Checkin’ out the Wind Farm

Last Saturday we drove over to the Wild Horse Wind Farm.  It’s not far outside of Ellensburg.

This is the information center and where our tour began.  I love the “old-fashioned” windmill there amid all the giant modern ones.



They give these great free tours.  We arrived just a few minutes late but were able to jump right in.

It was really interesting.  We had always had lots of questions about these wind turbines. There are 149 of them out here, and they supply energy to about 70,000 homes.



Davey loved it too. They showed us every part of the turbine and explained how it all worked.  We want to go back there in the spring when we have lots of wind here so we can really see them going.  It was a pretty calm day when we went (they only need 9mph winds though to spin!).



Later in the tour, we went inside a wind turbine, but first we had to put on our safety gear.  Davey liked this part a lot too.



The wind farm is up on a big hill outside of town.  Hill doesn’t quite describe it, but it is not a mountain either.  We had to climb up out of the valley a little ways.  The result was an incredible view.



I never get tired of catching glimpses of Mt. Rainier.  We could see Mt. Adams to the south as well.  It’s incredible to me.

I’m adding this to the list of places we take visitors!


Columbia River, Friends and Water Fun!

We continued our exploration of our new home yesterday.  Friends invited us to hang out with them at Wanapum State Park.  It’s about a half hour from our house, and it’s on the Columbia River.  I am amazed by the beautiful places we are getting the chance to explore here.


Davey had so much fun playing in the sand and then in the water.


He had several friends to play with, and they had a big time.  It was the first time that Davey had ever had a lifejacket, and he did great with it.  He didn’t want to take it off.


There were water battles.   I think David is having the most fun in this one and the kids are taking cover under a raft!


David tried kayaking for the first time.  He took off down the river, and we didn’t see him for awhile.  Apparently around the bend there were a bunch of small caves where swallows have their nests.  I want to kayak there next time to see that.


When he got back, he took Davey for a kayak ride.



I tried it out too and loved it.  Little Davey was very concerned that I was not wearing a life vest though.  I didn’t go out very far, but I promised that I would wear one next time.

I can’t wait to go back!


First excursion: Leavenworth and the Wenatchee River

Yesterday we decided to check out Leavenworth.  It’s a Bavarian themed town up in the Cascades .



Friends of ours recommended that we have lunch at Andreas Keller.  A great recommendation as this place was so good.   Great German food.  We had bratwurst, German potato salad and weinkraut (a really mild really delicious sauerkraut).  It’s making me hungry for it again just writing that sentence.  Davey’s heritage is at least 1/2 German, and his picky nature can not overcome that background.  He really likes sausage of just about all types.  So he had wieners – fancy hot dogs basically.

After that lunch we needed to do some serious walking around.  There are many great shops to explore.  We didn’t go into many, but one we liked was a Christmas store called Kris Kringl.  It was 2 – maybe 3 floors of Christmas decorations of all types.  Davey and I really enjoyed looking at the decorations.

Apparently there is a neat Nutcracker museum there too.  We didn’t check it out this time.  We should though sometime because Davey loved the ones we looked at in the Christmas store.

While Leavenworth is really fun, and I want to go back at Christmas when they just go all out with lights and decorations, I think our favorite part of the trip was walking down to the Wenatchee River.  The river runs along the town, and we were able to easily walk down to it from the downtown area.  My pictures don’t do any kind of justice to how pretty it is.



Davey could have played all day down here.  Next time we will bring swimsuits and make a day of it.   There was a great little swimming area that Davey played in for awhile.



The water was cold! but we got used to it fairly quickly.  I’m not sure I’d want to immerse myself completely though.



Davey had great fun looking for unusual river rocks.  He’d find a handful and then bring them to me for inspection.  We’d look at them carefully and toss the ones that were not unusual enough.  He thought this was a great game.



David is ready to explore the Wenatchee more to do some fishing.  Davey and I ready to go back to Leavensworth to do some “tubin'”!

Leavensworth was very busy and “touristy”, but it was still a really enjoyable trip.  Our drive from Ellensburg was really pretty too.

First excursion – great success!

A few pictures of a long drive.

We are in Ellensburg getting settled in.  I am not crazy about unpacking boxes.  We will get it all done though.

We had a fun drive.  I love the West, and we saw some beautiful scenery.  I didn’t take very many good pictures, but I got a few that I liked.

One of the highlights of the drive was the Wyoming Information Center.  It is pretty new and was just across the border as we left Colorado.

It was really a nice small museum.

Davey enjoyed looking at and climbing around a sculpture that was outside.  He’s “reading” about it in this picture.



David and Davey checked out the mammoth.



We played in a tipi.



Davey spent a little time in the clink.



There was a short trail outside on which we walked Buster.  There was also a fenced in area where he could run free.

Wyoming has such pretty and varied terrain.  We drove through a vast open area, and Davey and I pretended that we were back in time when the area was an  inland sea.  We had to be careful of the pterodactyls flying over us.

We spent the first night in Rock Springs WY. The second night we were in Mountain Home, Idaho, and I took this picture in the evening.  It’s one of my favorites of the trip.

mountain home



Davey and I stopped at a scenic overlook on our way down into Pendleton, OR.  It was beautiful, but there was a lot of haze from nearby wildfires.



The day we drove into Pendleton, we had  lunch in Baker City Oregon at the Oregon Trail restaurant.  This is a really nice little town.  After lunch, we stopped by the park, and Davey played for awhile.




Davey is happy to be in his new home.  He immediately wanted to plan a “moving in” party.  We walked to the Dollar Tree this morning, and he got decorations.  I had great intentions of making a cake, but I ran out of time and energy and we picked one up at Fred Meyer.  Davey had 4 friends over tonight, and he had so much fun playing with them.  It’s awesome that he already has 4 friends (kids of David’s new art faculty colleagues).   He didn’t want them to leave.

Davey was more about playing with his new friends then eating the cake, but he was a bit of an icing fiend as usual!



Isn’t that begonia beautiful?  A housewarming gift.  They grew it from a cutting of another plant. I hope I can keep it looking as nice as it does now!

So here we are!

A final Colorado day trip: RMNP!

Today we decided to go on one last day trip.  There are about a trillion places that we’ve still not been to in Colorado, and one of them is Rocky Mountain National Park.  We’ve been to Estes Park several times, but we had not ventured beyond it into Rocky Mountain National Park.

So today we did.  It’s beautiful.  It’s a huge park!  There are seemingly a lifetime worth of trails to hike.  There were also lots and lots of people there (but not in a bad way.  It was just surprising to see so many people!)

We wanted to find just a short hike for Davey and Buster.  We found a great one, but we quickly learned:  “No dogs allowed.”  Dogs are not allowed on the trails in Rocky Mountain National Park. It’s understandable I guess.  There are a lot of people.  Dogs would add a lot of chaos to the mix.  But poor Buster.  We left him with fresh air, and we parked in the shade.

It is a very short walk to the Alluvial Fan.  There is a slight climb, but not more than a little bit of a hill.  It’s just that you feel it more at 8,000 feet.

There were people climbing and crawling all over the rocks along this waterfall.

I’m not sure what’s going on with the limp Davey pose.  Silly kid.



There were lots of great photo opportunities here.



Davey had so much fun climbing on the rocks.



He is pretty fearless and would climb to the top of the biggest boulders.  It looks like he is getting ready to tumble here.  He didn’t fall though; he was just a kid in motion.




Davey’s not much for taking in the view, but even he had to take a second to enjoy the sights.



I love these pictures of him taking it all in for a moment.



David had fun climbing on the rocks too – and striking a pose!



It was beautiful here.  I can’t recommend it enough.




After we were finished in RMNP, we drove back to Estes and had lunch.  Then we took that poor dog of ours, who did not get to go on the trail with us, to the dog park.  Estes Park has a great dog park.  Buster hadn’t been able to run freely since we’d moved out of our house, and he went nuts.  He was so happy, and he sprinted and sprinted.



It’s a dog park with a great view.



We went to Estes Park several times while we lived in Colorado, and we enjoyed it every time.  I was so glad we could go back once more and do just a little exploring in RMNP.

Happy Trails

We went on a little hike today.  Might be the last chance we get to do that here in Colorado.

I discovered a new great website and corresponding app called Every Trail. It lists tons of trails all over the country.  I wanted to find a trail close to our house so I set the search for trails within 10 miles of Erie.

We found a trail in Superior called the Dirty Bismarck Loop.  I thought it was a cool name.  We had to try it!

We didn’t come near to walking the whole thing.  We maybe walked 3 miles.  Davey did great, and it was fairly warm out.  Buster loved it too.  Most of the trail was through the open prairie.  There was a warning sign at the beginning of the trail instructing us to beware of rattlesnakes.  Davey was ready to nix the trail at that point, but we convinced him it was highly unlikely that we would see a snake.  Thank goodness we did not.  I have a bit of a snake phobia, but I’d rather walk on a trail where there was the threat of rattlesnakes than a trail up in the mountains where there was a threat of a mountain lion watching my every move!

We read a picture book the other day about a little pioneer boy traveling across the Great Plains with his family.  Davey really got into this. So today, he pretended the entire time that we were pioneers making our way across the prairie.  Davey, Ma, Pa and Buster.



He can squat like this for a long period of time.  It amazes me.

It was a nice hike.  David got a family pic of us.  (Davey and Buster are gazing fondly at each other here.)




Then Tonight Davey helped me make some no bake cookies.  They are called “No Bake Energy Bites”, and I came across the recipe on facebook. Here’s the recipe.

*~*~*No Bake Energy Bites*~*~*

1 cup (dry) oatmeal
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1/3 cup honey
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix ingredients together in a large bowl. Roll into bite size balls. Refrigerate to set.

They are really tasty.  I added chia seeds to the batch I made tonight.  Davey liked helping me combine ingredients, but he is not too interested in eating the cookies.  David and I highly recommend them though!



Denver Art Museum

Yesterday Davey and I went to the Denver Art Museum (David joined us after we’d been there a couple of hours).

I can’t believe that we waited until 2 weeks before we are leaving Denver to take him.  It is such a great museum.  We went to see the special Nick Cave exhibit first.  This was really really neat.  He incorporates found objects, crochet, knitting, among other things to create his work.  It’s hard to explain all of his work, but I found a nice article on him here.

He makes these “soundsuits” so Davey and I watched a performance film for a few minutes.  At the same time though, they were projecting these large granny square images onto the floor. I couldn’t take a picture, but that was Davey’s favorite part.  He played in the square and loved seeing the image projected on him.  Very fun.

We didn’t even go through all of the museum, because there is so much fun interactive stuff for Davey to do.  There are also “studios” where adults and kids can make things.

We had fun stamping images of paintings and coloring them to make postcards.



He actually enjoyed this for quite awhile.  The nice plus was that I really did too.

After the Nick Cave exhibit, there was this wall of felt and tons of felt stuff to arrange and play with on the wall.



Davey enjoyed this. felt

There was another studio near one of the exhibits of American Indian beadwork.  We practiced doing our own “beadwork”.



We didn’t spend that much time looking at art.  If you like to move through artwork quickly then Davey is the perfect companion.  I tried to slow him down by asking him questions about what he liked or found interesting about some of the art.  This worked for short periods of time.

Before he sat down on this large seat he asked “Mama!  Is this art?”  Sometimes it can be hard to tell and he didn’t want to sit on the “art”!  Davey would have preferred me not take a picture as you can see here.  I can’t snap them quite as quickly and surreptitiously as I can with my good camera, so he gets annoyed with me.



This is another not so good picture, but Davey rarely slows down to take a little break.  I had to get a picture of that.



After his break, he had a great time playing with several other little boys at one of the play areas.  There were these giant soft cloth blocks, and they enjoyed building and tearing these down!


David really enjoyed the Herbert Bayer exhibit and we all liked the Rothko exhibit as well (it’s really interesting because it shows his early work and the evolution to his later work). I’d like to go once more since we didn’t make it through all of the museum.  Not sure it will happen.  If not, then I will make sure we go to the Seattle Art Museum!