Eagle Creek Fire

Trees

Photograph and poem by Emily Bittel

Eagle Creek Fire  2017

I breathe, and smoke fills my lungs.

The forest I love is burning –

The place we first backpacked together.

The senseless loss is staggering.

 

What will be left when the burning is done?

We will shuffle through ash

Shake it from our socks into little piles on the floor of the tent.

 

Perhaps our grandchildren’s children

Will gaze up with wonder

At the lofty heights of the douglas fir

Through the filter of vibrant vine maple.

 

I pray for rain as the ash drifts down from the sky

Flakes of a forest I once knew

The last time light will shift through its leaves.

Head in my arms, I cry

 

Maybe, just maybe, my tears will water the desolation.

 

I thank Emily for sharing her personal poem.  Below is a picture from katutv, a split screen of what the Bonneville Dam looks like normally, and now during the fire.  My heart goes out to all those working the PNW fires, the critters who make the forests their home, and the forests themselves.  Photo: National Coast Trail Association

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Oregon State Fair

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Robert has worked at the Artisan Village for the last 8 years.  Two days of set-up, 11 days of demonstrating and selling his artwork, then a day to break down the booth.  Eight long years working the Oregon Fair.

This year he retired from the fair and we went on an Oregon State Fair date.  Loads of walking and enjoying all the sights.  A root-beer shake from his favorite booth for Robert and fresh grilled corn on the cob for me.

The fair is so big, we had to make a mental list of things we wanted to do.  Either do them or wait until next year!

Robert wanted to see his chums who he had worked along side for the last few years.  I wanted to ride the sky chair.

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We arrived in the morning when the place was pretty quiet and still cool.  The weather was in our favor.

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A short trip to the fair lasted about four hours, but was loads of fun.  Loads!

See you next year, Oregon State Fair.

August Ocean – Sunshine and Laughter

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We went all out at the coast this month with three generations under one roof.  Luck was with us as we enjoyed blue skies, incredible views, and non-stop action morning to night.

We shared three precious days and two nights in Lincoln City, Oregon.  There was beach walking and exploring, hot tubing with papa, movie nights, and the very famous traditional talent show.

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With spaghetti feasts and breakfast sausages…no one went hungry.

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Robert and “the boys” rescued a ladybug.

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The cousins were introduced to “The Princess Bride.”

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The Saturday Talent Show included everything from tap dancing to rap, with some juggling, magic tricks, and group participation thrown in.

Each night when the kids were tucked in, the adults played “Spinner Dominoes” and laughed until we farted….I mean cried.

Sunday morning found us all talking about how long it took for the weekend to get here and how fast it all went.  We didn’t want to leave (there was some talk about time travel).

It was a weekend of memories.

 

Eclipse Totality

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Lucky to be in the line of the solar totality, my iphone slowly moved across my face causing a partial selfie-clipse.

Robert and I set up in the back yard for the August 21, 2017 event.

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We tried a variety of ways to take pictures of the event, including Robert using his phone inside his welding mask.  Sadly, we ended up with forty or so pictures of … the sun.

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Our most successful pictures were those using a pinhole in foil and shining that image on paper.

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I was most eager to experience the totality, since I have seen several partial eclipses in the past, but never one with direct coverage.  I was not disappointed.

Some of the things I had hoped for didn’t really happen: birds stopping their song, crickets singing, total darkness.

What did happen in our back yard: a neighbor narrating the event to a disinterested toddler, a couple loudly saying “look at that” over and over again, a neighborhood of viewers cheering during the moments of totality, and several people setting off fireworks.  The crickets didn’t have a chance.

I guess what surprised me the most was the temperature drop, and drop it did.  I also admit I cheered seeing something so dramatic and rare in the sky.  I understood the mechanics from science class (and the endless tweets and FB pages).  Yet, I could not help to be awe-struck by the majesty of the event.

 

House Arrest

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This could be called “Roofing, Day Two” but I like my title better.  The roofers were still hammering away on top of us.  We had grand-kiddo day care, but couldn’t leave the house.  The kids couldn’t play outside because of the falling tiles/nails/etc.  Plus, we didn’t want to leave because my husband is vital when any technical questions arise.

So….what to do…what to do??

N and I decided (after parents approval was received) that we could try my henna kit and do some hand painting.  It took a very long time….but was fun.

J and hubs were in the other room doing all kinds of buildings with jenga blocks.  They set up dominoes type designs that would fall over.

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Sure, we could have had the TV on or handed them electronics, but they only get a couple times a day to do that.

When the workers left at 3:30, we jumped in the car and they got 30 minutes of running around an arcade.  It was still 103 deg. and the yard was not yet cleaned up.  But they needed to run and jump and play a few games of air hockey.

Now if you are reading this and live in an area where you can not leave the house for days on end…my hat is off to you.  As it was, we did quite well.

Hot Time in the City!

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Living in “the valley,” our Oregon temperatures are relatively mild, which I like.  We get a few hot days in the summer and a couple of snow storms in the winter.  The rest of the seasons, we joke, include hot, warm, cool, or cold rain.

If you are having your home re-roofed, you want to pick a time that is dry, but not too hot.  The heat advisory in triple digits coincided with our re-roofing.  I worried about those guys, but they cheerfully showed up around 7 each morning and worked until 3.

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Let’s just say that the fine folks from Valley Roofing didn’t need a gym membership.  They exercised, did weight lifting, and had a sauna all in one job.  My husband would take them out cold water during breaks and ice cold watermelon and grapes during lunch.

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We appreciated their hard work, all in tripel digits.

Once I saw that they were all tethered to the roof, I no longer had visions of them fainting and rolling off. However, the noise is what got me.  I don’t know if I would survive in a big city with constant construction.  It was not just the hammering, but the compressors and the ‘bang’ when shingles fell into the truck.  By the end of the three days I was on my last nerve.

But now that it’s done, we don’t have to worry about it for 20 or 30 years.  ALLELUIA!

August Weather is Mocking my Brother

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My brother flew into PDX today (required picture of PDX carpet).  He had it all worked out.  Since Kansas is soooo very hot and humid in the summer, he planned to escape the weather and spend some time with his Pacific NW family.

Mother nature had other plans.  Kansas is having temperatures in the high 70’s while the valley is experiences a heat wave….mid 90’s.

As he left the airport he laughed out loud.  “This feels familiar,” he stated as we were hit by the humid heat.

Worse, the traffic coming home was at a crawl.  We finally pulled off in Wilsonville and ate dinner at a lovely Chinese restaurant.  Weather would not dampen our spirits.

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Tomorrow he heads to the coast where the weather is to be mid-60’s !  Yes, finally he will experience the cool weather of Oregon.

Be kind to my brother, Oregon Coast.  No more surprises.