Saturday, July 23, 2011

This Is the Place!

We combined the trip to see the Utah lavender fields (see yesterday's post) with a jaunt through the Mt. Nebo area.
Lots of folks had told us the Mt. Nebo loop was a pretty drive so we thought we'd investigate.
There was nice scenery right off the bat.

The guidebooks said nothing about Cow Parades though.

One of the cows told Bernie she knew a really great spot for fishing and she was willing to show him where it was.
Such nice cows we have here in Utah.

Perfect kind of road for a leisurely drive.
Except when we got to where the Mt. Nebo loop officially begins there was a
"Road Closed" sign up.
Perhaps there was road damage from the heavy winter snows this year.
A tad disappointing...but we chose to drive what we could along another fork.

Salt Creek ran alongside the road and B. hopped out of the car ever so often to scout likely fishing holes.
I went about scouting likely eye pleasing scenes.
I think I would of won, had there been a contests going between us.

Mushroom grown along an old plank.
Wonder if I could eat it.
(The mushrooms that is, not the plank...)

Actually I did look about for morels, but kept getting distracted by the views overhead.

Ever wonder why pictures always look great when they include rustic fences?

I'm not sure if this cow was hired just to stand around in case someone came by with a camera.
The bovine kept positioning herself (himself? I didn't check...) smack dab in front of me like a professional model.

Another shot?
Sure, why not...
I'll email you a copy. What's your email address?

There were three campgrounds along Salt Creek.
We drove into Ponderosa Campground to check out their sites.
I liked #8 personally. There was a fence like this one and just a few feet beyond, a waterfall.

On our way out of the campground we mentioned site #8 to the campground host.
He said there really wasn't anything but good sites in Ponderosa.
I think I would tend to agree with him.
There was one space left for the weekend...and had we been loaded up with camping gear we surely would have grabbed it on the spot!

Instead we wandered back out of the area.

Enjoyed the ever changing scenery...

Scenes ranged from heavy forest and streams to desert like sand dunes in less than three miles.

A wild flower ringed reservoir looked fishable...and photographic...

Above us was more gorgeous scenery.

The soft sound of sheep calling Maaaa as they trotted along the pasture added to the beauty.

I enjoyed watching the reservoir overflow chute handling sparkling water.

Blackbirds were calling from the shoreline flora.

This clover looking flower smelled wonderful...and the bush was about two feet high so I don't think it actually was clover though.

OK...I need your help on this one.
The plant growing this fruit was tall, like six feet or so, and had the red turning to black berries and each clump also had the prickly looking berry too.

Any guesses out there?
I like the pink stems...

Another view of the reservoir chute....the granite at the end of the chute looked so worn I had to wonder how long it had been there.

The next day, Saturday, our local humor columnist wrote about how people wind up moving to Utah.
Many originally came for religious reasons, but it didn't take long for people of all religions to come to the area too.
Folks moved for business reasons, for military assignments, for college, for all sorts of reasons.
The columnist wrote that while Brigham Young declared "This is the place" back in 1847, when he himself moved to Utah with his family as a child from Southern California, he said his declarations was "This place sucks!"
He wrote about how most folks are not in Utah by choice...that he had never heard of anyone just deciding to move to the state without some necessary reason.
And that it takes years for folks like himself to finally decide that they like it hear.
Maybe I should call him up and introduce myself.
I can't imagine Bernie and I being the only people who have visited Utah and decided that this IS the place to live just because it is so beautiful.
(In fact I know that several celebrities have homes in the area and they could live anywhere they wanted to.)
Just wanted to share what we saw as we drove around, about an hour and a half from our home, on this past Friday afternoon.
Brigham Young and I differ on a lot of things, but I totally agree with him on one thing:

Northern Utah: This Really Is The Place!

Friday, July 22, 2011

North v South Lavender Field Smack-down!

After all the amazing swoon worthy Washington lavender festival sights of last week, I had to wonder how the sole Utah lavender field/farm would fare in a "smack-down".
Point goes to Washington for the Purple Haze sign, and the free bouquets for military sign.

Extended garden area?
Point goes to Washington for the Soile Lavender farm.

Fun stuff to do beside see lavender?
Point goes to Utah for paddle boats, rock climbing walls and huge gazebo for parties.

Enhancement of environment: I'm giving them a tie.

While the ocean views of the Washington fields were gorgeous, I know this field was backed by snow capped mountains earlier in July.

Roads leading to fields: Point goes to Washington with its wavy roadways and interesting extra views like eagles nests and light houses.

Density of purple color: Tie.

Lavender varieties: P0int goes to Washington.
Utah just had other colors or varieties.

Walking through field ease: Point goes to Utah. No need to fear bees as the bushes were only about 18 inches high.

Best use of red accent: Point to Washington for the brilliant red poppy side plantings.

Breezes to spread lavender scent: Point to Washington, and an extra point for having salty sea scented breezes mixing with the lavender.
Low humidity Utah, even at 97 degrees didn't loft the scent very far.

Backdrop drama: Point goes to Utah.
(Unless the drama of storm clouds is included. Washington wins for the day I was visiting; I am willing to bet the thunder heads of Utah would hold its own against Washington's clouds.)

Gift shop: Point to Washington, for the widest variety of culinary lavender usage.

Education center: Point goes to Utah with two rooms with huge wall sized displays about farming, history, usage etc etc.
Educational experience: Point goes to Washington for the farm that labeled each kind of lavender, and provided "Chats with the Farmer" at several farms.

Best Lavender flavored ice cream: Point goes to Utah. Definitely. Their ice cream was super creamy and the perfect amount of sweet lavender flavor and the perfect shade of lavender color too.


Washington 8
Utah 5
Ties 2

Yup, it was totally worth the plane trip to go see the Sequim Lavender Festival.
But if you can't quite make it won't go amiss by catching the Young Living Lavender Festival the first weekend in July.
I missed the actual festival...but the lavender experience on July 22 was pretty sweet too for being just an hour and a half from SLC.
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Take me out to the ball park.

Our three year old long tradition: Take in a Bee's Baseball game every summer.
This past Tuesday we had two-for-one tickets, the weather was perfect, and so off we went to once again settling in and enjoy the game, the ballpark food and of course the scenery.
We thought the view was terrific during the beginning of the game...

Then we were treated to an upgrade: A rainbow formed!

There is a new sign at the ball park which declares that all camera are prohibited.

I had to go back to our car to stow my DSLR; while I was jogging back to the gate I passed a guy hauling an enormous camera/lens set up with which it appeared he could be able to photograph the moons on distant planets in macro. I asked if he was a professional team photographer or the press or something?

Turned out he had simply called the team's front office and asked if he could bring a camera in, and by verbally promising not to sell any of his game photos was given permission.

Huh. Go figure. I will have to remember to make my own call the next time we come to watch a game.

Inside there didn't seem to be any lack of people snapping pictures with all sorts of pocket sized camera, so I just shot a couple with my camera phone, and sent out immediately to friends and family to enjoy. Send a couple to my blog too, to the blogger email address so you could get to see the pictures too.

Today is the anniversary of a very special day in my life: Thirty three years ago I became a mother for the very first time.

My beautiful baby girl emerged from my tummy blinking up at the surgical lights.

She immediately began scanning the space around us, her newly freed arms wobbling and she looked very amazed.

I wanted to hold her so much, but since my own arms were strapped down, all I could do was touch her hands with my finger tips until a nurse finally moved her closer.

I kissed her hands...and later learned that for the majority of first time mothers, that is often the initial contact that they make with their new born child.

We've shared lots of cuddles and hugs and kisses, laughter and tears, deep thinks and silly bits together since then. She has grown to be a woman I trust, respect, admire and call my hero.

Wish we could be together today Laura...I hear the water is warm back home and it would be just the thing to go surfing together to celebrate your day.

I know you will keep growing older (and better!) but you will forever and always be my baby girl in my heart.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Goodbyes and Airport Adventures, as usual.

So early Sunday morning it was time to leave beautiful Seattle and Ellen's beautiful home and family.I had her sign my copy of Mennonite Girls Can Cook just before we left for the airport.

I wonder if I will ever gather more MG signatures over the years?Well, at least I got Ellen's.

With one last glance at her china hutch with a patriotic display including her son-in-law's various Marine caps, we were out the door and off to the airport again.

I am happy for the Port of Seattle being around for a full 100 years.

Not really sure what is meant by "Where a sustainable world is headed".
I can remember the very first time I heard the word "sustainable" and was asked to research and find everything I could about the concept.What I discovered gave me a five star case of the willies.I'll have to blog about that some is really quite interesting to know what the sustainability movement is and from whence it sprung.
(Still gives me creepy shivers just thinking about it again...)

To get to my gate I had to catch the airport's underground train.

I watched myself go whizzing by...and decided to take a picture of myself so you could see my new/old Gladys of Seattle hat.

Chic, yes?

Then I had the oddest experience: I needed to catch the escalator up to my gate.
The red tipped arrow sign pointed at right angles to the escalators and directly at a blank wall.
I kept following the arrow's direction and just didn't see anything at the wall except the wall itself.
It sort of reminded me of the Harry Potter train station scene: Was I supposed to roll myself and my luggage straight at the wall and expect it to magically open up?
I finally found an airport host and explained my problem.
He said he had never noticed that the signs to my gate pointed at a blank wall, and I should go ahead and take the escalator up to the next level and from there I would find a way to my gate.
And I did just that, then drifted into an airport book seller shop where I became engrossed in a book, looking up at the time later only to discover that my plane was five minutes away from departure.

Running madly, I made it to the gate where an Asian flight attendant grabbed my arm and nearly threw me down the connecting tunnel to the plane.
The plane was broiling hot inside as I buckled in next to a sleepy young fellow. Frankly I was glad I hadn't boarded a full twenty minutes earlier with everybody else.
The flight attendants were repeatedly counting everyone over and over again, and then suddenly a role call was called. About fifteen people were asked to get up, and take everything with them and prepare to leave the plane.
Then we waited a few more minutes before fifteen Korean students came on board, each smelling strongly of kimchee.
(A garlic-y fragrance that was not particularly appealing...)

Another round of nose counting and a hot headed flight attendant chewing out someone for not having ice included in the kitchen delivery and then WHOOSH we were off.

This time I had an aisle seat, no nice farewell view of Mt. Rainer this time.
Instead I buried my nose in a nice cowboy romance novel that I found in the bathroom (it was a paperback library book; I'll get it back to the library on time, promise) and in one hour and twenty minutes I was back to life as usual in Utah.

Only now I had new memories of lavender fields and a special friendship added to my life.