Time to Redefine our Lives in Oregon

Archive for the ‘California’ Category

My Home is in …….

Feb. 2015

How do you compare the two, very distinct, environments that I call home?  They are remarkably different, as one would assume.  I do not find a ton of similarities, however, to the chagrin of many Oregonians, there is a California encroachment of sorts that seems to be occurring……good….some of it…..not so good….unfortunately, that comes with it too.  My recent visit to the San Francisco Bay Area, really impressed a few things on me….

Feb. 2015

…. there is more traffic than I remember… I remember a lot of traffic …

…. there is constant movement …. it seems as though it’s almost a sin to just stop, relax, and not look at, but take the time to gaze upon a sunset, or a playful squirrel … I remember this too, but I’d kind of forgotten ….

Feb 2015

…. the pace of change is amazing …. the demolition and construction that has taken place in the last 3 1/2 years is astounding …. much faster, and more prolific than I remember happening in the past …. the buildings are fresh, and new ….

….  there is a lot of concrete…..I seriously forgot about the concrete tunnel that runs along Hwy 101 with the tall, cement, sound barrier walls lining both sides of the freeway …. while we were still going back and forth from our property to the bay area before finally moving north, I always experienced a sadness upon returning to the “concrete jungle”  that has become the bay area …. there used to be orchards, and open space ….

IMG_8835 Levi's Stadium 2015

…. the 49er’s new stadium – Levi’s Stadium, is gorgeous …. definitely not the nostalgic feel of, “the Stick,” Candlestick Park, but holds a lot of promise of it’s own…now if the Niners can just start winning ….

….. it now costs 10 cents to allow a store, any store, to give you a bag with your purchase …. and, no plastic bags, only paper …. so either pay the 10 cents per bag, bring your own, or carry out your items in your arms ………..

If you've ever wanted good Basque meal, the Basque Cultural Center in So. San Francisco is the place to be!!!

If you’ve ever wanted good Basque meal, the Basque Cultural Center in So. San Francisco is the place to be!!!

…. the Basque community that I have been apart of since meeting, and marrying, Tony, is unique and wonderful…. I have missed that sense of, “extended family,” much more than I knew ….


…. It was good, really good, to see family …. I don’t think I’ll let 3 1/2 years pass again ….

This beautiful young lady.....

This beautiful young lady…..

...turned a fabulous 80 years old this month.  Happy Birthday to my beautiful Mother-in-law!

…turned a fabulous 80 years old this month. Happy Birthday to my beautiful Mother-in-law!

…. Next time, I’ll need at least an extra day to visit with dear friends whom I didn’t have time to see this trip …. sorry about that ….

…. China Cafe still rocks the socks off of any Chinese food restaurant I’ve been able to find up here in Oregon …. seriously their Moo Shu Pork, and Hot and Sour Soup are to die for ….

The most amazing Hot and Sour Soup ever!!!

The most amazing Hot and Sour Soup ever!!!

Mu Shoo Pork to die for!!!

Mu Shoo Pork to die for!!!

…. In N Out Burger is still the most “awesomest,” fast food burger joint to hit the planet …. no more 3 1/2 years to feast on one of their beauties …. they’ve breached the border … they’re coming to Oregon!!!! ….

In n Out Burger 2015

A double single (that's two patties, one cheese - In N Out jargon)

A “double-single” (that’s two patties, one cheese – In N Out jargon)

…. Lastly, the innovation, the excitement, the impression of limitless boundaries of success is an aura that the bay area exudes, demanding incredible amounts of time, and many valuable years of one’s life.  Driving around, just being there, I felt a part of it again …. it can be addicting, it is an exciting place to be …. the roads or paths one can take are far reaching into technology, higher education, cutting edge medical advances, and lots and lots of GOOGLE. You get the impression that the world is your oyster, just waiting to be opened …. it’s exciting …. there are many, many opportunities to excel within, really, anything you want to do (except farming) …. however, it’s a false reality in a way …. because when you live in it your entire life, and then leave, it is a bit of a shock to find out that the rest of the country doesn’t necessarily perceive life that same way.

Feb. 2015

I’m thankful that I can visit, and breathe-in that sense of “limitless boundaries” once in awhile….also, for the life here in Oregon, and the ability to stop and gaze upon that playful squirrel (or deer, for that matter.) … for growing friendships, and the family who are close by (because I miss the one’s who are far.)  For the open spaces and broad skylines, and for the slower pace of life, and the uniqueness of Oregon, wherein, most people value recreational time as much as working time …. there is a balance here, and from what I’ve experienced, people are very serious about protecting that balance.  That’s a good thing…….that’s a great thing!!

January 2015

Thank you for sharing my first visit home….it truly was wonderful, yet I’m so glad to be HOME!!!


Your friend from Oregon,





We’ve Left the Farm…


…it wasn’t easy to do.  The decision was the result of a few months of thinking, planning, and visiting options for the furry four legged, and feathery two legged residents of our little community.   The circumstances driving us away were/are important, equipped with their own unique pulls.  So, during this past week, we made the final arrangements for the animals, packed up, and left the farm.  To say it was a little emotional for me would be like saying, “The sky is blue” … a bit obvious.  I haven’t left, left my new home for 3.5 years….except for a short trip to Disneyland a few months after we had moved here.  Our beautiful piece of God’s great creation has become my most favorite place to be in this world….sorry Walt.  Really, why would I want to leave it?

For my Bay Area peeps... Can you tell what area we were flying over?

For my Bay Area peeps… Can you tell what area we were flying over?

So, is this the end of our Oregon story?  No!!, because you see, although we did leave the farm, it was only for the weekend!!!  Hahaha….gotcha!!!  Since this blog is about the journey of moving from our life-long lives in the San Francisco Bay Area to a small town in Oregon, and how our lives change, grow, and expand, I thought it was only natural to write about the experience of my first time visiting home.  It was all so familiar, yet all so different.

Leaving is a struggle, it turns out, I don’t really like the “leaving” part.  My mind is filled with, “What if’s” and “look at those big brown eyes,

IMG_8469 - Version 2

she’s not going to understand why I’ve been gone so long.”  The longer the delay, the bigger the, “What if’s” become.  In contrast, the logical part of my mind works on the premise of the “to-do” list….the preparations so that leaving is actually possible.  It’s a little different now….it’s not just about packing….and it is helpful in keeping the “What if” bugs out of my head….they are definite energy zappers.  Studies show that, approximately, only 8% of the things we worry about are likely to occur, or actually impact our lives in some way…..Who studies these things??!!  Good to remember…..did it help…..well, I didn’t worry about the flock much at all while I was gone…LOL….they are pretty self-sufficient….with a little help…..

New Chicken House 2015

……like a quick, temporary fix to the new chicken house.  Wait….What??!!  I didn’t mention the new chicken house…….well, it’s not quite finished, but it has an automatic door that open and closes with light and darkness., hence nobody needs to do that for them.  I just looked around and grabbed what I could to make their lives comfortable.  I hope they were!

Thank you for stopping by and visiting today!!  I hope your day is amazing!!!

Your friend from Oregon,




Go Giants!!!

I’m trying to break the silence, but every time I start to write, I back space and take those words off of the page. See, I did it again…I just typed two sentences, only to backspace them away. So although the farm has written it’s own stories, and is anxious to tell them, I have a definite event to speak about today….occurring 600 plus miles away from this forest….



Yesterday’s (Saturday, 10-25-14) game was exceptionally exciting….that was some really great baseball!! So not to mislead you, although we are avid Giants fans, we don’t catch that many games during the regular season. One reason…well…since moving to Oregon, we are limited to the games that whomever is in charge, decides to broadcast up here. We don’t pay for the extra channel to get the games. That being said, my mom is the most dedicated fan I know…she catches nearly every game. I’m excited that her, “boys of summer,” made it to the Series!!

Mickey and the Giants

The SF Giants have been in my life since the day I was born. I grew up with Willie Mays, Tito Fuentes, Bobby Bonds, Willie McCovey, Gaylord Perry…did I just date myself?? Baseball is in my family’s blood, and when the Giants get into the World Series….well…it’s a big event…and in our case, there’s a lot of texting going back and forth across the miles!

Lrt's Go Giants

Witnessing so many years of the SF Giants’ baseball line-up changes, and having the privilege of attending games (both on T.V. and in the ballparks {Candlestick and AT&T Park} under my belt … I think that the last few years have been the most exciting. It was always awesome to see the long ball batting of Barry Bonds, but since he was let off the team, the Giants have built an incredible roster. The players are incredibly athletic which makes for some spectacular fielding and batting…. and have you ever seen pitchers more fun to watch than Timmy Lincecum.. Bumgarner, or Romo??


And the fielding of Pablo Sandaval… AKA …



and the all out, put-yourself-out-there baseball of Hunter Pence…

Yup, he caught it!!

Yup, he caught it!!

And what about this guy? Girls…..??


So, yeah….the hunt for Orange October is in high gear. Two games Kansas City Royals … two games San Francisco Giants .. tonight should be VERY exciting!!!!


Well, it wasn’t really a walk through the forest…but I hope you had fun. Thanks for visiting today!!

Your friend from Oregon,

That Certain Age

Within these past several weeks, I turned that certain age. I’m not giving that age up, but most people who grew up with me, or have known me in these adult years have a good idea what age I am. This is that year in which I am forced to reflect on my life a bit. It is that age I have kind of dreaded…that I have watched my brothers reach and surpass, and when brought to mind, prayed for, earnestly, keeping in mind that lightning rarely strikes twice the same way…but knowing that sometimes it does.

August 2014

There is just enough irony in life that the nagging of the unknown around that certain age sometimes settles in the way the fog lingers over the Golden Gate Bridge.


Sometimes the fog looms, and my fears grow. I pray, I hug my dog, I take a walk, or busy myself with simple chores that take me outside and into the grandeur of the land around me. Other times I write…I write to you whom have become part of this journey…I write those stories that are the “maybe someday, somehow” unpublished pieces…and I read…I read the words of many others who have stories to tell, who ask nothing but to be read. They are out there…stories…wonderful stories baked in the lives of so many…when the fog settles in, these things help me to remember that the truth of this certain age is not necessarily the truth of that same certain age of another.

September Sunset 2014

I am that age…the age when my father died.

Daddy - 1990

My dad was a young man…he seemed older to me, at the time, than I feel now, but since I am that same age I realize how young he was, really. He died suddenly, his body failed him. That’s what bodies do…some earlier, some later, but they all fail. That Sunday morning left ripples, waves in my life lasting the entirety of these past 23 years.

Sept. 2014

So this year, the year of that certain age, I’m focusing on health…this little homestead helps with that, along with you, as I read your words and learn from your wisdom and recipes…and from new friends who have recently introduced me into the delicious world of squash, beyond zucchini…. 🙂 I’ve never been to this world before. Then there’s this TVP, Textured Vegetable Protein…..hmmmm, that’s a maybe.

Butternut Squash and Spinach

Mostly, I know that this body will fail at some point. Greater yet, I am assured of this….

John 10:27-29 (Jesus is speaking at the temple during a dispute at the feast of dedication)
27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.

Sunset June 2014

….my salvation through Christ is rock solid, nothing can snatch me from His hand!! When I actually do reach the age in which my time is done, I know where I’m going. That assurance makes being this certain age a much happier place to reside. In the meantime, life is good……


That's my Penni in the orange collar.

That’s my Penni in the orange collar.




August 2013 006

Don John

Tito August 2011

Sourdough Heaven



My sweet girls, Penni and Karli !

My sweet girls, Penni and Karli !

September 2014

July 2014

AND YOU…all of you..who walk through this forest, and visit this farm. Who’s words inspire, teach, encourage, and fill my kitchen with wonderful fragrances from delicious new recipes. As my thoughts turn inwards…you help me to look out from the window of this certain age, and I, once again, move away from my apprehension. And since the SF Giants are one step closer to getting into the World Series….October is looking pretty darn good!!!

Thanks for sharing this certain year with me!!

Your friend from Oregon,

Tule (Tooley) Fog

I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.” ― Henry David Thoreau

Okay, that’s pretty much true…unless I have a chance to sit on the couch and cuddle with this sweetheart…
Penni Sept. 2014

…..uuuhhhmmmmm, I mean this sweetie…
My Sweet Guy - April 2014

As if scripted by a professional screenwriter, Autumn rolled in, in the form of the very familiar covering of ground level fog…in the SF Bay Area, it’s called Tule (Tooley) Fog.
Oregon "Tule Fog" Sept. 2014

I called the valley fog here in Oregon, Tule Fog once…..I got blank stares accompanied by a smile or two…hahaha…nobody seemed to know what I was talking about..hahaha! So, I don’t really know what to call it…I guess just fog..haha. I had no idea that that particular weather terminology was specific to California.

Rain is in the forecast, in fact, it drizzled much of the day, and has now rained throughout the night. So at the great advice of two of my friends from work (thank you Sabrina and Angie) I picked the rest of my tomatoes. Many were immensely green, but off the vine they came.
Green Tomatoes Sept. 2014

These will, hopefully, ripen in a paper bag, and be no less than the quality of a tomato bought in a grocery store. At least I will know that these were grown without pesticides, and unnatural fertilizers.

Corn Stalks Sept 2014

The corn stalks came down today, as well, to keep them from molding. I like to use them for outdoor decorating…they don’t usually last very long…the chickens like them too!

Corn Stalks Sept 2014

While we wait for the rain, Penni promises to keep watch over the tomatoes.

The Guardian Sept. 2014

Thankfully, they don’t taste like blackberries…that bucket would be emptied by now!!

Looking forward to sharing this wonderful season with you….thanks for visiting the farm today! 🙂

Your friend from Oregon,

Morning Sunrise

I’ve taken a bit of an absence from writing lately, a time to clear my head of old thoughts and to see if there is still room for new ideas. That step away brought a type of solitude, an inward look into the entire last three years raising questions in my mind.

I have been missing my home of 22 years,

So many beautiful memories made in that house.

So many beautiful memories made in that house.

and the San Francisco Bay Area…the place of my entire existence up until our big move three years ago. To say that I never look back would be completely untrue. Something usually strikes a chord in me, however, bringing me back to this place.

As I sit here drinking my coffee and watching the morning sunrise,

Sept. 2014 Sunrise

I am taken by the unique beauty that is all around me. The sun’s light rises in the east, yet casts its first warmth on the western hills behind us slowly erasing the shadows of the night.

Sept 2014 Sunrise

The diurnal wilds of the forest are awakening, yet the nocturnal are taking their last look around within the shadowy places. I know this because I hear the “hoot-hooting” of an invisible owl to whom I am probably well in focus, yet to me remains stealthily hidden.

Sept. 2014 Sunrise

A cacophony of birds, all different in their song, resounds in the background, the foreground, all around me. The neighboring farms are awakening with sounds of crowing, braying, gobbling, quacking, and the ever present, “Hey, I’m laying an egg here” repeated clucking of hens giving of their provisions.

Sept. 2014 Sunrise

I may have left my heart in the San Francisco Bay Area (seriously, this is true),

Beautiful San Francisco

but my soul finds peace in this little slice of Oregon. Well, actually, my soul finds peace in Christ, but as I look around me, the brilliance of the Creator envelops my very being. That is what has drawn me to this place from the beginning…I see God’s handiwork all around me, and in that there is great peace, contentment, and a huge desire to be here…to be right here!

Beautiful Oregon Home

Colossians 3:15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

I hope you have a wonderful Sunday! And hey…Go Giants….and Niners!!! Both play today!!!!
Giants & Niners!!

Thank you for sharing my morning!!

Your friend from Oregon,

Gloria’s Pond

Just a quick post….BREAKING NEWS!!

Previously, I wrote about our resident wild duck, Gloria, on our pond, on Gloria’s Pond.

GLORIA!!! Our little wild duck that migrates back to the pond every spring!!

GLORIA!!! Our little wild duck that migrates back to the pond every spring!!

She comes home to the pond every year ushering in the start of spring. Gloria has lived half the year at the pond since we have been part of this property…8 years now (I know, we just officially moved here 2.5 years ago…long story….we had been visiting the property for 6 years prior.) This beautiful duck has hatched a few clutches of eggs over the years, sadly, none have grown to maturity. There are predators on this land, including this big guy…and he routinely visits the pond.

Beautiful yet dangerous to frogs and baby ducklings.

Beautiful yet dangerous to frogs and baby ducklings.

I have often wondered where Gloria goes in the winter-time. Our family likes to think that maybe she flies south to the Bay Area, landing in a park that we frequented on the outskirts of the San Francisco Bay…along with dozens if not hundreds of Canadian Geese. I wonder why Gloria is such a solitary duck, most years spending the spring and summer by herself. I wonder what kind of duck Gloria is, actually, although I think she is a type of Mallard. I wonder if Gloria is a Gloria….or a Gordon?…she is actually kind of dark and green for a Gloria. (She will always be Gloria…no matter.) I wonder why Gloria came back to the pond when there seemed to be so much cold and rain still ahead of us (if she migrates to – from CA she may have been misguided by their drought this year.) I wonder why Gloria died yesterday? 😦

Walking up from the mailbox, I found our little wild friend lying motionless in the seasonal stream that is fed by the runoff of the pond.

A very sad sight!

A very sad sight!

I didn’t know what happened…I still don’t know what happened. I put on some gloves and checked her over; there were no wounds that I could see. Her eyes were still clear, so if Bear Grylls is right, she had only died an hour or two before I found her. I did, however, find out something really incredible….Gloria was insanely beautiful!!

She was marked so beautifully.

She was marked so beautifully.

The emerald green of our Gloria.

The emerald green of our Gloria.

Maybe the days of continuous rain was too much? Maybe the lack of natural cover due to the delayed blooming of spring caused too much exposure on an old duck? Maybe both of those things, combined with morning temps dropping into the low 30’s weakened our old girl to a point she couldn’t recover? I don’t know…but I miss our little wild friend.

Gloria's final resting place under her favorite tree, next to her pond.

Gloria’s final resting place under her favorite tree, next to her pond.

I’m NOT liking this…I’m not liking this at all!!

It’s Springing Like Crazy!!

Contrary to popular belief…I haven’t yet lost my marbles….well maybe not all of them. :o) I know it’s still winter, and much of the country is still experiencing the freeze from the polar vortex…

Amazing images from NASA!!

Amazing images from NASA!!

….but I’ve learned that once these guys come out from the mud….

…Spring is springing, spranging, sprunging…it’s knocking, loudly, at the door!!! I recorded this frog song last year in April, so right now they are not singing as loudly, or voraciously, but the brave have emerged and are singing in the early dusk evenings. It’s very exciting, and hopefully, encouraging to my friends out in the Mid-West and on the East Coast…especially to the amazing dogs (Great Danes) and people of the Service Dog Project in MA ( servicedogproject.org ) whom, btw, you can watch live on Explore.org!



Photo by Mark Arimault

With this being our third “emergent of spring-time” season, we think we have discovered a pattern with the onset of the frog songs. They are like our groundhog…our indicator to start planting seeds in the greenhouse (okay, we don’t have a greenhouse yet…but when we do…) and then into the ground in six weeks. We started hearing the frogs about a week ago, so we are going to mark the date of Feb. 23rd, count forward 6 weeks to April 6th, and ready ourselves for planting into the ground during that week. Since the growing season in western Oregon is at least a month shorter than in the San Francisco Bay Area, timing is crucial. My garden of 2012 suffered a lot of damage because I planted just a week or two, too soon. Frost killed much of my garden, and I had to replant which, of course, meant double the costs. My garden wasn’t huge so it wasn’t a big loss. I wrote off the cost of that garden to a very well spent Pacific NW Gardening education…of which, I’m still trying to earn my degree!

Looking forward to these little beauties again!

Looking forward to these little beauties again!

In the meantime, I’m enjoying our mildly cold, rainy days, watching and listening to the amazingly poetic sounds of numerous types of birds in the tree canopies, and watching the green of the pastureland become more vibrant as everyday passes. This is beautiful country, God’s country, and I am so thankful to be living within it!! When I take the time to sit, look, watch, smell, and listen, I can feel Him, hear Him, see Him…my God, my Savior is here He created all of this, and it is good…it is very good!! Just listen to Benedict…he’ll tell ya!!

Water, Water, Everywhere Water

The past 3 – 4 weeks have been testament to one of the draws the Pacific Northwest has had on me for many years. I like rain, I like wind, I like temperatures that drop , and drop, and drop. I like snow that lasts a few days and then magically disappears. I like that there are distinct seasons, and most of the year, (with the exception of July – Sept.) you can either expect it to rain, or accept that it may rain. Did I say I liked the rain?? BTW, I won’t say anything about the summers and the incredibly blue Oregon sky….that’s a secret…shhhhhhh!!

A tree stump overtaken by the water running into the pond.

A tree stump overtaken by the water running into the pond.

January was an inordinately dry month for most of Oregon…then February hit and the flood gates opened up…well snow first, then rain. Thankfully, actual flooding has been at a minimum, but the rivers, creeks, drainage areas, etc. are rushing to get to the Willamette River, to eventually get to the Columbia River, all in an effort to get to the ocean. We have a year round creek, pond, and seasonal creek from the pond run-off…they are currently really, REALLY running hard. I put together a little video of the rushing waters on our property…I was explaining things for Tony as he was out of town yesterday, so please forgive the narrative.

Unfortunately, my friends and family back in the SF Bay Area, and California in general, are suffering through a huge drought. Having lived most of my life in the Bay Area, living with drought conditions is part of the package. This year, however, is really severe. I’m praying for you all, and hoping that your spring time will be full of rain days. Also, the fire season is going to be really scary, big PRAYERS that His hand will protect you all.

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