Friday, November 29, 2013


We had beautiful weather for our journey to my eldest son,
 Gabe and wife, Erica's home to celebrate Thanksgiving. 

My son is a gracious host - shown here with his Chef's jacket on. 

A computer engineer by trade, a chef for pleasure. 

His lovely wife, Erica is an equally gracious hostess. 

After working hard for the last two years remodeling their first home,
they were excited to host their first Thanksgiving.

Both sides of their combined families were present to share in this day of gratitude. 

Welcoming fires blaze as Pedro the cat relaxes nearby. 

As shadows lengthen, wonderful aroma's filled the house. 

Candles are lit and wine bottles opened as guests arrive. 

Erica greets everyone with a welcoming smile. 

Sisters Jennie and Heather ready to celebrate.

Gabe, Jennie and Heather's husband, Eric share a laugh. 

Brother Dustin and fiancee', Jen stay warm by the fire.

Nibbles to keep hunger at bay.

Erica's sweet parents help prepare the meal.

The girls take time to give us a smile.

Erica's grandparents teach everyone how it's done.

Can you believe this beautiful lady is celebrating her 87th birthday next month?

Jen's sweet Mom, Julia stops by to share the fun on her way to work a double shift for Black Friday.

The tallest and the smallest (Eric and Beedle) say hello.

Father and son carve the turkey.

Time to be thankful.

I find my place.

Save room for pie!

Pedro likes turkey, too.

I get a sweet hug.

It was a wonderful day.

And as we say goodbye to all of our loved ones, we count our many blessings.

Good food, family, love, and laughter.

We could not ask for anything more.


Wishing you many blessings in this season of gratitude.

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything thy goodness sends.

- Ralph Waldo Emerson -

As we express our gratitude,
we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words,
but to live them.

- John Fitzgerald Kennedy -

Friday, November 22, 2013

Early Morning Musings

I woke up early today, right before the sun rose over a frosty landscape. 

I saw an eagle making his early morning flight over the house, 
from his mountain roost to his daily hunting grounds. 

Behind him flew two ravens.

Ravens will follow bears, coyotes, cougars and eagles to help clean up any kills. 

Nature values cooperation. 

It is unusually cold here and we have had several nights of hard frost due to the clear skies. 

I woke up to a sparkling world. 

It was important for me to get up early because I had to put out the nectar feeders for my over-wintering Anna's Hummingbirds. On these cold nights I have to take the feeders inside so they don't freeze. 

This photo was taken this morning. 
This little beauty is a male Anna's. 
His dark head flashes brilliant ruby in the sunlight. 

The cold, frosty air and early morning light illuminated jet trails streaking through the sky. 

These two looked to be very close together, but of course they were probably miles apart. 

I did hold my breath for a moment.....

Finally, the sun broke free of the mountains and spread its welcome light and warmth across the landscape.

Sunlight filters through the bedroom curtains as I wake my sleepy Mr. for one last day of work this week. 

I make my way into the kitchen to brew a pot of steaming coffee
 and light the morning fire in the wood stove. 

Whitey is reluctant to leave his cozy quarters on the day-bed, but Champ is ready for his morning walk...... 

He waits for me on the deck after going through the pet door, 
still a little sleepy-eyed with messy bed-head fur. 

But I am not ready to brave this frosty world quite yet. 

I pour myself a cup of coffee and fill my bucket with bird seed as the dogs excitedly jump and bark.

They love our morning walks.

I love these rare sunny days as the sunlight streams through the windows.

I down my coffee while impatient dogs try to hurry me with imploring eyes and restless feet.

I quickly throw on my warm, red plaid flannel and grab my supplies - bucket of seed, suet cakes, hot water to melt ice in the bird bath, and trusty camera.

Weenie Baby and Peanut refuse to brave the cold and hate wearing their sweaters, so we leave them basking in the sunlight until our return.

I have been pet sitting these two little ones for several weeks until my daughter moves to a new home.

The cottonwood trees bravely stand bare against the dark evergreens in the morning light.

Even this time of year, subtle colors beautify the landscape.

Gray trunks and rosy branches give a painterly quality to the wintry scene.

Moss grows thick on every surface in the damp, cool air.

Sedum glows under a layer of frost.

Feet crunch as we walk along, while hungry birds patiently wait for a hand out.

A tiny Red Breasted Nuthatch peeks around the tree as I fill the feeder.

Chickadees, Juncos, Stella Jays, and shy Mourning Doves wait patiently nearby.

Red berries are ripe on the Holly tree, providing treats for Robins, Waxwings, and other berry eating birds.

While my mind drifts to visions of holiday decorations....

With the birds fed and the dogs taken for their morning walk, I head back inside to the warmth of the fire.

Peanut says hello!

I will be taking a short break to spend time with family -

So I will wish all of my American friends a Happy Thanksgiving!

And thank you to everyone for all of your sweet visits and lovely friendship.


Choose thy friends like thy books, few but choice.

- James Howell -

I do then with my friends as I do with my books.
I would have them where I can find them, but I seldom use them.

- Ralph Waldo Emerson -

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Part 1V - A Dream Becomes Reality

Rear view of house with newly delivered windows leaning against framing
Son Gabriel looks out window

After the Thanksgiving storm of 1983 cleared, we woke up to find how fortunate we were after finding a 100 ft. fir tree lying just feet from our trailer. 

Concerned about possible damage to the house during the high winds, Blue Eyes climbed over the debris to assess the situation. 

Entering the house, he was filled with dismay. 

Not only were the floors soaked with standing water, but every window and glass door had fallen onto the newly purchased wood stove that had yet to be installed.  

He rushed back to get my help and together we struggled to pull the heavy stack upright, worried about what we might find. 

There must have been an angel over us that night, because the windows landed on the wood stove in such a way as to protect them from breaking. 
The only damage was a slight dent in the framing of the glass door on the bottom as it shouldered the impact. 

Thinking of what might have been filled us with such relief. A few inches difference would have broken every one as they fell on the sharp corner of the cast iron stove. 

Heather, Jennie and Gabe help stack firewood for Daddy
Cutting up the large tree, and drilling holes in the floor to release the standing water kept my dear husband busy for a while. The little ones and I were put to work sweeping water off the floors and stacking firewood. 

We were anxious to get the roof shingled before the next storm,
 so there was no time to waste. 

With help from family and friends, the hand split cedar shingles were nailed into place. 

Skylights for our passive solar design were installed.
Blue Eyes had just been hired at a local grocery store as assistant manager after his lay-off of 2 months, and worked the swing shift, from 1:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. This allowed mornings free to work on construction. 

With the glass doors installed, this created a problem for the local wildlife who were used to visiting the inside of the windowless house. 

One afternoon my son Gabe came running to tell me there was an owl trapped in the house. 

Picturing large talons and a lethal beak, I worried about what to do and kept the children outside. 

But what I found was a tiny, frightened Western Screech Owl, only 8 inches tall, trying to hide behind a stack of lumber.

I called the children inside to take a little peek.

Tiny Western Screech Owl from my 'Birds of Washington' field guide

Quietly, we simply opened the glass doors and left him to find his way out, which he promptly did. 

Another day, my little daughter, Heather came to tell me there was a hummingbird trapped in the solarium kitchen window. 

Fearing it would injure itself by thrashing against the glass, I gingerly scooped it up in my hand. What a thrill for the children to see this tiny being up close. I opened my hand outside the door and we watched it buzz away, no worse for wear.

Front of house with solarium window

The next installation was the wood stove. It took 5 men to lift it into place.
Triple wall flu pipe was installed in the bump-out 'chimney'.

This was a welcome development, as it meant warmth for interior construction work.

It would be another year until the house was complete enough to move in.

Electrical wiring, plumbing, interior walls, flooring and insulation all had to be installed.

When buying raw land, banks will not lend money on such a risky investment,
nor would we qualify with our ruined credit from our foreclosure.

So little by little we worked, paycheck to paycheck.

My hardworking young husband put in overtime and worked hard for bonuses to put into our home.

Sweet son Gabriel, holding his prized toy chain saw in front of wall hanging - sewing machine and toys wait nearby

I sold hand made wall hangings and crafts to help out when I could.

Daughter Jennie with friend, Faye at entrance to our temporary home

We would live for almost 4 years in our little trailer attached to the shed.

With 4 little ones, I spent most of my time keeping them clean, fed and happy.

Blue Eyes bought me a second hand, homely station wagon,
but that old car was our 'fun' wagon.

Loaded with little ones, friends, cousins, and a full picnic basket,
off we would go to spend our afternoons at the local parks.

Every day was a new adventure.

By October of 1984 we were ready to move in.

Work continued inside and outside, but we were finally living in our new home.

At only 1600 sq. feet, and with only two bedrooms,
Blue Eyes and I slept on a sofa bed in the living room.

A tired Blue Eyes and me in 1984
It was a tight squeeze at times, but we dreamed of the day when we could start the 2nd phase of our construction.

It would be 7 long years before we would see that dream become a reality.

Living in 1600 sq. ft. with four growing children was not easy.

But when we would look out and see elk in our back yard, eagles flying overhead, and coyotes singing to the silvery moon, our spirits would be filled with a new resolve.

When that day finally came, we had our own home grown helpers!
Sons and nephews to lend a hand.

Youngest son, Dustin pretending to use electric saw, much to my horror.
Those boys loved to tease.

Blue Eyes' prized Triumph Sports Car in the background. Not long after it would be totaled in a rear end collision. Blue Eyes needed the jaws of life to pry him free,
but he blessedly escaped with only a couple of cracked ribs.

No more sports cars after that.

Finally, after all those years of hoping and dreaming and praying,
we were on our way to completion.

 Dustin and Gabe helping Dad with siding. 

Oh, what a happy time!

A bedroom of our own, a laundry room, (no more washer and dryer in the living room closets), a guest bathroom and master bath. Six people and one bathroom was quite a challenge.

And an unfinished loft for future endeavors.

Finally, in the year 2000 we built a deck off the entire back.

It was quite an adventure, this journey we began all those many years ago.

I can't say we would do it all again, but I can say that we learned many lessons along the way.

Determination, patience, fortitude, courage and resilience.

But most of all, Faith.

Faith in the power of dreams, faith in ourselves and each other, and most of all, faith in the higher powers to pull us through in our darkest moments.


If one advances confidently in the direction of one's dreams,

and endeavors to live the life which one has imagined,

one will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.

- Henry David Thoreau -

Thank you, Dear Friends, for coming along with me as I revisited our journey.

Your encouragement and sharing of your own personal experiences means so very much.


There is in friendship something of all relations, and something above them all.

It is the golden thread that ties the heart of all the world.

- John Evelyn -
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