Monday, September 24, 2007

Fazon Lake

Yesterday Cary and I took our new* inflatable kayak, paddles, pumps, binoculars and a picnic over to Fazon Lake and spent a lovely fall day exploring. Fazon Lake is about 1.5 miles from our house, we've walked by it but we'd never really been able to check it out before because it's in the middle of a brushy swampy area with no trails. There is a parking area and a little boat launch, between a blueberry field and a cow pasture - that's all you can see on foot at least. From the water, it's a different story: Beautiful! Fazon Lake.
The view across the lake from just beyond the boat launch - can't be seen from the launch itself though, because you have to paddle out through a channel in the cattails. The whole lake is like that, there isn't a shore so much as increasingly thick growths of water lillies and cattails defining the edge of the open water.
We paddled all around the edge of the lake. This poor heron thought we were chasing him, he kept landing just 100 feet or so ahead of us, and then flying off again when we got too close.

The inflatable kayak is pretty sweet, if a bit cramped for two adults (well, one normal-sized adult and one tall lanky one) and a bit tough to paddle in a straight line. I wouldn't want to have to race in it! It's not very heavy, so Cary's already making plans to hike it into the back country next summer for some alpine paddling. It's perfect for a fall afternoon paddling picnic.Ahhhhhhh.....
We saw a few other boats with fishermen in them, aparently the lake is full of bluegill. One boy showed us his catch, he had two nice stringers of the tasty little panfish. Now we just need to get some fishing gear together and we'll be able to paddle, picnic AND catch supper the next time we have a sunny afternoon free. :)

* wedding presents!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The many uses of cedar fences...

The other day I noticed that the rails in our cedar split-rail fence had little scrapes all over them. The silvery weathered top-layer of wood had been peeled off, leaving the fresh, blond wood underneath exposed. This afternoon I figured out why: the yellow jackets are preparing their nests for the winter. All afternoon they came, landed, chewed off a small strip of the silver surface wood, and then flew off to wherever their nests were located. It was fascinating to watch them. I never really thought about where they got the wood to make their paper before... and I never really thought of yellow jackets as industrious. :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Attack of the Worms

Yesterday I was shocked to discover that one of our gooseberry bushes had been completely defoliated, and the other one was in immenent danger of sharing the same fate. The culprits, known as gooseberry or currant worms, are the larvae of an innocuous-looking small fly called the Gooseberry Sawfly (Nematus ribesii). We've had smaller hatches of them earlier in the summer, and managed to stay on top of hand-picking the larvae off of the leaves (and squishing them) as soon as we noticed the damage. Then they seemed to stop hatching out, and I stopped checking up on the plants as we got more busy with wedding preparations. Well, it appears we weren't out of the hatching season just yet!

According to what I've read, we could probably control these with a dusting of pyrethrin or spraying with neem, so I might have to make a run to Bakerview and pick something up. For now though, we're just picking them off by hand (Cary prefers squishing them in place on the leaves) since we only have two bushes - and only one of them still has any leaves left to save! I just hope that the plants aren't too stressed by this, they were doing so well before the attack.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Rest In Peace, Uncle Pete

Pete Christensen 1919-2007My Uncle Pete Christensen passed away last Saturday (my wedding day) after a long and eventful life. A benign family consipiracy kept the news from me until they day after the wedding, but even if I had known it would not have troubled me - I know for a fact that Pete was ready to move on and start a new journey, and there is no great sadness in that for me. He had been in failing health for some time, battling cancer, and although there is of course greif and a very real sense of loss aflicting those of us who knew and loved him, we all knew that the time was near and understand that death is simply a part of life. Yesterday I attended Pete's memorial service at his church in Wenatchee, and afterwards a family potluck in his honor, complete with Pete's favorite cookies: Scotch-a-roos (peanutbutter rice crispy squares with milk chocolate on top) and Snickerdoodles. We have such a great family!

The thing I will remember most about Pete is his sense of humor. Bawdy jokes and cards were his speciality. You could always count on getting two separate cards with any gift from Pete and Patty; she would pick out a nice, heartfelt one, and Pete would give an off-color or sometimes just plain ridiculously funny one. Even when the years started to weigh heavily on him, he always had that twinkle in his eye that let you know he was getting ready to tease a Norweigian (he was very proud of his Danish heritage) or to crack a joke.

Pete married my Aunt Patty (my Dad's sister) in 1981, so although he was only step-father to my cousins he was really my uncle; I don't have any memories of Patty's first husband. For most of my childhood I wasn't very curious about Pete's early life and experiences (16-year-old me: "Duh, boooorrring!") but luckily a few years ago I got a chance to get to know Pete better and listen to some of his stories. Pete was a pilot, amd during WWII he was a pilot instructor with the Army Air Corps and also served in the 7th Division Ferrying Group which flew airplanes from Montana to Alaska which were then transfered to the allied Russian airforce.

I spent just a few evenings (after dinner at family gatherings) chatting with Pete about his piloting and wartime experiences. He was a great storyteller. One of the last times I saw him at his house on Orchard Street (just before he and Patty moved into their condo) he showed me some pictures from those days, and I have to say he was a really sharp looking guy in his flight suit! :) He gave me a couple of his keepsakes: his parachute-silk pilot scarf, and a dashboard hula girl whose skirt flips up when you pull a string. I am really honored to have them both.
she's not wearing any panties, either!
Most of Pete's wartime piloting stories include him getting into trouble for buzzing the tower or some such practical joking. He once buzzed some unsuspecting fishermen on Hood Canal, coming in so low to the water that both men jumped from their boat. He felt a little bad about scaring them that badly, once he stopped laughing. Ferrying planes to Alaska (and flying back) meant landing and refueling at many airfields along the way, both military and civilian. Pete loved to buzz the towers and otherwise lively-up the days of the airfield personell. He was a likeable guy, and when his charming personality failed to get him out of trouble he was ready with a bottle of whiskey or two to give to the miffed airfield managers by way of appology. He even managed to get into the good graces of the commanders of some airfields they weren't really supposed to land at, by means of always leaving a bottle behind.

Pete loved to socialize, and after his retirement in 1984 he and Patty traveled all over the US in an RV. Thanks to a geneology done by one of his Danish cousins he was able to locate a number of relatives in the US and western Canada, with whom he and Patty shared a lot of good times. Pete was active in his church too, even teaching Sunday School according to the program from his memorial service (I cannot imagine Pete as a Sunday School teacher!). He was a great guy, and he will be remembered fondly.

This memorial essay is dedicated to my Aunt Patty. I love you!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


We are officially married now... pictures can be found at 9-8-07. Wooo!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Busy Day

Moira helped Cary and her Dad calculate the bracing angles necessary to re-inforce the observation tower to withstand an onslaught of wedding guests.

Dave came out also and made good progress on the railing. The observation platform feels really safe and sturdy now. :)
I fertilized the lawn, worked over all the container plants, and then put my signpost up at the branching of the trail between the house and the parking pasture.

In the evening a fellow from Lynden came and delivered the hay bales we bought from him, and Cary and Nick stacked them at the edge of the yard. We got a really good deal on them because they are three years old - no longer good for feed, but perfect for seating around a bonfire.