Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover


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Tree Hunting: Part 1

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in the pasture.

Due to needing my Christmas photo background early, we went tree hunting this month-November. With indoor trees, this is a big no-no, but since we will keep this tree outside of the RV, it will be perfectly fine and not pose a fire risk as it dries out.

My honey drove us up along Oak Creek Road in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. Ready with our tree tag and saw in hand and mud boots on feet, we settled in to search for the perfect tree.

Before we hit the area where we could cut a tree, I noticed two big red blobs out in a meadow. Judging by the size, deer. Skinless and headless, left to rot. Ugh. Poachers. While I don’t personally hunt for meat, I understand some people enjoy the outdoor activity. In our state, hunters draw tags and their hunting helps control the numbers of herds roaming the forests. But to leave two carcasses and not use the meat was totally irresponsible. Grrrr.

On the way up the mostly deserted road, we saw a trail of smoke. From an untended campfire. Hoping that hunters or hikers were just out of view, we continued on our way, though I was fuming, because despite drenching rain, the fire was still smoldering. And we are just out of a horrific forest fire disaster of a summer. Even with the rain, fire is still a problem!

After 8.5 miles of rutted dirt roads and several “That one’s pretty good,” we finally found our tree. Though I tried to get Kevin to cut me a HUGE tree (heh-heh, wouldn’t that be funny, trying to drive down the road with a tree hanging off both ends of the truck?), we had to settle for a much shorter one. Cue the Christmas Vacation music.

We secured the sweet-smelling tree and headed back down the road. The fire was still going! Mr. Firefighter to the rescue. He literally got his hands dirty (the shovel was buried beneath the tree) to make sure it was dead. Good job, honey!

And much further down the road, we drove around a bend and startled a huge gathering of carrion birds! At least three bald eagles, numerous turkey buzzards, and magpies. All of them were enjoying the feast of deer meat. Whew. Nothing goes to waste in the wild, right? They were quite happy to take care of the deer carcasses. I imagine at night other predators would be drawn in-coyotes or wild cats.

A forest full of adventures. Here she is, our beautiful tree!


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Haiku Moment: umber

umber does not mean

somber, though pandemic frowns

steal sunflower smiles

 

umber by Angie Quantrell

photo by Angie Quantrell


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First Birthday Photo Challenge

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There’s a 10 year challenge going around on Facebook right now, as well as a few other challenges for this and that. I posted last week about having my first birthday without my mom. I searched high and low and through every jump drive I own for my first birthday pictures. I was so sure I had scanned them.

Turns out, I was incorrect. Oops! Instead, I had taken pictures of the pictures-on my phone. Looking for something else, I found my one-year-old birthday photos. Well. I am 57 now. My data banks are too full and need defrag services to restore order.

This is me at my first birthday (circa November 1963).

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Did you catch that? I’m old enough to use “circa.” Don’t worry. Time flies, and soon you too will be able to use that special word. Check out the definition of circa. Anyone can use it.

Let’s start a different challenge. This is your first birthday photo challenge! Post a photo of you on your first birthday and tag me. Post your photo in the comments below or on any of the other links.

Let’s see all the cuteness! Thanks for playing along.

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Throwback Thursday: Flowers and Me

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I was pleased to find this little gem of a photo in my baby book. After losing mom in May, every treasure I uncover has become much more precious. My mama loved her little Angie.

I don’t remember seeing this photo before, though I know I’ve had it for years. Mom despaired of my hair growing and I was often seen sporting a comb-over wave to give the appearance of ample hair. Curly and fine, just like it is today. Though with much more gray.

These irises bloomed in front of my Grandma Wheetley’s house in Sunnyside, Washington. We visited often, I imagine, and this is also the town where my mother and father met and started the journey of lifelong marriage.

Little Angie, as I was nicknamed by grandparents on both sides, is nearly as tall as the gorgeous irises. What I love, besides seeing a much younger, cuter me, is that I obviously love flowers. Just like I do now. These days finds me planting more sunflowers, wildflowers, and blooming bushes, but the beginning of my love affair with gardening sprouted right there with me playing in the irises.

My mama was an excellent seamstress. I can’t ask now, but I think she or my grandmother probably made this dress. I so wish I could sit and pour over these childhood photos with her one more time. My siblings and I were blessed to have a mother who loved us unconditionally. Not that we didn’t get called on the carpet, but good mothers have to do that to straighten out our stubborn bits.

What special memories do you have of your parents or grandparents?


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Bird Sighting: 2 Pileated Woodpeckers & Haiku Moment

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red crest, heavy head

hop, skittle, scrape, taste, chitter;

wary woodpeckers

 

pileated woodpeckers by Angie Quantrell

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I feel like I struck gold! Or black and red, the colors on my 2 feathered guests.

I almost didn’t see them, as they were very quiet. I went out the Holly House front door to my car and spotted huge black birds, one on a dead stump, clawing to grasp and dig in, the other on the ground scooping bits of snack with a sideways tilt of the head.

As soon as red-crested heads popped into view, I knew exactly what they were. And they were huge! Due to my constant perusal of A Guide to Field Identification, BIRDS of North America book, in particular the page on woodpeckers and flickers, I recognized them. But only when I saw them in person did I realize the immense size compared to the flickers and scrub jays I usually identify. The guide says their length is 15-inches. Fascinating.

According to the guide book, pileated woodpeckers are “uncommon and local; a wary bird of extensive deciduous or mixed forests” (p. 180). I feel like I won the lottery. Here there were two uncommon and wary woodpeckers gently hopping along the driveway, chittering quietly to each other, sort of like chickens chat as they go about their day.

I watched them until they hopped beyond the bend of the driveway. They didn’t take off while I observed, and didn’t seem too bothered by me. They seemed a bit gangly in movement, young, perhaps teens? Not sure if they were mated or siblings, but I was thrilled to listen and watch.

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I love that Holly House has a copy of my favorite bird book. Their book is in much better shape. The pages are stuck in the proper place. What a special opportunity! Smack dab in the middle of a mixed forest, plenty of deciduous and coniferous trees and stumps for all to enjoy. Says the resident who learned the black bear is back and loves to scrub at trunks for bugs and wander behind my cabin on his dusk forays. Yikes! I would like to see him (or her) but only from my car or cottage window.

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Haiku Moment: immerse

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dance, whisper, reach

effervescent life, calling-

immerse in nature

 

immerse by Angie Quantrell

 

This Haiku Moment is brought to you compliments of Holly House and Hypatia-in-the-Woods. My kitchen table view is glorious – windows that make me feel as if I’m living in a tree house. Such wonderful windows of light, movement, trees, glimpses of water and sunlight. This is what it is like to live as a wild thing in between the canopy, understory, and floor of dense forests. Like a bird, or squirrel, perhaps a bear, life is found in movement, fragrance, sound, texture, even taste if but a few berries are ripe – a rich sensory environment inviting you in.

Come, be welcome.


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Happy Hump Day Haiku Challenge: mud dog

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accident, promise!

water oops, cool squishy dirt

just call me Mud Dog

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mud dog by Angie Quantrell

 

Accident? Perhaps. Digging all on purpose. Bath not as popular.

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