"I started photographing my domestic world and writing not just about what I had made,
but why I made it, examining the thoughts that accompany creativity and the act of making."
Jane Brocket from The Gentle Art of Domesticity p. 189 UK edition

Friday, August 21, 2015

Wildfire Weather

Hi!  Thanks for coming to visit : )  It is good to greet you from home, although I had a great time traveling. With pretty cotton yarn Betsy gave me awhile ago, I even got two dishcloths knit while I wasn't driving.
When we heard that there were some wildfires in northern California we decided to take the coastal route [always my favorite anyway : )] to try to avoid driving through smokey areas...a plan that did not entirely work.
While driving through Crescent City, CA we stopped at Brother Jonathan Point where I took this zoomed in view of St. George lighthouse which is seven miles from shore and difficult to see in the foggy mist that day.
Then looking to the south I took this less zoomed in view of the Crescent City lighthouse which I enjoyed touring many years ago when we lived in Crescent City.
South of Crescent City there was a huge herd of elk in a park protected area on both sides of the road.  Aren't those antlers amazing?
Then, not many miles south we started running into smoke from a wildfire east of Eureka, CA.  Typically this is the time of year when lightning strikes start wildfires and the on going drought in the West has made this year particularly vulnerable to fire and the loss of many homes and a few lives so far, too, as you may have heard through the news.
As we continued driving south, the smoke lessened and we enjoyed driving through a redwood forrest CA state park.
My youngest son, Tim, and I stopped in the northern San Francisco Bay area to pick up three family members to continue the drive to Burbank, CA, and the 50th wedding celebration for my older sister and my bother-in-law.  We saw many orchards along route I-5, and were very curious to know what was growing in them because we could not see as we sped down the road, and we wished the farmers had put out signs to inform us : )
Many sections of the southern freeways have oleander bushes growing in the median strips, which I think is a lovely choice.
My nieces planned a wonderful party and helped us make wonderful memories as we celebrated.
My oldest niece's sister-in-law made this amazing cake which made me think of Anne's wonderful sugar craft work. 
After several days of visiting we drove north and my family dropped me off to visit with my friend of forty years, Paula, and her husband Lee in San Jose, CA.  Paula and I met at the church we attended, and Lee told my husband, Louis, that IBM was hiring for a position he was interested in getting and did get.
Paula is an animal lover and has a beautiful little flock of chickens in her backyard.
This feathery girl seems to be thinking..."Did I really lay that!?!"  : )

My pictures don't do justice to this pretty and productive flock!
Paula drove me up into the San Jose foothills and this is a view of the southern Bay Area and some of the golden hills of CA.
While there are few trees in the foothills, the eucalyptus and old oak trees are especially beautiful, I think.
We enjoyed seeing this small herd of horses, also.
There are so many vineyards up and down CA, it always impresses me as I drive by them.
This thought provoking message on the mount impressed me as well.
The modern windmills springing from more and more locations pose a pretty and practical presence to me although some protest their worth.
The diminished snow cover on Mt. Shasta in northern CA while normal for this time of year also reminds us of our increased drought conditions.
But in spite of the drought, our household has been given or picked up fruit and vegetables which are being processed.
Various family members are canning and freezing the results and we are having yummy fresh produce meals as well.  A Fisherman Friend has given us delicious fresh salmon to enjoy several times, also.
The wildfires have made some of our sunsets especially colorful.
But it has been concerning to not be able to see Mt. Hood very well because of the smokey haze, as in this view several blocks from our home that I have often shared with you on clearer days.  Can you see Mt. Hood?  It is a bit of a shadow in the upper right of the photo...honest!
While I was traveling,  my youngest daughter attended the county fair and sent me this delightful Smiling Sheep photo which is the last image I will leave with you in this post.

Wildfire weather is a time of tragic loss for some and great concern for others.  Forestry experts explain that forrest fires positively contribute to the growth cycle of forests,  but we still mourn the loss of lives and property they bring.

Today marks the six year anniversary of the death of my husband of 38 years.  While I am celebrating with those around me who are marking 50 years of marriage, I am saddened and jealous that I can not celebrate 50 years of marriage or more with my husband.  Yet I celebrate the positive time we shared, particularly our shared faith: that pleasures on earth will be followed by the incredible pleasures of eternal life through Christ.

Months ago I added a page to my sidebar but did not bring your attention to it.  It is entitled "Louis."  In it I describe my view of my time spent with Louis on earth.  Adventures!  I invite you to read about them if you are curious : )

Since coming home during our stretch of wildfire weather, I have been picking sun gold cherry tomatoes, knitting, swimming, attending church, having luncheons with friends, planning to restring some cobalt blue glass beads I have been collecting along with those Teresa gave me, writing a poem, drawing, painting a watercolor picture, and planning a business link to this blog...my adventures continue!

Please tell me about your adventures whatever your weather may be.  I am eager to know!

Gracie xx


  1. Hello Gracie thank you for your visit to my blog and your lovely, thoughtful comments and your prayers. Life has been a little difficult of late but I am trying to hang in there.
    Another wonderful, interesting post from you. I love hearing about your travels and of course your family. Many congratulations to your sister and her husband - DH and I celebrate 44 years of marriage on 28th August. The cake is fabulous - I think you are being too kind describing my work as wonderful - but thank you. I like having some knitting/crochet to do on journeys. DH usually drives as he doesn't enjoy being a passenger. The fires sound dreadful and I feel so sorry for loss of life and properties. Take care Gracie - hugs Anne x

  2. My Gracie, what a wonderful trip. Congratulations to your sister and brother-in-law. 50 years is a rarity these day. The wildfire situation is getting really serious out there. I think about all of you that I blog with in the northwest often. Stay safe.

  3. So very sad about all the fires. It takes a mighty long time for all those trees to grow back. I'm glad you were still able to have an enjoyable trip. Congrats to your sister and her husband on 50 years. Definitely worthy of celebration, although bittersweet for you. It's good to find beauty in the here and now yet honor the memories of our past. Blessings, Tammy

  4. Fantastic photos, Gracie! I enjoyed all of them. I'm still waiting to see elk here in Washington. We're told they are here, but we just haven't been in the right place at the right time to see any. They are beautiful creatures. And those redwoods must be amazing to see in person! So big! I didn't know you were a widow. I'm very sorry to hear that. I can't imagine what that would be like. Sounds like you had 38 wonderful years though, which is more than a lot of people these days. I'll have to go check out that link in your sidebar. Have a wonderful weekend! It's clear of smoke around here today.

  5. Hello my sweet Gracie. It's good to know that you're safely home from your travels, although from the look of your photos you had wonderful visits and scenery while you were gone. From talking to you, I know how much you loved your Louis, and how you share your life together with others. You are an inspiration to me in all aspects of life and I love you for that.
    Our wildfires are absolutely terrible up here in Spokane. Our air quality is in the unhealthy range and we can't see across the street. I have never seen anything like this in my life. I've been praying for rain for weeks now. I feel so bad for everyone in these fires' paths.
    Glad you're home my friend.

  6. Glad to hear you are safe and back from your travels. Sounds like an amazing trip and some great memories made spending quality times with family and friends. The fires are awful, all the people affected are in my prayers. Stay safe.

  7. ((big hugs to you)) on the passing of your husband six years ago. I smile with you at the knowledge that one day you will see him again, face to face and the adventures together will continue forever. Praise God that we know that this life is not the end for us, and death is but the beginning. So sad about the fires and lives lost and the homes, too. Prayers for them all. Oh I love that pretty blue yarn, I think I might have some of it in my stash, so pretty. I look forward to seeing all the projects you have been working on. The pictures are awesome on your blog. Thank you for taking us along on your adventures. Blessings to you always. :)

  8. Wildfires are really great danger to forests and difficult for the firefighters to deal with. Happy anniversary to your sister. It is just that some get to live to see these many years but more important is, even if less than your sister, you have spent lovely time with your husband and I am sure it must be like 100 years together. It is so nice to see you being active in life even if you might be feeling lonely sometimes. Stay safe and away from wildfires.

  9. Hi Gracie, it's so nice to hear you had a wonderful trip and your back home safe. I loved seeing all the photos you shared. Wildfires are a terrible thing as I've been reading the news about the ones in Washington state. My heart goes out to the families who have been effected. Looks like you have lots of fun projects planned. I'm knitting a sweater for myself so I'll see how it goes. Have a lovely weekend :)

  10. Hello sweet Gracie, how I have missed you! What a fantastic trip! Such beautiful things in our world!!
    I have missed blogging and my blogging friends, very much. I do hope to return to it soon.
    Good to see you are well, and enjoying the summer.

  11. It looks like you had a very nice trip. I'm glad you enjoyed yourself so much. I'm sorry about those wildfires. It's really so terrible. Did you know that we have smoke from them in our air all the way down here in New Mexico? We've had a haze in the air for about a week. It's nothing compared to what's happening there, of course. I hope it's all over very soon. I'm sad to read what you said about not being able to celebrate a 50th anniversary with Louis. I hope you aren't feeling too lonely right now. You should have been able to spend many more years together and I'm sorry that didn't happen for you. I think you've created a lovely life for yourself after his death. I hope you are having a good weekend. Take care, Gracie.

  12. Looks like a lovely trip, wonderful pictures and yes the elk antlers are smazing!
    I totally understand how sad you must feel seeing others celebrating wedding anniversaries whilst you and your husband can't continue to do so, I'm sure he is looking down on you and watching over you though.
    Hugs, Jillxo

  13. Gracie, what a wonderful post and I do so love your travels here and amazing 50yrs.....awesome.
    Must say I loved seeing the Elk and their antlers ☺.....much love to you Gracie and keep the fond memories of you and your husband in your everyday ♥♥

  14. Bless you, dear Gracie. I'm so sorry for your loss. What a joy it will be when you meet him again in Heaven!

    Thank you for the wonderful photos - the redwood trees just lifted my heart. So soaring, so old - they help put things in perspective. It sounds like you had a great trip and great times with family and friends.

    The wildfires are so sad. God have mercy on the firefighters and on those who live in the path of the flames.

  15. You had quite the trip to CA. Nice photos as well. I made zucchini muffins today after grating two zucchini. A few weeks ago our daughter's friend gave us some cherry plums. They are now in the freezer, waiting for me to make something from them. I want to make a batch of jam from them. Our garden was small and very little came from it. Always nice for people to share their bounty of veggies and fruit. Air was smoke filled most of the day here. Will see what tomorrow brings as afternoon is an outdoor birthday party for a friend. Sigh! Take care and good to catch up with you! Hugs!

  16. Hi Gracie! I'm home! I enjoyed seeing your images from your trip. I wish you had been able to have Louis longer. I am sure he knows how much you loved and miss him. I'm glad you have your family around you to love you and cherish you. I hope to see you in the pool soon. I had to rest up today and do my blog post. I'm really tired from all my travel this summer. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  17. It was wonderful to take this journey with you and see so many lovely views. I hope the wildfires will no create too much damage. Your piece about Louis was so interesting, I'm sorry that you he isn't still with you. Sarah x

  18. Gracie, your trip sounds so wonderful. So many wonderful sights to see and lovely friends and family to spend time with. I have been thinking of all of you out west with all the fires, such a scary situation. I know you miss your husband so much. I remember reading that piece you wrote so beautifully about him when you suggested it to me several years ago, it is a wonderful dedication to an amazing man.
    Hugs to you,

  19. Gracie! You are just globetrotting all over the place! The photos are so amazing! I don't even know if I've ever seen a tree that big here! The sunsets, the trees, the moon in the next post...It all makes me want to move out of Delaware for good. Did you sleep in that tent? If so, you are mighty bold...Not sure I could go that far, lol. I'm a chicken!

    Can I also tell you that I'm SO jealous of the fact that you had what sounds like a great 38-year marriage to a wonderful husband that you STILL adore? That's something I'm still wishing for myself! I tried for years to make my marriage work with someone who was a bit more difficult, to put it mildly. I learned a lot. But, I can't say I miss him. That was a tough realization for me to come to because all I ever wanted was to raise a loving family. You know, typical girl stuff. You, even in your loss, have had so much more than many ever get in life. It's so great (and very important) that you cherish that. Gives people like me hope!

    And the traveling? It's awesome. Maybe someday that will be in my future too. For now, I'll just sigh over your photos! Wow!

    I love the color in your crochet work too. So much going on here! You're so blessed! I'm sure Louis is glad that you are enjoying your life.

  20. Congrats to your sister and brother-in-law! You have so many awesome photos in this post! I particularly love the shot of the Crescent City lighthouse. I can see the outline of Mt. Hood since I looked for it, but if you hadn't mentioned it, I probably would not have known there is a mountain in that photo. Sad to hear about the wildfires! Glad you had a great trip though!

  21. Gracie, I feel like I have been on the most amazing adventures this morning, and I didn't even have to leave my house...I got all caught up on your beautiful posts! You really find the most beautiful places to visit. We have been seeing the haze here in Colorado from all of the fires. So sad. My prayers are with all of those being affected right now. I used to have to be aware of hurricanes; the fires are a new concern now. I will absolutely read about your most precious of adventures...life with Louis. I love you so, sweet Friend! Sending you hugs!

  22. I so enjoyed coming along on your interesting travels, and hearing about your happy family times and adventures. It is wonderful that your sister and brother in law celebrated 50 years of marriage. I can imagine though how bittersweet it is for you that you couldn't have your beloved husband with you for longer to celebrate your own happy anniversaries. I am glad you have such loving children and grandchildren to care for you, dear Gracie. Enjoy your weekend.
    Helen xox

  23. I too have enjoyed playing "catch up" with all your adventures as of late Gracie. I hope this little note finds you well. I've missed our little chats from time to time!

  24. What a wonderful summer you have had! Hope you and your family are keeping well.


  25. Dear Gracie, I was so sorry when I read of the significance of the date for you. I was just speaking with a friend today (who also has a teenage daughter who has been very ill for even longer than mine) about the experience of being jealous of those who seem to have more blessings / less troubles than we do. Like my friend, I too have a pang when listening to parents of children who (apparently) have pretty much sailed through childhood and into young adulthood with - so it seems - so many opportunities in front of them. But of course it's impossible to measure either blessings or challenges, and best to focus on the former. In the islands they often talk of Providence, which is a very full concept. I will have to take some time to read your "Louis" posts. I'm grateful that you both had 38 years together. (Here endeth the lesson!!)
    My uncle used to have an almond orchard north of San Francisco. But I believe after many years he gave it up, and sold some of the land off. Beautiful photo of the redwoods, and yes I can see the outline of Mt. Hood! Very strange to see Mt. Shasta look so bare - I have never seen so little snow on it.

  26. Wow my dear friend Gracie, it looks like you are having a fantastic summer. I can't wait to see you soon.

  27. I have just posted about my latest adventure.

    Your adventures look fabulous, but I do understand that they would be all the more fabulous if your dear husband was still with you x

  28. A pretty yarn and a lovely trip, lucky you.

  29. Welcome home, Gracie - what a glorious summer you've had. I didn't know your Louis had passed - how lucky you were to have 38 years with him. I can see your life is filled with wonderful family and friends - what a blessing.
    I pray that there is an end to the wildfires there and you have lots of rain. Thanks for sharing all those wonderful photos. xo

  30. You have been so busy! I think that maybe our paths crossed somewhere in northern California! We drove Hwy 1 from west of Petaluma to Eureka! I know you read my post about Ft. Ross. I noticed that as we drove through smokey areas (mostly in the Redwoods), the filtered sunlight was almost orange.
    I am sad with you that you are not celebrating those anniversaries with your husband. Our consolation is that this is not all there is. Enjoy Labor Day weekend!


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