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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Sensible Horror Film-- works for politics too

Got this one from my son and it seemed apropos for Halloween and also our culture-- Logic anyone?

Saturday, October 26, 2013

hunting or not at Summer Lake

One of our delightful surprises on this trip came early and involved Summer Lake. We had always liked the area but had spent no time there. I had read that Summer Lake had a nice camping area that was BLM, free camping, no real sites, basically dry land camping but in a beautiful setting. We really had no idea where it was but after driving way too far and turning around, we found it. What we hadn't expected was it was the opening day of duck hunting season.

You might think that was a drawback-- all those hunters. Instead it was delightful to see families, whole generations, friends and they were all out there to get their ducks. One of the people at the campsite said there were 30,000 ducks out on the lake. Now that seems sad but only if you aren't someone who raises grassfed beef and lamb for consumers. Frankly if someone likes to eat wild duck, I am all fine with it. Even more after seeing the families at this campground which probably encompassed over 100 rigs which were mostly motorcoaches and trailers with tents interspersed.

I know. I know. You are a leftie and hate the idea of hunting, but face it-- predators eat prey. When humans kill off predators, the prey end up starving. Hunting can be a good thing IF the people who kill the beautiful, delightful ducks, actually eat them. It's part of the biology of life and to be there, see all these groups and how polite and nice they were, hey it was a good feeling. A very good feeling. 

 When Farm Boss was out talking to campers (he's the extrovert in this team), one said-- so you're here without a gun! He said-- I didn't say that. The guy laughed. Yes, we had a gun.. .two of them but not to hunt ducks.

As for Summer Lake, I want to go back sometime but maybe not when I am wakened to the pop pop of hunting ducks :), Photos below:

They didn't get them all...

Saturday, October 19, 2013

trailering on a vacation

Traveling with a vacation trailer is not for everyone. It had been over a year since we bought our 26 footer, and we'd put off taking it out even though we knew a lot about trailering as we bought our first 15' one when our kids were tiny as a way to camp most week-ends without dragging along all that baby gear. We had pulled that one a lot of places during their growing up years, taking it to Arizona more than once usually in May with no air conditioning. It enabled secure camping but had no real luxuries including no bathroom.

This trailer has the luxuries with a nice sized bathroom, shower with tiny tub you could sit in with knees up anyway, queen sized bed, nice refrigerator with a freezer that can run off propane or electric, gas stove and oven, table and chairs and a sofa-- the latter in a  pop-out that makes the trailer more spacious than it would otherwise appear. It came with a radio, DVD and CD player. We bought it a small flat-screen TV.

At 26', it's larger than we originally wanted but it would let us live comfortably for a month. It's like pulling your vacation cabin with you... and that is one of its drawbacks as it does require a big truck to take it anywhere. But then hauling in a year's supply of hay or taking steers to market requires that also.

Pulling such a trailer requires a good hitch, making sure electric is properly working, brakes with a box by the driver to adjust as needed when going down steep hills, and Eastern Oregon is full of steep hills. The older models used to have jacks that you stored and brought out but today's have a jack that you crank down but need to bring extra blocks to level the trailer if you don't plan to stay in fancy RV parks. Pulling such a rig does require some expertise and willingness to learn but for the passenger, you rarely even know it's back there-- exceptions being really rough roads.

hooking up and ready to leave Steens. This is the pop-out side with it in

One thing that makes trailering perfect for me is I like to go on trips where nothing has been planned. I want to vagabond it, stopping wherever it seems good, open to anything that comes along and especially open to surprises along the route. We took four cameras and kept three at the ready almost everywhere we were whether in the truck or walking to something we wanted to see.

We started out this trip intending to go to Pendleton first, changed our minds and delivered boxes of beef and lamb to our daughter in Medford, headed over the Cascades and spent the first night at a KOA in Klamath Falls. We didn't consider that the beginning of our trip, that came the next day and from that time on we winged it, deciding where to go sometimes that morning, deciding how long to stay somewhere only once we were there. We both dry camped (which means no hook-ups and stayed in state parks and city parks (they are in many small towns east of the Cascades and provide full hook-ups minus the internet or cable, of course-- although one small town where we didn't stay had a city park that offered wireless internet.

After we'd been out a few days, we got to thinking about turning Farm Boss's Droid phone into a hot spot. We knew it could be done if you can get cell phone coverage ( some places we could not), but we didn't know how much it would cost. It turned out to be reasonable and whenever cell phone coverage was fast, our internet was also.

The hotspot had one drawback as no way to watch videos without eating up the GBs. We bought 4, upped it to 10 after we watched Bill Maher and saw our time disappearing. We were more careful after that and 4 a month would be enough-- if we resisted our addiction to Maher once a week. We have HBO at home and it would have let us watch movies from them also-- except we'd have needed a lot more than 10 GB if we wanted to do that. In the future we would just have to save watching anything live for when at home or in a place that provides wireless-- and some of the professional parks do but then they run $40 or more a night for the full deal. Those small city and beautiful state parks usually were under $30.

We learned a few things that will make the next trip better with the trailer. One is to consider carefully how to use the available storage cupboards. Thinking that through ahead of time would have been better. Also we are buying it a new mattress before we go out again as this one was okay but not what we are used to at home-- that and higher quality sheets as I had brought the kind we used to use thinking I'd get value from them. Not worth it as sleeping well is a big deal.

So it was a fantastic trip and I will have at least four blogs here about some aspects of Oregon's back country that many people may not know. We couldn't get into the fossil beds, of course, due to the government shut down and likewise national forest campgrounds were generally closed (many would be soon anyway as winter sets in) but BLM generally was open and of course anything run by the state of Oregon or Washington.

We saw museums and so many wonderful things that it'll take awhile to find the right words to describe it all. Some I'd seen before and some not. Everywhere I got new insights that will help with the fourth Oregon historical book. I think a trip to the Oregon Historical Society in Portland might be helpful also as some of my kind of questions docents don't generally have to know.

When stopped for the night, on my Kindle, I read George Custer's, My Life on the Plains. Although I was traveling different country, it was useful for my future book for the mindset of a cavalry officer of that time period. Custer has been a hero and a villain depending on who you read. I enjoyed having his own words regarding the winter 1868 campaign as he described his motivations and experiences.

I am giving the trip a little time to sink in before I begin writing again on that book; and while I do that, I'll try to write some future blogs about Oregon's high desert and ranching country, some of its little known history and a few of the places we visited in the Gorge. I have so many photos that it overloaded one folder. Eventually I'll try to put a selection together into a slideshow.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

some changes

This blog has been going different directions for awhile as I have tried to find balance with my writing blog and the other blogs I've begun that are aimed more at my books. Then along came the nuttiness from the right and I couldn't stand it and had to have a place to write about it (used to be called Rainy Day Things) now resurrected as-- 

With my digging into the fourth Oregon historical, that pretty much means no more Wednesday posts here. I will though be writing one for Saturdays-- for awhile that will be about our recent trip to Eastern Oregon which had a lot of very interesting (to me at least) cultural elements. If you are interested in politics, want to comment yourself, why come on over to Rants. I don't plan to have a regular schedule there but will write when something comes along that I just have to speak about.

If your interest is in writing, on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays, visit--

There will be not only my own ideas about writing but also some guest bloggers who write and want to tell others about their process and books.

I am still writing as much as ever for blogs but just dividing it more into subject matter for those who find one thing of interest but not another.

Ana River from our recent vacation through Oregon's backcountry

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Western Montana

I have these totally favorite places and to some of them I can return regularly. Others it's only once in awhile but always in my memory and with photos like these of an autumn in Western Montana.

Until the government decided to shut down, Yellowstone National Park was where I was to be in early October and that meant also Montana. Not gonna happen; so for now Montana is only in my memory. Disappointing but would be less so if I thought anything the far right was doing made sense. Since it doesn't to me (and the more I listen to them, the less sense it makes), it's been frustrating. I will return to it someday though and until then memories are what I have.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Saturday, October 05, 2013


Coming is the hard season with the nights growing longer and longer, the leaves falling and turning to mush as cold and rain describe too many days. Mud requires boots and some places in the barnyard, only a four legged animal will be able to walk without getting stuck.

It doesn't last though and during those times when it seems to drag on forever, I just have to draw back the memories of the summer of 2013 in my part of the Oregon Coast Range.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Making a change

When fall comes around, don't ask me why but I want to cut my hair. Is there a logic to this? I am not sure; but heading toward summer I tend to let it grow. Come the fall and it begins to frustrate me. Now if I was a city woman, the urge for a haircut would lead to spending some money and maybe I'd add a permanent to it. I've been wanting a perm for well over a year but it's never been the right time.

Sunday was the day I wanted it shorter and Sunday, where it was storming heavily, was no day I wanted to drive into town even if I currently had a favorite salon up here which I don't. (I do have one in Tucson but it'd be even farther to drive.)

So I got out my comb, scissors and pulled Farm Boss into making sure the longest lengths were even as I did the shaping. I am not sure if it's yet short enough. That's how I do it-- taking off a few inches at a time until I finally feel-- that's it.

Sometimes I just want a change and I guess with the frustration over what's going on in our country, this is one thing I can change-- fast.