• 13Feb

    Bob and I recently enjoyed a trip through the Panama Canal.  As our captain would say, “…onboard the beautiful and elegant STATENDAM!”

    We sailed out of San Diego.

    I thought perhaps this seagull was going to go all the way to Mexico with us.  He made himself at home on the deck railing with us.

    The sun began to set, and the sky was beautiful.   A hint of things to come.

    Our room was very comfortable–and the beds so comfortable.  I managed to nap almost everyday!

    We started out with two sea days, and I put them to good use, spending time in the spa!

    Here’s the Promenade deck–great for reading or taking a morning walk.

    We sailed past a lot of beautiful Mexican beaches.

    Ah, this is the life!

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  • 09Feb
    Categories: musings Comments: 0

    Look what I bought the other day when I was antique shopping with my daughters-in-law (we had left the kids with the dads and Papa!).  Bob’s mom had a whole set of this Samsonite luggage, which I now have, but she didn’t have this piece.  I just love the shape of it.

    I just had to have it–and it wasn’t very expensive.  And, after an afternoon of shopping, it was the only thing in the back of the car.  Bob was so pleased to see that I hadn’t bought a lot of “stuff.”

    Of course, what he didn’t know is that as we shopped, I stuffed my stuff into my new trunk!  And boy am I a good stuffer.  Here’s what it looked like when we got home and I took it into the guest room to open it.  Of course as we unloaded the car, and Bob started to pick up my new suitcase, I quickly reached in front of him and said, “Oh no, I’ve got this,” just in case the weight gave it away!  So, what did I manage to get in there?  One very lumpy (but cheap) quilt…

    …some adorable building blocks with letters and images…

    …and sweet clothes pin holder…

    …a wonderfully illustrated children’s book called Merry Murphy that stars a potato.  The end papers were beautiful.

    It was a rebus book!  Some of the words were replaced by pictures.

    I also bought this apron…

    …and this apron…

    …and this Hey Diddle Diddle crib cover.

    Lastly, there was this rolling cookie cutter that I couldn’t resist–and I still had a little room for another treasure in my trunk!

    Good thing Bob doesn’t read my blog!

  • 16Aug

    Bob and I just enjoyed a great week in and around Kalispell,  Montana.  I always know we’re getting close to “home” when we start seeing signs for the Clarkfork!  CLARKFORK!

    For a change of scenery, we went through Libby.  There are several of these eagles around the town.  They’re quite impressive.

    And the river is very rocky!

    Bob had good luck fishing, though!

    We decided to take an even more scenic route and go past Libby Dam.

    It’s on the Kootenai River.

    It was built in 1975 and Bob remembers traveling through the area before the dam was built.

    The reservoir behind the dam backs up for 90 miles–clear into Canada!  The  lake is called Lake Koocanusa–Koo for Kootenai, Can for Canada and Usa for USA!

    It was really windy.

    If you don’t believe me, ask this tree.

    Good to know!

    They aren’t kidding.

    Rock is everywhere!

    I wondered what these big plants were.

    Turns out they’re called mullen.  They were very plentiful!

    I couldn’t resist snapping this  photo.

    As we got closer to Kalispell, someone had planted orange flowers–just for me, I’m sure.

    I love these old granaries.

    Maybe they’re common in farming areas, but they are unusual for me.

    Gotta snap a barn or two!

    Along the rivers we saw lots of osprey nests.

    We visited Flathead Lake.

    This is called a Bruck–a bus/truck combination.  It took passengers and freight from Kalispell to Whitefish to catch the train.

    We met some people who live on Whitefish Lake–this is their incredible view.

    They took us on a two hour boat ride around the lake.  Amazing vistas and amazing homes.

    Of course you can’t be this close without a visit to Glacier National Park.  This year  is the 100th anniversary of the park.

    Cool, huh?

    We drove the Going to the Sun Road.

    Photo op!

    There were about 6 mountain goats sunning themselves here, but no place to pull over to get a good photo, so took this  out the window of the car.

    Glacier is an amazing place.  If you don’t believe in global warming, how’s this for a statistic.  100 years ago there were 200 glaciers in Glacier Park.  Today there are only 50.

    A sign to add to my neon sign file.

    And it’s good to know that Montana is open!

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  • 10Dec

    I need a tripod!

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    Every year, Bob puts up lights on the pump house at our farm.  He does a beautiful job, and even made the star himself.

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    Our bog sits on busy Highway 101, so lots of cars go past.

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    And there’s nothing else around except forest, so there is no light competing with the display.

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    About dusk this evening, I went out to take some pictures of it, but my camera took a long time for the shutter to close, so they’re all blurry.  Maybe you can come see it in person.

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  • 19Oct
    Categories: Everything! Comments: 0

    Another cranberry harvest is behind us.  Bob can take a big breath and relax!  He always stresses so during harvest.

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    One of our favorite things during harvest is having strangers stop by the bog to see what we’re doing.  We love to share the process with them.  Cranberry farming is so unique.  We call our little talks Cranberry 101.  I thought it would be fun to share it here, too.

    Cranberries grow on vines in naturally occurring peat bogs.  They are not under water except during harvest.

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    If you look carefully, you can see the berries growing in amongst the vines.

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    When its time for harvest, we flood the bogs with water from our irrigation ponds.

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    Once the water covers the vines, a machine called a beater is driven over the vines.  It has a reel on the front with small steel bars.  The reel rotates and knocks the berries off the vines.  Cranberries are hollow in the middle, and they float to the surface of the water.

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    Once they’re floating, we use booms and paddles to bring them to one end of the field.

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    An elevator conveys the berries into totes on the trailers.  There is also a stream of water washing away leaves and debris as the berries ride up the elevator.

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    Filling the totes.

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    There’s between 1000 and 1100 pounds of cranberries in each tote.  That’s a lot of little red berries!

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    As members of the Ocean Spray Co-op, all we have to do is deliver our crop to the local receiving station, where they are cleaned and hauled off to freezer to await further processing.  All of our fruit is used for processing (not sold fresh in little bags).  Because we have good color, most of it will probably go for juice.  So, think of us next time you have a glass!

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  • 20Jun

     

    The Maypole!

     

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    There’s a little part of me that lives in Sweden all the time.  When I can’t be there in person, though, I try to bring Sweden here to me!  For the first time we celebrated Midsummer in Long Beach.  My family was here to celebrate with me and even though the weather wasn’t the best, we had a wonderful time.  I thought I’d share some of the midsummer traditions with you!

    First, we needed a maypole.  I kept assuring Bob it would be a simple thing–cut a tree, stick a couple of supports in the ground and you’re good to go.  Bob must really love me because he uncomplainingly tackled this task!

    He got to use his chain saw!

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    Of course he also had to use a post hole digger.

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    Then he cut down a big alder tree and brought me all the branches.  In Sweden it would have been a birch tree, but, alas, no birch here.  I made yards and yards of garland.

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    Bob helped me attach it to the pole.

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    I used wild Scotch Broom for the wreaths.

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    Cole says it passes inspection.

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    With Swedish music playing, we raise the maypole!

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    Can we do it?

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    Almost there!

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    Now it’s in place and time to dance around the pole–which we did, but there are no photos because EVERYONE was dancing!

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    I love this view of the maypole from the cabin in the woods.

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  • 19Feb
    Categories: Everything! Comments: 0

    Yellow Roses

     

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       Many years ago, I was dating a super guy named Bob.  He lived three and a half hours away from me, and we managed to get together almost every weekend.  I would either drive to Albany, or he would drive to Long Beach.  I had my business here.  Back in those days I was making gourmet cranberry products.  Bob had a career with a private utility and two boys still in school.  Bob was up to visit me the weekend before Valentine’s Day, and we had a nice weekend.  I don’t think we even discussed the upcoming holiday.

       Well, on Valentine’s Day, Ray from the local florist shop walked in the door of my business carrying a big bouquet of yellow roses.  I joked with him, saying, “Oh, Ray, I didn’t know you had feelings for me,” and he joked back about no longer being able to keep his feelings a secret.  Of course, I knew they were from Bob.  I smelled them and admired them for a few minutes and set them on the counter.  I headed back to my office, and Kristine, a 19 year old who worked for me, said, “Aren’t you going to open the card?”

        I said, “Well, I know they’re from Bob, but I suppose I should.”  So I did.  I must have had a strange look on my face when I read the card because Kristine said, “What is it?  Is it something sexual?”  (Oh, to be 19!)  

        Actually, what it said was, “Honey, I love you.  Will you marry me?  Bob.”  When he’d been here the weekend before, he had sneaked away from me long enough to go to the flower shop, place his order and write out his card.  I was pretty speechless.  Then I started laughing.  We spoke every night on the phone, and I can just imagine the conversation that evening if I hadn’t opened the card.  I’d have thanked him for the flowers, he’d have wondered why I didn’t say more, etc., etc.  Thank goodness Kristine had to good sense to insist I open that card!  

        Of course I said yes.  It was a long time before we figured out how to put our lives together in one place, but we did–right here in Long Beach.  Someday I’ll blog about our Cowboy Wedding.  But, in the meantime, Bob still sends me a dozen yellow roses every Valentine’s Day.

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