Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Much Better

Today is much better than the past few days have been, and I'm so thankful!  We have gone from temperatures of over 100° F, to 80's today.  I accomplished quite a bit before noon, including pulling a ton of weeds in the garden.  I'm sure there will be more to replace them, but for now, it is satisfying to see the piles of pulled weeds.

I also took my mom to get her driver's license renewed, and amazingly enough, there was no line!  I don't think I've ever been there when it wasn't packed.  After that, we went to the grocery store, and again, hardly anyone there, and no lines!  I have no idea where everyone is, but is sure was nice to be a bit spoiled by not having to wait at all.


As good as it feels to be outside today, we have rather smoky skies.  The sunlight has a red cast to it, and serves as a sad reminder that our western states are burning up.  I am praying for all of the firefighters as well as the residents displaced by evacuation, and the hundreds of people experiencing the loss of their homes.  Having lost a home and everything but cars and the clothing on our backs to fire, I know just how they feel, and it's devastating.  I am praying for cooling temperatures and rain in the active fire areas, and for no more fires to get started.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Slightly Scorched

Ever feel like you're standing on the face of the sun?  The past few days, it sure has felt that way to me.  On Sunday, we topped out at 107° F, which was a new record for the entire month of June.  Yesterday we got lucky and had some thunderstorms around that kept it down to 105°, but we didn't get even a drop of rain from any of those storms.  Today, it hit 98° by 11 a.m., there are no clouds in sight, so I wonder how high the temperature will go this afternoon.  We are also having a very windy day, so the vegetation is getting very dry, and our area is on alert for the possibility of fires.  On Sunday when it got so hot, it was 82° at 9 a.m., but today, it was already up to 90° by that time.  I think we have a good chance of breaking the record again today, so we'll see.

It is too hot to be outdoors, which is just irritating.  I need to be out pulling weeds and tending to my gardens, but with the heat, it's just not going to happen.  I went out long enough to give my plants a drink of water, or they'd be wilted and some of them dead by sunset, and it was hard to breathe.  So, Megan and I are finding things to do indoors where we are thankful to have air conditioning.  But what to do?  Maybe fry an egg on the sidewalk?

I have a whole list of things that I do during the winter when being outdoors isn't really an option.  So why don't I do some of those things?  Well, because I don't really want to!  I could read a book, watch a movie, crochet, bead, do some sewing...none of that sounds appealing to me.  In fact, the very thought of trying to crochet in the summer makes me feel...icky!  I actually have a very strong aversion to crocheting in the summer.  Isn't that weird?  I think it's totally weird.  I don't know why I feel this way, but I always have.  It's kind of like the feeling I'd get if someone told me I'd have to eat liver.  Ewww!  No!  No summer crocheting!

In the end, I think maybe I'll do some extra stuff around the house, or read a book, and try to be patient while I wait for some cooler temperatures.

What do you do when it's too hot to be outdoors?

Monday, June 25, 2012

Mountain Weekend

My family spent a wonderful weekend in the mountains.  It was our first camping trip of the season, and the time we spent there made us wish for more!

I don't know why, but I feel like sharing the highlights of this trip backwards...I'll start with Sunday, and work my way back to Friday.  So, on Sunday, we decided to take a drive we'd never done before, down into Crazy Woman Canyon.  The road is narrow and steep, but the views are so gorgeous as you wind your way down into the canyon along the creek.  After 4 or 5 miles, the canyon changes dramatically, and is really breathtaking.  The rock walls are dramatic and pockmarked with caves.  We explored one of them, and it was fascinating.  I could easily imagine someone using that cave (and many of the others we saw) for shelter in eras gone by.

Megan, in front of a very large rock!

Crazy Woman Creek

Canyon wall, and one of the many caves.

Megan and I were both down inside the cave. It ran back a little way, and there was another opening that we didn't go into.  Maybe next time...

On Saturday, Chad's parents came up and spent the day with us.  There was a nice long walk, roasted hot dogs over the fire, a trip on up the mountain to a couple of fishing spots; barbless hooks, and catch and release only! I am not fond of cooking and eating fish. Yuck!  After that full day, we ended up taking an evening drive along a narrow and pretty rough road, but the view was gorgeous, and we saw some wildlife.

Three generations of Birdies: Chad, Charles, and Megan.

Judy, Chad's mother, doing one of her favorite things; rock hunting!

Friday afternoon, we arrived at our campsite at around 3:00.  Chad's parents were kind enough to take the camper up the day before and get it all set up.  The campsite is a 25 minute drive from their house, and it sure saves time when they do this for us.  A beautiful spot where we had camped last year, it is way back in, far from the highway.  It is quiet, and there are no other campers within a couple of miles.  Filled with many varieties of wildflowers and just as many varieties of butterflies, this is my favorite site of all the ones we have stayed in.  We got settled in, looked around the immediate area at all of the flowers, then a little thunderstorm came up.  While it was raining, we all enjoyed a nice nap.  Evening walks and family time around the campfire were just the ticket, and I can't imagine a better way to relax.


A Hesperis Fritillary butterfly enjoying some Penstemon nectar.

Slimpod Shooting Star

Duncecap Larkspur (what a rude name for such a pretty flower!)

I think camping is, by far, my favorite family activity.  I can't wait until we can do it again!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Spring flew swiftly by, and summer came; and if the village had been beautiful at first, it was now in the full glow and luxuriance of its richness. The great trees, which had looked shrunken and bare in the earlier months, had now burst into strong life and health; and stretching forth their green arms over the thirsty ground, converted open and naked spots into choice nooks, where was a deep and pleasant shade from which to look upon the wide prospect, steeped in sunshine, which lay stretched out beyond. The earth had donned her mantle of brightest green; and shed her richest perfumes abroad. It was the prime and vigour of the year; all things were glad and flourishing.
   ~Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist     

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Summer Solstice

Today is the summer solstice of 2012; affectionately known as the longest day of the year, it marks the beginning of summer.  Really, it's still a 24-hour day, but today we have sunlight for the longest period of time.  A day I look forward to pretty much all year.  I love, actually crave, the long summer days, and it is wonderful when they finally arrive.  Up early in the morning and staying outside, usually working in the yard and gardens, or just sitting outside enjoying the season, until dark.  Who cares if supper isn't until 9 p.m. or later!  It's summer!

My heart sings and celebrates this time of year!  But, we all know what goes up, must come down.  Sadly, after today, the dawn will gradually come later, the sun will creep away to set earlier, and I will find myself looking forward to the summer solstice of 2013.

Happy solstice, and happy summer!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Morning Visitor

This morning as I stepped outside to take a picture of something, I had a guest on my front step.  He was sitting there patiently waiting for someone to open the door, and quickly let me know how happy he was to see me with an excited meow.  Knowing that a good head scratching was coming, he was already kneading the outdoor carpet on the stoop before I could even touch him.

This is Moose.  He lives a couple of houses up the block, and he is 8 or 9 years old.  I remember when the neighbor brought him home as a tiny kitten.  Actually, his name is Tame, but he's a big boy, and my daughter, Megan, began calling him Moose many years ago.  So he will always be Moose to us.  He doesn't seem to mind the name...he always comes running when he sees us!  He regularly patrols the neighborhood, and stops by often to say hello and have a treat.

This is my largest flower bed, and where Moose can often be found during the heat of the day.  Many times he's wandered out, yawning, after having his afternoon nap.

He's just a good ol' cat, and a sweet visitor that I don't mind seeing every day.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Soggy Mountain Drive

Today we made a quick trip to the Big Horn Mountains.  My husband's parents live in Buffalo, Wyoming, right at the base of the mountains.  When we left home, it was sunny and warm.  By the time we'd driven the hour to Buffalo, the sky was dark, the wind had kicked up, and it was cold!  After visiting for awhile, we decided to go on up the mountain and see what we could see.  We're glad we did.

First, we saw a cow moose with her calf.  They were deep in the willows, and it was raining pretty hard, so we didn't try to get any pictures.  We really could only see little bits of them here and there between trees and bushes, so any photos wouldn't have been very good anyway.

We drove on up the road a bit, and there, pretty as you please, was a bull moose, probably 30 feet from where we pulled off the road.  Still raining, but he didn't care!  So we took his picture, and he was very gracious about it.

After we said thank you and goodbye to Mr. Moose, we went a short way up the road, and the rain began to turn to a slushy mix of rain and snow.  So we decided that we'd gone far enough, and headed back down.

How was your Saturday?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Worse for the Wear

Mother Nature packed a wallop on Tuesday.  It was 90° and very windy.  We are used to having wind in Wyoming, but this was extreme, even for us.  With the heat, very low humidity, and the wind, every ounce of moisture was sucked out of the ground and plants.  I had even heavily watered early in the morning in anticipation of this yucky weather combo, but by early afternoon, some of my hardiest plants were not fairing very well.  There were also tree branches, some of them quite large, down all over town. 

By early evening, it was still quite blustery, but I was out looking at the damage to my gardens.  Several of my peonies are now in a vase inside my house, because the strong winds snapped their stems, even though they are supported.  An iris bloom stalk was a casualty also.  My oriental poppies, which had just bloomed, were totally trashed.
Adding cheer to my living room, I'd much rather enjoy them, in all of their glory, outside.

My poor, sad poppies.

Then, to add insult to injury, we had a line of strong thunderstorms roll through later in the evening that brought heavy rain and hail.  At least we got some moisture back, but the driving rain and hail didn't do much for the already damaged vegetation.

The next morning, on my walk around town and the cemetery, I saw a lot of the same type of damage. 

Just one of the large broken limbs that I saw on my walk.
Weather certainly can be our best friend, or one of our worst enemies!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Venus Transit

I've been outside looking at Venus going across the face of the sun, and it is one of the neatest things I've ever seen!  Don't worry, I have #12 welding glass I'm looking through.  Knowing that this in an event that won't be seen again by anyone alive today is kind of cool, and also makes me stop and think about how short our lives really are when compared to the workings of the universe.

The above picture is courtesy of Google Images.  I would love to photograph it myself, or see it through a high powered telescope, but it's still awesome to get to just hold the glass up and see it.  This photo looks pretty much like what I just saw, with Venus in the one o'clock position.  The only real difference is that through the #12 welding glass, the sun is green, a la Sam I Am's green eggs and ham!

Are you watching the transit, either live or via TV or streaming video?

Monday, June 4, 2012

Bright and Shining Face

Last night, the moon was beautiful.  Nearly full, it seemed to be extra bright.  We had a perfectly clear sky, and spent some time just enjoying that shining face. 

When I look at the moon, really look at it, I am always left with a sense of awe.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

..."Like a Watered Garden"...

The Lord will guide you continually,
And satisfy your soul in drought,
And strengthen your bones;
You shall be like a watered garden,
And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.

-Isaiah 58:11 NKJV

Friday, June 1, 2012

Blog Hop! 5 Questions Friday

Today, I'm participating in a blog hop! It's a fun way to "meet" others through their blogs. My cousin linked in to this one, and I like what the original blogger (number 1 on the list) is doing with her "5 Questions Friday" idea. Everyone participating will appear on each blog, so you can hop from one to the next. So, here goes!

1. What were you scared of as a kid? I was terrified of irrigation ditches. What??? Yep, you read that right. We lived in farming country, and there were irrigation ditches everywhere. Some of them very large. When I was 4, my neigborhood had a fairly good sized one, not too huge, but big enough to be dangerous for small kids. My mom warned me to never go near it. She said it may look slow and lazy on top, and seem like a nice place to wade, but it was deep and fast moving underneath. If I went or fell in, the current could suck me under and drown me. So began a huge fear of irrigation ditches. I had nightmares about just getting a few feet away and getting sucked in; about driving by one of the really big ones we used to see along the highway, and the car getting sucked in, with all of us in it. Even at that young age, when I had those dreams, I could feel the water going into my lungs and drowning me. It was scary! But, my mom's warning worked...I never went near the irrigation ditch!

2. Do you sleep well in a hotel? That depends. If we are in a quiet hotel where there's not a lot of noise from highways or other guests, I'll sleep fine.

3. If you could meet any celebrity, dead or alive, who and why? This one is kind of tough for me. I enjoy music and movies very much. But, for the most part, the celebrities, singers, or musicians don't lead very admirable lives, so I really don't care to meet them personally. Maybe I'd like to meet someone like Jim Caviezel. He's starred in some of my favorite things, such as Freqency, The Passion of the Christ, and the current TV show Person of Interest. He seems like a genuinely good person and family man.

4. It's a hot summer day. Do you prefer to be pool side or at the beach? Definitely at the beach! We lived in Florida, on the Gulf of Mexico, for 4 years while my husband was in the Air Force. We lived on the base, right on a bay, and we could go out our front door, walk across the street, and watch the dolphins or stingrays feeing every morning. A short drive across the base, and we were on the beach of the Gulf. It was awesome! Ever since then, I truly find swimming pools very boring.

5. What is your favorite summer dish? Taco Salad!