Sunday, November 10, 2019

Thank You Veterans...

I want to thank my two veterans and all the other veterans who have served our country.


Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Lumbering along...

I was on the beach in Seaside when I got a text from Sean that he was done with his meetings and could give me a tour of the mill in Warrenton.
Willie and I loaded up and headed up there. Sean had said to just follow the signs to find the mill.  I couldn't find the signs, so I parked in a likely place and waited to see if a logging truck would come by.

Sure enough, a few minutes later a logging truck went by me. I followed him right to the mill, and then the very small sign> to the office. 
Sean met me, introduced me to the people he works with, and fitted me with all the safety gear I needed to be in the mill. 

This mill produces upwards of two million BF per day.

A Note: This is my description from a layman (mom's) perspective...

Logs are fed into the debarker.
Here are logs coming out of the debarker and being cut to length. (full screen the videos for better viewing)

then they go through a scanner that tells the optimum cuts for that particular log.

the next set of saws cut the log into cants (unfinished logs to be further processed).

After a maze of trips around and through the mill the boards are sent to the kilns.

This mill dries it's lumber in kilns with steam heat provided from an inhouse co-generation system fired by residual wood waste (from the debarker). 

boiler on the L, hog on the R

steam drying kilns
 I just realized that I didn't take any pics of the finished lumber... next time.

Finished up with a pic of Sean & I,

and into the office to thank everyone for letting me have the tour, and to collect the swag that Sean got me...

Sean is project manager for the mill, and just completed a 6 million dollar retro fit project, and starts a 2 million dollar one shortly. It was interesting to see the designs he makes, and implements, as well as the constraints he works with.  

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Road trip ~ Astoria, Oregon...

Put Willie in his crate, dosed him up on calming chews, and hit the road for Astoria in the pouring rain Wednesday.
High surf warnings with rain showers off and on when we got over there.   A little weather doesn't stop us!
After I stashed my satchel at Sean's house, I went wandering up the hill to the 125 ft high Astoria Column. It is modeled after the Trajan Column in Rome, and features a hand-painted spiral frieze that tells the story of Astoria from the Native Americans to the arrival of the railroad.

 Want to feel the burn... it's 164 steps to the top.

from the base of the column looking S to Youngs River

looking NW to Astoria and the Columbia River

despite the cold wind and rain it was beautiful.

I went back down the hill, and visited the Astoria Maritime Museum.  So much to see and learn there. Really wanted to tour the Lightship Columbia docked there, but it was raining too hard to enjoy, so inside for me.  More info:

Back to Sean's house to meet up with him and go out to dinner.  Fish & chips at the Astoria Brewing Co. I had the Skipper's Sourmash Stout (their version of Guinness).  Actually the best beer I've had in a while. Will take a growler home next time, for sure.
Sean was up and off to work early the next morning.  Willie and I weren't too far behind him, as there were several places I wanted to visit before heading back to Vancouver.
We went to Ft. Stevens State Park and the Peter Iredale Shipwreck (the Peter Iredale ran ashore on Clatsop Spit, south of the Columbia River channel on October 25, 1906).

Then down the road a piece to Sunset Beach. 

 It was spitt'n rain and the wind was blow'n to beat the band, but with my windbreaker and watch cap on I was fine.  Willie couldn't wait to run on the beach and roll in every pile of washed-up debris. After burning off some energy there we loaded up and headed on to Seaside Beach.

Willie wasn't too sure about blowing sand or the sea gulls...

 Then I visited a small but interesting museum in Seaside.  Intriguing bits of history there...

Another tidbit learned there..
Ft Clatsop, was the winter encampment for the Corps of Discovery from December 1805 to March 1806.  They stayed there to mine salt to preserve their food for the journey back East.  Next time, I'll visit Ft Clatsop.

Went back to Warrenton to meet up with Sean at the lumber mill he is currently project manager for.  I got The mill tour from Sean (will have a separate post on that). 
Hit the road again, and back home.  

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

The Big Foot Maize...

Imagine wandering through the latest maize at 

with my cousins

on a beautiful fall day...

We went on Monday, because it is less crowded. Visited with the critters, browsed the market & the gift shop, and ate burgers from their home grown beef.

The Maize is huge 7+ acres, and the corn is high.

inside the maize at eye level

We told stories of our dads (our dads were brothers) and their many misadventures when we were kids, as we navigated! We laughed, and walked, and laughed some more. We only got turned around a few times, and managed to get through the whole thing traveling 5+ miles in about an hour an a half. Surely a record for three ol ladies.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Fall follies...

I appear to be in the doldrums, not accomplishing diddly squat.  I did go to the recent HOA (slum lords) board meeting.  They didn't appear happy to have me in attendance.  I ask a lot of questions.  Putting forth ways to mitigate some of the problems in the complex with a friendly attitude makes me stretch my patience.  Which is probably a good exercise in diplomacy for me, but damn.  One board member said, "You should be on the board!"  You should have seen the look of outright horror that crossed the faces of the other board members. LOL!

I've been looking for a accent/storage piece for the living room for ages. My SIL that is a shopper has been looking too.  I knew what I wanted, and what I wanted to pay for it.  Nothing was even coming close.  They were either pieces of junk or very expensive.  Well a week ago when I took my BIL & SIL to PDX to catch a flight out, I decided that I would stop at IKEA and pickup a few things I needed for the kitchen. As I was wandering through the maze I found one that I liked but it was well above my price point, and I knew it was going to be a pain to put together, so I wandered on...  As I was coming to the checkout with my small stash, I looked over at the scratch and dent department, and decided it didn't hurt to look.  No sooner had I gotten in the door than there it was already assembled. I couldn't find the scratch or dent.  All the drawers worked. All the parts were there. Measured it with my tape, it would fit where I wanted it, and with a bit of luck in the back of the Tahoe. Went and got the clerk and asked her if she could tell me where the problem was with it. She pointed to a teeny tiny spot on the top where the paint was missing. "I'll take it, can I have some help loading it in my Tahoe."  Brought it home and it fits, does what I need it to do, and I think works in my living room. At half the unassembled list price. Sweet.

Have been trying to find ways to make travel with Willie easier on both of us. He whines and cries every time I take him anywhere in the suv. Got him some chews with hemp in them. Turns out they weren't the calming kind, just a supplement, he didn't whine... he howled all the way to and from the dog park. So, we have moved up to another brand that is a mega dose of hemp. If this one doesn't work I think I will take the chew myself and let him have at the whining.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Squirrels, and Stuff..

Squirreling by Jamie Wyeth

Went up to Longview to meet up with a friend and her Dad.  We took a drive around the area, and there were lots of stories told.  They took me to get a first hand view of the famous Nutty Narrows Bridge.  I was intrigued and did a little research when I got home.  Here is the story of how the Nutty Narrows Bridge came to be: 
by the Department of Archaeology & Historic Preservation, WA gov

Nutty Narrows Bridge, Dedicated to the Safe Passage of Squirrels, has been added to the NRHP!

The Nutty Narrows Bridge that was erected to create a safe, above-street crossing for the City of Longview squirrels has been listed to the National Register of Historic Places.  When constructed in 1963, the bridge received world-wide attention and was featured in Sports Illustrated, the Christian Science Monitor and the London Daily Press. The Bridge is a small-sized catenary bridge that allowed squirrels to move between the Park Plaza office building and a city park across the street. The bridge is the oldest known squirrel bridge in the United States. Envisioned by the owner of a construction company, Amos J. Peters, the Nutty Narrows squirrel bridge was constructed in March of 1963 and reflects a modern design aesthetic combined with the do-it-yourself style of Amos J. Peters. 

Amos Peters, the bridge’s designer and builder, discovered the need for the bridge when he noticed a red squirrel in the road in front of his office building that had met a vehicular demise. Peters collected the remains of the dead squirrel and carried it home to show his three children.  After some months in the family freezer, the children, unbeknownst to Peters, pooled their allowance money and took the frozen squirrel to a taxidermist for preservation. It was their 1963 Christmas gift to their father. This stuffed squirrel, the inspiration for the Nutty Narrows Bridge, is on display at the office of the Amos Peters Construction Company to this day. 
 AmosPeters Taxidermy Squirrel
Peters first kept the idea of building a squirrel bridge to himself because he believed others would think he was a “nut.”  However, after Peters mentioned the idea of the squirrel bridge to insurance man Win Jones, another tenant of the Park Plaza building, “things moved rapidly.”  With agreement from Frank Willis, the Longview Parks Department superintendent, on February 28, 1963, Peters presented the idea to the Longview City Council. Before finalizing the design, Peters consulted with architect Robert Newhall and civil engineer Donald Kramer, as directed by the City Council.  LeRoy Dahl, an employee of Newhall, participated in finalizing the design. All of the Nutty Narrows engineering and architectural service providers had offices in the Park Plaza office building. Peters promised the “entire initial cost … together with its future maintenance [would] be financed by Park Plaza.” With approval from the “City department heads,” the City Council unanimously passed a motion to accept the offer. At this same meeting, councilwoman Mrs. P. H. LaRiviere, Sr., was reported to have “facetiously suggested the name ‘Nutty Narrows’,” and thus it has been known as such ever since. This was likely a reference to the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, famous for its 1940 collapse in Tacoma, Washington. Within two days of the council’s decision, news of a squirrel bridge had spread across the United States. Peters then reported that because of all the national attention, the bridge’s design “would have to be slightly more elaborate” than originally planned. After “three or four nights at [his] drawing board” Peters completed the plans for the bridge.
Nutty Narrows Bridge Plan
Nutty Narrows Bridge Plan

With a design in hand, Peters along with William J. Hutch, his brother-in-law and co-owner of the Amos J. Peters Construction Company, built the bridge in the company’s workshop at a cost of about $1,000. On March 30, 1963, the bridge was unveiled at a grand dedication ceremony, complete with marching bands.  A temporary platform for dignitaries to speak was also constructed at the site of the bridge. The Longview Police closed the street to traffic and the 60-foot-long bridge was hung over Olympia Way.  The Kelso Chamber of Commerce sent several representatives with a large box of peanuts labeled “Kelso Nuts for Longview Squirrels.” Chief of the State Patrol, Roy A. Betlach (who was representing Governor Albert Rosellini), “was lifted 20 feet above the crowd in a park department cherry picker personnel crane and snipped the bright blue ribbon dedicating what he had earlier called the ‘road for rodents’.” Reports of the dedication of the bridge spread far and wide. Articles appeared in newspaper such as the Denver Catholic Register, the London Daily Express; the News-Sentinel of Fort Wayne, Indiana; the Alexandria Gazette of Virginia; and The Daily at Des Moines, Iowa.” Even the Christian Science Monitor and Sports Illustrated Magazine.
 Nutty Narrows Media Coverage, Oregonian- March 20, 1963
Nutty Narrows Media Coverage, Oregonian- March 20, 1963
Over the years local businessmen have used the bridge and squirrels to promote their businesses in a tongue-in-cheek way.  A civic boaster group, called the Sandbaggers, even staged a campaign to import squirrels when the population dwindled over the harsh winter of 1968-69. Over the years, students, writers, and individuals of all ages who loved animals contacted Peters about the bridge. Peters was appreciative of the letters and personally answered each one, until they became so numerous that it became a burden. At that point, a year after the Nutty Narrows Bridge had been erected, he began responding with a form letter.  Today, members of the Peters family, the City of Longview, and the Sandbaggers carry on the fun and the tradition of making safe travel for squirrels.  In fact such efforts have spawned the construction of several additional squirrel bridges in the city. Over the years the bridge has been taken down a several times for repairs and has been moved four times due to the failure of the attached structural supports.  In 2010 it was reinstalled near it original location.  The Sandbaggers, once again in true form, held a “tongue-in-cheek” ceremony before convening at the Monticello Hotel for cake and squirrel-themed cocktails. The ceremony included “speeches, a prayer, cheerleaders, a ribbon cutting and a release of doves.” The Nutty Narrows Bridge is unique. While there have been other squirrel bridges proposed, only a handful of cities are known to have constructed them, and except for the new squirrel bridges built in Longview, none of these were in the United States. Over the years, the Nutty Narrows Bridge has been taken on almost legendary status.  It is listed in multiple tourist guides as a “must see” in Longview and has been listed on, an online “Guide to Offbeat Tourist Attractions” as “worth a detour.” Postcards and shirts with a local artist’s design were made available for several years. While not the initial intent of the Nutty Narrows Bridge, its value as a means to promote the City of Longview has long been acknowledged. Today, the legacy of the Nutty Narrows bridge is embodied in the annual Squirrel Fest, a celebration of squirrels, was introduced by the Sandbaggers in August of 2011.  Since then three other squirrel bridges have been erected with plans for more. The nominated object itself consists of a symmetrical catenary bridge with a flattened canvas fire hose deck, and a 10’ long mock suspension structure at its center. It is approximately 60 feet in length.  The bridge structure was made from aluminum tubing, part of which was old TV antenna.  


I've been getting the spare bedroom ready so I can paint it.  I replaced the funky plastic chandelier with a normal ceiling fixture.  Got a "real" ladder at the hardware store, so no more balancing on a chair for me.  It only took 40 trips up and down stairs to find which breaker controlled the ceiling lights. Good exercise.  Next I'll remove all the miscellaneous nails, putty the numerous holes, build shelves in the closet, add a closet door and trim. Then paint! After that all it will need is a bed.

Nate (my Tahoe) needs to have the interior air filter changed.  Called the dealer, for a fortune they will do it.  No thanks, a few pennies for a T-10 star bit, and a new filter, and I can do it myself. 

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Oktoberfest 2019

"In the heart of Oregon, Mount Angel's Oktoberfest brings 350,000 people to the Bavarian village every September. The Northwest's oldest and best loved Folk Festival, celebrates the fruits of the harvest, and the goodness of Creation! There is something for everyone at the Mount Angel Oktoberfest."

My BIL & SIL & I went on Thursday, and spent the whole day.  Beautiful weather, friendly people, wonderful food, and beer. What more could one want.

Nice young men, and beer...

Dancing, and beer...

Singing about beer, with beer...

 Contests, with beer...

The annual photo, without beer...

As we started to walk back to the car I caught sight of this elevator over watching the events.


Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Take the high ground...

Preceded by loud Thunder Boomers and a light show, a little ol' cloud came over the hovel yesterday...

According to the ones that know these things, we got 3 inches in less than 30 minutes.  I don't have to irrigate for a few days.  Love the PNW! 

Friday, September 6, 2019

Cluck and CW...

While I was recovering from my eye surgeries at my SIL & BIL's in RB, one of their laying hens took a liking to me. I couldn't do much, so I spent considerable time on the wooden bench up by the fire pit.  It was funny to see "Olive Oyl" come running when she saw me there.  She would jump up on the bench, get as close to me as she could, and just kinda settle in to let me know she was happy to keep me company. 

my recovery compadre, Olive Oyl

 She's never been a beauty, but she sure has enough personality to make up for it.   My SIL kindly keeps me updated on how she is getting along. She is doing well, and still laying.


There appears to be a bit of identity confusion with Willie.  While taking him to the dog park the other day, I was talking to him. (He gets nervous about riding in a vehicle)  Inadvertently I called him Cowboy, and he perked right up, and quit whining.  Didn't really think that much about it til we got to the dog park. After he was in the fenced area and off leash, I called him back and he ignored me. I called him back several more times with no response.  Remembering the time in the SUV, I called him with "Cowboy".  He was back at my side in a flash.  He has kept up the only answer to "Cowboy" ever since.  "Cowboy Willie" is the long version.  The vet is going to think I'm a nut if I change all his paper work.

Saturday, August 31, 2019

tested, unbroken...

barn in Brush Prairie

I haven't been posting much as my heart just doesn't seem to be in it. It has been an eventful summer, so where to begin.  For the most part I have given you the good, with the bad left out, til now. 

 In July a son by another mother, and Jacey's boyfriend's dad,  was in a terrible motorcycle accident.  He was hit by a drunk woman with, of course, no insurance.  I won't go into all the details, suffice it to say we were all devastated and praying hard that he would make it. 

That hard working, fun to be with, family man, who was always hugging me, and calling me mom, hung in there for 34 days before he left us. 

Two other families we know, lost their 19 year old daughters in separate car accidents this summer. So loved and cherished by their families and friends, gone.

One of my beloved SIL's has been very ill, and in and out of the hospital all summer. She's had a rough year in so many ways.  But she's a strong lady with gumption and thankfully is on the mend.

On a lighter note...

Granddaughter Jacey's old soccer coach called last week and offered her a job as assistant soccer coach at a high school near her mom's.  On Wednesday she packed up her stuff and moved back up to her mom's so she could start work Thursday. Her mom and I laughed at the amount of stuff, a full pickup load, she had in her bedroom here.  

 She's excited for this next adventure in her life, and I'm happy for her. Plus she will be a big help with Miss B's PT. Willie and I sure miss her though and all the drama an eighteen year old brings. I wouldn't trade having had her with me this past year for anything.

The RV has been put up for sale on a commission sales lot. It seemed like a good thing when I bought it, but things changed and there has not been enough time to really use it.  Besides my Tahoe is big enough to stay in if need be and a lot less hassle for one person and a grumpy ol dog.  

trailing cows in the Sierras by R Ross

I'm looking forward to road tripping to see family and friends, and going to Harstine Island. My SIL raves about it, so much so that they are considering selling their place in Salmon Creek and buying up there. 

It's time to visit the resting places of the touchstones of my heart: the Cowman, & Dad.
And to be thankful for the time I've had with those I love, be it long or short... 

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Bragg'n... again..

I have awesome grandkids, just say'n.  They are all very different people, yet their high core values are much the same.  Country raised kids, that have been taught work ethics, and manners.  They give me hope for the future of our country.

Cody & his Poppy in the branding corrals

Cody, my grandson, after getting out of the Navy, (with numerous deployments down range in harms way as a corpsman), 

graduated this spring from a local JC with highest honors, and has been accepted at UC Davis in the biological sciences division. He is on track to becoming a PA. 

He got interested in photography along the way, and has some amazing photos at Black Shield Photography.  

One of his latest:  Scripps Pier near San Diego.