Sunday, September 26, 2010

Field Trip! Seeds Unit.

First I have to apologize for the poor quality of these photos.  I forgot my camera and had to use my phone's camera.

Friday I joined J's class on their weekly, outdoor field trip.  This week, we met at the school and then walked to a nature park about a mile and a half away. 

Along the walk to the park, the class happened upon some blackberries ripe for the picking.  Kids started enjoying their snack and then J was attacked!  By the blackberry bush!  Resulting in the stratches below.  =(

Once we reached the park, the class gathered together to discuss the plan for the day.  The theme of study this month is seeds.  The kids are to gather seeds to journal and discuss. 

Here is J sitting on a footbridge.  She is journaling the seeds she found.

The kids really did a great job of collecting several seeds each.  Then we gathered back together to talk about the seeds we had found. 

Then it was lunchtime!  We decided lunch by the creek would be a perfect end to our morning.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

First Day of School!

The girls started their new school yesterday.

J?  Loved hers!

B?  Not so much.  =(

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Oak Knoll Fire

On Tuesday when I left work, I noticed a large black cloud.  I knew immediately there was a fire in Ashland.  I called Tony to take a look from our deck.  We are so high up on our hill, we can see the entire town.  Turns out the fire was on the south side of town.  About four miles from our house.

My usual route was blocked by traffic and emergency vehicles.  But the time I got home, we could see helicopters had joined in the fight.  This went on for hours.  =(

This is a view of the fire from our deck.

We later learned the fire had started on the east side of the highway and then the strong winds carried it across the road.  Four streets had to be evacuated.  In the end, 11 homes were destroyed.  The police have arrested a homeless man.  He had started a fire for himself that got out of control. 

Friday, August 20, 2010

Things I Miss About MO, Part 1: Thunderstorms

Oh how I miss thunderstorms!  I miss watching the storm rolling in from miles away.  I miss the sight of the lightening bolts crashing down.  I miss the big boom of the thunder..  Especially when the thunder is close enough to shake the house.  I miss the power.  The massive, raw power of the storm. 

And the smell.  I miss the smell of the rain.  It's the most wonderful smell.

We finally had a thunderstorm here this week.  It only lasted maybe an hour but it was wonderful!  We have a little lightening, a few thunderclaps.  It wasn't the powerful storms we are use to in the Midwest but it was refreshing and reminded me of home.

And then we were rewarded with the sun coming back out right before sunset.  The colors were gorgeous bouncing off the mountains.  And then!...  A rainbow appeared!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Monday, August 9, 2010

Pilot Rock

Last weekend, Barbarian/Hubby and I climbed Pilot Rock with our friend, Camper. The summit of Pilot Rock is over 5900 feet. The climb covers an elevation change of 2000+ feet. Pilot Rock is actually the cooled magma of an ancient volcano's central vent. Over time the exterior of the volcano has eroded away. I was pretty excited to climb until I found out about the extreme free solo rock climb required at the end of the trail to summit the rock.

Upon further research (I googled), I discovered that people have died trying to make the final climb. OMG! Are you kidding me? I am a pretty careless gal that usually has a few unexplained bruises at any given time. But I couldn't back out. The boys would never let me live it down!

We set out at 7:00 AM.  We wanted to beat the heat and other hikers.  We could see Pilot Rock from several miles out.  And as we got closer, it got bigger.  Oh my.  It was going to be a long morning.

The first part of the trail was a pretty easy, dirt trail.  Then it started going uphill fast at a steep angle.  The boys were leaving me behind but I was okay with that.  They like to race to the top.  I prefer to take my time, enjoying the trail and my surroundings.  And then was my least favorite part.  Steep, dirt and large loose gravel.  It sucked!  Most of this part required a lot of using your hands to climb.  Lots of bear walking.  Not so fun.

So I made it to the top of that section to see this...
The last section of the trail.  The rock.  Camper was already half way up.  Can you see him in the white t-shirt in the middle of this pic? 

And then there was this part.  This is where the free solo rock climbing started.  Camper got up and then it was Barbarian's turn...

It was at this point that he was beginning to think he might not make it up.

But he did!  And then it was my turn.  Please, please, please let me make it up there! 

Not only did I make it up there, I fly up the side of that rock!  Who knew my long legs and arms combined with my flexibility would make climbing so easy.  I showed those boys a thing or two! 

I found this cool marker on top of the rock.  I wonder when it was put there?

Did I mention it was our six month anniversary?  And that is how we spent it.  On top of a rock, looking out to see California on one side and Oregon on the other.  Perfect!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Up, Up & Away!

Sorry for the lack of posts!  Our internet has been down for over a week now.  Finally had a tech out today.  All better now!

A couple weeks ago, the girls and I went to the Rogue Valley Balloon Rally.  It was the first time the girls had been that close to hot balloons.  They were so excited!

This is what we saw as we drove at 6:30 AM.  Drive faster!

Did I mention that we had to get up at 5:30 AM?!  Five!  Thirty!!  AM!!!  AM = in the morning!!!!

This balloon was J's favorite.

They offered a ride in a tether balloon for a charitable donation.  So we had to do it!  It was for a good cause!

Getting higher!

It was amazing!  It was a very gentle, quiet ride. 

So fun!  Only problem is, now we all want to go on a real, longer ride!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Fourth of July

The Fourth of July is a pretty big deal here in Ashland.  The downtown celebration is over 100 years old!  It starts the day before the holiday with people marking their viewing spots along the parade route.  They put out their chairs and blankets.  Some even go as far as marking with duct tape.  It's crazy!

The celebration starts early on the Fourth with a run, followed by the parade and then activities, food  and entertainment in the park downtown.  Later that night is more entertainment and a spectacular fireworks display.

J & B were in the Ashland parade.  They were very excited to do this since it was their first holiday here.  Barbarian's sister was dancing in the parade with her belly dancing troupe.  They invited their children to pass out candy and flyers along the route as they danced. 

This photo is right before the parade started. Look at that crowd!

Barbarian and I lucked out and found a nice shady spot to watch from.

Here comes J! See the little tutu she's wearing? We made it. So cute! Okay, so she looks a little more like a Material Girl than a Belly Dancer. But she's still adorable!

And that hand in the middle of the photo? That would be Barbarian waving to her.

And there are the belly dancers!  Their parade entry received first place in their division!

After the parade we found some entertainment and lunch.

This band from TX was great!  I can't remember their name...

Anyone that knows me, knows I am a self-proclaimed, people watcher.  One of my favorite things about Ashland is the awesome variety of people.  If you didn't know better, you might think you were watching a music video being filmed!

These gals were one of our favorite sites that day.  These living statues would hold their position until someone tipped them.  Then they would reposition themselves.  This went on for hours!  Do you think that metallic paint on their skins is healthy or, at the very least, extremely hard to remove?!

Barbarian and I watched the fireworks from our deck.  They were beautiful! 

Can't wait for the next holiday here!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Bears? Oh My!

So a few weeks ago Barbarian woke up to a noise outside our bedroom window.  He looked out but couldn't see anything.  He then moved into our bathroom.  By then the motion sensor light had been triggered.  When he looked out, he saw it.  A black bear.  Though he says it was a smaller one.  By the time he woke me up, it was gone.

Last week, we heard a loud crashing noise through the back yard.  Sounded like a horse running through.  Whatever it was, was growling at some sort of prey it was chasing.  We didn't see anything but it sure was scary!

And then yesterday, we found this...  (warning, not for the weak!)

This?  This is fresh bear scat!  We found it in our side yard, about 30 feet from the house.  It appears we have a resident bear.  Ugh.  Now what do we do?

P.S. - Please don't tell my mom about this!  She may never come visit or she may order me home immediately!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Gwen is Gone

B went to show a friend her chicks yesterday but could only find two of them in the coop.  She finally found my chick, Gwen.  Sadly, it was only part of Gwen.  We are not sure what happened to her but something clearly did.

Gwen was the friendliest of the chicks.  She would come to you if you called her.  She also had the most color coming in her feathers.

We are really hoping the other two chicks are able to make it.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Chickens? Yes, Chickens!

So the girls wanted a new pet.  We thought chickens might be fun.  Barbarian's mom has nine chickens so at least we would have someone to ask questions, if we need to. 

To buy chickens here, you head to Grange Co-Op.  It's a farm, home, garden and pet store.  We tried to purchase our baby chicks the weekend before last but we were informed that they had stopped selling them the weekend before.  Gloom!  Despair!!  And agony on me!!!  But we pressed forward and called every single Grange Co-op in the valley.  Finally, the co-op several towns over said they might get some in the following weekend. 

I called them that Saturday.  They only had three left and the store is a good 20 minutes away!  They offered to hold two of them for us.  So off B and I went to the co-op!  Of course, once we got there we realized that we couldn't leave one baby chick behind.  So all three of them came home with us!

Since B went with me to get them, she got to pick her chick first.  She named her Hayley Leah, after her cousin and grandma.  I'm sure they both feel very honored!  I mean, who wouldn't want a chicken named after them?!

J got to pick her chick next.  She named her Loretta.  I have no idea why.  I had no idea J had even heard the name Loretta before.  And I know she has never seen Coal Miner's Daughter!

And this is my chick!  Her name is Gwen.  "She ain't no Hollaback Girl!  It's my chick.  It's my chick!"  Sing it with me now!...  Okay, maybe not.

Our chicks are Ameraucana (Araucana).  They lay blue-green eggs!  We can't wait to see those!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Table Rock

Last Sunday we went on a family hike up and across Upper Table Rock.  Upper and Lower Table Rock are cliff-edged mesa buttes.  At one time, they were a sanctuary for the Takelma Indians.

We saw lots of lizards along the trail up.  And gorgeous wildflowers everywhere!

This is what you find once you reach the top of the trial!  Once on top of Table Rock, it's a very open, flat mesa.

Barbarian needed to rest...

J, on the other hand, was feeling very powerful!

I love this photo of Barbarian and J with Mt. McLoughlin in the background!

And this?  This is just B being B.  Enough said.

This is as close as we dared venture to the edge!  Such an amazing view of the Rogue River.  So worth the effort.  We hope to hike Lower Table Rock soon.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Roooooooad Trip!

Goodness, it's been awhile!  Sorry about that but life has just been so busy since we picked up my girls from Kansas City.

I flew home the Thursday before last.  Barbarian/Hubby had flown in two days prior to see his girls, load the trailer and get everything ready.  I arrived to find my girls having a pool party at my parents' house.  Seventeen kids total splashing around!  Oh my.  But it was great to see them having fun with their friends one last time before the move.  I received some wonderful wet hugs from my girls and their cousin.  So awesome to hold them again!

We headed out at 4:30 AM that Saturday morning.  It started out a bit dramatic.  The cats were not happy to leave the sanctuary of their home.  This resulted in Barbarian and I getting deep scratches on our arms.  Yikes!  Had to make a quick stop to get antibiotic for our wounds.  It was almost 5:30 AM before we were actually on the road heading to Oregon. 

This is Barbarian acting camera shy.  Yeah right!  Notice the lovely cat scratch on his arm.  But enough about him.  Look at the beautiful scenery behind him!  Gorgeous!

The drive was pretty uneventful.  The girls loved all the new sights!  I think they both took hundreds of photos.  They also sang and danced in their seats!  I'm really glad they got to see a different part of the country.

The cats were pretty good.  They sat under a blanket between the girls the entire first day.  They didn't want to eat, drink or anything else.  The second day one cat got spooked and started bouncing around the backseat, scratching the girls.  We had to quickly pull off the highway, catch him and put him in a kennel for the rest of the ride. 

We finally arrived here in southern Oregon around 8:00 PM Sunday evening.  We were all very tired but happy to be home.