Monday, July 30, 2007

Moon Rise Welcome

As we drove home last night, finished with all the hectic activity of the last four weeks, the sun was setting in the rear view mirror, fires were burning by the Columbia River, and the moon was rising on the hills in front of us to welcome us home. It was very hard to catch the beauty of the moment. I struggled to hold the camera still enough in the low light. We could clearly see the "man on the moon", but the camera didn't show that detail for you to see.

It is good to be home. There are piles of things to be done, but it all seems much easier now that I'm not teaching outside the home too. I am looking forward to blogging again. I hope I haven't lost my dear readers in my absence.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Two Blogging Awards

In my mail box this week were two emails saying that I have been nominated for two different blogging awards.
The first one was for the Rockin' Girl Blogger Award. I'm not sure this really describes me, or what it really means, I never listen to rock, nor do I look like a rocker, but after reading the blog of my friend, Melanie, who awarded it to me, I take it as a compliment. Thank you, Melanie, for your kind words. I'd sing for you any time. Melanie was one of my first blogging friends when I started blogging over a year ago. I almost lost her when she moved blogging sites, but found her again and am glad to be her friend. She is a dedicated homeschooling mom who has rode out some some rough times in the last year with even a stronger faith in God.

I was curious about how this award got started, and with a little searching, I was able to find it. Those of you who are curious can look here to find it's origin.

The second award I was nominated for is the Blogger Reflection Award. The Blogger Reflection Award originated from the lovely blog owned by a sixteen-year-old, home schooled girl at Lothlorien, Relm of the Lady of Light! This was the description of who should be recipients:

As for my award, it is called The Blogger Reflection Award. Why? The reason for the title is because this award should make you reflect on five bloggers who have been an encouragement, a source of love, impacted you in some way, and have been a Godly example to you. Five Bloggers who when you reflect on them you get a sense of pride and joy... of knowing them and being blessed by them.

La Tea Dah, at Gracious Hospitality, was the one who nominated me for the award. Her blog characterizes all that is beautiful, peaceful and Godly in a home. I eagerly read all that she has to write about making home a wonderful place to be. Her photos are always lovely, and her thoughts so often lift my thoughts higher, above the mundane things of life reminding me of little things that can be done to bring joy to my family and make my home a place my family wants to be.

Thank you, La Tea Dah, for your kind words even about my sporadic blogging. I receive your compliments humbly.

Both awards request that you pass the awards along to five other people. I would be happy to do so, but unfortunately, I do not have the time to do so, right now. As I have time, if I think of someone who should receive award, I will pass it on to them.

Busy Week

Week three with my Korean students is already speeding by. I really do enjoy teaching them. And I do hope they have enjoyed their experiences my class. I see their skills in speaking English improving even more in the last week. Since they have come, I have had little time for anything but them. My blog is neglected and so is my house and family. There is much I could write about, but there is not time to do so right now. I have the afternoon to try and catch up, but must remember to keep my priorities straight. I do need to do many things around the house but my kids need some fun time with Mama, maybe some stories and snuggles. We have one more day of classes, and then we take them to Seattle for some more sight seeing and cultural experiences before they fly home.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Teaching English

I am in my second week of teaching English to some Korean college students who have come to America for a three week program to improve their English. This is a very intensive program of 3 hours of classes every morning and then cultural and social experiences every afternoon and evening. I really am enjoying the students. They are wonderful young people who are very eager to learn. It makes my teaching part very easy and fun for me, since the goal of the classes is to improve conversational skills. I have 5 advanced level students in my class. The hard part of this job is keeping up with the fast pace of the other activities. I don't have to be at everything, but there are many things I do have to attend and/or supervise.

Yesterday afternoon and evening we were at the river for water activities and a picnic. Tomorrow afternoon we take them to a nearby town for a factory tour and a tour of the city's wild past. Then in the evening we go to a musical play. On the weekend we will take them to a lake for canoing and then the next day to a small town rodeo. They are getting such a rich experience, I know they will never forget even our small town American experience. I just hope I have the strength to keep up with them.

My husband is doing a wonderful job with our kids. Since he doesn't teach in the summer he can be with them. He is even doing a good job of cleaning up after meals. He makes sure the floor is vacuumed before I get home so I don't have to come home to a messy house. I didn't expect him to do this for me, but he is, and I am so happy.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Spring Beauty

Spring Beauty
(Claytonia lanceolata)

At low elevations this plant grows lush and thick. At alpine levels the plans are smaller, have fewer, smaller flowers and smaller leaves. They like to grow with the glacier lilies. The corms are supposed to taste like potatoes when cooked. The native peoples would gather the corms after flowering. They would ensure a continued crop by replanting the smaller corms so there would be a crop the next year. The leaves have vitamin C and A.

Snowpatch Buttercup

Snowpatch Buttercup
(Ranunculus eschscholtzii)

As you might guess from it's name, it grows at the educe of melting snowbanks. It it widespread and comommon at subalpine and alpine elevations.

Olympic Violet

Olympic violet
(viola flettii)

I learned that the Olympic National Park has it's own violet, and was very happy to find some to photograph. They grow only in rock crevices in alpine areas of the Olympic Mountains.

Glacier Lily

Glacier Lily
(Erythronium grandiflorum)

Emily Rose did take her nose out of her book for a little while. She noticed the fields of Glacier Lilies and Spring Beauty and had to try her hand at photography. Glacier Lilies spring up soon after the snow is gone.

Plants of Southern Interior British Columbia the Inland Northwest says, the "Yellow glacier lily was a very important rood vegetable, and the dried bulbs were also an important trading item for Interior Salish peoples. They gathered the bulbs in June to August. These bulbs are inedible when raw, but prolonged steaming, such as in pit cooking , converts their indigestible carbohydrat, inulin, into edible fructose. Drying also helps this process. Kuhnlein and Turner (1991) note that a St'at'imc man observed grizzlies digging yellow glacier lilies and letting them wilt on the ground, then returning a few days later to eat them. Evidently bears were aware of the increased sweetness of the lilies after exposure to air."

Avalanche Lily
(Erythronium montanum)

More often then not, when I see an Erythronium Lily, it is the yellow Glacier Lily. There were lots of them on the Hurricane Hills Trail, but I was happy to see that there were some Avalanche Lilies also. You can think of a snowy white avalanche to help you remember that an Avalanche Lily is white.

Showy Jacob's Ladder

Showy Jacob's Ladder
(Polemonium pulcherrimum)

This specimum Showy Jacob's Ladder was found on the Hurricane Hill Trail in the Olympic National Park.

"The common name refers to the ladder-like arrangment of the leaflets and alludes to Jacob's ascent to heaven up a ladder, as described in the book of Genesis. The skunk-like smell of the bruised leaves earns this spcies another common name -- skunk-weed. Despite the smell of the leaves, it lives up to its scientiffic name pulcherrimum which means 'very handsome.' The genus name Polemonium comes from the Gree polemos (war) and refers to a legend about two kings who apparently took to the battle field to prove who first discovered the alleged medicinal properties of Jacob's Ladder." Taken from Plants of Southern Interior British Columbia and the Inland Northwest" by Parish Coupe Lloyd.

Spreading Phlox

There was many patches of Spreading Phlox (Phlox diffusa) along the Hurricane Hill Trail. The genus name Phlox is from the Greek word for 'a flame,' and it refers to the brightly colored flowers of some species. The species name diffusa means 'spreading'. I learned that there is more then one species, and that the kind that grows near my house is not Spreading Phlox, but rather Long-Leaved Phlox. Spreading Phlox ranges in color from white to pink/lavender.

Spreading Phlox
(Phlox diffusa)

Olympic Onion

Olympic or Scalloped Onion
Allium crenulatum

Did you know that the Olympic National Park had it's own wild onion? The Olympic or Scalloped Onion (allium crenulatum) grows there in moist rocky soils from low to high elevations. It's color ranges from white to pink.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Hurricane Hill Animals

Along the trail to Hurricane Hill there were some beautiful young Black Tail bucks eating by the side of the trail. I'm not sure what there was in the soil under the spruce tree that interested them so much, but it was so good that they didn't get too concerned with all the hikers passing by within just a few feet of them.

I'm guessing that there must have been some tasty mineral salts left behind by the melting snow.Close to the top, and not too far from the trail was a marmot den and a marmot sitting outside warming in the sun.

Frisking around while we ate lunch was a charming chipmunk. Just before we headed back down toward the cars a small group of Black Tail deer showed up on top. It is possible they were the same one we saw earlier. I found them to be very handsome young fellows and enjoyed watching them for quite a while.

Hurricane Hill Trail

The weather was perfect the day we decided to drive up to Hurricane Ridge , inside Olympic National Park, where there is an excellent view of the Olympic Range, including Mt. Olympus, the highest peak in the park.
We drove past the Visitor's center to the end of the road where the trail head for the Hurricane Hill trail is located. There are lovely flowers and views on this trail.
The more we hike in the summer the better hikers the kids are. This trail is 1.6 miles long with only a 650 feet elevation gain. We took some dried figs, almonds, pecans, and apples along to enjoy when we were ready for lunch. We also remembered our bottles of water.

Once you get hiking the views are spectacular no matter which way you turn. And it wouldn't take long to get to the top, except I had to stop every few feet to take photographs. I just love the beauty and the fresh air.

Forest's favorite part was the snow fields in summer, some of which even crossed the trail.

Every time he could get his hands on snow, he made a miniature snowman to sit in the middle of the trail. I think they melted quickly because we didn't find a single on on the way back down the mountain. Hopefully they brought someone a smile when they saw them.

Emily Rose packed along a book to read while she waited for us to get done with photography or snowman making. At one point when she was very absorbed in a chapter, I ran up to her excited about a "worm" I found in the trail. I told her it was a kind not commonly found way up here in the mountains. She looked around to try to see what I was talking about and then had a good laugh when I told her it was a "book worm" that I had found.
The top was a rocky knoll surrounded by grassy meadows.

It seemed that when I saw Forest running along that I should have seen Julie Andrews too swinging her guitar case and singing, "The hills are alive with the sound of music"

We took photographs at the top, rested, enjoyed the views, and ate our lunch.

Down below the port of Port Angeles was bustling with activity. There were ships coming and going. In the distance you could see Canada , and some snow capped mountains there.

We really enjoyed this hike and know if we can ever return, it is one that we will want to do again.


Do you know who left foot prints all over our picnic table at the Salt Creek campground?

Here's the story. It was our first night at the Salt Creek Campground. We were calmly gathered around the fire, waiting for supper to be ready, when a visitor boldly crept into our camp. It was still daylight, so we could see him clearly. He was clearly not afraid. His intentional stride did not slow even when I stood up in surprise to see him coming toward us. Everyone was surprised and explanations broke out on all sides behind me for there, only five feet in front of me was a very large raccoon, intent on finding an evening meal.
Image from

He stood still and stared at me even when I started to move toward him, and only backed away when I got very close to him. I knew then, that any food that was not secured in camp was in danger, not from big dangerous bears, but small masked bandits. That night we took extra efforts to make sure it was very difficult to get to our food. The ice chest and food boxes were secured with many bungy cords. I have heard raccoons are very cunning, and their paws nimble. I went to sleep that night wondering how many friends that raccoon had, and what our campsite would look like in the morning.

The food boxes were still secure in the morning, with no evidence of chewing. But the yellow table cloth was covered with dozens of distinctive muddy footprints. They looked just like the ones on this web page that has more information about raccoon tracks. If there had been food left out, it would have been devoured. Thankfully that fellow had given us a warning visit, the evening before, because otherwise I would have not been as careful. As it was, they seemed so used to humans and campsites, that I'm sure they found something to eat that night and every night. The campground belonged to them. And to them we left it.

The kids named him Footprints.

Image from

Monday, July 2, 2007

Tongue Point Tide Pools

The next morning we went down to the tide pools at Tongue Point, a short walk from our campsite. It was an extra low tide, so lots of interesting things were exposed. Emily Rose and Sir Henry, walked around examining things a little while, and then they found a place on the shore to read books.
Forest couldn't stop himself from exploring and found some wonderful things to enjoy.
He has learned from our previous tide pool experiences that there are lots of little things that like to hide in the eel grass. Hermit crabs are there, and other little things that scuttle and scurry.
Sea Urchins were abundant, but they needed to be careful, because there were hungery preditors, sea stars lurking nearby. When you touch a sea urchin, the spines bend toward your finger and kind of hug it. It doesn't hurt, even though they look very pokey.There was this large pink sea star and this tiny red blood star. The blood star facinated me. It was only a little bigger then a quarter. It almost looked ceramic, but it was real, and slowly moved it's appendages.
There were quite a few large green anemones, but the pretty, pink aggregating anemones were also there. The grow oval and narrow, and then divide in two.