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Camping Fun

It has been two years since I have been camping. Four years since I have been up in the woods to pick huckleberries. What has the world come to that I no longer go out on weekends to sleep on a hard bed, cuddled up to my one-and-only through a dark (and usually cold) night? Our relationship was founded on our mutual love for being outdoors, isolated from other human beings, discovering plants, flowers, bugs, reptiles, rocks, and critters.

Somehow, over the past four years, my life has eroded to work, commute, and rush through the weekend. I was not inclined to go camping this weekend, either, because I am trying to get ready to leave town for a week. So much to do; so little time.

The weather has been wonderful and dry, so I was surprised when my husband told me that he’d checked on the huckleberries and they were ripe – and there were plenty of them. I thought the dry summer would wither the berries. The combination was tempting: three day weekend (two to spend camping, one to spend getting ready for my flight next weekend), slightly cooler weather with a slight chance of showers, and an English Setter who was feeling much better than he did two weeks ago.

The last time I took Harvey camping was in 2010. It was awful. He only wanted to run away or bark. There was no containing his energy, except to use a tether. I tried the radio collar, but I was always a basket case because Harvey just took off and reining him back in was not pleasurable. I was afraid I’d lose sight of him in the brush, and he had no sense of us being his Forever Home.

HE seems mellower now, and he definitely has a sense of a Forever Home in us. So I charged up his radio collar and tossed in both of the long leads for tethering him while in camp. For good measure, I added the bark collar just in case.

Don loaded up the VW Van and I tossed in a few items into my car. We decided to take two rigs because I wanted to come home on Sunday and because we were taking both dogs.

Saturday morning dawned misty. It had rained in the night, but that was all that was predicted and sun breaks were expected later on. The mist turned to steady occasional rain as we drove over the hills and through the woods. My windshield wipers went from “use only when the road mist is obnoxiously blinding” to “steady on”.

We drove out along the Clackamas River, out across the Barton Bridge, through Estacada, past the old Ripplebrook RS, and left onto the paved road to Timothy Lake. We turned left toward High Rocks and Hideaway Lake, and took the left hand option at the Y. I told Harvey that the road would get bad now as we were on gravel, and the wash-board is terrible going up to Hideaway Lake. Ahead, I watched the right tail light on the van blink on and off and made a mental note to tell Don he had a short in his taillights. The washboard tossed my little car around, so I slowed down and lost sight of Don’s taillights.

Hy-uck. Hy-uck. Hy-

I glanced back at Harvey just in time to see him lose his entire breakfast on the hard plastic back of the seat I had down. Thank God it’s not the fabric! Stop. Find a rag I keep in the car, attempt to soak up the disgusting yellow slime mixed with undigested – Oh, nevermind! Gross!

Harvey needed to get out and stretch his queasy legs. I remembered that I’d forgotten to spray my windbreaker with waterproofing. Harvey didn’t want to get back into the car. We walked a little more and I convinced him it really was in his best interest to get back into the car and finish the trip. I opened the back windows a hair to let in fresh, cool, air. And rain.

I met Don coming back down the road, looking for me. He thought I’d had car problems. No, I said, I had a dog problem.

I followed him onto the Jeep Trail to our camp site. My KIA has lower clearance than the Van and I dropped it into 4-wheel drive after slipping through a mud puddle. Don stopped on the rise. Ahead of us, a large, deep, slicker-than-wet-clay, puddle blocked our path. He was pretty sure he could make it, but the water would be over my low-clearance bumper. Even if we did make it, how much deeper would the puddle get overnight?

We turned around and back-tracked a mile to the gravel pit. The rain turned to RAIN. Harvey stood out in it, reveling at the end of the longest tether: I’m Free! I’m free!

Murphy climbed into the back seat of my car (I put both back seats up now) and shivered. We had to drag Harvey back into the car.

035 Are we having fun, yet?!

034 Hi! I’m cold. And wet. And your car smells like wet dogs and dog puke.

All the windows fogged up. Once every half hour, we’d run the windshield wipers to see if it was still raining or not. Yep, still raining.

Finally! A break! We hurried out of the car, put Harvey on the tether, and started setting up camp. Murphy won’t run off; it’s the Harve-Meister we have to worry about. He just starts following his nose.

Half-way through putting up the tarp, a pickup truck rolled in. Two people and their tiny, hackle-raised, Chihuahua jumped out. Don grabbed a lunging Murphy with his one free hand. Harvey ran to the end of his leash.

“Hi! I’ve been camping here for ten years, Hope you don’t mind some company!”

Control of Murphy was handed over to me so Don could finish setting up the tarp. I pulled the straining ninety-pounder back to my car and shut him in. Harvey barked excitedly at the growling and prancing Chihuahua. I grabbed the bark collar and put it on my dog. We finished setting up camp.

Meanwhile, our uninvited guests stashed their dog in the cab of the truck and headed out with berry cans. We breathed a short sigh of relief: what were these people thinking when they opened the door and let their squirrel-sized dog out in front of two nearly one-hundred pound bird dogs, one of which was off- leash??? Oy vey.

The rain held off long enough for us to take our dogs for a long stroll on the gravel road. We didn’t want to pick berries in the rain, but we wanted the boys to stretch their legs.

036 The mist seemed to be sucked up into the clouds.

The rain returned. The berry pickers returned, ate lunch on their tail-gate, and seemed to debate setting up their camp there. They changed their minds eventually and left.

Note to the berry pickers: we really are nice people. We probably would have come out and talked to you and perhaps become friends, except that we are guardians of dogs that will probably eat your dog, mistaking it for a squirrel. Our dogs didn’t come out all aggression, with hackles-raised, but yours did. You didn’t even bother to consider whether to ask us if our dogs might be OK with a little dog. People with big dogs at least expect there to be some growling and establishing of dominance when an interloper is introduced. We decided that in the grander scheme of things, we didn’t want to get sued if one of our bird dogs accidentally ate your rodent-sized dog.

044When is the rain going to stop, Dad?

046I’m BORED. And cold. And wet, Mom!

047Can I play Solitaire, too?

048What do you mean, you eat off of this table? I’m not good enough for you?

The sun set at 8. We crawled into bed by 9: Don and I on the big bed, Murphy in the front seat on his pad, and Harvey on the floor boards with a blanket tossed over him.

Sometime in the night, Murphy climbed over the top of us and settled down on my feet. My feet cramped. My calves cramped. Murphy edged his way between us. Lack of water intake took its toll on me: my head split open from my neck around the cranium and through my eyes. My feet and calves cramped. Murphy stretched out on my feet again. Murphy crawled up and sat on Don’s chest at 6:30AM. Harvey began to whine.

ARE WE HAVING FUN YET!!!???

Somehow, we made it to 8AM. I think I slept a total of six hours. The rain was done, a cool breeze was blowing, and we put the dogs out. I changed my clothes: my flannel pajama bottoms tucked into my socks, with my jeans pulled up over them. My tee-shirt under my long-sleeved shirt, under my denim vest, under my Carhart™ coat. I tucked my dirty hair up under my ball cap. Harvey curled up on the gravel and shivered.

042A break in the weather

041Aw, come on, Mom! I won’t run away. <squirrel>

049The sun actually came out and we moved out chairs out from under the tarp.

Don apparently decided not to spend another night. We broke camp around ten and drove the mile or two down to “our” spot. The rain had soaked all the shrubbery, the creek where we pick (always a bit marshy) was down-right swampy, and the dogs were not thrilled about the wet brush.

I kept Harvey on a shorter tether, but he still had about eight feet of freedom while I picked berries. I was worried that he might yank me backwards off the side of the hill, but he was a gentleman. I filled half my quart can before both dogs were bored, wet, and insisted on being allowed to stay in my car while I finished picking. I cracked the windows, blocked the front seats, and covered the back seat. They didn’t even bark.

We saw no one.

050The berries were so thick along the creek bed that we never got out of voice range. We had full buckets by 12:30.

We were soaked to the skin, our boots were soggy, and my windbreaker was barely keeping the moisture off of my camera – but it was warm!

Camping, how I have missed it.

Note to self: next time I go, sleep in my own car. To heck with trying to sleep with Murphy!

I Have A Problem

Let me think: first, I should update you all with Harvey. The meds are doing the trick as far as reducing the pain he is in. he’s having a hard time being on “bed rest”, but we’re slowly discovering our limits. I have decided that he is banned from the loft where I spend most of my time, and that is hard. He just cannot manage the stairs. Up is fine: down hurts. We may rethink this as winter closes in, but for now, he’s content on the first floor.

I am still sorting through the left overs of the yard sale. We hauled everything to one or another donation center, but I am left sorting through the contents of the old file cabinet and the desk.

I own:

oil pastels (multiple sets).

pastels (one set).

oil paints (multiple tubes, many of the same color). A lot of them.

water-based oil paints (one set).

water colour paints (in tubes, and replaceable tins). A lot of them.

coloured permanent ink pens. (not too many)

India ink pens and nibs. A ton of nibs. Multiple nib holders.

crayons. Not too many.

oil pastels. multiple packs of oil pastels.

water colour crayons. combined with water colour coloured pencils.

coloured pencils.

pencils.

several kinds of clay.

Twelve rolls of Scotch™ tape.

TWELVE ROLLS OF SCOTCH TAPE™

And I have not even looked inside the boxes of gift wrap where I also hide tape.

I can make excuses for the art supplies (and I didn’t even mention the craft paint I buy at JoAnn’s or Michael’s). But Scotch Tape™????

Most are rolls that have been started, but there’s at least two rolls that have never been started AND a three pack. Still, not counting what is hiding in the boxes of gift wrap.

Houston, we have a problem. Scotch Tape™

I work my way through difficult times by writing. I work my way through good times by writing. What the heck: I work my way through life by writing. I find it much easier to write about things than to talk about them (a trait which nonplusses my extrovert coworker who wants me to dish the details verbally).

That said, here’s the story:

Harvey has always had a funny habit of wanting his back massaged. He’ll be snoozing on the floor in front of you, and you press your toes into his lumbar region and – whoa! The dog pushes back and writhes in ecstasy as you massage his lower back with your toes! He has also always walked and run a bit funny, leaving us to theorize that he was hit by a car early in his life, long before I came to own him. His back legs always seem to give him a bit of trouble, and even strangers to him have commented that he appears to be in pain, if only fleetingly.Last week, my husband took off on his first ever camping trip in the VW Van. He took his dog and left Harvey behind. Harvey moped. He didn’t want to do anything. So, the second day of his confinement to his kennel while I worked, I came home and took him on a long walk to the park. I put him on a lunge line (yes, a horse’s lung line – it’s long and you still have control of the dog) and let him explore the park. It’s a leash park, so he can’t go off-leash and he runs away when he’s off-leash. Or he used to: I haven’t tried since he truly bonded with me. We took a long walk the next night, too. And the next two days were shorter walks, but anything to get him from moping.Sunday, I realized he was not just moping: he was hurting. He didn’t want to get up and walk anywhere. He was as stiff as our old dog, Sadie, was right before she succumbed to old age and cancer. He was eating, but only when I hand fed him. He was drinking water. Mostly, he just wanted to mope.My husband came home Sunday afternoon, and I thought Harvey would immediately improve. Nope. He wagged his tail and barked a welcome, but he laid back down and moped the rest of the evening. He limped a little when he walked. I decided that I would see how he was in the morning & I would weigh calling in sick to take care of him.This is how my marriage works: we’re joint owners of nearly everything, but vet visits tend to be my domain. His dog is his dog, and my dog is my dog. The dogs even understand this dynamic.I called in sick. I felt guilty. I called in later and confessed it was my dog that was sick. I got Harvey a 3:00 appointment with our vet. I admit that I was nervous: last time I weighed Harvey at the vet’s, he was 90#. But he looks thinner and I can feel his ribs, so I hoped he had lost enough weight that I wouldn’t be in for a lecture on over-feeding my dog. He was 80# today, right in the perfect weight for a 27″ English Setter. <whew> The vet did ask if the weight loss was accidental or intentional and I was able to assure him that it was intentional. I went in thinking that Harvey had the first signs of hip dysplasia. I was scared. He was in pain. He didn’t even try to sniff noses with any of the multitude of other dogs in the reception area (and there were a lot of them, because our vet is a busy vet). Thankfully, there were no cats today.The vet pulled at his hips and legs, turned his head and neck both directions to test his flexibility, and lifted his hind quarters off the ground. “Well, he’s certainly not telling us where it hurts, is he?” He could see Harvey hurt, but there wasn’t even a whimper. He checked Harvey’s bowels (no obstruction). Finally, he lifted Harvey’s back end off the ground and applied forward pressure onto his shoulders. Just the slightest growl of pain emanated from the dog. We looked at each other: “Well, he finally had something to say!”I could have had x-rays done, but it wasn’t in my budget (and my recent research has shown it wouldn’t prove anything anyway). The vet has been our vet for over 20 years and I know he has an instinct about animals: I trust him. He said he thought it was – and it is most likely by the symptoms – a degenerative disease of the lower lumbar. He even gave it a name:”Lumbrosacral stenosis“We were given antiflammatory meds and pain killers, plus a print-out on the disease (also known as cauda equine syndrome).Harvey is on strict doggie bed rest (a short step from cage arrest). No walks, short or long. Outside only to pee & poop. Meds until they are exhausted. He should be happy by Wednesday – if not… Harvey could hardly climb into the car to come home. I know we disturbed his back a lot during the exam. He’s been resting quietly in front of the TV all evening. The pain meds (I hope) have kicked in a little. We have lots of massage and heat therapy ahead.I’m happy that it isn’t hip dysplasia, but the more I read about it, the less happy I am. I have to share this photo with you. It is of Ch Mallwyd Sirdar, one of the leading sires of the English Setter lineage. Harvey looks just like him!English_setter_-_Laverack_bloodlineHarvey is resting tonight. I am praying for the best outcome.  He’s the sweetest dog possible.

1995. I sat at my mother’s bedside. She was nervous, and constantly batted at the IVs going into her body. Her hazel green eyes were foggy with morphine. A tube was inserted into her throat so she could breathe. She was dying of emphysema.

Mom battled the disease for years. there were countless hospital stays that I was kept unaware of. This last time, my brother called me from Reno and asked me to come down. It was the end, he was certain. My father had asked me to stay home, but I took my brother’s advice and flew down. My dad was happy to see me.

Mom would have smiled, if she could have. She clenched my hand. She tried to pull the tubes out. The morphine pulled her away from us.

Individually, we went to the nurse’s station. “Mom doesn’t want the tubes. Please remove the tubes.”

“You know she will die?”

“She knows she will die. She wants the tubes removed.”

Three of us. Three of us who had to consent. I have to admit, it felt a little like murder. I wanted my mom to stay here. I wanted to hear her ring on the telephone when she called. I wanted to spend an hour on a Sunday evening talking to her. I wanted her advice on love, children, marriage. I needed her political opinion. I wanted her to see my children grow and to know them.

Instead, my 10 year old daughter sang at my mother’s funeral.

I remember the last words I spoke to my mother. I leaned in and told her that we were allowing staff to remove the tubes. Mom’s drugged eyes looked relieved.  “I love you,” I said. “I want to say ‘good-bye’. I know you are going to do what you want to do. It’s OK.”

My mom’s spirit smiled at this admission: she was Scots-stubborn. You couldn’t talk her out of a decision. I knew – and she knew – that she willed the tubes out of her body so she could just leave Hell. Mom believed life on earth was the only Hell a Christian would know, and life on earth is Hell. She left us within the hour.

2011. My brother and I were cleaning out the house. Dad was gone. There was so much we had to come to terms with. like the oxygen tank in the corner.

Terry pulled out the medications Dad had been prescribed to help his COPD and his heart. The last one used was in March of 2011. It was May of 2011. Dad quit taking his meds two months earlier.

I have known a lot of suicides. The first one was when I was 16. There were many between my 16th birthday and my 18th. They slowed down for awhile. Then my husband and I attended funerals for two suicides back-to-back. We literally walked out of one funeral and drove to the next. Men we knew & loved & respected.

The pastors who spoke at those two funerals preached not of hell and condemnation, but of hope and life and healing. No longer was the suicide condemned to hell by the church, but the church wondered if there was not a grace to cover suicide.

My parents committed suicide. It wasn’t an overt act like jumping off a bridge or putting a gun to their head. They pulled tubes out of their arms or quit taking medications. They understood the consequence: they would die. They chose death over life.

I hurt for my loss. I hurt for the loss of Robin Williams’ family. But more than I hurt, I understand. I have hope.

There is a place – a much better place than the ‘heaven’ portrayed in “What Dreams May Come” where the suicide was caught in a web of repeating her painful decisions. I believe – I hope – my parents and Robin Williams – are in a better place. I hope all the suicides I have known found that place.

Let us be short to judge and long to forgive. We don’t know what is in the heart of a person and we don’t know the pain.

For me: I only know the pain of the survivor. I choose to forgive.

I prefer to be on the other side of a yard sale (garage sale, tag sale – whatever you call it). I buy. I discovered many years ago that most yard sales are hardly worth the time and effort when all you make is a measly $40 to $60. The *only* reason we decided to do a yard sale this year was the sheer amount of STUFF we had to get rid of. We decided to sell what we could and donate the rest to the Vietnam Veterans of America.

Last time I held a yard sale was in 2003 and we made around $350-$400. It was not fun, but we did meet a few neighbors and we made enough money to make it worth our time and effort.

009

This time, we made about $350. We had a lot of fun doing it. We met a lot of interesting people. We closed it down by 2:00PM on the hottest day of the weekend (today) and we were ready to be done. All that is left is to call the Veterans to come pick up what they will take and to trash the rest.

We did not put sentimental prices on anything. If we put it out in the yard, we had to be willing to part with it permanently, and for cheap. We gave a lot of stuff away.

The surprise of the day was on Friday when a good and dear friend wandered up to the house. He’d read the ad on Craigslist, but he had no idea who lived here. We had a wonderful mini-reunion and I sent him home with the antique autoharp that belonged to my older daughter. Sorry, Arwen, but we know you’ll never collect it and now it has a home in the hands of a very fine furniture refinisher and musician.

Here is how the sale went: on Thursday evening we set up.

A car pulled up to the mailbox and our neighbor leaned out of his window. “Hey… you really have a lot of junk!” He came by later when he was walking his dog and bought some items from us in the dark. $20.

Sue, the Koren neighbor across the street, grabbed all my narrow-mouth canning jars (I kept the wide mouth jars). She paid me $3 plus two jars of her homemade jam. I don’t understand half of what she says, but I know one is apple and the other is blueberry, and there’s no sugar in them.

Friday started slow and we despaired. Maybe it was too hot. Maybe my signs fell down. Then people started coming, just one or two at a time. Sue, the Korean neighbor, came over several times just to visit and talk. She’s lonely because her husband sleeps days. She’s hysterical. I can tell you a lot about her, and I only grasp half of what she says because her English is very lacking. My friend, Diane, came over to add to our stack of things for sale, and she ended up staying until we quit. How fun is that!

005

Saturday started even slower. The big neighborhood sale down the hill from us had all the traffic, so all we could do was sit around and twiddle our thumbs. Chrystal and Brian came over to help and I am sure they felt pretty useless most of the day. I was selling all the little kid toys and toddler chairs, plus Tickle Me Elmo™. I figured $5 was a good asking priice for a toy that never dies, has hardly been used, and which Chrystal hated.

Never have your kids come help with a yard sale! Chrystal gave Elmo™ to the cutest toddler girl from up the street from us. It was so sweet, but I didn’t get my five bucks.

Seriously, this family walked over just as I was getting Harvey out to go to the dog groomer’s. The toddler wanted to pet the puppy as soon as she saw him. Then she focused on Elmo™. Her mom is the woman on the corner with a horse trailer – hmmmm. She has a QH, boards him in town, and loves all things horses. I love this woman.

We met the neighbors who live on the other side of Virginia when they bought the saw blades that Don once told me he was going to make knives out of. The young man asked, when he handed us the money, “You don’t mind if I make knife blades out of them?” HA!

Sue brought us a big pan of pot stickers for lunch. Oh-my-goodness-heaven-is-real! Pig Out!

We closed shop at 5PM and started the barbecue. At 5:45, right before the ribs were done, a car stopped. Are you serious? Everything was covered up, the signs say 9-5…

Two women got out, a mother-daughter pair. the daughter (20-something) wanted the top to the aquarium (I kept the aquarium because I have plants growing in it – this was the lights & slider part). We plugged it in, but the lights didn’t work. She still wanted it. I told her it was free, she gave me a dollar.

The mother picked out some things and made the oddest comment when her daughter skipped back to the car: “At least she’s wearing underwear”. Um. OK.

The woman from Tulsa was a favorite. She wanted the Abalone shell with all the other seashells in it. I told her it was free. I’d looked at it earlier and felt a nudge to just give it away, and there she was – desperate to have it. She had money, that wasn’t the issue. She wanted it to take home to her other daughter for their yard. She would have paid any price, I think.

She dug through the box of cassette tapes that I accidentally put in the yard sale and picked out two. I would have given them to her, but I felt she’d be offended to not pay some price, so I charged her 25 cents a piece. Everyone abandoned us while they helped with some other customer, and I ended up having this wonderful conversation with her. She’s a Christian, she had four daughters and lost one twelve years ago (eyes filled up with water). I told her I understood. I don’t know how it is for other folks, but I assume it is the same in different faiths: you meet someone who shares your faith and you just know they are on the same “wave length” as you are. We were on that same “wave length” and I bless God that I got to meet her for a brief moment.

006

Another favorite was an Hispanic woman who really wanted the shoes I had for sale, but she wears a size 8 and they are all 7-7.5 shoes. All new because I bought them, wore them once, and realized they really hurt my feet because of my bunions or the straps or… She knew the value of them & was amazed at my price ($3/pair). That’s beside the point. She bought something, but commented on the hydrangea (center of the pic above). She loved it. Where did I get it? It was her mother’s favorite flower & her mother had several in Mexico.

I cut her two blooms and put them in a vase I was selling and gave them to her. The moment was just right and I was so blessed to see her eyes open with joy and gratefulness. “My mother’s favorite flowers…”

001

Today was the last day. It was predicted to get into the high nineties. We planned to close shop at 2. No one came before 11AM. We were about to write today off entirely, but the family from Juneau, Alaska came. They’d just moved back here (he’s from here) with their teenagers and two adopted little ones. She’s a teacher at a Montessori school. They really looked at the Camp Chef Cookstove with the barbecue, griddle, and Wok base. $150.

Don tried to sell it to a Boy Scout Troop for $100, but they claimed they didn’t have the money. We’ve used the heck out of this back when we had the F-250 and we could haul the kitchen sink with us camping. Once we had to down-size, the stove became much too big to haul with us. The Camp Chef Dutch Oven table next to it was a freebie to us and has never been used, but they weren’t interested in that. And the $150 on the stove was a bit too much for them, but they gave us their phone number just in case we did not sell it and they could convince the school that it was a good investment.

Meanwhile, the kids found the free toys. The little girl took all the noise-making tools: hammer, saw, measuring tape, wrench. They say things like “You nailed it!”. Obnoxious Grandma toys that my grandsons loved when they were still little and lived nearby. The little boy found the jeep and zoo animal set (he paid me $0.50 because his mom said one free toy was enough – darn!).

I tried to give a bunch of free toys away to a little boy later, but he zeroed in on the collector semi truck instead and paid me $0.50. His older sister, however, had no qualms. “Even the scooter is free?” If it’s on the canvas, it’s free. I don’t think Chrystal really used the scooter.

Next thing I knew, a 13 year old girl was scooting down the street and making a U-turn. That girl knew how to ride it and was thrilled beyond words to have it.

You’d think that would be the score of the day: the joy on kids’ faces – right?

Yes. And no – Montessori school people came back with all the cash they had on hand: $59. Would we take it?

The stove went to a good cause and a good family.

007

They also took the dinner bell. My neighbor, Bill, gave it to me as a joke when we lived in the country. It’s LOUD. He said I could use it as a dinner bell. It’s been buried in the garage for over 10 years. Montessori family lives in the country with a couple of acres…

While we only made $350 (mostly because we kept giving away stuff), I feel so blessed. We have great neighbors, we were able to make small children smile, treasured items went to good homes, and I got to meet the lady from Tulsa. I don’t plan on having another yard sale EVER.

Thank you to all who helped: Sue, across the street who cannot speak English and who has an infectious giggle (and is an awesome cook); Diane, who made $10 but spent more for her husband; Chrystal and Brian; and all the neighbors who introduced themselves, even if they didn’t buy anything.

P.S. Harvey looks like a Dalmatian again. Tomorrow is supposed to hit triple digits. He’s a very happy dog.

 

I think we have an addiction.

010

We just cleaned out our shed and garage in preparation for a decluttering yard sale next weekend. I could not believe the collection of raw and finished walking sticks we own. These are the ones that were inside the garage and do not include the ones already in the house or in my studio. Mahogany, juniper, pine, fir, yew. We either have an addiction or the very fine starts of an at-home business making walking sticks. We just need to market them.

But not in the yard sale. These aren’t going into the yard sale.

004

The idea was to clear out the garage so we could park the VW Van inside of it.

005

Uh – not much room to spare.

009

Backed in, at least one could open the doors. But even cleaned out, the garage is too small for the van *and* the rest of the stuff we still have to put back in to it.

006

I did find this. I have been searching for this for 12 years. My friend, Mike, gave it to me when we moved away from Baker City in 1980. It’s one half of a pair of old intercoms from a local (defunct) business in Baker City. When we moved into this house, a lot of things got stored in the garage and there they have stayed, hidden. I have actively searched for this item several times over the years, but the garage clutter kept it hidden from me!

It is in the house now. I can keep in touch with Mike & Janie once again. :)

011

When did we accumulate all of this stuff? Float tube, swimming pool, a 1980’s Mother Earth Magazine food dehydrater, the solid oak high chair that we thought our kids would want as an heirloom… Extra studded tires that don’t fit any vehicle we own.

012

The white cabinet has been hauled around since we lived on Birch Street in Baker City – 35 years! We have three sets of tire chains that don’t fit any vehicle we currently own. Extra canning supplies, some bike parts, fishing gear, lots of old camp gear…

013

A temporary dog kennel (still in the box), router and table (router not pictured), garden junk…

019

A big dog kennel that is still in the box (we got panels for the same size kennel for free after we purchased this).

018

A hydraulic paper cutter that Don “just had to have” at some school clearance sale.

016

The cooler is full of rocks. I won’t tell you how many buckets and bags and boxes of rocks we found. The chair is one of a pair we purchased at an auction in Haines, Oregon, shortly after we were married. We had no other furniture.

015

The second chair we bought, a smoker, the parakeet cage. Outdoor toys for grandchildren who moved away and got big.

017

Pails of paint left by the person who sold the house to us in 2002. Really? We need these *why*? Four were dried up inside, these five are still liquid.

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Cushions to lawn chairs that broke and have been replaced.

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A box of toys I bought at yard sales for my grandkids before they moved away. Tickle Me Elmo™ is in there somewhere, too. We won’t part with the Legos™, but Elmo is finally going away…

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Toddle chairs and eating trays. The kids will be grown tall and lanky before we see them again and we have no need for these items! They were all second-hand, anyway.

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I’ll sell some of my overstock in the china department, too. 007

I started collecting this when I was 21, but I never collected an entire set and I inherited a nice set, plus my husband bought me a nice set – so it goes.

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So much stuff and it won’t seem like we de-cluttered at all!

We’re pricing everything by what *we* would pay at a yard sale and posting a sign that will read: “Don’t like our price? Make us an offer we can’t refuse!”

Everything must go. We won’t do this again for another ten years.

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By then, these should all be carved, oiled, and ready to market.

The costume trunk is packed until Hallowe’en. The glitter has been washed off of my face. My sparkly elf-ears are store in their earring box. I have moistened my sunburned shoulders and back several times today, and my leg muscles hurt from all the walking we did at Faerieworlds 2014. This was the last year at this venue at Mount Pisgah near Eugene, Oregon, and it should have had the resonance of a huge celebration of all that is, and has been, the magical realm of the fae brought to us by Brian Froud.

I snapped over 60 photos, so it was not all a loss: there were beautiful costumes and interesting sights, but the magick – the magick was not the same as previous years.

The first hint was when we pulled around the corner of Frank Parrish Road and met the first of the volunteers directing traffic. No satyrs, fauns, or Elven maidens met us: only workers in blue tee-shirts and blue jeans. Their faces were not painted in glitter, they wore no crownlets of leaves and branches: they wore a necklace with an ID tag and they waved us along the way as if we were new to the venue. Always before, there has been a genial wave, a cheer of “good fairy” wishes, and magical creatures along the way to guide us.

It was the same at Will-Call, for the most part. I was glad to be greeted by a fellow actress in full fairy garb, hailed and hugged as an old friend – but the fairies behind the tables were clad in that awful human tee shirt of blue!

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Faeries here and there still posed for photos, but many frowned upon having their picture taken and I was left to photograph them from behind, covertly.

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From behind was not always flattering! I’m used to seeing this sort of fairy fashion faux pas, and Saturday was Bad Fairy Day! (Those are tasteless leggings, by the way, not a nude bottom.)

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Mechanical wings! Where in the magic kingdom could they come up with such a clever (and non-natural) invention?!

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Someone forgot to tell some of the visitors that this is the Kingdom of the Fae, not a Steampunk Con – but I suppose the non-fae have to create wings somehow!

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A more masculine set of real faerie wings – and faux fox tails. Or maybe they are real coyote tails. I didn’t ask.

 

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I am forever fascinated by the elegance of some wings! This faerie was more elegant from the side!

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One of the few veteran actors we saw. This year, there were no trolls or goblins, and precious few actors and actresses making their way around the venue! But always the genial prankster, this Green Man made little kissing sounds at all who passed or gave him compliment!

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I snapped the phooto of the Dryad and then learned she was at the Faire to promote someone’s book. She was one of the few silent creatures who played the part and walked the walk. I have the bookmark and will most likely download the book onto my Kindle. Yes, I have forgotten the title of it – I’ll add it to the comments on the morrow.

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Yes! Not a faun nor a satyr, but a horned woodland creature. I saw him later with his lady.

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The lady was elegant in silver and wings.

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This fae had no wings, but was a snake charmer with her three year old ball python adorning her neck. I love snakes. Some folks cringe, but I find snakes to be mysterious and lovely – this one was perhaps quite happy in the heat of the moment, curling around its mistress’ neck.

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The jovial bouncer at Oberon’s Tavern – Chrystal said he reminded her of one of the bats from “Fern Gully”. We decided he would not appreciate it and – since we liked him – we wouldn’t tell him.

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Only a few times could we coax a group of faeries to pose for us. The antlers lit up after dark.

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Three very beautiful faeries!

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Many of my photos are stolen moments of faeries pausing in the heat, watching the people, resting their feet…

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Posing for other photographers…

(why do faeries slouch?)

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Did I mention resting their feet?

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This actress may not like our review of her performance. She was unfriendly. Her griffon was adorable and active, well-mannered, and clever. But the lady? She hardly spoke to us, seemed a bit put-off when I approached and spoke directly to the griffon, and deigned to tell us a story about him.

This is not what we have come to expect. You are an actor in a play. My friend, Mary (she of last week’s Ren Faire), often attends events like this with a puppet-friend who will talk your ear off. If not the puppet-friend, then Mary, who will tell you the history, the ecology, and the biology of her friend. No griffon would be left without a name and without a history of existence!

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The headdress!!

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The royal wings! (Or is that Wizardly?)

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The raven-ness!

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The feathery-ness!

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Oh my gosh! The sugar-plum fairy came out at dusk! Tell me that you do not want to hug that bundle of cuteness??!!

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I have seen the jellyfish before – usually, there are several around the faire, but this year, only the one came out, and s/he came out at dusk. It was just as hot last year, so I do not understand the reluctance to engage during the daylight hours, even for an hour.

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This is what I love best about Faerieworlds – that anyone can be transformed by their imagination into something else. Another photographer filmed her dancing in her wheelchair, and I have to tell you that it was beautiful.

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This was simply annoying. I waved the first time it droned past. It was obnoxious, filming everything and everyone. Granted, when you walk into a venue such as this, changed into another ego, you expect to be photographed and filmed.

That, of course, was another of our criticisms to this year’s event: so many creatures seemed reluctant to be photographed, and even seemed somewhat hostile.

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Not hostile like this – but hostile to the idea that you might take their photo and put it up on a blog somewhere, complete with comments.

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He was, by the way, a very good drummer.

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She hissed at me, but it wasn’t out of character.

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She gladly posed, but so many others…

Love the headdress, by the way. Looks heavy and HOT!

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CUPID!

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More Steampunk madness in the world of the fae.

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Gourd heads!

We were disappointed in the vendors. So many of the local, hand-made, and art print vendors were gone, replaced by more commercial vendors. We met one man who was selling hand-crafted items from Mexico, but it was not for a charity. He told us about the women who made the items, but didn’t offer to tell us that the proceeds of his sales would go to help them rise above their living standards.

There were numerous rock-and-gem vendors, but since I frequent rock-and-gem shows, their prices didn’t enthrall me (except one – there was one I really liked who had real prices on her wares).

The macrame vendor intrigued me solely because I saw her working her macrame loom and I understood those were hand-made items – by the artist in the booth. Same for the wool fairy slippers (I took a business card so I can ask for a pair for Christmas)! There was a vendor of small vials that was fascinating, and the seller of mummified fairies.

But so many of the fairy booths of the past were gone: the fairy houses, the intricate masks, the fairy ears and animal horns… A few here and there, but almost a sideline to the ouija boards and tarot card readers. It was as if Hobbiton had been taken over by the Dark Lord. The innocence of the past – of satyrs and fauns, woodland fae, and belly dancers – was replaced with commercialism. Gone were fairy toes and leather-bound handmade books, replaced with – what?

I don’t know. It just didn’t have the ring of innocence of the past. Or maybe that is my daughter’s voice ringing in my ears. She attended several years ago and returned this year, and she said it no longer had that “magical” feel to it. There were just as many drunks (one hit on her many moons ago), but fewer innocents. The Frouds were long gone and the security guards now wear human clothes in the form of blue tee shirts and jeans.

Still, we had a smashing (and I do not mean Wotan the Fairy Smasher) time.

 

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