Sunday, May 29, 2011

Little Things

 Our porch up, and our awning out. Now it feels like home!
 (Click to enlarge any of these photos.)

 A walk on a forest trail on a sunny afternoon.

 Soft, delicate, spring wildflowers, some kind of clover.

 Turtles catching some rays, active even amidst the flooding debris.

The pavilion in the tenting area — beautiful reflection, though it means no tent camping till flood waters recede!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Daring Deed!

 Our anxiously awaited first opportunity to visit the family in Wenatchee finally came. The weather was perfect, and we had 2 days to see the kids and the Valley after a year away. This is Saddle Rock, probably the most notable landmark in the Wenatchee Valley, and seen at the most beautiful time of year, spring-time!

 We've been so excited for our 10 year old granddaughter ever since we learned she had joined the Wenatchee Youth Circus. It's doubtful we can attend an actual performance because of our work schedule, but we did get to go to the practice. There is Natalie, up 30 feet in the air, walking the tight wire for her 3rd or 4th time! We held our collective breaths, amazed at what we were seeing! She showed no fear, did not waver, and made it safely from one end to the other.
(Click to enlarge for a better look.)

 This looked even scarier! The two young men above are seasoned walkers, and had coached Natalie well. Her life was in their hands, and on their shoulders!

 Ta Dah! Half-way there! And they made it!

 Back down to earth, here is Grannie admiring one of daughter Betsy's backyard chickens.

 And daughter Jessi, with her best friend's son Jakey.

Katy, 13, wouldn't pose for us, so this is the best I could do. She and mom are checking out the camera. I tried to get my son in a photo but that didn't work out. We got to enjoy the whole family at dinnertime, a yummy hotdog barbecue on Betsy's newly decorated patio. We had a wonderful visit with our family in Wenatchee, hopefully to be repeated a few more times this summer.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Hey, Ma! Look at this!

 It's been raining so much here in north Idaho, Mr. Keith decided to put the awning out so we could keep dry when we open our door. He went around back to take the step ladder off where we have it bungie-corded to our RV ladder. This is what he found! Hey, Ma! Look at this! He very carefully put it back so Mama Robin could sit on her eggs once again. It looks like the nest has a nice roof over it to protect it from the rain.

 Our 5th wheel sits right up against the forest in the back of our space. Mama Robin must have thought this looked like the ideal sheltered place to set up housekeeping and baby raising. We had no idea what was going on out there! I'll be sneaking around the back occasionally to have a peek. I imagine we'll be able to hear the peeping from inside if we listen carefully.

On a more serious note — Lake Coeur d'Alene is predicted to rise about 5 feet or more above its normal level, and has already risen half that. This is the view from our campground office, looking down on the tent sites. (Click to enlarge.) The water has covered more than half the sites and will reach nearly to the road that you can see in the photo, just beyond the flower boxes. We're told that doesn't happen very often. The last time was 2008. It's that rain, combined with warmer days melting the snow in the mountains too quickly for it to be absorbed. We look at the geese and ducks swimming around down there, some with babies. They at least are having a good time!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Cataldo Mission

After a week of hard work, we had a beautiful, sunny day to go sight-seeing. My first choice was the Cataldo Mission State Park. If you know Mr. Keith, he likes to go anywhere using back roads. Before we drove into the Mission, which is the oldest building in Idaho, we explored the very small town of Cataldo, and found this lovely photo opportunity up a gravel road. This is a Mennonite Church, reflected beautifully in a pond made by the overflow of the Coeur d'Alene River.

I first visited this site many years ago and have always been fascinated by its story.
In the early part of the 19th century, Coeur d'Alene Indians heard of a neighboring tribe who had powerful medicine men in black robes. Wanting this power themselves, they traveled the long journey east to St. Louis, inviting the "black robes" (Jesuit priests) to live among them. Father DeSmet, and soon Father Ravalli, came and established the mission with the help of the Indians, who did the labor to construct the mission, from 1850-1853. Many became Christians and lived at this site for years. I've always been amazed at how these two priests got around! Many places in Montana also bear their names, for instance, St. Mary's Mission in Stevensville, Montana, the oldest building in Montana, and St. Ignacius Mission on the road to Glacier Park.

The complex sits on a hill right above the Coeur d'Alene River and is beautifully landscaped and preserved. The Parrish House, to the left, has also been restored and is fun to tour. The history of the association and co-operation between the Indians and the Jesuit priests is fascinating. There were no wars fought here!

Father Ravalli must have been a genius, multi-talented and vastly educated. He designed and supervised the building, hand-carved the altar and much of the furnishings, and even painted the art-work. "The Mission of the Sacred Heart was constructed using a technique called "wattle and daub" which involved using large hand-hewn logs latticed with saplings, woven with grass and caked with mud. The resulting walls are up to a foot thick and built without a single nail. The limited materials were used ingeniously to decorate the church. The walls were covered with fabric and painted newspaper, creating the illusion of wallpaper. The main wooden altar was painted to resemble marble; tin cans were shaped to create chandeliers. The blue color of the interior wood is not paint, but a stain made of huckleberries."
Beautiful and amazing!

As we stood at the back of the mission complex and looked over the hill we were treated to this lovely picture, the swollen Coeur d'Alene River surrounded by trees just beginning to leaf out, with the snow covered hills in the background. There were wildflowers popping out all over, a warm breeze, sunshine, and a great feeling of God's presence in this place!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Lake

 Since we've arrived at the camping resort near Coeur d'Alene where we are working for the summer, it's been mostly cloudy and cool. We're anxiously awaiting days of sunshine! Mr. Keith has managed to find many back roads already, and we've done some exploring in our off hours. Here is a photo of the lake taken from a beach near the main part of town.

That is I-90 up there in the sky above the bay! We've been intrigued by how the freeway has been suspended in this particular stretch, named the "Veterans Memorial Centennial Highway". I believe the old highway followed the lake shore as far as it could, and the freeway still does most of the time. The roadway where we took this photo is part of the old highway, but it ends abruptly a little way from here. There is a great hiking path along the road, which borders the old Yellowstone Trail and the Mullan Road.

I love this photo! We took BigTruk out for a spin to make sure everything was working okay after his major surgery (new transmission). Mr. Keith snapped this photo showing the winding road we'd just traveled in our search for a good view of the high section of freeway that we had wanted to photograph. There will soon, we hope, be a day with sunshine and we will get some good pictures of beautiful Lake Coeur d'Alene and the forested area that surrounds it.