Archive for the ‘Parenting’ Category

Hiking Vermilion Gorge


Hi again! The summer was pretty busy at the farm (www.cookscountryconnection.com) , so Mr. Wonderful, Danny, and I took a Sunday off to make another hike up to Vermilion Gorge.  The leaves were still beautiful, and the high temp was 88!

People often mistake Vermilion Falls with Vermilion Gorge. The Falls are the really short hike that was shortened a few years ago. It’s right before Crane Lake. Here is the USFS sheet on that one. 

Vermilion Gorge is the 3 mile round-trip hike that takes about 3 hours “at a leisurely pace”, according to Vermilion Gorge USFS info sheet.  Drive all the way through Crane Lake and park in the private parking lot for Voyagaire Houseboats on the left. In the fall and early spring, the lot is full of said houseboats, but there will be signs pointing you to the trailhead.

The hike starts in a birch/aspen (popple) forest, and the sky was perfect this day. Most of the maple leaves were on the ground, but the vibrant yellows popped with the deep blue fall sky. We spent a lot of time looking straight up.

 

Vermilion Gorge (4 of 195) Vermilion Gorge (6 of 195) Vermilion Gorge (7 of 195) Vermilion Gorge (10 of 195)

As the trail climbed into the Norway pines, we noticed a million types of mushrooms.

Vermilion Gorge (18 of 195) Vermilion Gorge (26 of 195)And writing this post, I noticed we got photobombed by a bald eagle!! Very top of the photo, left of center. 
Vermilion Gorge (20 of 195)The reflections were breathtaking. 
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Some kind soul had left a walking stick at the trailhead, so the Boy happily used it, returning it for the next person.

 

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I could be wrong, but I think this is a glacial erratic. I didn’t get any good shots of it on this trip, so this pic is from last year.

Vermilion Gorge-208

 

 

 

 

 

Vermilion Gorge (69 of 195) Vermilion Gorge (79 of 195) Vermilion Gorge (82 of 195)

We sat for a break (for me, not them lol), and Paul noticed this birdnest in a birch tree overhanging the gorge.

Vermilion Gorge (103 of 195)

Yep, he has his device. But he got some awesome photos and is reading in this picture. No gaming.

Vermilion Gorge (124 of 195)

It was during this break that I noticed cairns farther upstream. Paul and Danny did some scouting, and were sure I could make it, with help. I’m so lucky to have these two; I wouldn’t have attempted this hike without backup. Not that it’s super-difficult; it’s just too much for me, with bum hips, knees, and ankles. They were such troopers, helping me up and down stairs and steep sections of trail.

Anyway, I remembered being on the other side of the monolith with BFF Terri several years ago, and had pretty much given up the idea of making it there this time. Luckily the lure of getting photos with the sun hitting the gorge dead-on and a little encouragement from my family got me over the hump.

Vermilion Gorge (138 of 195) Vermilion Gorge (144 of 195) Vermilion Gorge (152 of 195) Vermilion Gorge (153 of 195) Vermilion Gorge (160 of 195) Vermilion Gorge (162 of 195) Vermilion Gorge (164 of 195) Vermilion Gorge (174 of 195)

Would you believe that not counting the canoeists, we only saw two people on the way in, and a group of four as we were almost back out??

Vermilion Gorge (183 of 195) Vermilion Gorge (191 of 195) Vermilion Gorge (194 of 195)

Hope you enjoyed the hike!

 

 

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Update


Holy hell have we been busy!!

As you probably know, we had a “catastrophic loss” of the dollar store and retail/residential building we (mostly Lois) spent seven years nurturing. Click here to read that post. That was over two years ago now, in June of 2013.

My sister already had quite the menagerie of pets–mostly “needs a good home” types, and now she had to figure out how to feed them.She’d always wanted to do animal therapy, but the store and life kept getting in the way. Now we had the time, and some insurance money that needed to be put to good use, so we went for it, and Cook’s Country Connection was born.

Last Labor Day was our first day open to the public (we’d been shooting for May, but you know how these things go!). We got a few field trips under our belts and worked out many kinks in that first two months of operation.

I also became a grandma in October of last year!! My Middle Spawn Harley had a baby boy, and he is the seventh generation to be on the farm! She is an awesome mom, nursing him and using (not to mention MAKING) cloth diapers.

Liam_Monster_Jammies-4

I love being a gramma, and helped a lot with babysitting his first few months while his mom worked midnights. Naturally I overdid it. Now we are easing back in, but wow is he faster and stronger than me some days!! The Toddler Corral is a great safe place to plop him when I am busy in the Farm Store.

LW and chicks at farm (8 of 8)

The Baby Exhibit!

LW and chicks at farm (6 of 8)

LW, perilously close to the poultry.

 

My Eldest Spawn, Bethany is getting married later this month! She has always been the party planner of the family, so of course everything is ticking right along on schedule. Her step daughter calls me Gramma, too, so that’s been arip.

I spent the winter being an artist…photographing and making jewelry which we sell at the Farm Store and the gallery in town, and writing. I even joined a writers’ group at the gallery, which helps force me to make time to write. Youngest Spawn has attended the group with me all summer, and it’s been really good for him, too. I always tell him how talented he is, but sometimes it means more from strangers.

I also signed up to teach a couple of Community Ed classes at the farm. Making a bowling ball gazing ball, vermiculture, and yoga at the farm. Yoga. What the hell was I thinking??? I was thinking that since my yogini moved out east, we could still do yoga at the farm if I taught it. Ugh. My procrastination is in high gear on that one!! Not to mention Imposter Syndrome! My rheumatologist thought it was a great idea, so we’ll see!

What else is new??? Mr. Wonderful would like me to tell you I’ve also been busy making him sammiches. I shouldn’t have to tell you that is BS. I have, however, made lots of jelly.

plum jelly-2-2

Loveyabye! Talk to you soon, and hope to see you at the farm!

PS: You’re welcome, Dawny B!!!

 

 

 

Werewolf Costume


A couple of years ago, youngest spawn was unexpectedly at my house for Halloween (it wasn’t my turn), without a costume. My sister came to the rescue and we took a quick trip to the closest store with costumes, 30 miles away. The plus side of shopping for a costume on the last day is that everything was on clearance, which worked great on the low-child-support budget! It felt so cheesy just grabbing something last-second, that I wanted to do something creative to the whole thing.

He chose a creepy werewolf mask and hands set that freaked me out. The clothing part of the costume was pretty cheesy so I got to thinking.

I wanted it to look like he was bursting out of his clothes, so we grabbed some jeans and a white button-down shirt from before the last growth spurt that were ridiculously small on him. Then came the hard part—talking him out of a toy that had similar coloring to the hair on the gloves and mask. No go.

Lucky for him, he has two older sisters, so I was holding out hope that I could find something…some doll or ratty stuffed animal no one would miss. I tore through boxes and totes from the basement to the attic, and the only thing I could find happened to be mine. Remember Beanie Babies? When the bottom dropped out of that market (thank you Ty, for flooding the market and thus reducing demand), Ty Co. created a line called Beanie Kids. They were homely yet cute in a Cabbage Patch kind of way. We ended up stuck with hundreds of the damn things, so I had one of each stuffed in a box in the attic.

beanie kids, halloween, costume, werewolf, mother of the year, diy, crafty mom,

When I got out the scissors, he bolted. When his sisters saw the remains they asked, “WTH happened here?”

after photo, nailed it, halloween, costume, mother of the year,

I TRY to be a good mother, honest I do.

 I scalped the dolls and sewed the pieces into holes we tore in his shirt and pants.

And he swears he wasn’t scarred from the experience since he didn’t have to watch me cut off the faces.

Phone-829

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Not bad for $10 and an hour of work!

Here are a few other posts you may like: Feel free to Like, Share, and Pin away!!

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Halloween4 005

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Middle Spawn Has a Blog!


Another proud parent moment–the Middle Spawn (AKA youngest Pajari Girl)  is blogging!! And the title of her blog is… Musings of an Intellectual Badass. Because we Pajari Girls are the perfect blend of brains and brass. 🙂

The early years...

The early years…

harley 002

Present day. Smart AND pretty.

A self-proclaiming LOTR nerd, her post on Lord of the Rings memes is bahahaha funny. Go say hi, and tell her that her mother sent you. Loveyabye!

Playing With Water at -25F


One of my latest self-discoveries was that hating winter doesn’t make it shorter, and it certainly doesn’t make me any happier. So, after making ice candles, candle rings, and ice gems/marbles, I went hunting for more crafty ideas on Pinterest and found this genius named Tracy Lynn Conway who had pinned ice sun catchers using a cake pan and/or muffin pans. I was inspired.

The best thing about this cold snap is that I can stand at my kitchen door and watch water freeze. Shut up–it’s verry interesting. Stop judging me!!  Mr. Wonderful found it pretty chuckalicious too, until I sent him a picture.

ice suncatcher

Eat those words, Larry.

This is a fast, cheap, and easy way to fight cabin fever, depression, and/or Seasonal Affective Disorder. This is also Parent of the Year stuff. Youngest Spawn is learning all about frostbite and how ice forms.

Tracy made her sun catchers in the freezer, but I had a blast watching the ice form outside. (And at -20, it was waaaaay faster. See her pin/blog for more on using the freezer.) My favorite effect is when the food coloring freezes while dissipating in the water…it looks like psychedelic snowflakes.

TIP: If you want to use multiple colors, wait until the water is almost ice. Otherwise, you will end up with brown sun catchers.

I’d tried making my ice marbles into hanging ornaments, but the curly ribbon always broke when I tried to remove the balloon. (And they were kind of heavy, which is tough on winter-brittle branches.) That’s where the muffin pan came in. I used magnets to hold the curly ribbon where I wanted it.

muffin pan, sun catcher, ice

I like the way the silver curly ribbon catches the light.

Like the other ice crafts, it’s all about catching the light. A Bundt pan has a ready-made hanging hole, as well as ridges.

ice, bundt pan, suncatcher

I only filled it 1/3 of the way..less weight for the string.

Because I didn’t want all the colors to bleed together, I didn’t add the drops of food coloring until it had started to freeze. Therefore, the color only shows from one side. I dribbled more food coloring on the other side like a glaze.

Glazed.

Glazed.

We have these sets of 3 plastic heart containers at The Barn ($.50 per set), and I just knew they would be good for something. Adding lace (also on clearance), and some foofy colored ice cubes I made from silicone baking molds…

sun catcher, ice, heart. rose,

Ice Valentines to hang in a tree.

Looking forward to seeing this in the sunlight.

Looking forward to seeing this in the sunlight.

On the thicker sun catchers, my color didn’t go all the way through, so I finger-painted a quick heart on the back of this one.

sun catcher, ice, valentine,

This is why my fingers are red.

Again, thank you to Tracy Conway for the great tutorial! Here are some other fun things to do with water in the winter:

ice marbles/gems

Make ice gems/ marbles with balloons. And spray yourself and kitchen blue.

Cool-Whip, Ice candle

Make ice candles with Cool-Whip bowls.

Bundt pan ice candle

Ice candle ring from Bundt pan.

Comments? Questions? Tips? Please “like”, share or Pin it! Better yet, vote to make me Employee of the YEAR!! Loveyabye.

Have you ever made a New Year’s Resolution that you kept?


Thanks to The Daily Prompt for this little nugget. It’s a great question. And I’ve kept one resolution that I made 21 years ago, while pregnant with Eldest Spawn.

I was 16, pregnant, and terrified. I was in college, so I was smart enough to know that this could be very, very bad, for me, the child, and society in general. I was told I would never finish high school OR college, and that the unborn kid was screwed from the start. I might as well just give up now.

I almost did. I spent a few nights with my .357 in my mouth, pretty sure suicide was the only solution.

I didn’t do it. I can, however, still taste the cold, oily, metal on my tongue and it reminds me of the only resolution I ever kept. As resolutions go, it’s pretty vague and it doesn’t exactly reach for the stars:

Screw up my Spawn as little as possible.

It started with the hope that maybe all was not lost. That if I tried hard enough, learned enough, and wanted it enough, we could maybe be ok. I was taking Survey of Calculus at the time, so I began with the known quantities–things I knew I did or did not want: Don’t ever make them feel like the only good option is to kill themselves. Tell them how smart they are. How beautiful, inside and out. Keep them alive and relatively safe. Do what I can to help them not be in the position I was in (trying to parent while still a child) . Tell them they can be whatever they want when they grow up (even a mama duck). Love them.

But…HOW??  I began by talking to other parents (grown-up ones), and reading a lot of parenting books.   That eventually led me to self-help books and counseling, and depression medication, and support groups, where I made some great friends who loved me unconditionally and taught me how to  take care of and heal myself, and my spawn. I tried and retried everything. I made mistakes, and learned from them.

I am not Parent of the Year. I swear too much, I’m cranky in the morning, and until recently, my housekeeping sucked. I hate cooking. I have made a TON of mistakes. But I read something about parenting once that stayed with me…I don’t know who wrote it or where I saw it, but it went something like this: Children are like a clean glass. Every parent harms their children in some way. Some hurts are just greasy fingerprints that can be wiped off. Others leave chips or cracks. Some shatter their glass children irreparably.

My goal is to at least give them the tools to overcome the damage I (and the rest of the world, including themselves) will do to them. So far, so good… I hope.

photo credit: Humor Train

photo credit: Humor Train

PS: I found this pic on Facebook today. Perfect timing for this post! It reminds me to ask myself where I am today, and where I want to go. 🙂

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