Monday, September 25, 2017

The First Snow Flies

Hurricane Ridge had its first dusting of snow recently, Sept. 17-18. And it feels cooler every night now. Recently there was a notice on FaceBook of a projected winter weather summary that suggests we might have a repeat of last winter in the NW.

With the limited water delivered through the summer, a heavy snow winter will not cure the dry conditions, but create some intense contrast next spring, probably leading to more fires in the forests.

An eagle flies past in a hazy twilight as I try
to get a picture of Mt. St. Helens.
There have been two major hurricanes in the Southeast and two huge earthquakes in Mexico, both of which have caused death and destruction for many. There is no question there are earth changes in progress, and a greater need to stay highly focused on what is good so that one does not become overwhelmed with uncontrollable circumstances.

What is good and getting better in my life is my relationship with a sweet and remarkably interesting man who loves to travel. We have taken three trips with his 40-ft. RV and are now preparing for the Big One, traveling south and east for the winter.

Our last trip took us to Centralia and Chehalis and allowed for a side trip to Olympia where we met some of his friends and one of mine. The RV park where we stayed was so peaceful and delightful; we walked in the woods, enjoying the beginnings of fall with large maple leaves turning colors and being dropped at our feet.

The air was crisp and finally we got some rain... it sounded just as lovely as it used to when it drummed on the cabin top of the sailboat... I lay in bed and listened to it as I watched one solitary yellow leaf dancing with each drop.

View from my window in the RV out to the
wilderness we called home for the weekend.
This was the first time I think I felt truly at ease in the RV, not worrying if I would do something wrong or minorly annoying to my travel companion. I feel as if I am getting back to my 'sailing' mode of using less water, being conscious of balancing the electrical load and planning the use of other resources.

I'm not allowed to drive the RV, but I'm very good at giving directions for Wayne to do the backing into sites. And I'm getting better at assessing if the site is wide enough, flat enough and deep enough for the 40-plus feet required.

The primary purpose for the trip was to go to the State Officers Meeting (and dance) in Centralia at the Oakville Grange and for Wayne to connect with some folks. We arrived on Thursday afternoon and I was surprised at how quickly others had put themselves into the primo spots (those with 50 amp electric and septic access) for the weekend.

I was reminded by the Tour Guide that this is the reason for leaving a site early enough to get to the next one before too late in the day.
Gordon and Sheryl Coleman with Wayne Ratcliff.

Wayne's trees - planted by him 42 years ago.
Friday we toured a lot of the area where Wayne had once been both a logger and firefighter, meeting the Colemans,
and seeing a stand of trees that Wayne had planted 42 years ago!
Wayne Ratcliff with me and Cheryl and Don Pruitt at the
Centralia dance.

Les Kilwein, Ann Kilwein, Wayne Ratliff and me with the
Shillings at the Centralia dance on Friday. 
Janet and Tony Schall with Wayne and me outside the
restaurant in Olympia.

Square Dancing today is a little bit more challenging than what I did with Duke Miller and Ralph Page in the 60's. But I am determined to get as good at it as I am at contra and ballroom. At any rate, it is keeping my brain from stagnating as I try to remember what "tag a line" or "scoot-back" or "split circulate" means. And I'm meeting some wonderful folks who keep encouraging me.

On Sunday we met up with Tony and Janet Schall from Olympia. He is a long-time buddy of Wayne's but we had such a relaxed breakfast, I felt as if I'd known them forever as well. Then we stopped to see the Pypers (Marcie and I met through her brother Stan years ago) and Marcie and Wayne connected through discussions about gardening. What a frabjous day!!
Me with Marcie Galyean Piper at her house near Olympia.
Wayne found a channel with the Seahawks
game being broadcast... they won that one.
And as we returned from our trip, it was a delightful drive back over the Tacoma Narrows Bridge (free - no tolls - heading west) with clearer skies and fresher air. The past month has been difficult with so many forest fires causing hazy skies and dreadful breathing conditions for so many.
Tacoma Narrows Bridge heading west.

Recently an enormous black rabbit (No, I'm not Alice in Wonderland in Negative) has started coming into my yard to munch on things. It is eating ALL the dandelions... curiouser and curiouser!
This lovely black rabbit keeps appearing in my yard.

See how its eye sparkles? I don't know where it lives, but
I am enjoying seeing it nibbling in my garden daily.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

No Labor Day

I fully appreciate that Labor Day was started to honor the workers, and in fact there is some slight connection to the workers party back in the days when Russia was a Communist society, but when one is retired, the whole point is to be able to celebrate the holiday without feeling any sense of angst that the following day will cause any pain because it is 'just another day.'

Wayne in the Woodpile 2017
However, there is no law that states a retiree must be working any day of the week and watching someone else work is perfectly allowable. So I did. I watched my companion, Wayne, stacking wood for his daughter and her husband while they were managing the Kittitas Fair, showing swine, eating fair food and riding rides.

Unfortunately, I am not very good at just watching, and for awhile, until I got over the impulse to do more, I actually helped stack wood. Finally, as I honored Labor Day as the time when people who used to work can now sit back and simply relax, I got this photo of Wayne, who is also retired but unwilling to relinquish his hold on activity, finishing up nearly two cords of wood. Great going, Wayne.

We did do a drive later that day up a route called the Canyon Road from Yakima, WA, to Ellensburg, WA. Apparently with all the warm weather the Yakima River is warm enough for folks with inner tubes (and other floating devices) to float down it for miles.

And as we saw a few folks doing this and have heard it's a lot of fun, I think this has to be on my bucket list for next year as a sporting thing to do.

Heading up Canyon Road toward Ellensburg, WA.

The hazy conditions are caused by intense smoke being blown
in the area from Oregon, Washington and Canada.
Are there any tubers to be seen?

Cruisin' down the river on a Monday afternoon...