Monday, August 2, 2021

Rolling Smoke in the Valley

 Which of course, the smoke rolled into the valley this afternoon just as I was getting off from work.  With the haze from the sun, this afternoon looked and smelled like everyone in my neighborhood had a campfire going and I'm not looking forward to seeing the ash covering my car tomorrow morning.  The street lights give off an eerie glow with the haze swirling around, much like when the fog rolls in during the fall and winter months.

Speaking of cooler weather, there's a slim chance after Wednesday that we'll get some cooling temperatures.  In all the years that I've lived here in Oregon, not once have I ever prayed and wished so hard for the fall to come early to our region. 

From late June until now, we've had so many triple digits days on end that everything around here is suffering! Gardens, livestock, flowers, lawns and for what it's worth I have very seriously contemplated ripping out my yard and just going straight garden beds. Or just a thought, letting everything grow really tall and charging admission for "Safaris" in my yard.  It seemed like a great idea until Left-Brain bought a new lawn mower for me, after that I decided I like being able to not see my neighbors feral cats tearing up my flowerbeds looking for a spot to "make a deposit."


Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Emergency Preparedness

 Every so often, I have training courses for my job. It's called "revolving education" and some very interesting things are the topics; not to mention things you see on open cameras for Zoom meetings!! There's a part of me that wants to tell you what I saw in the open camera on one of the female caregiver's computer/pad/phone.....the other part of me is still too disgusted to mention it!!!!

So, not a lot of my readers know that I grew up in "Earthquake Country" which is in a lot of the states, but more importantly California.  After our earthquake on May 2, 1983 my mom started hosting geologists in our front yard to give neighbors good news about what they knew about our beautiful San Andreas fault line. Our earthquake registered 6.7 on the Richter scale and the only reason it was registered as such was because the seismograph needle ripped the paper at 6.7  UC Berkeley's geology seismograph registered it at 6.9 and their paper didn't rip. Anything over 4.8 is scary, but a 6.7 destroyed and damaged a lot of houses, buildings and caused over 10 million dollars in devastation.

Last year, on September 8, 2020 a wildfire ripped through Southern Oregon having been human caused that started on the north end of Ashland, Oregon. It was driven by winds of over 40 mph and left a 9 mile long path of destruction burning over 2,800 structures and killing 3 people in just a few hours.  In Emergency Preparedness there are three levels of emergencies. Level 1 is being prepared, Level 2 is Be Ready; that means you pack up all important papers, medications, photos, pets & their supplies and clothing. Level 3: GO! Don't look back, don't turn around, don't take pictures. JUST GO!!

This year, for Christmas gifts to my children/family I am putting together binders for emergency preparedness. Rather than having to scramble about looking for supplies, sleeping bags, extra clothes etc and not knowing what is 100% important and what is expendable to leave behind....and honestly, what could you really leave behind in an emergency? Having a binder that helps you check off the important items so that people don't throw unneeded items in their vehicles and not the very most important items such as medications, food, water, children's items for their kids and pet supplies and their food, portable kennel, leash, harness etc.

I know some folks don't want to think about the "what if's" of an emergency but last year I hosted a young family 3 different times and we all lived by what we heard on the local police scanner channels as to what zones would be evacuated next and how long before the fire was licking at people's doorsteps!!

Monday, July 19, 2021

"Campfire Conversations" and things that go bump in the night...

 Most people when they camp won't tell you about the strange sounds they hear late at night sitting around the campfire.  As a kid, my folks would camp with two other families and an older couple whose husband was quite the character when he'd had a few. There was the singing of "Okie from Muskogee", axe throwing at a tree stump in the dark, bathing in the snow runoff nekked and freezing all of which we kids had the joys of hearing a grown man in his 50's yelling about how "a real man doesn't need to heat up water" to take a bath and proceeded to shiver by the blazing campfire for the next day or two. Good times!

Things that you hear in the campground include: coyotes coming down from the ridgeline and seeing their eyes glowing in the campfire on the last call of nature to the outhouse, we walked in a huge group. Cow bells ringing in the distance, that one is funny! Cattle ranchers would graze their livestock in the Sierra Nevada's during spring, summer and early fall. It kept the grassy fuels to a minimum and let the ranchers stock up on feed for the winter; something that Oregon needs to do but that's a dissertation for another time.  It was nothing for us to wake up from a nap in the hammock and see a cow chewing its cud over your head. Great times to be remembered.

Our favorite campground was and still is Badger Flats. It's a BLM campground in the Sierra Nevada's and it's primitive to say the least. As I remember it, outhouses but you had to bring your own water and you packed out your trash of items that you couldn't burn in the campfires. It has a first come, first serve camp rules and at the time because it was forestry land there were no fees.  It was also part of a historical register of Native American summer hunting grounds and if you knew where to scratch the dirt, you could find a nice arrowhead of obsidian or two.  The best part of the hunting grounds, there was a couple of small boulders that made an alter of sorts and my dad had us kids convinced that we had to say "peace" before we climbed up on the rocks so as not to disturb the Indian spirits lest we get attacked in the night while sleeping. 

 Now, keep in mind this was in the late 70's when this all happened so a lot has changed but it was pretty funny watching us kids bow down and say "peace" before climbing on these rocks. If I remember correctly, one young boy didn't "believe in spirits" and didn't say the words and claimed the next morning that he didn't sleep well because something kept attacking him while he was sleeping.....pretty sure his dad had a hand in that!!

Do you have any favorite camping spots or adventures you had as a kid??  Drop a comment to share if you're so inclined.

Friday, July 16, 2021

Creating Ideas & Campground Conversations

I've been kicking around a few ideas of an offshoot link to another side blog; I'm thinking of calling it "Campfire Conversations" and just use it for chit chat and stories in general.  I probably could write entire stories centered around individuals I happen to know; but the names would need to be changed and if they ever read about their stories I might not have any friends to speak of! 

So, instead I'll write about the places we've camped, the people we've met and the "atmosphere(fear)" of various individuals.

Our first time out camping with family members took us to Rogue Elk Campground above Shady Cove, Oregon since that's our home locale. It was HOT and miserable to say the least. It was Father's Day weekend and not that enjoyable. Our "Darling Daughter" and her husband "Drifter" along with their son who we affectionately call "Bubs" were tenting it at our campsite. On one side, we have a lovely foursome of campers in a huge diesel pusher and on the other side of us are the "Bayou Boys" I don't think they're from the south but you could tell that they didn't take any crap from anyone...ever. I felt perfectly safe until nightfall; that's when the Guardrail Gremlin appeared from the darkness. Now, when I was a kid my dad would tell campfire stories just before we'd drift off to sleep. Usually, they involved something scary and possibly Native American spirits were in there somewhere as well.

 NOTHING, could have prepared us for the Guardrail Gremlin.  This bozo was gacked out and living under the bridge that goes over Elk Creek itself.  Quiet time in the campground is 10:00 p.m. This gremlin comes walking through at exactly 10:05 p.m. blaring the most awful C-rap music at full volume and anyone who had a dog was on high alert, hackles raised, barking and snarling at this bozo. The Bayou Boys came up out of their zero gravity chairs with such alacrity you'd have thought someone lit a firecracker under them; the first words I heard were "Hey stupid! It's 10:00 and quiet time!!" And here's the kicker of the Guardrail Gremlin; you only knew when he was in the park by the garbage spewing from the speaker and him wearing a red light on his forehead, which in my opinion would have been a perfect target for a paintball gun to nail him between his eyes.

If he wasn't in the campground from which he's been BANNED from entering but still takes his evening, all night and early morning jaunts through; you'd hear him banging on the guardrail between him walking through and hiding under the bridge. THONNGGG, THONNNGGG, THONNNNGGG and after awhile, the Bayou Boys and Drifter were walking around through the darkened campground along with several other campers ready to throttle the gremlin. Someone, finally called the sheriff's office who I understand have been dealing with him for over 10 years! They know his name, but they're not equipped with the correct manpower to remove his gacked out carcass from under the bridge. 

I'm pretty sure the campground host is tired of the complaints from campers who've paid good hard earned money to enjoy getting out of town for a few days and then have to deal with the Guardrail Gremlin! I made the mistake of posting to Facebook about this blight on the camping community and a casual friend suggested that I pray for him; and after much thought especially the next morning when there truly wasn't enough coffee or caffeine to be found, I retorted "You pray for him, his name is Brandon!" The casual friend hasn't spoken to me and I'm okay with that.



Sunday, May 16, 2021

Reality of Life

Today, the face of addiction walked into my abode. I have known this face for many years, a childhood friend of Left-brain and has known him since 2nd grade.  Humble, kind, loving and an addictive personality. 

He knows what triggers the addiction; stress, fight or flight, trying to survive on the streets, fleabag motels and life in general. We are the safe haven for his mail, important papers and his sounding board for rational purposes. 

When I first met him he stood much taller, muscled and confident. Time has taken its toll on his body and his personal demons have not been kind to him. The area in which we live God knows is not the place to be when a person is trying to stay clean from the law and illicit things. 

He came to pick up his mail and say goodbye to us. He's moving out of state to get a new lease on life. I don't blame him, I am cheering him on for his brave choices and prayers for him that he can follow through with good choices. I also told him that I would write to him in his new place. He said he would look forward to my letters. 

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Letter to the NRA

"Dear NRA,
Thank good people for sending me a renewal notice for my husband's membership. I had signed him up for a 3 year subscription just last year, so there cannot be a problem with his membership.  However,  I do have a complaint if you're interested and so inclined? The envelopes you mail out with the form of renewal are sharp and I inadvertently gave my finger a helluva paper cut. As I'm sure you are aware, not all women have toughened hands like our male counterparts? Given the circumstances, I feel the need to inform you that I will be happy to go paperless to avoid losing blood just to get another membership from my husband and I."

Sincerely, 
Wounded, in pain but a staunch supporter of the 2A

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Covid-19 Questionnaire

My job requires me to take online classes and stay updated on being an adult in home caregiver, along with the latest in keeping Covid at bay and out of the home of our clients. This is where the questionnaire comes into play.  
Left-brain works for a company that is literally licensed under MSHA which is an acronym for Mining Safety Health Association. He brought home a 4 page assessment form and I don't work there but he asked me to "fill out" the assessment form that is basically 4 pages of repetition of how to reduce the chances of catching Covid. Like seriously? I am an in home caregiver and although I love working in the garden, getting muddy for a paycheck isn't a top priority. So I guess I'm going to write down suggestions for the group assessment. I sure hope that Left-brain won't get laughed at when I instill my humor. 

Rolling Smoke in the Valley

 Which of course, the smoke rolled into the valley this afternoon just as I was getting off from work.  With the haze from the sun, this aft...