Monday, July 28, 2014

Marsh Creek Trail Several Weeks Later

While Anthony hiked with the Idaho Hiking Club on Saturday and Sunday Raisin, Jay and I found our way back to Marsh Creek trail which is just down the road from Lola Creek Campground. This is the same hiking trail we hiked on over the 4th of July weekend. 

It worked out perfectly because Anthony needed the truck and the trail head is very close to the campground. We (Raisin, Jay and I) hiked 6 miles on Saturday and also on Sunday (12 total over the weekend). Anthony's hikes were much longer and more strenuous than ours with 14 miles on Saturday and 10 miles on Sunday.  Did I mention he is addicted to back to back long strenuous hikes?  So far the dogs and I prefer more moderate hikes with the afternoons to rest and relax.  

Wild flowers were still in full bloom and there were also some beautiful birds and wild bunnies too. The dogs scared off the rabbits before I could get a picture. The grasses were very thick and long in some areas along the trail that the dogs almost disappeared from view.
We had perfect hiking weather and a completely deserted trail. On Saturday we crossed paths with a group of six on horse back and on Sunday one couple who was camping right next to us. Aside from that it was a private trail just for the Pei's and I.  They love walking and hiking off leash and we could not have asked for better conditions this past weekend.  It is not often you have a popular hiking trail all to yourself.  We enjoyed peanut butter tortilla rolls and chicken jerky treats back at camp for lunch.

Return to Lola Creek Campground

Anthony and I just shared another wonderful camping weekend! We returned to Lola Creek Campground which is about 18 miles west of Stanley. We originally thought we would camp closer to Anthony's hiking trail head (he was signed up for two group hikes this weekend) but when nothing looked appealing and our options dwindled down with the remaining daylight we returned to Lola Creek and not only found half of the campground empty but we also set up in an amazing campsite right along Marsh Creek. 

Driving up after work on Friday it was nice to have a fast set up, simple meal and some very tasty S'more Marshmallows from 240 Sweet. One of the advantages to the campground was our ability to have a camp fire. The other campgrounds (in and around Stanley) we visited had signs up everywhere that campfires were completely prohibited. How can we do meat on a stick and roast our marshmallows without a campfire? I was really thankful that our original plans did not work out as expected.

The other consideration was the fact that Anthony needed the truck on both Saturday and Sunday to get to the trail head.  Staying at Lola Creek Campground gave the dogs and I a very close trail head that we could enjoy while he was hiking longer distances than we are prepared to hike.  The set up worked out perfectly for everyone and we were very fortunate to have quiet camp companions near by.  Our first night was actually very quiet and even Saturday night as the camp sites filled up more we still enjoyed a lot of privacy and quiet neighbors.  So far this camping season we have struck gold with every camping adventure.  One additional bonus was solving the mosquito issue with the dogs.  I got them some spray with citronella oil in it and the mosquitoes completely left them alone all weekend and it smelled really good too in comparison to the Deep Woods Off that we usually douse ourselves in.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Being Watched in the Back Yard

I could swear I was being watched this afternoon in the back yard. You know how you get that feeling and keep checking behind you. Yet no one was there.

The bird houses that Alex and Nick made as kids have been home to baby birds each and every year.  It is fun to hear their little chirps and to see them learning to fly and eat from the bird feeders.  Being a bird is busy business.  At least in our back yard it is.  We clean out the bird houses each year so they are ready to be occupied again in the spring.  Ducks visit our yard too and the little birds who nest are very quick to grab any duck feathers that land in the grass to line the inside of the bird houses.  It is amazing to watch them scoop them up as soon as they have fallen. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Carving at Lola Creek Campground

While we were camping two weekends ago at Lola Creek Campground I did manage to carve two new Letterboxing stamps. The giant bumble bee is actually leaving Idaho for an out of state event in November (Southampton, MA for nosox).  Rapunzel of the Sea is part of the Disney Mermaids I am carving. Carving at camp can be challenging as often the table is not stable, lighting can be a hit or miss and magnification is a challenge. I think both came out okay considering I was swatting away vicious mosquitoes while carving.  At least I had a stable table to carve on during this outdoor adventure.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Eclectic Master Bedroom Makeover

Eclectic style is defined by an exuberant self-confidence. The eclectic decorator knows what works together by seeing relationships. An eclectic room may be defined by play with color, shape or function. It is a light-hearted style that is never boring.

An eclectic decorating style is easiest to define by what it is not. Eclectic style doesn't rigidly adhere to any one major style. It is characterized by a freedom of expression and a vibrant individuality. If you were the kind of child who deliberately colored outside the lines, this is the style for you.

Eclectic style is also great for those individuals who love too much. For example, if you love the richness of Asian and the serenity of contemporary, you may find these two styles combine in a unique way in your personal eclectic decorating style.

For all the years that Anthony and I have been together we have never decorated our master bedroom.  We had an odd assortment of items we liked in the room but there was cohesion, rhyme or reason to the items.  And to be honest they did absolutely nothing to enhance the space.  We have a beautiful set of bedroom furniture but aside from that the room was a visual disaster.

I devised a plan to decorate our room while Anthony was in New York.  I spent weeks plotting and planning with Kelly Reed as my accomplice and partner in crime.  Kelly has the amazing ability to take the madness in my decorating mayhem and by utilizing the basic principles of design she was able to pull together a unified overall bedroom scheme. 

Kelly assured me that I actually have a decorating style which she called "Eclectic."  I think it might have been a nice way of saying that I jumble together whatever catches my eye.  Kelly used her visual skill with line, color, texture, mass and form and took my jumble and created a unique work of art that embraces my decorating style.

Kelly and I talked, texted, e-mailed and swapped ideas at an alarming rate for several weeks.  It was almost like what we do when we plan letterboxing events.  As I acquired items that I loved she worked on the overall scheme and layout of the room utilizing drawings and sketches.  We met in parking lots to swap items that I had purchased for fear that Anthony would discover our plan accidently.  Our color scheme and inspiration all stemmed from the bedding I selected.  Overall we were looking for earth elements and jewels in rich and warm tones.  We steered away from greenery, flowers and distinctively feminine decorating touches and instead incorporated sticks, feathers and wood as our earth elements.  We framed all pictures in gems and jeweled encrusted frames and brought in the colors of peacock feathers.

The real magic of the room is in the soft candle light flickering once evening has fallen.  We selected a combination of flameless wax candles (remote controlled) and traditional candles to add light to every corner of the room.  The flameless candles are positioned in hard to reach places and inside the lanterns.  All are close to the ceiling and are not only too high for me to reach without a step ladder or chair but there was also potential of soot from the candle wicks to dirty the ceiling. 

Another favorite of mine is the Hera and Peacock statue (from Greek Mythology).  Hera is the queen and sister to Zeus, making her one of the more prominent Goddesses of the entire Greek Pantheon, often appearing within Greek Legends and myths. Known primarily as a goddess of women and marriage, she was known frequently to lash out at her adulterous husband, and was quite jealous and vengeful. She was also quite known for taking vengeance on the slights of mortals who offended her. Hera is also one of the eldest Gods of the Greek pantheon, appearing in Homeric legend as the eldest of Kronus`s daughters, and she is even believed to predate most Greek folklore, appearing to have been an adaptation of a more primal, Minoan mother Goddess. Her motherly protection and womanly wrath are thusly well founded in history, marking her as one of the most ancient Goddess of hearth, family, and women.  The statue is strong and feminine all at the same time.  With the candles behind here she is a striking vision situated high in the room.   

My pictures do not do justice to the room or the special touches it contains.  The minute Anthony took off for New York on Saturday I zoomed upstairs and stripped the room.  On Kelly’s end she started laundering the new items (towels, sheets and blankets) and I laundered the old items to store.  I cleaned every speck of dust from the furniture and readied the room for us as a clean slate.  The one item we decided not to tackle (due to time restraints, mess and extremely heavy furniture) was painting.  This turned out to be a very good decision on our end.  Starting on Sunday and working through the week (once I was home from work each evening) Kelly and I transformed the room nail by nail, screw by screw, tweaking, moving and fine-tuning what we liked and what was not working. We both ran errands multiple times and I even sat in 100 degree heat two nights in a row to stain the picture frame ledges. 

Fast forward to last night and Anthony’s return to Boise.  Did I mention that Anthony hates surprises?  I lit the room up and waited at the Boise airport to pick him up at 10:35 p.m.  Upon returning to the house he entered the room upstairs and said “Wow! Am I in the wrong house?!?”  He absolutely loved the room and said that he should go away more often so Kelly and I can work on the rest of the house.  I am not sure how long it will take for Kelly and I to recover from the time, energy and effort of pulling this off in such a short amount of time.  Not to mention the expense of decorating.  I purchased many items on sale and clearance but even so it was an expensive undertaking.

During this whole process I also learned that Kelly has amazing skills with power tools, a leveler, screwdriver and hammer.  Who knew?  I now know how to use a drill bit and together we figured out how to put wall anchors (I call them umbrella bolts) in the ceiling and we only lost one in the process.  We shared lots of laughs after we figured out what we were doing.  Kelly also generously gifted us some amazing wall art, a beautiful orchid plant for the bathroom (we also redecorated the bathroom) and she decorated a tissue holder, soap holder and created a very special “D” initial with my favorite quote and peacock feathers.  Even when Kelly was not here at the house she was creating magic for us from her home.  I am not sure how she managed all of this as she was preparing to leave town for a trip to Mexico but what I do know is the room would not be what it is today without her vision, creative talent and ability to make sense out of my eclectic taste.  Thank goodness I didn't decide to decorate the room as a Nightmare Before Christmas room.  I will admit I have considered it.

Next time Anthony travels we will ask him to leave behind a credit card and to select which room he would like transformed.  Although Kelly and I both love surprises so it was extra fun to be sneaky and covert while he was gone.  Thank you Kelly for everything!  You are one of the most generous and talented people I know.  Lunch is on me when you return to Boise. 


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Langer Lake Hiking - Challis National Forest

Above are pictures from our hike in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness area on Saturday. Raisin, Jay and I hiked to Langer Lake to enjoy a leisurely lunch. Our hike was about 5 miles round trip. The hike was up, up, up and on the way back to the truck down, down, down.  We decided to wait back by the truck for Anthony since my Kindle Fire (with a very good book downloaded) was waiting for me.
Anthony continued his hike up to the fire look out station which I think added another 4 miles to his hike. The remainder of his hike was very steep which the dogs and I could not have completed in a reasonable amount of time.  Our skill level is no where near his at this juncture but we keep on hiking to improve our skills.
Back at the trail head I also learned that some people hike with goats instead of lama's or horses. Who knew? A man pulled up with a Ford truck at the trail head and unloaded 6 goats from the back (it was like unloading a clown car). He had driven from Boise and the goats like to stand for the entire ride.  It seemed very uncomfortable to me.  Apparently they eat along the way and can carry about 30% of their body weight. He said they can go without water for days (although there is plenty of water on this trail).  I had to keep Raisin and Jay away from the goats as they have a very strong predator drive and I am sure that the goats looked like bully sticks to them.  It was amazing to see him pack up the goats and head down the trail.  Only in Idaho!
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