Texas

I have returned to cool (65 degrees) Washington from hot, humid (102 degrees) Texas.  It was wonderful to see Megan and get to spend a little time with her.  She is almost finished with her second semester of summer school after completing her freshman year at Texas A & M.  

It is a beautiful campus and she loves it there.  Well over 90% of the students are from Texas.  For a California girl who had to look on the map to find the place, she has acclimated well.  I guess Pastor Phil knew what he was talking about when he said to send her there.  

For those of you who have not been to College Station, they have their own Aggie culture.  They are VERY SERIOUS about football.  You have to attend a game – with the 87,000 other screaming Aggie fans – to believe it. 

 

Rick and I have tickets to the A & M vs. Oklahoma University game in November.

The whole town is Aggie and much of it is maroon.

The golf course is on campus. 

 

And the businesses are Aggie friendly too. 

There are also Aggie T shirts for every occasion. 

  

For those of you who are not well versed in Aggie culture, their hated arch enemies are the University of Texas (at Austin) Longhorns.  They are derisively referred to as tea sippers, TU, and a few other nicknames I cannot print in a family blog.   There are T shirts devoted especially to them, this is one of my favorites.  

I am not sure that is really the correct interpretation of the scripture, but folks in Aggieland are.

Texans in general seem pretty sure they are doing the rest of us a favor by letting us join them.  And yes, they do fly the Texas state flag at the same level (not below) the American flag because, as anyone there will be happy to remind you, they are the only state that was once a sovereign nation.   

The main reason I went to Texas now was to help Megan prepare and move from her furnished summer apartment (she lived in the dorm during the school year) to her unfurnished room in the house she will be sharing with her new roomates.  Of course the color currently on the walls was unacceptable, so first I painted. 

After I finished painting, the real fun began.  After two trips to Houston, Costco and the IKEA store, it was time to unload and put together her furniture.   

No, it does NOT come delivered or assembled.  Her dresser, bed and desk all had to be put together.

Luckily her boyfriend Brandon has a truck and was willing to help.  He even read the directions! 

Brandon is a very nice guy and when he is not putting together furniture he is an Aerospace Engineering major from San Antonio.  

He just finished his sophomore year at A & M. 

 

It was a lot of hard work.

But he got it done.  Those engineering guys are pretty handy to have around.   

 

So now she has the essential furniture.  

Brandon – and his truck – will help her move all the rest of her stuff into the new house. 

 

Her friend Lindsey’s parents bought this brand new house for the girls to share.  College life is so tough!

I was informed that all good Aggie parents have at least one A & M sticker on their vehicle.  So I brought this one home for the Scout.   It was good to see Megan and easier to leave her knowing we will all meet up in California in a couple of weeks.   

 

Garden and More Fence Posts

Our little garden has started producing! 

 

We’ve got fresh zucchini.  Also lettuce and snap peas – a first for us.  They both just shriveled up in the heat in the valley. 

We have also been working on expanding our garden. 

We tilled under the single bed where the lettuce and broccoli were finished and made a new double wide bed.  We have planted seeds for a fall crop of broccoli, beets, and more lettuce.  We have never done a fall crop before, so it will be interesting to see how well it does here in the cool weather.

Yes, more fence posts.  We have the garden fence almost complete, at least enough so we can use a few metal T posts and have it secure from critters.  Now we are working on the orchard fence. 

And surprise!  More rocks!  Lots of rocks. 

So many rocks we’ve gone through four bolts, so far, on the auger.  But we are making progress!

Off to Aggieland

I am off to visit Megan in Aggieland.  She is finishing up her second semester of summer school and making preparations to move into the new house she will share with her roomates next year.  We are going to paint and decorate her new room.  It will be good to see her and spend some time with her.   Rick will be in charge of the blog while I am gone, so you can direct all comments to him 😉 

 

Neighborhood Party

One of our neighbors invited us to a party this weekend.  It was nice to meet some of the other families in the neighborhood.  The people in our little town have been very welcoming to a couple of Californians. 

 Around here, people spend as much time as possible outdoors in the summer because the weather is so nice.   

The gardens were in full bloom and beautiful.   

I wish I could tell you the names of all the lovely flowers, but quite honestly I have no idea!

The food was also wonderful.  Fresh berries and chocolate mmmm.

 After dinner, one of the guys brought out his drums and gave us all lessons.  Though we certainly had our doubts – especially me, at least Rick knows music –  it actually turned out pretty well.  One of our neighbors, Jeffrey, is a very talented musician who played the flute, clarinet and saxophone (not all at once) to accompany our drums.  He made us all sound good! 

The Skagit River is just a walk down the path from their house.

More of the beautiful gardens and hand made bird – or maybe that is a bat – house.

And a good time was had by all. 

It was a welcome respite from digging holes for posts and trees, but we are making progress!  

More pictures of our garden and orchard to come.   

Road Trip and Bears

Rick and I decided we needed a break from digging holes to plant trees and fence posts.  We took a day trip to Fidalgo Island which is about 60 miles west of us in the San Juan Islands.  Anacortes is the largest town on the island.  It is a pretty little town where you can antique or catch one of the Washington State Ferries to other islands in the San Juans.

You can also board the British Columbia Ferry to Vancouver Island and Victoria which is northwest about an hour or so on the ferry.  The ferries are a really fun way to travel, but today we were driving.

From Anacortes we drove south on Hwy 20 over the Deception Pass Bridge to Whidbey Island.  It is a beautiful drive and the bridge has been made famous in many pictures and postcards. 

Whidbey Island

Bridge over Deception Pass

While we were on Whidbey Island we went to Cornet Cove.

Cornet Cove is a sleepy little place that reminded me of Cabot Cove on TV.   

We went back over Deception Pass on our way back home.

This is the view looking east.  You can just make out the Cascade Mountains (where we live) in the distance. It was a fun day and we saw some beautiful sights, but we are glad to be back home in our little place at the foot of the mountains, 

And on another topic . . .

Yesterday Rick looked out the window just as a mama bear and her cub were going across the clearing behind the garden.  These pictures aren’t very clear – they were taken out the window from inside the house – but you can hopefully make out Mama Bear and Boo Boo. 

 

She is a pretty good sized bear, especially when she’s standing up.  Rick estimates she’s about 6 – 7 feet tall based on how high she was over the deer feeder.  She stood up and sniffed around then she and the baby went off down Nick’s trail into the woods.

I definitely would not want to come between her and her cub!

 

 

 

Intruders

We hung a couple of feeders and I’ve been feeding the birds, in spite of the huge blue jays and pigeons that sometimes attack the feeders.  I should warn you now that if you are a pacifist, animal rights activist or just plain squeamish you might want to skip this post.  

The birdseed trash can.

I removed the bungee cord holding the lid securely to the can, lifted it off and got quite a shock.  MICE!! Four of them!  Scurrying around in the birdseed.  Rick says I screamed like a girl – which I must point out is the only way I know how to scream – and dropped the lid in a hurry.  I am not really afraid of mice, though they aren’t my favorite things, but I was certainly surprised to see them in there.  Evidently the lid to the old trash can doesn’t fit quite as tight as I thought.   At this point I should insert the picture of the mice in the birdseed, but I would have had to get very close to them to take that picture and I wasn’t willing to do that.  You will have to use your imagination. 

After Rick quit laughing, he agreed to get rid of the mice.  He tried to grab them but those little things are pretty quick.  And they would still be alive and crawling around near me.  So, like any good farm boy, he got out his gun.

A few shots was all it took.  I was braver about taking pictures when he was the one close to the mice. 

 

OK, I warn you here is the sqeamish part.

He threw their little dead bodies out where some critter will eat them.  

I was a lot braver about taking their picture after they were dead. 

So there you have my exciting mouse adventure.  I will be much more cautious about opening the lid in the future and I did add a new trash can with a TIGHT fitting lid to my shopping list. 

Drip System

Rick and I have been working on our garden, weeding and mulching.  We’ve had a few pretty warm days and have been watering quite a bit.  We wanted a better way to water without getting the plant leaves wet so I talked him into giving this drip system a try. 

Rick refers to this as the “Redneck drip system” but I prefer the term “low tech.”    

It is quite simple.  You poke a hole in the empty milk jugs, plant them in the ground, fill up with water, the water drips out.

Rick cut a piece of an old hose and voila an easy and effective way to water the garden.  It gets the water to the plant roots and is a good way to use those milk jugs.  Fancy it is not.  Maybe by next gardening season we will have hose bibs and drips lines installed, but then again maybe not.  You really only need to water here for six weeks or so during the warmest part of the season.  And it works!

  

 

Aren’t They Cute?

     Why is it that babies of any kind are so appealing?  Coyotes must be the scroungiest looking animals ever created, but even their pups are cute.  We found them playing in the lower pasture.  The whole family was there, Mom & Dad and these three energetic little ones. 

This one was taking a leisurely stroll by himself through the back yard and the oxeye daisies. 

 

 

We don’t mean to brag, but . . .

Our weather has been absolutely beautiful.  Warm and sunny in the low to mid 80’s during the day and nights in the high 40’s to low 50’s.  The air is so clear and clean.  We know the air in southern California is terrible with all the fire smoke and heat.  We are glad to be here!

Rick says I shouldn’t tell anybody how nice it is here or it will start to get crowded. 

So, disregard the above and just think of it as cold and raining all the time here 😉