Friday, July 29, 2011
So I've managed to double my vacation time by posting about it. Beats putting pictures in a drawer.
These are pictures snapped from our little trek on Uncle Tom's Trail. This bad boy had some warnings about what we might encounter, and who should stay behind.
I don't remember the exact length of this trail or step count. But there were over 300 steps. That doesn't seem awful...no biggie at all, right? But before the steps were packed dirt switchback trails that delivered us to the steps. Then appeared the warning signs about the steep climb. Okay, I began to get a little more concerned that we were not on a simple stroll. We began to climb down. The first picture is the view of water from the beginning of the descent. The moss-dotted tree hid in the deeply shaded forest along the trail.
I did not count the actual number of staircases. This is representative of many and at the mid-wayish point...(used a picture opp as a chance to breath...ha.ha). Notice the caved in area on the step. There were plenty of those spots along the staircase. I'm assuming boulders shake loose and travel down the steps.
After several minutes spent climbing down we hit the bottom and a small platform almost close enough to feel the spray of the waterfall. There was enough room for about a dozen people to hang out a bit before heading back up the steps. At first I was concerned that we wouldn't actually get to take a picture or even see the waterfall because there was a photographer who had his big old camera set up on a big old tripod.
Thursday, July 28, 2011
These photos are from the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. Which is also the most photographed section of Yellowstone. Vast and beautiful. Not actually Grand Canyon sized but breathtaking none-the-less.
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Well, I had a full day yesterday.
Work. Check. Nothing too crazy there. Home for about 15 minutes to don farm attire and grab a water bottle. Check.
Next, the drive to the farm. Sometimes we play hide and seek when we get to the farm. We don't get cell phone reception and the farmers don't carry theirs. So we have to resort to old fashioned detective work. There are three main areas where we might be. Little greenhouse. Nope. No cars, no wandering bodies. Next farm, no one in the packing area so we took the hike to the high tunnel. Kind of a bingo. We harvested tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant and zucchini. Weeding and learning while picking. Heirloom tomatoes are tricky little guys. And picking at the right time is important. Black zebra picked green is not going to be good. But then there's green zebra. Tomatoes picked too ripe won't be good for a CSA pack. And squash bugs are bad. Squish squash bugs...and they smell tutti-frutti said the farmer. I squished but didn't sniff. Squash bugs lay eggs on the back of the leaves so you have to look and scrape. It's a brutal war in veggie land...plain and simple survival of the fittest or biggest.
The weather, of course, was quite toasty. Let's just say sweating was unavoidable. I didn't hit a delirious state but got a little over warm in the high tunnel. One of the farmers tends to wax poetic about veggies. I knew she'd gotten a little too much sun when she referred to our harvest as "stuff."
Next week's bounty is going to be impressive. Eggplant, zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, sweet corn, maybe some peppers. Today's box was the heaviest it's been. Definitely a good haul and a good day.
We arrived home in time for me to shower, eat speedy (thank you Trader Joe's and farmers!) and head out for Bible study. We arrived late, but saw two unusual sights along the way. A bright yellow bi-plane was crop dusting. (UGH) and at one point it was so low and so looking like it was going to land on our car that I almost ducked. Then. We saw wolves or a dog wolf hybrid. And I didn't have my camera!!! So annoyed.
When we got to Bible Study we started telling about the wolf sighting and everyone laughed. There is a new guy in the neighborhood who apparently likes very realistic yard decorations. Freaky. I think they were the real deal.
Then after Bible study we sat on the deck until Vampire Mosquitoes embraced the night and smelled our blood. Before fleeing for our lives we did enjoy the antics of three bats swooping through the air and five tree frogs suction-cupping their way across the siding to get closer to the lights so they could scarf bugs.
Way more than you ever thought you might want to know about my day, ehhh?
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
My youngest has officially left the teens. Happy Birthday! You know who you are!
Snow on the mountains in July.
Snow on the windshield in July.
Snow on the grass in July.
And a rainbow.
Monday, July 25, 2011
As I said, Yellowstone is a crazy unique place.
Acres of trees, rolling hills, meadows full of buffalo...then, a sulfur scent would tint the air. We'd see wisps of steam and a sign telling us of an area of interest.
The classic...Old Faithful was indeed impressive. But it wasn't the most amazing sight at all.
We found two other geysers that were infrequent shooters and watched them erupt, too.
Morning Glory was beautiful, but they now call it Fading Glory because people have tossed junk into the "pond" affecting the intensity of the colors. Emerald (Lake or pond) was multiple shades of green blue depending on the sunshine. At first we were disappointed because we took a decent sized trek to get back to it. But the sun came out from behind a cloud and it was breathtaking green...perty close to emerald I'd say.
The colors and spewage is all scientific and chemical and heat and kind of spooky. There were warning signs everywhere about unstable ground. And they had horrific cartoonish pictures of a disobedient, off-path child in a cloud of steam. His horrified mom stood pointing from the safe pathway. And a man walking away, talking on his cell phone was not the father, we hoped. I tried to find the picture but couldn't. So I had to post the next favorite... of goring buffalo.
Needless to say, I was freaked a bit about stepping off the path. I actually saw one little boy get distracted and step off. He jumped back on and his mom freaked a little. The boy said in a shaky voice, "I thought it wasn't too dangerous because a plant was growing there."
Whew! I couldn't help it, I kept trying to glimpse the bottom of his shoes to see if they were melted. I think he was one of the lucky ones.
Friday, July 22, 2011
Crazy sights from Yellowstone.
If you have never been, you might want to put it on your "must see" list.
There are acres and acres of your traditional (dare I say yawnish) scenery.
something funky this way comes.
Thursday, July 21, 2011
We saw some of the most breathtaking scenery during our 2600 mile adventure.
Of course much of our traveled trails contained the signs stating "scenic byway" and the roads were often scenic of a serpentine type.
We live in a diversely beautiful country.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Yesterday dawned beastly hot. I'm not sure of the exact temperature but I believe it was in the high 80's when I headed out of the house at 7:30 a.m.
We headed toward the farm a little early thinking we'd have a long day.
Turns out it was so hot that the farmer couldn't bear the thought of the body cooking heat during two or three hours of picking at full on suntime. So she did all the picking in the cooler hours.
We got to wash and pack and were done within a mere few hours. Promised to be a humdinger of a day ended up being very pleasant.
Two pounds of heirloom tomatoes came home with us. I believe these are green and yellow zebras. Turnips, cucumbers, dill (the spiky things in the picture are the skeleton of the dill flower that were covered with seeds that were harvested), basil, zucchini and radishes rounded out the box. The Swiss Chard and the lettuces are almost done, the bugs and the heat are making sure of that, but she managed to take some ground and we packed some into each box. And we each got a bag of garlic bulbs. Fun and yum. A nice haul.
And I shared the goat milking pictures from the Living Loess Third Saturday. Here's more pictures. Tucker, the Great Pyrenees puppy was the sweetest little guy. He lives with the goats and will be a great watch dog one day...once he figures out the proper pecking order. I'm sure he answers to the Queen goat. Apparently dogs are domestic goats worst predators hence the need for watch dogs. And wisely, Tucker will know this herd very well before he's big enough to try anything anti-goat. He gets the goat milk that Rosie patiently produces for visiting amateur milkers.
And finally. More goat details. The long eared goat girls are apparently whiny little prissy goats and not great producers...however, they make the best creamy dense fat milk so they get to hang out and participate with the other goats.
And the milking process is pretty much goat organized. Or Queen Goat run. The farmers open a little door in one side of the milking room, the first two goats head in, climb up the little chute, pop their heads into the head chute and chow down while being milked. The Queen sets the order and makes sure it's followed. The goat lady said that the Queen, when not amused, will knock a usurper off her feet with a healthy butt. No one in our group annoyed the queen so I have no pictures of any slapstick goat incidents. Maybe next time!
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
We got to watch three firework displays while we were on vacation.
One in Wyoming on the 3rd and two, back to back on the 4th.
The back to back show was nice because we drove 25 miles to the closest bigger town...and thought the little show was it. We were all a little "really, that was it?" Then right behind and over us the other one cut loose.
Pictures of fireworks are tough to capture but I kept snapping. I love the digital camera opportunity to preview pictures and delete the stinkers...and clean up photos that are almost keepers.
Monday, July 18, 2011
Imagine this...I'm still trying to get my ducks in a row after being gone for seven days. However, I did take some time out this weekend for more adventures. I played moral support and go-fer girl to Rob whilst he installed our countertop. I don't know that I'd choose to be his regular sidekick as we finished at 3:00 a.m.
I love it...sleep is overrated.
24 invited some friends over (hers but we've adopted them) for dinner and games. She served Vegan ice cream sandwiches. YUMMO! (and if it helps, the non-vegans were surprised that they were vegan and everyone agreed they were delicious.)
Finally we visited a few local sites and enjoyed some interesting experiences. Our area has "famous" soil. Loess soil. And along the scenic strip of Loess soil hills some folks have begun something called Third Saturdays.
Several places are open for tours. We thought we'd hit a few, even though it was beastly hot... one location is a sandwich shop. Grilled peanut butter and banana sandwich. Yep. Pretty tasty.
We visited a lavender farm where they grow....wait for it, lavender. Can't miss it, everything is purple.
We also visited an organic goat farm. Got to see the sweet operation and got a little hand's on experience as well.
Friday, July 15, 2011
While in Montana (Chico Springs which is in Pray, Montana which is about 30 miles from the mouth of Yellowstone) we stayed in a sweet lodge two nights and rustic cabins for two nights.
The lodge had enough room for the group of us and a refrigerator and stove. That was really nice since the rest of our five nights' meals came from the cooler and camp stove.
Pictured is the outdoor view of the lodge, the cabin and "the incident."
While we were all unloading and "moving" into the lodge Rob made a comment about a crooked elk head on the wall. Mere minutes later, there was a crash...a mighty crash. A couple of people came running expecting to find a family member with a broken bone.
But. That's not what they found. Rob had "straightened" the elk head only to have it jump off the wall and "land" in his arms.
Toad-boy rushed to help his father while I snapped pictures and laughed.
Rob had lots of people stare at the "war" wound that the antler made on his forehead as the Elk jumped into his arms.
Only one woman asked though. A shopkeeper, with a sense of humor, and a fabulous picture of a bison waiting patiently outside her door for the after Christmas sale. Paradise Gallery (I made up the post-Christmas sale...it might have been Black Friday.)
So we told her that Rob had an "encounter" with an elk. (This is not as far fetched as you'd think....there are LOTS of warnings about animal encounters in Yellowstone and lots of people who think rules apply only to others.) We went on to share the actual encounter and had a good laugh. She then mentioned that a family member worked at the resort and that she'd need to pass that story along. Ha. Ha. Good times. (Rob has fully recovered, except for a little pride, but, hey, he hardly ever reads the blog, he'll be fine. : )....
Thursday, July 14, 2011
"Encountered" critters in Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota and Iowa....
Some pictures could fall under the wishful thinking category, or the best I could do with my 4x zoom. My daughter-in-law had a 10x zoom that made me pretty envious. But she'll share her pictures so I'll give you something better to look at when I get em.
I had a snake picture but somehow lost it. I hope it doesn't sneak up on my like the actual snake did. Yes. I saw two snakes. Very small, and fortunately, not of the rattling variety. One was far enough away that I could control my emotions enough to take a picture. The second one was close and roiling and slithering and I made a scene. UGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The squint real hard pictures include a mule deer, prairie dog, a bluebird, and mountain goats.
We saw hundreds of buffalo and dozens of elk. (An elk story to follow..) Somehow I did not actually take any buffalo pictures, but my daughter-in-law did. And the running girl is a picture of her possibly snapping a picture of a bear and running back to the car...not because of the very, very far off dark object's slight possibility of bearness but because of the freezing drizzle. And speaking of bears...
Our group (the others who met us in Montana) had a grizzly bear encounter. I don't have those pictures yet. But this is significantly creepy because a man was killed the day before we entered Yellowstone by a mama grizzly. My niece mentioned that people were very foolish around the bear she saw. One person even took a flash photo, flashing the bear in the eyes. We drove past the closed bear attack area the following day. The man was only a mile and a half in, just off a busy road. We hiked further and deeper than he had at least twice. I was sobered and spooked about it. A sad thing.
And the picture of the girls was taken the morning we left, they were sad, they knew we were leaving them. They had a good week, though, and are glad we are back.