Category Archives: Oregon Fires

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–Sept. 13, 2022

Rob and I got away to the Oregon Coast for a few days over the weekend to celebrate our 40th anniversary. We stayed in a hotel with an ocean view, and spent hours staring out our window, reading, and relaxing.

We took several short hikes. The above pictures were taken down near the town of Yachats, Oregon. There is a trail there that runs along the beach. It’s easy to hike and you get to look down at the ocean and these rocks the entire time. I’ve always wanted to hike along it, and finally got to. We also hiked a little bit at South Beach State Park in Newport, Oregon.

Although we did stop in at the Lincoln City outlet mall, we did not find a single thing we could not live without. It was fun to look around, though.

We did not go down onto the beach this trip, as Rob is still recovering from his wound on his leg. Since the wound care clinic was kind enough to give him a lighter wrap and let me change the bandages for this trip, we did not want to get sand on his leg…..and it paid off. They were very happy with how it looked Monday morning when he went in! He goes 3 times each week.

We went out for a couple of meals, and ate food I took for the rest of the time. Although it was such a momentous occasion, we could have eaten out the entire time, I feel better when I cook my own food, for the most part.

We had one short-lived scare, as a grassfire broke out just a few short miles from our home. People in our area were put on alert. After we figured out that the evacuation center was the school very near our house, we relaxed a bit, and figured that if people were told to go to our neighborhood, it was probably a safe place to be. Lovana, who was home taking care of things at the house, ran the sprinkles anyway, just to keep things damp, just in case.

On our way home, we stopped at the docks in Newport and got tuna to can. We last canned tuna 2 years ago, so it was time to do some more.

I was canning right up until I left for the trip, and started in right away when I got back. It’s that time of year. I gave away several boxes of tomatoes right before I left, as I couldn’t quite finish.

I am typing this on Tuesday. Over the past 2 days, I’ve picked 8-10 buckets full of tomatoes. It might have been more. I lost count. Yikes!!! Talk about a bumper crop. We are still laughing, as last spring, those were the worst looking tomato plants Rob has ever grown!

I canned 7 quarts of diced tomatoes from the Romas that were left home over the weekend. I knew they would keep. I did a few jars of dilly beans from the pole beans. I took the very small tomatoes I picked and made tomato juice (10 pints) and taco/enchilada sauce (12 assorted pints and 1/2 pints). I chopped and froze some peppers that ripened.

There are still quite a few boxes of tomatoes. I have several tomato products to can, but I’m gaining on the project.

I sent produce to my sister and my next-door-neighbor. I cooked with it, as well.

One day last week, we took Jake and both babies to the library. There was a baby story time, which I attended with the babies and their mom. Rob took Jake to the library to choose books. Then, Rob and I took Jake and Malcolm for a walk in the area and enjoyed ducks and a pond. It was fun to go somewhere new.

It’s becoming a tradition for whatever babies are here to pile onto the bed and look at books with Grandpa.

Of course, there’s lots of tickling involved, as well as jumping, flashlight waving, and more. But, they can call it reading if they want:)

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–May 18, 2021

The garden is tilled!!! Rob found a man on Facebook Marketplace who came and tilled it for $80, far less than we had feared. That’s actually less than it would have been to rent a tiller. Now there is no pressure for our tiller to arrive. When it does, we will still be happy to have it, as we will have to till it all up again in the fall.

We’ve started planting in every spare moment we have. I have a large chunk of time today, Tuesday, and will hopefully get the center planted. Rob had time to plant tomatoes and cabbage and he put up the trellis yesterday. I will do pole beans on it.

I’ve planted zucchini, cucumbers, carrots, a few bush beans, a few peppers and a few onions. There is lots more to do. The onions are especially time-consuming to plant so I like to do a few at a time.

I finished up a baby quilt on Friday and paired it with a stuffed turtle for a baby shower on Saturday. I finished up the binding while sitting in the hospital, visiting, so that all worked out.

The week was very busy, as a family member needed a surgery. The family has divided up care taking between several of us. My first job was to do hospital duty. So, we arrived as planned, and…..were promptly sent away due to not enough beds available because of emergencies. What a let-down! We went back the next day and surgery did happen. Whew! That hospital has a policy for Covid that only 1 person can come be with the patient. The same person. We could not swap off. So, I spent quite a bit of time down there, as I was the one. Now that our loved one is home, I’m just on the schedule with the rest and the patient is improving by leaps and bounds. It’s very encouraging!

One of my sisters made a very detailed schedule with who is where, and when, who takes them to the follow-up dr. appointments, who cooks which day, and so forth. As long as we all follow the schedule and switch and swap when we need to, we are golden! It’s good to have so many willing hands during a busy time like this.

Rob picked up the slack at home with our daughter and has cared for my niece and nephew when needed. He made several meals for us and for me to share, planted what he could and kept everything watered.

One day when I had spare time, Rob and I took all 3 kids fishing. Although nothing was caught, the girls waded in the water and Jake fished and fished and fished. He sure wanted to catch something, but it was not to be that day. Maybe next time. With fishing, there’s always a next time:).

After fishing/wading/eating, we drove over to Detroit Dam and drove across. Michaela wanted to walk across, so she and I did. The kids had a great time.

Looking at the wildfire damage from last summer was sobering, and yet interesting and informative for the kids. I think it’s important for them to understand what happened. Even the lake is full of charred evergreen needles, as you can see. There are SO many in the water. For miles and miles, there are charred trees, bare foundations with rubble surrounding them, new construction springing up, and here and there a fully-intact house right next to a decimated one. We drove all through the town of Detroit and the place we all stayed last summer is entirely gone, as are most of the houses surrounding it.

But, not all is gone, and the town seems to be making a valiant effort to re-build. We wish them the best with this challenge. There is a lot to do, but they have made a good start. We look forward to seeing the area in the years to come as it is rebuilt and the forest is renewed. Brush is being cleared daily, charred trees are being hauled away to be used as they can and there are already areas of re-planted trees springing up. Life is being renewed in the area, and that is a good thing.

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–September 12, 2020

I want to say thank you to all of you who have offered prayers on our behalf here in Oregon, and all along the west coast. The fires are still raging in our area and thick, choking smoke fills the air and ashes cover our yard and garden. The town where we recently vacationed with my sister and family, Detroit, is almost gone, as our many other towns around the state. So many of our family and friends who live in different towns than us, are evacuated. Many others are on Level 2, which means “get ready to leave.” Hopefully, the weather system they are forecasting will bring rain in the next few days, and that will help the situation out.

But while we waited for rain, hunkered down, inside, trying not to take big breaths when we were outside, I finished a few projects. I had the assorted hot peppers my sister and aunt gave me. I dashed out to pick the ones from my bushes and Rob cut them all up and we pickled and canned them. Rob will eat some of these on salads and sandwiches and I will use some of them when I make refried beans. They are so pretty in the jars, even with the light coating of ashes that persists in spite of wiping and dusting them. No worries…after this picture I got it all off!

After my pathetic carrot crop was exhausted, in one afternoon I might add, I knew I wanted to can a few more. Rob found a 25 pound bag for under $9, so I canned 20 pints. There are lots left to cook with in other ways. You may ask me why I bother canning carrots when you can buy them cheaply and store them easily. It’s because there are occasions when I want to make my chicken-rice soup in a hurry. Like yesterday. And the day before. At those times, I just dump in one of my little jars and I’m good to go. We do occasionally eat a jar as our vegetable at dinner, but that’s pretty rare. I tend to use fresh ones for that. I don’t can carrots every year, but this year, I’m out so…… I kid you not. I ran out of so many things this year–things I usually only can every 2 or 3 years. It was the summer of canning, for sure. This batch of carrots will last quite a while.

We cooked several things this week. I made chicken-rice soup twice, using frozen broth, and frozen bits of turkey. I shared a couple of large bowls, and we ate the rest. Jake was with us quite a bit this past week, in fact, he still is as of Saturday night, and he likes that kind of soup. He was quite put out to hear I have given away the last of the first batch, even if it was to evacuated friends in a hotel near us…. who had no food because they had to leave home in a hurry…..who really needed dinner…….No matter. He was fine with helping out, and wanted uncle to check on them the next day, as long as there would be more soup coming. (They are fine, by the way, and will stay in the hotel for a few nights and then hopefully return to their home, which was still standing yesterday, anyway). So I made more soup. It’s one of the few things he will eat that is full of veggies and other good vitamins.

We made a lot of white rice. Jake eats that, too. Rob made some pork chops, I baked a chicken with a spice rub from a cookbook. It came out great. We also had a Costco chicken. You can’t beat the $5 price. Since Rob cleaned out the freezers last week, we found a few things that needed to be used. One was ham bits, so we’ve had scrambled eggs with ham, baked potatoes with ham, ham sandwich filling… was a fairly big bag, but it’s gone now.

We bought 10 butters at $1.99/box and 10 peanut butters for .99/small jar. He got eggs for 89c/dozen. Rob did a Costco run for heartworm medicine for the dog (good price there), lemon juice (I’ve used so much in the canning…), and got a few other things we needed while he was there. So most of the groceries this week were for stocking up at low prices to use in meals later, keeping the grocery budget down.

Our neighbor gave me 2 Kiwi Co. crate kits. They were for her boys and they enjoyed them, but there were extra parts in the box, so she sent them over for Jake. They were science projects. He’s done one of them, and has the other one left to do. He really liked doing them.

We did school. I read and read to both Jake and Patsy. Jake’s mom just finished a book called “The Skippack School.” She read it to him for school and she sent it so we could talk about ideas about the character. (A modified character study.). He loves the book so much he made me start all the way over. We are almost finished reading it, again. It’s just a simple book about a little boy who lived long ago, who had a few struggles paying attention in school, and got into some mischief, but did learn to do better and learned to read. It is nice he enjoys it, and so nice that being homeschooled this term allows him to get to hear it again. (Everyone is homeschooled this term around here, due to Corona virus).

It’s been a strange week. We just feel like we are waiting for something, and we have a vague feeling of anxiety, especially when the sky is dark, or glowing orange, or so smoky it feels like it’s foggy. Or when it’s both smoky and foggy, like today. I’m sure when the smoke lifts, and the fires are under control, things will feel more normal. Until then, we will continue to pray and see if there are practical things we can do as well. It’s what you do at times like these.

Fires In Our State–September 9, 2020

Yesterday was disconcerting, to say the least. Smoke from wildfires in our state covered our area. We woke to darkness, as if it was a winter morning. The darkness continued until after 9 a.m. When it finally got light, the light was very dim.

Our cars were covered with ash, and the ash is worse today. Pieces of ash constantly drift down and swirl around, as if it was lightly snowing.

The plants in the garden are not amused. They are really covered with ashes today. I put the sprinklers on last night to hopefully wash them off, but they seem pretty dirty today. The lighting was so bad yesterday that I went out in mid-late afternoon to pick some green beans. I picked what I found. Today, when the light was better, I went out again and got another whole colander full that I simply did not see yesterday because it was so dim.

Long before 5, the sky darkened, and it was once again pitch black.

Today was a little better, but still very smoky and ashy and the light was dimmer than normal. The extreme conditions have moved up the valley a bit. Although it is freaky, we are very safe where we are, in the middle of the city.

I’m not complaining. There are entire towns pretty much wiped out. There are people who have lost everything they own, and some have even lost their lives. We have friends who have had to evacuate. Fire is raging in the canyon where we recently vacationed. We don’t even know if the cabin we stayed in is still there. That entire town has been severely damaged, we know from news reports.

One hard thing is that there are so many fires. They just announced that there are 27 in Oregon. They are all over the state. Down at the beach, one of our popular seaside towns has been partially evacuated due to a fire that is getting closer. In southern Oregon, my mother’s cousin had to evacuate a campground, and I read today that it burned up. (The cousins are safe) There are several fires in the county where we used to live, and one is extremely near to where our house was. Rob’s uncle and many, many others had to transport all their animals to the fairgrounds near them when they had to evacuate.

Almost every Wednesday for about 20 years, Rob and his friend have met for prayer, Bible Study and to visit. His son, a policeman, came by as his family was there for safety reasons, and Rob got to talk to him about the fires in the area. It was nice to have so much info. Rob drove up there today as usual, and they met in the pitch dark. The heavy, heavy smoke had moved up there today. He planned to visit a couple of friends and drop off a little garden produce while he was up in the area, but was unable to as one had evacuated to another location, and the other had been up all night, thinking they might have to go at any moment. So, those 2 dodged the zucchini bullet, just for today. They are safe, and their homes are safe as of tonight, and for that, I am very, very grateful. I heard from my friend that lives in Central Oregon, and she’s ok, too, even though there are fires there, as well.

I’m praying for the people who have lost so much. I’m praying for safety and strength for the fire fighters. I’m praying for everyone to make good decisions and stay safe. And, last, but not least…I’m praying for rain. Lots of rain.