Adventures, Animals, Antiquing, hiking

Hike – Miller Woods Conservation Area – Part 2

Here is part 2 of our hike to the Miller Woods Conservation Area near McMinnville, Oregon. Don’t forget to read Part 1 first!

After exploring the pond and field areas, we continued on to the forested areas. The trail was sticky mud in many places and I was glad I had on my waterproof boots!

Kangaroo getting a selfie of us while I get a photo of her, haha!

On the way to see a stream, we found this small plant with a protective fence around it — can you see the plant?

Very spindly shrub.

The plant had this label. Neither of us had heard of a Western Wahoo. Sounds like it should get to be rather a large shrub.

There were these nice benches scattered along the trail, and I thought those people knew how to build a trail right! Oh, how we wished for benches when we were hiking the PCT!

A lovely bench.

We reached this summit…

But this was the view…

In one area some trees had signs. We admitted we would have a difficult time telling the conifers apart without the labels!

Grand Fir

Douglas Fir

Another tree full of nesting boxes

This little guy was on the trail, quite aways up from the stream. We wondered how long it took him to climb all that way, and Kangaroo suggested he might be on a thru-hike 😃

Newt friend. (Photo by Kangaroo – she always gets the best wildlife photos)

This is actually a data collection site for snow. Considering that we seldom have snow here, I thought it was a strange location for it.

After the hike we planed to go to the little town of Lafayette, a few miles away, and go to the antique mall there. We didn’t find anything at the antique mall we couldn’t live without, but there were some interesting items. One was a giant buffalo head that was positioned next to the entry door (I believe they were asking $2700 for it!). Because of the moisture in the air, the poor buffalo smelled like wet dog, ugh! There was also a wonderful secretary desk with supports that automatically came out when you opened the door of the desk. So neat! I didn’t get photos of either of those, unfortunately!

Before we went in to the antique mall we walked a couple of blocks down to get some lunch. We went into the little “Cafeyette” and noticed a sign that said they were serving soup, but no other signs of food except pastries and coffee. I asked the lady what they had for lunch and she said they had sandwiches, ham and turkey. She suggested that olives on the sandwich would be delicious, so I chose to have everything except onions on my sandwich, and Kangaroo chose everything as well and did add onions. As they were making the sandwiches, the lady asked if we would like jalapenos, but we both declined. I got an Italian soda to drink and Kangaroo got a berry smoothie, and we sat down to wait for our sandwiches.

BIG yummy sandwich

The lady brought our sandwiches, and they were BIG and very yummy! While we were eating we noticed a man come in and look around. He asked us if there was a menu, and I replied, no, but there are sandwiches. He went up and put his order in and left the building, and when he came back he had an armful of yardsticks. I was about to comment on his yardstick haul when he said that he was going to be using them for projects, and that the man he got them from had only wanted 50 cents each for them so he bought them all. I said they were nice yardsticks too, and he asked us if WE wanted yardsticks, and we said sure, we’d love one, and he gave us each one. It’s a very nice, strong yardstick from the Power and Telephone Supply Company.

A very nice yardstick.

On the way home we came through Dayton towards West Salem, and I suggested we take the Wheatland Ferry since it would give us a straight shot home instead of going around through West Salem. The Boy works in the McMinnville area and takes the ferry home to Keizer most days. I hadn’t ridden the Wheatland Ferry since The Boy’s first ferry ride when he was a tiny baby! It was a nice adventure to end our day 😊

On the ferry

Leaving the ferry

Driving by the hops fields on the way home.

We enjoyed our hike and decided that we will go back to visit Miller Woods in the spring sometime when the birds and other critters will be out.

Just keep walking!


Adventures, hiking

Hike – Miller Woods Conservation Area – Part 1

Yesterday we hiked at the Miller Woods Conservation Area near McMinnville, Oregon. Kangaroo had discovered it on Google Maps and we hadn’t been there, so we wanted to check it out. The conservation area was donated to the Yamhill Soil and Water Conservation District in 2004 by Frieda Miller, who along with her husband had settled the 130 acres in 1967. They wanted the property to be used for nature education. Rain was forecast, and it was indeed raining when we got there. I got a lot of photos so this will be a bit of a long post!

The first thing we noticed when we drove in was this display of different kinds of nesting boxes for birds, bats, and bees. The one at the bottom middle of the photo above is a bat box. There is a small space between the front and back of the box, and the bats go up in there and nest. The photo below is the bee block for mason bees, which are great pollinators.

When we got to the trailhead, there was a group of elementary and middle school aged kids waiting to go on a nature hike. There were probably 13-15 kiddos and just a couple of adults to wrangle them. I thought they needed more adults, but we didn’t volunteer, ha.

We checked the maps and decided to go down to the pond on the Discovery Loop. It was about 0.3 of a mile and went around the pond.

We got down to the pond and saw a few interesting things, but no riparian wildlife. We assumed all the frogs and other pond-dwellers were hibernating.

Interesting tree with large branches growing on the ground.

The pond.
Cattails. They look a bit scruffy this time of year!

Some nesting boxes.

Turkeytail fungus on a log.

These wildlife cover boards with handles were scattered around the area.

Ohhhh…what will we find?

Nobody there!

We (I should say Kangaroo) lifted up the wildlife cover boards we found around the pond and didn’t find any creatures hiding. I was uncomfortable thinking about what we might find (snakes!) but no snakes were found. Along the trail there were more cover boards, and under the last one we did find this guy!


Nifty gate for no reason – there is no fence on either side of it so it would be easily circumvented.

View from the floating dock.

Across from the pond there is a large field that is being restored as a native prairie. They have even resorted to hand-pulling to remove blackberries and daisies and other plants that are invasive.

Field with a line of nesting boxes on poles.

Prairie field

See Part 2 for the rest of the hike!

Animals, Health, Things I've Learned


I went to the pulmonary doctor this week because my primary care doctor is concerned that my asthma isn’t well controlled. She prescribed the Trelegy inhaler, which has another medicine in it compared to my other inhaler. The Trelegy inhaler is just one puff once a day, which is better than the 2 puffs twice a day the other one required.

They asked what respiratory allergies I have, and I’ve always known cat dander is one of them, along with grass, trees, mold, etc. The doctor ordered a blood allergy test and the results are a bit surprising. The normal range for cat dander is <=0.34 kU/L. Guess where my results landed? 19.40. That means I’m a bazillion times over the normal range for allergy to cat dander. Next was birch tree, at 15.00 (normal range <=0.34). Alder tree, grass, and oak tree also play a big part in causing my allergy problems. I grew up in an oak savannah surrounded by fields of grass, and we had 20 cats (outdoor) at one point and I enjoyed spending time with them. I mean, I’ve known I was allergic to cats and grass since I was a little girl (funny nobody ever said anything about the trees) but no wonder I’ve always been a mess of allergies! The asthma came along when I was 7 years old, about a year after we moved out to the country full of all the allergens. When I was young there were no asthma inhalers, and no helpful allergy meds that didn’t cause me to sleep all day. If I had an asthma attack I just had to suffer through it, until I was 11 or 12 years old and they invented albuterol rescue inhalers. Then they invented Seldane allergy pills in the late ’80s or so, and those were awesome. They took it off the market for some reason, which is too bad.

We had an aspen tree out in the front yard here for many years until half of it fell down. It was sort of two trees growing out of the same spot and the other one was leaning toward the neighbor’s, so The Hubs cut it down a couple of years ago. Aspen and birch are in the same family so it’s good that that tree is gone now. We also live in what used to be a walnut orchard with some really big walnut trees, but I am only at 0.10 kU/L (normal range <=0.34) for walnut, thank goodness, and the same for maple tree. Our neighbor has a huge maple tree that is on our side of his yard and it drops pollen like crazy all over our cars during the pollen season.

Other surprises included that I didn’t show as much of an allergy to dust mites as I thought I would, and that most of the mold allergens didn’t show much of a reaction. Whatever A. Alternata mold is showed up the highest at 6.87 kU/L (standard range <=0.34). Our valley is a fairly humid environment so fungi/mold is to be expected, but thankfully God has blessed us with a dry house. I’m concerned there may be mold in my office ceiling because of the roof leak above, but I haven’t seen any mold so far.

I had my tonsils and adenoids out when I was 5 years old because of chronic ear infections. I don’t know if those were caused by allergies or not. I remember being in the hospital eating grape Popsicles, and a lady from church brought me a Fisher Price Little People circus set. They wanted me to let a little girl with a broken arm play with some of the pieces and I remember not wanting to share, ha!

A really annoying thing about having allergies (other than, you know, not being able to breathe and stuff) is that my eyes are constantly itchy so I want to rub them. This causes bags under my eyes. My nose and the face around it is also always itchy. I have in the past gotten hives (urticaria) which caused my lip to swell up in a very strange manner. It happened at work when I was in my early 20s, and I actually walked a mile in the snow to go to the allergy doctor (I walked to work so didn’t have my car with me, and wanted to make sure the doctor saw my swollen lip before it went away). The result of that appointment was that my hives had “no known cause”. Hmph.

So unfortunately my allergies will have to stay around for awhile, specifically the cat dander allergy. Philip isn’t going anywhere that we know of, and we love him so. He is especially a daddy’s boy and would be sad if he had to go to a new home, and I wouldn’t want to put him through that. <Ahchoo! Snif> excuse me — I might just have to find a way to keep him out of our bedroom though. And I should set the Roomba to vacuum more. I do take an allergy pill (Xyzal) and that keeps some of the allergies at bay.

Philip and his Daddy

Also, Happy Groundhog Day! I’m up too early to know if Punxsutawney Phil will see his shadow, but I hope spring is just around the corner!

Punxsutawney Phil – famous rodent meteorologist
Bible, Christian Life, Doing Things Differently, God


Today’s devotion from the Girlfriends in God website was all about rest, and today I feel like God is telling me I should rest. The only problem is that this is usually me:

Well, I don’t mean a rest day from exercise, because I don’t exercise all that much.

And also this:

Arrgh! Why am I not reaching my goals?

But, I have been in those modes so long that my brain just won’t work anymore, it’s just running around in circles and I’m not actually accomplishing anything. I have two businesses and also my transcription work and the responsibilities of taking care of a husband and household, so there all those things to do daily. Add to that the other important things I would like to do (Bible study! Visit Mom and Dad! Serve at church! Hike! Lose weight! Read a book! WRITE a book! Declutter the house! Do the taxes!! Etc., etc.!) and my head is spinning with all of it. I’ve already scaled back my Mary Kay business because it just hasn’t been profitable for awhile, and I think for it to be profitable it would be a full-time job for me. I’d rather concentrate on my transcription work because it is profitable and a guaranteed income for the work that I do, whereas in sales you can put in a lot of work with little reward, it just depends on the day. And I have decided that I am just not that into meeting people and trying to sell them something. The Etsy store is easier because people come to me instead of me going out to people, but I’m also considering putting my Etsy store on hiatus. It really doesn’t need a lot of work though, so I’m waffling about that. I need to take about three days to list everything I have so I can just sit back and not think about it much.

I enjoy my transcription work and it is restful for me (not the subject matter necessarily, I type mostly criminal trial stuff, but I really enjoy the typing itself). It is very interesting and I hope to be able to continue it for many years to come.

On Day 7 of the week of Creation, God rested. If God rested, who are we to say we should just keep going no matter what? So today I am going to be still, and know that He is God (and I am not).

Image from GreatGraceUnited on Etsy – click image to go to site.
Animals, Home and Garden


I bought this shepherd’s hook and suet cage at an estate sale awhile back, and the birds have been enjoying the suet blocks I put out for a few weeks now. Unfortunately the squirrels have finally found it, and this is the result:

Skwirl wants the suet.

Hummingbird silhouette conveniently located.

The squirrels have knocked the suet cage off the hook a few times so the birds can’t get to it very well, and I don’t like that much. I did get this cute photo of two squirrels sitting close together though. I hadn’t seen them do that before. I’m not sure if these are the ones getting into the suet block, there were two others around the fence as well. I think they are happy with the sunny weather we are having for a couple of days!

Bible, Christian Life, Memories


I showed this lovely watercolor print from Etsy on my last post, and decided to go ahead and purchase the digital files. It printed out perfectly on white cardstock paper and I put it in this frame I already had on the wall that originally had a different verse in it. The colors match my office decor and the 4:5 print size fit just right in the frame. Now I have two things at my desk to remind me of my word of the year. You can never have too many reminders!

The girls in the pictures are me when I was young. They are there to remind me of many things.

I also have this verse excerpt up on the wall across from my computer so I can see it every day. It was a digital download from Etsy as well. There was this pink one and also a more masculine version in blue and brown. You can really find just about anything you want on Etsy and the prices are so reasonable for the digital downloads, and you usually get a variety of sizes for printing, I have just a regular printer (not photo-specific) and the designs come out looking great.

You may have seen this picture of my desk in one of my recent posts, I am a “word person” so I have a lot of words on my desk to bring things to my remembrance. Mom bought the little verse “box” at the left of the photo for many of us for Christmas, it contains a number of cards with scripture verses on them that you can change from day to day. The hand-lettered “chalkboard” verse is Isaiah 43:18-19a from The Message paraphrase Bible, and says “Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new.” I actually found this at a thrift store right at a time that I needed to know that God was going to do something new in my life 😊 Words are important to God, and I am glad He gave us so many of them!

Bible, Change, Christian Life


In my last post about my Word of the Year, I wrote that a definition of peace that I have on my bulletin board is “confident assurance in any circumstance”. Isn’t that something we all would like to have? I had neglected to write down where I had found that phrase, so I Googled this morning and found that it is in my Life Application Study Bible study notes on John 14:27, where Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” The study notes say:

The end result of the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives is deep and lasting peace. Unlike worldly peace, which is usually defined as the absence of conflict, this peace is a confident assurance in any circumstance; with Christ’s peace, we have no need to fear the present or the future. If your life is full of stress, allow the Holy Spirit to fill you with Christ’s peace (see Philippians 4:6-7 for more on how to experience God’s peace.)

Sin, fear, uncertainty, doubt and numerous other forces are at war within us. The peace of God moves into our hearts and lives to restrain these hostile forces and offer comfort in place of conflict. Jesus says he will give us that peace if we are willing to accept it from him.”

(emphasis mine)

I like this study Bible because the notes and commentary help me gain a much greater understanding of what God’s Word is saying. That’s not to negate other study sources, but I have really enjoyed this Bible over the years. If you are interested in the Life Application Study Bible check out this website to find out more about it.

Also, I found this on Etsy this morning. So pretty! Click on the photo to go to Etsy.

Peace watercolor by goodnewsxdesign — click photo to find it on Etsy

Bible, Change, Christian Life


For 2023 I decided to choose a “word of the year”, which is a popular thing people are doing to have something to really focus or concentrate on during the year, instead of just making New Year’s resolutions. My word for 2023 is Peace.

I have had some scripture verses about peace on my bulletin board for the past few years, mainly Philippians 4:6-7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” This year I plan to learn more what God says about peace. I’m not talking about “world peace”, but the peace that comes from knowing God and His Word.

As a writer and transcriptionist (or, person who types words for a living), I do like words, so this word of the year idea works well for me. Plus, it means I get to find things that have my word on them, so I can be reminded of my word. I already had this ball being used as a Christmas decoration, so I just added it to my desk. You’ll see that I have other words hanging around on my desk as well.

My desk.

Made this one for the bathroom.

Found this one for the living room. The decor style in here right now is “Winter”, therefore it is rather spartan.

Made this one for the car and had it laminated.

The more you see a thing, the more you think about it!

A definition of peace I have had on my bulletin board for awhile (I don’t remember where I found it) is “confident assurance in any circumstance”. I definitely aspire to have that kind of peace in my life.

When I say the word “peace”, the chorus of the hymn “Wonderful Peace” always comes to mind. I found this video of a years-ago Gaither Homecoming concert where they are singing the chorus. There’s nothing like hearing many people praising God together!

Wonderful Peace – Gaither Homecoming

The full lyrics of “Wonderful Peace” are below.

Far away in the depths of my spirit tonight
Rolls a melody sweeter than psalm;
In celestial-like strains it unceasingly falls
O’er my soul like an infinite calm.

Peace, peace, wonderful peace,
Coming down from the Father above!
Sweep over my spirit forever, I pray
In fathomless billows of love!

What a treasure I have in this wonderful peace,
Buried deep in the heart of my soul,
So secure that no power can mine it away,
While the years of eternity roll!

I am resting tonight in this wonderful peace,
Resting sweetly in Jesus’ control;
For I’m kept from all danger by night and by day,
And His glory is flooding my soul!

And I think when I rise to that city of peace,
Where the Author of peace I shall see,
That one strain of the song which the ransomed will sing
In that heavenly kingdom will be:

Ah soul, are you here without comfort and rest,
Marching down the rough pathway of time?
Make Jesus your friend ere the shadows grow dark;
Oh, accept this sweet peace so sublime!