Cherry Tree quilt progress

Cherry Tree quilt progress

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Back to reality...

Back home at the edge of the northwoods ...We have returned to Taylorsoutback...after 2 months on the road gathering memories to last forever....

Finding time to update this blog has taken a back seat to other demands - overwhelming yard work (our lawns were taken care of but - oh my! the gardens and raised beds....it is a jungle out there!

Our Dave and Jena are staying with us while they get settled in new jobs and check out area housing options. I am being spoiled as they shoo me out of the kitchen to pitch in with meals and cleanup or lend helping hands in the gardens. Our house is filled with dogs, laughter, new recipes to try, books to share and watching preseason Packer football.

My Mom was so happy to see us and know her family is safe and close by...

When evening comes and there is some down time, out comes the stitching...it can be repair work on a 2003 quilt which mysteriously has a little chewed corner -

This involves removing all the binding, reinforcing the corner and adding new binding.

Compliments of little Miss Innocent...who admits to nothing...

Or concentrating on joining rows for the first of 4 borders - Di Ford's Drayton Hall...there are way too many major projects in the works and I just want to focus on one for now until things settle into some sort of routine.

Do you know that feeling of wanting to be in eight places at once? That's where I am now...

Pat - home again - still dreaming of mountains and turquoise blue waters...

Moraine Lake -Banff Provincial Park





 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Celebrating 50 years together...

....our wedding anniversary is officially August 20th. Our son and daughter-in-law told us they would treat Mr. Outback and I to dinner out while in Alaska in honor of our 50th wedding anniversary. Other than having heard about Seven Glaciers Restaurant on top of Mt. Alyeska, south of Anchorage, we had no idea what actually dining there would be like.

It was the most memorable evening ever...we arrived at the Alyeska Resort at the base of the mountain and made our way to the gates of the tramway that would take us 2300 ft. up.

What a stunning perspective as we smoothly ascended, being passed on the opposite side by the other tram heading down the mountain...oh to be an eagle and fly!

When we reached the top, we stepped out onto the platform and looked down at the valley below and across to the Cook Inlet and mountain range.


We were escorted to the dining room accompanied by Happy Anniversary wishes from the staff (our son had planned ahead when making reservations)....

...mesmerized by the jaw dropping views below and around us as we were seated...

And savored a long, leisurely dinner - first over glasses of wine and delicate crab cake appetizers..

An elegant scallop bisque soup was presented along with our entrees and for dessert, Baked Alyeska....
Somehow we found room for these artistic, handmade chocolates...

 
As we waited for the tram to take us back down, we could see some of the seven glaciers for which the restaurant is named....
Where did the years ago? How did we get to this time in our lives? Here we are both at 72 years old...50 years together - through thick and thin - 2 years apart because of Vietnam, many moves as the Army dictated, a shared grief over the loss of our first baby, new homes and travel after retirement...and the joy of seeing our son and his Jena begin their lives together...Mr. Outback promised me long ago our lives would not be boring - he was so right! As the sundial in our garden says...
Grow old with me...the best is yet to be!

 

Thursday, July 28, 2016

A day in Halibut Cove...

...we love our shelties, Kelsie and Seana (and missing little Molly) and when we travel, they go with us. On occasion, either Mr. Outback or myself must stay with them while the one of us goes off to participate in another activity..recently, Mr. Outback went out on 2 fishing charters with a friend. I stayed behind with the girls and caught up on laundry, sprucing up the rv, etc. Not complaining at all though, as the catch of halibut will taste fabulous when we return home. The opportunity to share something together (knowing the girls would be ok on their own for a few hours) came when we made reservations on the Danny J out of the Homer Spit harbor...
The day was gorgeous with blue skies and sunshine...a light jacket was all we needed...Halibut Cove is across Kachemak Bay (Yupik word for "large cliff by the water" and have also heard that it makes reference to "smokey" because clouds and smoke tend to collect in the area - there was a far off layer of smoke from the fires that burned up by the Turnagain Arm that week). It took about an hour to reach the cove as we leisurely watched for sea otters and whales that were swimming nearby. 

A slice of paradise was revealed as we approached...
This is a small community which was a fishing village many years ago. After some hard times, the area became revitalized and attracted artists and the expansion of a couple of lodges to provide overnight stays. Along with an art gallery, there is The Saltry restaurant...
There are no cars and the only way around is by ATV, skiff or on foot walking along the lengthy boardwalks that cling to the sides of the rocks. 



There are about 100 summertime residents and perhaps 20 hardy year round folks. The pace of this remote village is stress reducing - quiet, with only the sounds of the water, an occasional float plane or boat. We walked and walked and stopped to take it all in - it was so relaxing. With all the troubles in our world, Halibut Cove would be my choice of escape...

Pat
(and thanks to Mr. Outback for making this post possible - not only as Blogsy given up on my iPad, but the speed of his laptop really helps!)

Thursday, July 14, 2016

More S'mores anyone.....?

...one thing about being on vacation is that you are usually on the go - there are too many sights you want to check out - and Alaska has more than its share of wonders...

As filled as the days are, it is often the quieter evenings that leave moments forever settled in the heart...one such night was this past weekend. Our Dave and Jena had driven down to join us in Homer.

We headed down to the beach after dinner and gathered driftwood to build a fire. The sound of the waves accompanied our laughter as we watched the antics of our Kelsie, Seana and Kodi. Soon the warmth of the cheery campfire meant it was ready for - you guessed it - S'mores. It has been many a year since I last tasted these little wonders...who hasn't tried to perfect a golden coating on the marshmallow without setting it ablaze? Sticky fingers, spots of melted chocolate on the cheek and graham cracker crumbs -

The simple things are most often the very best in life - being with family is #1.

Wishing each of you happy moments with those you love...


Pat - from Homer, Alaska

 

Saturday, July 9, 2016

On a clear day...

....you can see across Kachemak Bay from our campground in Homer, Alaska. We are here for 2 glorious weeks and our Dave and Jena have just arrived to spend the weekend with us. We left behind daily rounds of rain while staying in Wasilla at a campground that left a lot to be desired. No trees, a rutted, pothold filled gravel drive did not add to the junked cars and rv's that surrounded the perimeter. It was the only thing available though - we were glad to leave there.

We have traded that for green grass and lush vegetation with a stunning view.

It is a short stroll down to the beach - this area is known for the wide swing in tides. With the tide out, shells, rocks and driftwood are exposed making for endless hours of exploring. Off in the distance a whale surfaces and a column of water shoots skyward. Sea otters float on their backs offshore...it is a magical place allowing cares and worries to retreat.

Homer offers other delights too - boardwalks invite us to visit tiny shops that offer locally crafted jewelry and carvings.

I could not resist this tiny bear necklace - made from the tooth of an ancient woolly mammoth. The jewelry maker uses food color to infuse each little piece, never knowing what the results will be as each section absorbs colors differently.

The last 2 days have been filled with what what makes up a vacation...long leisurely walks shared with our kids and the pooches; eating treats that we normally don't - freshly made gelato, cookies and different breads from the nearby bakery, salmon quesadillas...and more days ahead doing the same - we will count calories later!

Wishing each of you days to treasure...


Pat

 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Thoughts from the Alaska Highway...(long post)

Hello to everyone from Kluane Lake in the Yukon...it is after 10:00 p.m. as I write this...the sun is still over the mountains and it will never grow dark during the night. We are set up on the shores of one of my very favorite camping areas. Except for the sound of the gentle wind coming in off the lake, it is so quiet. (Well - I say Mr. Outback & I both definitely heard grizzly bear sounds as we walked our 2 shelties - we immediatelt turned around and headed back to the more populated area) Everyone here has travelled far to reach this point...some returning from their Alaska adventure, others, like us, heading that way. Our conversations with each other always begin with "are you going or are you coming from?" The Alaska Highway in either direction requires a driver's focused attention so most all our camping neighbors are settled in for the night like us. Tomorrow we head to the border and Tok, Alaska. The next part of the drive is traditionally the slowest and most difficult as you encounter many frost heaves and sections of nothing but gravel. Towing a 34 foot 5th wheel calls for extra caution.

We have had a tough start to this long anticipated journey - by the time we reached North Dakota on the 17th, it was obvious little Molly - our senior sheltie, was not doing well - in the weeks leading up to our departure, her appetite had started to decrease, though she still was active and responsive. A clear-to-go Wellness exam from our home vet made things seem in order. An overworked & busy vet in North Dakota recommended a couple of things, none of which worked. Early in the morning of June 19, as we prepared to leave Havre, Montana and head to the Canadian border, Molly had grown worse & we found a kind and compassionate vet who examined her, looked us straight in the eye and said it was best to let her go due to rapidly declining. With many tears and gentle touches we stayed with our Molly as she crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Our two remaining fur kids know something is very different but are travelling well, though needing extra attention which we give.

Post update - June 28 - we have arrived in Wasilla Alaska and have been reunited with our Dave & Jena - finally have a steady wifi (??) and trying to catch up on all the news. We will stay here for 10 days & then everyone heads down to Homer for halibut (yum!!!). Right now laundry, grocery shopping and rv cleaning are on the list...

Many photos have been added the last 12 days - the best has been taken by Mr. Outback (from the safety of our truck!) as this beautiful grizzly posed for us 75 feet away - he looks so huggable until you see the claws on those big paws...

Back later - wishing each of you good days and good times.
Pat in Wasilla, Alaska

 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Let the journey begin...

...working off of multiple lists, we have planned, shopped and packed...the RV is ready - food supplies, clothes for warm weather to the chills of the mountains, passports, current papers for our 3 fur kids, Kindles, DVDs, camera gear and a few handwork only quilting projects for a rainy day at campgrounds.

For we off to The Last Frontier, The 49th State, Land of the Midnight Sun, Seward's Folly - Alaska. Years ago we dreamed that when we retired, we would take 1 memorable trip to that place, not knowing we would return again and now heading out on #6. But when your one and only son moves there and then takes his bride there...well, who could stay away??!!

This may well be our last visit there though, because our Dave and Jena will be following us back. A new direction in their lives and wanting to be nearer to family will make the decision to put the mountains behind them a little easier as they return to their midwest roots.

A friend of mine, who lived in Alaska for many years, once said that everytime you leave Alaska, you leave a part of your heart behind. Dave and Jena will leave a large part of theirs I am sure. But there will always be reasons for them to return for a visit.

For Mr. Outback & I, we hope to add new memories to previous trips...we have seen and experienced so much...salmon and halibut fishing, boat tours, orcas, whales, sea lions and sea birds; from The Arctic Circle, down to Valdez, Seward and the Homer Spit; a fabulous flight among the peaks of Denali, glaciers, bears and moose...and if truth be told, we have even thought what it would be like to move there were we 30 years younger and our lives were not so attached to Taylorsoutback by the pond...


And so we are off...the open road is calling...

I will try to post when wifi permits and hope to keep up with all of your doings.
Pat