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September9–Oregon is on fire


Well, these last few weeks have sure been eye-opening with regard to weather. 

Harvey reminded us about the people we still care about in Texas.  And, now, Irma is heading toward many more people we care about in the Florida area!  Just to keep us on our toes, the fires on the west coast are too close for comfort. 

Annie and I house- and dog-sat for a friend in Bend for about two weeks, during the worst of the local smoke. These pictures show the progresssion of the smoke over one week. 

August 29August 30August 31September 1September 2September 3September 5

We bought air purifiers on August 29, then the smoke cleared for a couple days. We contemplated buying smoke masks, too, but when it cleared up, we decided not to. Wrong decision. We bought masks on September 6, again, right before a weather change made the purchase seem silly: it rained the next day, and the fire nearest to us was finally contained last night. 

Here are some other eerie photos of the smoke in Bend:

September 2September 1August 29
And, this is Pearl:


July12 – Driving on California Highway 1


 We left Fort Bragg yesterday and headed north to spend this week in The Redwood National Park (Klamath).  Our group of four families has been making our way north from the Los Angeles area to meet up with other families in Bend, Oregon at the end of July. 


The drivers spent an extraordinary amount of time and energy figuring out the best route to drive. The very scenic highways in Northern California are very twisty and harrowing to drive. Highway 20 from Willits to Fort Bragg was amazing, but it was agonizingly slow, and the big rv’s struggle because of it.  The majority decision was to take the long way around via 20 and 101 to get to Klamath.  Of course, since I drive separately from Phil and the rv, I was free to find out firsthand what Highway One was really like.  

As soon as we left the area, we encountered road work, which had one lane completely closed, leaving us a single very narrow road. When we finally reached the first hairpin curve, we were stopped by a traffic snafu. An 18 wheeler and a van/trailer were unable to go around the curve at the same time.   

It didn’t really take long for them to work it out and get moving again, but I was Officially Worried. It was compounded by the fact that there was zero cellular service. But I was determined to do this. I passed several small southbound rv’s, including one towing a large utility trailer.  We also passed two rv parks that had a LOT of large coaches and fifth wheels. Obviously, there were lots of people who didn’t think the road was too difficult. 

My verdict was wishy washy, though:  It was a pretty drive, and it was a lot fewer miles. I didn’t think it was significantly prettier than other sections of the coastal highways, but I also did not think it was particularly harrowing.  There were some areas where the road dropped off sharply, but overall, not bad. 


July10 – MacKerricher State Park


Molly and Zoe are at a Ranger program about Snowy Plovers. Phil and Annie are back at the RV. As I sit alone on the cliff, silently listening to the waves and children’s screams, I am reminded of another time when I sat alone by an ocean. 

In the spring of 1991, I trekked alone around the coast of Australia, starting in Sydney and ending up in Darwin. I spent a few days on Kangaroo Island, south of Adelaide.  The island was inhabited by wallabies and seals, among other things. One night, I hiked at dusk to an area where the wallabies were to be found. (Mob, Troupe, or Court)

I crouched on the ground for what felt like hours as dozens of wallabies hopped past. They came close, and since it was dark, I could just see shapes. It was a very peaceful memory. 


And here are the Junior Rangers:


July8 – To the Pacific Ocean


I 20 is perhaps the curviest road EVER – and breathtakingly beautiful. We drove from Cloverdale this afternoon. What a different climate here!  It was 64 and cloudy when we arrived. The sea breeze was refreshing, and the horns and bells from the harbor are eerie and enchanting. Deer are everywhere, as are seagulls and crows. I also saw a GIGANTIC jack rabbit, a heron, and wild turkeys. It is rather odd for this Galveston girl to see beach houses NOT on stilts, though. 

Fort Bragg is known for sea glass, which is apparently abundant on the beaches. For 60 years, the residents of this area used the beaches as trash dumps.  All that remains are broken bits of glass, ravaged by the sea. 

Molly wants a guitar


We have been talking about it for awhile, and we are pretty sure we want to get one for her.  It is kind of strange for me because I have zero experience on string instruments.  Apparently, Phil actually knows how to play, though.  So, today we played around with some small guitars.  Molly and Zoe enjoyed it and can’t stop asking to go to a guitar store (actually, we will probably go to a pawn shop).

IMG_3492   IMG_3491

The red one (left) is a Parlor size, which is what we are looking for.  3/4 size is similar – but I haven’t seen that.  The blue one (right) is a junior size, which would work for Zoe, but Molly is the one we are shopping for.

IMG_3495   IMG_3493


The “music” they played was adorable.

oh, and I want a ukelele now.


(Occasional) Daily Tips for Living Small ~ ODTLS#3


photo-5Paper or Plastic?  That was the question of the 90s.

Today, it is become increasingly more normal to BYOB, but how many of us do?

Really, how hard is it to bring a bag?  I think it takes me a whole 30 seconds to open the back door and grab a few on my way into the store.

I guess the hardest part is getting them INTO the car.  The key to remembering that is having a LOT of bags.  Over the years, I have accumulated a very random assortment.  My personal favorites are canvas, but the grocery store bags are getting more and more popular and are usually no more than $1.  Buy 2 or 3 each time you forget to bring yours, and you will have plenty, lickety-split!

  • The plastic ones from grocery stores are often made from virgin plastic, so look for the plastic content.  Recycled is better.
  • If the bag gets dirty, wash it!  Yes, even the plastic ones.  Just don’t put it in the drier.
  • Designate one bag for meat and don’t cross-contaminate it with anything else.

People tell themselves that plastic bags can be used for many different things to avoid guilt on this issue:

  • Dog poop …  You can use bread bags, veggie bags, chip bags, used zip locks … I’m sure you have a lot of “other” bags in your trash …
  • Trash can liner …  I guess this is reasonable, but I bet you have a large stash already, which will keep your trash cans lined until Doomsday.
  • Car trash … another seemingly reasonable use, but be honest with yourself about how many bags you really need.
  • Wet swimming suits … Wrap it in a towel.  You are going to wash it all, anyway.
  • Recycle them … Unfortunately, all of the factors that are considered with recycling make plastic bag recycling mostly cost-prohibitive.  Many places still send plastic bags to the landfills.

Plastic Bag Facts from
Plastic Bag Facts from

So, make a commitment today to avoid single-use bags.

**Note about compostable bags:  NOTHING, I repeat, NOTHING will decompose in a landfill because you need sun, oxygen and microorganisms for decomposition.  Compostable bags are not worth the extra money, unless you are using them in a compost pile.



Shameless Plug:  I sell t-shirt bags and knitted market bags.

And, let me leave you with a parting thought:  You have hands.  Use them.  Bags are (mostly) unnecessary.

Hooray!  Look what you learned on the internet today!!  🙂

Love, from your hippie friend,