Friday things: Five simple things

December 15, 2017


Well, this is the week of mending-physically and emotionally. For the physical part, I've been getting around a lot better since my fall, but have been depending on my cane a lot to help me stay balanced. I have been having a lot of cabin fever lately, so we took a drive up to the Cascades to see how much snowfall has come. There wasn't a lot, but enough to get out in and let The Bean and Hardy play. We are really looking forward to a good snowfall this year and my persimmon weather forecasting tells me it we be a lot! For the emotional part, we suffered a loss Thursday morning. Our sweet Rosey Duck passed away. I will post more on this in another post later explaining what happened, but for now her death was so sudden and we are all completely devastated. So that this week's "Friday things" doesn't turn sad, here are five simple things, that otherwise made the week good.

1. Our trees.

Our trees are great this year. Not too big, not too small, but just right. The smaller one is The Bean's tree and the larger one is the family tree. We have simple decorations this year and they are perfect. Interesting facts about the Christmas/Holiday tree here.

2. This bell.

For helping to call for help when I needed while being injured. My boys took great care of Mama Bear and I love them for it.

3. This picture.

The Build Lebanon Trails (BLT) program here in Lebanon, Oregon, hosted a photo contest recently. They wanted to find the best shot of the trail system here and the winner of the contest would have their picture used for the header of their new site starting 2018. This is the picture I entered. I wasn't the winner, but this picture just makes me smile. The Mr. and The Bean sitting on a donated park bench along the trail system. The trails here are all created by donations and it's great to know that there is always a safe place, off the main road, to ride our bicycles, or walk without worrying about being hit, or worse. You can read more about the photo contest and the trail system through BLT here.

4. Cascade snow.

The snow is getting thicker on the Cascade Mountains. We are hoping that some comes out way soon.

5. December's book.

This month's reading selection is worth a read. Women Who Run with the Wolves is about the women who don't fit the stereotypes set out to silence them. Find out more about it here. Other selections for this month are below.

Have a great weekend!

Christmas cards 2017-William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge

December 12, 2017

This year we did our Christmas card shoot at the William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge in Benton County. If you don't have this place on your bucket list, you need to add it. It's protected land in the Willamette Valley near Corvallis, Oregon. We've been here a few times over the past year and there's always something to see each time we go. We've seen a lot of wildlife up close and it's a great opportunity to see them in their natural habitat. This year is the first year that we've decided to blog about our Christmas card shoot and it's also the first year that we have decided to use our Christmas cards as an outlet to talk about all of these great places we visit too.

There are several buildings on the refuge land, but we chose the John Fiechter House to use for our Christmas photos this year.

The house was built in 1855 by John Fiechter. He used Douglas Firs from his own land claim to build the house and carriage house that sits off to the right of the house. In 1860 an addition was added onto the back of the house to accommodate the growing family-seven children-and John Fiechter's father-in-law, Abiathar Newton supervised the construction of this addition to the house. Bricks for the fireplace and foundation for the home were made of clays found on the property and actually fired and hardened on site as the home was being built. John Fiechter's success in the California gold fields helped finance the materials and labor to build the home and it was the first lumber and brick home built in the area.

Picture of the house as it were-(circa-late 1800s)

We took all of our animals-minus our goldfish, Berry-to the refuge with us to be in the picture this year. We were looking for a serious picture, but one with a slight be of humor to it. Ducks are just funny. It doesn't matter how serious we tried to be, Rosey and Happy-the ducks, made it humorous. -Side note on Berry-the goldfish: The Bean won Berry at this year's Strawberry Festival that took place this past June. The festival is in celebration of the abundant harvest of strawberries here in the Valley. Hence the name "Berry," as in straw-"berry."

The Bean dressed in his Berdan's Sharpshooter Uniform from the Civil War era, but of course his black Converse don't quite fit the scene.

The Mr. went with dark pants, a collared white shirt, period jacket, and a top hat. He also used a period cane and a silver pocket watch to get into character.

Straight-faces were common in older photos. Higher class families would keep a straight face because it was said that if you smiled you were poor, lewd, or just plain drunk. So in that time period if you wanted to be seen as upper class and as a person of good character you just didn't smile

Trying to capture just the right photo. Hardy (PITA) looking left...

...Looking right. And then we noticed the leash was showing the whole time. 

Once we had a good poition, people started watching us as if we were putting on a living history moment.

This is the photo we took for the cards, but decided it deserves to be framed instead.

We all agreed that this picture was the one for the Christmas cards. We even fit in a hidden "easter egg" into the picture. Do you see it? 

By the time we had a good shot Rosey and Happy were ready to stretch their wings.

We took a few photos of just the house and the land that it sits on. 

The carriage house.

William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1964 to help protect the Dusky Canada Goose winter habitat. Parts of the refuge are closed at certain times during the year when the Canada goose flies in. We saw at least three groups of 100 in a flock during our photo shoot. We were hoping for a glimpse of an elk, but not this trip. 
Dusky Canada Geese taking flight at the William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge viewing stage.

You can read more about the William L. Finley NWR here.