Hummingbirds - inside and out!

My backyard is full of territorial, macho little Annas hummingbirds

Apparently, the females have the common sense to go south for the winter.  The males hang out all winter and buzz around my head indignantly if I let the feeder freeze over (during our last cold snap, I was thawing it out twice a day!) or go empty.  I've really been enjoying their antics but have had a hard time getting any good pictures (it was too dang cold to sit out on the deck with a camera!)

He's just spent a lot of energy chasing off the competition - hey, buddy - there's enough for everyone!

It was so cold a couple of weeks ago that I even took pity on the other wildlife and put out suet and some squirrel food.  The jays and flickers found the food right away.  My back fence is like a little squirrel freeway.

The house is all decorated for the holidays

I really enjoy putting up the ornaments on the tree - some of them are over 35 years old (unfortunately, none of my childhood tree ornaments survived) and bring back such memories.

Happy 94th Birthday, Mom!

Mom turned 94 yesterday.

The family had her party at my house this afternoon.  She enjoyed her cake, her presents, and a phone call from my brother back East.

Had to say Farewell to Molly last week . . . feeling very sad

Say not in grief, "They are no more", but live in thankfulness that they were.  Hebrew Proverb

Mammas Memory (Molly) 4/28/2001 - 10/25/2013
AJ's Butch (Jack) 3/21/2002 - 2/11/2010

The Escape was purchased primarily for the dogs

They loved the trailer - and I got teased for giving them the 'big' bed

In my memory, they will always be full of life and running free.

My house smells like mushroom risotto!

8 mushrooms; almost 4 pounds!

After Paula's success in finding mushrooms, I was eager to try my luck.  Despite the woods being pretty picked over after a long weekend of more experienced hunters combing through them (and coming away with grocery bags full of mushrooms), I found a few more of the King Boletes.  Total haul for the weekend - almost 4 pounds (8 mushrooms - these things are huge).  I'm cooking half of them and drying the rest.  The 'shrooms have an amazingly rich smell.  Paula and I are sharing recipe ideas and Nehalem Bay is definitely on my fall destination list forever!

Second day's haul - the one on the right was over 1/2 pound!

Molly's new jacket

Here's a picture of the new jacket I mentioned in yesterday's post.  Gatherings are a lot like what I imagine the old pioneer trapper Rendezvous were like.  Isolated travelers who come together periodically to share info, socialize and enjoy the lifestyle we've chosen together. 

Greyhounds love clothes!
You can't see it in that picture, but the last day of the gathering was a beautiful cloudless sunny day! Packing up to go home and saying goodbye to everyone is always a bit sad - but, today, this feeling was offset by the sheer beauty of a perfect autumn day.

Edible mushrooms!!

King Bolete mushrooms!

The mushroom pickers are out in force - while we were walking Molly, my friend Paula and I met some young women who were hunting mushrooms - add to this my conversation with the park host on Thursday as he showed me several monster 'shrooms (I mean those suckers were a couple of pounds each) and well, I was intrigued!

But Paula beat me to the punch, and as I was finishing my dish for the potluck (more on that in a minute), Paula arrived at my campsite with a bag full of freshly picked mushrooms.  I can't wait to try them!  Hey, tinycamper, I'm going to eat a wild mushroom!

King Bolete mushrooms!

Fall fiberglass RV Northern Oregon Gathering

The main reason I'm camping on the coast this rainy weekend is to attend the fall NOG - usually 30-40 folks who currently own, have previously owned, or are interested in molded-fiberglass trailers (scamps, casitas, escapes, etc) - always a fun weekend to share trips, tips, give and receive trailer tours - and the very yummy diet-busting potluck.  Usually, no matter how much it rains, well get a break just long enough for the potluck.  Since it's October, some folks decorate for Halloween.
OK, so I decorated a little bit too :-) 

This has been a really fun gathering - Sharen brought Molly a beautiful red buffalo plaid jacket (complete with a snood that covers her long neck and half of her face - very snuggly!

And I met Cheryl and Lindsey and gave them a tour of the trailer - and Cheryl tells me that she follows this blog!!  Imagine that!! (Hi Cheryl - I know you'll find the perfect trailer for you and continue to have amazing camping experiences)

One more picture of the kitty, Faye Wray

Hiding behind the pillows

I WILL poo in your shoe!

The cat is not happy

And so begins the great experiment . . . for the first hour of driving, Faye Wray sat in her box and howled.  She must have thought I couldn't hear her, because she climbed onto the central console so that she could meow directly into my right ear.  Thankfully, after about an hour she settled down in her box muttering expletives occasionally.  

She handled the first night quite well - even eating a little bit.  She wandered around the trailer in the dark, exploring, and then snuggled up to sleep.  At about 2am, something startled her and she used my face as a launchpad as she hurdled herself back to a hiding spot under the front bed.  Several small, and surprisingly painful puncture wounds were dealt with (where is that first aid kit?) But slowly we all got back to sleep.

Overall, it's working out better than I expected . . .

Faye Wray did NOT:
  • Barf in the car
  • Pee in the car
  • Hysterically fling herself at the windows trying to escape
  • Dash for the open door as I got in and out
  • She didn't howl in the trailer all night
  • She hasn't attacked the dog (always a possibility when she's ticked off)
So, I'm encouraged!!  I think I may actually be able to pull off a long trip this winter to sunnier climes!!
I will poo in this shoe, see if I don't.

Double-decker pets!

Molly is not sure about sharing the trailer with demon kitty

Sisters, OR Folk Festival

Three days of musical bliss!

A half dozen venues across the super cute central Oregon mountain town of Sisters featuring almost 50 different artists.  From blues to bluegrass and on through acts that defy classification (cough . . . Steve Poltz . . .) and bring my appreciation of musical talent to a whole new level!
Despite a violent thunderstorm the day before, the festival was sunny, warm and clear - the smell of BBQ mixing with the juniper and pine; the sweet music of the days fading to the absolute silence of crisp mountain nights.
John Fullbright - a great musician

Cheryl Wheeler - never miss ANY opportunity to hear this woman!
Natalia Zukerman - they say her voice can cause an orchid to bloom - they're right! Her guitar playing is superb (and I love slide guitar!)

So many musicians, only three days!!  It's now Sunday afternoon and I've crossed Sisters untold times racing from venue to venue, grateful to get a seat or standing in the back craning my neck.  My program has been scribbled on, my day pack is full of CD's and I'm exhausted!

Time to kick back

In camping out at a friend property just outside of town.  She's smoking a pork roast, were shucking fresh corn, the 4 bean salad is made.  The margarita mix is in the freezer - it's going to be another gorgeous mountain afternoon.

While I listened to the music, I did do a few sketches in my new watercolor sketchbook.

People-watching is great at concerts! 

Plein Aire sketch kit

Replacing my 500 sq. ft. Studio while traveling!

I have a huge, gorgeous studio at home with more art supplies than some art supply stores, but when out-and-about, I want the smallest and lightest gear possible! Of course, I'm never completely satisfied and am constantly changing what goes into my field kit - but here's what I'm carrying these days.
9x6 sketchbook and a pencil case
Inside the sketchbook, I keep some blank watercolor postcards and a few sheets of 5x8 watercolor sheets.
The pencil case contains a couple of fountain pens, a micron pen, pencil, 3 water brushes (flat, round, and a round brush pre-mixed with a 50% solution of ink, a folding brush, a rotring pen (with soluable ink), glue stick, and a vial of black ink.

The pencil case holds a lot of stuff!

Also, I can just fit in a small tin of watercolor paint - I'm using a Velaquez palette of Daniel Smith Ultramarine, quin sienna, and quin gold).

3 pans of color, a bottle cap for water, a couple of sponges, and a small binder clip
Underneath the tin, I used duck tape to fashion a thumb loop and a sleeve for the binder clip.  That way I can hold the little palette on my thumb or clip it to a sketchbook.

If the kit is small, I'm better about carrying it - but, of course, I'm never satisfied and keep adding things until it gets cumbersome and I stop carrying it around.  Then, I go through the process of purging out the extra until the kit is small again.  

If I know I'm going to do a lot of painting on a trip, I'll pack up a portfolio with a bunch of 1/2 sheets of watercolor paper and a couple of lightweight support boards.  Then, I allow myself one large canvas bag for whatever paint, brushes, and other stuff I can think of.  I just put away all the stuff I took on my last trip, so I don't have a picture of that setup.

Trailer project day

First a couple of maintenance tasks

After 8 years, the fresh water intake hose had come loose from its fiberglass housing - making it impossible to remove the fill cap.  A few dabs of silicon sealant should do the trick.
The green and white hose is the fill hose

Then, I saw that a wiring board had come loose and was rattling about on the floor getting roughed up by the electric power cord.  I had some double sticky Velcro that I used (I sandwiched in some foam tape to hopefully dampen road vibration) to remount the board on the side of the hot water heater insulation box.

Next project was to install a litter box

I'm starting to prepare for bringing my little cat, Fay Wray, along on my longer trips. Finding an out-of-the-way location for a litter box (where the dog and I won't be constantly stepping in it) is a top priority!
On my last trip, I emptied the cabinet under the furnace - finding new storage for the kitchen and cleaning supplies that I had been keeping there.
Next, the cabinet door had to come off.

Hmmmm . . . the hinges aren't held on with flat or Phillips head screws . . .where is my fancy screwdriver with the selection of Allen wrench tips?

I found an old IKEA reusable shopping bag that was just about the right size for a liner.  I taped it into the cabinet - that may cut down a bit on the litter getting kicked into nooks and crannies.  The pan is just a storage bin, and there's just enough room on the side for a scooper and some bags!

Will it be acceptable to the tiny princess?

I'll spend some time with Fay Wray in the trailer in the driveway before we actually go camping.  Wish me luck . . . 

Sun, water, and a sketchpad - great vacation!

Coves, tide pools, and sea stacks line the way to Cape Arago

Cape Arago tide pools and undersea garden - 7x7.5" - 30 min.

Cape Arago at low tide - 3.5x7.5" - 15 min
Sketching is like a meditation to me - I get lost in the process.  While sketching at Cape Arago, the following drama unfolded (as witnessed by a friend who was exploring the tide pools).  First, her attention was caught by a racoon screaming up in a tree about 70 feet above where I was sketching.  Then, the racoon fell out of the very tall tree, falling about 50 feet to land on the very steep hillside just to the left of where I was.  Then, he tumbled down the slope, attracting the attention of some beachcombers and their black lab.  The dog tried to chase the racoon but the beachcombers managed to call him back (loudly) and get him on leash. Then their children started to cry and scream that they wanted to see the racoon - this is when I finally tune in and look up to see what's going on.  Sheesh!

Waldo Lake - deep, clear water, pristine!

After 3 days touring around Charleston - Bandon OR scenic area, I traveled to Waldo Lake, near Oakridge, OR to meet some friends.  

Waldo Lake is Oregon's second largest lake and is entirely fed by snowmelt and rainfall.  Motors are prohibited on the lake (only small electric motors).  The water is so clear that you can see up to 100 feet down into the water.  While the mosquitoes can be very bad early in the summer (so bad that the Forest Service has a website dedicated to reporting on the current mosquito conditions!), by mid-August they have usually abated to a tolerable level.  I've occasionally been forced out by the bugs, but the last couple of years have been great!

This year my site provided plenty of sunshine for my solar panel, the Persied Meteor shower was just ending, and the sunsets were outstanding.  The clear water, extensive shoreline and little rocky islands made for really fun paddling.  As one of my friends remarked, "it's really a magical place."  She's right.
Waldo Lake - just West of the swimming area at N. Waldo Forest Service Campground - 3.5x7.5" - 20 min.

Home again - the cat shows her displeasure!

Fay Wray, my little 6 pound, pure-white sweet-looking maniac of a cat greeted me by biting me so hard she drew blood and left 2 puncture wounds in my forearm!  She had also broken her collar while I was away, so I replaced it with a very cute pink collar decorated with little black skull-and-crossbones - I think it fits her personality to a Tee!  

As I'm putting together longer and longer trips, I'm preparing to take this little demon along with me (daily cat care for an extended period is difficult to organize and still not really a good option for FW).  I've figured out most of the mechanics (cat harness, where to put the litter box, etc).  But, I'm not sure that gentle Molly, my greyhound, and I will survive the small quarters of my trailer with the determinedly bossy little Fay Wray.  

Lighthouses, pinipeds, and fresh fish!

The day starts in Bandon, Or. 

It's been a few years since I've been down this way - so I was interested in seeing the changes.  A very good art supply store is gone, but the very excellent chocolate store is still there -they provide scrumptious desserts to some of the restaurants in town (scored a great chocolate/caramel mousse dessert after a wonderful fresh rockfish dinner at the Edgewater restaurant last night).

Then it was on to a tour of the Coquille River lighthouse

The lighthouse has never been open for tours on my previous visits so I was anxious to see inside.  An added benefit was getting to meet Nina and Paul (Wheeling It blog ) whose delightful blog I've been following for awhile!

After lunch, it's time to check out some kayak put-ins 

I was interested in a couple paddles around Charleston, Or -just up the coast a few miles.  Plus, I wanted to take the scenic drive out to Cape Arago and check out Charleston, which has a very picturesque fishing marina.

The following photos barely do justice to the natural beauty of this area!  From the Simpson Reef view point you can see (and hear!) Thousands of harbor seals, California sea lions and elephant seals.  This is one of the few places along the Oregon coast where the seals pull out in large numbers - you could hear them from 1/2 mile away! 

Fisherman's wharf in Charleston, OR

The marina in Charleston has a lot of big fishing boats - and lots of small fish stores selling fresh off the boats salmon, tuna, crab and whatever else they caught.
We got a large loin of tuna and grilled it for dinner.  Served with a fresh raspberry sauce and stir-fried veggies - it was a really yummy end to the day!

Still foggy, but I found a power bush

Tonight I'm at Cape Blanco SP near Port Orford, OR.
Its a nice campground high on a cliff overlooking the ocean (well thru the trees).  Molly and I took a lovely walk thru the forest and then along the cape to the lighthouse.
My electronics and trailer battery are sucking up the juice (after 6 days with no sun, my battery was down to about 50%!). 
I'm enjoying a lovely fire - wood provided by a neighbor who was pulling out as I was pulling in.

Campsites are First come, first served here - I feel lucky to have found such a nice spot on a weekend.

can you count how many starfish in this picture?

Had dinner on the beach tonight

One of my workshop classmates found a great little beach that was totally empty of people.  It was not, however, empty of starfish!  The rocks were full of them!
We were there just before a squall hit.
Another gorgeous ocean-viewing day on the southern coast of Oregon!

Painting like mad!

Roll the dice for an assignment!

I'm taking a great watercolor workshop this week.  Each day covers a design element, then we roll the dice for a secondary element and then again for our color scheme. We're churning out 1-2 paintings a day trying to incorporate all the concepts - fun but exhausting.

Here's my effort for today

Not quite done but well on the way.

close up on his face

In weather news . . . 

While still pretty cool and foggy, there was just enough sun to charge my battery today!  Whew . . . I was really afraid my battery was going to discharge so far it would be damaged.  In still here for another couple of days so, I'll still need to be very conservative.

I walked around these rocks at low tide today and saw a gazillion starfish - from brilliant orange to a deep purple. They are so beautiful against the rocks.

The land that summer forgot!

And my last campsite was so lovely!

After 2 nights at Winchester Bay, I headed south to Brookings for my weeklong watercolor class.  But, although the weather report keeps promising partly sunny - it has been unrelentingly foggy and cool.  Not enough sun to even cause a blip on the solar panel. I've turned off the water pump and hot water heater, only powering the propane fridge which takes a bit of power and the occasional led light.  My phone and tablet get charged during class in town every day.  Hoping I don't kill my battery before the week is out!
Believe me, the picture looks much brighter than it actually is! And, yes, the site is nestled among among a lot of tall and dark trees!

Heavy fog all day
I can't believe I'm wearing wool socks and fleece in August!!