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

Thursday, December 6, 2018

In the Nick of Time ~

 I've written about the proposed rural cluster developments that were approved on the large landlocked property to the west of our Homestead in WA.  Changes in zoning, allowing for rural cluster development by Snohomish County, ended the true rural character of a large, somewhat forgotten area just to the west of us.  Prior to the change, development was limited to one house per five acres.
The Wetland~
 The centerpiece of this land, was the large, vibrant wetland.  It was years before I found it & it wasn't until November of 2003 that I took up a digital camera for photos.  It was so quiet. remote & so beautiful that it became a favorite ride destination.  Ben rode Jas here often.  One day we saw a white deer.  Wildlife abounded, beaver, deer, coyote' porcupine, etc.  The creeks were full of salmon. 
Butch with Ben & Jas -2002
We joined our neighbors in going to court to oppose this change to no avail. As the logging started, the salmon disappeared from the creeks... Years went by & Native Growth Protection signs were posted. When linking to that information, I noticed that now the name has been changed. The responsibility for managing & maintaining/protecting these areas falls to the homeowner associations. Somehow, I don't see that happening. The costs would be substantial.
Ben on Jas, 2-19-2006
Sadly, it didn't take long until I recognized that the signage was just a formality to appease building codes.  As power went in & the bulldozing increased in scale, I couldn't imagine that anything would remain.  Before we left, the line of bulldozers impressed even my husband - familiar with the scale of commercial construction.
The other evening I used the Google Earth program to see if the aerial images had been updated. What I found sickened me.
As of July 2018
 As of this last summer, the changes are immense.  I'm sure the sound of the dirt-work carries for miles in all directions.
Looking west~
 You can see how close the work is coming to the Wetland in the above photo.  We'd been told that our road would not be used for access or to tie into Burn Rd.  But from what I can tell - they certainly will now.  Burn is a narrow road with no shoulder, already taking on the burden of other developments further north.
Looking North~
 There's just a small strip of private property now, between our old road & the site.  Our water wells were one of the concerns brought up in court.  Last I knew, the developments would be on septic.
The I-5 corridor~
It's already impossible to drive the I-5 corridor.  Traffic continues to worsen to the point where you have to plan hours of travel time to go places that used to take minutes.  Ever increasing population numbers - contribute to the urban sprawl which continues to eat away at the beauty of the western side of the state.  
June 28, 2016
 Above is one of the last trails that Farah & I took, our last summer.  It's how the entire area had looked for many, many years.  I fondly say goodby to what was a beautiful, stunning natural & native environment.   Now lost to the ravages of development & the dollar...

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Storm #5 ~

Friday, Nika & I took our little walk-a-bout.  Yesterday, was a horrid colored day!  Mild, the snow still melting, but the sky was a leaden gray.  Literally the darkest color I'd ever seen.  The staff at Bomgaars commented on it when we were in.

Late evening, the snow started.  Tiny pieces, but very wet.  It was freezing to the branches of the trees, with the temperature hovering right at freezing.
Cabin in Holiday Mode~
 Our total accumulation probably isn't over two inches, but it is heavy!  As slushy as any western, WA snow!  Not the powdery light snows we've had so far.  The wind is staying in the teens, it's enough to make it feel colder.
Wildlife Habitat ~
As you can tell from the photos, it stuck to everything!  That made for an incredible beautiful landscape!  I was thankful that it wasn't heavy enough to break branches.
Front porch~
The Cabin has an east/west exposure.  I've decided that it makes no difference which way your home might face!  With the wind gusts coming from every direction, everything gets wet.
View from the Cabin~
Such a totally different looking world from just two-days ago!  Now the forecast is for more snow this afternoon & a big drop in temperatures going into next week.
At the bottom of the hill~
Everyone was out shoveling, or snow blowing, or plowing.  Hoping to stay ahead of the next accumulation. 
Butch shoveling the driveway~
The views are all white & so stunning.  The Walnut is holding up well, with the additional weight of the layer of ice.  Tonight we're supposed to drop to 21, with daytime highs this coming week in the mid-20's.
The Cabin Tree~
Butch is so happy that I'm putting decorations right in the way of his insulating & wiring work :-)  It's fun for me to see my favorite little tree up again!

Friday, November 30, 2018

Last of November~

 Here we are - the last day of November.  We've had a couple nice mild days to end the month, even if they included fog & cloud cover.  All that is due to change tonight - over to rain - then wet snow & lots of wind.
My new metal flower~
 I baked a batch of Grandma's sugar cookies & addressed Christmas cards.  With the last of the cookies out of the oven, it was time to take Nika on a walk.  She was so excited & tried to drag me up the street.  No complaints from her though, when we entered the timber.
Last of the color~
Even though invasive, the honeysuckle remind me of the Salmonberry bushes of WA.  They form a short under-story of shrubbery that the birds really enjoy.  Of course it's the birds that spread them far & wide.
We cut up to the salvage yard that is at the far end of our timber.  I knocked on the door & met the owner.  His wife & granddaughter pulled in.  I wish I'd gotten a photo of this cute little girl, in a hot pink coat running for Nika, as Nika took evasive action behind me!  :-) 
Finishing off our loop~
It was late afternoon, but the color of the day hadn't changed much, except for a few sun-break's earlier.  It's been warm enough, in the high 30's.  The snow & ice from the last storm continued to melt.  The ground was spongy in the timber.
It's fun to walk across this area.  One side still frozen & flat with ice, the other wet & mushy.  Next week we're supposed to drop into the teens again at night - with daytime highs only in the 20's.  I've learned a lot about layering!  My favorite winter riding pants are getting more use than I thought they would!  Of course, I know it's cold if Butch actually puts on a coat!

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Quick Trip - Greenfield~

I've tried to make it a point to visit Greenfield at least twice a year.  Once over Memorial Day weekend & again Thanksgiving weekend. It's one of only two-times a year, that Butch has off any consecutive days.
Coming into town from the west on Hwy92
This year, we didn't get to do an overnight & I'd looked forward to it.  But - the storm held off & it was another beautiful day.  Not as warm as on Thanksgiving, but still very nice!
First Street Antiques~
It was a shop local weekend, we were shopping local in my old hometown :-)  Mom & I had stopped here years ago.  It was where I found the first swan planter that started my collection.  This building is jam packed with unique items.
Adair County Court House~
Once we'd parked on the square, the first thing Butch noticed was the construction.  The ADA ramp had been installed at the east entrance, sometime last year.  We first saw it during our visit last May.  It did nothing to improve the looks of the historic building.  Now, Butch guessed correctly - this addition on the west side - will be for an elevator.  If that's the case, the ramp will probably go - but the character of the building is changed forever.  The Glenwood court house, built in 1959,  built an addition several years before we arrived.  Personally, I don't care for the look, but making changes to historic structures is a difficult challenge, I'm sure.
Shop fronts~
Greenfield does so much to keep the town neat, tidy & interesting.  Even with the ongoing struggle to survive that so many of these small mid-west towns face.
Warren Cultural Center
Even the view of the Opera House has changed with some sort of tower in the background.  The day was rapidly turning gray as the clouds moved in & temperatures dropped.  Ed & Eva's was our final stop.  I love the store, they try to fill it with hand crafted items from local artists.  I was actually almost out the door, before I was stopped cold by an item that I could just see near the Cabin.  I covered the expense with the proceeds of the tack I've been selling.

We had time to eat before continuing on to the cemetery.  We visited my families graves.  The flowers that I'd put out in May still looked great!  It's so hard to find anything that will hold up to the harsh weather.  I'm still trying to find something that will look good through the winter months.  We went on to Creston & took Hwy 34 home.  We ran into some rain, but the snow didn't start until the early hours of Sunday morning.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Thanksgiving - Washington to Iowa~

It was 2015 & our last Thanksgiving on the Homestead.  We still had no idea that we'd be making changes - anytime soon - or that it would be our last...  We all know though - how quickly things can change.  When the holiday's roll around - I have those times when I miss so much - being closer to the kids & grand-kids.   I even miss the soggy wet days occasionally. 
The Cottage~
Now, I won't miss the Cottage as much, since we have the Cabin!  Most of our friends think we're a little strange now.  Why would we want to be out there - when we have a nice warm house?  I have no explanation - except to say that it's what we've always done.  I'm happy that we made the decision to place it closer to the house on cold nights!
11-15-15 From the Cottage porch - south
  The view above, from the Cottage porch, was after 25-years of clearing, cleaning & planting.  The Cabin view will be different too, actually bigger, since we're adding a sliding door.
From the Cabin - south
I worked to clean up the west edge of the timber last year, taking out dead limbs, trash, grape & greenbriar vines.  My plan is to improve this view too.
Main trail Inland Isle Ave.
I'm working on trails again.  How blessed can I be to have found a place in town, where I can still pretend that I'm way off in the woods somewhere?  There we had woods - here - timber.
Main trail 11-21-18
 It took a while to figure out where I wanted the trail to start, but it was a logical place & now works perfect with where we put the Cabin.  You can see there's - trash here.
Merlin's Grove
Even the green glass gazing ball has found a new home.  Surrounded by marigolds in the summer, rather than Western Red Cedars.  I do miss the ferns though!  Finding a ground cover that works in the Timber will be a challenge, let alone getting it started.

The following  three photos were taken on Thanksgiving in WA~
Three Fingers Peak
 The view from behind the barn of Three Fingers was always changeable.  Friends used to say that we should have built a house up here rather than the barn.  I always wanted to climb at least part way up this peak.
Farah in her pasture~
Farah...  I hope Renee gives her extra carrots!  I'm so pleased that she's comfortable & well cared for.  February can't come fast enough!
Cassidy, Ben & Mason!
The best part of our Thanksgiving Day, any day for that matter, was when the Grand-kids pulled in the gate!  Ben was up from Oregon visiting his Dad, step-mother & sister Madi.  He came  for dinner & to spend time with his cousins Cassidy & Mason.  These first three were so close in age with Ben born in 2000, Mason 2001 & Cassidy 2003.
11-18-18 - Skyla & Josie on their new trail!
 I was thrilled when Jentry sent photos of our two youngest Grand-daughters working on a trail through their own woods!  Sklya was born in 2011 & Josie 2012!   All the kids are growing so fast! Faster, since it's longer between visits.

Wishing you a Thanksgiving filled with family, friends & fellowship! 

Sunday, November 18, 2018

The Marsh~

I'm going to call the area between our backyard & Tinkle Branch creek - a marsh.  Marsh seems to fit it's characteristics the closest.  A marsh acts as the transition between aquatic & terrestrial ecosystems.  You could have fooled me the first year we were here.  The area was pretty dry, just a few small pools of water when it rained.
3-19-17 Looking east~
I don't have photos from 2016.  I didn't start doing any work in this area until January of 2017.   The biggest job was cutting back all the Honeysuckle, wild grape & Greenbriar.  In the photo above, you can see that it was dry.
 By April of 2017, I could see an improvement, even if it was totally overgrown!  Pieces of rotten wood had been tossed everywhere.  I had all that to stack up against the hillside.  Everything had to be weed whacked.  That was how I found the glass, cans, empty oil jugs etc.
 By fall of last year, I'd hacked most of the way through the center section.
11-14-2018 Looking east
 Now, it's wide open all the way across!  I could get the mower in this year.  That made a big difference & the ground has self-leveled.  Off to the far right, you can see what's left of a huge log from one of the big trees that used to live here.  There's a rise to the right where the Cottonwood & a couple Maple trees grow, before the drop down to the creek.
11-14-2018 Looking west~
As I walked the length, I could feel the ice crunching under my boots.  It's given me a feeling of satisfaction to actually be able to walk through this area now.
From the Swing, SE
 Jean came over the other day & was the first of my friends to take what's still more of a hike than a walk :-)

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Workin' in the Timber~

It's been two-weeks since the Cabin arrived.  Butch got the walls insulated this last weekend & the ceiling will be next. Items that had spent years on the Cottage, are sprucing up the Cabin.  I'm leaning away from a western theme & more toward rustic.  We found a weathered cedar paneling with a nice reveal.  The edges overlap, giving the look of individual planks.  The chairs came & fit perfect on the small porch.  Eventually Butch will add a step & side railings.  We're going to change out the pickets for the same wire we used on the house porch.
Late afternoon~
I had the curtains from the Cottage & only had to order a couple more panels to do all the windows.  With only one nursery in town that carries any kind of yard art, I was lucky to get end of the year prices for the concrete pillar & indigo blue gazing ball.  We've found a galvanized sheeting that Butch plans to use for skirting.
Final three Serviceberry planted
You can just see the orange string that marks the north property line.  We sat the bushes in five feet & the Cabin in ten.  Now, my job of moving out all the rotten wood, dumped over the edge of the hillside has taken some priority.
The property line along the edge of the Timber~
It took me half a day just to clear out the NW corner enough that we could put in a corner post marker. I'm tossing it up from below, then we'll back the truck up & fill that. I'm sure it will be another trip to the landfill.
My brush pile~
This pile is the one I made last year working to get the trail cleared.  A hollow spot, made a natural place to toss it all out of my way.  I've learned that letting it dry for a few months makes it easier to cut it into smaller pieces & load.
Trail & horse trailer~
The horse trailer has become multi-purpose.  We plan to use it for our bicycles.  We couldn't build a garage without making all three lots into one.  The City doesn't allow a garage on a property, without a house.  Of course we didn't realize that when we bought the lots.  The idea was to sell one - if we wanted to eventually.  A garage has not been in the cards, but having space around us works! 
Start of the Trail~
Deciding where the trail would go was relatively easy.  Between the trees, cutting across the slope, down the hillside & over to the creek.  From there we can turn east toward our backyard, or west out along the creek for quite a way.  It's the west end that will take a lot of work!  A couple old big trees down & lots of greenbriar.
Looking SW, down the hillside from behind the Cabin~
You can see the first trail sign post.  I hope to get the actual signage painted this winter.  I've done so much work, but there's a lot to go, clearing to the far west corner.
Looking East up at the back of the Cabin`
We've finally had a couple days of decent weather.  Sunshine & temperatures in the 40's during the day.  The nights are unseasonably cold though, low 20's.  It takes things a while to warm up in the mornings.  I go from fleece, to cotton, to fleece & finally a jacket by late afternoon!