Friday, August 28, 2009

The More Things Change, The More They Stay the Same

A while back in this post I blogged about our history with Floras Lake and promised to dig up some old shots from days gone by.

This is the farthest back I could find. The summer of 1996... which means the boys were 9, 8, 5 & 3.

Ummm... wait a second... what the heck!?... who gave Arik the stogie...ever the source of entertainment... see, give a kid a stick and ya never know what can happen.

Oh heck, lets face it, ya never know what will happen any time.

1999 Collin is 7 here. Back in the day...when the fishin was good and the shoes were wet.

And speaking of wet shoes...look at this face. Dylan is 5 here. This is the face of a youngest brother.

A face that came in handy when a guy went crawdad hunting in his rain boots and got stuck in the "sinky mud" with water pouring in over the tops.

A face, which, when it was combined with a scream of terror would bring 3 older brothers running to yank you out of the "sinky mud".... even tho your boots were still stuck in the mud ... and haul you up to camp.

One of them giving you a piggy back ride.

One of them carrying the boots which were extracted from the mud.

And one of them pretty much just laughing hysterically... ok all of them laughing hysterically.

It was quite traumatic.

And it was also one of the reasons we needed the 12 passenger Ford Clubwagon van... in order to be able to pack 4 pairs of shoes for each kid.

Later that same summer, right after they stocked the lake for the 4th of July, the guys had an epic trout day.

It's safe to assume that Arik landed 3/4 of those fish.

Summer of 2000. Collin is almost 10 here...which means this is probably his 3rd year of windsurfing...I think he started the summer before he turned 8.

He liked to wait until it was windy enough to fling his scrawny little body completely over the board to the other side when he tried to water start...which meant the wind was perfect... and then hang on for the turbo speed...No surprises there eh?

Same year so Sean is almost 14 here and tearing it up with the big boys.

Geared up and ready to shred...Collin, Dylan and Sean.

We just can't stay away.

Every year it pulls us back.

We try to pass on the fun and bring new people whenever we can.

This past weekend we finally got to bring Dylan's good friend Derek.

We've been trying for a while but it never quite worked out.

The weather was fab.

The forecast was good... a little too good for a beginner but we knew Derek was a pretty athletic guy.

Dylan coached him thru the first part of the day.

And it wasn't too long before he was up and sailing.... in spurts the first day... windsurfing is not an easy thing to have to put in your time.

Speaking of history with the lake... these two guys are definitely a part of our history there.

Josh (middle) lives there... this lake is essentially his back yard.

He and his brother have provided more hours of entertainment to all the kids who camp there than anyone else. You never know what might happen...expeditions to the "haunted house", paintball wars, the comandeering of the party boat full of kids to plant a pirate flag on the far side of the lake and stake their territory, the golf cart rides... it goes on and on.

He's also an amazing kiter and sailor and a really nice kid.

Scott (right) has been coming to the lake as long as we have. And even tho he crossed over to the dark side and started kiting... ok more than started he's getting pretty darn good... we love him dearly and look forward to seeing him every year.

The kids of summer.

Day 2. Derek really got the hang of it the second day.

He kept at it and made really good progress and had some fun

Notice that he switched from the wetsuit to the rashie?

This could be due to the fact that it took him about half an hour to get the wetsuit back off the first day.

Derek is a buff guy.

Rich's wetsuit was put to the test.

Well it was either that or the fact that we called him Mr. Incredible...coulda been that.

Seriously... he looked just like Mr. Incredible in the wetsuit.

Anyhow the rashie and shorts setup gave him more water time and less wetsuit wrestling time...and the lake was pretty warm anyhow.

Around noon the wind came up and Dylan went out to play too.

Dylan and Rich decided to swap boards.
Some how this is kinda scary...check this out...clones

Deja vu!

At the end of the day it's all about having some fun.... and wearing out kids.

It's a lot about that.

Families and friends having fun, wearing each other out.

An everyday gift indeed.


Monday, August 17, 2009


It's that time of year.

These beauties are a couple of weeks later than usual and it's been hard to wait... but totally worth it.

Our nicest peaches ever we think.

And we have green beans.

I didn't have time to pick for about 5 days and we definitely had green beans.

That's also my lame attempt at playing with sun flares in photos. I'm working on it.

The beans are much more agreeable to posing than my family members.

Ummm.... did I tell you we have green beans?

Yep... I found a few.

After I exhausted my short list of people I could pawn some off on, I still had way too much.

We like beans and all.... don't get me wrong.

The standby is steamed with fresh dill and vinegar added.... maybe some little bacon pieces.

We also make this Frijole Mole recipe from the Animal, Vegetable, Miracle book.

But after a some point enough is enough.

I really didn't feel like canning.

I didn't have time to be there for the processing.

I mean Summer is short.

Heck, it's almost gone.

And we have some Summer livin still to do.

Berries to pick.

Rivers to swim.

Beaches to walk.

Watching clocks and pressure gauges was not on my list.

Last year I tried drying some and it worked out really great in the winter for throwing into soups and stews.

A little bit of Summer in cool rainy seasons.

So I did a quick blanch of the remainders of Bean Mountain and sent Rich on a mission to figure out where we put the dehydrator last.

Mission accomplished.

The dehydrator was soon recovered from Sean's house.

He must have borrowed it during mushroom season.

I picked up this little dehydrator at a garage sale for about ten bucks at least ten years ago.

I keep thinking it must be about to die... but on it trudges.

I just kept filling racks.

And rotating trays

For about three days.

Ya it actually takes longer but you don't have to be there.

You end up with something like this.

Now I have enough for my winter stews.

Anyone want to be on my list for beans this week?

I also seem to have an abundance of orange flowers in my garden.

I must have subconciously planned it.

Yep, that must be what happened.

I'm still lovin these Janie Harmony Marigolds

And every year I try to put some of these Autumn Beauty Sunflowers in.

Notice that even they are being overtaken by beans.

It's not just me.

From high atop Bean Mountain,


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A Fabulous Stormy Concert at the Britt Music Festival

A few weeks ago Rich and I decided to take advantage of an upcoming kidless weekend and get tickets for one of the Britt Series Concerts. We've been wanting to do this for a while.

The concert that happened to work out for us was the Britt Orchestra and pianist Anton Nel

We had a little extra time before the concert started to stroll the streets of Jacksonville.

You know.... the one in the Oregon Trail game. You can choose to go to Dawson or Jacksonville.

Jacksonville is one of the Gold Mining towns at the end of the Oregon Trail so it was fun to look around.

Saturday afternoon before the concert we explored the town and were lucky enough to have stumbled upon the weekend with Quartets on every corner.

Apparently, during the few weeks that the Britt Orchestra plays, there is an Academy for what looked to be high school students. Kinda like camp but these kids were too good for something called camp. Academy was a much better word. They were amazing. Their Academy had begun a week before and groups of them played at each intersection and at the main venue.

So we strolled the streets of this historic town and listened to these fabulous kids as we went. There were periodic little rain bursts of a few minutes every now and then... enough to make the musicians find shelter for their gorgeous instruments but nothing serious and it felt really good to us in the 100 degree heat.

Nice huh?

It gets better.

The concert was due to start at 8 p.m. but they open the gates around 6. Since we had general grass hill seating and a picnic feast planned we headed over that way when the venue opened.

We found a nice little spot on the grass with a good view of the stage.

Popped open our little stadium chairs (there are restrictions about chair height in the grass area) and broke out the picnic.

We brought crackers, several cheeses.. our fav was a Mediterranean Cheddar by Maple Street Creamery out of Sonoma, CA, organic cherries, our favorite kale salad from this blog post, a couple of bottles of San Pellegrino mineral water, a bottle of Cabernet and a bottle of Petite Syrah from Frey Vineyards. I love this stuff cause it's one of the few that are not only organic, but also have no sulfites added.

About then the skies started to look like this

I did not care one bit. I was on a sensory journey to heaven. Warm summer air, a strolling chorale group, string quartets, a bunch of my favorite foods to snack on...

As the orchestra warmed up I looked over at Rich and laughed.

I could not remember the last time this many of my senses were engaged all at one time.

We talked about how we should do this more often, how we should one day bring our grandchildren.

That's how great it was.

We don't have grandchildren.

And still it gets better.

I'd like to apologize in advance for the rest of these photos.

The Britt has a rule about not bringing cameras into the venue so I left my beloved Nikon behind... and was later very glad for that.

All of the photos in this post were from my cell phone camera.

This is the view from our spot on the grass hill... only there were more people... I took this later in the evening... but I wanted to show you our original location.

About half an hour into the concert the sky just let loose with and deluge of rain, thunder, lightning... the works.

And then I laughed again.

Just when I thought my senses were on overload they went to a whole other level... over the top crazy experience.

The piano onstage started to get wet so the orchestra stopped, covered the piano and waited for the storm to subside.

Apparently most of the concert goers did not share my sense of joy.

The vast majority left.

We were completely soaked.. as in our clothes were still wet 24 hours later soaked... and still ridiculously happy.

The concert director invited the remaining crazies onto the stage to get out of the rain and potential lightning.

Now I know an opportunity when I see one and I was not about to let this one pass me by.

And that is how we ended up onstage, at the Britt.

Five feet from Anton Nels' shoulder.

As he played solo for a while like we were in his living room.

And then the orchestra came back and took their places.

The audience was invited to fill in among the muscicians in any open seats and along the back and front of the stage. "There's still some room in the Bass section".... What??? Is this for real?

More giddy laughing from me.

We moved off to the side a bit. Now four feet from the Violin 1 section.

See all the random people in there? It was all so surreal.

We're all just one big happy family by now... gathered round the orchestra.

And then the Conductor begins the remaining concert peices as planned.

I mean I could read the music from where I stood....Well I can't actually read music ... but if I could... I was close enough!

The Britt blog has a video that the guy standing next to us took if you want to see more.

Thanks to the Britt staff and the musicians for such a memorable evening.
We look forward to someday bringing our grandchildren.

On Sunday we attended church in a little church built in 1858. And we believed it... the floors slope to the left and each board is worn and cupped. It was fascinating to look around and think of all the knees that spent time on those kneelers...the prayers of joy and sorrow that had been whispered, the weddings, the funerals, the thousands of wiggly children. It was probably not my most attentive Sunday.

I'm having a little trouble fitting this into the everyday gift category.

But I'm just gonna laugh and go with it.

Here's to not missing out on an opportunity.