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Good heavens, I’m so far behind on everything … Sigh. Oh well, at least I’m getting to it now, even if it is two months late.

Vacation was wonderful … two full weeks in Shasta and we did almost nothing! Yes, that’s a good thing. We were all really stressed and needed to just rest. We did go on a few outings but nothing like what we did last year. And we did take some pictures, mostly of wildlife, but not as many as last year. I thought I’d do something a little different and do a slideshow this year. I’m posting that separately here.

One of the places I hadn’t previously known we could visit is the Mt Shasta Lavender Farm. Since they’re a real working farm, I’d assumed they didn’t take visitors. Not only do they take visitors, you can go and cut your own lavender (for a small fee of course). Hubby and I spent about an hour at the farm snipping lavender and taking pictures. We had a nice outing on a gorgeous (and mild) day and I got to have fun drying out all the lavender we harvested.

The weather was nice but varied. We initially had several days of really warm weather (up in the 90’s) then a cold snap hit and we actually had to turn the heat on in the evenings! I was really happy to find that the heating system did in fact work with temps down in the mid 30’s at night. It warmed up again before we left so we got to spend a lot of time kicking back on the deck birdwatching.

We finally started to feel destressed about the halfway point in the trip and decided to take a drive around the McCloud River loop. This is a relatively short drive with a number of areas where you can stop and view the three falls or just wander into the river for a bit of splashing around. We took the pup and found a spot for her to wander around a bit but she decided she wasn’t interested in getting her feet wet this year.

The day after we went for our river drive, Cindy became ill. I initially thought she’d eaten something she shouldn’t have (she’d been chewing on wild onions at the river the day before) but after a few hours it was clear she couldn’t even keep water down. And when she tried to get up she couldn’t seem to navigate well, going in circles then abruptly sitting down. We took her to the animal hospital in Mt Shasta city and they diagnosed her with idiopathic vestibular syndrome. Basically the nerves between the ear and the brain swell and cause extreme vertigo. Both hubby and I have had vertigo before and it’s not fun at all. She reacted badly to the anti-nausea meds she was prescribed so we ended up stopping those after 2 days. So we were stuck at the house with a sick pup once again.

Once she was feeling a little better, we took a couple of short trips. Hubby wanted to visit one of the old railroad bridges near Lake Britton so we went there one day and then hit Castle Lake on the next. I love Castle Lake and the energy around it but there were a lot of people there this time so we didn’t stay long. At least I was able to get a little more water from the lake and I found some tiny pinecones for a project I’m currently working on.

One of my highlights was that I have finally, after 30+ years of camping and hiking, gotten to see a bear in the “wild”. We knew there is a bear in the area and are always careful to not leave food on the deck and properly secure the trash. I didn’t think bears would spend a lot of time during the day wandering around an area where dogs and people are out and about. So when we were out on the deck and I heard the brush rustling I assumed it was one of the deer that would visit daily. But when I identified where the sound was coming from, I saw fur too long to belong to any deer and thought it was the neighbor’s dog (no fences and some folks let their animals wander). I got a little annoyed as these dogs had been wandering over and leaving “presents” for us, so I snapped my fingers and hollered at it. Yeah, not a dog. I got a really surprised look from the bear and he turned tail and ran off toward the creek. Hubby and I were both a little ticked because we’d have loved to get a picture or two of it, even at 100 feet away. Oh well.

Other than that, it was pretty boring this year … and absolutely wonderful. Too bad 5 minutes back at work was about all it took to get totally and completely snapped back to reality and the stress started right back up. Nice. I think a long weekend to Sedona is in order soon now that the latest work crisis is over. On second thought, I think we’ll wait for the temps to come down a bit … but we’re definitely heading there this year.

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