Beautiful November Day

What a beautiful warm day it was, today. Temperatures reached up in the high 60s to low 70s, this afternoon. Our fur babies enjoyed a snooze in the backyard, while I had the patio open to let some fresh air into the house. In the early evening, the First Quarter Moon was shining bright in the November sky. It was time to call the pets in for dinner. Fed and groomed, they all sleep on the couch, armchair and ottoman. They are so spoiled. But we wouldn’t want it any other way.

When Kevin came home, I had a good soup cooking on the stove. The mornings are cool, now. Since my family likes a hot soup, stew or chili at this time of the year, I always cook enough food for next day’s lunch. The thermos keeps the meals hot overnight. So, Kevin and the girls don’t have to worry about heating them up at work and in school anymore. A good plan is work half done.

Kevin’s New DIY Wood Rack

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Several years ago, Kevin built a wood rack from material leftovers in the backyard. Our neighbor had too much wood and shared it with us. and he had to built it in a hurry. A couple of years later, Kevin had to build a Β½ cord wood rack in one evening. Because our wood guy called and said he’d be in the area the following morning, Kevin had to hammer and screw something together real quick. That Β½ cord rack surprisingly lasted five years. But now, it needs to be replaced. Kevin build a new ΒΌ cord rack, which is much more stable and right next to the porch. And when it gets a little bit cooler, he will work on a new Β½ cord wood rack by the fence. He did really good. I’m proud of him. And what I like about the new rack, it has a roof.

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Travel Journal, Day 6 (Part I): From Grants Pass, Oregon To Redwoods National & State Parks, California

June 6, 2019

On Thursday, we’ve made our way from Grants Pass, Oregon to the Redwoods National & State Parks. First we drove through Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. A little bit into the ride, there was a huge pot hole filled with water and not enough space on the road to get around it, without having the passenger wheels over the hill’s edge. And the edge was to brittle. With the little Ford Fusion we’ve used as a rental car, we really didn’t want to try anything stupid (at this moment, we wished we still had our Jeep Grand Cherokee). I told Kevin to screw it; we’ll turn around. I’ve got enough photos of the park. And it was just not worth to risk getting stuck in that hole or falling several hundred feet upside down into the gorge.

We’ve rather decided to get out of that State Park and drive long the beach into the Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park on US 101. Katelynn and Sara could walk barefoot at the Crescent Beach, until the tide came in. We’ve found some sand dollars, Dungeness crabs, sea stars and some broken shells along the beach.

Our next stop let us to the Redwoods National Park. In the Thomas H. Kuchel Visitor Center we asked for more information. I found out, that the Park Ranger spoke German due to his German parents, who originated from the Sudetenland. He said, he brushes up his language from all the German tourists, who are the main visitors of the Redwood Parks. He also mentioned, his two sisters moved back to Germany, while he rather stays here in the US. The world is small. Well, after this little chit-chat, the Park Ranger explained to us, the best place to visit is actually Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, while driving on the Newton B. Drury Scenic Pkwy. Dangit! we’ve bypassed it on US 101. So, we had to backtrack a little bit …

…to be continued …

Travel Journal, Day 4 (Part II): The Pacific Science Center (CityPASS)

June 4, 2019

Originally, I really wanted to go to the Chihuly Garden & Glass. But when I asked my family, which place we want to visit next, I’ve got outvoted. The Seattle CityPASS gives a choice: the Chihuly Garden & Glass or the Pacific Science Center. I had to agree, that the Science Center would be much more fun for the girls. What we didn’t know, the Seattle schools are not on Summer Break, yet. A lot of Elementary Schools use the warmer days for Field Trips. As soon as we entered the Courtyard, we heard a whole bunch of kids. We looked back. And sure enough, there was a “herd” of 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders entering the gates. I said: “Oh boy, this might be a short stay here in the Science Center! RUUUNNN!”

Entering the Building, Katelynn and Sara had so much fun touching, playing, exercising, etc. We didn’t go through the whole place. But the girls enjoyed running around in the buildings for over two hours, before we went to lunch. That got the excessive energy out of their system and made them hungry.

… to be continued …

The Wichita Mountains In April 2019 (Part II)

Coming from Rush Lake, we took a short break at the Visitor Center. And then we moved on to Quanah Parker Lake. Driving to the lake, there were lots of longhorn and bison grassing in the meadow. Some longhorn cows crossed the road. The grass must have been greener on the other side. πŸ˜‰ Some longhorn were scratching their necks against the nearby boulders. One of the animals was so close, I could almost touch it, if I was crazy enough to do so. But this Texas girl ain’t messing with a longhorn, nor a bison. That is a whole bunch of NOPE!

At the Quanah Parker Lake Dam, we saw the spillway gate was open. This was the first time, I had the chance to photograph the dam with the water flowing down into Quanah Creek. Usually when visit in September, the water levels are much lower due to the Summer’s drought. In Spring, there is plenty of rain. It will fill up the lakes. And the rest of the water goes over the spillways. Kevin, the girls and I wanted to hike the Little Baldy Trail. But something terrified Luis at the stairs leading down to the dam. I mentioned, there is another small trail right by the pier on the north side of the lake.

Arriving at the Education Center of the park, we hiked the small trail by the pier, looked at some plants and read the educational signs about flora and fauna. Katelynn found a small school of fish swimming near the shore and watched them for a little bit. Luis got really tired, and we called it a day. He was so happy being back in the car and could take a nap on the way back home to Texas. He probably was dreaming about his fluffy couch.

~ The End ~

The Wichita Mountains In April 2019 (Part I)

Yesterday, Kevin, Katelynn, Sara, Luis and I visited the Wichita Mountain National Wildlife Refuge again. The girls have a four-day weekend. And Kevin took the day off. What’s better than go on a hike on a beautiful Good Friday?! This time, we entered the park from the eastern entrance by Medicine Park. Because first we wanted to go up to Mt. Scott. But for some reason, it was closed for entering by car. We didn’t want to take the long hike up to the peak of the mountain. So we decided to move on and hike another trail. But first, we went to the Holy City. Katelynn and Sara went inside the church, before I went behind the buildings with them. Kevin stayed with Luis in the grassy area by the parking lot. Luis can get a bit excited around people. And we didn’t want to take any chances. Before getting back to Road 115, there is a field where the Prairie Dogs call this place their home. It is fun to watch them, when they bark signals to each other. They seem fine being out and about, when visitors of the park just drive by. But once, we crossed the white line, they became territorial, ran back into their burrows.

Last time we were at the refuge, we went to the Jed Johnson Lake Dam. This time, we wanted to hike and chose to go up to the tower. Katelynn, Sara and I decided to cross the little creek and walked up a “shortcut” along the lake, while Kevin and Luis went the regular trail along the creek. But therefore our trail was a little bit more rugged and some steep boulders needed to be climbed, before we made it to the tower. Kevin just walked the easier, but longer way. Luis could walk, lie in the shade or water for a bit, before he trotted behind Kevin again. Our pup is such a couch potato. πŸ˜€

Standing next to the Jed Johnson Tower, we had a nice view over the lake. In the distance, Mount Scott could easily be made out as the highest peak in the Wichita Mountain chain. There are also several stories roaming the internet about the Jed Johnson Tower and the lake being haunted. Honestly, if there is a ghost, it is definitely not ill intended. I felt no bad presents going up and around the tower at all. But I sure was drawn to it. After walking around the tower and let Luis rest in the shade for a little bit, we took the same way back which Kevin hiked up with the dog. It was an easier way down to get back to the car.

Coming from Jed Johnson Lake, we also took a short trip to Rush Lake. Since we had quite a bit of rain the last few days, the lakes are full. The water of Rush Lake is currently going over the spillway and the below creek leads into the Jed Johnson Lake.

… to be continued …