Saturday, December 20, 2014

Winter....North Coast Style

It's raining, nearly every day. Sometimes it's windy, and sometimes, just sometimes, there will be a clap of thunder in the distance. The last big storm that came through produced 68 mph wind gusts at the airport. We bought a small, one-burner propane stove and a bunch of long-burning candles, just in case. This house is all electric, so if a wire goes down, we are not only in the dark, but also unable to heat any food. Someday when we get our own place a wood stove will be near the top of the list.

Many people use pellet stoves and wood stoves here. This house has a heat pump. Of course heat pumps and pellet stoves are both dead in the water in a power outage. At least here, no one needs to worry about freezing to death. It's very rare for the nighttime temps to drop below 40. I heard there can be frost for about one week in January. This is a Maritime climate, which is heavily influenced by the Pacific Ocean. Summers are not too hot and winters are not too cool. Deciduous trees are slow turn and drop their leaves. Most of the trees are pines and Redwoods, so there is a definite lack of fall color.  Everyone tells me I can see lots of fall colors and snow several miles inland.

Front yard and drive...just rain

We are 9b.

Friday, December 19, 2014

I promised some pictures...

So here they are. These are from December 6th, all from the Lake Earl Recreational Area. This is one of our favorite places to walk.

 I love taking pictures of cute mushrooms

 I spotted this pinky-nail sized yellow one

The Road Less Traveled
4 mile loop, a walking path along Lake Earl. It's hard to believe this is a 5 minute drive and a half-hour or so walk from town. Lake Earl is behind us to the right. We are looking toward the ocean, but at an estuary that is separated from the ocean by dunes. Many water fowl gather here.

These are from December 13th.

 Honey Bee

 Small orange 'shrooms

 Beaver Pond sign...this is new, along with a picnic table and an observation bench.

 Beaver Pond

 Some dried flower bracts, along the path leading to Lake Earl

 Lots of 'srooms on a log. After reaching the lake we turn west and follow another trail that takes us back to the parking lot.

The trail back to the parking lot. The late afternoon air is cool and damp. You can see dew on the grass. The tire tracks are from the park ranger's vehicles. 

Bright yellow 'shrooms growing on a log.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Life on the North Coast

We have contemplated the differences between where we were and where we are now, and we are confident we made the right choice. I thought about it before, and discussed it in length with my husband. I didn't want him to have any regrets.

The nearest Target store is 79 miles south. Ditto for Kmart, Khols, PetSmart, all the stores we had in abundance all around us in northwest Indiana. We don't have Meijer's, with the long ethnic food isle. There is no Aldi store with its low prices in the west anywhere. The nearest airport where jets land is 6 hours drive away in any direction.

On the other hand, there are no steel mills, no oil refineries, no heavy industries, no smog, no congestion. Some people think that translates into no jobs. That's not entirely true. There are fewer jobs, but also fewer people. We were in a huge metro area in NW Indiana, and jobs were just as hard, if not harder, to find. One steel mill has a waiting list of 4,000 applicants and a wait time estimate of 12 years. Many places wanted 3 or 5 years experience only. No one was willing to train.

We are settling in, learning our way around, meeting people. We went to the Work One office. Nice, helpful people (unlike the office in Indiana). We met the neighbors. Nice people. My hubby has placed several job applications. He has several opportunities in the works that may bring results early next year, and they are willing to train.

There is a discount grocery store in town that carries many of the foods from Germany that we were buying at Aldi. Brookings Oregon is an easy 24 mile drive. An oil change here in California is $55. We got one in Brookings for nearly half that. Gas is cheaper in Oregon and they pump your gas for you. There is no sales tax in Oregon. Too bad the real estate taxes and home prices are so high there. Brookings also has several nice places to shop.

Nature is everywhere! Many people who live here moved here because of the nature. We can drive ten minutes north and we are at the Lake Earl Recreational Area. When it's not raining we take long walks. I take lots of pictures. Five minutes west brings us to the ocean. South of town is another beach and a look out. A road leading into the Redwood forests is on the west side of town.

Houses here are affordable. This is one of the few places in California where that is true. The town is decent. It has some dumpy parts, and a few unsavory characters, along with a homeless population that lives behind Walmart. There are million dollar houses along the coastal road, but there are much more affordable houses only a block or so away. Most people keep their houses and yards in good shape.

This is a town of people who love the Lighthouse, the Redwoods, and the ocean. The coastal road has several turnouts with ample parking. People go there to eat lunch, to meditate, and to take pictures. Artists live here. The land is art, the sky is art, the sea is art. The area is referred to as the "North Coast" and "Wild Rivers Coast". This is the land of wild-caught sockeye salmon, grass-fed beef, organic produce and California "happy cows". We have great local cheese.

Do we miss anything? Yes, my older daughter and her husband and his kids. We visit on cam now and then. Autumn leaves....there are a few here, but not like the Midwest. I don't miss the cold and I don't miss the heat. I honestly didn't want to go through another winter like last winter, with three polar vortexes. I was stuck inside, mostly snowed in, and shivering all winter. I didn't want any more sweltering hot, humid summers full of mosquitoes and tornado warnings. Add in bad air from the industry and all I had was misery. I was stuck inside in the air conditioning all summer.

I think I have rambled enough. Next post I will post some pictures from our many walks in the awesome fresh air.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Leaves and Stuff

I promised to post a picture of a Redwood leaf. They have needles, but tend to fall off the trees as branches. If they fell as just needles they wouldn't make such a mess.

Redwood leaf

A really cool looking mushroom growing beside the road along the ocean.

An Oregon or Bigleaf Maple leaf

This morning the back yard was full of Robins, dozens of them. I also saw a Western Jay. The back yard is a cacophony of bird songs.

Thursday, October 23, 2014


Rainy season is starting. I always heard that it never stops raining here, but that's not entirely true. Rainy season means it will rain a lot but the sun comes out, too. It's quite pleasant when the sun comes out.

So, what is it like to live in the Redwoods? The old saying, "I can't see the forest for the trees!" comes to mind. Honestly I prefer to see the forest, not live directly under it. A house in the sun will have less mold problems than a house in the shade. Our bedroom enjoys midday to afternoon sun. I can open the windows on any sunny day and enjoy sparkling fresh air and temperatures in the 70's inside. The front of the house is shaded by redwoods and pine trees, so it stays cool all the time.

The back yard has 2 baby redwoods. The north side of the front yard has two youngsters. I made one Redwood "hold" a yardstick while I took a picture.
More than a yard in diameter

Future Giants, side by side

On a sunny day

Redwood leaves....lots of them

Redwoods drop lots of leaves. I will take some close-up pictures later. They are a bit messy to live under.

Another thing we have is coastal fog. Fog is one prime ingredient for good Redwood health. One night I took some pictures of the fog.
 The streetlight on 101

With camera focused on droplets of fog...suspended little balls of water!

We also have lichens. They only grow where the air is super clean, as any pollution will kill them.
Beard-type lichens growing in an Almond tree.  

 Here is one that fell out of a tree.

 Another type of lichen growing on an old bird feeder.

Lots of thorny blackberries, too thorny to pick.

Saturday, October 18, 2014


My husband is in Kosovo. I told him he should go now, before starting a new job, because it might be years before he is able to take four weeks off, if that. The trip costs the same, whether you stay one week or four. So I said go....go see your mom and family and friends. His parents are elderly. You must grab opportunities when they come.

So I am alone for the first time since he immigrated. I was not prepared for how sad I would be. I didn't think I was sad, but I felt sick and slept much of the time he was traveling. With the layovers and delays, a 15 hour flight turned into 26 hours. At last we spoke on cam, and then he had to go, and I cried.

So here I sit, not feeling much like doing anything, and telling myself to snap out of it and write something.

Tuki, our bunny, is sleeping in the closet. He is a darling lump of cotton soft white fur who begs for attention and cereal. He sleeps on the rug next to the bed every night. He doesn't care where he lives, as long as it is with us. He is a surprisingly good pet. He uses a litter box full of hay. I keep all cords out of reach and give him lots of things to chew on.

The weather here has been dryer than normal. I thought it rained all the time, but I have been enjoying perfect, sunny weather nearly every day. I can open the windows almost every day and smell only fresh air, no car exhaust, no steel mills, no oil refinery, no aluminum recycling. The fresh air is good for my health. No more chest pain from polluted air. My daughter told me summers here are like this. Glorious!

California does not have the autumn colors of the Midwest. I knew that. But for my health I needed a milder climate. We have driven around town and seen cute houses with rows of mums blooming in fall colors. I have seen succulents, agave and palm trees and fruit trees. My daughter tells me it's beautiful when everything blooms in the spring. My mom always had a beautiful outdoor garden in southern California. I was never able to replicate it in the Midwest. On my list of must-haves...Night Blooming Cereus and Jade tree. I really didn't think succulents would grow here with the wet winters, but I see them everywhere. Succulent happy dance!!!

They really do have "Happy Cows" in California. Well, dairy farms and cheese factories. I thought the California cheese commercials were a joke, until I came here. I'm munching on RUMIANO  PEPPATO (aged dry Monterey Jack with Peppercorns), bought locally from the Rumiano Cheese Company. The stores carry many fine cheeses and yogurts from the Tillamook Dairy in Oregon. Rumiano has a retail store right here in Crescent City.

Our airport is tiny and downright endearing. Where else can you drive 10 minutes, park, walk in and weigh your luggage, as many times as you wish, until you get it right? We stopped in at 3 PM, when the room was empty of passengers. Two friendly agents were on hand to answer baggage questions and make sure the scale was turned on. Before flights, a TSA agent does a full inspection of all luggage. They x-ray AND hand search! The security is just as tight as at a major airport, with the advantage of fewer passengers to scan.

When entering the parking lot, one passes a fleet of FedEX delivery vans. Small FedEx planes also land and taxi to the FedEx building there. I guess the large Cal-Ore Life Flight (air ambulance) building must be a hangar for maintenance. At the other end of the parking lot is Cal-Ore office, and in the same building, Hertz Rent-a-Car. In the middle is a small terminal that handles the few flights in and out of Crescent City.
Looking west toward the FedEX area. The passenger terminal is out of view to the right. My hubby's plane is in the air in this picture, maybe out of view.

My hubby's plane. Small planes operated by SkyWest in alliance with United are the only services in and out of Crescent City.

Looking east, Hertz and Cal-Ore Life Flight office. That's my hubby's plane zipping down the runway.

Del Norte County Regional Airport in the distance under a big, beautiful sky with trees and mountains in the background. The Pacific is behind me. 

Crescent City has many attractions, considering its small size. We have yet to try the seafood restaurants. Many artists live in the area. Apparently wealthy people do, as well, judging from the small row of million-dollar houses overlooking the harbor. Affordable housing can be found here, unlike many other places in California. 

For the most part the people are friendly. I have been complimented on my hair, my scarf and my earrings all by various ladies I don't even know. People say hello. Most people here appreciate nature. The overlooks almost always have a car or two, or more. Many are locals who drive (or bike) down to the waterfront to meditate on the ocean. It is a daily lunch routine for some.

So, I've written about many good things. Is there a downside? Of course there is. Every place has a downside of some sort. We have a homeless population living behind Walmart. Food prices are much higher than in the Midwest. Gas prices are higher. There is no Aldi store. I miss my older daughter and her husband. I gave away too many things. I wish I had kept my mother's wooden mortar and pestle. Silly, maybe, but sometimes the little things are what nag you.

Our blessings....being gifted with the chance to live here in my younger daughter's house while we get on our feet and get a place of our own. God willing, my husband has a possible job waiting for him when he comes home. I will write more another time.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

At last I have found a place for me

September has been busy with not much time to write. We arrived on Thursday 9/4 after a long drive across the US from the Chicago area. Our bunny traveled like a champ. The first day was stressful for him but after that he took it all in stride. Once moved in, he happily claimed the closet in our bedroom as his home.

August was a whirlwind. Our Exit Plan (see Somewhere in Indiana) worked more quickly than we expected. Our house was sold within two days and closed before the end of August. My only regret is that I had so much to do regarding my (now former) job that I didn't have more time to pack properly. But we are last I have found a place for me, with hills and rocks and stars at night, with towering redwoods and misty seas, and most of all, peace of heart.