Thursday, December 06, 2018

Memories of Our Backyard

South of Red Bluff, California
North Sacramento Valley 

Yolly Bolly Mountains to the West
Our backyard view from 1998-2016

Friday, November 30, 2018

Opportunities as We Age

"Aging is not 'lost youth' but a new stage of opportunity and strength."
-  Betty Friedan

"Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years.  We grow old by deserting our ideals.  Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul."
-  Samuel Ullman

Aging Well 

How to Live a Good Life: Advice from Wise Persons

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Garden Project: Greenhouse

As we transition into late autumn and winter, and the temperature drops, we need to protect frost sensitive plants.  Last winter we brought the frost sensitive plants (e.g., succulents, fuschias, lemon, avocado, etc.) indoors.  We had a snow once (12/17), and several times with winter nightime lows in the 30's F. 

We are now busy moving plants around and bringing some temporarily indoors. 

Here is a photo of the current Nursery area, and then a photo of the plants indoors. 

This year, we intend to add a greenhouse in the area of our backyard called the "Nursery." Here is a current photo of the area:

We selected the Palram Harmony 6 foot x 4 foot Polycarbonate Greenhouse from Home Depot.  This greenhouse arrived yesterday.  Here is what the greenhouse looks like:

Palram Harmony 6 ft. x 4 ft. Polycarbonate Greenhouse in Green

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Activities Leading to Happiness

Happiness Activities

1.  Expressing Gratitude
2.  Cultivating Optimism
3.  Avoiding Over-Thinking and Social Comparisons
4.  Practicing Acts of Kindness
5.  Nurturing Social Relationships
6.  Developing Strategies for Coping
7.  Learning to Forgive
8.  Increasing Flow Expectations
9.  Savoring Life's Joys
10.  Committing to Your Goals
11.  Practicing Spirituality
12.  Taking Care of Your Body (Meditation)
13.  Taking Care of Your Body (Physical Activity)
14.  Taking Care of Your Body (Acting Like a Happy Person)
15.  The Five Hows Behind Sustainable Happiness: Positive Emotions,
       Optimal Timing and Variety, Social Support, Motivation, Effort,
       Commitment, and Habit. 

-  Sonja Lyubomirsky, The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want, 2008 

How to Live a Good Life: Advice from Wise Persons

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Daily Personal Training

"Tai Chi Chuan is the art of letting hardness dwell within softness and hiding a needle within cotton; from the point of view of techniques, physiology, and physics, there is considerable philosophy contained within it.  Hence those who would research it need to undergo a definite process of development over a considerable period of time.  Though one may have the instruction of a fine teacher and the criticism of good friends, the one thing which is most important and which one cannot do without is daily personal training.  Without it one can discuss and analyze all day, think and ponder for years, but when one day you encounter an opponent you are like a hole with nothing in it - you are still quite inexpert, lacking the skills (kung fu) borne of daily practice. This is what the ancients meant by "thinking forever is useless, better to practice."  If morning and evening there is never a gap, hot or cold never an exception, so that the moment you think of it you proceed to do your training, then young or old, man or woman, you will alike be rewarded with success."
-  By Yang Cheng Fu, A Talk on Practice, 1925

Tai Chi Chuan Quotations

Persistence, Will Power, Practice

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Country Pumpkins

We enjoyed a trip up to Woodland.  There is a large dyke along the Columbia River that protects the many farms west of Woodland.  We went out to the "Pumpkin Patch" and enjoyed the beautiful oaks, green fields, and lots of kinds of pumpkins and gourds.  Afterwards, we drove along the dyke road, and then visited Tsugawa Nursery.  Mick and April joined us for the day trip.  

Friday, October 12, 2018

Mt. Adams, Washington

Karen drove our old 2003 Ford Explorer from Vancouver east along Route 14 on the north side of the Columbia River all the way to Bingen.  We climbed up a hill to visit the town of White Salmon, and then drove north on Route 141 to Trout Lake.  From Trout Lake to Glenwood.  Then south down through the Conboy Lake Refuge to BZ Corner.  Over the bridge to Hood River, then hone to Vancouver via Interstate 84.  We left around 9:30 am and returned home at 5 pm.

Spectacular views of trees and shrubs with autumn colors to the leaves intermixed or at the edges of conifers.  The many clear views of the 12,300 foot Mt. Adams from the valleys around Trout Lake and Glenwood were very dramatic. 

The views on the drive east and west through the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area were, as always, very beautiful, inspiring, and grand.  

Others Have Shared Photographs of the areas near White Salmon, Washington.
The town is high up on a hill on the north side of the Columbia River
directly across from the City of Hood River.  Many dramatic views
looking south towards Mt. Hood and Oregon.

Views of Mount Hood

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Image result for white salmon washington

Thursday, October 04, 2018

San Juan Islands, Washington

We enjoyed the Washington State Ferry ride from Anacordes to Friday Harbor at the San Juan Island.  

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Sagit River Valley, Washington

We drove east on Route 20 through Sedro-Woodley City, and up to Rasar State Park.  The wooded park is close to the large Skagit River.  The valley area down to the many bays is filled with farms, grazing lands, dairies, and all kinds of crops.  The Skagit River Valley is famous for is verdant farms.  It was very cloudy and hazy today, so we did not have good views of the Mt. Baker peaks.  

Next summer, we plan to drive Route 20 from Port Townsend to Spokane.  Route 20 is closed in the winter in the Northern Cascades.    

Image result for sedro woolley washington

Image result for skagit river valley

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Bay View, Washington

We stayed for three nights in a cabin by the southern end of Padilla Bay in northeastern Washington State.  The cabin was at Bay View State Park. 

We traveled to Anacortes, San Juan Island, Mt. Vernon, Bellingham, Burlington, Sedro-Woodley, Concrete, Widby Island, and south along 101 by the Hood Canal to Olympia.  The Chuckanook Mountains 1896 road from the valley beside Samish Bay to Bellingham was a delight. 

The drive from our home in Vancouver to Bay View was about 260 miles. 

Bay View State Park

The southern end of Padilla Bay was very shallow, mostly mud flats
at low tide.  The view to the west was Marsh Point and the huge
Shell-Texaco oil refinery and the array of storage tanks.  

Just doing a lot of looking, seeking, gazing, listening.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Winter Gardens Started

Behind me is a veggie bed in the sunshine.  It contains two small grape vines, kale, Swiss chard, snow peas and onions.

Spirit of Gardening Website

Friday, September 14, 2018

Sixto Rodriguez Rediscovered

Sixto Rodriguez.

"For the past 20 years, Stephen “Sugar” Segerman has been involved in the rediscovery of, and resurgence of worldwide interest in, Sixto Rodriguez. This legendary and internationally acclaimed American folk-rock singer-songwriter, who was a huge success in South Africa from the ‘70’s onwards, was believed to be dead but was found alive and well and living in Detroit in 1997. Since then his career has gone from strength to strength following a series of international tours, the re-release of his albums, and the success of the Oscar-winning film about this extraordinary story, ‘Searching For Sugar Man’, in 2013."

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Mt. Ranier Trip

Karen and I enjoyed our three day trip up north to the Mt. Ranier area.  We drove 360 degrees around Mt. Ranier via the towns of : Elbe, Mt. Ranier National Park entrance, Longmire, Paradise, Stewart Canyon road, Chinook Pass, Greenwater, Enumclaw, Puyallup, Auburn, Carbonado, and Eatonville.

We stayed for two nights in a yurt at Kanaskat-Powell State Park along the Green River.  The river and rapids were delightful, and the park with lush vegetaation..  The yurt was 9 miles from Enumclaw.  We explored around the town of Enumclaw from 9/5-9/7.

Unfortunately, there was much fog, haze, and clouds at lower elevations that completely obscured Mt. Ranier from the headlands west of this massive mountain.  Above 4,000 feet the mountain was clear and impressive from Paradise Point and many road turnouts and viewpoints as you drove up to Paradise Point.  As usual, there were many summer tourists and the parking lots were jammed and roads busy.  Stunning high mountain scenery. 

Some of the roads we drove on are open only in the summer.  Next summer, we intend to drive up to Sunrise Point, the highest point you can drive to in Mt. Ranier Park, and also visit the Crystal Mountain Resort.  These are areas on the northeast side of Mt. Ranier.