2019, Travel/Vacation

Travel Journal, Day 2: From Weed, California To Vancouver, Washington

June 2, 2019

Sunday morning we left Weed, California and made our way up on US 97 to Crater Lake National Park. US 97 is also named Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway, because it runs east of Interstate 5 along all the volcano/mountain chains up in the Pacific Northwest. Our morning started with a big treat for us. The Sun was shining, the sky was clear, and Mount Shasta looked stunning with its snow-covered top(s). Most mountains have no caps anymore, because they were blown away from a volcanic eruption or weathering in this region. It leaves these mountains with two or more tops, which is sometimes hard to tell, which one is the highest point, the summit.

Once we’ve made it to Crater National Park, we’ve noticed lots of snow along the roadway. I said to Kevin to take a break and let the kids play in the snow for a little bit. The girls had so much fun sticking their fingers in the frozen white and having a small snowball fight. The fun was over, when Sara threw snow in Katelynn’s mouth. It was time to move on. Sara got some Karma later, when I threw a small snowball on the back of her head at the lake. It didn’t hurt her, because the snow was soft. But it made her think twice being a stinker to her older sibling.

When we saw the lake, we were mesmerized by its blue mirror reflecting water; the size of the caldera,; the big cone “Witch Cauldron” on Wizard Island; and the snow, which was still on the ground in the beginning of June. I’m happy, that the true love of my life took me to this lake. About 25 years ago, my son’s father supposed to take me to this lake. As a matter of fact, he lives in Oregon. But it didn’t work out. So here we go. Kevin made it possible for me to see this beautiful work of nature.

Crater Lake is with a depth of 1,949 feet (594 meters) the deepest lake in the United States of America. The caldera was formed when the Mount Mazama volcano collapsed approximately 7,700 years ago. It is filled with water due to heavy rain and snowfalls. Therefore the water is crystal clear and reflects blue due to the BIV (blue, indigo, violet) in the solar radiation interaction. The lake has two islands: Wizard Island and Phantom Ship. There is also a great chance that the volcano will erupt again, in the future.Β 

From Crater Lake National Park, we drove past Mount Thielsen, which has a very interesting looking summit. While capturing photos of it, I ran into a guy from Oklahoma. We had a little conversation about Oregon and Washington, before our ways separated again. It’s nice seeing people from home or a neighboring state. We always have something in common.

Soon, we’ve made it to Eugene. There we went back on Interstate 5 to drive to Portland. Our motel was on the other side of the Columbia River in Vancouver, Washington. My long-time friend, David, was waiting for us, so we all could have dinner together. It was wonderful to see him after over 26 years, again. We had a lot of years to catch up. Kevin and David talked about Seattle and the Army. I’ve never have seen David talking so much, when he was younger. But it was fantastic. He’s back home and in his environment. We’ve all enjoyed the conversations. After guiding us to the motel, David said, we should visit on our way back from Seattle. That way, we could also meet his wife. So, Kevin and I planned a lunch in Vancouver for Wednesday.Β  There is always some room on our trips for being spontaneous. Especially with kids, we have to be flexible.

… to be continued …

2019

Hiking In The Arbor Hills Nature Preserve In April 2019

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Sunset in the forested area of Arbor Hills Nature Preserve in Plano, Texas

As I mentioned in the previous blog, Kevin, Katelynn, Sara and I went to the Arbor Hills Nature Preserve in Plano yesterday evening. While Kevin was running the trails, the girls and I took pictures of the gorgeous Texas Bluebonnet, and we hiked to the frog pond towards the center of the park. Unfortunately, it is too early for Bull Frog sightings. And the edges of the pond were covered in algae. So we couldn’t see any tadpoles either. But that was okay. We still had a fun walk, which ended with hanging out at the playground for a little bit, while we were waiting for Kevin to be done working out at the Arbor Hills Nature Preserve.

2019

Lone Star State Flower

Kevin, the girls and I were talking about today’s work and school at the dinner table. It also popped up, that he wanted to run at the Sport Park tonight. So I made the suggestion, we all could go down to the Arbor Hills Nature Preserve. He can run, while the girls and I hike and capture photos of the Bluebonnets. Katelynn needed to get out of the house anyway. She has an English Language Art (ELA) test in school, tomorrow. And what’s the best way to relax for a bit? Hiking in nature, getting some good fresh air and get the mind off the test. The little things in life are still the best.

2018, In The Garden

Hummingbird/Butterfly Garden (Phase 1/Part I)

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Last year in May, I started building a sanctuary for hummingbirds and butterflies. It got warmer, and I was rethinking my plan, if I really wanted to build it that bulky in my backyard. Earlier this year, a lady showed me some photos how her husband is building her a butterfly garden in her front yard. I really liked his idea. And that gave me my own idea, how I want to build my hummingbird/butterfly garden in the front yard. I also looked up, what kind of native flowers would be good for our garden.

The front yard gets sun all day. In Summer, we have long stretches of no rainfall. So, the best flowers are natives which can handle the Texas droughts very well. Salvia, Verbena, Mint, Hyssop and Milkweed attract hummingbirds and butterflies. And for the bees it is paradise.

The first part was to put a water fountain in the corner by the entrance. I had the water fountain sitting in my backyard for the last three years. It would make a nice accent in the hummingbird/butterfly garden. And when those little birds and insects are thirsty, they will have a place to quench their thirst. After I cleaned out the corner, I put down the cinder blocks from the back yard. In the front, I put those stones, which make nice circles. And I put a cinder block in the center to have a solid base the fountain, later. Once the stones were in place, I filled everything in with soil.

The following morning, I cleaned up the fountain and sat it on the center cinder block. Kevin installed the pump and got the extension cord plugged in. We filled the fountain with water and turned it on. Ta-ta! The fountain works like a charm. I planted some Blue Mealy Sage, Catnip, Bluebonnet and Pineapple Sage. Sara helped me sowing Morning Glory seeds, before I put the trellis up. But first I filled in the space between the house foundation and the cinder blocks with some mulch. I wanted to leave some space, in case the fountain begins to leak or the soil gets too wet. I don’t want mold on the house wall, due to no air flow. But there is a good layer of mulch to avoid weed growth in that narrow space behind the fountain.

On Sunday, I got mulch around the lowest cinder blocks to cover them up. I planted Scarlet Sage at that level. After I was done mulching, I sat the fairy houses around the fountain. Katelynn and Sara want the fairies to live in our front yard, again. “We definitely need to welcome our garden fairies back”, Sara insisted. Okay, said, done! πŸ˜‰

For the next couple of days will be thunder storms in the forecast. This is a good way to test, how everything will hold up. And what will need improvement. Once it tries up again, I have to pull more grass and weeds to plant more native flowers. It will be a big front yard project. The first step is done. And the rest will follow. πŸ™‚ I’m excited!

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2018, In The Garden

First Bluebonnet of 2018

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Our Bluebonnet finally started to bloom, today.

Since we had a cooler Winter, everything seem to need a little bit more time to “wake up”, this Spring. But I’m so happy to see, that the our Texas State Flower is in bloom of this season. A second one is showing signs of blooming soon as well.

2018

Texas Independence Day 2018

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Happy Texas Independence Day, y’all!

Texas Independence DayΒ is the celebration of the adoption of theΒ Texas Declaration of IndependenceΒ on March 2, 1836. With this document signed by 59 delegates, settlers inΒ Mexican TexasΒ officially declared independence fromΒ MexicoΒ and created theΒ Republic of Texas.

(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texas_Independence_Day)