Magical Mundanities and Spoonie Retirement Episode 5 — And then the storm came

the yard two hours after the storm

And then the storm came …

It’s been a crazy summer. Summer arrived early and with tsunami-like intensity. The temperature rose, the heat became unbearable and stayed that way. We traveled to Oregon for a brief respite but were soon run off by fires, smoke and declining air quality. We diverted to Utah only to run into more air quality problems and a bad wheel bearing. We started slowly making our way home when we contracted some sort of flu. We arrived “home” travel worn and haggard, to discover that through a snafu our RV was not in it’s assigned spot (where we planned to stay the winter). Once that was straightened out, we unpacked, settled in … and then the storm came.

part of a hailstone a couple hours after the storm

It came like a round of mortar fire, as scores of fist sized hailstones accompanied by thousands of smaller stones, pummeled our home. We’re OK. Car is totaled, we’re waiting on the adjuster to determine if the damage to the roof of the RV is repairable. Funny how your world can change in 15 minutes. For 15 years we’ve been full-time RVers. We’ve been through two floods, two fires, three “catastrophic” hail storms. Perhaps it’s time for a change.

living room floor, yes those are hailstones

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that we’re very thankful that we’re all OK, nobody was injured. Glass repair will be out to replace the windshield on Friday, the RV repair guys will be out later today to patch the roof enough to keep rain from falling straight into the living room ;-), I got groceries delivered and everything will be alright, eventually.

Til next time, stay safe ~JP

Spoonie Retirement and Magical Mundanities Episode 4 — Beauty and the Bootleg Fire

Welcome fellow Spoonies and various other sentient beings to another episode of Magical Mundanities where a couple of retired Spoonies seek to find the magic in a mundane world.

We continued our stay in Oregon alongside the Willamette River. I did my daily yoga practice outside our Bungalow shortly after sunrise, while the air was still cool and dew-covered grass tickled my toes. Breakfast of oats with yogurt and fruit, followed by a walk along the river. I became enchanted by the antics of some garden snails and spent probably more time than I should have perched on the front step, tea in hand, watching their escapades.

This guy got his shell stuck for a few minutes but eventually wiggled his way down between the boards to cooler, shaded ground.

We took a trip out to the fish hatchery to watch the fingerling salmon practice fall jumping against the flow of the aerators. I find it so amazing that even at this tiny size (the fingerlings are less than two inches long at this point) they have that instinct to leap against the flow. Even though they are certainly not in a natural environment, natural instincts are definitely at play and I delight in their antics. Much of the rest of the hatchery is still closed to the public but all in all it was an entertaining afternoon.

Fingerling Salmon practicing

In the afternoons, after the sun slid west enough to cast shade from the privacy fence, I went back outside to lay in the shade on a beach towel and listen to some vlogs I follow. While there I watched the progress of a “bleeding tooth” mushroom. So named for it’s white cap dotted with red spots. It reminds me of something Alice might have found in wonderland. Although not toxic, the mushroom is too bitter to be considered edible and, so far as I can tell, has no medicinal value. It was interesting to watch the red dots slowly grow and dissolve the entire cap in a matter of days.

Bleeding tooth mushrooms are beautiful. Creepy, but beautiful.

Impending smoke mixed with low cloud cover leads to declining air quality.

Alas, our relaxing three week idle was not to be. Lightning strikes ignited several more forest fires in the area and between the Bootleg and local minor fires, air quality began to plummet. Once it reached 150, we packed up and resumed our travels, rerouting as best we could. The Bootleg fire alone has already consumed over 413,000 acres of forest. It breaks my tree-hugging heart and I fear for the animals and birds. I fear for us all. It seems the entire western half of the US is on fire right now. Ah but that is a story for another time. Right now, there are still tiny moments of magic and beauty to be found along the way.

Give a listen to the Cottage Fairy, a fellow Oregonian, who relays the terror and hope of our current situation.

Til next time ~Stay Wild Moonchild ~JP

Sunday Stills and Weekend Coffee Share in the July heat

Welcome fellow Spoonies and various other sentient beings! Come in, grab your favorite cuppa and let’s visit a bit with Natalie at the Weekend Coffee Share and Terri at Sunday Stills. Our Sunday Stills prompt is “angle” and I found oh so many on our recent adventures.

Last week, we visited Mountain Home, Idaho and took a mini tour of Penny Alley which is a local alleyway that has been dedicated to dozens of urban murals in this tiny rural town. According to the local brochure “in 2016 a group of local artists came together to transform a nearly 320 foot stretch of alleyway in the city’s downtown into an outdoor art gallery featuring a collage of different works of art painted on the walls of local businesses.” We spent a sunny (yeah read that HOT!!!) morning walking the alley, snapping pics, and eating outdoors.

It’s business hours so a lot of this collage is blocked but still sooo worth the look. I can totally dig the wild angles in the dream catcher. Dude!

Adventure is out there!!! LOOK at all the angles in the mural, each sun ray had it’s own design. Plus, it’s purple … and pink! 🙂

I considered cropping this shot but wanted to keep the “OMG this is the alley of actual working businesses” feel. I like the lines of the bricks through the murals and the way the angles are broken up with curves and blending of the individual pictures in the mural.

I particularly love this. Maybe it’s the quote, I am a John Muir fan, or maybe it’s the scene, or maybe it’s the style. This shot is not pixelated, the rough “texture” is intentional. Up close it rather resembles one of those photos transferred to canvas texture. However it was done the result is much in keeping with the alley-feel. I shot this from a straight-on angle with my hinney squeezed up against the far alley wall, stupid camera phone. ;-p

After a long stroll we made our way back to the car through a little craft fair. It was fun to see the offerings. We returned to our hotel and spent the rest of the afternoon at the pool, splashing, relaxing and practicing that wonderous vacation ritual of napping. So many great angles in the rock water feature.

Hope you’re staying cool in your part of the world. We’re enduring another round of record breaking heat here in the west and midwest USA. To read a bit more about Spoonies and summer, check out Magical Mundanities Episode 3 –Summer Spoons.

Til next time ~Stay Wild Moonchild ~JP

Stream — a Quadrille

A stream rejoining the Willamette River

WhimsyGizmo is our host for dVerse Quadrille. De being in Southern Nevada (ooohhh I’m sweating just thinking about it) has asked us for a poem of 44 words including “stream.” I am currently enjoying the relative cool of inland Oregon where streams, creeks, rivers, and lakes are abundant. Ahhhh … sigh. For your perusal, “Stream”

Stream

Thoughts flow through my mind

like this meandering stream

curling into switchbacks

as I watch the crows

fishing in the shallows

raging water once lifted

rocks and boulders

depositing them here

for me to sit upon

while I dip my toes

in cooling water

Til next time ~Stay Wild Moonchild ~JP

The Taste of Lammas — a first harvest celebration

feral blackberry brambles Westfir, Oregon

For Earthweal’s open link weekend — Happy Lammas

The Taste of Lammas

I hold a peach in my hand
the sweet scent lifts my spirits
with all the promise of summer
blackberries growing wild
sparkle like obsidian jewels
in the dry summer sun
plum butter rich and thick
on a freshly-baked scone
I close my eyes,
the explosion of sensations
color my spirit
as I taste the gifts of Gaia
catching a stray crumb
with my tongue
I sigh with gratitude
and contentment
thank you for the flavors
thank you, thank you, thank you

Til next time ~Stay Wild Moonchild ~JP

Magical Mundanities — Episode 2 — Spoonie Travel in a Pandemic World

Welcome fellow Spoonies and various other sentient beings to another episode of Magical Mundanities where this Spoonie seeks to find the magic in a mundane world.

After returning from a short trip to visit grandkids and wrap up pre-retirement details with the home office, we had three weeks to rest, recuperate, see doctors, repack our suitcases and pack up our tiny home for storage before heading out on the “big trip of being somewhere else.” This is the first significant road trip we’ve taken in several years.

Butterfly on a purple coneflower bids me farewell in South Dakota

We left South Dakota on a sunny day. The weather had been mostly hot and sunny for the weeks prior to our departure and we were looking forward to some cooler temps.

Spoonie travel requires some adjustments. We discovered early on that traveling by car is no less draining than travel by air, and it TAKES LONGER! Bear in mind that neither of us travels well these days, we’re out of shape. We took the drive in easy steps traversing no more than 350 miles of state highways per day. We stopped at virtually every roadside rest and touristy place along the way (aka restrooms).

Independence Rock — along the Oregon Trail — Alcova, WY

We loosely followed the Oregon Trail most of the trip and picked up fascinating tidbits about the pioneers and their perils, as well as the Eisenhower Highway Act which connected this vast country. The story goes that when Eisenhower was a young Army officer, he participated in a cross country convoy from New York to California. The trek took 62 days and Eisenhower later wrote that this was when he first envisioned a cross country highway system.

The road was long, the journey arduous although certainly not a patch on what the pioneers or post WWI travelers must have gone through. Breaks became less frequent and fatigue crushed the mind, body and soul of these two spoonies. Wyoming holds many, many hundred miles of, well, nothing. At all. I have always said though that if you LOOK for beauty, you’ll find it. Above, during a brief break at an otherwise unremarkable rest area, thistles behind a dilapidated parking lot.

Penny Wall, Mountain Home, Idaho

Finally after three days of bone crushing travel fatigue, we stopped for a two-night R&R in the little town of Mountain Home, Idaho. While there we took in some local sites like “Penny Alley” which encompasses an alley full of murals. More on that later.

Hand Mural – Penny Alley — Mountain Home, Idaho

For now, if we were having coffee at the Weekend Coffee Share, I’d tell you that our travels have been full of tiny steps and beautiful moments, and some fairly huge stumbling blocks as well. I’d remind you that you have but to open your eyes to see the beauty around you, and “those who do not believe in magic will never find it.”

Til next time ~Stay Wild Moonchild ~JP

Sunday Stills – a Midsummer Dream

For Sunday stills, sunrise, sunset

“I have seen so many sunrises,” he said “each one glorious with the promise of the new day to come. Mine to shape and mold as I will. And sunsets, the sky refracting back to my meager eyes to joy of the day that has passed. I have watched the stars burst through the dark sky like a million flaming diamonds. Yet none of it prepared me for the explosion of celestial light within your eyes the first time I saw you smile.” ~Gwren

This week marked the Summer Solstice which we celebrated with a family gathering and feast on the BBQ. Surrounded by brothers, sisters, children, and grand-children. It was lovely. This shot of Stonehenge was taken in the spring but to me Stonehenge will always hold a special place in my Litha celebrations. Accordingly, I watch the sunrise over Stonehenge on youtube (I’m such a rebel).

 

Sunrise over the ocean on Kauai. This is one of my favorite shots for summer even though it wasn’t summer when I took the picture. The golden sky and reflection on the ocean just speaks to me of the power of the sun.

Another of those golden sunrises, I adore the flame red of the sun’s reflection on the water.

Sunset in Virgin, UT one wonderful solstice. Striking sunsets are rare in the desert, as are the clouds that create the textured feel of the picture.

Chimney Rock, Nebraska at dusk. Located at the “south edge of the North Platte River Valley, Chimney Rock is a natural geologic formation, a remnant of the erosion of the bluffs at the edge of the North Platte Valley. A slender spire rises 325 feet from a conical base. The imposing formation, composed of layers of volcanic ash and brule clay dating back to the Oligocene Age (34 million to 23 million years ago), towers 480 feet above the North Platte River Valley.” source

And finally, sunset at 30,000 ft. over Kentucky. From my seat on the plane as we approached Cincinnati on our recent trip. A wonderful way to start a trip.

That’s about it from here at Chez Spoons, have a great and safe week mes amies.

Til next time ~Stay Wild Moonchild ~JP

Magical Mundanities Episode 1 – magic in shades of gray

Floribunda rose in black and white, Westfir, Oregon

It’s easy to love a sunrise. The promise of a new day, bright, vibrant colors transform ordinary clouds into enchanting abstract patterns. Yes, it’s easy to love bright colors. It takes a special kind of soul though to love a lead-gray sky. I do because I see. I see the divine in a tiny bit of clear quartz among the gravel bed. I see the promise of eternity in the monochrome grayness of a cloudy day. I spend my days trying to be open to everyday epiphanies, the magical mundanities, of an ordinary life.

In nature I find gray everywhere, perhaps because it makes such a perfect backdrop. Perhaps because it’s everywhere. Perhaps because it is the middle of the road, half way between black and white, like the color of my hair, old enough to know better, but still willing to take a bash at it.

For Sunday Stills where our color challenge is Gray

Here gray concrete paving stones provide a backdrop for a young black swallowtail with brilliant wing stripes in Jiujiang, China

A white-faced Heron stalks his shadow in New Zealand

Gray mist hangs over the pavilion at Lulin Lake on Lushan Mountain, China

Vast gray depths and composition of a cloud formation in Rapid City, SD, USA

“Tall buildings no bigger than blocks on the floor
Wellington afloat on the harbour haze:
You think of how most men spend their days
In offices as cramped as elevators…”

Well weathered words of wisdom on faded gray planks of Wellington NZ waterfront.

If we were having coffee this week, I’d confide in hushed tones that I’ve never liked the color black for a wardrobe choice *insert shocked gasp*. Black is technically the absence of color and frankly, it washes out my already pale complexion. Then, I discovered all the infinite possibilities of gray. It has become a staple neutral of my wardrobe.

Ah well, I’m off to ponder the questions of the universe including the antics of the gray dove outside my window.

Til next time ~Stay Wild Moonchild ~JP

Sunday Stills – Water Water Everywhere

For Sunday Stills where our prompt is “water.” Oooohhh, water, I love water. I believe in another life, I was a mermaid, or a Hawaiian princess, whichever, maybe both. I have swam in every kind of water from lakes to rivers, to oceans, to really big puddles (Salton Sea). I can’t pass a puddle without stomping in it and I can’t pass up an opportunity to stick my feet in every sea, lake and river I can. I am also, partly, a water sign …. oh yeah!

Above, the great tide pool adventure in Florence, Oregon. I love the Pacific Northwest coast line, so rocky and graphic and full of adventure.

Farther south, turtles swim in Hanauma Bay on the island of Oahu, Hawaii

Still farther south, the Southern Pacific Ocean, off the coast of New Zealand. Hmmmm, these are all pacific ocean shots. What else can I come up with.

How about Stirling Castle on Loch Lomond, Scottish Highlands

or Urquhart castle on Loch Ness, why yes we did go hunting Nessie while there. 😉

There’s oceans and lakes, how about falls? … Opaeka Falls on the island of Kauai

or the Middle Fork of the Willamette River near Oakridge, Oregon

Salmon swimming “upstream” at the fish hatchery near Oakridge, Oregon. I love this shot we had so much fun at the hatchery capturing unique photo ops. These are fingerling salmon about 2 inches long already learning to fight the falls.

Til next time ~Stay Wild Moonchild ~JP

Spoonie Retirement — Life Love and Temperature Intolerance

Welcome fellow spoonies and other sentient beings to another edition of

Spoonie Retirement. The week has gone by, as weeks tend to do. After the hub-bub of the last few weeks it’s been nice to relax a bit.

Above buttermilk skies in the morning, here at the Ranch

If we were having coffee this week, I’d wish you a happy Beltane, then I’d brag that all of our de-winterizing is done on the RV and we’re ready for Spring. Hang on just a minute … this is summer weather! We seem to have by-passed spring this year. Two weeks ago we had snow, this week we have highs in the 80’s. Summer craziness has already begun here at the RV park. Sections of the park that have been closed all winter are open once again and are fully occupied, as people come out to celebrate the good weather. Humpffff, good weather in deed, too hot for my liking.

Trees bursting with buds

As Spoonies, Superhubs and I both suffer from temperature intolerance, and it changes. In the winter I find 59-60f perfect indoor temps, in the summer I’m freezing at 68, sweating at 78. Yeah, I have a teeny tiny thermal comfort zone. So while two weeks ago I was putting on extra sweaters to keep warm, I am now stripping off layers and wandering about in shorts. Symptom management requires constant adjustment. Regrettably, I also loathe air conditioning which complicates things a bit more. Don’t misunderstand me, I still USE the A/C, I just don’t LIKE it.

Lilacs are already in leaf, blooms can’t be far behind.

Like a lot of Spoonies, a sunny day can wreak all kinds of havoc with my immune system, triggering flares from my feet to my eyes. This is the time when simple, easy meal plans involving little to no cooking become essential to our well-being. Big batch oat porridge, prebaked frittata cups and fruit with or without yogurt are breakfast basics. Lunches are salads and wraps. Dinners are mostly foil wraps, outdoor grill or “slow cooker” meals.

With heat intolerance, the main problem we face is afternoon fatigue, so we plan around it. Chores, exercise, and activities take place in the mornings. Once 3:00 pm hits, that heavy, can’t breathe, can’t move, OMG-I’d-die-but-it-would-take-too-much-energy fatigue just crushes the life out of you. A cool shower in the afternoon will revive enough spoons for a light supper, movie, and bed. On the menu tonight, greek chicken casserole. This low carb version is “baked” in the slow cooker with side salads or microwaved vegetables from our local organic coop. Hope you’re having a wonderful week, do come join us at the weekend coffee share hosted by Natalie for sips, quips, shots and talks.

Stuff I’m watching and doing today

til next time ~Have a Blessed Beltane ~JP