Friday, June 24, 2016

Our Son's Graduation and Trip to the Canadian Rockies

Dear friends, I hope you have not given up on me!  The month of June feels like a blur in my mind - where did it go?  In my last post I mentioned that our son was graduating.  My parents flew here to be for his graduation, and then we had a trip planned immediately following his graduation.  I meant to pop in and post something along the way, but that good intention never happened!  I feel that I am finally just now catching my breath after the whirlwind of events the past few weeks, and I am now looking forward to sharing some of those highlights with you! {smiles}

A walk in our woods during the height of the lupins in their purple gowns of splendor.

Even Annie appeared to be taking time to smell the flowers...

My parents arrived on one of the hottest days we've had here this year so far, as it got up to 94 degrees. Thankfully the cool weather showed up the day after they arrived.

Mom made me this gorgeous quilt for my birthday!  It has a beautiful farm scene with gorgeous chickens and roosters on one side, and teacups on the other!  She knows me well!

It was a beautiful piece of handiwork from her that I will treasure always!

She also made a cowboy quilt for our son for his graduation gift... and it was an amazing quilt!  He loves the color red, and it was perfect for his room.  We felt very blessed to receive such precious gifts of love from my mother!

Out in the coop, things were going well!  Bella and Buttercup in their comfy spot for the night.

And Goldie finally hatched out a.... baby hen!  Oh, I was so excited to know that we finally have a baby hen!  Her name is Sally :)

Just a few hours old here!  I had picked up the egg she was in the night before, and heard her cheeping inside, and my mother was with me, and heard it too, such an amazing thing!  Sally is part Rhode Island Red and mixed with Rudy who is part Marans, so she should be a very beautiful hen :)

My peony finally burst into bloom, and I was able to enjoy 2 blooms this year.

Mom got busy soon after arriving, and whipped up two batches of her wonderful homemade rolls.  I think we ate half of the batch in one sitting, as they came out of the oven warm, and then piled high with butter and homemade strawberry jam!

My dad helped my husband and son out in the yard as they stacked more stumps and brush in piles to be burned.  I love seeing the sight of old brush burning,!  It is a lot of work clearing brush from the dead trees that we have and always good to see the brush gone after the fire dies out.

Time for graduation!  Our son's graduation was a wonderful time, and we were so proud of him.  It was bittersweet for me... both our children are graduated from high school now, and will be attending college full time.  Time moves so quickly!

The next morning after the graduation, we left on our trip up to the Canadian Rockies.  These two were quite sad about the whole turn of events.  Our sweet neighbor took great care of them while we were gone, which we appreciated so much!

We crossed over the border into Beautiful British Columbia, a truly beautiful and amazing province.

The first major town we came to was Cranbrook, BC.

And our first stop in Cranbrook was at the Tim Hortons... there is just no coffee place in the world like Tims's!  {smiles} (Can I get an amen from any fellow Canucks out there?) LOL!

We traveled down a dirt road leading to this little provincial park. We like the "out of the way" places, and find we have the best experiences away from all the crowds of people.

Traveling down the road to the park, we enjoyed the views of this beautiful mountain as we drove.

Down at the lake, we saw this momma with her babies.  At first, they were all on her back when we saw her.  I still don't know what kind of duck she is, but it was quite an impressive sight to see this momma taking care of so many little ones!  We counted ten heads!

And while we ate our picnic lunch by the lake, this little guy showed up to clean up any "droppings".  He was hilarious to watch!

The sights before us began to come alive as the mountains rose around us in beauty and splendor.  We stopped at a rest area, and this was the sight we saw spread out before us.

This area was full of hot springs, and we took a detour down to visit one of the hot springs.  We found out that the hot springs were located way up in the mountains, and the resorts were pumping the hot water down into swimming pools for people to swim in.

Our first sighting of wildlife on the trip happened when we saw these bighorn sheep alongside the road.

They were quite content to munch on the green grass.  We enjoyed watching them for a time.

Our first destination on the trip was the town of Golden, BC where we had booked a room to spend the night.  My mom and I went in to pay for the rooms, and found out that my dear sis had called ahead and paid for the rooms for us... what a blessing that was!!!

We were staying at the Days Inn in Golden, and our room was delightful!

The room was clean, spacious, and had a balcony with an incredible vista!

This was the view outside our room balcony. The views of the Rockies were incredible.

Down in the courtyard of the Inn, there were sweet cherries growing.

We enjoyed the mountain vista view spread out before us.  The glorious sunset was enjoyed by all of us.  Finally, we went to bed around 11 or so, and the skies still were not dark!

Well... not before a good pillow fight ensued between my mom and the kids... while I cheered them on and videotaped the classic fun, lol!  It was a wonderful ending to the first great day on our trip!

I hope to be back soon to share more of our trip.  I took over 1500+ pictures on this trip, and it has taken me quite a while to sort through them!  Not to mention the fact that when we returned from our trip, I found my computer with a black screen - DOA (dead on arrival).  Thankfully, our friend who painted our house has skill with computers too.  After the several days of not being able to get it to work, I had him come and take a look at it.  He took one look at my computer and had it back in working order within a minute or so.  Incredible relief!  Thank you T!  There were tears in my eyes when he walked out of my office with the screwdriver in hand, and saying... all is well!!!

So, with the computer incident, and all the pictures that I have had to sort through and edit, it has been a slow process for me to get back going online with the blog.  However, I see light at the end of the tunnel, and hopefully this weekend I will be able to share more pictures with you of our incredible vacation in the Canadian Rockies.  :)

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Good Times with Old Friends and a Visit to Mount Rainier

This weekend was a special one for our family.  We traveled a few hours west to be with a dear friend who was getting married.  Years ago she suffered the loss of her husband.  We connected on such a deep level when she experienced this loss, because our husbands were both gone for extended periods of time, and our children... my son and her daughter ... were the same age.  It was a crushing blow for her to lose her husband to a heart attack at the age of 50.  Yet the years have passed, and we could not even believe that 8 years had passed since that time of loss.  The Lord has kept her and been good to her, and now has brought a kind and loving man into her life who lost his wife to cancer several years ago.  The Lord is so faithful.  Such joy abounded in all our hearts as we celebrated with them on this weekend.

As we traveled to the wedding, we took our time, and stopped to enjoy the sights as we traveled.

We traveled by the Columbia River in Washington, and stopped at the scenic overlook to stretch our legs and enjoy the view.

The vastness of this river is incredible.

The barren hills covered in shrub brush had a wild beauty to them.

Massive windmills dotted the landscape.

We were getting close to our destination!

We saw the classic sign welcoming visitors to town.

The wedding was incredible on so many levels.  So happy for my dear friend to have found love again.

The roses scattered around the venue were vying for my attention.

Can you spot something between the barrels?

Oh! How I loved the splendiforous roses as they overlooked the green valley below.

I couldn't pick any favorites, but this one might have been right up there at the top if I had to choose.

The day after the wedding, we traveled an hour or so west towards Mount Rainier National Park to spend the day.

We made this time a little family vacation and getaway. It was an incredible sight to see this mountain up close!

Unfortunately, the clouds were playing peek-a-boo all day.

We watched the clouds move very quickly across the mountain, and the scene constantly changed before our eyes.  You have no idea how massive Mount Rainier is until you get closer to it! We still were not in the park yet, but enjoyed the views as we drove.

Finally we arrived in the park.  We knew we were on a limited time budget... so we did the "hit and run" thing... we would stop at view points, get out, snap a few pictures, and back in the car and off we went.

We promised ourselves that we would come back someday with more time to spare than just one day!  I could have sat and listened to the music this creek was playing for hours!

And the waterfalls... oh they were magnificent!

There was an abundance of waterfalls throughout the park to enjoy.

Around Mount Rainer sit a line of mountains that are pretty impressive all by themselves.

We were told to be sure and go to Paradise and hike the trails.  Unfortunately, this is what met us when we went to hike this trail... a wall of snow! LOL!  We were not prepared to hike in the snow, so this is a sight we will have to come back to later.

Up on Paradise, you could see the damage done to the trees from all the snow!  You could see that a ton of snow had melted, but yet, there was still a LOT of snow left!  We were told that Mount Rainier gets 400+ inches of snow a year... wow!

The walkway leading down to a closer view of Narada Fallas.

I wished I could have captured a picture like the one above, but we did not have time to walk all the way to get this grand of a view.

However, we were lucky to see the rainbow at the bottom of the falls!

Amazing the amount of water coming off the mountain.

The gorgeous Nareda falls made me think of a long flowing bridal train... but maybe I just had weddings on my mind, lol!

Finally the clouds parted with some blue skies long enough for us to capture a few pictures of Mount Rainier.

And then... they closed back up again, within seconds, I might add!

It is amazing how fast the weather changes on this mountain.

We sat on the ledges and waited for 15 minutes or so, and just watched the action above.  I never cease to be amazed at how fog is so deceptive.  You really cannot tell that the mountain is there when the fog veils it... but then as the fog and clouds part... you can see just how massive and impressive this mountain is.

The peek-a-boo moments continue...

Using my telephoto lens, I was able to get a shot of the summit of Mount Rainier when the clouds parted long enough for me to zoom in.

That was about the best picture of Mount Rainier that we could get.  I have fallen in love with this beautiful place.  The majesty of this mountain is incredible.  I want to come back when the wildflowers are in bloom, as we were told by many there at the park just how amazing that sight is to witness.

The abundance of waterfalls always delights!

The next day as we headed home... we saw a beautiful sight... Mount Rainier in all her glory was easily visible for many miles as we drove.  Too bad that the weather had cleared up the day we were leaving... but it did "whet our appetite" for more, and someday we want to return to explore this beautiful place more than one day will allow.

As we passed by the Columbia River, we stopped at the scenic viewpoint to see the Wild Horses monument.

We needed to stretch our legs, so off we went to climb up to the top of the bluff.  Huffing and puffing... we made it!

It was well worth the climb!

The wild horses were a work of art, and it was quite something to see the work and skill that went into making these horses visible from the road far below.

I think the trip back down the bluff was a bit more tricky than going up due to all the loose sandy rocks. But we were glad to get out and stretch our legs for a while before we continued the drive home.

It was a very special Memorial Day weekend for our family, memorable in so many ways.  It was wonderful to reconnect with our dear friends, and to celebrate with them the new life beginning together, and then as we traveled to Mount Rainier to see such an incredible mountain up close, even if it was a quick "hit and run" visit, it was an enjoyable one.

After returning home, our kind neighbor had taken such wonderful care of our animals, and all was well with them.  I still haven't spotted any new little chicks yet, and am hoping that they will come out soon so we can meet them :)

Our house continues to be painted, and it is looking wonderful!  I hope to show you some pictures of it in the next day or two.  I will be planting my garden in the next couple of days as well.  Local gardeners around here say that June 6 is the date to plant warm weather plants, but I think we will be safe to go ahead and plant this week - our temps are supposed to reach up into the 90s by Sunday!

So much going on, along with a graduation party being planned here too... as our dear son graduates next week.  I keep thinking that "next week" I will have more time, but then as I look at the calendar, I realize that's not even true... spring is rolling into summer, and it is the time to be busy, outdoors and enjoying the glorious beauty around us.

Enjoy your days, my dear friends, and remember to live each moment to the fullest ... for we cannot get a lost moment back.  :)