Thursday, May 28, 2015

These Boots are Made for Walking

And that's just what they'll do.  One of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you...

Not really. Just joshin'. But they will go for a walk again. Probably one of these days soon.

Memorial day weekend around here is treacherous in the fact that we live on the coast and everyone wants to be here, rain or shine, on a holiday weekend. For most of us who live here full time, we avoid the roads and the beach like it's the plague.   We really wanted to get out and take the dogs on a good walk where they could run, so we headed up to a logging area known as California Barrel.  As you can see, it was completely overcrowded! 
This guy had a ton of friends.  They were partying it up poolside. Well, a lot of them were swimming and frolicking. I think this guy, we'll call him Buddy, jumped out to sunbathe for a bit. I didn't have the heart to tell him that sun was not on the forecast. 
Maybe he really just got out of the pool to console his friend, Slug. It seems that Slug was pouting, feeling left out and a bit like a wallflower.  Nice of Buddy to notice and make time for a chat. 
(By the way, notice Buddy's nice orange color. His underside is way brighter and this little fellow is toxic. He's a Western Newt and you shouldn't eat him if you are in the woods and hungry. That's not nice anyway.)
There is so much pretty vegetation in our woods.  One of my favorites is Oregon Oxalis, otherwise known as Wood Sorrel.  It's bright green, looks like 3-leaf clover and covers the forest floor. Really pretty. I think there may have been a gnome or two hiding under there but they are way to fast for me.
Riff cut several loads of firewood up here this fall.  He was explaining to me where the good pile was and the intricate nature of pulling the logs out to cut. It's what he does. He's a 'xplaner.  
(I was listening intently, of course.)
The Pacific Northwest is very lush and grows super quick. Don't lose your car int he woods, because you may never find it again with all the vines, ferns and moss that will quickly take it over. 
This stump is what is known as a Nurse Stump.  Tree died for whatever reason, was logged, fell over in a "wind event", whatever the case, and that old stump becomes a nurse to new vegetation. You can see that new tree growing right out of it along with some ferns and stuff.  Don't stand still too long.  It'll grow right over you too. 
When this handsome boy was just a puppy, we named him Gustav but decided to call him Gus until he became more dignified and grew in to his royal name. Scratch that. See that brown, (or possibly green), crap on his shoulder. Yep. Serious crap. Elk poop to be exact.  He will never be Gustav but will forever remain merely Gus. 
(Can you blame him?  Look who raised him, after all. Riff is legally Richard, but nope, that's never going to happen either. Merely Riff. At least he doesn't roll in elk poop.)
Walk is over for the day. Loading up to head home to that hose in the backyard and some shampoo to wash off Gus' very fragrant cologne. 

I hope you enjoyed your walk with us today.  
Where have you been walking lately?

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Grab Me A Toothpick! Cinnamon Please!

Did you know that the toothpick predates modern man?  Yep, according to Wikipedia and we KNOW everything there is correct and completely accurate!  The skulls of Neanderthals show clear signs of having had their teeth picked with a tool.  

The Neanderthal, I mean husband, that lives at my house is always in search of a good toothpick.  Don't you love it when you are in a restaurant and they have cinnamon or mint toothpicks?  The best!  Today I decided to make a batch of cinnamon.  I think my caveman will like them!

Super easy!  First gather up your supplies ~
1 small glass jar
1 box of wooden toothpicks
1 bottle of certified pure Cinnamon essential oil
1 bottle of fractionated coconut oil (or any carrier oil you want to use; olive, grapeseed, etc.)

Cover the bottom of the jar with your carrier oil.  Don't put to much, just enough to cover it. 
Now add that delicious, yummy Cinnamon Bark oil.  15 to 20 drops will do it.
( Make sure you are using a good, 100% pure, unadulterated, therapeutic grade oil.  These are toothpicks. They will be in your mouth so you want to make sure you know what's in the oil you are using.)
Toss those toothpicks in!  Well, be gentle. You want them standing up and not just all willy-nilly in there.
Put the lid on.
Leave it on for about 8 hours. 
After the loooong 8 hours have passed, pour them out onto something flat. 
They should be in one layer on the plate. I know. Do what I say, not what I do. You want them to dry. 
It might take up to 24 hours.  I know. So stinking hard to wait.

When the sand has finally made it's way to the bottom, your toothpicks are finally ready. Yay!
Stick 'em in a tin, maybe a recycled Altoids tin, and enjoy!  

Seriously, is it okay to eat wood?  Sorry Caveman. These are mine!

(p.s. To get your own certified pure essential oils, contact me for more information.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Woodland in Bloom

On a morning in early May, bright with sunshine and unseasonably warm, Riff and I decided to take a drive and visit the Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens in Woodland, Washington.  The gardens are a wonderful, serene place to visit in this busy little town on the I-5 corridor. Birds are always chirping, bee's buzzing, and from tine to time, little spring peepers are singing their froggy songs.  We've been there a handful of times and enjoy the visit every time. 

This particular early May visit was once upon a time, but not very long ago. Just this past Saturday in fact.  Mother's Day weekend is a fantastic time to visit.  It is during the couple of weeks known as Lilac Days.  During this festive time is the only time the little farmhouse is open for tours and also the only time that you can purchase starts of so many of the wonderful varieties of lilacs that are grown here. Hulda was a pioneer in propagating so many new varieties of lilacs.  You can read about our first visit and more of Hulda's fascinating story here. 

With the early spring and unseasonably warm weather we've been having, the lilacs were all done blooming for the most part by this past weekend. The gardens were still beautiful.  

There is a variety of lilac grown in this garden called Belle de Nancy. The first year we visited, Nancy wasn't a start that was available to purchase but I vowed to haunt the gardens every year until we could bring Nancy home. This was the year!  I'm so excited to have not one, but TWO baby Belle de Nancy's to nourish and grow!  Yay!!
Here is what here blossoms look like on a full-grown bush.  Light lavender and white double blooms. Absolutely breathtaking!  It will be some time before our baby Nancy's produce blooms like this. I can hardly wait!
Meet our little babies. Aren't the twins adorable?!

May you all be blessed with a magical purple day!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Turn the Page...Tuesday

It's time!  Time for Turn the Page...Tuesday hosted by the fantabulous Adrienne over at Some of a Kind  ~
Adrienne has been hosting this monthly book party for awhile now but some of us, me, have taken an unplanned blogging break. I'm so excited to join back in and see what everyone else have been reading!  
(pop over to Adrienne's place and join in the fun!)

I went through my April reads and picked my two favorite of the month.  Ready? Here we go!

The Hound of the Baskervilles
~ by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

I read this one for the April read of my in-real-life book club at Lucy's Books here in town.   This was actually my pick and voted on by the other members of the group.  I had realized one day that I had never read a Sherlock Holmes so I threw my suggestion in the hat with the others and it was picked! Yay!

I can't believe it took me 47 years to read a Sherlock Holmes book. Crazy. I enjoyed it too no end. Such fun characters and the mystery was super fun as well.  I thought I had it figured out but my hunch was just a hunch and I was wrong...wahoo!  (I like to be wrong in instances like this!)  I will be reading the other Sherlock stories soon!

From Goodreads:
Holmes and Watson are faced with their most terrifying case yet. The legend of the devil-beast that haunts the moors around the Baskerville families home warns the descendants of that ancient clan never to venture out in those dark hours when the power of evil is exalted. Now, the most recent Baskerville, Sir Charles, is dead and the footprints of a giant hound have been found near his body. Will the new heir meet the same fate?

The Lace Reader
~by Brunonia Barry

My sister sent me this book awhile back and it's been hanging around on my to-be-read shelves all that time.  It's not that I wasn't interested, I really really was, but my stacks are so big!  Full of fabulous reading material that is calling me. It's so hard to choose!    The Lace Reader finally made it's way to the top of the stack and I loved it!!

This is another one where I absolutely didn't see the ending coming. I was really confused for a few minutes at some conversations that happened close to the end of the book.  Usually I have a inkling of what is going on but this one totally took me by surprise. (again, I like that!  Really makes for a good book when the twist isn't so predictable!).  

This book is set in Salem, Massachusetts.  Towner Whitney has been gone for many years and has returned when her adored aunt has disappeared. When she comes back into town, before reaching the house, the author does a wonderful job of describing the sites and sounds. It is clear that the protagonist is returning home, instead of just a description of a town that doesn't hold in memories or emotions for her.  What was also more than cool, is the fact that my husbands 9th Great-Grandfather, Roger Conant, was the founder of Salem.  The statue of him that stands in the town square was mentioned several times. (Funny too!  The author puts a disclaimer in the back that Roger was never in peril of being removed from his podium due to lewd behavior! You have to read that book to know what I'm talking about. Very funny!)
Roger Conant ~ 1592 to 1679

Anyway, back to where we were going.   I really liked Towner and could see that we would be friends. She was unreliable, troubled, strange, and had a bit of supernatural abilities.  I would hang out with her. 

Towner came back to Salem to help find her aunt and in the process uncovered all kinds of family secrets.  Good story.  Goodreads can tell you better.  Here's what they have to say:

Towner Whitney, the self-confessed unreliable narrator of The Lace Reader, hails from a family of Salem women who can read the future in the patterns in lace, and who have guarded a history of secrets going back generations, but the disappearance of two women brings Towner home to Salem and the truth about the death of her twin sister to light.

The Lace Reader is a mesmerizing tale that spirals into a world of secrets, confused identities, lies, and half-truths in which the reader quickly finds it's nearly impossible to separate fact from fiction, but as Towner Whitney points out early on in the novel, "There are no accidents."

What have you been reading?  Good stuff I hope!  

Here I am on Goodreads if you would like to see what else I'm reading.
Have a great day!

Friday, May 1, 2015

I Just Can't Help Myself

It's possible that I may have accidentally gone to Goodwill today.  It's also possible that the only reason I generally go to Goodwill is to feed my book habit. 

I don't have nearly enough books and I can prove it. 
There are only a few in the bookcase in the living room...
and the hallway...
and in my nightstand, (what a cool nightstand with shelves, right?!)...
and not many at all on the Classics shelf. Not at all.

I'm sure there aren't any laying around in random piles or shelves that I didn't share with you.

I do not have a problem.  

Alright, so maybe just a little one. 
I might possibly be whore.