) were to be almost simultaneous.  I pictured them both visible at Hanalei.  Well, they were but not facing the same direction.  We watched the sun set and enjoyed watching the people, a very laid-back, family oriented beach but still comfortable enough that a couple to our right were eating pizza and drinking wine from wine glasses!  The sun was pretty much gone and the bonfires were starting when, as we were driving out, I spotted the moon - directly behind us!

My last day there I squeezed in one last chore - I attached a dried up orchid to a palm tree with moss and wire.

A couple quick notes about my flights to and fro.  I sat in seat 9F both ways and both ways seat 9E was, as far as I know, the only empty seat on the plane!  Woo hoo!

On the opposite end of the spectrum I'll briefly mention that on the westbound flight I had a very scary health episode.  Nausea, super hot flashes, extreme sweats, not even enough energy to fan myself, barely staying conscious and was worried about possibly losing control of other "bodily functions".  It lasted about 15 minutes.  There was no heart pounding, no pain.  But it was very scary, I hope it's the last time that happens.  Kids, just keep that in your hat in case you find me unconscious some day!

Boy!  I can't wait for next year's "vacation"?

About Me

My photo
After 2 unsuccessful marriages I spent 12 years as a divorcee, only to fall prey to another man's wiles. We had a fun 5 years together and then he decided he wanted more freedom so once again I'm single.

So I'm freshly divorced at 57 and have 5 great kids and now 7 grandkids. My kids are still a major part of my life but I'm busy helping my aging parents on Kauai.

I've lived in California, Hawaii and Oklahoma before finally settling here in Washington. I love Washington and come back to visit family, friends and take care of my garden often but will be temporarily a resident of Kauai.

I've moved 30 times in my life (no, my parents weren't in the service, at least not since I was about 2) and finally planted roots when I got my little house that I've owned since '91.

My family are Jehovah's Witnesses, I've been one since '72.