Monday, November 30, 2015

Closer look at Craters of the Moon

I didn't do a very good post on my stay at Craters of the Moon due to not having internet ....So I wanted to go back and fill in that blank! It was a very unique spot...I enjoyed my stay there...the landscape is other worldly looking for sure.  I met the nice lady here who gave me the tip on the butane stove I told y'all about.  She was a van camper too using a minivan for her camper.  She has a folding cot in the back with a 4 inch foam mattress on top and then her sleeping bag.  I enjoyed seeing everyone's version of how to "hit the road"

I arrived in the afternoon so I saved the next day to tour the was a little tight the way I wanted to situate my van but with some back n forthing etc I got it in the way I wanted!  The sites were not paved they had a fine layer of volcanic pebble on them..and it was hard to keep our feet clean so if you go there get a good foot mat by your entrance.

my spot had some exposed rocks  to stumble and  trip over ;o).. the reason I wanted to put it HERE in between the picnic table and the grill is for one thing  I don't use the grill and it was the most level spot I don't carry anything to level my van so I try to park on the level-est part of my site and in this site that was the spot.


The CG has water and bathrooms no shower house no hookups and it was a $5 self pay camp fee for seniors and Free Entrance to the park with the senior pass...a VERY nice Visitor Center within walking distance of the CG and a paved walk to get there. 

This flow happened 2,000 yrs around 15 AD?  It became a park in 1924 and the name came via an article by Robert Limbert published in the National Geographic magazine. "Among the Craters of the Moon." Before that it was referred to as the Cinder Buttes Limbert hiked the entire length of the "Great Riff" in 1920.  This area is the youngest example of fissure eruption in the US and President Coolidge singed the proclamation making it a National Monument. In 1962 the addition of an island of vegetation completely surrounded by lava known as Carey Kipuka increased the size of the
monument by 5360 acres and in 1970 it was increased to included the entire Great Riff Zone. 


NPS photo 

... the walking paths are paved and it makes for easy viewing of an other wise kinda hostile  landscape...

the Ropey type of lava flow

Don't you wish EVERY trail you ever hiked had this wonderfully detailed signage???
These little white Buckwheat wildflowers help to break the smaller cinder pebbles down into even finer Lava Dust..

Here is a cinder garden and you can see the finer dust mound  behind with less flowers; winds can now carry this lava sand to other areas and trees can get a hold in that.  

and there is a nice driving tour of the park...the distant treeless hills are a beautiful backdrop for the lava beds..

The plants help to change the lava  into the volcanic soil like that in the campground.. I found the plants to be very hardy! How do like this ropy lava flow...I think its my favorite if Im asked those tried and true questions like Coke or Pepsi, Republican or Democrat, Ford or Chevy, Aa or Ropy, I'll go with Ropy which is really a type of Pahoehoe depends on how fast or slow it cooled as to what name describes it!
And even tho Im saying it breaks down I don't know that it actually does but the plants are able to establish themselves in different types of the flow.

A tumble of rocks

Actually its Aa, Pahoehoe, and Pillow is another type of Basalt lava where it looks like biscuits that rose in a pan, the Ropy looks like coiled rope!  And Rhyolite is chemically different than basalt lava...


                    Some fissure are  visible and the fall foliage, small as it is, was quite striking!

These are cinder cone fragments....they are as tall as a two story house!

NPS Photo

and the views were beautiful! Here we're looking through 2 cinder cone mounds. 


It was warm there on Sept 14-15 when I was there....and the heat remained for the first hour after the sun started to set so I kept my screens up and the side doors open till it cooled to a chill...later in the night I heard some rustling of plastic...I kept asking Casey what was he doing...but when I turned the lamp on he was not doing anything...hmmm found out next day when I went to eat my p-nut butter nabs we'd had a critter in the night!! Then I got to wondering if it was still in the van...I looked everywhere found nothing...but  we sure had us a bold visitor of some sort come in and help himself!!  Of course I have not removed the turtle shell that fits over the interior part of my engine..Maybe I should! ;-O

Eleanor Roosevelt: You must do the thing you think you can not.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Projects Full Steam Ahead!

We are going over the river and through the woods to my Son's house for Thanksgiving he is hosting for the very first time...yes he is growing up and I am happy to hand ALL the stress over to him...we used to consider someone grown at 19 or 20 now its 30 or 35! lol I am however expected to bring 2 sides and I am gonna toss in a third and one of my favorites  a bottle of Duplin Sweet Red Muscadine Wine grown and made in our sister Carolina State.  

The Beautiful Couple...

We are still having sunny days followed by several of rain...I hate to complain when other states need water so much...I have wild ideas about how they want to build this pipeline from Canada to PA filled with crude oil...IM wondering why don't they build a pipeline from the soggy east to the dry west? Water is so much more important...I could catch enough off my roof alone to supply a family in CA! Imagine if we ALL caught up that water, it could flow thru a canal to Lake Meade!! I mean, doesn't that make more sense?  Did I tell y'all this already? The formula is this 1,000 sq ft roof with one inch of rain = 6,000 gallons of water!!  In the past 24 hrs we've has 2 inches of rain! An average 'water stingy' household uses about 3-4000 gallons per month.  12,000 gallons just soaked into the ground here...multiply that by all the homes in my county!! 

...for me a good way to spend rainy days is to sew! I'm back on my projects...easing into it slowly...My old boss had given me some loose woven fabric to make drapes with. I wanted something to filter the sometimes bright sun that floods in.  So I made 3 panels they all stack to the side so here is the first one up,

This window is in the corner so I butted the pole right to the wall and put a finial on the other end...This is the curtain hardware Mom and I stained last summer! 

And the other room I added drapes to...has 2 windows 

My sister gave me this huge rug I folded it and it rode on the bench seat in the van covered with the dogs blankets and they rode on top of it all the way from CO! Its a very pretty rug I had hoped it would work in the living room but it was too big in there so its now in the largest bedroom and I think the colors will be easy to work with!

the rug

And in the living room I got the pillows made! I didn't find any bullion fringe decided to go more minimalist look. 

One of my Fabric Line Designs 

I have  ordered a 30 x 40 wall art canvas of one of my horse paintings to go over the couch delivery date is approx Dec 10th. I can't wait to see it...I've been planning to order one for like eons...this wall needs something colorful! Of course I'll update as soon as it arrives and is on the wall. I ordered from Easy Canvas Prints and got 80% if you want one I'd jump on it now. 

AND I got the wood for the bathroom floor!! That's the bathroom behind that sheet covered door in the background! I have not put the door back up there yet it would only be in the way SO I can drop the sheet to keep dust from getting all over the place while I work in there.

How long now have I have working on this house, seems like years!! Is sure was nice to have a break that didn't include a broken bone!

So the Project house is back on the front burner for the fall and winter...and maybe by spring it will be ready for occupancy!

Have a great day of Thanksgiving where ever you are, I have much to be thankful for and many plans for the future, hope you do too!!

Eleanor Roosevelt: You must do the thing you think you can not.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

More of Antelope Island

Another wonderful place I did not do justice to in my blog ,due to no internet, is Antelope Island in the Great Salt Lake SP!  I combined 3 awesome places into one post with the notion I would later go more in depth.  My sister has a dear friend in CO (she hosted the garden party) and she told me if you get close to Antelope Island do STOP!  I was zooming up I-15 in heavy city traffic and suddenly a sign said Antelope Island next right and I just took it without even giving more thought to it than that...I did hope there would be other signs to point the way since I had not mapped it out period! It was all on a whim which is how I love to travel on a loose whim.

If you really want to be wow-d go there.  This is a place I would like to see in other seasons maybe not summer, but def spring and winter...

If you're a serious photographer with lots of patience you could get some awesome dust/dawn/twilight/sun rise/sun set shots here!  The vast lake itself is magical and like most western bodies of water right now its on the low level.  It's the largest salt lake in the Western Hemisphere and the largest remaining part of the prehistoric lake Bonneville! The lake has no outlet only evaporation that is why its saltier than the oceans.

Thanks to that salinity the lake has an enormous amount of brine shrimp and that brings BIRDS with the largest population of Wilson's Phalarope in the WORLD!  The cool thing about watching is the little circle dance they do which creates a vortex in the water and then they can scoop up the small crustaceans that are on the outer circles of the swirl so its a new "spin" on lunch!  I  took this video you have to excuse my constant chatter I am always amazed by nature and its hard to contain my curiosity.  It was my first time to witness this behavior.


It was dizzying!! . 

there is a lot of insect activity near the water once you get up on the hills away from the water they disappear..

Up on the slight hill near our camp a scene unfolded....I saw a jack rabbit suddenly bound through the campground almost oblivious to the humans around and thought it strange...I snapped a fast photo as he surveyed and then took off!

next was a cubby/flock of chukkar just wandered down...I was amazed 

Then almost behind him was a pronghorn...she came within 30 ft of my camp...I was like Okay...snapping photos of her 

Casey Spots her...

then I spotted movement behind the brush about another 10 ft up the hillside and saw this character..and that answered that question of why are all these critters coming into the camp NEAR us humans? Clever and smart they are as Yoda might say..


The hunter disappeared and soon the critters wandered back into the cover of natural surroundings...
There is a substantial herd of buffalo here and there is a buffalo ranch...I purposely did not visit that part of the park preferring to see the buffalo out free rather than in pens or corrals! 

A very nice visitors center sits up on a  hill with 360 degree views 

The animals are free roaming they tolerate the humans well but warnings say stay away from them...

Am. Avocet

The huge flocks of Northern Shoveler, Eared Grebes, Horned Grebes,  and American Avocets were here in great numbers too

here's a few stunning views I enjoyed! 

Then it was time to get back on the road!! I sure was HAPPY I stopped it def was a highlight!!

I could go on and on, but I'll leave something for you to discover on your own...

Eleanor Roosevelt: You must do the thing you think you can not.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Life List Additions!

I finally have a tally on the birds I added to my life list on my trip! I'm not a huge list keeper exactly...but I keep a life list and it's not a big number either...but as you get more and more tics on the page you really have to travel afar to add something new...or be ready to "scramble the jet" if you want to chase after rare sightings! If I was a free bird and didn't have 4 others depending on me, (Mom, Floss, Annie, & Casey) I'd be up and running :o)It is a competitive thing but its like you're competing with mother nature.
I was NOT able to photograph ever new bird I saw but I tried in almost every case a few times it was while I was out walking Casey without a camera and all I could do was watch helplessly as the bird was well seen and not photographed...or driving the car and it just flew right in front of me, even if you have your camera and the bird IS right in front of you is no guarantee you will get a photo of it.  I nearly gave up photography period due to birds! BUT TG the digital age came along and saved me from exile!

And thanks go out to my blog friend Jen of i used to hate birds for doing a bird outing with me and helping me with I'ds on some of the tougher ones. Not being familiar with Western birds makes it hard to I'd them and I'm awful with water birds of any kind since I live in a forest I'm used to forest dwelling birds! 

So here are my new additions...this is in the order I saw them and general location! 

  1. Pinyon Jay - Garfield Co, CO 
  2. Red Shafted Flicker - Garfield Co, CO
  3. Sandhill Crane - Dinosaur N.M. Jensen, Utah
  4. American Avocet - GSL, Utah
  5. Wilson's Phalarope -GSL, Utah
  6. Red-Necked Phalarope - GSL, Utah
  7. Eared Grebe - GSL, Utah
  8. Sage Thrasher - GSL, Utah
  9. Sage Sparrow - GSL, Utah
  10. Chukar - GSL, Utah
  11. Bushtit - Craters of the Moon, Carey, ID
  12. Long Billed Dowitcher - Ridgefield NWR, WA
  13. Barrow's Goldeneye- Mt. St. Helens, WA
  14. Varied Thrush - Mt Rainier, WA
  15. Heermann's Gull - Port Townsend, WA
  16. Thayer's Gull Port Townsend, WA
  17. Chestnut Backed Chickadee - Olympic NP, WA
  18. Red Breasted Sapsucker - Olympic NP, WA
  19. Cinnamon Backed Chickadee - Oylmpic NP, WA
  20. Surf Scoter - Coast Highway, Kalaloch, WA
  21. Black Scoter - Coast Highway, Kalaloch, WA
  22. Canvas Back - Astoria, OR
  23. Northern Pintail - Astoria OR
  24. Winter Wren - Cape Meares, OR
  25. Brandt's Cormorant - Yaquina Head, OR
  26. Black Oyster Catcher - Heceta Head Beach, OR
  27. Common Merganser - Umpqua Rv Umpqua NF, OR
  28. Northern Goshawk - Lower Klamath WLR- Doris, CA
  29. Sage Grouse - Lower Klamath WLR- Doris, CA
  30. Townsend's Solitaire - Lava Beds N.M., Indian Well, CA
  31. Snow Goose - Tule Lake NWR, Tulelake, CA
  32. Cackling Goose - Tule Lake NWR, Tulelake, CA
  33. Lesser Goldfinch - Tule Lake NWR, Tulelake, CA
  34. White Faced Ibis - Tule Lake NWR, Tulelake, CA
  35. Green Winged Teal - Tule Lake NWR, Tulelake, CA
Final Tally New Lifers = 35 and there were some Unidentifiable's even with can't always get a perfect count...That brings my life list tally to 311 not huge But its a work in progress!   The tally of all birds's ID'd for this trip from start to finish was 122 Not bad! 

I found out that there is a 600 club, out there somewhere...if your life list includes 600 birds that means you get top I'm half of that I am now however a member of the 300 club...if there is such a thing. I think some patches are in order like we used to get for bowling! 

I wanted to send y'all over to McQ;s Travels  for some super bird photos and an impressive birding spot to add to your birding wanna go list! Some other spots I really want to visit are the Bosque Del'Apache NWR down in NM, Aransas NWR in Texas (possible Whooping Cranes there)
Here is a great resource to bookmark, a list of 

PEACE and happy birding!
Eleanor Roosevelt: You must do the thing you think you can not.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Dog Gone Fall....

Ever since our return all I've done is YARD WORK!! A trillion stix and limbs, another trillion lbs of leaves, and the grass was high underneath since it didn't get its final cut as normal so back breaking work has been going on!!  My trailer is loaded down and I'm not done yet!

One thing I know is this: nothing stays the same! On Thursday Nov 5th the dogs were running through the  pasture to intercept the annoying dog that belongs to "that" neighbor you know the one like we all have the one who won't do the right thing...he lets his dogs run loose fence so they roam freely and cause havoc in the community at will.  They enjoy teasing my girls up the back fence line so I normally keep the gate shut so they can't get into the pasture!  But I have a lot of work to do down there so I had the gate open.   So they were running full blast I tapped on the window to try and get their attention and perhaps slow them down; did no good!   Shortly after Annie bounced back into the kitchen via the doggie door but where is sister Floss? I opened up the dog she stood there holding up a back leg...hmmmm

Upon examining it found nothing obvious, but I have seen this before in a dog we had in the past when my son was growing up her name was Dixie, 

Dixie 1998
she blew out her ACL (the ligament that holds one's knee in the correct position) doing basically the same thing...running too fast.  We had surgery performed on Dixie's leg.  She never walked right again and she ended up blowing out the other leg a yr later! 

So A trip to the vet confirmed my suspicions about Floss's injury he said they is no way to know if its torn badly but he said surgery is normally the way to go gave me some anti inflammatory for her and she is to rest for 2 weeks and we'll see...

So she ran out of the meds yesterday I have tried to keep her quiet and only take her out for bathroom breaks she is putting weight on the leg again but hobbling along before she was hopping on 3 legs...I found a website that says surgery is NOT necessary if the dog is kept quiet for a minimum of 8 weeks.  I know Dixie had to be kept quiet for many weeks even with the surgery so I have devised a plan based on my feeling that she can recover this injury without surgery After all I injured my ACL and did not have surgery it still gives me pain, the vet said even with surgery she will NOT be the same it does NOT guarantee a return to "normal" the surgery stabilizes the knee until the scar tissue forms and that stabilizes the knee. 

Vet said she has to lose weight (she was 66 lbs) she is normally around 63 he did not give me a target weight but I think a 5 lb loss would greatly benefit both my dogs except Casey he is still 20 lbs...but he only 8 inches tall and 24 inches long lol.

I've tried to keep them both on diets but Mom is a pity I've had to INSIST she keep out of the dogs feeding period she over feeds and gives TOO many snacks between meals So My plan is this: 8 week rest period, a diet change, adding bones to the diet, supplements, finding the best Kibble with high protein and low carb content!

 I'm going away from canned dog food to Salmon, canned white chicken and canned ham.. Human canned foods... dogs need different kinds of proteins than we humans need...ones available in meats, fish, and eggs.  I don't deal well with meat...Fish I can handle I hope!  I have never given them grain based kibble but the canned dog food has Wheat, Wheat Gluten, etc in it and the kibble has too high a calorie content based on the carbs present...I'm currently feeding 4-Health Salmon and Sweet potato.  

So I may to go with Blue Buffalo its so $high$ but probably worth it I see Purina  has one called I'm on the search for a good kibble, changing the canned dog food to canned salmon I will crush up the bones in it, I am going back to giving the knuckle bones for chewing, and back to Glucosamine  additives.  The web site I read said you should see improvement in 8 weeks if the dog is going to recover without surgery...although the restricted exercise period will be determined by the dog's progress...SO I'm in for an intensive couple months of dog care NOT how I wanted to spend the remainder of the Fall...and I had agreed to keep Maggie for 2 weeks...So my life is going to dogs..
:o) Bow Wow for now brown cow!

Floss on the right 

Eleanor Roosevelt: You must do the thing you think you can not.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

The Human Element 1

I want to post some highlights about the travels I just had...this story took place during my visit to the John Day Fossil beds area of Oregon.  I'm  adding some photos from the locale there not exactly pertinent to the subject of the post..and mostly shot from/thru the window scenes of the human element on the landscape. 

People are asking me "what was your favorite part of the trip"? It's so hard to answer that question...I enjoyed the entire experience with a few exceptions of course the wrong turns I made, not good...and all due to, well.... Wrong my first one was when I went the wrong way on one campground loop...OOOPPPSSS sorry the arrow was so faintly painted I didn't see it.  Everyone gave me the stink eye kind of wished I had a Rebel Flag to fly behind me---as a gag of course.    LOL 

Sometimes the best  part  was the human element!! 
It was getting near dark thirty I had 1/8 tank of gas my target campground for the night was off the main road onto  Forest Service road 12, and 5 miles up and then 5 back who knows the grade so I needed to secure gas first.  I passed through many small towns NO GAS stations...not one.  I had made a point of not letting the tank get below 1/2 but suddenly I was in the middle of nowhere with fumes in my 25 gallon tank! 

mural in Moro, OR 
not my photo from the web 
I was a happy camper when I saw the sign for Mitchell, OR and another sign Use Lower Gear...TG its down hill all the way...I cruised down the hill missed the left hand turn that takes one the  2 block loop of the "business district" entrance but entered it on the exit end, it was a 2 way black top.

THANK YOU small town of Mitchell, OR and the old fashioned gas pump with a sign above it stating Public Pumps,  operated by the lady who came from the hotel across the street she kept a watchful eye out and came over to pump on an "as needed basis"...

"Fill er up Please!' I was grinning ear to ear and silently saying YESSSSSS to myself...Then this silly man drives up jumps out, asking, "where can you buy gas in this town"?...the lady looks at me, I look at the sign...and say right here...Then he says "I don't see anyplace to put the credit card in the pump"...lady looks at me I look at him, I say "cause there is no slot"; then he takes another look at the pump and says, "I haven't seen one like this since I was 9 yrs old, how do you work it?"   I looked at the lady she looked at me, so I said, "you don't work it, she does", she was there pumping my gas DUH,,,,then I realized he thought we were together me and the lady pumping the gas...OH>>>now I get it..So then I said, "she will pump yours when she is finished pumping mine", then he really looked confused HA!HA!  The lady whispered to me, "MEN" I had to laugh. 

I told the gas pump lady not since Alaska have I had a similar experience when we saw a hand lettered sign  ------> GAS 15 MILES------> My sis and I were riding on fumes in one of those long dry stretches so we kinda humped our shoulders and turned left we were watching that odometer like it was a heart monitor...finally at the 15 mile mark when an old weathered group of odd wooden buildings, with junque here n there, came into view we slowly cruised into the driveway....halfway expecting to see an ax welding maniac...and half wanting to hightail it outta there...and then we saw the hand lettered sign in drippy red paint -> GAS <-over an old pump that had the glass jar on top we sort of gave each other that, "you have to be kidding me" look, then the screen door of the weathered house slammed as an overalls clad man approached, spat  on the ground, and asked, 

"Yes SIR FILL it UP"
"I have a 5 gallon limit"...
 "we'll take 5 gallons" our rented Suzuki Swift held 8 gallons only So we were very happy with the 5!

one of the many roadside ranches in Oregon

I am of course home now and it has rained 8 days now with out the sun so remembering the fun and sometimes weird encounters of my trip is a nice way to make it through these gloomy days. 

Eleanor Roosevelt: You must do the thing you think you can not.