Saturday, September 29, 2012

Autumn Leaf

It is Autumn Leaf festival time again.  
 My niece, Ashley, in the red dress.

Marathon, Canning, and Life

After struggling with a cold all week I was really looking forward to sleeping in this morning, that is, until my husband reminded me that I was to drop him off 10 miles up the Icicle Road so he could train for his marathon.  Fortunately for him, my stuffy nose woke me up before he did.  So at 6 AM I, bleary eyed and stuffy nosed, drove him up to the middle of a mountain road and dropped him off so that he could run home. Todd signed up to run the Oktoberfest Marathon last December.  He has been planning and training for this run since the snow melted. There have been a few set-backs such as, throwing out his back and ending up on the floor for six weeks, then he found out that marathon was scheduled on a day that he was to be out of town, and finally the forest fires have left a layer of smoke that makes it difficult to breathe (which is vital for running).  Despite all of that, Todd has stuck with the game plan and plans to run next Saturday.  Whether he will make the whole marathon or just complete the half, time will tell.  Today he ran over 14 miles.  Not bad!

Once I dropped him off, I went back to bed and chilled in front of the TV for another hour, showered, and started my day.  Today's agenda is to can tomatoes, wash clothes, general clean up, and head down to the Autumn Leaf Parade.  My niece, Ashley, is in the parade today.  She won the honor of Leavenworth's Distinguished Young Woman  last spring.  Since then she went on to compete on the state level, won a college scholarship, and now visits other communities representing Leavenworth. Pretty cool!  I will probably head back out to the garden and pick another box load of tomatoes that are starting to turn.  By next weekend I will be able to can them as well.

Todd finished his run in a little over three hours.  Once he got cleaned up he took Bryce to the lumber yard to get some wood so that Bryce can make a wood project out of his Cub Scouts book.  Bryce is loving Cub Scouts.  Next week we head in to town to get his uniform and then he is all set. He is working on about four badges right now.  We have found out that alot of activities he does qualifies him for other awards like, golfing, BB gun shooting, etc. 

Life seems very busy right now between Monday night Bible study, Tuesday afternoon drum lessons, Wednesday Awana, Thursday Cub Scouts and piano lessons, play practice every day, drama club, canning, general up keep,....well, you get the picture.  I am about ready for winter to come and slow things down.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Base Camp

So I told you about Bryce working on his Forestry Badge for Cub Scouts.  One of the items on his list to learn is about the effect of fires on a forest habitat.  Well, wouldn't you know, we are in the midst of a massive forest fire, and we found out that the Forest Service was giving tours at the fire fighter's base camp this afternoon.  To top that, today is our day to go to Wenatchee for drum lessons AND the tour was after our lesson.  SCORE!!

 About 30 people showed up from the young to the old to get questions answered and to see what was happening at the base camp.
 Every day new maps are made to show everyone where the fires are currently burning.  The forest service personnel who were conducting the tour let all of us on the tour take home any of the old maps.
Believe it or not, this is Main Street.  All the large tan tents are actually offices.  They are all filled with tables, computers, and lots of paper work.  Here is where all the strategizing  happens. 

 There are 2000 fire fighters camping out here.  Why that is the whole city of Leavenworth!
I tried to get a picture of the banner on the building behind the truck.  It says "Thank You Fire Fighter"

I agree....Thank You Fire Fighters!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Bryce has joined the Cub Scouts and he is so excited to start working on his badges.  He has been taking his Webelos Scout Book everywhere and finding various activities to work on.  Many of the badges focus on science activities, fitness, citizenship, etc.  While looking through it myself I saw that one section is on forestry.  Since he is studying trees in science, we decided to kill two birds with one stone and combine his forestry badge activities with his science book.  Today for science he drew a picture of the forest labeling all the different layers of the forest.  We then went up to the top of ski hill where Bryce took pictures of the various trees and plants in our forest.  Our goal was for him to identify 6 different  trees and 6 different plants in our forest habitat. 

 In the Canopy Layer we found
Pine Trees
Ponderosa Pines

In the Under Story Layer we found lots of ....
 Maple Trees

Blue Spruce

 Birch Trees

Under the trees is the...
Bush Layer

Below the bush layer is the Herb Layer and finally...
 Forest floor

 While hiking around the woods, we decided to also work on Bryce's Athletic badge.  For this badge he has to do a series of exercises, every day for a month.
 He did sit ups....

step ups....


and attempted to do chin ups
 and walked a mile.  

He is so excited to be a Cub Scout.  His first official club meeting is this Thursday.  Brian went to his first Boy Scout meeting tonight.  He was hesitant to attend but came home excited and is eager to go back next week.  Everything I am reading about the Boys Scouts makes me so excited for my boys to be a part of this program.   

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Property

After a long day of canning and making pies, Todd took the family over to the Chumstick property.  The boys brought along their BB guns and I grabbed the camera to take some pictures.  The Chumstick property is the childhood home of my mother-in-law.  Since her mother passed away two years ago the property has been vacant.  The story goes that back in the 40s my mother in law's father purchased a tavern in the next town over.  He then dismantled the tavern and carted the material over to their Chumstick property.  My mother in law and her siblings were given the job of pounding out all of the nails and then straighten them.  Her father then took all the materials from that tavern and built their house.  Having lived through the depression, nothing went to waste. 
 My mother in law never had indoor plumbing while growing up here.  Her parents did not get an indoor toilet until the late 80s/ early 90s.  Her mother even cooked on a wood burning cook stove until the late 80s when she got an electric range.
 The chicken coop.

 There are several fruit trees on the property.  We found a couple of apple trees and plum trees.  There are also two English walnut trees.

There are some really cool old odds and ends scattered around.  It was fun to walk around, explore and dream. 

Friday, September 21, 2012


Two weeks ago a thunder storm and tons of lightening hit our valley.  Bonnie and I sat outside the Chelan County Fairgrounds and watched bolt after bolt strike the mountains around us.  On the way home we saw one of the ridges in Dryden on fire.  That fire was small and was put out by locals but several other fires were started and they are still burning now.  Over 30,000 acres have burned so far as fires spread across Wenatchee, Cashmere, Leavenworth, and Cle Elum.
Some of our friends are on Level 2 evacuation status which means if the fires get any closer they will have to leave their homes.  Fortunately, no homes have been lost yet.  Here in Leavenworth near the fish hatchery, helicopters have set up camp to fly in and out of the fire dropping water on the fires.
Can you see the copter?  The air quality is quite bad around here.  Today was the worst yet.  We could not see any of the mountains around us due to the smoke.  Todd tried to run this morning but ended up gagging on the particles that are in the air.  In fact, several people have taken to wearing face masks.
Even someone put a face mask on Skookum. lol  I haven't been bothered by the smoke. In fact, Todd still keeps the windows open at night but others, especially those with asthma, are really struggling.  More dry thunderstorms are in the forecast for this weekend.  That would not be good if we get more lightening.  What we really needs is some rain. 


Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Ugh...I feel sick to my stomach and it is not because of all of the smoke in the air.  It is our Awana club night and everything was going fine until the end.  Our youth were playing a game called one ball dodge ball.  The grandmother of one of our middle schoolers saw the kids playing the game last week and voiced concerns over the "dangerous" nature of the game.  I assured her that this is a favorite of kids and that kids in youth play at a different level.  However, knowing her concerns I talked to the game director to night when I saw that they were playing the game again. Well, wouldn't you know her grandson got hit in the face, by my daughter no less, and now she  is mad.  What makes it worse is that I feel like she is mad at me.   Probably because i was not very sympathetic to her concerns.  Yes, kids can get hurt playing dodge ball, but ...well, kids can get hurt riding a bike, or doing just about anything.  Her grandson was playing just as rough as anyone else out there.  In fact, he threw the ball at my son and hit him in the face.  My son did not come upstairs crying.  Ugh. I feel sick.  I need to call her tomorrow and make peace but right now I am just sick of people's attitudes.

Sunday, September 16, 2012


Last Sunday, Brian asked if he could play his drums for offeratory.  Wow...of course I said yes.  By the time we got home from church Bonnie asked if she could sing with him, and they decided to ask their friends, Brent and Tiffany Townley, if they could accompany them on piano and guitar.  Brent and Tiffany were going to be in town for their grandfather's funeral but Tiffany ended up heading home Saturday night. Brent's dad, Chris, ended up accompanying Brian and Bonnie instead.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Garden

Before my garden goes to "sleep" for another winter, I thought I should take some pictures.  I don't have a garden at my house because, frankly, I don't have a yard.  Ok...I do have a four foot by six foot patch of grass but that is about it.  Nothing you can make into a legitimate garden.  My friend Pat, however, has a rather large garden and for the past two summers has allowed me to share it with her.  I love Pat's side of the garden because she mixes flowers in with her vegetables.  Many of her flowers have dropped their seeds over the years so in the most unlikely places beautiful, colorful flowers spring up making everything pretty.  I was inspired by Pat to plant sunflowers at the ends of each of my rows.  They are literally giants and have started blooming this week.
 This is my side of the garden.  See how TALL my sunflowers are.  They are about nine feet tall!
 My green beans are about done, but I did get a half of a grocery bag full of beans this morning which would be about 3 quart jars worth.  I might fire up the pressure cooker for that.

 Behind my sunflowers are the tomatoes.  I am getting a few of them, not enough to pull out all of the canning supplies.  I was told to strip off all the leaves to help the tomatoes ripen faster.  I am trying but I don't have high hopes for my tomatoes this year.
 Isn't this a beautiful sunflower?  Most of Pat's sunflowers are volunteers.  They make the garden a beautiful place to work in.