Monthly Archives: July 2012



We were excited when we first got here and saw the large berry bushes in full flower … well, the waiting is over!

We are fortunate to have access to the river, and blackberries grow in abundance beside the river!  I checked out the bushes a few days ago, and I found about 10 berries that were ready.  This evening, I took the girls down, fully expecting that other people would have already picked all the berries.  I thought they were being silly to bring TWO buckets, but who am I to stomp on their fantasies.

Boy was I wrong!!

The kid in the left bucket is our exchange student from New Jersey – Flat Arthur.

We spent about half an hour and nearly filled those two buckets.  I had to drag the kids away – they were having fun picking them!  I promised them blackberry cobbler, but we waited too long to get it started.  I will make it tomorrow.  Maybe even before we go to the park to meet up with our new friends.

We are enjoying it here.  A lot.  I find it amusing because when people would ask us where we would go first, I would always say, “anywhere but Oregon – because if we go there first, we will never leave!”  I am not ready to settle down, though.  I want to explore more first.  But we do like it here as much as I thought we would.  🙂

Flat Arthur and Molly found lots of berries!

Zoe gets serious about running!


Exploring Sandy River, upstream


Sunday morning:  I had this silly notion that we could somehow trace our river up to where it starts … haha.  I was thinking we could get somewhere that was significantly colder or something.  Not sure what I really thought we would find, but we tried!

I think we left by 2:00.  I plotted a route on Google maps that I thought would get us at least somewhere interesting.  We followed the back roads heading south-ish, winding through lush farmland.  We caught glimpses of Mt. Hood’s snowy peak.  Suddenly, we encountered a locked gate.  Hmmm.  Did I misread the map?  Nope.  We tried a different road.  Another dead end!  We were totally baffled, but the GPS feature on Phil’s iPhone proved that we were where we thought we were – but Google maps just didn’t know it was a restricted road.  (It was a road through a National Forest, and there were some signs indicating a water treatment facility.)

So, we had to find somewhere else to go.  Good news!  We weren’t actually on Sandy River anymore – so we found a different route, and we headed towards a point on Google maps called Big Sandy River Dam Road.  The road climbed up, and the scenery was breathtaking.  Zoe took a nap … However, we couldn’t find the Dam Road!  … after consulting the iPhone again, we turned around to search for the road that we had obviously missed. (sure would be nice if the Google maps on my iPad had a GPS feature!)  The road was about 5-10 minutes back, and it was a Gravel Road with no signs.  We knew we were in the right place, thanks to the iPhone.  I should have taken a picture of the sign at the entrance – it was a little foreboding, but it did say that it was BLM land, so we followed the bumpy road.  We passed several spots where cars were parked – but even though we could hear the river from those spots, they looked more like serious hikes, which we were NOT prepared for.

Amusing comment:  I watched “127 Hours” the night before.  And we didn’t tell anyone where we were going … maybe not smart!

We kept going until we reached the End.  We could hear the river.  There was a gate, and beyond it was a utility road.  Molly and I walked down a bit, and the river sound got closer, so we decided to go for it.  We packed a bag with some water, water shoes, and my camera and set off.  We met up with 3 guys and a sweet pit bull, who were returning from a day obviously spent fishing.  Just to be safe, I asked them if we would get to the water.  They laughed and said yes.


After a short hike, we reached our goal.  A million rocks sat between us and a moderately-fast-paced river.  Zoe, having just woke up, fussed about walking over them, but we finally reached the water.



It wasn’t as cold as it looked.  It was Green.  We put on our water shoes and waded up to our calves.  No way were we letting the kids walk into the current.  We played a while.  The kids threw rocks in the river.  They made little rainbows with the splashes.  Phil threw giant boulders onto smaller rocks – causing shrapnel to rain down – to see what the rocks looked like inside.  (We think they are volcanic rocks.)  More rocks were thrown into the water.



We eventually had enough fun and walked back to the car …



… and drove home …

… with rocks.

What is it about rocks that make it impossible to resist the urge to collect them?  especially for kids …

… oh, and Annie tried to collect wheat.  We aren’t sure if it is actually wheat, but when I told her that wheat is where flour comes from, she decided that she would collect wheat, pound them into flour, and make us a wonderful bread for a snack.  We shall see.  🙂

Tshirt Crafting, Part 1


Lesson #1 for the day … use a bigger hula hoop.


No, actually, Lesson #1 was … re-READ the directions closely before cutting up 2 dozen tshirts.  I did extra cutting when I could have been weaving …

So, let me start at the beginning:

In Houston, more than two months ago, I saw this cool craft on the internet. I don’t remember who tagged me on FaceBook, but we went to a thrift store ASAP and bought a billion tshirts in fun colors, planning to make a few rugs … I washed them immediately, and they have been folded in a laundry basket every since then.

   (this is **half** of the tshirts)

Finally, I was ready to do the craft yesterday.  I was sure it would be a piece of cake …

NEVER underestimate the distracting power of a 3 year old.

Using my new nifty electric Black & Decker scissors, I cut up about a dozen shirts last night.  And, this is where the second Lesson #1 comes to play.  I cut rows off the lower half of the shirts, resulting in loops.  THEN, I went an extra unnecessary step further and cut those loops intro strips for making TARN (tshirt yarn).  Today, I read the instructions a little more closely, and I discovered that they used the loops, not strips.  I’m sure I’m just babbling now, but trust me when I say I did extra labor.

So, eventually, I had a bunch of tshirts ready to weave … not all of them, but enough to get started.


I am making the first rug alone, so I can work out the process before doing it with the older girls.  I really hate learning while doing a craft with the kids because I always end up doing it instead of THEM doing it.

Now, for the first Lesson #1, or Lesson #2 … I used the smallest hula hoop, thinking that would be wise, BUT tshirt fabric stretches when you work with it, so the red loops (the warp) stretched out as I worked, resulting in a bowl shape … I think that it will work out, but it would be easier if it were on a bigger hoop.

Zoe approves, though!


   To be continued …