Tuesday, July 29, 2008

He Let Me Post These!

(This picture is supposed to go at the bottom.)
At a historical marker in central WA...(really needed lipstick here!)

...on the grounds of Maryhill Museum...(cool HUGE tree behind)
...and by the waterfalls.
Did I mention we had a good time? We had a good time. (Dang. I really need lipstick.)


The south side of the gorge is famous for its waterfalls, which we took our time and enjoyed on this trip. Boy, I love waterfalls, big or small. These were big.

Multnomah Falls. We climbed up beyond the bridge.

This picture was taken by Todd looking down the falls. My knees and feet go all woogy-woogy when I look down a little drop, so this one was downright painful!

Views of the Gorge

Here's one of the paddlewheels that take tours on the river.

Remember that highway that I was talking about, built to take advantage of every vista regardless of convenience? Here's an example of just how curvy it was. But amazing views.
A view east from Crown Point.
Looking west from Crown Point.
Back looking east. That's Interstate 84 down there.

Central/Southern Washington Agriculture

I guess it must be genetic that my soul is satisfied with agriculture, because it didn't figure largely in my upbringing. In Alaska. But it makes me peaceful.

Can you see the mountains in the distance? Todd and I figured that they must be the Olympics, because we were looking westnorthwest from Yakima.
This is back down by The Dalles on the WA side. There grow a serious amount of grapes, apples, peaches and apricots.
This is taken from the OR side looking across the Columbia towards a vineyard. Bare, bare hills, but that flat must be so fertile! Isn't that beautiful?
This was taken from the Stonehenge Memorial looking south across the Columbia. Those are mostly peach orchards down there. We drove through them later. See how brown and dry it is up above?

Some Attractions Along the Way

This was Maryhill Museum just across the Columbia from The Dalles. Its story is very interesting, but not really blog fodder...

Lots of peacocks on the property, obviously not shy!
Just down the way was this exact replica of Stonehenge, created by the builder of the Maryhill Museum as a memorial to the brave soldiers who died in World War I. It was amazing.
This building is called Crown Point, erected on this amazing viewpoint along the Columbia River Highway, itself an absolute jewel, built to take full advantage of every available vista regardless of cost, expediency or time of travel.
Here's a distant view of the same building looking east up the Columbia Gorge. There's room for gazing here.

Unexpected Trip

Long story, very short, Todd and I wound up taking Michael up to George, Washington in the middle of the night last Wednesday/Thursday. We departed at 1:00 a.m. and arrived at 8:00 a.m. a little bleary eyed but pretty spunky. We dropped M off with the rest of his youth group (who had arrived the previous afternoon for Creationfest) and decided to poke around central Washington a bit. A friendly waitress told us about Leavenworth, a Bavarian style town; and we used to be big fans of the show Northern Exposure, which was filmed in Roslyn, WA. So we headed a bit northwest and took in some beautiful and interesting country. (Blogger will only allow me 5 photos per blog, so there may be several.)
It is really a desert there! I wasn't expecting sagebrush. Along the highways I would see signs that said "Washington - The Evergreen State" and figure that someone in western WA had come up with that particular slogan. Kind of tickled me. It was anything but green.
It may have been brown, bu it was beautiful.
Okay, this was the next day heading back up the Columbia Gorge, beauiful Mount Hood.
It's very humbling to admit that I have no idea the name or location of this dam, beyond somewhere around Yakima. But I was flying on about three hours sleep - and I'm just not as resilient as I was 20 years ago! In places the Gorge looked like the Grand Canyon.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

And then there's the soil...

Because we basically live on a rock, we have had to create and fill raised beds in which to plant. We have learned the hard way which soils will support basic plant growth. We are doing a lot of soil amending, buying compost tea from the Douglas County Master Gardeners, which was almost magical in effect, and trying other organic options. I must admit to applying Miracle Gro veggie to the potatoes. I sure hope it helps.
This photo is of nicotiana plants in poor soil, to be thoroughly changed and improved this fall.

These are planted in another bed with much better soil, which also received a huge amount of water from the cleaning of the koi pond, probably full of nutrients. What a remarkable difference in these same kind of plants.
This is a different type of nicotiana, shorter and with short flower stems.
Just for fun, here is a flower that is new to me, called Cleome. I grew it from seed and I'll definitely plant them again. The flowers are fabulous. However, I need to pinch them a LOT so they are bushier and have many flowers rather than one on a single tall stalk. This is half the fun though, the learning curve! The soil, the bugs, the deer - think how we'll appreciate heaven.

Poor Plants

Usually I share pictures on this blog that I think are beautiful. But of course there is the other side of the coin. For example, I don't love the trailing tuberous begonias that I grow, weirdly enough. I like the upright ones beter. Still, this is what a healthy one looks like. And...

... this is what the one across from it looks like after it has been browsed by a marauding doe. (Insert sound of grinding teeth here)And these cosmos are being eaten into lace by these little green bugs with black spots - can you see it there? I know I should know what kind of bug that is, but I haven't gotten around to looking it up. Anybody know? All I know is, they are amazingly destructive, and every flower or plant that looks like this has a resident bug, which I squish with great energy.

And these beautiful and fragrant nicotiana blossoms are being used as a nursery larder for some aphid mommas. Wretched little beasties. They had to go. Yep - squished.

Tyler's Room Progress

Resurfacing Tyler's floor was definitely a team effort. Todd's position was mostly advisory, except for the afore-mentioned pitching the old carpet out the window and the not as yet mentioned cutting to perfect size of the floor molding.
Priscilla and I both cut pieces to size, laid in "planks", and generally worked our shoulders and knees to the bone. Here's Pris fitting a corner.
A humbling picture, but you had to see the last piece going in. My little gardener's kneeling pad really saved me. My knees were bruised as it was.
Nice look, huh? Not bad for peel and stick.
Furniture mostly in place. Still lacking are curtains and throw rugs and two little tall antique dressers that we are stripping and refinishing.
What a fine looking boy who really likes his new room.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Latest Indoor Project

Okay, so Tyler has asthma and is allergic to dust mites, right? For years I have wanted to get a hard floor in his bedroom so he has less exposure to dust. Also, he is a messy like most of us in the family, and the mess just had to go. Messes are dusty, no way around that.

So while he's at camp we are redoing his room. Same wall color, touched up all the little "life dings" in the walls and painted the bottom of the walls where the carpet was before.
I'm beat and sore from all this floor prep today, aided as I was by Todd and Pris. Actually, Todd's contribution was that he ripped up the carpet and stuffed it out the window this morning.
Spackling all the nail holes was the part I wasn't expecting. But the floor is completely prepped, I think, and I really hope to get the flooring down tomorrow after we pick the boy up from camp.

A Welcome Visitor

James Elliott drove through our town! He only had a half hour or so, so we all piled in the car and met him at a little deli for a soda pop. What a good time! We all agreed - we like James very much. (I think Michael felt very tall.)
Okay, it was great to see him! Nothing like family.

"So where were Todd and Tyler?" you may ask. Todd was behind the camera (no surprise there) and Tyler is at his first ever summer camp. We pick him up tomorrow morning east of Cottage Grove, if any of you are familiar with the area. Can't wait to hear about his week.

Beauty on the Mountain

I never get used to the beauty I'm surrounded with up here on Wilson's Mountain, as Shirley Stump calls our place. Most of it is created by God, but some is helped along by us too. Randy Alcorn wrote a beautiful blog quite recently about how God made us to love the beauty of the earth, to have a deep appreciation and satisfaction from it. You can find it at http://randyalcorn.blogspot.com/ .
These are the window boxes below the living room windows. I like how the sunset is reflected in the windows, and how you can't tell how much they need to be washed!
Since I was a little girl, when the sky looks like this I think about Jesus coming back, and wish He would.
I have to be so careful with fuschias here. If they get dry at all, all the blossoms shrivel up. And these are so gorgeous that I really try to water thoroughly every day. Every once in a while I forget and always regret it.
The tuberous begonia back porch is starting to bloom! Every year it's such a treat.