Thursday, September 23, 2021

Bring On The Rain (Sutherlin, OR)

We woke up to rain last weekend.  Such a welcome sound after a dry summer.  We had plenty of beautiful days to sit outside and enjoy our new home base, but everyone was hoping for rain...lots of rain with no lightning and we got it for a couple of days!  Yes!  Now we just need about a month or two more of this gentle rain. 
We started adding a few things to our site.  I bought some half barrels after receiving plants from our neighbors.  Wasn't that sweet of them?  I had planned on waiting next year since we were getting a late start and planned to leave the area in a few months.  I have to say, it was nice to have something green among all that grey gravel.  Dan bought the long container and filled it with catnip and grass.  Of course, leave it to a cat to bypass their greens for the forbidden flowers!😺😺😺  Oh and no worries, they can nibble on Impatiens.  I just prefer they didn't.
Max approves
We spent most of this summer just enjoying our site on top of the hill, visiting the local restaurants, setting up the coach's winter maintenance, and shopping online.  Oh man!  You don't know how much I missed ordering things online.  It is hard to figure out how to get those items delivered when we are traveling.  It is so nice to have our own site number for deliveries to our door and a mailbox at the park office.
At the beginning of July, we thought we were in for a summer of record-breaking heatwaves and smoke-filled days.  
One of the smoke-filled mornings
We had our share of hot days, but for the most part, it wasn't that bad.  Most of our nights were cool enough to open windows with fans to keep the coach comfortable.  We plan to add shade to our site with an awning on the shed for next summer and maybe the following year - a gazebo.  It will be nice to have more shaded sitting areas.
We did most of our walks in the morning.  One of the leaseholders is a National Forest Ranger retiree.  He shared his talent with the park by adding a one-mile trail through the woods for walkers and mountain bike riders.  He did a wonderful job and we took full advantage on hot days to walk the tree-covered trail.  At the end of the trail, there's a grass-filled meadow surrounded by blackberry bushes.  A lot of breakfast with cereal covered with sweet blackberries.  Yum!
A view of our site from the trail.
We are almost done with our medical appointments.  We are waiting for the last vet's appointment for the cats to get their teeth cleaned before we head south.  Overall, their new Vet thought all three cats were looking great for their age.  In October, she will take bloodwork to make sure there are no hidden problems.  We did find out that Dusty is developing cataracts. 
And poor Hitch might be toothless after his teeth-cleaning.  Apparently, his gums are looking swollen, but that hasn't slowed down his constant eating.
Max doesn't need his teeth cleaned, but he is showing his age with his stiff arthritic walk, loss of weight, and now we know with this second opinion that he has a heart murmur.  I'm not looking forward to hearing about the results of his bloodwork in October.
On The Cutting Board
Getting old hasn't slowed down the cats though.  Max still helps with quilting and he still has a strong opinion that I need to take frequent kitty-cuddle breaks from my projects.
Hitch has taken his self-appointed supervisor job very seriously.  
Stop taking my picture....

and finish pinning the quilt
With the help of the cats or lack of....I managed to finish three tops and have two more that are pinned and ready to be quilted.
Monster Mash
This scrappy quilt took too many years to finish and yet I would not mind making another one since it does use up my scraps in a very colorful way.
Wonky Log Cabin
I forgot all about these finished blocks.  They must have sat in the bottom of the drawer for about 8 years(?).  It was time to get this one done.  
Fancy Sue
I have a couple of tops that I would like to add some applique designs.  I'm soaking some fabrics in clean water after washing them.  Makes for a colorful photo.
So, back to getting a few more quilts done.  
Happy Quilting!

Friday, July 9, 2021

Times Are A Changing (Sutherlin, OR)

Okay, I know I'm way behind on my monthly posts. No excuse, just feeling a wee bit lazy about writing. We are back in Sutherlin, OR.  The photos are from our Hwy 101 travels.  I added locations to each photo's captions so I can spend this time explaining the changes that have happened to us this year. 
Cape Perpetua
We had a great time traveling on Hwy 101 and I'm sorry we had to leave the Oregon coast.  I'm already missing the cooler weather and the sea breezes.  I was still wearing sweatshirts and jeans in the last week of June.  Quite a drastic change to go from 65° to 99° in a half day's drive across the pass to the I-5 valley.🌞
Great Blue Heron - Newport, OR
In the last five years, we have seen a major change in the RV world.  Since the lockdown, RV sales have doubled if not tripled making reservations a year in advance much more stressful than the past couple of years. 
B&B (Riverboat) and Newport Marina

Newport's Sea Lions' Sun-loving and Sleep-in club
The days of going where the wind blows us have come to an end, but we are not giving up completely.  We still plan to travel and live in our ForeTravel, but it will be at a slower pace with fewer miles.
Wreck of the Peter Iredale -  Fort Stevens
Some of the changes started with the Sigsbee NAS in Key West, FL.  It used to be easy for full-timers and snowbirds to get reservations.  All we had to do was show up and we had a site. It might be a dry site, but we had one with a schedule to rotate to full hookups if they were full. They have over 400 dry camping sites, but there are more people showing up every year, plus there are more active-duty families living full-time in the campground.  During our last visit, anyone that showed up without a reservation was turned away after a one-night stay.
Footbridge to one of the campgrounds
Fort Stevens
This year the Sigsbee commander made more changes.  Now, people are on the phone for hours trying to make reservations six months in advance only to be told all full hookup sites have been booked. Sigsbee also stopped the rotations this year which was something I always enjoyed. I loved checking the rotation list, anticipating our next site-to-be, moving to new sites with a different view, and meeting our new neighbors…or being happy to move away from a neighbor, and yes there were a few of them.🤔  I’m hoping that 2019 won't be our last trip to Key West.  I would really like to see it at least one more time.
Depoe Bay
We have also seen some changes with Thousand Trails having more annual sites taking prime spots and once again Dan is left scrambling to make reservations. It doesn’t help their paying members when Thousand Trails decided to offer free one-year memberships to new RV owners through local dealerships. 
Lost Creek State Park Beach
When we have reservations with Thousand Trails, we do not get an assigned site.  It is a first-come-first-served policy, so when the park is packed it can be hard to find a long enough site to accommodate our 40-ft coach and jeep.  So far, we have been lucky with our site choices.  Some were almost too short, but overall, we haven’t had to face the problem of no site available to accommodate our coach.  We try to avoid the high season for that reason.  Now it feels like the high season is almost all year long.
Ona Beach
So, times are changing and so are we.  On July 7, we became leaseholders in Timber Valley Skp Park.  This will give us a home base for those times when we are tired of fighting the traffic, weekend partying campers, and reservation offices. 
Timber Valley Skp Park, Sutherlin, OR
Granted, it is not much to look at, but it is ours to enjoy whenever we are in Oregon.  We are allowed to do some landscaping, but we will probably leave it this way for a few years so we can add the site to the rental pool while we are traveling.  In the meantime, I'm going to be dreaming about ways to add shade to our new site.
We are on top of a hill overlooking the park's community center (actually - more of the roof), and we have a great view of the surrounding hills.  Very few of the sites have this view so we feel lucky to have it.  We are also talking about getting a second home base in Benson, AZ, but not for a few more years. 

So, that is our news for now.  I'm sure there will be more changes in the future.  
Two more photos of four-legged neighbors.  Below, we had another neighbor with a large pig.  It was interesting to watch them take this pig for a walk.  They would lead the way and toss food down for the pig.  The pig would then squeal and do a fast waddle to the food.  I'm not sure if the pig was squealing out of delight for the food or complaining that she/he had to walk over to get it.😄
Another pet pig at Seaside!
These three were chasing each other around when I accidently interrupted their play time.  At least, they were nice enough to stop for a photo before running off into the woods.
Newhalem State Park
Hitch had developed a bad cough while we were on the coast.  By the time we got to Seaside, it was so bad he would get sick after a coughing fit.  The Vet thought he had an allergy probably caused by our mold problem and prescribed amoxicillin.  It wasn't much fun giving him the medicine.  He managed to sneeze or cough pink sticky stuff all over the floor.  I must have got enough into him because he is back to his old trouble-making self.
What?!  I didn't touch Max!
Max and Dusty also saw the Vet.  We found out that Max has a heart murmur.  Not good for a high-strung cat.  We have to peel him off the ceiling every time one of us sneezes.  Otherwise, he is in good shape for a 17-year-old.  
I am calm...I am relaxed..I am calm..
And Dusty, he is in great health for being 17 years old.
Any more decisions have to go through me first.
On The Cutting Board
The last time we were in Florence, I thought Joy of Quilting had closed because of the for sale sign sitting in front of their building on Hwy 101.  Turns out the quilt shop was selling their building with plans to move to Old Town Florence right next to Lovejoy's Tearoom.😍
I have some leftover theme fabric of birds and cats, but not enough to make a quilt.  Could I think of a better excuse?  Of course, I had to go shopping!  I found the perfect colors to blend in with the scraps.  
Sample of scraps with new fabrics
Ever since I started reading the Oxford Tearoom mysteries by H.Y. Hanna, I have wanted to try High Tea with cucumber sandwiches and scones with clotted cream and jam.  Because the tearoom was not fully staffed, I did not know that I needed a reservation.  I was able to order a scone to go with clotted cream and jam.  I sat outside and enjoyed every bite.  It was delicious!  Next time, I would like to try High Tea.
I'm still working on those bags of scraps.  I'm starting to see a difference.  Two less bags of scraps to store and yet, there is so much more to use up.  I'm tired of cutting up hexagons and squares.  It was time to try something new with fast results.
So, I found a paper foundation pattern in my EQ7 to help use up more scraps.  This one is called Wild Goose Log Cabin.  This is certainly using up the smaller scraps with a lot less measuring and cutting.
I like the way the blocks look when they are put together and it is coming together fast!  I might try the opposite for the larger pieces of scraps with white triangles.  I'm pretty sure I'll have plenty of scraps leftover to make another quilt.
I'm off to tackle those scrap bags, so Max and I will say good-bye for now.
Darn!  She's taking my picture....Again!
Happy Quilting!

Saturday, April 3, 2021

The Smell of Fresh Pines with a Dash of Salty (Hwy 101 OR)

It's starting to warm up along the coast and along with warm weather comes the sneezing season.  
Heceta Head Light House
Yep, already having bouts of allergies.  You would think between damp sea breezes and drizzling rain, that pollen would not be floating around, but something is certainly tickling my nose.
Cape Perpetua
It has slowed me down a little bit.  Most of the time, I manage to get in my ten-thousand steps, but my yoga has become sporadic due to a stuffy head and too much Claritin. 😝Blah!  I can imagine myself bending forward.....and going forward...forward....and my face plows into the mat or a cat since they often like to lie on the mat in front of me while critiquing my postures.  Hopefully, this will pass soon.
Lost Creek Beach SP
In the meantime, I'm not letting it keep me indoors with so much to see along the Oregon Coast.  We have been sightseeing three to four times a week.  I never tire of the views or taking photos.  The first set of photos are from Heceta Head Lighthouse.  A cold front came in earlier than predicted the day we visited the lighthouse.  It caught all of us off guard including a young bride and groom having a photo session on the beach.  
How she could pose in the cold wind and drizzling rain without turning blue is beyond me.  I was cold and I had on three layers.  You have to admit that they picked a very dramatic background for their photo shoot with the perfect coastal weather. 
We continued up the path to the house and the lighthouse for some spectacular views.  The old home and lighthouse are closed right now.  I'm hoping they will open by the time we are back again later this year.
What a view to wake up to every morning.
By the time we were heading back to the RV park, the rain and wind were coming in strong while we were waiting for our turn to cross through the construction area where the road had slid down the cliff.  About a month earlier, part of Hwy 101 collapsed with a drill rig and its operator.  The worker was rescued and survived the fall, but it is a little nerve-wracking when you are planning to drive a huge motorhome through that same area.  (Later:  we went through with no problems.  The construction crew is working hard rebuilding the highway while dealing with lousy weather and traffic under dangerous conditions.)
I have to tell you about our neighbor that was parked on the site across from us in Florence.  The pig's name is Neener and she weighs 200lbs.  We were hoping to see more of her, but thanks to a grumpy neighbor two sites away complaining, the family moved to a more isolated spot.  According to Neener's owner, he was trying to help her back into their fifth-wheel and you know how tall fifth-wheels are with four to five metal steps to get into the rig.  The poor girl got hurt when she slipped on the stairs while her owner was trying to lift her in.  She started squealing and apparently, the grumpy neighbor complained that she was too noisy.  Darn it!  I wanted to meet Neener!  I'm hoping we will come across them again before we go back to Sutherlin.
Our neighbor is a real pig!

On to Newport,  our site was very narrow with a big tree.  We had to walk sideways to get into our side yard.  I won't get into how we managed to get it parked there or the fun of backing the coach out when we left.  We did have plenty of privacy.
I thought Max would like the enclosed area.  He did not.  He rarely left the doorsteps.
You're not tricking me!
Dusty said he was fine with it.  All the more outdoor time for him with his humans.

Below are views from the Newport area.  A photo of the bridge from Yaquina Bay SP.  
This state park is centrally located making it easy to walk to the beach, to the lighthouse, a picnic area, to Nye Beach's downtown area to shop and eat or.....  
...walk under the bridge, past the Coast Guard Station, and into 
Coast Guard
the Historic Bayfront area to view the sea lions, shop,  and eat lunch.
We were asked if it was smelly here.  A little fishy, but not too bad since we were out in the open.  Walking past the fish warehouses has a stronger fish smell.
More repurposed trash-to-art!  This gorilla and two lions are made from tires and were sitting in front of Ripley's Believe It or Not!.  The detail was so life-like.  Just ask a dog.  One poor dog wanted nothing to do with these strange creatures standing on the sidewalk.
We visited Nye Beach several times.  One sunny day soon after the county risk had dropped to low, we weren't the only ones enjoying the outdoors while social distancing.  One young lady was doing her own whirling dervish on the beach.  We had a paraglider swooping over our heads several times.  People out walking their dogs, parents chasing down exuberant children, and one woman walking down the street with butterfly wings on her back.
We visited Yaquina Head Lighthouse during the medium-low tide.  It was starting to come back in when we got there, but we were able to check out a few tidal pools without getting wet.
We also drove the Otter Crest Loop to Cape Foulweather named by Captain Cook.  He apparently did not like the weather nor this part of the coast - no landing areas for small crafts.
The location of that one building just gives me chills.  This building sits right on the edge of a 500 ft drop.  I can't imagine being one of the builders.
They did have a great view of the coast.  Below:  at the farthest point to the right, we could barely make out the Yaquina Head Lighthouse.  It is not visible in the photo, but it is there.
Okay, the last photos are from Devils Punch Bowl near Depoe Bay.  I was able to get a photo of the opening, but I'm too short to get a good shot into the center of the punch bowl filled with water.
I did get a good photo from the side though....😊
I'm going to stop here.  I have more to show, but it is time to take the cats outside.  I might have to disturb Max from his nap.  He can soak up more sun while getting a little exercise.
On The Cutting Board
I have been spending a lot of time with my scrap bags.  I thought the best way to trim them down was to cut squares starting with 5 inches, 3.5 inches, 2 inches, and the last, and yes, the waste-not desperate size - 1.5 inches.  I'm not making too much progress with the first two larger sizes.  Most of my scraps are smaller than 3 inches.  I am making plenty of progress with the 2-inch squares. Yes!
I made a lot of progress with the 1.5-inch hexagons.  I have no idea how many are cut.  I do know that my tin box is filling up.  This will be a nice outdoor sewing project during the summer and for the next summers to come.
This is just a random idea of what I might do with the hexes as I sew them together.  
And this is the size of one finished.  Yes, this is going to be a life-long project.  I probably should have started it 15 years ago.
Hitch says not a problem.  He is more than willing to help me by turning the pile of scraps into a bed for his naptime then I don't have to worry about what to do with the rest of them. 😻
Riiiight, I'll just roll him over when he starts snoring.
Happy Quilting!

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