13 March 2009

Five Years Ago Today

Five years ago today, I walked through this Covered Bridge on a nice sunny day...
to the other side.
On the way through the bridge I saw this view; I liked it.
Then I went hiking, on a trail near there, where I saw this and a whole lot more.
After the hike, we drove through the mountains and saw views like this...
and this...
And then we were over the mountains
and we ate here, surrounded by western decor in a western town in the Northwest.
It was a good day.
Then we got in our vehicle and drove around some more..because
we like road trips and besides there are no passenger trains or stagecoaches that go there (though I'd consider taking them if either was an option)

So on our drive around this area and on the way back,
we saw a lot of beautiful scenes like this one.
But there was one that wasn't beautiful.
In fact it was pretty horrible.
The last time we 'saw' this view it was dark outside and there was fire on both sides of the highway; we could see it. There were a lot of people fighting the forest fires then. Fires were bad that year in the Northwest; some roads had to be closed.
The photo above was taken the year after we drove through--on that night--to get to my grandchildren.
Mottoes --

Only you can prevent forest fires; please do that (actually that is Smokey the Bear's motto; but I believe it)

Nothing keeps a grandma from her appointed mission, not even two forest fires.

I'd rather see photos like this one; the one above makes me sad.

and last but not least--it helps to have a PC 'tell' you where you were 5 years ago today.


Do you know where you were March 13, 2004?


I know where I was March 13 -- 13 years ago today.

My cell phone told me that but it didn't have to:)

Some things you don't need reminders for.

Blessings, Aimee

Photos: Cascadia, OR area; mountain views Sweet Home to Sisters (the restaurant was there) to Bend; then Bend towards the valley via Detroit Lake.

12 March 2009

Of Daffodils, Ponds & Fish

Sunny Daffodils
A small clarification: technically I believe these are bona fide nursery-grown, transplanted in my garden several years ago, daffodils; as opposed to nursery-purchased and planted in the fall daffodil bulbs. Confusing huh?
These are Tete a Tete's I believe. They are one of my favorites because of their small, dainty size and early bloom. I have more in my kitchen that I bought from a nursery in mid February when they were in bloom.
Lower Pond View

This is our lower pond which is stocked with fish. It is about the size of an in-ground swimming pool and we (well the males among us) have used it for swimming before). The grass around the pond looks a bit dead right now but that won't be forever. That open area is where I want to build a bridge and the area to left is where I want to make a seating area (there will be one at the upper pond too). It looks a lot better now because my best friend and I did a lot of work out there today.

Lower Pond Koi

Have you ever seen Evan Almighty? Well our koi must be related to the aquarium fish in the Senator's office (if you've seen the movie that comment will make sense; if not--rent the DVD--you'll like it!) Of course the fish pictured here were a bit disappointed that 'Evan' (mom) didn't feed them. Silly fish! It's still winter:)

Can you tell I am getting over my many years of perfectionism? Yep, the old me would have either a) deleted the outline border on this photo or b) put borders on all of the photos. Now to really break that old, vicious streak--I give you another pond view with a different border outline.

Another Pond View

"...the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof."

I Corinthians 10:26 KJV


Hope you have a good day tomorrow and that you take time to walk in His gardens.

Blessings, Aimee
Photos: as labeled above.


Yesterday I awoke to a beautiful sunny day (actually I awoke to a friend calling me at about 10:30--but the above sounds so much more poetic)

After a long hot bath (it wasn't exactly warm inside or outside of our house yet)...I opened the window blinds and saw --- ta! da!--the first bona fide grown on our land, blooming daffodils of the season! Now the sight of bright yellow flowers made my day, but it got better (not before some not so good moments though).

At some point, I proceeded to do a few chores like dishes, laundry and other stuff like stupidly trying to dry a lid in a hot oven that shouldn't have been there and then I....

got out of my house really quick because the fumes of the melting or too hot plastic or vinyl or whatever the lid handle is made of caused me to choke, gag, cough and otherwise try to rid my lungs of it.

It wasn't an experience I can recommend to anyone so NO drying
that type of lid in hot ovens, OK?

But, before my quick exit, I did manage to grab my camera and was able to get a few (yea right, Aimee never takes just a few) photos of the very blue water of one of our ponds and trying hard to open buds, sunny yellow daffodils, colorful fish, green plants, raised beds, etc under the beautiful sun. That was really, really nice:)

Hope your day was blessed with beauty and no melting plastic or whatever noxious fumes:)

Blessings, Aimee
(and you thought I was organized enough to have processed the photos by now)

11 March 2009

Walks in His Gardens--Southern Oregon

It is a blessing to have family!!
When you & that family both share a love for travel, nature & photography that is a blessing too--especially when they send me a lot of great pictures!
And it's more than wonderful when they give their 'favorite' relative, me, permission to share their photos here so you can see some of their photos too :)
Thanks MB for letting me share your trip photos on my blog!
See ya soon:)
Located in the southernmost part of the Pacific NW is an amazing place just a little over the California/Oregon border. It's a place of rugged, wooded mountains, historic towns, Shakespearean Festivals, Lithia water, a wild river and so much more!
Oh--did I say it's close to the memorable Crater Lake too??
Well it is and I vividly remember my last trip up there--with family and accompanied to the beautiful voice of Marvin Gaye on the stereo. Ah:)
But this post is not about that trip.
It's about another really amazing place there ...
an area that has always fascinated me to no end
but which of course I would never be brave enough to climb up.
However, through the kindness of family, who made a recent trip there,
I may not have to -- because I now have pictures from the top!
FYI: Actually this place is really two places, two not one buttes or mesas that rise up from the Rogue Valley floor--the Upper & Lower Table Top Rocks.
From what I understand it is not too long of a hike,
has spectacular views of the surrounding area
-and in spring-
there are wildflowers on the top !
But before I show you those great photos: my very bad, taken from a moving car, photo of one of the T-Top Rocks to give you a little idea of what this baby (at least one of them) looks like from the valley floor. Yea I know -- I am SOMEDAY going to fulfill my long held goal of getting a good photo of this butte (from the bottom of course).
Now the good stuff:)

Beautiful huh? I hear it was really cold!
Isn't this neat with the fog covering the valley; I really like this photo!

Another beautiful shot of the amazing views from the top! Yea, the fog has cleared now!
And now onto the other mesa--taken on an earlier trip there.
Disclaimer, liability release, warning ya cuz' I care about you statement:
Please check out good, reliable sources of hiking information for these places if you decide to go there and be very careful, OK? You need to be aware of the possible dangers of this area (snakes, cliffs, no water, poison oak, etc) and prepare for those per the recommendations of the good, reliable hiking information source you are going to check with, please.
Aimee, as I have said, has never done this climb so she cannot recommend it for kids or others as she doesn't have first hand knowledge of it. These are just beautiful photos of the NW I want to share with ya all :)
Steep sides but a nice view.
Look at these wildflowers and those mountains!!
God is an amazing artist!!!
I am thinking if earth is SO beautiful, what will heaven be like?
Blessings, Aimee
Photos: Manzanita tree (MB), Southern OR mountains (2, AB), Table Top Rock (AB--but it is hard to take credit for it:) ), Table Top Rock views (4, MB)

Note: There is a lower Table Top Rock & an upper one. See link for further info.

This post: Copyright 2009 A.& M. Blessings, All Rights Reserved.

Close Encounters--of the Wildlife, Bug & Bird Type

Life in the country is interesting.

Sometimes you get to see wild animals close-up!

Sometimes they even invite themselves into your home.

Sometimes they shouldn't.

Some of our visitors and close encounters in the wild--

Blue heron (whoa are they huge). My close up encounter was from quite a distance and I was breathless over the size of this guy (or gal). No time to take a picture except fot the one in my memory and over the years he may have grown a LITTLE larger there--but not by much:)


*Ducks. One day I saw 2 REAL ducks in our larger man made pond. They were happily floating around with our fish. I called my hubby excitedly; sad to say his reaction was not quite as delighted as mine. Now, I thought I took photos--I told him there was no way I was chasing the ducks away, as he 'ordered', till I did. Alas, I cannot find them right now--sigh! You know I don't think my hubby quite understood the honor paid him by the REAL ducks in our pond. I considered it a compliment on his pond design & construction abilities:)


*Deer (they don’t eat our roses but apparently love our nearest neighbor’s ones; I have a theory about that actually (here in the country we like to have theories about all sorts of things). Regarding deer: I've always had a soft spot for Bambi's relatives and would gladly share our blackberries with them (and probably have), but NO mini roses or blueberries! You have to draw a line about some things and they seem to know that. So far...

*Mice (in the country they have NO manners!) My hubby the other night told me--more or less--that I had unrealistic expectations about mice from having watched cartoons when I was a child. He is most likely right; the other night I screamed and jumped back as he walked casually by--with another--very unlike any cartoon mouse I've ever seen. It was in a trap of course; I won't give you the details as I do have good boundaries, but it was NOT cute and didn't speak English or French or any other human language I've ever heard. BIGtime yuck!


*Snakes (garter and some kind of racer--I think). I tend to run when anyone comes near bearing a snake, or dares to show me one, so NO photos or links of THEM on my PC or blog. Ever! I apologise to all of you snake lovers out there. You have my permission to 'google' them all you want though, just please-please don't leave a link here--please!


*Bats---fortunately have not seen one here--yet. Thank God! You see there was this little bat-in-the-house episode when I was younger. Actually, it was more like a 2 day horrifying bat-in-the-house affair. A thing like seeing a bat's silhouette in the light of the window inside your bedroom, having them fly by you, having one appear downstairs when you are in the bathroom doing----- added to all those years of watching Dark Shadows can really do one in for liking bats. But they are great for our eco system I hear...I'm OK without firsthand knowledge of that:) Really.


*Sugar Cane Spider??- speaking of bathroom incidents, there is nothing more adrenaline producing then seeing a HUGE spider over your head as you are in the bathroom---unless maybe a snake, bat or mouse being near you. These guys are in my Top 4 of "avoidees"!


*Coyotes. Have not seen one here yet but did --close up--at Sunriver in Central Oregon. He was good enough to pose for a photo too as there was NO way I was going to leave before I got one...oh and then I had to call everyone I knew to tell them. I know, I'm a little obsessesive with the photo thing! But how often are you going to see a coyote in the wild a few feet away from ya?

Do you see him?

*Mountain goats: I wish!!! I'd love to see this guy close up. Really. Maybe someday...a person I know, who hikes a lot at high altitudes, has seen mountain goats and has the photos to prove it. I have a big time mt goat envy about it! She's seen bear too -- way UP there in the alpine and sub alpine world. To be honest I'm not too envious about that sighting but the goats are neat:)

*Speaking of bears....I've seen bear scat in the wild, and some were right near one of the cabins we stayed at, but I'm more then content being in a warm, safe cabin when they come around (and this goes for mt lion/cougars too).

Confession time about the above: I did think it very neat when they let me hold a baby cougar at a school camp when I was a child. But a big adult one---in the wild---unrestrained---I don't think so!! Besides I am older and hopefully wiser now:)


*In addition to the above, I've also seen fairly close up (and not in a zoo) eagles, seagulls--duh!, dragonflies, ladybugs, Canadian geese, and a fox. I'm sure there are more but it is bedtime:)


You know it's a blessing seeing all the wildlife God made--well I am still not too fond about the mice, snakes, etc but trust God that one day I'll see it differently. After all there is the promise here:


"The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. " Isaiah 11:6-9 KJV


I am looking forward to the day when all men and all creatures are at peace; aren't you?

Blessings, Aimee

Birth Blessings!

To a friend and their family:


Congratulations on the birth of your new little 'lamb'!!

Truly children are a most precious gift & blessing from the Lord God above!!

May this little one enrich & bless your family’s life;

and may they be a blessing to those who they will meet in this world.

God be with you & the new baby!!

Blessings always, Aimee


“The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: the Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: the Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.” Numbers 6:25-6 KJV


"Children's children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers." Proverbs 17:6 KJV


Photo: A rural NW farm
Photo Verse: Psalms 127:3 KJV

10 March 2009

The Japanese Garden: Dreams

Japanese style garden

When we moved here 'umpteen' years ago, the land was pretty bare - in terms of landscaping. This was frustrating in ways, but in the end a fairly blank 'canvas' turned out to be a HUGE blessing as we could design garden areas pretty much as we wished (keeping in mind, of course, the septic system location, utility lines, etc).
One of the garden areas we designed, and then constructed, was a Japanese style garden-- 'style' being the key word here! In this area, we dug two ponds--a seasonal pond and a deeper, larger year round pond. The latter one is stocked with fish but has been known to attract certain hot family members too!
The plants around the ponds are mostly ones you would expect in a Japanese garden: Pieris, azaleas, Japanese maples, rhododendron, ferns, a flowering cherry; a few less so. There is also lots and LOTS of pond grass! Did I emphasize that enough?
My goal is to make this area a more inviting place and increase its accessibility: first by creating a comfortable seating area for reading, reflection and relaxation; and then constructing a bridge between the two ponds with a path to join main areas (now a grass/rock combo danger zone). I'd like to add some plants here too -- another evergreen huckleberry for sure----our sole survivor is just not happy without a companion (who can blame her?) and maybe some more native type plants like ferns or ?? Of course there are maintenance issues always like weeding, moving rock, mulching, etc.
Did I say we're into saving money for retirement and needed home improvements/repair too? Although we have been debt free (vehicles, home/land) for awhile now this is a big concern; not many people can afford to waste money/resources today (nor should they) and we are no exception. Besides more and more I feel the wise management of our resources is a matter of stewardship.
We have some great resources to start with: my hubby (bless him!), who knows a lot about construction. Then there is my best friend who is very knowledgeable about landscaping/ plants. Still other resources, like lumber, will be expensive so the challenge here is to prioritize and make shop wisely (craigslist, thrift stores, etc).
First step, the clean up ... then changes using resources we already have or can acquire cheaply...then the dreams.

Blessings, Aimee


  • mini orchard/garden/raised bed 'dreams'
  • edible/non-edible landscaped bed 'dreams'
  • going solar--at least for outside lighting

Photo: 'Pagoda' area of pond; the proposed bridge would be a little to the left of the pieris you can see. The seating area would be near the upper, seasonal pond although there will be something here too.

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