Max is so Helpful

Max is so helpful! He runs outside anytime we go out to plow the snow. He hangs around outside most of the time. There was enough snowfall last night that the first thing Peter had to do was plow. He uses the tractor we purchased from our sister & brother-in-law when they moved down south. This piece of machinery is the biggest blessing to us in the past few years. It makes a lot of the work done around here much easier on us.

But I wanted you to see this video that shows how helpful Max really is while Pete does the plowing during winter. I’m sure Pete appreciates his standing right in front of the blade where he can’t even see him. He even seems as though he is saying,

“Yep, I’m right here waiting on you Dad”.

“What! Do I have to move?”

Okay then.

He jumps out of the way at the last minute and runs alongside. Max is a crazy dog and we love him.

Dashing Through the Snow

08SledRoad07One of my favorite songs is, “Dashing Through the Snow“! What a delightful white wonderland snow creates for us to play in. Don’t stay inside and miss it, an everchanging painting outside. I love winters with snow through each day. Magical, cold hard water on the lakes, and soft flakey water falling from the sky. A quiet and majestic coating on top of everything.08SledRoad43

Winter moisture is so very therapeutic to our planet. Cold precipitation gives us clean water replenished, and makes the insects decrease the following spring. Yay!08SledRoad11

You can see that this love of the Inland Norwest is introduced at an early age. We start by catching snowflakes on our tongues, and graduate to walking and eating handfuls of snow. Here is one of our grandkids learning from Grandpa not to eat dirty snow.

08SledRoad21FYI-Here is the definition of toboggan |təˈbäɡən|
a long narrow sled used for the sport of coasting downhill over snow or ice. It typically is made of a lightweight board that is curved upward and backward at the front.
verb [ no obj. ] (usu. go tobogganing)
slide downhill over snow on a toboggan: my kids love to go tobogganing in the park before Christmas dinner | we tobogganed down a steep hill nearby.
tobogganer |təˈbäɡ(ə)nər| noun.
tobogganist |-nist| noun
early 19th cent.: from Canadian French tabaganne, from Micmac topaĝan ‘sled.’ Isn’t is amazing what you can learn from books?

I still think sliding down a hill is one of the very finest things you can do in your life. Pete and I, both, plan to ski till we die because it is a truly real natural high. As I age, the winter activities get less radical, like, I tend to be much more careful on a runner sled, toboggan, or any kind of ski. I actually check out the route before I go because it is nice to be sure you will avoid where your car is parked. Sorry, it is a family joke.

Loving the snow!


icicle 1Icicles are nature’s chemistry wonders in action. I looked to my right as we walked out of the church today. Sunlight sparkling through perfect icicles right there was a surprise. They were shimmering all over and looked as clear as glass. Visions of children’s swords and popsicle memories abound. Here is a great children’s craft to make your own icicles.

Icicle is a noun, meaning, “a hanging, tapering piece of ice formed by the freezing of dripping water” in the dictionary. Amazing transformations, when you think about it, isn’t it?

icicle 2When I got a little closer the glass-like beauty intrigued me to the point that I wanted to photograph it from different angles. It is so amazing that the cold fluffy stuff melts and drips, then creates a different rock-hard form as it travels down. Soft and blowing fluff, transforming to water liquid drops, hardening to rock-hard, and finally melting into liquid drops again. Water has an eternal journey to the oceans.

icicle 3As I changed positions I also noticed the brilliant blue sky in the background. I simply crouched down to allow inclusion of that beautiful blue sky. A gorgeous shot appeared proving beyond a doubt that winter is a magical time of year. If I can keep my eyes open, I can discover all the beauty in the little miracles outside. This looks like a wonderful painting to me.

4″ of Snow

Max Hurley Val 05

We got about 4″ of snow last night and it looks like a white sparkly fairyland outside this morning. It is gorgeous. It is not heavy snow like we have had in the past, but it is covering everything and will do just fine for sledding.

Max Hurley Val 06

I put on my Santa hat and grabbed the camera going outside for pictures. Have you ever tried to get two excited dogs to stop and pose for the camera?

Max Hurley Val 02Good luck Val, really! Hold still you two. Ha Ha!

deer tracks snowYou can tell that these two woofers love to go outside and play in the snow. Max runs everywhere in a cloud of white powder smelling all the deer tracks in the snow. He makes the whole perimeter circuit in a flash.

Max Hurley Val 07Hurley prefers to roll in the snow and jump up and down in front of me, as he tries to cool off from his heavy sheepdog-type curly coat.

Max Hurley Val 08

It is nice powdery snow and we look forward to much more so we can start skiing this year.

Birthday in Colorado

My cousin recently had a birthday in Colorado and we decided to drive down there and spend it with her and her husband. It may seem crazy to drive that far to say happy birthday in-person but,

some people are just worth it!

antelope herd 1
antelope herd 1

On the way down we thought we had the perfect antelope picture as we slowed on the freeway, and just as we slowed they all turned around and headed away. How many antelope backends have you taken pictures of?

aspen 7
aspen 7 Brekenridge CO

We met at the Welk by Ranahan resort in Breckenridge Colorado where we were able to swim, hot tub and have dinner together after the long 2 day drive. The timing could not have been better because the aspen trees were in full flaming color all around us.

In the little town of Fresco right next door, there are all kinds of coffee houses, eating places and lots of bike paths going all over. We rented bikes and went for a beautiful ride around the Dillon reservoir together. It was an absolute blast for a long afternoon of bike riding! The bikes were rented from Rebel Sports, ski-board- & bike shop in Frisco, CO and it was the best $40 spent on the vacation.

Lawrence, Jeannie, Valerie, Peter
Lawrence, Jeannie, Valerie, Peter

If you ever get a chance to rent an electric-assist bike, do it! It makes riding for miles easy, as you are able to click into different levels of assistance modes for hills. It does not take away all the work of riding, but it makes it much more enjoyable.

What Wildflower is This?

wild flower 02
Unidentified wildflower

Does anyone know what wildflower this is? Honestly, I have been unable to find out what kind of flower this is and would appreciate any help from people who may know.

wild flower 01
mystery wildflower

I apologize for the focus being on the ground instead of the petals but am still putting this image up to help identify it.

wild flower 03
What wildflower is this?

Pete and I were installing the underground dog fence along the upper elevation of the property when we saw it. If anyone out there does know where to concentrate my search it would be greatly appreciated by me. If curiosity killed the cat I’d already be dead.

Fishing Genes from Mom

Val fishing in Colorado mountains 1960s.

I come from a long line of  Fishing Genes from Mom’s side of the family. Really. We have a fishing parasite along with a strong love of the outside. We embrace a meditative state as we lure our dinner into the frying pan. I have proof of this through generations of photography.

Sedilla Pyle in the 1960s Colorado Rocky Mountains looking at the aspen.

The first photographs are of Sedilla, nicknamed “Dillie”, who is my maternal Great Grandma. She had a habit of outliving her husbands, so her last names were numerous including Oxendine (maiden name), Canniff, McKibben, and then Pyle. She fished wherever she lived, these are pictures of her and her kids fishing in Colorado, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Oklahoma.

Dillie Pyle in 1960’s Oklahoma.
Billie McKibben fishing with Sedilla Pyle.

What the heck kind of fish is this?

Billie McKibben with Dorothy & Gus Nethery was Dillie’s children so the fishing gene gets passed on.

I guess there were no fishing limits back then…

Sedilla all bundled up in her folding chair while fishing Colorado.
Stopping for a family, cool feet dipping, during a long Colorado mountain drive with Sedilla, her sister Beulah, and her daughter Opal Kilpatrick.

Honestly, I remember Grandma pulling over cause she saw someone fishing. She’d casually ask them what they were using for bait, and ask if they caught anything.

Opal Kilpatrick 1960s Colorado, getting ready to fry up another delicious dinner at her house in Denver Colorado.

This woman could cook a rock and make it taste delicious. Fishing is a weekend-long event where we would drive up to the mountains, picnic, camp, fish, and hike. I loved it. It is probably why I feel so free hiking in the mountains still.

Snowshoeing Peace

snowshoe02A snowshoeing peaceful walk. We have had some usage of our snowshoes here in Elk WA and I am loving it. Max and I went for a snowshoe break after lunch and found some really beautiful views. I can’t believe how he loves to jump and run in the snow with endless energy, to say the least.

Compare a couple of weeks ago to today.

snowshoe08walk 01232019
The snow was up to my knees and Max’s belly, so with each step, there was deepness and spillover on the shoes making it was a real workout. Beautiful and sparkly white blanket over the ground feeling like I was walking in a quiet winter wonderland. There were deer tracks but no others to mess up the views. Except we can really see where we were, maybe I should apologize for marking up the beautiful white blanket with snowshoe tracks and dog playing leap tracks all over the place.

No, I don’t think so.

snowshoe01I usually sit here and rest but I could not mess up this perfect layer of snow on this old log across the track. The MapMyWalk app says I only went 1.13 miles in an hour and 20 minutes. But, my legs feel like I have been marching with Nazi army soldiers for miles. You know what I mean, lifting my legs up high for each step. Either that or I was doing lunges repeatedly.

I am thoroughly relaxed by the quiet atmosphere with the crunching sound that the snowshoes make as I take each step in the snow. What a wonderful way to meditate and get one heck of a workout at the same time.

Nature is so full of great surprises whenever I take the time to get outside and enjoy what she has to offer. Whenever life seems to be full of worry this kind of stuff lets me refocus on what is really important.