Jekyll Island at Dusk

Every full moon I bemoan that I didn’t I didn’t get down to Jekyll to see the moon come up. Over the winter months until time change, it only works out to do this on weekends since I don’t have time to get down after work during the week. Full moon fell on Sunday this month. The best time to get pictures of the moon if you want to capture much of the surrounding area as well, is the night before full moon. The moon comes up approx. 50 min. later every night. Usually, the night of full moon, the moon is coming up just as the sun is finished setting, and darkness is mostly there, except for the moon. If you wait until then, and expose your camera for the moonlight, you won’t see much else. If you Continue reading “Jekyll Island at Dusk”

Every Day Life

It seems as though I only get posts done any more of vacation and travel. I assure you that is not all that I’ve done the past year or more!

Let’s see … a few highlights of the past few months.

I. My family was home for Thanksgiving. We ate our meals in our mom’s garage. We were thankful for beautiful weather where we could do this with the doors open.

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I found an idea on Pinterest that I used for the centerpiece. It’s a little hard to have a center piece with tables set up like this so we set up a card table in the center. The pumpkin is a little big for the size of the flower arrangement but otherwise I was pleased with it.

The flowers came from a local florist. Most florists will sell flowers by the pack or stem if you want to arrange them yourself (or if you’re like me and usually only want a few or have waited until the last minute to look for anything). Some grocery stores carry beautiful seasonal flowers but the 2 we have here don’t have a very good selection for a varied bouquet.

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The jars for the candles came from HERE. I wanted them in time for a supper we host (See more info below).
My nephew is a pilot so we were able to enjoy an afternoon of flying over the local area.

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There was, of course, a necessary stop at Cafe Euro on our way to the airport!

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Along with volleyball, we played this game. I don’t remember what it’s called … Air 4-Square? 🙂

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One afternoon we helped my sister and her family do some cleanup around the house they bought. They usually host a wiener roast over a fire at our winter family gatherings so we ate at their place. My 2 oldest brothers were in charge of them the meal featuring their favorite cooking methods … Dutch oven and grills.

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Pineapple upside down cake. So yummy!!

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II. A few weeks before Thanksgiving, the companies I work for hosted the 4th annual apprecation supper at our facility for the local public safety officials/employees (police, sheriffs, fire depts, EMS, Air Evac, etc.). My co-worker and a committee do all the planning and other businesses sponsor the food and money for door prizes. If you want to bless your local officials, this is a fun way to do it. And they are always so appreciative.

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III. December is usually a busy month but since our family was together in Nov, I didn’t need to prep for that. Also, I design a calendar for church and for work I managed to get that done right before Thanksgiving too. Maybe I should’ve waited a little because I found a few errors. Grr! Double-checking and triple-checking doesn’t always find them. It was fun to be able to have time to help my sister and her family with some painting at their “new” house. They have done a lot of work to the house and it is fun to watch the transformation!

IV. We had a little quieter Christmas with a few siblings coming in from out of town plus local family. The week between Christmas and New Year I spent on Tybee Island. That deserves a post of it’s own!

V. January at work brings a lot of end-of-year things. Such as:
Getting out W2s for one company, payroll related forms (quarter and annual) for one company, 1099s for 4 companies (all under the same roof), annual corporation renewals for the same 4 companies, business license renewals for 2 companies, sales tax reporting for 1 company.
I’m always afraid I will forget one of them. I think this year I’ve got everything done on time, although as I was putting 1099s in envelopes last week I said, “Why do at the beginning of the month, what you can dread doing all month?!!” 🙂 Yes, I suffer from acute procrastination.

VI. I got to spend a weekend in Pinecraft, FL with a couple of friends. The oddity of Amish in paradise, as it were, (since beauitful, tropical city of Sarasota feels a bit like paradise) always cracks me up. I was as touristy as the next person, walking to Dutchmans for an early supper of Amish dressing/turkey/pot roast/dinner rolls, then strolling to Big Olaf’s that night for some ice cream. I will say this, though, driving to Long Boat Key and finding a quiet public beach access is more my speed than the busy Siesta Key beach. If you’re not familiar with Pinecraft, here is an interesting page to read: http://amishamerica.com/visiting-pinecraft/#contread
This is the first time I saw the battery powered 3-wheeled bikes (trikes? for some reason I only think of tricycles as a child’s small trike. I guess that is the correct term though for the big ones as well.). I was crazy seeing people humming along busy Bahia Vista street on these things.

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Waiting for the Pioneer Trails busses to come in.

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I made shrimp and grits for Sunday lunch.

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Oops! There was more travel pictures! 🙂

Montana – Part 4 – Thompson Falls

The last few days of our trip were spent in Western Montana. One of my dear friends from my days at Northern Youth Programs, Lisa, and her family live in another beautiful part of Montana. The live in a valley between two ridges. As we approached their area, we began noticing more and more dear. It was dusk Sunday evening when we arrived and the dear were everywhere!!

Backing up a bit …

Leaving the Fairfield area, we enjoyed the views of the light covering of snow that was quickly melting.

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Heading southwest we went through an area where houses are few and far between. Lois mentioned that she feels like she might be on the moon. I totally agreed.

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The closer we got to the Roger’s Pass at Continental Divide, the patchier the snow was.

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Until we started climbing to Roger’s Pass, the snow was thick and wet!

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There was pretty much a beauty overload the whole trip!

Check out the overpass below. It is for wildlife to cross the road.

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We could see a little smoke hanging in the air to the west.

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Our only full day in Thompson Falls area, Lisa took us around to see the local area, something both Lois and I love doing!

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There was a lot of vibrant colors in the towns!!

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It was quite amazing to us to see all of the wildlife just wandering around town. How would you like to eat a picnic lunch at the park, surrounded by these?

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Lisa had to drop something off for a friend, and there was a buck in a yard down the street.

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We took a walk on over the area where the hydro dam. We noticed several Bald Eagles flying nearby.

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I noticed an eagle dipping down toward the water and it was one of those moments that I was glad had my camera ready!! You can see the fish toward the bottom left of the photo. I didn’t notice it until I was editing the photos.

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He flew off to enjoy his spoils and soon there was a group of crows around him, offering him help with eating it.

Lisa’s friend, Sadie, invited us over for supper and apple cider making … brewing … pressing. Yeah, that’s it, pressing. I guess that’s how you say it. Either way, we made apple cider after supper. It was an interesting and delicious experience!

The setting of their place is amazing!! This view is from their back porch.

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And they, also, have deer wondering around the place.

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Sadie tried to get the buck to come closer but the extra people around made him a little skittish.

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The cider was SO good!! Here’s a photo of the biggest and smallest apple I could find from the boxes we were processing. This was an off year for Lisa’s trees.

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I wish I could’ve been out during a time when the Milky Way was at the best viewing location. I think this happens in the spring/early summer for the US. This is only a fraction of the Milky Way. The lack of light pollution in the west makes it a great spot to see a maximum number of stars.

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On our way out the next day, I finally saw some bighorn sheep grazing near the road.

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The ladies took us to one more hot springs in Paradise, MT. You can find out more info here: Quinn’s Hot Springs. This has a total of 5 outdoor pools, most of them only a few degrees apart, except for the one pore-closing, hair-standing-on-end one that gripped it’s icy fingers around your ankles (me) or your neck (my cousin Anne who shrieked her way through a dip every once-in-a-while).

(Photo from Visit Montana.com)

 

We flew out of Missoula, relaxed, rested up, and ready to get back home (for the most part). If a vacation feels like it could/should go on longer, it must have been a good one!!

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Montana Part 2 – Hot Springs & Ghost Towns

Our cousins had some fun planned for us when we got there. We ladies left on a 2-day excursion to a hot springs near Boulder. They were very gracious and offered to stop any time I saw a scene that I wanted to shoot. I tried not to abuse the offer and shot quite a few as we were on the road as well.

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Butte in the distance

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As we were driving along a fairly busy highway, Carol noticed a coyote running along, about to cross the road. We turned around and observed/chased him for a bit. He stayed along the road so I was able to get some good shots of it.

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Some abandoned buildings that probably had tales to tell.

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We stopped in Helena, the capitol of Montana, for a little shopping and then an ice cream stop at a carousel with hand carved critters.

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We ate a delicious picnic lunch at Tizer Gardens, a lovely setting beside a stream.

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Most of the summer flowers were past and the fall colors were coming in.

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There was a vine climbing all of the place with cottony looking “blooms. Before they turn cottony they look like this:

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This is later. It is a clematis variety.

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There are multiple areas in Montana where this hot mineral water comes out of the ground (between 120 and 182 degrees according to sign above). At this particular spot, an inn was built in the early 1900s. An Olympic-sized pool was constructed and people came to enjoy the warm water. Hot tub water is usually around 105* so they definitely have to cool it off for you to enjoy it. More information on Boulder Hot Springs.

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Each room is decorated or themed differently. We stayed in a room with a queen bed and a day bed with a trundle bed with a private bath.

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Lest you wonder if we swam in this pond … we didn’t. 🙂 They have several indoor pools. One was around 105* and the other was a chilly ??* degrees. I didn’t take any indoor pictures because the humidity was crazy and I didn’t want to subject any of my electronics to it.

There was an outdoor pool that was the perfect temperature to enjoy for a long time without getting too warm. Later that night we were in the pool for several hours after dark. We heard an elk bugle in the distance.

We grabbed supper in nearby Boulder at one of the 2 or 3 restaurants open that evening. The burger doesn’t look all that big or marvelous in the picture but it was about 5″ across and was very good!!

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Here’s how big the calzones are!

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Here we were introduced to the huckleberry flavor. The soda machines in the corner there include a cream soda machine. I don’t know what other cream soda flavors they have because I’m sure the huckleberry flavor stood head and shoulders over any other contenders. We kept our eyes open for anything huckleberry after this. They are small berries looking similar to blueberries. They grow in the mountains and apparently like higher altitudes best. I’m sure you have to watch out for bears when you pick, as they love berries best! Too bad the berries like cold weather. I think they are much better than blueberries!

Back to the inn … this is what’s left of the original Olympic-sized pool. An earthquake damaged it in the 1930s.

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We had breakfast included with our lodging. They are all about health and had this fresh fruit, yogurt and organic granola for the start of our meal. We then each had a loaded omelette.

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It was fairly quiet while we there (middle of the week) and we were some of the few who stayed overnight. I’m sure weekends and summers the place is humming. The following weekend they were expecting a busload of people. Lots of locals come and enjoy the pools without the lodging.

I so wanted to see a ghost town while were out west and found out about one that wasn’t too far away, Elkhorn. It had been a silver mine that had 2,500 at the peak of its existence. It was a fairly well-established town. Several epidemics hit the mining town and we were able to go to see the grave yard which was high up the mountain overlooking the town. Not sure why they had it there.

Many of the buildings were gone or in the process of going. This one section of the mining operation.

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Another mine entrance:

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The town more or less died when the railroad ceased to service this area and later all the track was taken up.

There are still people living here and there modest houses with green metal roofs that had us wondering if we had the right place for a brief minute.

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Looking down on the town on our way to the graveyard.

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One tombstone only said “Mother”.

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There were several buildings we could go into. They’ve been preserved

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Look at the layers of wallpaper!

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We were told there was a resident who could tell you all about the history of the town. We didn’t take time to talk to him but we saw his interesting place.

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On the scenic ride out of the ghost town.

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We arrived home so very relaxed and rested! It was a delightful 2 days!