Current Location: Old Fort Road, Klamath Falls, Oregon, at 9 degrees F and cloudy.
I am sitting at the same desk as usual, but the view outside my window has changed. Instead of the dark forest I am looking at open sky and the back side of Plum Hill in Klamath Falls. Life has finally shifted a bit, and Mo and I are now spending most of our time at our cozy apartment only 3 miles from town. Yes, we still have the house at Rocky Point, decorated for Christmas, on the outside at least, and still comfortable for Rocky Point stays now and then.
We also have our little cottage in Grants Pass, where we also spend time, working on the property, enjoying the little cottage and the green grass that pops up when the first fall rains come to the Rogue Valley.
It is all part of the transition from living in the woods, plowing snow, driving 45 minutes each way to the grocery store, and our plans for the future, living in mostly snow free Grants Pass. We chose Grants Pass because of the lack of snow plowing and shoveling days, the proximity to the ocean, and the ability to travel north or south on I-5 when we want to soothe the hitch-itch that strikes often. We are gypsies. That travel bug is ingrained, and not likely to dissipate any time soon.
The apartment in Klamath Falls is an interim stop, at least that was the original plan. At the moment, I feel so comfortable and cozy here, enjoying it so much that I don’t think I will ever want to leave it. I love the Klamath Basin. Here on Old Fort Road, we are at the edge of the high desert, with tall ponderosas and a few Doug firs around, but the hills are also covered with sage. Love that smell, love that air, you all know I love the desert.
Each of our places has its own special feeling. Rocky Point for the huge cool forest in the summer, the beautiful refuge just a short walk from the house, the birds, the deer. It is a wonderful place to live in many ways. Grants Pass is wonderful in spring and fall, ten to twenty degrees warmer than either Rocky Point or Klamath Falls, with good shopping just minutes away, and yet a lovely rural feeling on our little piece of land that was once part of a walnut grove more than 100 years old.
Old Fort Road is part of the magical basin, with views of Mt Shasta, the Klamath River, the dry winter air, and as stated before 10 to 20 degrees cooler than Grants Pass in the summer. I am glad that at the moment I don’t have to choose any one of these places over the other. Of course, the MoHo always waits as well, with the road to the desert, to the ocean, to other mountains always waiting for us. It may be a bit complex at the moment, but it is so good and I feel incredibly lucky. And thankful.
I keep waiting for life to settle in a bit, for things to slow down. I have waited since mid October when we returned from Ireland, all through the month of November, and here, finally, on the last day of November, I have some time that isn’t allocated to anything else. I can write.
I began this post as usual, with a visual cruise through my photos. I have to admit I was a bit shocked to realize that I haven’t written a thing since we got back from Ireland, six weeks ago! Geez. I do have some good reasons. Just a couple of days after our return from Ireland, best friends Maryruth and Gerald drove up from California to spend a long weekend with us at Rocky Point. Daughter Melody was starring in the musical Chicago, playing Velma Kelly, and they wanted to see the show.
The final performance of the show was amazing, and the reviews reflected what a wonderful job the Linkville Theater did with the staging, the casting, the dancing, and of course the music. It was wonderful. I was amazed at how a small community theater could put on a production as lavish and complex as Chicago. Fabulous. And not just because my daughter had a major role. We had a fabulous weekend, visiting the Lower Klamath Refuge where Judy volunteered this summer, enjoying the gorgeous skies and the birds. We shared good meals and lots of talking and laughing and fun. It is so wonderful when friends can visit. Next month we will go south to visit them and share in Maryruth’s mother’s 90th birthday celebration. Elsie has been in my life since I was 18, and is like family to me. Looking forward to seeing everyone at the big gathering.
A few days later, Mo and I managed to get out on Pelican Bay for another gorgeous paddle. With the fall migration in full force, there were so many birds out there. Gorgeous skies and perfect weather are part of the Klamath Basin wonder in October. Late September and October are the very best months to be here, in my opinion. Nearly perfect, and no mosquitoes.
We spent a few days in Grants Pass, for an exciting project on the property. With a low GPM well, Mo decided that our solution would be to add a cistern, rather than taking the chance on a new well. The cistern holds 1750 gallons, is filled automatically by the well pump, then the water is pumped from the cistern through the pressure tank to the cottage. Now we can water the trees and small lawn during the summer without fear of drawing down the well too much.
There are 27 trees on the .89 acre, several of them are gorgeous old oaks and a couple of pines and firs that are more than 100 years old. Tree work was in order, and it turns out that the guy who ran the backhoe for the cistern installation was also an excellent arborist. He did a great job on our trees, removing dead branches and making it much safer. He also removed 5 huge stumps that were still in place from tree removals prior to our purchase of the property.
Then it was time for the “big move”. Late in the month, Mo’s brothers drove down to Rocky Point to help us with the heavy lifting. Dan and Chere came from Beavercreek near Portland, and Don came all the way from Spokane. I have no idea how we would have managed without them, short of hiring some expensive movers, which we promised both brothers that we would do when it comes time for the next move.
We had fun in the midst of the moving stuff, and I did my best to cook good meals and make sure that both homes had food and beds for everyone, even though said beds were in transit. Dan and Chere’s two dogs were especially helpful, making sure that everything done just right. They also provided a bit of entertainment and company for Mattie, who has developed a great love for big dogs. Most of the time, they know how to play with her and like Judy’s Emma, will lower themselves down to her level for playtime. It is fun to watch.
By November 1, our target date, almost everything we needed to be comfortable in the apartment was moved and we settled in. We spent five beautiful days doing the “nesting” thing, enjoying the sunshine, the smaller space, all the little things that can make moving to a new place fun and exciting.
As the main cook, I was a bit concerned about my new kitchen. Compared to Rocky Point, my current apartment kitchen is about the size of my big counter in RP! I discovered that a small kitchen has some advantages: I can reach all the drawers from one standing position, the floor is a quick wipe up rather than a major mopping event, and without a dishwasher, running a sink of soapy water as I cook keeps things in line. I am actually enjoying it, although I still sometimes open four cupboards before I remember exactly where I have stored a particular item.
Another fun thing about the apartment is that we actually have two. One for living, and the one next door for an extra guest bedroom, storage of “stuff” and best of all, an entire dining room and living room for my sewing, craft, and quilt room! I can make a mess and don’t have to keep cleaning it all up mid project. I do love that part. In RP I did my sewing on the dining table which required lots of bringing out and putting away of stuff when meal times approached.
With the early November sunny weather, I took some time to explore places to walk nearby. Daughter Melody and grandson Xavier live in another apartment in the complex and it is fun to walk down the path to her door and go for a spontaneous walk together.
Mo has had these apartments for years, and decided last year that property management companies and weird renters were no fun at all. Now it is an inside deal, everyone pays their rent on time and pitches in to keep the place looking nice. It is a good place for us to be while we transition, and I get the benefit of being closer to my daughter and grandkids. Mattie LOVES the beach!
At last, with the major chores of moving behind us, it was time for a quick trip to Brookings. The MoHo was waiting patiently in Grants Pass and we needed a break. Seems as though the only way to get a break from chores is to leave home where there are no chores!
We had a great three days, enjoying the clearest skies I have seen in a long time at the ocean. Judy had mentioned that Harris Beach SP would be closed to camping this season, so we didn’t even bother checking. We decided to stay at Beachfront RV Park, on the Harbor.
It was so much fun to listen to the surf all night, and to watch the waves right outside our front window. One morning we drove up to check out Harris Beach, and were surprised to discover that the campground is still partially open, albeit without reservations. As usual, the front view row was full. We were glad that we did something different this time.
I loved taking Mattie for walks right out the door to the beach. It did rain on one day, but that was the day that we had scheduled some maintenance for the MoHo generator. Seems as though the fuel pump gave out. Brookings Harbor RV Repair had good reviews, and Mo decided that a trip to Brookings was worth it to get someone we could trust for the repair. They did a great job and I would highly recommend them for this kind of work.
With a few days of gorgeous beach time and quiet afternoons in the MoHo reading and napping, we were rejuvenated and ready to return to Grants Pass. We hauled the tractor from Rocky Point to the cottage on our way to the beach, and Mo was ready to make an attempt to level the huge pile of dirt left behind from the cistern installation.
She made quick work of that pile and got most of it leveled and moved in just one day! We raked and moved a LOT of rocks, and then seeded the sticky red soil with a good fall mix, hoping that it will take before spring.
Back to the apartments with a load of firewood from our stash in Rocky Point, and we settled in for the rest of the month. I enjoyed cooking and sewing a bit, going for walks with Mattie, visiting with kids, and doing a little bit of shopping in town (takes 8 minutes to get to the main intersection of Klamath Falls!).
The day before Thanksgiving, we got hit with the first snow and some really cold temperatures. It is still white out here, and Mo was really smart to haul the tractor back from Grants Pass so that she could plow the apartment parking lot. With just a tiny walk to shovel, we got the snow removal job done in record time. One BIG benefit of not living in Rocky Point.
By Thanksgiving day, the skies were clear, and the temperatures were in the single digits. It was a great day to travel over High Lakes Pass on Highway 140 to Shady Cove, where daughter Deborah and her sweetie Bob hosted a fabulous Thanksgiving dinner for us, and for Melody’s family, and Bob’s parents, who live in Rocky Point.
All I had to do was bring the candied yams! Such fun having daughters who take on the big family celebrations sometimes and being only a guest. We had a lovely day, with sunny skies and a warm cozy home to enjoy.
Instead of driving all the way back to Klamath Falls, Mo and I opted to take the short drive to the cottage and spent the night there before returning home to the apartment the next afternoon. With a shortage of groceries in the Grants Pass fridge, we decided to go out for breakfast. Sitting at the warm and cozy dining room at Elmer’s, with the sun pouring in through the windows, the fire crackling in the fireplace, and a fabulous breakfast, I felt that crazy happy feeling that comes without warning. I do love that feeling so much, can’t make it happen, can’t really explain it, and it comes quite often ever since I first noticed it while hiking in Joshua Tree last winter. Later we actually managed a little bit of shopping on Black Friday, something I usually avoid like the plague. However, most of the stores we visited mid morning in Grants Pass were not busy at all.
Home now, settled in and cozy with a nice fire going, office space all set up and comfortable, quilting and card making projects waiting in the apartment next door. Life really IS good.