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Monthly Archives: June 2013

Counting Down the Days………

We only have three more “working” days at the Coast Artillery Museum before we go “off duty”.  We’ll spend two or three more weeks here in the Olympic Peninsula before we start heading back south.  It should be entertaining (illuminating?) to go from a constant 59 degrees to the hot 90’s and 100’s in Southern California and Texas.  Maybe we should drive 5 miles per hour on our trip so we can gradually acclimate to the change without getting the “bends”. 

Arlyne got back from her trip (that I didn’t tell you about) to Upland to take care of our grandson Aidan for a week.  I dropped her off at Sea-Tac airport at 6:20 am (aarrrggghh!) and her trip went very well.  Aidan, Ava and Quade were all very happy to see her.  Especially Aidan.

Big News:  Our grandson Griffin from Austin, Texas is coming to visit on July 5th and will eventually travel with us back to San Diego.  But first, we’re planning to show him our sights here (Cape Flattery, Ft. Worden, Ft. Casey, Boeing factory tour, maybe up to the Skagit river area north of Seattle to see a few birds, a fiddle concert here at the Fort) followed by more amusements on the drive to Southern California.  We hope to visit Mt. Saint Helens and Crater Lake.  Stay tuned for a future blog that shows Griffin and his grandparents trooping through the Pacific Northwest.

The Birds are Closing in…. It seems the birds have discovered Arlyne and me looking at them and taking their pictures.  A gull in the Safeway parking lot was on our car when we came out of the market.  He sat on the hood as we loaded stuff in the back and stayed there as we got in.  He walked up to the windshield and pecked at it.  I’m pretty sure it was either a juvenile glaucous-winged gull or a cultural emissary from the bird world, with a message.

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We tried to visit our favorite eagles in Sequim but it was (of course) rainy, overcast and cold.  Please check out eagleeyesphotography.zenfolio.com because Charles has some great photos of Ricky and Lucy and their new little fledgling eaglet.  When are you going to name the eaglet, Charles?  If you can’t determine the gender yet, maybe try something neutral like “icehead” or “featherhead” or “fishfinder”.

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Chores and Weather:  I’m painting the other (left) upper deck of the Museum but it’s difficult due to continuing rain.  Can you imagine we have another week or more of cold, rainy and overcast weather?  There’s an old joke about Arizona:  It’s so hot there that dogs run around at night, looking for shade.  Well, here in Planet Washington, the sun comes out so seldom that dogs, upon seeing the sun, run around during the day, looking for shade.  Kids in kindergarten are introduced early to the concept of “sun” so they won’t be afraid if it should appear one day.

Check out Arlyne’s pics of pigeon guillemots.  They don’t seem to mind her camera work.

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Posted by on June 27, 2013 in Bird Lover

 

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The Eagle Family Up Close and a Trip to Fort Casey

Anybody who likes bald eagles should like these pictures.  Arlyne and I went to Sequim as we do every week or so to follow Lucy and Ricky, the eagle pair and their single chick.  They began with two eaglets and no one knows what happened to the other one.  The now-single eaglet is up and moving around, flexing his barely feathered wings and investigating everything.  He/she copies what the parents do and watches them very closely.  Their huge eagle home is probably one of the most people-viewable ever.  There are even European websites that keep track of these birds.  They’ve used this nest for at least 4 or 5 years.

Although normally we upload our own pictures, we’re making a well-deserved exception with a couple of photos sent to us by Keith and Kathy Parizo, full-fledged (no pun intended) members of the Eagle Fan Club.  It’s hard to get more dramatic photos.  They show a duck, possibly a female mallard, escaping from the nest after being carried up there by one of the eagles.  Keith and Kathy tell us the duck made good its escape. 

First, a couple of Arlyne’s photos of the eaglet up close, interacting with mom (I think its Lucy).

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THE ESCAPE:  Keith and Kathy were there to see it all!  Good Shooting guys!

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It looks like the duck got its wings flapping before the eagle could get its big wings open. 

Arlyne and I got pics of the two adult birds wrestling with a green branch and talking about it.  Not sure what the heck that was about.  Anyone?  Anyone?

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Yesterday Arlyne and I took the ferry over to Coupville and stopped at Fort Casey.  This Fort is being kept up very well, with new paint jobs on almost everything and green lawns all over the place.  The really nice thing about this fort is they have two disappearing guns.  You can see the size of these guns……they’re huge!

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Meanwhile, back at the museum, I’ve started painting the upper deck of the museum building.  It probably hasn’t been painted in decades.  It should take me a couple of days.  Arlyne sold $100 worth of toy cannons and airplanes recently.  The nicer weather is starting to bring out more people, including vacationers from out of state.

Draper Comments:  I wish the TV broadcast industry would develop a “scandal” channel and put all the government scandal coverage in one place.  That way, I wouldn’t have to watch slimy government incompetence and corruption stuff every day (unless I wanted to).  The same could be said about corporations as well, I suppose.  Maybe another  separate channel would be nice for them.

Comment:  I wish the English language could get rid of the word “horrific”.  Whatever happened to “horrible” and “horrifying” and “horrendous” and “unspeakable”?  I also wish the English language could get rid of the phrases “going forward” and “at the end of the day”.  These phrases are way, way overused.  These phrases crept into the U.S. from Britain about 20 years ago.  They’re not even ours.

We got a very nice comment from another traveling couple who likes our lifestyle.  I can’t help but put their comments in verbatim.  Thanks, Phyllis and Charles.  They said:

It’s very fortunate you are able to travel wherever you wish in your motorhome and take such beautiful pictures along the way. It’s great for those who cannot travel, to be able to enjoy the talents of people like you two, who are able to pass along your works. I thank you for sharing all these beautiful pictures. I enjoy (them) so very much. We also are motorhome people having traveled over 30 years in motorhomes, fifth wheels and even a 31 foot trailer pulled by our 76 Cadillac years ago, so we relate to what you’re doing. We’ve met so many people along the way and love sharing with them also.

Thanks again…………..The Drapers

 
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Posted by on June 7, 2013 in Bird Lover

 

Rain and other stuff……….

We have some observations about Washington and its weather while volunteering at the Coast Artillery Museum in Ft. Worden for 2-1/2 months. 

First, we’ve learned a new meteorological term:  “Sun break”.  This is when the sun peeks out through the cloudy, rainy weather once in a while, usually for four minutes.  These breaks almost never occur at night.

I think the air mass over Washington is so dense that the temperature can never change.  The atmosphere, coupled with the water, is a giant heat sink that absorbs temperature variations. 

Last week, we drove around for two days from early morning to late evening and experienced rain, cloudiness, long and short sun breaks, wind, calm, etc.  We went from coast to inland and from open areas to thick trees.  We covered 120 miles.  The temperature was 59 degrees the whole time.  When we got back home at 10:30 pm, it was 59 degrees.  When we got up early the next morning, the temperature was 59 degrees.  Since we got here in mid-March it’s been 59 plus or minus 2 degrees. 

We visited the Naval Undersea Museum 30 miles south of here yesterday.  Among the many exhibits, we saw a mobile decompression chamber for divers.  I think we’ll use it when we’re ready to leave Washington.  That way we’ll feel normal when we reach the “surface”.Image

When does summer arrive?  We’ve been told it’s in July.

We talked to an older couple we met at the beach one afternoon.  He wears long-johns 8 months a year!

I walked into the museum the day before yesterday and announced:  “It’s not raining!  I demand an explanation!”

Another volunteer and I are trying to paint two light poles at the park entrance.  We scraped off some of the old paint but it’s been raining ever since.  We may not get done until summer (July). 

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What a coincidence the day before we visited the Naval Undersea Museum.  We were starting to cross the Hood Canal Bridge when all traffic stopped and the bridge was raised.  Far off in the distance we saw four boats coming in.  A Trident-Class nuclear submarine, escorted by a Coast Guard boat on each side and two Navy boats front and rear, crept through the Hood Canal, heading for the Bremerton Naval Shipyard.  We didn’t have our good camera gear but Arlyne got a decent shot with her phone.   I counted cars on the bridge and roads leading to the bridge and I estimate 400 cars were stopped for 30 minutes during rush hour, waiting for the sub to pass.

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I played golf a few days ago, between rain storms.  I had a nice birdie on No. 7, a par 3, with a 4 foot putt, but the rest of the round was not memorable.  It’s raining as I write this.

However, I have to say that the weather is finally starting to turn.  We went to see the eagles again and the day was superb.  We finally saw the little eaglet sticking his head up.

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As quick as I can, I’m going to publish some new photos of the eagles.  The little family has become very active and we get lots of nice family photos.  Later

 
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Posted by on June 3, 2013 in Bird Lover