Capitol Reef NP

Capitol Reef NP
Capitol Reef NP

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

11-02-2021 A Gentle October Comes to an End

Chrysanthemums in October

It has been a gentle month.  Today, dressed for damp fall weather, I completed a garden chore that might seem a bit silly to some.  Here in Grants Pass, and in the Pacific Northwest in general, it has rained more this October than it has for many years.  Between Atmospheric Rivers and Bomb Cyclones dumping inches of rain, there have been a few breaks in the clouds.  Leaves are starting to fall, but the main event won’t happen until mid to late November. In the meantime, little jobs await outdoors for a break in the weather.

The annuals in my cutting garden bed are so happy that the weather has cooled

My silly project has to do with lifting plants in the hot summer and replanting them when things cool down in the fall.  For most of my life, I have either planted bulbs in the fall, or lifted dahlias and gladiolas before the hard freezes of winter destroy them.  Here, the glads and dahlias stay in the ground all season, happily popping up every spring.  Sometimes the glads have moved around a bit in the garden, thanks to the moles and gophers, but most of the time they all appear somewhere eventually.

Primroses blooming in March

The primroses are a different story.  Primroses love the damp, cool weather of the Pacific Northwest.  They are also fairly hardy in reasonable winter temperatures.  When I lived near Spokane, I so envied the brilliant borders of Juliet purple primroses that seemed to line every path and rock garden in the lush neighborhoods of the South Hill area.  I finally bought a couple at the local perennial nursery.  I have moved and babied those two little plants for decades.  First to my home in Klamath Falls, then to Mo’s home at Rocky Point, and now finally settled here at Sunset House. They have multiplied into a treasured row of fluffy purple primroses that light up the entry walkway here spring.

Cool pots for the primroses to hide in during the hot summer

The problem is, Grants Pass may be in Oregon, but it is definitely not the cool, damp Pacific Northwest environment that allows them to thrive.  Every summer, when the July heat and drought hit, in spite of prolific watering, they start to turn brown and crispy.  They hate our summer heat.  So I dutifully lift them each year and let them spend the summer in the shade of our thick photinia shrubs, hand watering them almost daily to help them survive our brutal summers.

I spent the little break in the weather today transplanting those sweet little primroses from their summer boxes to their showcase row along our walkway.  A few of them are already showing their happy purple faces lit with tiny yellow centers.  As I planted, I found the sprouts of the miniature yellow daffodils that start blooming in between the primroses in February.

It was a sweet chore, and I relished the moist soil, the water droplets on leaves, and the incredible lushness of an Oregon garden when it isn’t 108 in the shade, the rains are months away, and the well has to be so carefully managed.  I haven’t had to think about the well for a month.  All the water systems are turned off.  It feels easy and peaceful.

The trees that we planted almost 4 years ago when we finished building Sunset House are strengthening and growing bigger every season.  This year has been especially colorful, not only in our yard but throughout Grants Pass.  Maybe it is the healing rains that have been so consistent and the temperatures that got down to 32F Degrees only once. Zinnias, dahlias, roses are still blooming in the midst of brilliant orange, yellow, and red leaves.  It is quite a feast for the senses.

It was a gentle month for many reasons.  With our Utah trip behind us, we had nothing huge on the agenda for the month of October.  Finally, I could bring out the fall and Halloween decorations.

Maryruth and I decided to spend some simple girly time enjoying an early lunch accompanied by Lavender Lemon Drops at the Bohemian, a cute downtown venue in a building more than 100 years old.  The food is delicious as well, and the place is delightful if a bit noisy. 

Later that afternoon, Mo and I drove through the slanting afternoon sunlight to Schmidt Family Vineyard for wine and pizza.  We were treated to music by a blues duo, including Broadway Phil, an artist we have followed for years.  Blues and a pale moon in the blue sky and brilliant light on the trees made for some sweet moments.

Mo took advantage of the breaks in the rain to finish painting the new deck addition.  I shopped for some young, new herb plants to replace the ones we had to take out when we extended the deck.  Mo built some new steps for me, easier to navigate than what we had previously. 

I cleaned up the big Weber BBQ that I used to have to climb up and down the stairs to use and we hauled it up to the deck.  No longer will I need to run up and down to try to cook something, and its position on the bigger deck doesn’t get in the way of our view as it did in the smaller space we had prior to building the extension.

I spent some of the month working on the quilt project that I bought when we were passing through Florence on our last trip to the coast.  I loved the fabric, didn’t have a pattern, and decided that a disappearing 4 patch would be a simple way to showcase the pretty fall colors.  Not so simple, I had forgotten all those points that needed matching, but it turned out OK.  I then made placemats and napkins to go with it.

Later in the month, it was my turn to hostess for the women of my newish Grants Pass Book Club.  Nine women showed up for goodies, wine, hot cider, and great conversation. I enjoy entertaining people this way, but just not too often, please.  I don’t know why I get so wound up over it because everything almost always turns out just fine. 

I love this group of women and am enjoying the book club tremendously.  Our book for November was to be either a Native American author or a story about Native Americans.  We chose Louise Erdich’s recent book, “The Night Watchman”.  An excellent choice. 

The days were sliding by easily, and Mo reminded me that we did need to plan an outing of some sort for the MoHo for October.  We try hard not to miss doing some kind of travel each month.  I managed to get a reservation toward the end of the month for a great site at Harris Beach State Park.  By the time our day of departure rolled around, the infamous Atmospheric River was heading straight for Oregon.  We knew to expect three days of hard rain, wind, and possible flooding.  Ah yes, the Oregon Coast is fun even in the rain.

It was raining when we left home, but by the time we arrived in Brookings and got set up the weather let up a bit. Our site was an old favorite, C3, just to the south of the full ocean view sites along the front line of the park, but big and private, and even with a tiny sliver of ocean view out our windows. 

We drove down to the beach and were aghast at the huge waves pounding the shoreline, completely covering the beach.  It was King Tide time on the coast and the weather only added to the drama.  After exploring the beach a bit from the dry car, we drove south of town to Brookings Harbor.  The surf was wild along the south Chetco River jetty, with huge logs brought in from the storm

A bit later we drove north along Highway 101 to see if possibly we could find another dramatic view of the wild surf.  Not far north of town, we came to an exit we have never explored.  The road to Lone Ranch Beach is marked as a Day Use Area only, and in all our years visiting the Oregon Coast we have never driven down to the beach.  What a surprise. 

The clouds broke enough for us to walk a bit and explore the beach and a bit of the Oregon Coast Trail that continues north from the beach.  It was quiet, almost empty except for two other cars.  We saw only one person walking and by the time we got back to our car he and his dog were loading up to leave.  Mattie loved her chance to run free on the beach unleashed with no one else around to bother her or us.

The night was loud with rain pounding the roof, and yet we slept great soothed by the sounds.  I could hear the roar of the ocean all night. The next morning dawned rainy as expected.  We relaxed, read, played cards a bit, had a late breakfast, and then decided to go exploring a bit.  Mo searched out Dog Parks in Brookings. 

In the wet rain, Mattie didn’t think much of Stout Dog Park, toward the center of town in a small neighborhood.  We walked to the new dog park built at the entrance to the Chetco Point Trail  The signage for this park was nonexistent, but we did manage to find it.  It was well fenced with separate big and little dog areas, but the wind and rain made it not much fun for Mattie.

Mattie was just 9 months old or so in the bottom photo on that sunny day in 2015

We walked down the trail just a bit, marveling at the wild surf, and took photos of Mattie on the same picnic table where we photographed her on our first trip to the coast with her when she was brand new to us. The rain was heavy enough that we didn’t particularly want to linger or hike.  Instead, we drove to a small quilt shop I had never discovered before.  The owner said she had been there for six years.  Not sure how I missed this one, but I had fun wandering around looking at goodies and purchased a couple of patterns for Quilt as You Go projects, something I have never tried. 

By the time we returned to the MoHo, Mo decided that rain or not she wanted a campfire.  We have enjoyed rainy campfires in the past, and she pulled out the umbrellas for us.  I waited inside for the fire and finally Mattie and I joined Mo with the drippy skies adding to the ambiance of the warm fire.  Not bad. 

On Wednesday, as expected, we woke to brighter skies and no rain.  Our plan was to drive north to Bandon, walk around town a bit, and then return in time for a fish and chips late lunch at the Crazy Norwegian.  It was a gorgeous day, and we took our time along the highway, stopping at several overlooks to enjoy the views of the ocean and the coast. We stopped in the little town of Port Orford to be sure the restaurant would be open, and just across the street was another quilt shop.  My willpower didn’t hold up and I left with 5 yards of magnificent fabric for which I have no determined use.  Quilters will understand.

For the first time in a long time, we enjoyed walking around Bandon when it wasn’t raining!  Our first stop was Face Rock Creamery where I bought some yummy cheeses and we had ice cream.  One scoop is huge!  and Delicious as well.  By the time we parked in town near the Coastal Mist Chocolate Shop, I was too full to enjoy my most favorite sweet, the Drinking Chocolate!  I can’t believe I couldn’t manage a little cup of perfect heaven.  I knew fish and chips were waiting and the ice cream was still digesting, so no dreamy hot chocolate this time.

Our first stop was the book store, another favorite place to spend time.  I enjoyed looking for a gift book for the December book club get-together.  We then wandered town a bit more and I found a lovely little cottage shop full of cottagey stuff.  I even found something to buy there that looks perfect in my fall décor at home.  It always amazes me how creative people who have shops like this manage to take a bunch of tattered junk and make it appear beautiful and oh so tempting.  If I tried it, it would be just a bunch of junk in a room!

By the time we left Bandon and returned south along the coast toward Port Orford, it was late afternoon.  We arrived at the Crazy Norwegian just at 4:30, in time to settle into the last table available in the front area of the restaurant. 

I didn’t know until we paid the bill when we left that there were four more tables in a nook to the right of the main dining room.  I always think of Nina when I see the Crazy Norwegian.  She wrote about it more than once when she and Paul were volunteering at the lighthouse at Cape Blanco State Park.

It was getting late in the day, and we wanted to give Mattie one more chance to run on a beach before going back to camp.  We stopped at another new site we haven’t visited before.  Arizona Beach is a day-use-only area along Highway 101.  Once again, we had the beach to ourselves, and Mattie could run as free as she wanted to. 

When we arrived back at camp, it was almost dark and unbelievably, not raining!  Mo built a big campfire again, using up the rest of our dry wood brought from home, including some very big madrone logs that she managed to split.  The fire was hot and wonderful, and once again I felt silly for not bringing the marshmallows on this trip.  We were expecting three days of rain!

Harris Beach on the morning before we left for home.  Sunshine!

I felt something on this trip that I haven’t felt in a long time.  Completely relaxed.  I didn’t feel I had to worry about anything that needed to be done, any unfinished projects waiting for me, chores and leaves in the yard overwhelming my mind in the middle of the night. Mo was driving and I was daydreaming as I watched the beautiful landscape roll by and thought, “I want to hold this feeling always, I want to take it home with me.”

So far, I have done well with this thought.  I spent a day yesterday doing nothing except wash the bedding, make the bed, and crawl into it to read the new book.  The day before yesterday, I did manage to get out in the morning before the rain started to blow some leaves and rake a bit.  But the pressure isn’t building as it often does for me.  The leaves will wait for us.  Chores will get done, or not.  If not today, then tomorrow.  This blog will get written, or not.  But as I write I realize that this time, it isn’t a chore or a job I need to finish.  It is something I am doing because it pleases me in this moment.

Dinner will be leftovers from last night tacos, and I don’t have to worry about house cleaning till the weekend.  The house is fine.  The leaves will wait.  I can do whatever I want whenever I want.  Such a feeling of freedom.  It is something to realize that a lot of pressures and deadlines are completely self imposed and are absolutely unnecessary.  For the moment at least, all is good.

20 comments:

  1. What a great time, and blog post... Felt like I was with you!! Pictures beautiful as always! Have a great Fall and holidays!

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    1. Thanks for being such a faithful reader after all these years, Loree. Love watching your little one Lucy snuggling into you more and more as the yeas go by.

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  2. Still so much brilliant colors. I love the idea of gophers moving flowers. I've never had a green thumb but always loved all the flowers Berta had around the place. Your place has a warm welcome look. I find coastal storms invigorating, if not overly dramatic. Sounds like the best monthly trip of the year if you can keep that relaxed feeling. I believe you found your bliss.

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    1. I am hoping things are pretty the next time you make it north to Oregon. As I tell everyone, come before the end of June or after September. That works for the coast as well, Gaelyn, where summers are foggy, chilly, and crowded!

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  3. Your lovely gardens always amaze me. What I see as a chore, you see as an act of love.

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    1. Sometimes things are still a chore! Especially after the 12th load of leaves to the dump, Mary Ann!

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    1. Gee, Mark, I thought this post was fairly low key and not horribly busy. Oh well. I may stay somewhat busy, but I am NOT hiking and climbing high ridges and scree slopes so I might last awhile longer. You two will be going forever, I am sure.

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  5. as always, stunning pix. love your placemat/napkin design! and sweet baby mattie.
    may you enjoy a healthy and happy winter!

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    1. We are enjoying fall and looking forward to the coming winter. Somehow after months of drought, winter fog and rains seem so very lovely. In fact, we have decided to not travel all the way south to the desert this January as we often do. For the moment, desert plans are on hold.

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  6. I loved this blog--so well written and the photos are amazing!! I love your sentiment "I can do whatever I want whenever I want. Such a feeling of freedom." At this stage in our lives Michael and I need to keep reminding ourselves that there is nothing we have to do--if it gets done, great, if not oh well! I worked fulltime and then some as a nurse in a super stressful environment. I would spend my weekends making sure my house was spotless with no help from the spouse and going to church only to go back to work on Monday. Those days are over. Now I'm trying to teach myself not to stress about having people over, perfect food, spotless house, etc. I'm getting there! And by the way--from the photos I've seen the home you and Mo have created is beautiful, and your table settings are beautiful!

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    1. Thanks so much for this comment, Janna, it was the first one I saw and in spite of the fact that I do the blog for myself, it was most welcome. Made me feel good about what I wrote, which seemed a bit random and wandering. Funny thing, folks seem to respond to these kinds of posts. I get a lot more interest in these random posts than I do for many of the "travel" posts. I know I enjoy your random life posts a lot as well, so am glad you haven't given up blogging.

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  7. Your flowers are stunning. When I return to the farm permanently could I fly you out to design flowers for here? I’ll hire someone else to do it while we sit on the porch and drink lemonade. What a lovely dream.

    You clearly love your primroses to move them from house to house and place to place. Obviously both they and you are hardy. I love your fall runner, napkins and placemats. The fabric is fantastic. You are so talented and they are just lovely. Wish I could grab a handful of the snacks in that darling pumpkin bowl. Book club – ahh, so envious. I love Louise Erdrich and loved The Night Watchman. About her grandfather wasn’t it?

    Glad you got out on your October outing. I love an angry ocean as long as I am safe. How much fun to find a new to you place for Mattie's beach running. Really great pictures. Love Mo pointing and Mattie going. Love her in her sweater. Don’t blame her for saying no thanks to the rain. Love you under your umbrella by the fire. You two are intrepid for sure.

    Your descriptions of where you went and what you did just make me want to be your shadow. Ice cream, hot chocolate, book shop. That last picture of Harris Beach is just gorgeous. What a lovely ending to this post and such truth about pressures and deadlines. I think I will post that line in a place where I can view it often on my way to “all is good”.

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    1. Yes, Sherry, the primroses and the hostas are like treasured furniture, I haul them around no matter where I go. I might have a learning curve regarding what works in Virginia for gardens. Every place is different and takes awhile to adjust to each area I have lived in. Actually, the designing part is fun, it is the long term maintenance that can get tedious.

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  8. Glad to see that you guys got out again before the calendar turned to November. Somehow two months have passed since our arrival in Turkey. Except for our getaway trips, we’ve not been doing anything special that warrants such fleeting days here … and yet …

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    1. I am pretty sure all the great family gatherings and great food are quite special. I have so enjoyed the photos and glad you are posting to Facebook in between the Find Penguin posts. Such food times with old friends and family. Turkey is amazing.

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  9. (Hi Sue, I get your blog both in Blogger and WP, but I generally comment on WP. I'm not sure you're seeing my comments, so I'm going to try to remember to only comment here. :-) Anyway, this is what I wrote a couple of weeks ago in response to this thoughtful blog. I hope you three are doing well.)

    Oh, I love this post! Thank you for sharing your beautiful, rich October. And thank you for reminding me about what is most important—being present, and delighting in this moment. What a wonderful life you and Mo create. That photo of sweet Mattie on the picnic table made me smile.

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    1. Pretty amazing that someone would see both blogs and bother to comment on both! Thank you Laurel. I answered you by email so I won't recopy my answer here. Hugs

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  10. It's already November and I'm just reading about your October. Sue, your pictures are beautiful. Big camera? Phone? Point 'n shoot? It's good to have a calm month, down time I call it, and recharge batteries. All that October rain? Wow, you know every living thing loved it. I'm sorry we missed it. Are you guys planning on a short Nov outing? We're in for the duration, I believe. Does Mattie like the book club, too? Nice to catch up with you.

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    1. Ok Nickie, some of the yard photos, the especially brilliant ones, were shot with my Panasonic DMC-FZ300. If you click on the photos, you will be taken to the original photo on Smugmug, where you can click on the i to see which camera shot the photo. ALL of the photos from the coast, and many of the other photos on the blog were shot with my Samsung Galaxy Not 20 phone. Love that camera. Looks like your new camera did a great job on your Portugal, Spain, Morocco trip! Curious how you blog...do you use the online blogger editor? Do you upload your photos from the camera first, do you edit them in any way, or do you upload them directly into blogger as you write. I don't do that any more because it takes forever to post. If I put them on smugmug first I can post in seconds, no matter where I am. Live Writer doesn't work for me any more, but I still write and add photos with it, then copy the HTML and plug that into the blogger editor at draft blogger. Works a lot better for me since I am horrible at using draft blogger on the blogger site. Yes, the October rains were very different from the last few years. All those leaves are really really wet, but the good side of that is that most of them are down already and will be finished by late November for sure rather than late December. Mattie didn't get to meet book club. Mo escaped to the MoHo for the duration with Mattie. No November outing. We are going to Melody's today for her Broadway musical show at ACT, and then Thanksgiving here. But December is already scheduled for lights in Brookings with Maryruth and Gerald.

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