The Scenic Route

A few weeks ago, after we dropped Megan and Brandon off at the airport in Seattle, we decided to take the scenic route home instead of our usual straight shot up I-5.  There is a lot of area around here that we have never explored.  We drove through some beautiful countryside and took a short ferry ride to Whidbey Island.  As we wandered up the island we came upon a nice sandy beach.  Several boats were just sitting out on the sand.  I assume they float when it is high tide?  I had never seen boats parked on the sand.

boat in sand

We also discovered the light house with views of Admiralty Inlet and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. We’ve never lived where there were lighthouses nearby, so that was a nice surprise.  We toured the inside and climbed around and around the winding stairs to the top – what a view!


Years ago the lighthouse keeper and his family lived there. The lighthouse is not in operation anymore and is being restored.  Inside  the house are mementos of the families who lived here over the years.

Next to the lighthouse overlooking the bay are a series of World War I era gun emplacements which were part of the coastal defense system.  A coast artillery post features two 10-inch and two 3-inch historic guns on display.

gun hole and lighthouse

Here is the view of the gun emplacements looking out towards the water.

gun boxes on coast

The guns were part of Fort Casey, an army camp here that was charged with coastal defense.  The guns were never fired in battle, but there are pictures of them test firing.

guns fired

There is some interesting information about Fort Casey and its mission inside the lighthouse museum.


The guns are gone now but the bunkers remain.

gun hole

We were getting hungry by this time, so we drove into the nearby town of Coupeville, a quaint little place overlooking Penn Cove.

coupeville street

It was a beautiful, warm afternoon so we ate on the deck of this little restaurant at the end of the pier.  The building is part of the old grain wharf.  What a view!

restaurant on pier

The town is right at the water’s edge.

coupeville from water

After lunch we continued our drive over the bridge at Deception Pass.

Deception pass bridge

Then back up to Hwy 20 and towards the Cascades to our own little ranch.  A very enjoyable side trip and we learned about some new places (to us) in the area.  We should take the scenic route more often.

Happy Birthday Russell!

Today is Russell’s (Rick’s Dad) Birthday – hope you enjoy your special day.  Here are a few photos of one of my favorite people.  This was taken at the tulip festival this past spring.

at the tulip festival

He and Rick raking out the rocks from the planting bed in the spring.  That bed is now covered with pumpkins.

russell raking

Russell petting the puppies.  Grizzly always hogs most of the attention.

russell with pups

On the way home from Nick’s wedding, we all stopped at Russell’s favorite In-N-Out Burger for lunch.

in n out

                                            Happy Birthday!

More Money Than Sense?

I went to our little post office in town yesterday to mail a package to my favorite college student (yes Megan your apron is in the mail).  When I pulled into the parking lot I noticed lots of fancy cars parked around the local restaurant next door.

parking lot

It is not unusual to see car clubs and lots of motorcycles stopped here.  Hwy 20 is officially the North Cascades Highway and part of the Cascade Loop, so our little town gets lots of visitors passing through on nice summer weekends.

2 cars

I am not a car person at all, but even I could tell these were very fancy sports cars.

car w hood up

I just don’t get why anyone would spend enormous sums of money on a vehicle.  Don’t they all drive on the same roads and have the same speed limit?

cars by caboose

They all park in the same parking lot?  I don’t get it – why would you spend as much on a car as you would on a house?  And they are so small – where would you put the groceries? Maybe more money than good sense?

green and red car

I still have no idea what kind of cars these are – I’ll leave that to you car people.  They did get a lot of attention in town though 😉

Forest Field Day

Several weeks ago Rick and I attended a Family Forest Field Day for people who own small (5-100 acre) forests.  There were many different sessions on a variety of topics with a lot of good information.  The one we enjoyed most was the demonstration of small scale logging equipment.  Before they demonstrated the equipment, the horse logging folks came over to pick up a log.

horse logging 1

The horses were beautiful and very well trained; certainly a lot of fun to watch.

horse logging 2

They did the job, but I don’t think we have logging with horses in our future.

horse logging 3

We were more interested in the log arches.

hand cart 2

A neat little contraption that Mark, the designer was demonstrating.  It allows you to maneuver the log by hand.

hand cart 1

A variation is the one you can pull with a quad, tractor, Scout etc.  You position it over the log.

mech cart 1

Attach the toggles and winch it up.

pulling cart

 A great little tool for small scale forestry work.

mech cart 2

 And away you go with your log behind you.

  pulling log

We learned a lot at the field day and have a little better idea of what we need to do with our forested acreage.  Now we just need LOTS of labor!

Lake Tahoe Wedding

We have just returned from a quick trip to California for the wedding of our nephew Nick and his bride Riah.  They were married about halfway up the ski run at the Heavenly Resort in South Lake Tahoe.


Lake Tahoe is famous for its snow and skiing in the winter.

snow tram

It is also beautiful in the summer.

tahoe pic

We rode the tram  – the same one the skiers use in the winter – up to the site.


It was a gorgeous view looking back over the lake.

tram cables

Nick and Riah enjoying their chicken at the rehearsal dinner.

nick w chicken leg

The center of attention at the “wedding house,” where the family stayed for the weekend, was this cute little puppy Frank.  Frank is half heeler and half Border Collie.  His coloring reminds me of our dog Molly.

frank 2

Our nephew Doug and his girlfriend Amanda found the puppy his brother Brent had been looking for.  Doug was taking him to Bakersfield for Brent and stopped in Tahoe for the wedding.  Frank is a cutie!


Meanwhile, back at the wedding, Nick has his boutonniere attached.

nick boutonnaire

The beautiful bride Riah with her dad.

riah and dad

 Bethany, Nick’s sister, was a bridesmaid.


After the ceremony the wedding party went down a lot of steps to get a great backdrop for their pictures.  See Nick and Riah way down there among the rocks?

both in rocks

Nick decided to show off his fireman muscles and carried Riah all the way back up the many rock stairs.

carrying at bottom

All the way to the top!

nick carrying

After sitting on the rocks for a picture, Beth helps Nick dust off his backside.  A big sister’s work is never done.

nick butt

Riah and Nick dancing at the reception.  Don’t they make a lovely couple?

oval dancing

On the drive back to Bakersfield we stopped to eat at Russell’s favorite drive in, In-N-Out.  It was a long drive, but a beautiful location and wedding.  Congratulations and best wishes to Nick and Riah.

in and out

Megan and Brandon

Our daughter Megan and her boyfriend Brandon came for a visit before they started back to school.  Brandon had never been here in the summer time.  We went for a hike up to Cascade Pass and also worked on a couple of our many projects.

  putting rocks on line

The first project was putting in the water line through the orchard.

line covered w rocks

Rick had already dug the line with an excavator, so they put in the pipe then covered it with rocks.  We had plenty of those!

rocks on line close

They installed a hose bib and started filling in the long trench.

megan watching

Some people shoveled while others watched.

brandon shoveling

Rocks in the bottom and dirt on top.

line partial

Now we can plant our berries in the de-rocked dirt on top of the water line.  We wanted to make good use of our trench – in all those rocks we didn’t want to dig another one.  These are the rocks we had left over.


 Rick and Brandon also worked on digging holes for fence posts.

scout postholes

We didn’t make Brandon work all the time.  He and Megan decided to take the dogs for a walk – on a leash.  Neither of the dogs had ever been on a leash before.  Surprisingly, Grizzly caught on right away.

 grizzly and megan leash

Molly didn’t quite seem to understand the process.

brandon and molly leash

Molly just wanted Brandon to pet her.  They eventually gave up on the leash idea and just went for a walk; the dogs stay right with you that way.

  molly and brandon leash 3

We also went to the rodeo at our local fair.  Not quite the big San Antonio Rodeo Brandon is used to, but a much smaller version.

horses w flags

We toured the animal barns and Megan loved the bunnies.

 megan w bunny

We also went up Hwy. 20 to Newhalem and the dams and lakes above us on the Skagit River.

Marblemount 001

It is a beautiful view.

looking over fence

Megan and Brandon climbed down the rocks to the waterfall for a closer look.  I was content looking on from above – someone has to take the pictures.

in front of waterfall

Before they flew out of Seattle, Rick and Brandon toured the Boeing Museum of Flight while Megan and I shopped.


It is a very nice museum with lots of displays.


A last picture of Brandon at the air museum and then they were off to Aggieland to return to school.

brandon w airplane