Saturday, June 30, 2007

Salt Creek Campground

We chose to camp next at Salt Creek Campground, a county park, 20 minutes west of Port Angles, WA. The campground has a playground for the kids, and showers for the Mama. To see the view above I just had to walk across a grassy area and look out on the water.

The campground is situated on a rise just above Tongue point which features some fantastic tide pools. Above the camp are some old WWII batteries, where they had some big guns facing out at the Strait of Juan De Fuca, just incase the Japanese wanted to move inland. Across the water is Victoria, British Columbia.

We were able to get my favorite kind of camp site, nestled back in the trees where you feel not quite as close to your neighbors as in other sites. As soon as we were set up, Emily Rose did a fantastic job of helping me fix some supper. We had pinto beans, salsa and salad. And we roasted some ears of corn in fire. They came out charred black, but once we pulled off the covering of the corn, the part that wasn't too burned to eat was just perfect. You can see them cooling on the ground near the base of the tree in the picture below.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Port Angeles

Moving farther west, we arrived in the town of Port Angeles, WA. We didn't stay there long but did stop to eat our supper by the wharf. There was a playground, a little stretch of beach and a small museum of sea creatures with touching pools and volunteers who knew that answers to my kids questions, or went and looked them up for them. I was really impressed! It was only $1 for a kid to get in!
Outside there was a statue of some crazy cormorants.On the side of the building there were some wonderful murals of times past .As soon as we were done inside the museum, Forest was down to the shore searching for what he could find.
And Emily Rose headed straight for the ship styled playground equipment and had an equally fun time. Neither kid wanted to move on and find a campground for the night.

Dungeness Spit

Earlier this we returned home from a wonderful 10 days of camping in the far northwest corner of Washington State, around the Olympic National Park. This part of the state is wonderful because it is so diverse.

It features areas of low rain, a temperate rain forest, the Strait of Juan De Fuca, high mountains, sub alpine trails and wild flowers, the Pacific Ocean, mineral hot springs, waterfalls, and both rocky and sandy beaches.

It is amazing the different environments you can see in short amount of time, and not that many miles. It is also so close to Canada, that if you have your passport, you can take a ferry ride to Victoria, British Columbia.

Our first stop on the trip was near the town of Sequim, WA. We stayed in a camp ground right near the Dungeness Spit, which reaches out into the Strait of Juan De Fuca, and provides resting and nesting areas for birds and marine mammals.

This heavily loaded container ship was a new sighting for us too. We were surprised how many of these passed through the Strait. Even when they seemed loaded beyond capacity, they moved along quickly, filled with goods headed to other parts of the world.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Bethlehem Village VBS

We recently finished a wonderful week of Vacation Bible School. It was the best VBS I've ever seen. It was called Bethlehem Village. A living history type Bethlehem village was set up outside on the church lawn. Every one who wished could choose a costume to wear from Bethlehem boutique, thanks to many ladies who gave their time to sew. The children were not divided by age, but rather divided into the 12 tribes of Judah. Each tribe had two adult leaders, a banner, and a blanket to sit on during tribe time. Every day there was a skit of a portion of the story of Baby Jesus reinacted in the village square. Children learned about Jewish culture at as Jesus might have seen it when he was a boy. They learned about Roman history and culture from the Roman Census Taker every day. They went to the Village Playground every day. And each day they were assigned to other two different booths. These booths included Synagogue School, a music shop where they made a simple 5 note pan flute, a dye shop where they tie died little drawstring bags, a market where they sampled fruits that grow in Israel and learned about other Jewish foods, a bakery, a coin making shop, perfume shop, toy shop, mosaic shop and grain mill.

The kids enjoyed every minute, and didn't want to miss a night. My husband and I were leaders of the Tribe of Judah, so we were able to be involved with our kids in everything that happened. Here are a few picture memories of the week.

Monday, June 11, 2007

The Spider and the Wasp

I don't know how this happened but I have to say that the big black guy is on my team. In past years we have had growing numbers of golden paper wasps on our deck. Some people have told me to just spray them, but I don't do that. Insecticides are poison for people too. Any one who reads the label knows that. And I don't want to wipe out the population, I just don't want them on the deck; just like I don't want spiders in the house, but they can be anywhere else they want to be.

This spring I read a little bit about the life cycle of Golden Paper Wasps and decided that if I knocked down their nests faithfully in the early spring, they just might go else where for nest building, and we could sit peacefully on the deck. I was afraid of their stingers at first. Because the nests are up under the eaves, I got my red handled broom which I hold by the bristles, out at arms length, and then I knock down a nest. I quickly learned that when the next comes down the wasps fly straight out off the deck, so I'm safe if I'm standing to the side. They don't seem to recognize the broom handles as threat, or connect me to the broom, so I've been safe. They seem to fly randomly around after that, but none have come after me. When I was first knocking down nests in early spring, I would probably knock down a dozen in a session. Yesterday there were only two tiny ones and I hadn't checked on them in a couple weeks. We had a lovely, peaceful, lunch on the deck in the fresh spring air with no flying insects checking out our food.

But this is where the photo comes in. As I put away the table umbrella, I found this 1 inch big black spider pulling a dead golden paper wasp of equal length along.. I've seen this kind before, but they have always been half the size. I instantly decided that the big guy is my buddy. He's on my team, and he gets to stay.

I got out my Field Guide to Insects and Spiders by the National Audubon Society and found out this guy is a Daring Jumping Spider phidippsu audax. They are really interesting spiders and you can learn more about them at this interesting site.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

God Working in My Son

Even when I think nothing is happening, because I can't see it, God is working in the hearts of my children. This morning I cried and prayed because I felt that we were failing our children and God because family worship has become so irregular in my family. I talked with my husband about it. I talked with a friend about it, and she prayed too. Then this evening my son had to wait for me while I tucked my daughter into bed and prayed with her. When I came to his room this is what I saw. I was so touched and happy that I had to run and get the camera so I can always remember it. I've never seen this before. At age 7, my son was sitting on his bed with his Bible open to Genesis 1:1, and he was trying to read what was there.

He can read some Dick and Jane. He is in the second first grade Pathway's reader. The New King James Version isn't exactly the easy reader version, but he was so serious and excited about what he was doing that the difficult words such as "firmament" didn't slow him down one bit, once he figured them out. He told me that he wanted to read all the way to the bottom of the page, which happened to be verse 11. It took him quite a while, but I put away my ideas of getting some sewing done and sat there and listened to every word.

When he was done he was so happy. He told me what he had read about and then asked, "Mom, do I have to read only when you are with me?"

"Of course not, Forest, of course not. You can read the Bible anytime you wish, even when I am not with you."

"Could I read the whole Bible all the way through?"

"Yes, but it might take you a while."

"Could I read it through in three years?"

"Yes, and you might be done even sooner because the more you read the faster you will be able to read. Some people read the Bible through in one year, and some take even less time."

Thank you, Lord, for putting a desire for your Word in my child. Thank you that He owns a Bible in his own language, and that he has the ability now to read it for himself. May he also grow as Jesus did, "in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man."

Friday, June 8, 2007

Sew Crafty Friday - Costume

My blogger friend, Shereen, started Sew Crafty Friday a while back. You can go to her blog and see what she made this week, see what others have made, and add a link to what you have made. While I've thought it was a great idea, I haven't had something to show on a Friday so far, until today. Last week I finished a quilt for a new niece, but sent it away before I remembered to take a photo. This week I finished my Bibleland's costume to wear at our church's VBS which will start this coming Sunday. It is going to be a living history type program called Bethleham Village. All the leaders and adult helpers will be in costume and the kids can be if they wish to. I have a costume for my husband that I need to sew before Sunday evening. But it should take less time, because I have the process down, even though his is much bigger then mine. I probably won't get to it before Sunday more, so it had better take less time, or it won't be ready to wear on time.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

I Passed the Exam

The day my husband has been waiting for has finally come. I took the technician level amateur radio exam this evening and successfully passed. My husband is so happy, and I'm so relieved that I will never have to study for a ham exam again in my life if I remember to renew my license every ten years. In a couple weeks I should have my call sign and then I will be able to be a better link in the family communication network. I really have no desire to have contacts with strangers around the world and talk about signal strength or the kind of radio I own. I have no need to build my own radio and antennas, but I do like the idea of avoiding cell phone fees and being able to communicate with my husband when we aren't in the same place. Now we will even be able to find each other in the local department store when we get separated, if we both have our radios charged and working. It will also relieve some of the pressure on my daughter to be my communications specialist. She has her technician license already. She took the General exam today, but needs to do some more studying before she passes. There will be another chance to take the test later in the summer.


Nigella damascena

These lovely little flowers are blooming in my garden right now. The are an annual in the Buttercup family, that are prolific self sowers. The foliage is finely cut, and very delicate or misty looking. These blue blossoms thrive in my garden. The seed pods are lovely in dried arrangements. My plants originally came from my elderly friend who is wonderful with plants and very generous in sharing the abundance of her garden. Many of my flowering plants came from her.

Sunday, June 3, 2007


Bride's Bonnet or Queen's Cup
Clintonia uniflora

We've went camping over Memorial Day weekend to a lovely little campground not to far away. Some friends came too, including my friend with twin boys, 6 months old! It was the boy's first time out camping. They did some complaining about the different environment, kept their parents awake when they should have been sleeping, but I think they still had a good time. And their parents were talking already about next time they go camping... I got lots of opportunities to help out, holding one boy or another while their mama did something for the other boy. My kids had so much fun with them. They have cute smiles and are very responsive to attentions.

Near the campground is several trails. We hiked on two of them and enjoyed the sunny weather and the blooming wildflowers.

My birthday also falls near the weekend, so everyone surprised me with a birthday treat and some cards. My family gave me some new hiking boots I've been wishing for for a couple years. And now that I have them, I'm not sure they really fit me. Sigh. It really was a lovely gift. My son wrote his own message in my birthday card. My daughter made a lovely scrapbook kind of card, after seeing one a friend made. It is fun to see her creative skills advance.

This last week we also ended our school year. My kids were thrilled. And I am enjoying the decrease in responsibility, though I still have many, many things to do.

Today I tried to get many of those things done, but I think we added more broken things to our list then we fixed.

Burgundy Hound's Tongue

Burgundy Hound's Tongue
Cynoglossum officinale

A new flower I've learned this spring is called Burgundy Hound's Tongue Cynoglossum officinale. I'm guessing the reason I've missed it is because it doesn't grow West of the Cascades, where I grew up and first started learning wildflowers. Its scientific name of Cynoglossum is derived from the Greek, meaning ' Dog's Tongue, which the leaves resemble in shape and possibly texture. Some people consider it to be a noxious weed, because the seeds are the type that like to catch rides on animals or people and it can cause some liver problems in animals. But even so, it is still a lovely wildflower to me.

Beautiful Blue Butterflies

At the trail head where were hiked on Memorial Day weekend, there was a large wet spot in the parking lot where the little Blue butterflies gathered. Little Blue butterflies were Sir Henry's father's favorites. Besides being a biology professor, he was a entomologist, a guy who studies insects. If he was only here now to see his namesake calling out to little Blues to come and sit on his finger. Forest was so drawn to them and they were paying no attention to him at all. All they wanted to is the moisture and maybe salts from the wet spot.
But his patience paid off and one "accepted" him. He was thrilled. Everyone got to see it. And Forest had a new pet for about one minute, until the Blue flew back to the puddle to join his friends.