"It is well to remember that the entire population of the universe, with one trifling exception, is composed of others." A.Holmes

Friday, August 28, 2015

Mysteries of Delight ~ Camping In An Ancient Forest

 Doesn't everyone love to go camping with family ? We do . Every year we camp with family, and sometimes friends, in Iron Creek Campground. This campground is in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest near the small town of Randall, WA . This campground is in a rain forest ( allowing us to have campfires in the midst of red alert fire danger throughout most of our state ) and offered a cool respite from the extreme high temps we've been experiencing at our place since May. Look at the size of the trees in the picture above. 2 of my grandchildren posed for me to offer a better perspective of the size of this trio of trees. These trees are babies compared to many of the trees in this ancient forest, many giants over 900 years old are still towering over the campgrounds and the Cispus River the campgrounds overlook.
 The stump in the middle of this picture is taller than an average man. Humbling to be in the midst of these ancient giants, and  awesome in the true definition of the word.
 My husband took a hike along the river paths with the grandchildren and they discovered this little fairy hidden in a tree. They took her out and found a note attached to her that said "read me".
 This is the note they unfolded and read. They then refolded and reattached the note to the fairy and hid her somewhere else. Wonder who was so creative to hide a simple plastic fairy with a special note for the enjoyment of people they will never meet. Wonder who will find her and what they will do ? A mystery.
 We arrived at the campgrounds early on a Thursday and discovered this campsite was inhabited by fairies ? Well, not fairies , but campers who seemed to have enjoyed a lot of time turning a very large stump into a miniature village. The picture does not do this little village justice, there were so many details in the many little shelters and dwellings showing a great deal of creativity and many hours of work. Do you think the people who built this little fairy village were the people who left the fairy hidden in the tree ? A mystery.
 Close-up of one tiny shelter on the stump.
 We were amazed and delighted to discover the river beach was awash in tiny and large stone towers.
 MANY stone towers and piles. At least a hundred stone towers and piles. Who made these ? One busy group of people, or many ? A mystery.
 Another picture to offer a bit of perspective.( Grandson did not build this , but he built a few tiny towers of his own .)
 I discovered as the days went by that every time we went to the beach we all built at least 1 stone tower and other campers did too. So I think someone ( or a few someones) built a few stone towers and pillars, then anyone visiting the beach felt the need to build their own. Just my theory, but this is still a mystery.
 Daughter's children dutifully posed for the obligatory picture by the river . Thank-you !
We don't know who hid the fairy, built the fairy village, or made the original stone piles on the river beach. But these are all mysteries of delight we will add to another year of family camping memories at Iron Creek Campground .

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Beach Cottages of Neskowin , Oregon

I had the pleasure of a cousins' get-away last week in Neskowin, Oregon. I love the Oregon Coast and have been there many times, but never before in Neskowin. I love this little beach town and even more the beach. I am hoping one day in the future I'll be able to go back there . The little beach town has some very interesting and appealing beach cabins . I am posting a few pictures without commentary because none is needed ! ( 3 of my cousins are shown the next picture in front of one of the picturesque cottages. )

I have a few more cottages and beach pics for another post. Did I already say I really loved this little town and it's beach cottages on the Pacific Coast of Oregon ?

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Sun Room Jungle ~ Thursday Garden Update

 It has been so hot outside and our area of the Pacific Northwest continues to break records for high temps and NO rainfall, almost unheard of for us. ( I am so missing the rain ! ) I decided to give an account of our indoor garden, our sun room jungle. The above picture is of an African Violet I have had for many years. She is blooming in a terrarium in the sun room.
 It really is an indoor jungle in our sun room. I spend a lot of time watering, dead-heading, and cleaning up after the plants growing in this room right off our dining room. It was originally designed and used as a closed-in porch entry and there is a door in this room to the front porch. I blocked the door with porch furniture outside and plants inside because after a few years of living with the door accessible to any and all we decided it was one door too many for us.
 My plants thrive here . The Dracaena Emarginata , the tallest plant in the room, was originally a gift to me from my pre-school class when I had our first son. It came in a small pot and now swoops over other plants and is a small tree. I told our oldest son he will receive this tree when we move or die... I hope he makes room for this plant that is as old as he is.
 Norfolk pines and Hoyas also thrive here and grow so large they are taking over the sun room.
 The sun room has windows in the roof and I know they are the reason the plants love and thrive in their home. The plant on the far left is a fig tree I seriously neglect. I know it is root-bound, yet it grows and grows. I have had it many years. It too is a small tree now.
 This Hoya is planted in a very small pot and has twined and tangled all around the sun room. It blooms all year round and sometimes I have to cut its strangling vines away from other plants in this room.

These are poinsettia plants from Christmases past that are also thriving and becoming bushes. My sun room is really a small jungle brimming with  plants reminding me of pleasant and precious times and providing a small room of living greenery for all seasons.

This is my Thursday In The Garden update. Thursday in my indoor garden !

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Abundance, Need, and "When?"


I don't know if you're like me, but I have spent a great deal of my life looking forward to "when". When we'll have children, get a new home, a new appliance, a new piece of furniture, a new ...whatever. Life is short and I seem to have spent a great deal of my life looking forward to the next thing, whatever the next thing might be.

The picture above was taken at a lake in eastern Washington where my husband & I were fishing with our youngest son and his family. ( I caught a really big trout and it was delicious ! ) I thought to myself this is the perfect place to camp and maybe live. Who wouldn't love a classic Airstream travel trailer parked dock-side at a lake chock full of fish just waiting to be caught and pan fried ? A mountain behind the trailer to boot ! I could do this, really. Just looking at this picture makes me happy.

After browsing through all my pictures trapped in our computer files I realized I have the life my husband and I made together with love, with hard work, with planning ( often gone awry ) and also a life full of the hardships and agonies many others suffer , yet still a life of great abundance . Abundance that is NOT of the monetary. I have the desires of my heart and they are not any of my material possessions!

I truly know and understand the saying "life is wasted on the young" ,because if I and my husband had known when we were young what we know now, we would have made so many different choices. Yet we are not made to know in our youth what we know in our older age. And really, if someone had told us we should NOT do this, or we should do that, we would probably have done what we thought best anyway. Such is youth. ( Hey you young things out there, listen again carefully to your elders ! )

So, back to the picture and my dream of living somewhere else , a dream of a different life. Yes, I can dream, and my husband and I dream and plan together, but I truly know I am blessed by God no matter where I live , in the here and now. We have a home we built together with the help of family and friends after a few years of living in a repo single- wide mobile home while we built. Our dream home was crushed by 3 falling trees during a severe storm* a few years ago , and months later repaired. We have an abundance of food but for many years our budget was so slim that out of necessity I found ways to make 3 filling meals for a family of 5 plus company using one store-bought fryer chicken , not to mention ( but I will ) another frequent dinner ~ my husband's least favorite meal, tuna noodle casserole. We now have more material possessions than we need and plenty of food. Abundance and lack are temporal conditions and not necessary for happiness or contentment. We know that where we live does not determine our happiness , but Who we trust our lives to does.

Our true abundance and contentment lies in Him~ Jesus, and all He has given of Himself. Only His life, for us. The "When" ? Now and forever redeemed in spite of ourselves. John 3:16

"I know how to get along with humble means , and I also know how to live in prosperity, in any and every circumstance. I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. ( Jesus ) ." Philippians 4: 12, 13

Thursday, August 6, 2015


We've been gone. Over the mountains and far away to visit our sons and their families. Of course the best part of this is seeing our grandchildren there. It was very hot in eastern Washington and we were re-routed on our 6 hour drive there by the complete closing down of the freeway near the Columbia River because there was a raging wild fire burning on both sides of the freeway near Vantage, WA. We saw the charred remains of many fires alongside the freeways on both sides of the mountains and watched yet again fire-fighting being waged on another very big wild fire burning near our home there. ( Just over the mountain ridge.) All is well.

We returned home to parched gardens. A parched lawn, a parched orchard, and a parched pond. In the picture above you can see our small dinghy not floating in the pond. If it were actually in the pond it would be stuck in mud. Our pond is naturally filled with water by underground springs and rain. This is only the second time in all the years we've lived here the water level has been so low, and it is much lower today than when this picture was taken a few days ago.

There is a very big plus for us with the water drying up in the pond. Within the next few days we should be able to walk on the pond bottom without sinking into mud and finally clear out the fallen branches, logs, and debris the winter and early spring storms left behind. We'll also be able to walk across the pond bottom to the island and haul the storm-fall off without needing the dinghy .

The work crew ( husband & 2 grandsons ) cut up and stacked a lot of storm-fall on the island in Cedar Pond needing to be hauled to the fire pit to be burned later on this autumn when the burn bans are lifted. I think we'll make a big deal of this and have s'mores and hot coco by the camp fire. After a spring and summer of record breaking high temps and little rainfall I am looking forward to pouring rains , wearing jackets because I NEED them , mud boots , and a pond full to overflowing.