Thursday, July 31, 2008


I have always been fascinated by all the different textures of things. I also like to touch fabrics in the fabric store. Call me weird. I also like to run my hands along the edge of things, like fine furniture. There seemed to be a lot of very different textures along the way and I thought that I would try to take photos of them, some turned out OK. It's really hard to make things look 3-D on a 2-D canvas.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Clydehurst Ranch

The continuation of our holiday story....

The second week of our vacation, we spent at a family camp. We had a great time! The last few years we have always taken 2 weeks of holiday time together, and Kevin now swears (well he doesn't actually swear) by it. It takes 3 days to unwind, and then you want to enjoy a few days without thinking about going back to work, and with only 1 week that never happens. So 2 is the best- well wouldn't 4 be sweet?

As a child and teenager Kevin's family had been to this camp several times, so it was time to check it out with our kids. Their mandate roughly is that families are busy and don't have enough time together, that our lives are so rushed that we need undistracted time together. Also, they feel that a lot of American couples with kids, don't have the time to spend quality time together alone to build strong marriages and family. So to do this they offer lots of fun activities you can do together, AND lots of fun activities for just the kids to do supervised, and also free babysitting every night. We didn't really use that, it was more for younger families. Our kids sort of ran free around the camp, but we did enjoy some time together too. It was a very loosely scheduled week. Loved it! My girl was in her glory because she went riding- Western- everyday. The boys enjoyed paint ball and riflery (I took my one shot and broke the glass bottle target so didn't have to take anymore shots, and my girl was freaked out). We did hiking and fly fishing, played pool, ping pong and volleyball, swam in the pool and sat on the "Front Porch" coffee shop every night drinking Italian sodas. We enjoyed the chapel speaker who was a theology prof. from Moody. It was all very "unchurchy" too so we liked that relaxed atmosphere and fun. The kids both made friends with other kids and families that were there from all over. Shockingly, we most enjoyed a family we met from Lethbridge- not at all because they were the only other Canadians but the girls were the same age.

Family pack a picnic lunch day- they had all the picnic stuff ready to go and you loaded up and went for lunch somewhere just your family. We also had a steak BBQ Friday night- so good! We felt totally spoiled by the staff who just loved us all.

My favorite coffee shop! It was amazing! Well and cheap!
Starbucks eat your heart out!

This Week in the Garden

I know you're all dying in anticipation for my weekly addition to the gardening annals. I worry a lot when we go away that I'm going to come back to lots of dead things, especially my container pots. So in preparation I put them all out for days ahead under the underground sprinklers to make sure they will get plenty of water, I just can't ask someone to come over EVERY day for 2 weeks. Then I watch and make sure they are happy. I set all the underground sprinklers on extra because if it's really hot here which it often is in July, we're better wet than too dry (we did live in WA for 3 years so I see that things get very green with lots of water). Drainage is important though- I have had that same issue once before and killed a clematis while away. Anyways, things went CRAZY while we were gone. Prime blooming time of lots of my perennials happened while we were away, so came back to lots of new things in flower!

My wacky rose bush that seems to bloom bi-annually.

Echinacea with a bumble bee enjoying the pollen or whatever that is likes from there.

After years of being told that hydrangea can't grow here because it's too hot, I saw them in stores all the time. I bit the bullet (whatever that expression means- we usually try to find out the meaning behind expressions because some of them have funny origins and people use them a lot) and bought one last year and put it in the shadiest spot in my yard. It didn't really do much last year and was a little leafy 2 weeks ago, but I came back to this!! I was really disappointed I had bought white and not blue, so I bought another one this spring, so I am hoping it does the same next year.

You could probably guess this one, especially you nursey types, but bite the bullet comes from this origin: "Before the advent of ether, the first anesthetic, surgery was a pretty desperate and painful affair. With the patient (although victim might be more descriptive) fully conscious and feeling the pain. These early surgeries were typically limb amputations or the removal of some object lodged into the body such as a bullet or arrowhead.

A typical amputation consisted of the "surgeon" using a saw to hack off the unwanted limb. The skin was then pulled down over the stub and sutured shut. Amazingly, some of these patients survived, but certainly the success ratio was low. Note that poorly skilled physicians today are called "hacks".

Even after the advent of anesthetics such emergency surgery has had to be performed at times. Particularly in times of war when anesthetics may be in limited supply or unavailable.

To ease the pain the patient was given a couple of stiff belts of whiskey to numb the senses, then given a stick or lead bullet to bite down on as the surgeon went to work with knife and saw.

The bullet or stick was given to let the patient focus their energy and attention on the biting instead of the cutting and pain. It may also have helped to reduce the screaming, which probably benefited the surgeon and attendants."

My purple sandcherry that I hacked to the ground last fall, has sprouted hugely!

This photo desperately needs to be cropped, but the lilies are amazing!

My grapes are taking over!

Once the 18 inch grass gets mowed (note- the sprinklers were on high), maybe I'll add some more.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Yellowstone- didn't really see any yellow stones there so don't know why it's so called....

So we're home from being on the road 16 days! It seems so long when you go and see so much, and travel and get to do things that aren't ordinary. It makes the world expand before your very eyes! Makes you thankful for all the amazing things out there, and all the amazing little things at home.

Bear with me, because I just couldn't keep down the number of photos to add today. I do have to make up for 2 weeks gone, and a picture is worth, or takes the place of, a thousand words (just see my husband's blog). Now if you have not been to Yellowstone National Park before, this is a bit of a spoiler! Really it is one of the weirdest things I have ever seen. We didn't really tell the kids too much about what is was about, so they could get the surprise effect. Who would think that boiling things would just pop out of the earth? That mud could boil? Or that water would spray 100 feet in the air at regular intervals of 90 minutes for years and years, and then one day just stop? I don't understand all the geology of it, and don't know that I care too, plus all the signs around the park have all the "crap" about how 300 million years ago, such and such took place. I just don't buy that whole ancient, millions of years ago theory, but that's another post altogether, it just caused me to not want to read the informational sign posts around the park. There's something about molten rock and different layers of stuff with water and pressure in between....

The other thing is that I love maps! I don't know if you know that about me, but I love to look at them, follow them, figure out routes, imagine what lies along each line zigzagging across the page, and especially imagining that I have travelled them all and seen the most amazing things along each trail. Our home office used to be covered in just maps of places, but it filled up really fast, and we moved and other things like babies and stuff took over. Our trip.. first, we did this and then we did this with a few side steps here and there, then we did this and ended up down here, but much further down the road in the backwoods of Montana. I'll tell you more about that later.

We spent the night here, but opted for our tent after some kids found a rattler curled up in the teepee.

A stop for a tour of Lewis and Clark Caverns. Amazing minus the bats, the tour takes you DEEP in there, hundreds of feet down and 2 1/2 hours. Very cool! My girl who gets claustrophobic and height-o-phobic (I'll have to ask Charlie Brown what that ones is called) loved it and did amazing!

Next stop -- Yellowstone and a bunch of shooting geysers!

And pools of boiling water just hanging out.

My boy figured out the self timer on his camera and we ended up wading through over 600 photos in 3 days!

Just standing waiting for Mom with a volcanic geyser going off behind you.

The Pristine Pool

Aren't they cute in their matching shirts? Had to refuel for some more hiking.

Now, you just can't get the full effect without video....

It's called the Paint Pots

This one called the Spasm Geyser. Very sporadic :)

Thanks for enjoying my little vacation with me.....

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Hey y'all

Hanging out in the middle of stinkin' nowhere. Apparently we found out that "A River Runs Through it" and " The Horse Whisperer" were filmed along this stretch of gravel road in southwest Montana along the Boulder River. A beautiful stretch of country!! And we got to shoot some guns! They just gave them to us and let us wander out into the bush alone, no instructions, no questions!! Ah the good ol' USA. We are feeling relaxed!! Lovin' the vacationing life! Even Kevin admitted to missing Ditto a little bit!

Friday, July 11, 2008

A Little More Horsing Around

The horse whisperer has done a good job, because Stormy has been not stormy at all. He's been fun! My boy came up one day with us to play in the creek, slammed his knee against a big rock, gashed it open and wanted to go home. After a few minutes he was appeased by taking A LOT of photos with my new camera. They turned out fun! Must be that 12 megapixels!

The only boy my girl wants to kiss!

A little bareback fun

Shake a hoof!

Ahh..... we got them to look kissy at each other, it is a boy and girl :)
Then Gemmy tried to bite him, typical moody female.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Signs of Summer

It takes only a quick glance around to notice that summer has definitely arrived! When I look around the yard, this is what I see and know that there is much fun to be had, much dirt to be dug, and much water to be sprayed. I know that there is happiness and joy filling my home, and the laughter of friends, and almost always a stray neighbor boy or 2. The first summer we were here, from May- September, we had 41 nights with company, mostly family, but lots of friends passing through too. Now that we're into our 8th summer, it is down to a more manageable B&B pace, and we love the fun and good conversation that people bring to our home, the time and relaxation we sometimes miss in the busyness of the winter and spring months. Our first, and possibly only set of company this summer has come and gone, but there's always hope for more.

A fun afternoon down at the river!

Sawyer and Huck