GIVING MY ROOSTER A WING

This winter, we are grabbing the bull by his horn and living in our camper trailer. Last year, we hibernated in the comfort of a nice warm cave complete with cable and wifi. This time, we’re going to rough it and stay at the campground.

Richard’s job hunting isn’t going as well as planned. After we returned from our Netherlands Trip in June 2015, he jumped right in to finding a job. Four months later, he continues to search and submit applications locally as well as outside the state of WA.

Times were tough, I’ll admit. This mother hen clucked at the rooster non stop. My beak eventually got tired of poking. It wasn’t doing our coop any good. And we were affecting our male chick. This hen needed a break from her nest…

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I took Owen to see other roosters, hens and chicks of all ages (family and friends) in California. We stayed with my parents for 1 month. He got to play with cousins and met two additional ones. He rekindled friendships and we got some sun. The heatwave killed us upon arrival in August but we survived it. Barely.

It was 8 months since we last saw friends and family. It was nice to receive so much hugs and eat home cooked meals. We didn’t get to see everyone on our list but we hope to see them on our next visit to California. I met and bonded with many hens from different farms (friends and family). I received plenty of support, an abundance of advice. It’s just what my chick and I needed… I packed all the light and love I received and called out to my chick and went home to my rooster all lonely in our coop.

As soon as we settled in our coop, we assessed our current situation. I decided to give my rooster a hand, or I should say a “wing”.

I found a teacher’s assistant position at a local daycare. It’s 10 minutes away from home and my work hours are noon to 7pm. Some of you may know, I’m a night owl. My creative monkeys come out to play in the late hours. I don’t typically fall asleep until 2 am. My work hours are perfect for me! I can hit the gym in the morning and go to work with energy. Upon accepting the position, the director informed me of the possibility of career advancement as a pre school teacher. Something to look forward to…. I start Wednesday.

In the mean time, Richard will continue job searching and homeschool Owen. Having this job will keep us financially afloat and allow me to play with other chicks during the day and get paid for it. RV-living won’t be so tough after all. Every time I come home, it’ll feel like we’re on vacation! (At least that’s the way I look at it.)

It rained for two days straight and the sound of rain hitting our roof is rather nice (& loud!). In the forest, it gets really gloomy and dark. We’ve been making it a point to go into town daily. Running errands definitely helps with our cabin fever.

On the plus side, Owen found some chicks who are also RV-living. They are also homeschoolers. They play in the afternoon and ride their bicycle all over the campground. They feed and play with the farm animals. I always hear them laughing when they pass by with their bicycles.

Being at work, I know, will change the energy in our coop. Owen & Richard will get to spend some father & son time. Richard won’t be so burdened with job searching. And I will get to have children-interaction and earn income.

I am looking forward to flying over the cuckoo’s nest…

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Night 1 at the trailer

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We moved most of our kitchen pantry items into the trailer and the bulk of it are tea bags. We could practically open up a tea house right here at the campground.

A few things to get used to: limited wifi signal. Oh how I missed falling asleep watching my Korean Drama. On the bright side: I have I Love Lucy DVDs that I can watch to “giggle” me to sleep.

I share closet space with Owen and I lost my dressing area! Bright side: I grab what I need to wear and use Richard’s bedroom. There’s just enough space for a hobbit to get comfortably dressed.

I slept well, woke up here and there. The smell of trees is undeniable. The sound of chirping birds is like being in a Disney princess movie. I can belt out a song but that would have been rude awakening for our neighbors.

Watching Richard rummage through unpacked boxes looking for his honey is painful and amusing. Today’s project: organize pantry so my partner in crime can have honey in his tea.

2 Farm Visits in one month

We attended a homeschool field trip to a local farm. Owen and his new friends picked out pumpkins, went on a hay ride, enjoyed the petting zoo and got lost in the corn maze.
October 3, 2014 We attended a homeschool field trip to a local farm. Owen and his new friends picked out pumpkins, went on a hay ride, enjoyed the petting zoo and got lost in the corn maze. While I waited outside the maze, I received a text from Richard asking if Owen was with me. When I said no, he had to go back in the maze to find him. It’s all fun and games until you misplace your kid….
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October 12, 2014 This is, by far, the coolest farm/museum I have ever been to! We got to learn about the pioneer days and how the local Native Americans survived winter in Washington. Yes, that’s an outhouse you see in the center. And yes, that was pretty much what I had to endure. (Groaning). Richard and Owen enjoyed the complimentary cookies, hot cider and apple pie.
October 25, 2014 Halloween Boo Bash at Hands On Children's Museum, Downtown Olympia.
October 25, 2014 Halloween Boo Bash at Hands On Children’s Museum, Downtown Olympia.

Random Pictures from Sep 15 – Sep 30, 2014

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I have been curling my hair a lot and Owen noted I looked like a poodle. So I grabbed my little guy and turned him into a mini-me-poodle.
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Nisqually Watershed Festival. Owen is making a birdhouse. I should actually say Richard is making a birdhouse… When we moved out of our house in California, Owen forgot the birdhouse he made from Cub scout that hung in our tree in the backyard. He was forlorn for a long time. But he’s all better now…
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Lately, I have been buying our vegetables from farm stands. I cook whatever is in season (beets and carrots). This is my friend Milenda who shops with me.
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Home school back in session. Richard teaches Math and I teach the *FUN* subjects like History, Geography, Geology, Earth Science and Art. Here are the boys making— ah, I have no idea. Owen was learning geometry shapes.
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This was taken 2 days before we left American Heritage Campground. My neighbor friend Achala gave us grapes from her friend’s garden.
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I love pink-purple skies like these. We were leaving Target and my jaw dropped.
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Believe it or not, I made this painting two years ago from the day I took the above picture.
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We don’t have a lego store nearby 😦 and his magazine subscription stopped coming. For his reward for being such a good boy, we drove 2 hours away to Portland Oregon and went to the mall. He was SO happy!
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My first attempt at baking whole wheat bread. I know, I know…. It came out like a giant muffin. Don’t ask.
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It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s…..
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An abandoned barn!
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After my third try, I finally succeeded in baking a normal-looking whole wheat bread. I make it twice a week for the boys…
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This is my friend Lee Ann who I met on a facebook group called Art Abandonment. She is an amazing inspiring gifted artist! You can view her artworks at http://www.horsecreekfinearts.webs.com. Here we are having “ART DAY”.
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Lee Ann and her husband welcomed us into their home in Portland, Oregon. She made us Mediterranean couscous for lunch.
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Owen is enrolled in public school! Just kidding… This was the shuttle bus for the Nisqually Watershed Festival.

All kidding aside, Richard & I started talking about our options in case we decide to stay in Washington. We’re reading up on home school laws in Oregon as well. My best friend Elizabeth in Virginia told us about the school she teaches at. The curriculum is right up our alley. We are looking into Olympia Waldorf School for Owen. We’re keeping our options open. Who knows- we may follow Elizabeth to Virginia! Or live in The Netherlands!

Tunnels, Harbors and pouring rain, oh my!

This was Owen’s favorite: the Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel- the longest (2.5 miles) highway tunnel in North America, and the first designed for -40 Fahrenheit temperatures and 150 mph winds.

The one-lane tunnel must be shared by cars and trains traveling in both directions, and i t usually needs to be aired out in between trips with jet turbine ventilation.  This unique design that enables a single lane of traffic to travel directly over the railroad track saved tens of millions of dollars over the cost of constructing a new tunnel.

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Here we are waiting for the tunnel to clear. The usual wait was 15 minutes. Cost to go through was $30.

 

The drive was only 10-minutes but it was the longest ride for someone who is claustrophobic. I had to “escape” the dark tunnel and look over my happy pictures in my camera.

And yes, there was light at the end of the tunnel….

 WHITTIER HARBOR

 This area originally was part of the portage route for the Chugach Indians of Prince William Sound traveling to fish the Turnagain Arm.

Later, the Russians and Americans exploring the region also used this passage. It was used by prospecting miners during the gold rush as it was the quickest passage from the Sound to the Cook Inlet and Interior Regions.

The City itself is a historical area, established by the US Army during World War II. The Federal railroad to Portage was completed in 1943 and became the primary debarkation point for cargo, troops, and dependents of the Alaska Command. (I love history and this was so fascinating to me!)

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Morning Interview with Owen

1. Do you know where we are?
Corning, CA
2. What was your favorite activity during our stay here? Lassen Volcanic NP. I liked learning about the black bears and the wolves. I liked watching the film on how Lassen was formed.
3. What was your least favorite? None.
4. Would you want to come back here, why or why not. No because it is too hot.
5. What are you most looking forward to?
The long drive.

Two Rides, Different Scenery

Pam told me that people like to see pictures. Well, this time, both times  I should say, I took pictures. The scenery, although different both rides, is very much like The Netherlands. Yes, there were some rolling hills, but then again that is what I grew up with in The Netherlands (Limburg). There was also a nice river and some lush trees. But the majority of the landscape here is open and ‘golden’. The pictures speak a thousand words I am sure.

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After passing by a bunch of farms the landscape opened up and the ‘golden’ fields that California is known for started to appear. That stand of trees in the distance were planted/grown trees. It looked like they were originally planted to be sold, but it did not look like that was their purpose any more.

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That is one thing you don’t see in The Netherlands, hills in the distance. Those are the hills of the coastal range between the valley and the ocean. That is what makes this valley so hot. Oh, did I mention that it was getting hot? The summer was just about to unfold upon us. Bummer! Many 100+ days were ahead of us.

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The areas most visible birds, Turkey Vultures. See the one showing off his wing span? I think he was just hot, because he just kept doing that for minutes while I was hanging out for a few moments and taking some pictures of them. They did not seem to mind at all.

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Here is a field with a tiny bit more color. This year’s winter had been extremely dry, so it was not the best year for wild flowers, but the few that were there were quite pretty (see close-up later on).

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A hidden little inlet of Black Butte Lake. Yeah that looks quite pretty and the lake is nice, but most of the cost line was the same ‘golden’ fields.

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I spy a DisCatcher disc golf target. I knew there was a disc golf course here at Black Butte Lake. That is why I took the 3 mile detour to go here.

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This is a full 18 hole disc golf course. Owen and I came back here about a week later and we played a round on this course. It was a great round of disc golf. The course is plenty challenging, with lots of up and down terrain and many nice and long holes. Too bad it got hot towards the end and we started getting a bit sloppy, because the best is in the end. The very last hole is epic going from one hillside to the next over a canopy of trees. Too bad I was spent and I opted for a roller down the hillside instead of soaring over the top of the canopy (I guess I also did not want to chance loosing one of my better discs), but boy was it tempting to go for it. In the end the roller was near perfect and made it just up the other hillside. I botched the uphill though, but I blame that on the heat and the accompanying fatigue. Sure!

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Ah, here is that close-up of those wild flowers I showed earlier. This was on my way back from the detour.

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This little town, Orland, seemed to me to be the water capital of the north. There were multiple aqueducts (for you international visitors I know that you spell it as aquaduct, but the US English spelling correction wanted me to go with the ‘e’ variety) coming into this little town and it seemed to be making it quite thriving despite the ‘golden’ surroundings. Well, to be fair, most of  the fields around this town were cultivated. By the way, the town we are staying in, Corning, is the olive capital of the state. Or is it the country?

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Here is the route overview. This was a very nice ride, with mostly flat roads and not too much wind. But as you can tell I did take it easy. Granted, I never hit the pause button while I was admiring the view or eating a sandwich, so this includes all the time I was not moving. This route seriously reminded me of riding my bike in The Netherlands. It brought back plenty of memories.

Another fun ride

That is why I ended up going for another bike ride later in the week. This one was much shorter, but possibly more beautiful. I started later in the morning and I effectively had only about 3 hours for this ride. Anything after noon gets very hot, so leaving at 9am meant aiming to be back by noon. Although I started my tracking for this ride the app failed miserably on me. I even checked to make sure that background app refresh was enabled for this app, and it was, but I checked it after I had already started the workout, so I blame the failure on this sequence of events. When I checked the route about 2/3rds of the way around Corning, I discovered the mishap, a straight line from where I started to where I was now, even though I had gone quite a way around the town before making it to the Sacramento river. My guesstimate is that the total ride was 18-20 miles. Below are some of the pretty pictures that I took.

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The Sacramento River definitely is the pearly string in this landscape. That is why there are multiple pictures of it here. You can’t see it here, but on the right side there is a recreation area and there are quite a few people there already, but on the opposite side it was still nice and quiet.

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The river tends to separate around islands in the river. Here the river comes back together. The landscape right around the river is nice and lush.

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Steep drop-offs are created by the cutting of the banks due to high water levels. Not sure if this still happens though, because of the damming of the river and the creation of Shasta Lake about 70 miles upstream. Water levels are probably controlled and I guess that allowed these islands in the river to grow those healthy trees.

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The road next to the river here is wobbly, but a delight to ride none the less, because of the surprise views of the river.

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Here is an impossibly steep path to the river below that I did not follow, but judging on the state of this path it is used by the locals quite a bit. As I was standing there looking at this beautiful view a local youth expressed his dislike of my presence while passing by in his car by honking excessively. He did not expect me to still be right there in the tree line, because as he was passing me he was in the process of raising his arm to show me the universal gesture of dislike, but as he saw me he dared not finish it. That pretty view must have made him soft, or was it my vision that made him rethink his actions?

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Try to capture that beauty when you have a chance. The beauty of riding bikes is that you can stop much more easily and take in these gems. I love it!

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Just to the right of that path down the steep bank is a warning. Hmm, seems to me like the locals strategically planned that path just far enough from that sign to claim plausible deniability.

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My Iron Horse. My trusty steed. My mountain bike turned into a touring bike taking a well deserved rest at this prime lean spot. Just hanging out taking in the views.

 

I was a Counselor

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On this stop-over, I met two 15 year olds. Both were troubled and had a lot to share. I’m glad they found a friend in me.

One young man hid the cut scar on his cheek as we spoke. He and his little brother Carson (Owen’s swim friend) recently left an abusive environment. I learned this young man is a math genius and although his heart is in pain, his little brother will keep him busy and distract him from his troubled past. They’re staying at the RV site until their mother figures out where to go from here.

This morning we metSamuel from Virginia. His family are on their way to San Diego for the summer. Off the bat, he tells me his mom took a picture of our trailer sticker that read “Life begins where fear ends”. I learn that his brother in the army died and I can tell he’s still mourning for him. Samuel is an athlete. He showed me his skateboard and later hung out with Richard.

We’re currently back on the 395. Richard pointed out the clouds crawling out of the canyon. I better stop blogging and pay attention for wind advisory…