Trip Pics

I didn’t take a lot of photos or video, mostly because I’ve learned that the more pictures I take at an event, the less connected I feel to what happened once I get to the end of it. I took a few in order to remember some of the happenings, and I confess to regretting not taking a few more of friends I visited, but I feel like I was there as a participant, not as an observer, and that’s a good thing!

This is the storm front we hit within an hour of leaving home. I thought it was pretty coming upon it, but then it gave me a nasty migraine that lasted a miserable hour. I ended up not being too impressed after that.

The sunset the first night after a long, long day of driving. We were in Nevada and Squeaky revealed to everyone that she doesn’t sleep in motels very well. Or at all, as the case happened.

Our first full day in California was my grandmother’s birthday, so we spent a fair amount of time over at her house. Aunt K took us behind the house down the creek access, where many many ducks awaited. LK and Pokado had a blast feeding them, and even Squeaky tried to get involved by attempting to taste the hen scratch. Yick.

Ducks are greedy things.

That night we went to a Thai restaurant that has been one of my family’s favorites for as long as I can remember. The family who own/ runs it is delightful and have, I think, more or less adopted my grandmother as their own. It was wonderful to see the place and the people, and I definitely got my Thai food fix!

The next morning the Dearliest and I were out for a walk by my parents’ place and encountered this gorgeous fella.

Then we chased him off so he wouldn’t eat any of my mom’s plants. 😀

Later that day we found ourselves back at GG’s/ Aunt K’s, and it was a beautiful afternoon.

Pokado found some plastic baskets and carted them around for a while, even though they were as big as her and probably weighed at least half of what she does.

LK found a little dump wagon so Aunt K put him to work picking up leaves. It kept him busy for over ten minutes, if I remember correctly!

Squeaky hammed it up from the deck with GG and an obliging pig watering can. The child is amused by some of the simplest things…

Commence wagon rides.

Grandma R feeds a ravenous banana-loving Squeaky.

Our last day we went to the coast, and I didn’t realize until we got there how much I’d missed it!

The Dearliest with LK and Pokado.


LK promptly fell in the water and got soaked, but he laughed and laughed and never really stopped the whole afternoon.

Pokado had to be coaxed into liking the water, but she came around.

Aaaaaand Squeaky. I’m still not sure if she really liked it or was just determined to not be shown up by her older siblings!

I don’t know if there are any pictures of me or not, so I’ll have to check with the Dearliest on that. Even if there are they may not show up here, since I’m kinda camera shy. 😛

Hope everyone is having a good week, and take care until next time!

So I kinda disappeared…

But I have a good reason. We were on vacation! The first family vacation in 3 years, and it was wonderful and refreshing and perfect weather pretty much the whole time. We road-tripped through Idaho and Nevada to reach California, where we visited my hometown, family, and a number of friends for a few days. We took our time heading home, road-tripping up through California and Oregon, visiting a few more friends and some of the Dearliest’s family in the process. It was good seeing everyone, and I arrived back home feeling renewed and more energetic.

I’ve decided vacations are a good thing. 😀

Wherein Squeaky Turns 1

Unfortunately, we were all in the middle of a nasty headcold (and we still have it, phooey), so there’s wasn’t a whole lot of celebrating. Still, she got a taste of a cake doughnut and a tissue to tear up, and she was happy as a clam with it all. Hopefully I’ll be back to normal in another day or so and can think about a little celebration for her soon.

Five people with a cold means generally a box of tissue every ten feet or so, or at least one in every room. The downside is that it makes it more available to the now 1 year old, who (like every baby I’ve ever known) loves to shred anything…well, shredable (is that even a word? spell check says no, but I KNOW I’ve used it/ heard it before). All that to say, the other day the Dearliest observed Squeaky pluck a tissue from a box in her reach and then very casually crawl behind the recliner and stuff the tissue under the chair. She went off about her business and for 15+ minutes played with toys and looked at books and such. At length she dropped what she was doing, crawled back behind the recliner, retrieved the stashed tissue, and started ripping it up!

She doesn’t only stash tissues, though. I have watched her several times ask for a tissue when in need of a nose wipe, and upon pulling one out of the box she wipes her own nose with it and throws it in the garbage. What makes it really cute is that she doesn’t have the hang of blowing her nose yet, but she knows blowing is involved so she’ll blow out her mouth instead. I never thought anything about a cold could be cute, but she manages it. Hee!

A moment when time slowed down.

Not the good kind, either.

After a longish and tiring day in town, the kids and I found ourselves driving back out to the mountain in silence. That is to say, the kids were worn out such that they actually fell asleep (this–like–never happens in the car), and I enjoyed the quiet and peace thoroughly.

Then we crested the last hill before the final approach to the mountain (still a couple miles out), and the first thing I saw was a huge flaming orange glow. My heart just about pounded out my boots it fell so fast, and I couldn’t take my eyes off the flickering. The fact that it was at the base of the mountain directly underneath our point made me even more nervous, because a fire this time of year, starting there, would likely take everything–everything–out. For miles.

Random (but related) things ran through my mind, things like this is the 5th driest summer on record and all the brush and grass are primed to flame. Could I beat it to the house? Should I even try? Did the Dearliest get all the fire lines made that he’d wanted to? How quickly would fire move up the mountain? It hadn’t moved much in the last couple minutes. In fact, it hadn’t moved at all.

So I squinted and drove and stole glances at the glow. In a few minutes my angle to it changed, and I realized that it wasn’t a fire at all, but the setting sun reflecting on a large metal barn roof.

I started breathing a little easier, but it was a little while before my system calmed down and the adrenaline left the body.

I pray to God I don’t have to experience a wildfire, but at least now I know more or less what my initial reaction will be, which in a way I find good and helpful knowing in advance.

Still. I hope it’s a long long time before I see a glow like that again!

Grapes and Elderberries!

The harvesting continues…

My sister-in-law’s neighbor has a couple grape plants. The plants were very productive this year, so the neighbor said that my SIL and anyone else could pick to their heart’s content! Which I did.

I don’t know how many pounds this ended up being, but it made lots of grape jelly!

The day I made the grape juice in preparation for the jelly, we went about the mountain for 2 hours picking elderberries. A number of the trees (although I think technically they’re shrubs? Twelve foot shrubs. There just seems something wrong with that description…) grow over the bank along the road, so we’d find a tree, park the Dearliest’s truck under it, then he’d climb up onto the pipe rack over the bed with a pole limb trimmer and fish for clusters. Fortunately, elderberries are relatively easy to pick and we made a decent haul before children became grumpy and hungry.

This is half of what we picked:

Here’s the other half:

I’m not sure how many gallons of elderberry juice we’ll end up with, but I hope it’s a lot! It’s wonderful to have during cold/ flu season.

I can safely say I have never done so much canning and juicing, and I still have a freezer full of peaches and apricots to deal with. Yeesh. Not sure I want to do this much in a single year again, but considering everything except the peaches were free, I really can’t complain that much, can I? 😛