Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Springtime fun

We are hurrying to get some projects done this spring and summer and one of those was doing a makeover for our dining room. We painted the main wall 'Adventure Orange' and it looks wonderful.

From 06172010

Also painted under the bar a beautiful terra cotta color and added two barstools
From 06172010

With the movement of the table, addition of a bakers rack and replacement of the monster light fixture, it looks like a brand new room and has opened up so much space. To finish it off our friend Lisa taught Jordan and I how to cover our light fixtures with beautiful cloth patterns. So now we're doing all the light fixtures in the house.
From 06172010

From 06172010

Cobi and I needed some much deserved alone time so we headed out this past weekend camping without the kid or any dogs. It was super fun to spend time chatting and laughing as well as exploring a part of Idaho we had not spent time in. We drove up past Anderson Ranch Dam to see how many hot springs we could find.
On the drive we saw antelope and many, many deer along with hawks, osprey and a pair of sandhill cranes with two babies.
From Baumgartner 06122010

When we pulled to a stop to get some pictures the parents laid in the grass and could hardly be seen but the little ones were oblivious- they did run away from us however and made it hard to get good pictures.
From Baumgartner 06122010

Continuing along our drive we saw deer and more deer. It was nice to see so many this season after not seeing many last year.
Our first stop was Bridge hot spring. The outflow is very nice but the seasonal pools need to be dug out before I'll get into them.
From Baumgartner 06122010

Next we stopped to take a hike at Willow transfer camp to see if we could find Willow hot spring. It turns out that the spring that used to have a good outflow and produce a pool has dried up a bit. There is still a seepage but no pool and the stream has changed route so there is now a ford required. It was interesting to hunt for this one. The area is beautiful and we stopped to catch some pollywogs too.
From Baumgartner 06122010

From Baumgartner 06122010

Arriving at our campground we decided to set up camp then head back out adventuring. Pulling in just as the previous tenants were leaving, we got our 'home away from home' all set and jumped back in the truck to find some fun.

This sweet lady was hanging out just across from our camp,
From Baumgartner 06122010

Our next stop was a quick glance at a roadside hot spring quagmire, Lightfoot. It wasn't anything you would want to soak in with the tepid temp and all that algea. So on we drove. Next down the long, potholed dirt road was a sweet soak named Pries.
From Baumgartner 06122010

it is a sunken wooden box right next to the road. We stopped here to have a snack and soak some kinks out of our legs. it was a difficult one to leave but we had more exploring to do.
The last one on our road (we had skipped one to come back to) was Worswick hot springs. This was truly an amazing find simply for the geothermal wonder it presents. The springs gush out of the hillside creating a large ecosystem of wildflowers, natural foods and unique foliage. Among the cascading pools there are a few that are soakable but most had people in them when we visited and we had another hike to get to.
From Baumgartner 06122010

while exploring this area we found wild strawberries (which we gladly tasted), wild onion and wild carrots among the multitude of medicinal herbs and wildflowers. While hiking around the hillside we met a couple of soakers, two young girls from Arkansas who were exploring around Idaho. It was neat to find out that one of them was a Couchsurfer! We wished them a great trip and showed them where the strawberries were before heading on our way.
Just as we were leaving we encountered this sweet little guy,
From Baumgartner 06122010

Gopher Snake
After all this fun we backtracked to a transfer camp and the trailhead to Skillern hot springs. We hemmed and hawed about the large incoming clouds, the wind, the length of the hike etc. and finally our sense of adventure kicked us in the butt and we set out along the trail. The views paid us back for our efforts immediately:
From Baumgartner 06122010

From Baumgartner 06122010

We saw this little guy on our hike up the trail to Skillern:
From Baumgartner 06122010

Another snakers- garter?
2.4 miles in we met up with the only other people we saw on the trail on their way back out. They had come to a creek ford and decided not to cross. they asked us if we knew where the hot springs were and we told them no, but that we were going to look for them too. They wished us luck with the crossing and headed out. We came to the creek only to find that there was a huge log across it about ten feet upstream. There was a distinct trail to the crossing so we were confused how the couple could have missed it. Having crossed the stream and hiked another .2 miles though we found the hot spring and were happy for the stream's help in allowing us to have it all to ourselves.
From Baumgartner 06122010

This sweet little gem sits above the river on the side of the cliff. It's not the hottest spring, around 99 degrees we read, but it was definitely a very nice soak while out in the wilderness and after that hike. We had a hard time prying ourselves out of the pool but finally did.
After eating some chocolate we headed back out. Encountering some very rude dirt bikes we were bummed but made it out with our spirits sufficiently lifted from the wonderful soak and beautiful scenery.
Back at the transfer camp after a 5 mile hike, we were beat and hungry so headed back to camp to make some dinner. Pulled into Baumgartner campground around 7:30 and were pleasantly surprised that we had no neighbors. :) Built up a fire and opened some champagne to go with our fire cooked brats and blue cheese and chips. Divine~ as we ate a deer wandered through our camp and we felt at peace (and exhausted) as we laughed and watched the stars come out. Time for bed!
We woke up much during the night as our mattress decided to deflate and stay that way. So near dawn we gave up on sleep and headed to Baumgartner Springs. The pool had been drained during the night and was just beginning to fill so while waiting we went on a short nature trail hike near the spring. It was a fun side spurt.
Finally about a foot of water in the bottom of the pool we got into the warm water and were happy for it.
As the pool was almost full, a beautiful young buck in velvet came walking to the edge of the pool, he was so close to us and so curious. Then he went on his way and just as the sun peaked over the hill a few people trickled in. We soaked for a bit longer until a few families arrived and the pool became crowded. So we dried off and dressed, had some snacks at the truck and headed back to camp for breakfast.
Spent the morning sitting around camp reading, making trip notes and napping!
From Baumgartner 06122010

The birds in the trees were singing so beautifully and the cool breeze and the warm sun made for perfect napping atmosphere. In the trees were many western tanagers, titmouse, jays and other beautifully singing birds.
After a couple of hours we packed up camp and headed out toward the reservoir. Stopped for a bit and tried some fishing but the wind was blowing pretty hard and it was cold so we decided to find other adventures. Headed out of the mountains and into the dessert. The prairies were in full bloom with daisies and camas.
From Baumgartner 06122010

Reminds you of a simpler time and we half expected to see Laura Ingles come bumbling over the hill.
With our afternoon in front of us we took a detour drive down to the Bruneau Sand dunes to see what we could see.
From Baumgartner 06122010

The dunes were majestic like always but the heat was awesome, the mosquitos formidable and our weariness taking over. On our way home we saw a coyote scaling a hill but couldn't get a picture of it.
As we pulled into town we went out to dinner to finish off our date weekend. Had some huge cheese burgers and drinks at the Ram, mmmhhh (and ran into our friend Andy there as well, I'm sure we looked and smelled wonderful by this point).
Finally arriving home- we unpacked, showered and fell into bed blissfully rejuvenated.

A big thank you shout out to Idaho Hot Springs guy whose site I liked to for each hot springs listing. You can see his main site here:

We hope everyone else is having a great summer as we are. Take care~ CK&J

Monday, March 29, 2010

Down on the Graziano Farm

Now back in Idaho it was time to pick up the chickens we had been planning for.
I think there was only a small moment of panic as we drove out into the farmland west of town. Once we picked the girls out and had them in a box headed home, the reality set in. We have three large birds that will now be living in our backyard.
Everyone made it home in great shape, including the foul ladies. Then came the challenge of naming them.
The Welsummer is red and she's quite a spitfire so I decided her name is Lucy.

From 032910

Jordan wanted to name one Lola and we figured this best fit the Black Australorp so there ya go.
From 032910

The Ameraucana was a challenge and not until I went out this afternoon calling her Sugar for lack of a better name did it occur to me. So we named her Sugar.
From 032910

All three are very sweet, although yes, Lucy gets a bit riled up when you grab her by the legs to clip her wing feathers, I don't blame her really.
We were even blessed with our very first egg this afternoon- and they haven't even been in their new house for a whole day.
From 032910

Next week: goats! Just kidding, but hey, those kids are cute.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Spring Break Times Two

Well, Mom (me that is) booked the wrong dates for our California vacation so poor Jordan is on her second week off from school after just returning from the sunny state of freeways and sandy beaches. Two weeks of spring break, poor, poor thing!
Among the festivities were a family photo session where all of Cobi's brothers, sisters, nieces, new nephew Kai and Momma and Papa got together at Leo Carillo ranch for the photo shoot. The peacocks that roam the ranch tried to steal the show but we all posed them into the background.
Gioi, Cobi, Momma, Tory, Tawni

From CA Trip 0310

there was even an albino peacock
From CA Trip 0310

While not practicing for the next top model, we took time to head out as sailors on the wide open waves for some whale watching. It's the tail end (yes, I crack myself up) of the annual Grey Whale migration. First time out of Dana Point Harbor we saw a bunch of these playful bottle nose dolphins but no whales.
From CA Trip 0310

So second time out we ran into more dolphins, Pacific white side dolphins this time and a Minke whale, (yeah, we had to look it up too). But again, no grey whales. Captain felt sorry for us landlubbers and gave us a 'whale check'- yes they call it that, not me- to come back another time for free.
Minke whale- looks like a big dolphin.
From CA Trip 0310

So that we did and the third time's the charm. We found an adorably smaller grey whale right out of the harbor and followed him up the coast a bit. Lost track of the little guy (or girl I suppose) which the Captain stated must be a juvenile to be out here all alone, when all of a sudden two adult Grey's came up on the other side of the boat with baby in tow. It was great to see all three of them rise in the amazingly turquoise water during this sunny spring day.
Little whale tail-
From CA Trip 0310

If you think baby whales are cute, you should see our new nephew Kai! We enjoyed meeting this little bugger and tried to steal him by distracting his parents but alas, our plot foiled we settled for some adorable photos to remember him by as I'm sure he'll have grown by the next time we see him.
From CA Trip 0310

A vacation isn't complete with whales and cute babies, oh no, there must be music, drinks and debauchery as well of course. Our friend Jer Gontag always puts on a great musical show and we are blessed to have been able to see him at Desi and Friends in Point Loma while visiting Cali.
From CA Trip 0310

My friend Cheri was there as well and it always makes Cobi happy that the two of us live in seperate states, he'd have to bail us out a bit too often otherwise.
From CA Trip 0310

Rounding out our adventures, we drove into Palm Desert to visit Aunt Betty. Betty Crocket worked at the first resort here, the Shadow Mountain Club and led nature hikes as the activities director. Spending the days at her feet listening to stories about the time Frank Sinatra asked if she was available, to tales of long hikes in the desert, one feels blessed to know this amazing cache of history and the time skids by without a breeze.
Cobi and Aunt Betty
From CA Trip 0310

Our visit was too short like usual, the sun slipping below the horizon just as the car cleared the tall mountains and we sailed back down to sea level. A fitting end to our week in California visiting family. We also took time out to see Katrina and Alyssa (Cobi's nieces) play in their softball/T ball games, have meals with all 14 of us around a huge table and just to hang out enjoying the company and the weather. It was a lovely cruise.
From CA Trip 0310

From CA Trip 0310

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Early Spring

The sun is out but it's still chilly. We have spent the weekend doing projects around the yard. We finished the raised garden bed this past week, put the chicken coop together and got it all ready for the chickens. Finished cleaning up the back yard, planted peas and got the front porch pots all planted as well. Inside we cleaned and did some little projects. Our spring 'to do' list is about halfway done! We are leaving for California on Friday for a visit with Cobi's family, some friends and hopefully uncle Richard. We are really looking forward to seeing everyone.
Raised garden bed

From 031410

Front porch flowers
From 031410

From 031410

Chicken coop!
From 031410

watering the newly planted peas
From 031410

We have been hosting so many couchsurfers lately we feel very fortunate. Most recently we had a young man from Germany who fell for Idaho. We of course had the ace of hot springs up our sleeve so, not quite fair on our part.
As every year, I am registered to walk in the Komen Race this May. If you can, please consider donating ten dollars to help breast cancer research. I appreciate all the wonderful support I have received from everyone. This is my personal page where you can donate. Thanks again!

Jordan is excited for spring break, she gets an extra long one. I am just excited for spring to really arrive here. I want to get the chickens settled and the garden planted. We hope everyone has a great couple of weeks.
Much love~

Monday, February 22, 2010

what a wonderful family

the past couple of weeks have been pretty wonderful.
I took a long weekend last week to visit Gram and Gramp in Illinois. I had a wonderful time just talking and sitting with them and miss them so dearly. I can only hope that they truly know they are always in our hearts and minds. Illinois was very cold to say the least. Cobi thinks I still haven't gotten warm from the trip, but really, it got colder here too. :)
Chatting with Gramp in the morning-

From Chicago 0210

See, lots of snow-
From Chicago 0210

Gram and Gramp-
From Chicago 0210

Grampa being a goofball like usual- :)
From Chicago 0210

The three of us-
From Chicago 0210

now back home. this past weekend we cleaned up the backyard and are ready for the chicken coop. come on irs, we've got plans. :) after finishing up all the work we had a couple of great couchsurfers who we enjoyed getting to know. then caught a showing of avatar with kirin. it is a great movie, check it out if you haven't seen it yet. then were blessed to visit some good friends for a nice family dinner sunday night. we really are amazed at how lucky we are to have such great friends.
had an impromptu couchsurfer last night and we were very happy to give this young man a resting point on his journey.
Thien Bao's birthday is coming up so am getting a package off to him this week. we made coloring books of maps of the US, Idaho and some flowers and other fun designs. we're sending those along with some colored pencils and a few little trinkets. we hope he enjoys them and has a wonderful 6th birthday.
as we settle in for the week, we wish our family and friends a wonderful early spring. much love~

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Love is in the air

Our February is speeding by already so thought I better take a minute to play catch up before spring arrives. Not in a terribly "writer" minded mood but can't see that i'll have time to blog in the coming couple of weeks. If you want to know more about anything we're doing please shoot me an email.

We have already been making plans for our yard and garden and will soon be building raised beds for veggies. In preparation we are starting to clean up the yard and finally got a compost bin in place to get some good soil ready for the garden. Yes I already have the garden and yard sketched out for the season, no spring fever here, just planning already!

This past week we finally received our information regarding our sponsored child through SOS villages. His name is Thien Bao and he is 5 years old, soon to be 6 on March 10th. He lives in southern Vietnam and we are thrilled to welcome him into our family.

From 02042010

On Wednesday I completed hospice training and testing. I am now going to be assigned clients within a week or so and am both anxious and excited. The application and training process were extensive and it was a great accomplishment to have finished with them and gained such valuable knowledge. I'm thankful to be able to give in such a way.

On Friday Jordan went to the Valentine's dance at her school. She looked very lovely and had a wonderful time even though she said the music wasn't very good, too much contemporary pop music is what she complained about. Hey, I can't help it if my daughter has good taste in tunes.
From 02042010

This weekend we've just been mellow around the house. I'm packing in preparation for a trip to Chicago next weekend and we've been making our valentine cards so the kitchen table is a mess. We've a couple couchsurfers coming up in the next couple of weeks as well as some dinner plans but not much else.
Hope everyone is having a great late winter as we are and that you don't have spring fever too terribly bad. Much love and joy.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Time Flies by and by

So it's been forever since I've blogged. Not that we haven't had the downtime comparatively just that it hasn't been a priority.
What have we been up to? Quite a bit as usual. We've hosted many travelers this past fall including a great band from New Mexico, The Albuquerque Boys' Choir. They were gracious enough to sing to us in our dining room this most beautiful acapella song.
Other than hosting travelers we had a wonderful holiday season as we hope most everyone did. We were blessed with much love and grace during the entire holidays and into the new year.
This new year has brought us into a time of cleansing and renewal as we are eating much better and more consciously. We are being mindful of our impact in the world and placing our energy where we feel we may do the most good. The past month has brought us joy and much love and we are truly thankful for it. We all three have been practicing yoga on a regular basis and walking more often, enjoying the time and space we have here. On the 21st we also became auntie, uncle and cousin to new baby Kai Graziano born to Cobi's brother Gioi and his wife Maggie. We are happy to welcome our new nephew and anxious to meet him soon.
On a less nebulous note, Jordan is doing very well and is happy to have finished the semester. Only one semester left before she's in high school (gulp!). Not sure where the last 14 years went but there they go.
Our plans for this year already are shaping up. I will be in Chicago for a long weekend in February and our family will be heading to Southern California in March, Jordan may be headed to Seattle for a visit after that.
I hope to keep up on our blog a bit better this year but alas, time gets away from us all once in awhile.
Much love and peace to everyone reading this. We are thankful for your love and presence in our lives.