Endurance develops strength of character in us~ Romans 5:4 NLT
We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps~ Proverbs 16.9

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Tinkle Branch ~

With a forecast for pouring rain, I wasn't surprised to wake to the sound.  As I was getting ready to leave, there were two huge bolts of lightening, followed by a big rumble of thunder.  High winds were expected too, but lucky for us, after a few big blasts, the wind dissipated.
A creek runs through it~
Butch & I arrived home at the same time for lunch. Butch asked me; "Have you seen the creek?!" I had not, but as soon as I looked out the back, I understood his question. Yes! I could certainly see the creek now.
Bank to bank~
Tinkle Branch, was so full, we could easily see it from the house. Normally, we have to walk down & look a couple more feet down the bank to see the water.
Pretty with all the snow~
After Butch left, I put on my boots & walked down to get photos. Definitely the most water I've seen since a big rain storm in October of 17. It did seem a little strange to have all the ice gone & that much silt laden water racing past the snow covered ground.
Area's where I'd tossed big chunks of old stumps & wood were completely underwater. A couple of those holes were over five-feet deep. I'm glad I put them there, hopefully they kept more of the bank from eroding.
As I walked downstream, my footprints were filling with water near the big old cottonwood. At this point the creek was ready to go over the bank. There's another three-foot rise, then the drop to the marsh on the far side.
Keg Creek~
Today was early out, at the schools.  Butch came home & we drove out to see Keg Creek. Towards the far end of Tinkle Branch, the water was stalled & pooling.  I wondered why - until the first view of Keg Creek!  It was running so full that the water coming in from Tinkle Branch literally had nowhere to go.
Further east~
On the road to the bus barn, there were several areas where Keg creek was overflowing it's banks.  By later this afternoon, we had sunshine, blue sky & 60 degrees!  We have a 60% change of more rain tomorrow.  With the snow pack still melting & the ground frozen solid, we're under a flood watch through tomorrow.  March came in like a Lion, I hope it goes out like a lamb!

Monday, March 11, 2019

Back to our Walk~

With the bright sunshine & warming temperatures, the snow had finally melted enough that Nika & I decided to go for it & try our walk.  Our loop is through the timber to the west point of our property along the creek.  Turning back, we follow the creek east past the bottom of our yard & usually up the far side.
Nika willing to lead!  :-)
 On the wind swept portion of the hill, the snow wasn't deep.
Looking SE~
I'm still busy admiring all the work we've done to clear this hillside.
On the lower flats~
Down at the bottom, the snow was deeper & we were sinking in about 6". I managed to kick snow into my boot & had to stop to get it out!
Nika at the creek~
  Most of the ice had melted, the water was at it's usual low levels.  The snow was still drifted deep in places.
One of the bigger jams, most of this has come from the uphill side.
Mountain of debris~
As you can see, the size of the pile is impressive. All the wood debris from above gets pushed over the edge toward the creek. At least it's organics & not trash. I've got to think this would help with the erosion too, I just wish it didn't end up in the creek bed.
The deep snow didn't bother Nika. She just goes plowing through & gives a good shake now & then! She loves to stick her nose deep into the snow for an especially interesting smell!
Further down~
You can see why it's our favorite walk. I'm looking forward to better weather so I can get back in here to attack the last two big clumps of greenbriar. There's two big dead tree's that have fallen.  Butch will need the chain saw to drop them, since they're hung up just off the ground.
I had to do it!  Just had to put up one of my spring flags!  How often will it fly with so much snow still on the ground?
Linus, Butch & Dean, 3-14-18 ~
Last year, this week, we were spending a fortune & all our free time fencing the farm for Farah!  The weather all month had been just perfect!  If it had been like this year, I think we might have realized that horse-keeping away from home wouldn't be plausible.  Over 30-years ago, I asked Butch if I could have a horse.  His reply was;  "Yes, when you can whistle out the door for it."  He was so right...  We both regret not having a primary member of our animal family still with us, but are thankful, often, that she's back in a milder climate.   

Saturday, March 9, 2019

The Melt~

On the seventh, it snowed again, overnight into early morning, maybe 4 inches total.  The snow was light & dry as dust. Yesterday, even though overcast, the temperature climbed well into the low 40's!  Everyone was out talking about how nice it felt & it did!
North, deep drifts everywhere~
With the warming temperatures, the snow on the ground has started melting. Even the ice began to melt & water was running down the streets. The weather report was calling for rain & lots of it. Flooding became a huge concern.

Last night, I could hear an occasional chunk of ice dislodging down a gutter. This morning, it was raining, over a half-inch so far. Butch drove kids over three-hours away today, so I continued my first quilt type project. We'll see how far I get.
East across the marsh~
Mid-afternoon I put on my boots & started off across the yard. Over a foot of snow/slush! Under that was a layer at least an inch thick of ice. I could hardly get the lower gate open. Later this afternoon the winds came up. They've been whipping the poor trees for a few hours now.
Back deck~
It's been decent enough - 30's - to sit out with Nika again sometime during the day. It's the one time I invite her to sit on my lap - she keeps me warm!
Such a beautiful dog, if it wasn't for the daily barking & shedding...  If the temperature continues to warm, we'll be breaking out the furinator before too long.  We're both missing our daily walks in the timber.  Too much deep snow & now soaking wet too.  
West side of the town square, yesterday~
City crews were out clearing big chunks of ice from the storm drains.  County Road Crews have been plowing almost non-stop for months now.  The scene of the square & all the snow would look festive if it was December rather than March! 
March 8,2018
 It's hard to believe that a year ago, we were busily getting the barn ready for Farah & enjoying shirt-sleeve weather! 

Monday, March 4, 2019

The Cold Continues ~

 I think every person in our state, is ready to be Done with Snow!  In the month of February, it just kept coming, setting all-time records.  Saturday, we had a nice dusting overnight.  It was just enough to cover all the dirty snow from the snow plows going by.  I'm not complaining - since while I was in Washington - we had 15" & the neighborhood streets didn't get plowed for days.   This same weekend, our first March here, I was riding Farah at Indian Cave St. Park in NE!
North on 29~
 I have a difficult time explaining Iowa weather to friends in WA.  To have terrible weather one day & wake to brilliant sunshine the next is very different from there.  I don't miss the days or weeks on end of slate gray days.  So far, that has not been our experience here. 
Plattsmouth Bridge~
By Sunday, yes, the sun was shining!  That didn't stop the cold!  As we enjoyed our drive, the thermometer in the truck ranged between 1-3 degrees.  The 15-20 mph wind made it so cold that I was shivering just to get my photo!

I had Butch stop in the middle of the bridge so I could take the video above of the frazil ice floating down the river. 
Lake at Pony Creek~
We ended up going by the Pony Creek Nature Center.  The lake in front was totally frozen over, except for the outflow.  Hundreds of ducks were surrounding the open water.
Snow drifts~
I decided to walk out & around the cabin today & see what the timber looked like.  Butch kept the path shoveled to the porch.  As I walked around the west side though, the drifts were higher than the top of my muck boots!
Crusty snow!
The frozen crust on top, was about 2" thick.  I broke through & there was a crunch sound with every step.  Too deep for me to take Nika on our usual walk.  She breaks through it in the yard & has made a track around the edge, but this is a lot of snow! 
Pristine Timber~
The timber looked so pretty with the deep layer of white stuff. I could just see the wood pile I'd been working on in January. To think - that I thought then - we might have another mild winter! Not! It could be weeks before we see the ground again, especially since our forecast holds more snow showers past the middle of March!
Nika waiting at the corner of the backyard~
Nika's fur coat is the thickest it's ever been.  She seems to enjoy her time out each day, but is always ready to come in when I call her.  I knew full well, when I enjoyed those beautiful snowdrops at Jentry's & flowers at the Seattle Flower Festival, that it would be a long while before I get to enjoy any blooms here at home!

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

My Way Home~

I'd had a busy few weeks.  The best part of the trip was being around for Grandson Mason during most of his cancer treatments.  The successful outcome was a blessing beyond measure!  He has a period of recovery ahead of him, but with his positive attitude & the support of his family & friends, I'm sure he'll break records getting back to school!

We drove south to Sea Tac at oh dark thirty...  Leaving the house at 4, there was no traffic until we were closer to the airport.  Courtney dropped me off & I made my way to TSA.  By the time I was at my gate, she was already home!
Mt. Rainier~
The plane was again half empty.  Whether the change in the Alaska scheduled daily flight to Omaha, or that it was a Tue., I don't know.  We all stretched out, I had a perfect view out my window in the 7th row.  Looking across the isle, I could see Mt. Rainier out the windows on the far side of the plane.
Over the Cascades - dawn~
With that entire row empty, I moved over to get the photo.  Something to remember next time I reserve a seat.  It felt like a luxury flight, with many of the passengers sleeping.
Room for tea~
Again, I had to bring a little plant!  At the Seattle Flower & Garden Festival on Sunday, there was a booth near the end, full of geraniums. I was amazed to find a small plant who's leaves looked all too familiar!
Appleblossom Rosebud
None of the small starts left were in bloom.  I asked the salesman what the blooms looked like & he brought up the photo above on his phone.  He also confirmed that there is a red variety!   I couldn't believe that after all these years I've finally identified my geranium.  I'm looking forward to my first pink blooms!

The flight went fast -  the entire country covered in a blanket of blazing white snow!  I was so looking forward to getting home!  Since September of last year, I've spent more time away than I ever have.  I was getting used to living with a busy family with two teenagers & enjoying every minute!  :-)  But, as they say; there's no place like home & I couldn't wait to see Butch's smiling face!
Over the Missouri!
We were dropping very low & ice crystals were at the edge of my window. It looked positively frigid down there!
Ice flows in the Missouri~
It's some strange looking ice, not what I would have expected & totally different from the blocks of ice that I witnessed in February of 2017 in the Elkhorn River.
Elkhorn River 2-10-2017
Of course the Missouri, is the longest river in the US.  By discharge rate, it is the tenth largest.

At Eppley, the parking area was closed.  Butch sent me a text & told me to call him once I was outside.  I called - he pulled up quickly - but just before I turned into a frozen statue!  The blast of cold wind felt especially brutal since I'd become accustomed to the more moderate, if wetter cold of the NW.
2-27-2019 The swing~
 Butch & I stopped for lunch in Council Bluffs before he dropped me at home & left for the bus barn.  I emptied my suitcase, watered the plants & sat back with a hot tea!  Our normal highs in March are usually in the 40's.  This week we're to break records for both below average day-time cold highs & nighttime lows!

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

When Blessings Abound!

Our Grandson Mason has shown us what true strength is.  Yesterday he completed his fourth Chemo treatment & was released from his final hospital stay!  He has two more out-patient treatments & visits for various tests.
As we arrived to pick the boys up, seeing the smile on Mason's face, was one of the highlights of my life.  Life here on earth is one filled with challenges, but when we see such strength of character & resolve in children faced with life-threatening issues - it is a true blessing.
Lots of suckers!
 The nurses arrived with paperwork & Courtney had brought a tray of chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting for the staff.  Courtney & Cassidy visited daily for their hugs & kisses & to supply the guys with extra snacks!  Mario Party was a fun diversion for the entire family - but mommy always lost.  Mason is the pro!  Mason's family & so many of his friends were so supportive during his stay & contributed to his wonderful attitude throughout many tough days!
Mason & Dad packed to Go!
David has been the best of Dads!  Staying at the hospital with Mason day & night - giving him that security that is so important for Mason's well-being.  Sleeping on a pull-out couch that had to be less than comfortable.  The nurses coming & going during the stay helped to break up the day.  Of course that same schedule at night was less than optimal :-)
Mason & his Very Happy Mother~
Once outside, we were waiting for the hospital valet to bring the car.  This is a free service that is so much appreciated by everyone!
Mason gets a hug from the other David P.!
The gentleman above greeting us each visit with his huge smile is such a bright spot for every single family!  I'm sure he makes every family feel like they are his personal friends!  
Making out Escape!
 From here, it was Mason's Day!  We went out for a great lunch at his favorite Chinese Restaurant! .  Next on the agenda - a stop in Redmond - for Molly Moon's ice cream!  I do have to say that it was the creamiest, tastiest ice cream Ever!

Monday, February 18, 2019

Visit with Farah - Last Day's Ride~

The view out the window of the studio apt. was beautiful!  The light of a almost full moon over the tall evergreens.  The next morning the expected sun did not appear, but at least it wasn't raining!  Renee made us smoothies, before we went out to saddle.  Colder than yesterday, but great riding weather.

After we'd mounted, Renee wanted to close the driveway gate.  I decided to see if Farah would remember her one & only gate class?  She did!  We closed one side, closed the other & latched the lock!  Time for a cookie!  :-)
On our way~
I asked Renee if we could visit the lake again, it was almost on our way.  We were going on a tour of the reserve!  Farah again walked right into the water & would have gone deeper.
Rocquell & Farah
Farah has made friends with Rocquell, even going so far as to let her eat her hay, when the storm took down the fence between them. Since she was born on the farm, and Racquell is dark, as Farah's dam was, it may be that she feels friendlier?
I loved to see her yawning again. One of her favorite things was always standing in Pilchuck creek & yawning. Tule Lake is large, at 60 acres. About in the middle of a huge area that had belonged to Weyerhaeuser & probably inaccessible to the public - it's pristine.
Lake Tule~
This is a view that will be imprinted in my mind for a long while.  My once ornery, opinionated mare, seems more subdued now.  Of course I am too...
At one point we were doing a nice little trot & I lost a stirrup.  Farah instantly gave me that moment to regain it.  She could feel the difference in my seat, but now on day two - I was adjusting.
Into the woods~
We would go from the roads, to the trails & back as we wove our way around.  At one point, out on the road, Farah stopped & I could tell she heard something.  I warned Renee & in another minute a truck came around the corner pulling an empty, banging, utility trailer.  Racquell handled the noise without batting an eye.
The truck & trailer continue on~
It wasn't long after until we made a turn & started up a decent climb.  We could hear the sound of a chain saw & soon saw the man operating it.  We were on the trail & he was cutting a tree that had fallen across.  Though I yelled, he couldn't hear us, so again we took to the road.
View from the climb~
The clouds were just low enough to obscure our view of the Cascades.  Mt. Rainier was not going to appear for us on this day.
Renee & Racquell
Farah loved the climb & wanted to take off, but I told her no.  I didn't feel comfortable enough to let her fly.  Besides, with the terrible winter weather, she hasn't had any conditioning.  Renee & I exchanged stories.  When I mentioned Farah's prowess at endurance, she replied;  "Your glory days."  Eventually, I believe Farah & I will have everlasting glory days together.
The Mahonia has always been one of my favorite NW natives.  The color looked absolutely brilliant on the overcast day.
Our route & Mt. Rainier
Eventually, it was time to turn back.  I was dreading that...  At the farm, we again unsaddled.  Renee led Racquell away - Farah didn't move.  We were both happy to have some alone time.  I worked to do All of her favorite things.  I'd mailed her Epona face cloth to Renee, but it was lost in the mail.  I'll have to order another.  She loved having her faced rubbed with that cloth.  (In the Iowa heat it was especially appreciated.)  She reminded me of all the things she loved me to do & I loved doing them all for her again...  I went over every inch of her, more than once.
Into the distance~
Finally, we both just stood there. I told her how much we love her & that she can be certain that I will continue to watch out for her. I tucked my head into our favorite spot, she moved into me & we both knew the visit was over. I walked over to the car & got the bag of carrots. She ate all that were left, except for a couple we saved for Racquell. I turned her out & she walked over to her water.

I said my goodbye's & thank you's to Renee, before going back out to the car. Farah looked up from her hay & continued to watch as I drove out the gate.
Novelty Hill~
Needless to say - it seemed like a very, very long drive back north. It was after three when I left, but with new directions I made good time up to 167. The only traffic hold-up of the trip, was on Novelty Hill in Redmond, where I sat for ten minutes. I arrived back at Courtney's just as the sun set. Courtney was waiting on the front porch & boy did her hug feel good! It was my longest road-trip since my vision was impaired, well over 400-miles round-trip. It felt good to have accomplished it!