After a few days of exploring Seattle we were ready for a change of pace. Olympic National Park, located in the Olympic Peninsula, was a perfect place to slow down…
After a few days of exploring Seattle we were ready for a change of pace. Olympic National Park, located in the Olympic Peninsula, was a perfect place to slow down and take in the beauty of God’s creation. The highlight of our visit was hiking the Hurricane Hill Trail. I’m not sure which was more beautiful the views of the ocean and mountains or the fact that our boys hardly complained the entire hike. Perhaps the abundance of wildlife kept them smiling. It’s hard to have a bad attitude when a curious marmot is following you from a distance or when you stumble upon a heard of mountain goats.
Courtney is one of my oldest friends. When we were little we’d spend hours dreaming of owning our own horses or chucking pastel colored ponies at each other during the “Pretty Pony Wars”. Time changes a lot but it doesn’t take the love of horses out of a horse girl’s heart.
Years later, Courtney lives in rural Wyoming with her family, a horse, a dog, a cat, and a small herd of goats. Their home is surrounded by bad lands leading up to the Big Horn mountains and pastures full of horses grazing under the biggest sky you’ll ever see.
A week there was a week in paradise.
So fun to catch up after so many years.
These beauties trotted right up to us on our bike ride.
Courtney’s horse, Biscuit, was so sweet and gentle even Thing 1 who is nervous around them petted her.
We all loved Blondie, especially Thing 1.
Spring was in full bloom in the Big Horn mountains.
Thing 1 made a special friend. He spent 3 nearly full days with Helen, Courtney’s piano teacher, who helped him to improve his music reading skills.
There was hiking, a raptor show at the library, cookouts on the patio, sunsets and sunrises, bike rides, yoga, and relaxing in the wild countryside of Wyoming.
This (and this) is why I think our next adventure needs to be setting up a little farm of our own or else we need to figure out how to pack a goat in our RV.
In an attempt to deal with my sadness and to throw out one last effort to put off having to say goodbye, I half jokingly said something about coming to Antelope Island with us.
After some discussion the village decided to head to Antelope Island State Park for five more days together!!!!!!
The sun smiled and a bluebird came out to sit on my shoulder
Zip-a-dee-doo-dah-zip-a-dee-ay! My, oh my, what a wonderful day!!!!
Antelope Island is the largest island in the Great Salt Lake. While Antelope Island is only a hop, skip, and a jump from Salt Lake City, it feels like a world apart with its nearly untouched beauty. Mountains surrounded by golden rolling plains overlook the glassy water of the lake.
An abundance of wildlife, most notably bison, call Antelope Island home. The bison were everywhere: dotting the hills, on the roads, cruising through the campground, and even on the beach.
Bridger Bay Campground, while primitive, was a beautiful spot to call home for five days.
We sat on a hill overlooking the lake, a perfect place for morning coffee.
It was a relaxing week filled with bike rides, walks, and being with friends.
We even braved the cold and wind to take a quick dip in the Great Salt Lake.
Who needs a campground when you can park in a yard. We spent over two weeks at my parent’s house in Port Charlotte. This is what we will remember. Visiting…
Who needs a campground when you can park in a yard.
We spent over two weeks at my parent’s house in Port Charlotte. This is what we will remember.
Visiting with my Junebug and Papaw (my grandma and grandpa) for four days. We were so grateful to have that time with them.
Going thrifting with my Junebug. What a hoot!
A boat ride across Charlotte Harbor.
Canoeing in the canals. Ooooh there’s a string ray!
Searching for shark teeth at Venice Beach, Nakomis Beach, and Blind Pass on Manasota Key. Blind Pass was the best beach for shark teeth by a long shot. Nakomis was a close second. Venice gets an F. Thing Two found over 500 teeth. I think we better start panning for gold!
Sunsets at Blind Pass Beach on Manasota Key. Majestic.
Thing Two and I had a special date. We searched for shark teeth and got a table for two at a Greek dive. Love.
Idling on the boat through the Charlotte Harbor canals at sunset and watching the milky reflection of a tiring sky on the water.
Visiting my great grandma Nell’s home. It was where my family stayed when I was a kid. The current owner even let us in. Amazing how much bigger things seem when you’re a kid. Brought back memories of sunburns, bathing caps, and morning walks on the beach with my dad.
Nakomis Groves where you get tiny cups of orange juice and large cones of ice cream. Backwards and worth it. I also used to visit this Nakomis Groves as a child.
Spending time with my parents. Thank you Papaw and Weewah. <=== Cutest grandma name ever!
This was the conversation that followed our purchase of snorkeling gear in relation to my fear of sea creatures. Me- “Now I feel like I have to go snorkeling when…
This was the conversation that followed our purchase of snorkeling gear in relation to my fear of sea creatures.
Me- “Now I feel like I have to go snorkeling when we get to the keys. (pause) My brother saw a barracuda there once.”
Brent- “Do barracudas attack people?”
Me- “Yes, they are very aggressive. That’s why there is a song called “barracuda”.”
Thankfully, my first snorkeling experience as an adult was with manatees and not barracudas. We rented a boat with three other families and headed to Three Sisters Springs where manatees congregate in the warm spring waters. Despite their appearance manatees don’t have a lot of fat and during the winter they seek out the warmer waters of springs and power plants to survive.
We drove down the river our eyes squinting for signs of manatees. A ripple in the water, a large dark shadow, or a “floating rock” could be manatee. While we passed a few on our way to the springs, we weren’t prepared for what awaited us near the spring’s outlet. At least 50 manatees, probably many more, were lolling about under the turquoise waters.
We put on our snorkeling gear and slipped into the chilly clear water. Slowly we headed over to their sanctuary, a roped off area where the manatees can rest, to swim along its edges. Once near the sanctuary a ranger told us if we stay still a curious manatee was likely to approach us. Not far from us, a group of patient young girls stood with a manatee who had decided to rest in between their feet. So we waited and sure enough it wasn’t long before a manatee found us. He swam right next to Thing One rubbing against his legs like a very large aquatic cat with elephant skin. It was both exhilarating and nerve wracking to watch what I guessed to be a thousand pound giant get friendly with my hundred pound son. Another manatee even seemed to enjoy the boy’s attention rolling onto its back as if wanting a belly rub. Thing One and Two were happy to oblige.
It was magical.
They may be one of the most beautiful and odd creatures I’ve ever seen with their large paddle fan-like tails, small flippers, rotund bodies, square short snouts, itty bitty eyes, rough skin, and quiet nature. Time with these gentle giants passed much too quickly and stepping backing up onto the boat deck, I felt like I was was waking up from a dream. A wonderful dream filled with nonchalance, dancing beams of light, and creatures peaceful beyond my imagination.
Few things make me as happy as the smell and velvety touch of a horse’s muzzle. As I was struggling with depression, 5 days on a farm was just what my soul needed to be able to soar again
My uncle works at a small farm at the foot of the Appalachian Mountains in Maryville, Tennessee. We played with the goats, gathered colorful eggs, stroked the horses’ woolly winter coats, hiked in the quiet wood, and cuddled, book in hand, as the rain poured outside.
Every morning, Thing 2 rushed for his boots the minute he heard the rumble of my uncle’s truck coming to feed the horses. Thing 1 got into “shoving matches” with Julie the goat. Nico and Nigel met new friends and enemies when Julie decided to give them a friendly headbutt. I think Brent was the only one to escape Julie. I have never met a more ornery goat. (Not that I’ve met a lot of goats.) She headbutted me into the wall within 2 minutes of our introduction.
I felt free. I felt alive. I felt at home.
Yet, the clouds move and I’m caught in their shadow dance. Being at the farm reminds me at how at heart I’m a country girl who ended up in a beach town. A girl who feels more comfortable in a saddle than on the sand. I’m all too aware that as long as we live in Ventura we will not be able to have goats, chickens, and horses.
Thing 2 keeps asking with excitement in his eyes, “Mama, can we live on a farm?” My little animal boy. How I want to gather him in my arms and say, “Yes we’ll have goats, chickens, and Arabian horses!” When God chiseled horses I’m certain his first was an Arabian.
We decided to wait out the storm. Alone. The morning of the storm we noticed the other three campers in the campground were packing up. By noon, the snow started…
We decided to wait out the storm. Alone. The morning of the storm we noticed the other three campers in the campground were packing up. By noon, the snow started falling and ice- the real problem- started forming on the roads.
So we waited because we are clueless we thought it would be cozy and (much to my amazement) it was. It was also cold, really cold, but that didn’t stop us from having little adventures.
Arrowheads and coins in a red handkerchief. So simple, so little boy, so sweet that it almost makes me cry. And stop time. Please God.
I think it’s time for these guys and us to start flying south.