Friday, May 31, 2013

Reading in the bath tub

Another version of Alphabet Soup?

Reading in the bath tub?

What ever you call it...I call it good clean fun!
Love the little toothies.

His other grandmother is a speech therapist.
I think this would be a perfect photo for her to use on her business card.

He still has those big blue eyes.

And his trademark laser stare.
He is walking now and taking swim lessons.
I think his summer is going to be lots of fun!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

How we spent (the rest) of Memorial Day weekend.

Sunday...we rested.
We were so tuckered out from all the work (see previous post!)
The house looked like it had been ram sacked by Huns.
Around one o'clock it was obvious that either we should tackle cleaning up inside or get outta town.
We chose the latter option.
A drive out to the Heber Valley and on to the Upper Provo River was a great escape and mini holiday.
Spring has brought forth the aspen leaves; driving through the green groves reminded us that aspen autumn splendor is only one facet of aspen beauty.

I love that we can drive along roads like this and hardly pass a single car, even on a holiday weekend.
(Guess my southern California upbringing haunts me still. There, a trip to the great outdoors is just as human congested as a trip to the mall on a sale day.)

We did make a note to come this way again in autumn.

Some year I want to do the autumn drives in a convertible....

After a bit we arrived at our destination:
The Upper Provo River.
Bernie and I have made lots of fishing trips to the Middle and Lower Provo.
This was our first "look-see" at the Upper portion.
The Jordanelle Reservoir is at the top of the photo above.

The spring run off has created water paths through meadows and even made for colliding streams; the wake in the middle of the picture above is where two streams met head on.

I just puttered along pathways while Bernie tried a bit of fly fishing.

The bird songs were delightful.
I saw several flashes of yellow meadow lark and could hear their sweet notes over the sound of the  running waters.

A few yellow flowers were in bloom.

The wooden plank walkways were just the thing to be able to walk over the flooded meadows.

Tiny streamlets pushed their paths through lush green grasses.

I watched as thunderheads began to form.


The colliding streams.

The cottonwood is in bloom.

I had not taken the time to really look at the blooms before.
Quite colorful.
The webby cotton that covers the buds was interesting.
I kept thinking my photos were out of focus until I realized the webby white on the blossom tips was actually there and not a focus error.

One meadow was solid dandelion puffs.

I couldn't quite capture the iridescent glow on each puff.

Next to where we parked our car there was this pavilion down a short pathway.
I thought it would be such a great place to have a wedding and reception.
The views in every direction were outstanding.
The price certainly was right...just a $100 cleaning deposit?
A multi flush toilet rest room was just a short walk away on the other side of the parking lot.

Apparently the swallows thought it was a perfect place to raise a family.
Just try to collect that from a bird!

What a mess!

It looked as though one nest had already been knocked down by the rangers.
The bird looked a bit peeved.
I felt the same way.
The birds should nest somewhere else; I didn't even want to sit in the pavilion as long as the birds were active.

Back outside larger birds were soaring on thermal air.

The group of four...nest mates?

They looked so relaxed as they glided about.
I hadn't seen Bernie for about an hour and decided to head back to the main river to see if I could find him.

As I walked through a campground area along concrete walk ways I thought this really is a tame area.
The concrete ended at the river bank where I found myself exchanging stares with a marmot!

The critter stared and stared as I took slow steps to get closer.
He would duck down, then pop back up for another look at me.

So cute.

I was about five feet from him when he finally stopped popping back up.

Bernie was just a few yards away down the river.

Not great fishing water...too muddy and swift right now.
We are pleased to see that the camp ground area is quite nice though.
The newspaper had reported that all but a few Utah campgrounds were fully booked for the holiday weekend.
Guess they didn't know about this one...I saw three camp sites with campers and the rest went unused!

Just a few more random shots.

I like how this wild flower produces pink and purple blossoms side by side.
Even the dandelions look nice up close.
(I like them so much better when they are not "puffing" out on my lawn!)

The same dandelion, seconds later after a breeze whipped by!
We finished the day off by stopping in a small town named Camus for dinner at "Mike's Burgers".
Funny how you can tell when a small town diner has great food:
A steady stream of cars pulled in to the drive through, and another steady stream of folks went inside to order.
Grilling a burger at home should be easy enough, so why do so many folks come to a little restaurant instead?
One bite into our burgers let us know.
Was it the home made ciabatta buns or the sweet onions or the flavorful meat?
The tangy pickles?
The fry sauce?
(Utah prides itself on their fry is a kind of catsup/mustard/something else mix that I have never found anywhere else).
Each bite we kept going "Oh my gosh! oh my gosh, this is sooo good!"
I won't even start on the FRESH banana thick real ice cream milk shake except to say we weren't the only ones ordering that amazing treat.
Crazy huh?
Good times in small town America.
Those that we honor on Memorial Day would surely approve that such a kind of day is enjoyed still in America.


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

How we spent (most) of our Memorial Day weekend

The past two months have been doozies. Bernie was mostly out of town, and was terribly ill while he was gone with fever and a respiratory infection. He was barely well when I came down with my own sinus infection.

Let me just say that every "tried and trued" home remedy was tried (honey, apple cider vinegar, lemon, steam, Vic's rub on feet, neti pot, vitamin C, chicken soup, onion, teas, silver to name a few plus some over the counter meds). 

Two weeks of losing my voice and getting little sleep was enough for me; off to the doctor I went knowing full well that antibiotics will not address a viral situation.  The doctor admitted as much but said at this point the infection was also bacterial and antibiotics should fix it.  It would take a full two weeks for a full "fix", in the mean time it should get better daily. 

Feeling totally exhausted: just part of the deal.

OK then...

Rest would be really good except that we had a window of time to re-do our deck. 
Resting up can wait?
Would you believe this is what our deck looked like less than two years after the last time we stained it?
This go around would be our third re-stain in five years.
Each time Bernie had power washed, sanded to clear wood, administered two coats timed with enough time apart on days when the temperature was just right.
After the second try didn't even last a year B*hr stain became a dirty word around our house.
The stuff peeled off wood like a bad sunburn peels off us really white folks after a day at the beach.

The stairs had barely a speck of the old stain left.

The previous two times we had left the railing in a clear finish.
The deck is redwood, the railing a cedar.
The two tone look kind of bugged but the thought of sanding the railing and painting each of them was a bit overwhelming before.
This time we decided to do it all.
With Fl*od brand this time; hoping their reviews are accurate as I really don't want to mess with staining railing ever again.

After power washing every thing and waiting a day, Bernie then tackled the horizontal sanding with this beast, then he did all the vertical surfaces with a power hand held sander.
I stayed away knowing the dust would really make my sinus issues worse.
I would paint all the railings later while Bernie manned the big surface rollers.

The deck is made from solid 18 foot long clear redwood planks.
You can't buy those any more.
We are really hyper about giving them proper care against the elements of snow and heat here in Utah.

Why the original owners didn't do the railings in redwood too...who knows.
Now we had to decide between semi transparent and solid stain.
After much thought we went with solid.
Then we had 52 colors to chose from
None of them were exactly what I wanted of course.
I was looking for something not too red, not too yellow, not too blue, not too grey, not too pink, etc etc.
Something that would work with the almost burgundy colored house bricks...
Not match, not too contrast-y...
In the end we went with a color called Cedar.
Which, as it turns out, looks different in morning light vs. sunset light.
You know what I mean?

Happy to have it done!

The brick & paint combo/contrast depends totally on the time of the day.

I. Am. Happy.
I sincerely hope we can just roll the horizontal surfaces every year from here on out.
Sanding...even with all the doors and windows shut the dust still got inside.
 I am now faced with dust on every surface in the house.
How is that even possible?
(Hint:  Turns out that we are currently in a high tree pollen season here.  I thought it was kind of weird that the "dust" was a yellow-y green instead of the sanding dust color.  Guess all things considered it was the perfect time to be sanding since everything would need dusting anyway!)

Now we can sit back on the deck and just admire the garden.

(OK...I admit it...I can sit on the deck for about five minutes before I have go take a closer look at what is blooming!)

This is my first year with peonies...


The oriental poppies are just starting to burst open.

The self seeded columbines are wonderful.

They come in so many colors!

As does the Japanese Painted fern...

Coral bells...


and more iris...

Every day a new iris "flag" unfurls in the garden.

A stroll though the garden with a cup of coffee to see the new blooms is such a treat each morning.

Our son's iris collection is outstanding and happily his are ready for dividing and sharing so next year we will even have more iris!

Oh and the flying jewels are back.

The pollen on the tip of the bill is so cute.

We have three kinds of hummers zooming though the garden right now.

(For some reason I find taking hummers photos in flight harder with my DSLR camera than I did with my little point-and-shoot.  Stay tuned as I figure out how what I am doing wrong...)

Part of the hummer fun is watching the hummers regularly swoop in to look the cats straight in the eye, like ten inches away.
Hummers must be pretty smart to realize that a cat on a four inch wide rail will be unable to do much hunting wise.

The birds also regularly hover right outside our kitchen window, looking in on us just inches away from our meal as they enjoy theirs.

We worked most of Thursday, all of Friday and Saturday.
Sunday...we rested.
And headed out to the back country.
I'll share what we saw there later on.