Working toward the holidays

This last week, Wayne and I did some preparation for the holidays. We shopped at World Market for stocking stuffers and went to the alpaca store to buy alpaca socks. I have presents for Wayne, my friends, and Mischa, but I still need to find things for two nieces, a nephew, a great nephew, and a second cousin, all kids. That reminds me that I need to find out how old the second cousin is.

A view across the marsh in the wildlife refuge

On Wednesday, Maja was still feeling a little under the weather, so we chose an easy place to hike, the Gibbons Creek Wildlife Art Trail in Washougal. This trail is in the Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge. It was a beautiful sunny day following several cold, rainy ones, and it was nice to see all the birds and one big fat nutria who couldn’t be bothered to leave the path. We had to walk around him. We just missed seeing an eagle. We were looking at a bird of prey scaring the water birds in the marsh and asked a guy with a large camera lens if he had seen it. He said no, he was looking at the eagle, which had just flown away. The path intersects with the Columbia River Dike Trail, so we spent a while on that. Nice day to walk along the river.

On Thursday, Wayne and I did our Thanksgiving shopping, or maybe we should say non-Thanksgiving. On Sunday afternoon, our family is having a non-Thanksgiving dinner that just happens to include turkey, dressing, and pumpkin pie. Since we moved out here, we’ve only had a Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday once, and that was because our family was out of town. My sister always works on Thanksgiving, and some of us are too politically correct to observe Thanksgiving. My niece always says it’s a stupid time to have a harvest festival and she observes hers at the autumn equinox. I haven’t broken to her yet that it’s not a harvest festival. Anyway, we are hosting our non-Thanksgiving dinner, so we bought a turkey and things for stuffing and my grandmother’s scalloped oyster recipe. I made sure there were going to be mashed potatoes and pies, and other than that, I’m not keeping track of who’s bringing what. This didn’t sit well with sister-in-law Nancy, who persisted in trying to make me tell her what to bring. Finally, she said she’d bring green beans, and I said fine.

On Friday I stopped into Bi-Zi Farms, a nice produce stand where I often shop, to see what they had. I was thrilled to see that they were setting up to sell Christmas trees, because last year we had a hard time finding a lot. We only found one in Battle Ground after driving all up and down the highway, which used to be lined with them. That lot had a choice of only a few trees of the size and type we like, and I have to admit that last year’s tree was quite scruffy but expensive. Bi-Zi Farms told me they would be selling trees the next day, so Wayne and I decided to go there after dog class to make sure we had a good choice, even though it’s quite early for us to put up a tree. I made arrangements with Mischa to help me decorate, as a week or so ago she told me that was her favorite part of last Christmas (a bit of an exaggeration, I’m guessing). However, when we came by on Saturday, they weren’t set up yet. They told me they still didn’t have prices from the owners.

If you look closely at the middle of this photo, you can see the heron we saw in the turtle pond at Salmon Creek Park. He’s sitting on the branch sticking out of the water.

On Monday, the pack walk devolved to me and Christine (and Luke and Duchess), so we decided to go somewhere else for a change. We drove to Salmon Creek Park, where Christine had never been, and had a good walk of about 3.5 miles.

On the way back, we passed by Bi-Zi Farms and saw they were set up to sell trees, so in the afternoon, Wayne and I went to Home Depot and then to buy our tree. We usually buy a big one, but this year, we had a choice of several really tall trees that looked a bit scruffy or a really nice seven footer. They told us the taller trees were not shaped as they grew. I sort of liked one of the nine-foot trees, but Wayne pointed out that it didn’t have very many branches for ornaments. So, we picked a seven-footer. It’s probably the shortest tree we’ve had in ten years, but it is also very pretty. I won’t need a ladder this year at all. We put it up Tuesday afternoon.

On Tuesday, snow was forecast for  1,000 feet, which is where we are, although the weather seemed to be going more toward the south of us. We were excited to see if we’d get some snow; however, the storm did go just to the south of us, and we got nothing but wind and colder weather. My sister Sue says we always get a big storm right at Thanksgiving. I guess this was it, but if so, it didn’t do anything to us.

Last night, Sue and I went to see the movie about Mr. Rogers, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. Two movies in two weeks, amazing! It is seldom that the little theater in Battle Ground has any movies for anyone older than 14. My sister was going to invite Mischa, but I told her I didn’t think it was a kid’s movie. I was right. It was a very touching and sweet movie, though, about a guy who is assigned to write a story about Mr. Rogers. You can’t go wrong with Tom Hanks, anyway.

My brother John has messaged us that he has the okay from his doctor to leave town. He and his wife Lucie have already emptied out their house in Madison and closing is today. They had originally decided to leave on Wednesday immediately after closing, but because of the storm in the Midwest, they are leaving Friday, heading for Taos, New Mexico. Eventually, they will come to our house to stay until they figure out where they want to live, somewhere in this area. We are all really excited. For their long-term stay, Wayne has started on a project to extend the hanging capacity of the guestroom closet, which only has a four-foot wire rack in it. The closet itself is huge, 12 feet wide. We’re going to extend the wire shelving to stretch across the whole thing, at least I hope that’s going to be the case. With Wayne it’s hard to know how quickly he’ll accomplish a task, or even if he will.


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