Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover


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Cowiche Canyon Hike

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It’s official. This writer/editor/crafter/Nana is a bit out of shape. At least for what my phone termed as 55 flights of stairs.

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Our afternoon hike yesterday on the Cowiche Canyon hike was gorgeous. Pretty nice on the way across the uplands and down the steep hill to the canyon floor. Pretty sweaty and filled with loud gasps and burning muscles on the way back up and over.

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But a good time was had by all two of us.

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We started on Summitview Extension, parking in the last available spot. It is a small lot, really a parking pad. Then up, over, and through the sagebrush and blooming spring flowers we went.

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Yes! There were so many desert flowers blooming-purple, yellow, white, chartreuse. Because we had lovely, sunny weather, the lighting was quite overpowering for taking photos, but try I did.

We followed the Summitview Trail. Since the trail loops and swirls all over, it’s possible to wander for hours. We decided to hook left on the Radio Flyer Trail. This really does wind through the sagebrush but leads all the way down to the Cowiche Canyon floor by way of the Lone Pine Trail. Do note, the trailhead at the bottom headed up the hill looks deceptively simple. That’s where we managed to rack up flights of stairs. I wore regular tennis shoes, but hiking boots would have given me more traction in the slippery dirt and ankle-twisting rocks. (I avoided the rocks, but did slip a few times.)

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Our hike was over 3 miles and took us about an hour and 20 minutes to complete. I’ll say it’s because I stopped often to take pictures. But I also stopped often on the way up the hill to breathe.

We even had an “attempted” Sasquatch sighting! Oh, the silly things one does to have fun.

The Cowiche Canyon is a great location for exploring close to home (Yakima Valley). Once we were up over the hill of Summitview Extension, traffic noise disappeared and we could hear only ourselves and the occasional fellow hiker. NOW is a great time to visit. Mud was not an issue at all, wildflowers are blooming, rattlesnakes are sleeping, and heat and ticks are not yet an issue.

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Go. Now. Just please. If you are a dog owner, clean up the poop.


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Haiku Moment: morning frost

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spikes of glass reflect

shimmer, glow in morning beams

frost swaps dull for bright

 

morning frost by Angie Quantrell


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Pasture Pets

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The pets we have. Let’s call them pasture pets.

Foo-Foo. Not technically our rabbit. Though I have recently informed my honey that this is my rabbit. Not rabbit soup. (No guarantees for others in the bunny market, as it were…coyotes, hawks, eagles, and other larger predators who roam freely. Like the playground cougar sighting at the school where 3 of my grands attend.)

Poor bunny Foo-Foo. Someone released him. Or he escaped. He is quite the digger, as evidenced by the ditch beneath our Mabel Gate. Or she. I feel like it is a he though.

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Charcoal. Again, not our pet. I can’t even claim him, because he really belongs to the neighbors on the east side of the pasture. They would know if we adopted this funny guy. Also thought he was a she and hoped for a random egg now and then. But she began crowing all hours of the day. This daily visitor will either help our garden grow (by eating pests and fertilizing) or keep it from growing (by nibbling greens and digging up tender shoots). Either way, not our chicken.

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Speaking of…just as I was finishing this post, who trots in from the pasture with a fresh snack?

Monet. This one is really our pet. She adores pasture life and voraciously hunts other pasture pets of the rodent and avian varieties. By our pet, I mean she sleeps in at night (to avoid cat/dog/coyote fights in the wee hours), we feed her on a regular basis, and pay her worming and vet bills. We used to have her twin sister, Mabel, until a pack of dogs decided she was snack worthy. Those dogs were definitely NOT our pets. And they are the reason we now have a Mabel Gate.

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Ginger. Not our pet. Though we are doggy grandparents. She loves visiting us in the pasture. More for chasing the ball and occasional cat (Monet) or jumping in the ditch filled with mud and water. But still. If we would let her, she would visit inside the RV. What fun that would be! So. Though she is not our pet, technically, we have adopted her as a family member. Neighbor. Just over the fence.

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Other “not our pets” include (but not restricted to) hawks, eagles, coyotes, skunks, goats, ducks, quail, geese, voles, mice, rats, woodpeckers, blue jays, magpies, doves, cats, dogs, frogs, snakes, water rats (I really don’t know what they are…but they are big and swim in the irrigation ditch), crows, worms, slugs, song birds, and lots and lots of insects.

Need a trip to the pasture zoo? Come spring, we will be open for business. I mean, the hibernators will be out and about, the frozen will thaw, eggs and litters will hatch, and who knows what else will spring to life. Bring a lawn chair and a camera. We’ll treat you to the habitats and adventures of Pasture Pets.

Our human pasture guests. (not pets)

 

 

 


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Happy Hump Day Haiku Challenge: cotton candy

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cotton candy clouds

effervescence, bees’ delight

pink blossom carpet

 

cotton candy by Angie Quantrell

 

I love spring blossoms and the buzz of happy bees. Welcome, pink!


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Happy Easter!

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Happy Easter! He is Risen!

Matthew 28:5-10 (NIV)

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

Happy Resurrection Day! Hope your day was filled with love and joy!

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Happy Hump Day Haiku Challenge: worm salad

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spring rain brings party,

water-logged crawlers become

salad of dead worms

 

worm salad by Angie Quantrell

 

I hate walking outside after a rain, afraid of stepping on and squishing the lovely gardeners who struggle to escape overwhelming water in their aerating holes. I never have enough time to rescue all the big ones, tossing them into garden boxes and grassy resorts. Instead, when I return home, after the rain has headed east, I find piles of worm salad.

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Mud: The Perfect Nature Sensory Activity

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First we had February. Snowmageddon and all of that. The season of snow.

Next we had the melt. Flooding, slush, and slippery ice. The season of melt.

Now we have rainy April days and plentiful water. The season of mud.

Does mud bother my grands? Not in the slightest. Nearly all the kids I know love getting dirty, playing in the mud. From what I’ve observed, most of the problem with mud comes from the adults. The ones who have to do laundry, wipe mud trails off of floors, wash boots, and repair muddy landscapes.

Forget all of that worry. It’s time for the season of play!

Enter mud play. A fine mist was falling, water stood in the wagon and various items strewn about from building fairy houses, and mud was plentiful.

They dug, scooped, buried, and transported mud, rocks, and sticks. They gathered water, poured it around, and put a dead worm in the mud in case he wanted to wake up.

They painted small pieces of logs by using a stick as a paintbrush, using the stick to smear mud across the flat surfaces. And then they decorated the wagon and fairy gardens with mud-encrusted artwork.

I love it when I see preschoolers and children (and even adults) use their creativity and imagination. I love it even more when nature and messes are involved!

I’m not sure if the parents agree, but playing in mud is excellent for sensory engagement and exploration of nature.

So…put on some old clothes, just in case, plop on the wellies, and head out for some messy fun.

 


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Book Report: Borrowing Bunnies, A Surprising True Tale of Fostering Rabbits by Cynthia Lord

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Borrowing Bunnies, A Surprising True Tale of Fostering Rabbits

Written by Cynthia Lord

Photographs by John Bald

Illustrations by Hazel Mitchell

Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers, 2019

 

“Come along on a surprising adventure with two very special bunnies as they find their forever families!” (back cover)

I send a special thanks hopping to Cynthia Lord, for gifting me with a beautiful copy of Borrowing Bunnies, complete with three autographs! Thank you for the bunny keepsake! Thanks also goes out to Kathy Halsey and Group Blog for offering the opportunity to win a copy of this adorable bunny tail. Tale. Hop on over to read about great books.

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Amazon Blurb:

Newbery Honor author Cynthia Lord likes fostering rabbits—or, as she fondly calls it, “borrowing bunnies.” This is the heartwarming true story of the author’s own journey with two very special rabbits.

In the spring of 2016, Peggotty and Benjamin were saved by Maine’s Cottontail Cottage Rabbit Rescue after their previous owners had neglected them. But before the two Netherland Dwarf rabbits could be adopted, Cynthia had to help them learn to trust people and feel safe inside a home. The bunnies slowly settled in, enjoying their clean pens, nibbling new foods, and playing with fun toys, while Cindy’s husband, John Bald, photographed Benjamin and Peggotty’s every step toward adoption. At that time, hundreds of viewers were drawn to Cindy’s Facebook page to watch their progress. Now, she has adapted the rabbits’ true story into a picture book that explores love, responsibility, empathy, and letting go—along with fostering’s many surprises, both big and small.

Young readers will delight in watching these bunnies thrive while also learning a few fun animal facts. With Cindy’s pitch-perfect blend of warmth and real-life experience, Borrowing Bunnies is a new classic in narrative nonfiction.

Things I Like About Borrowing Bunnies:

1. BUNNIES! At once glance, I was in love and wanted to run out and foster (to keep-ok, that is called adoption) a baby bunny! Fortunately, I live in an RV and there is no room for in indoor bunny. Outdoors will not work, as we have a hunting pair of hawks who return each spring to nest, raise their young, and teach them to hunt-right in our pasture.

But read on, friends. Be prepared to spend time and resources to care for, love, train, and snuggle with these cuties.

2. New information. I learned so much about rabbits and their habits. Wonderful illustrations and photographs merge on colorful pages, telling the story of fostering bunnies. I’m still wondering how to potty train a bunny though. Is it like a kitten where you just keep putting it back in the kitty box until it potties and makes the connection? One of my junior high friends had an indoor pet rabbit and it left a trail of bunny pellets everywhere it traveled.

3. Narrative. Cynthia Lord writes in a clean and captivating way, engaging me and explaining along the way. Young readers will love the bunny story and not even notice how much they are learning!

4. Illustrations and photos. Perfect combination of information, character profiles (bunnies), and adorableness.

5. Overall package. This book is just right. Spring, when we tend to think of baby bunnies and other assorted baby animals, is the optimum time to read Borrowing Bunnies. This book would fit right into an Easter basket or collection of spring animal books.

6. Emotions. Some sections of this book will make you cry, laugh, love, and experience loss. Readers are exposed to the emotions connected with fostering and caring for animals. Discussing these emotions will help young readers understand their feelings.

I hope you are encouraged to purchase or check-out Borrowing Bunnies and read all about real life bunnies. Maybe one day you will foster baby animals!

 

KID KANDY:

Here are a few fun things you can do after reading Borrowing Bunnies:

~ hop and leap like a bunny

~ use blankets to make a soft bunny nest for stuffed animals or yourself

~ curl up in your nest and read Borrowing Bunnies!

~ visit a zoo or farm to see and pet live bunnies

~ eat a bunny salad for lunch (carrots, lettuce, radishes, peas)

~ pick dandelions to make bunny bouquets (bunnies love dandelions)

~ use paper, markers, glue stick, and cotton balls to make a bunny picture; draw the bunny with long ears and whiskers; glue a cotton ball on for a tail

Hoppy Day!

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Happy Hump Day Haiku Challenge: ode to pesto (plus recipe)

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rip, shred, pulverize-

greens, cheese, garlic, oil becomes

feast! dine, friend, pesto.

 

ode to pesto by Angie Quantrell

 

Spring is here and with it comes potted basil plants from Trader Joe’s. Basil is the scent and flavor of all things yummy. I cheat, buying multiples of potted plants each trip to Seattle, instead of planting. Though this year I am tempted to throw some seeds in a planter box and see what happens. Last year I picked up a basil plug from the grocery section at a store, and it performed beyond expectations! Of course, I repot the potted plants and plugs in good potting soil and harvest leaves as I need them.

Every summer, we gorge on pesto-on pizza, salmon, chicken; in sauce and soup. So pungent, cheezy, and filled with garlic, we can taste the beauty and intense flavors the next morning. (Yes, we brush our teeth…but my pesto is the gift that keeps giving…lol).

I use my little RV-sized food processor, so one batch is perfect for one meal.

WALNUT BASIL PESTO

Ingredients:

basil (lots of leaves, fill the food processor)

walnuts (coarsely chopped)

shredded Parmesan cheese

3-5 chopped garlic cloves

olive oil

sea salt

Optional: I’ve added spinach to up the nutritional value and use up left over amounts

 

Directions:

Add basil, walnuts, Parmesan, and garlic. Pour on olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt. Blend, adding additional olive oil to get the consistency your prefer. I always have to stop the machine and stir down the pesto to get it all to mix.

I don’t measure anything with this recipe, other than how much garlic I add. It’s never been too thin, but rather I need more oil. Serve right away with chicken, pizza, salmon, steak, or on toasted bread. Store leftovers (if there are any) in tightly sealed container or freeze immediately.

Now, where’s my tiny food processor?

 


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The Downside of Feline Hunting aka The High Cost of Rodent Extermination

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Feline host of ‘straw’

***Gross alert.

No. I’m not talking about the trail of mangled body parts, a bit of liver, a tiny furless skull, a cluster of feathers. Though walking through a feline hunting graveyard is not for the weak of heart. Quick steps and eagle-eyes are necessities.

I’m also not talking about the catch and release program of yesterdays when we had a kitty door. Catch a rat? Bring it inside and let it go. Find a rat in a trap? Bring in the decapitated corpse and play toss and catch in our bedroom in the middle of the night. Live bird? Shall we see the damage we can cause by releasing it in the living room. Not those downsides, though they are quite entertaining. One particular birthday will always be quite memorable because we all screamed, stood on the couch, and simultaneously hunted a terrified rat. With kitty help.

No, this downside I’m shuddering about today is what happens after a feline hunter is successful. I’m not sure about the total timeline, but a week or three after eating wild mice, mysteriously little bits of straw appear. No big, UNLESS they happen to be beneath the tail of said hunters. Or along back haunches. Then we have a problem.

Let’s all take a moment to scream EWWWW!

Can tapeworms be any more gross? I mean, sure, dead stuff is gross. But for the most part, they are not in my bed, on my couch, on the cat tree, littering blankets. Ick.

Miss Monet, resident exterminator and feline hunter extraordinaire, is a repeat offender. Last summer was our first encounter with ‘straw.’ I think I’ll call tapeworms ‘straw’ from now on. It’s less offensive. Straw sounds nice and cozy, like in chicken coups or horse stalls.

Last summer, I noticed straw on Monet’s backside. We scheduled a vet visit, particularly after some straw was moving. Once confirmed by the vet, Monet was duly treated for a straw infestation. And a nice little vet bill we received from that visit. Cha-ching.

The silver lining of this mouse and cat game, the coup de grace of being a hunter of mice, is the benefit of repeat offenders getting a free pass from visiting the vet. Little did I realize how this law would line the pockets of my wallet with a lower bill for removing a straw infestation.

December. Again with the straw. AGAIN.

We called in and they advised us to come on over and get a dose of straw medicine.

End of January, beginning of February, we saw warm spring-like weather. And mice. Oh, mighty huntress Monet was witnessed gobbling some poor hapless rodent. We thought nothing of it. She had just been treated for straw.

And then. Snowmageddon. Everything was snow and ice locked. No hunting, no fun runs through the pasture, no live prey of any type. Until this week.

I kid you not. This week. We still have piles of snow! But plenty of open range greening up areas RIPE with straw infested rodents. Opening day for Monet included 2 voles, 1 mouse, and 2 birds.

You can guess, can’t you? Today I welcomed Monet into the house and noticed straw on her backside. Noooooooooo…

Yes……. Back to the vet I went for straw medicine. Which, apparently, only lasts 30 days. Is there not something that lasts LONGER than 30 days? This is going to get expensive, this live rodent extermination.

The answer was no.

So, if you need some rodent control, let’s make a bargain. $25 bucks a pop for the good stuff. Maybe needed once a month. Rent-a-cat for one month will cost you. And me.

Back to vacuuming and washing blankets. Which I just did last week before we discovered straw.

And you? Do you have a problem with straw infestations?