Nov 27, 2015

Date Day

It's been quite a few years now since my sweetheart and I started Date Day.  We have arranged our work schedules to have Thursdays off together each week, and although we occasionally go for a bike ride or ski, most weeks we go for a hike.  We originally met in the hiking club at Humboldt State University, the aptly named 'Boot 'n' Blister Club' in the late 1960's.  Most of our first and best memories together come from hikes and outings we did with B&B.

After a hiatus of many years, when bicycling took center stage,

we have returned to feet on ground for our weekly outings.  Distances and difficulty range from the 40 minute 'around the 'hood' stroll on our local river trail, to several hours' long hikes in the Cascades nearby, depending on time of year and energy level.

Although we love our spring and summer hikes on nearby mountain trails, there is something special about our fall and winter hikes.  Trails are less crowded, and weather can range from amazing to 'interesting' to really cold.

Occasionally when there is too much to snow to walk very far, we opt for lunch and a movie.  Naturally, since Thanksgiving always fall on a Thursday, at least one Date Day a year occurs on a holiday day.  A couple of years ago we started a new tradition for those years when we aren't joining friends for a big Thanksgiving feast.

This year is one of those years, so, after a few Home Improvements yesterday morning, we started the day with a walk.  With 15" of fresh snow on the ground in town, we thought maybe if we headed east to the real desert, the snow might be less deep.  Well, no, it was about the same.  But we put on our snow boots and did a short hike anyway.

Our trusty snow car, Oliver, plowed through the uncleared road to what is normally a mountain bike trailhead.  No bikes, but plenty of parking.

No other people, but plenty of (invisible) company, as shown by previously made tracks in the snow.  Several different folks met here over time:

This critter took off in one direction, but then circled back for some reason.

We did realize, belatedly, that possibly skis would have been slightly more useful.

But the sky was clear blue, the crystals in the fresh snow sparkled in the bright sunshine, and we had the place to ourselves except for a raven, croaking from a nearby juniper tree.  In the end, we made a big loop,

and emerged back at the car via this snow-covered sagebrush area.

A lot of snow for a juniper forest.

We had a fine turkey dinner at a favorite restaurant, and finished the day with a movie.  Another excellent Date Day for the record books.

Nov 7, 2015

We're Back!

Computers.   You can't live without 'em, you can't kill 'em.

Stymied by massive and labyrinthine computer problems, and my own computer ineptitude, I have been unable to post to this blog for many months.  I was on the verge of simply starting a new one when suddenly -- miraculously -- the digital waters have cleared, and for reasons inexplicable to me, I was just now able to update my account with new email and password, and post to the blog.

Possibly it was a reward from the cybergods for deleting 1655 emails from my 'Archive' folder earlier this morning, though I'm not sure what Archive is.  It just showed up one day.  Or possibly a certain period of reflection and time was needed to settle the dust of all the changes, updating everything after our move, to a new house!

And hey:  new house = new garden! After 37 years, we pulled up our tent stakes, got out the camels (U-Haul truck) and did the 'downsize' thing.  The move itself was hellish.  On top of trying to sort out, winnow and pack nearly 4 decades' worth of grut and memories, and shoehorn it into a smaller space, the week we moved the temperature was over 100 degrees, the people buying our old house scheduled their movers to move in before we could move out, and the piano movers screwed up big time.  But let us allow the horror to continue to fade into memory and look around at the current situation.

We have gone from a 55 year-old suburban ranch style 2200 sq ft rambler on a third of an acre,  to a brand, spanking new 'MidCentury Modern' 1650 sq ft bungalow on a little more than a tenth of an acre.

There are still boxes.  We have reached the classic Downsizer's Dilemma point, where you have filled up the new house and there is still more stuff to unpack.  Oh, you mean 'down'-sizing means less space?  The biggest change is that our new house has far less storage space, in the way of drawers and cabinets.

The biggest problem is that we have too many books

and too much piano music

In the garden (which I guess is now Arabella's New Garden) I am thrilled to have a much smaller, more workable space in which to play.  But I am glaringly aware that for the first time in 35 years,  I have no place to overwinter my tender container plants.  Since forever,  I have been able to stash my geraniums, begonias, agapanthus, Spanish lavender, etc in my sunroom or greenhouse, along with containers of blooming annuals still bright and beautiful when the first frost hits in mid-October.

Although a proper greenhouse is in the long-range plan for the garden, this first winter at least there will be no shelter for these treasured darlings, short of bringing them inside.  Maybe I will clear a space in the garage and hang some grow lights over a table.  

For now, I am heeding Nature's signals that 'Winter is Coming' and battening down the hatches for coming cold and snow.  One of the first things I did this fall was get my new address to all my favorite seed companies, so I can spend the winter planning my new garden for next spring.

Stay tuned.

Monty and I, exhausted after four hard days of moving.