Cirque du Soleil: Squirrel Style

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We are entertained by our squirrel friends who stop by daily to munch birdseed and perform amazing acrobatic feats of bravery and skill.  If we are not early enough, they wait patiently on the lip of the shop roof wondering when breakfast will be served.

Since the fires east of Portland, our bird population at the feeder has at least doubled.  The squirrels and birds take turns munching as if revolving acts in a play put on for our entertainment.

Early afternoon everyone leaves as our neighbor’s cat does his walk through.  Once he leaves, the back yard gets back to a flurry of activity.  Squirrels vs birds, birds vs birds, squirrels vs squirrels….the drama is endless.

 

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What???

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What do you do when you learn that the people who put up your house division made a critical building mistake on the construction that would cause dry rot and water damage that would not show up until a few years later?

This happened to my son and daughter-in-law.  A neighbor found the mistake and passed on the news to the rest of the neighbors.  Solving the issues cost a lot of hard work and money.

When you find out your house is in danger…..”Who ya gonna call?  Dad!”

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Tom tore the siding off until he removed the dry rot.  Dad showed up with all the tools and lumber one would need to finish the job.  They worked hard together, removing the window, putting it back in the right way, trimming it and putting on new siding.  Took them a few days but they did great work.

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Once the job was done, it will need sanding and some new paint.  It will be as good as new (actually better than new).  I sure hope they can find the workers who made the mistake and did the damage to the whole neighborhood.

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Father and son…..a good team.

Celebration

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Our oldest turned 39!!  We felt like Oprah… you get a pizza and you get a pizza and you get a pizza.  Bryon introduced HIS kids to “The Last Starfighter” and we all dug into the pizza of our choice.

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Ice cream for dessert and the evening was a success.  Cards and gifts were opened and wishes made.

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Father and son…a birthday filled with laughter, fun, mugging for the camera and making good memories.

 

Amazon Prime Madness

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“Try it FREE for a month…..”

Six most dangerous words online.  “Try Amazon Prime,” they said.  “You’ll love it,” they said.

Well, dang it, “they” were right and I may now be hooked.

I started my month timidly, making sure I was ONLY getting what I would otherwise buy.  Three weeks in, I’m LOOKING for things to buy.  Lord, have mercy.

It started with Divina Dolmas, the best stuffed grape leaves I have ever eaten.  One 4.4 lb can makes four meals for Hubs and myself.  Add a salad, and there ya go!  The shipping for a can a month would pay for Amazon prime (so I told myself).  What a deal.

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While searching for more goodies, I found a six pack.  I mean, who does not need 26.4 lbs of dolmas.  I sure do.  Amazon probably thinks I am part owner of a Greek restaurant.  So now I have cans stuffed around closets, etc. since our pantry can only hold one can.

The box came with 3 straight cans, two with dings, and one soundly smashed.

Will I continue Amazon Prime after the 30 days.  I do not know.  But I have enough dolmas to eat while I think about it.

Eagle Creek Fire

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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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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.