Saturday, February 26, 2011

Current Event Saturday - Hemmingway's Nitro Express

This post is straight from my brand new Garden & Gun subscription.  They have a newsletter on their website and this post about Hemmingway's Elephant Gun was up on Thursday. 

Even if you don't know a thing about guns you cannot help but see the beauty in this 1913 .577 double barrel Nitro Express hunting rifle that belonged to Mr. Ernest Hemmingway.  It weighs 16 pounds and he used it in 1953 to hunt the biggest beasts in Africa.  It will be up for auction on March 14 and as the article states will likey go for a pretty penny.  Read the article and check out the photo gallery of this amazing masterpiece.

(Photo Credit: Garden & Gun Magazine)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Favorite Photo Friday - Target Shooting

(Doe out smashing some clays)
I'm not sure I like seeing my stance in a photo, but hey I hit the clays so that's what matters right? The photo comes from a day shooting clays & targets with the guys in Critter's family.  As usual I'm the only gal there.  That's ok with me though, the rest of the ladies don't know the fun they're missing out on.  More for me to shoot. Plus, its fun outshooting the guys.  ;)  Although my Critter is a really good shot. Its tough to beat him!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Thankful Thursday - Work

In this day and age I am so thankful I have a job.  It may not exactly be what I dreamed of but, they pay is good and I have a job to go to each morning.  I am an Architectural Designer/Drafter by trade and I am currently working for an engineering firm and helping to design mechanical, piping and electrical units.  Although Washington State seems to have weathered the economic downturn fairly well, the architecture and construction industries have taken a hard hit in the past couple of years. 

(Old style drafting office)

The photo above is what a drafting office would have looked like 60-70 or more years ago. 

(Old school drafting table & swing arm scale)

When I first learned drafting when I was in high school this is what the desk of a drafter looked like. 

(AutoCAD Architecture opening screenshot)

Then in college I learned how to draw on this...

(A place that looks similar to where I currently work)

... and now I sit in a place like this drawing drawings that look similar to...

(A engineering drawing I found on the web to use as an example)

...this, but...

(An architectural project I found on the web to use as an example)

I know that I am capable of producing things more like this.  Its amazing how fast things change over the years. And still, I find myself just being thankful that I am working and working in the general vicinity of what I have learned and been trained to do.

(This is an actual photo from my first drafting job that was in this beautiful office.
Thanks for the photo Erik)

Although there are definitely days when I miss working in this place!

***I copied these photos from the web as examples only.  I do not represent and have not worked on these projects.***

Monday, February 21, 2011

Project Monday - Presidents' Day

(Ronald Reagan
Photo: Web)
I don't have any good President's Day related projects.  I would put up just another post about something I've made or something I redid, but I thought it was more important to honor our great leaders.  Keep in mind I said our great leaders and there have been a handful of not so great ones.  I honor the job and thank all of the amazing men who have represented this country to the best of their abilities.  God Bless America and never stop fighting for the freedoms we have been afforded by those who came before us and those who have risked there lives to keep it that way.

(George Washington
Photo: Web)
(Abraham Lincoln
Photo: Web)

Speaking of great people and heros here's a big Happy Birthday
today to my amazing grandma. 
Grammie, I love you!  Happy 82nd birthday!!

(My Grammie)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Current Event Saturday - Ellensburg: The Best in the West

(Davidson Building Ellensburg, WA
Photo: Courtesy of Cowboy
I went to college in a small Central Washington town called Ellensburg.  I have a long list of reasons as to why it is such an amazing place to live.  I'll share a few:

(Ellensburg Location)
For one, its a small town with a strong sense of community.  The population is somewhere around 15,000 and Central Washington University enrolls approximately 10,000 students per school year.  It sits in the eastern foothills of the Casdade Mountain Range and is in the geographical middle of Washington State. 

Two, the weather there is mild, it experiences snowy winters, warm summers and has 300 or so day of sunshine annually. 

Three, the outdoor recreation opportunities are endless:
horseback/trail riding
ATV trails
4 wheeling trails
and the list goes on....

(Barge Hall CWU
Photo: Web)
Plus if you want to take a class you have the college right in town boasting over 50 different majors and hundreds of learning opportunities to take advantage of.  The Theater Arts department regularly features plays and performances, music department has concerts and the associated students and alumni groups bring in varying entertainments for all to attend and enjoy. 

(Ellensburg Rodeo Arena
Photo: Daily Record)
There are fantastic fun, exciting and entertaining annual events throughout the year that bring everyone together from near and far to partake in such as:

The Ellensburg Rodeo and Kittitas County Fair (I worked the ticket office at the Rodeo for 3 years in college)
Jazz in the Valley
Spirit of the West Cowboy Gathering
Miss Rodeo Washington Coronation Ceremony
First Friday Artwalk
Girls Night Inn Charity Event

(The Tav streetshot
There are great local restaruants and a good nightlife with most bars and eateries all within walking distance of one another.

The Tav - The best bar burger in the West (Go give a Hungry Mother a try!)
Palace Cafe - Fantastic Salad bar and vague memories of many a night w/friends in the bar
Yellow Church Cafe - An old fave
Dakota Cafe - A must!
Starlight Lounge - A Classy small town bar
Arnie's Horseshoe Sports Bar - All I have to say is Sweet Caroline in harmony... yep the entire bar together
Winegar's - Best most awesomest Marshmallo Ice Cream Soda! HOMEMADE ICE CREAM Delish!
Campus-U-Tote-Em & Rossow's-U-Tote-Em - Old School Burger & Fries Drive-Ins
Valley Cafe - Mid Century Mod- Old Style cafe w/fine foods and wines
Rodeo City Bar-B-Q - Homestyle BBQ need I say more?
Morelli's Cafe Italiano - Haven't been there yet but hear about how great it is a lot (No website)
Los Cabos Mexican Restaurant (Formerly Casa de Blanca) - My vote for best salsa ever! (No Website)

(Safeway Wind Gauge
Photo: Daily Record)
The only huge drawback is something that is considered a four letter word around town, the wind.  It has been a point of humor among the locals about how windy it really is at times.  There is a 'wind gauge' in front of the Safeway which consists of a plywood board mounted on a post with a huge chain fixed to the top of it.  It has notes the difference between a 'slight breeze' and 'normal wind,' it offers a chuckle for the locals as they head in to buy their groceries.

What prompted me to post about Ellensburg... well a gal I knew back in the day that still lives there posted this article from American Cowboy where they named it as one of the greatest places to live in the Northwest.  Based on my review of it in the above paragraphs, I'm going to have to agree with American Cowboy on this one!  E-burg or The Burg as us current and former residents refer to it is even the very first town in the article.  Congrats E-Burg! What a great honor.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Favorite Photo Friday - Hot Stuff the Mummy

(Hot Stuff the Mummy)
This is my niece, I call her Hot Stuff.  It fits her beautiful 8 year old sassy red headed self perfectly! This kid is seriously a riot.  The photo is from the week before Critter and my wedding.  We got married in the woods up where we set up our deer camp. So...the week prior to the wedding we were up in the woods getting the wedding site all set up and prepared for the big day. 

I was in the cookshack tent when Hot Stuff walked past on the outside. It was late evening and the sun was shining directly on the side of the tent and out of the corner of my eye I thought I saw a mummy!

I had to have her come see what it looked like. She sat in the cookshack as I walked by for her to see my shadow.  She just laughed and insisted she make shadow puppets and do more mummy walking for me. Such a fun moment for us and because of this photo, one I will never forget. 

Just look at how long her arms look and how big her hands appear, still makes me laugh!!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thankful Thursday - Eastern Washington

(Eastern Washington Summer Sunset Photo by: Doe)
I take photos through my windshield a lot.  Sometimes, I just can't help it. Its evenings like the one in this photo in which I am thankful for the beautiful part of the country I live in.  My dad always said that Eastern Washington, Eastern Oregon, Idaho and Montana were 'God's Country.'  Maybe all of us feel as if our little part of the world is 'God's Country,' and although sometimes people who have not grown up here cannot see it, but I can't help but be thankful for the beauty found here in the high desert.

This photo was taken last summer on a night Critter and I took our flower girls out for a pizza dinner. I could've very well not been paying attention to the weather because we were having such fun with the girls, but we need to remember to be thankful not only for those in our lives who enrich it but for the amazing beauty that surrounds us when we are together. Its all of this together that makes life beautiful.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Project Monday - Me & My Love

(Photo by Suwanee Photography)
No project this Valentine's Day just a message on my thoughts of the day and a photo of me and my love.

I've never been one for Valentine's Day.  I think its a fabricated holiday.  Made up by women who have significant others who don't tell them how amazing they are on a regular basis and 'just because'.  What is so necessary about having a holiday to make sure you can make your honey feel bad for forgetting to get you a box of chocolates yet again? 

I will admit I am blessed, Critter not only tells me, but shows me daily how beautiful he thinks I am and how much he loves me.  That is all the Valentine's Day I need and I get it everyday all year long.

This photo was taken by the amazingly talented Suwanee Lennon of Suwanee Photography out of Spokane, WA.  It is one of our favorites from our engagement photo session.  We have a large copy framed and hanging in our living room.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Simple Sunday - Love and Hate

(Crate & Barrel Tall Bedford Cabinet)

Oh why, oh why does everything I love end up having to be so much money? Darned you Crate and Barrel for making me fall in love with your beautiful things then smacking me in the face with your big fat price tags! Maybe everyone will hate these pieces so much that they will go on sale fast and then maybe... just maybe I could talk Critter into these absolutley beeeeeutieeful pieces that would simply be perfection in our antique wood lovers home. I'm not holding my breath though... (on either one). Ugh, maybe I'll just cut out the pictures and hang them on the fridge.  If you really want to know the prices, click on the photos and it will take you to the C&B website where each one is listed for sale if you so inclined to love them as much as I, and feel the need to pay the hefty price tag to have them delivered to your home.

(Crate & Barrel Bedford Chest)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Current Event Saturday - Salmon, Steelhead and Dams

(Doe at Ice Harbor Dam)
Northwest RiverPartners

Columbia Basin Fish & Wildlife News
Here in the Pacific Northwest there is an issue that resurfaces itself every few years.  It is regarding the survival of salmon, steelhead and their ability to return to their upriver spawning grounds.  Many environmentalists believe that the Columbia and Snake River dams are keeping the fish from making their trek back up the rivers to reproduce.

If you aren't familiar with Washington State politics I'll break it down in a generality for you to better understand.  The eastern portion of Washington, is that lying to the east side of the Cascade Mountain range.  The range runs north and south through the middle of the state is the east/west divide.  Those on the eastside of the state tend to lean toward the conservative side of issues and those in the mid section of the westside being the Seattle vicinity generally lean to the liberal side.  Then there is the far north of the westside and the far south of the westside and they go either way but in the most recent elections went conservative.  

The population of the Seattle vicinity usually ends up choosing the executive leaders of our state because that is where the bulk of the State's population lies.  Therefore, Washington State's executive or national representation is dominated by liberal ideals.  It becomes unfortunate for those of us on the eastside to have our ideals governed by decisions of those on the other side of the state.

(Snake River Barge waiting to proceed through the locks at the dam)
It is frustrating for us who live, work and play around the rivers and who's livelihoods depend upon the rivers to hear the liberal voices in Seattle when they try to voice their opinions on the Snake and Columbia River dam breaching.  Those dams not only provide irrigation for the hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland on this side of the state but it also provides hydroelectricity as one of the cleanest and greenest power sources available and provides affordable bulk transportation of gross domestic product to travel by barge.

The liberal voices want to see breaching of several of the Snake River dams that they feel are inhibiting the salmon and steelhead from returning from sea to spawn and repopulate.  What they fail to realize is the fish counts have been higher the past couple of years than they have been in over 80 years.  80 years ago when fish first began to be counted in these rivers there were very few dams even yet built. 

With the current democratic Obama Administration the subject of dam breaching is back on the table led loud and proud by leaders elected in the legislative districts that hail from and serve the Seattle areas.  Thankfully us here on the eastside have elected officials on our side that believe in the value of the dams and the jobs, power, recreation and irrigation water they provide to not only Washington State but other neighboring states as well.

(The guys and their Springers May 2010)
Here is a link and this one too(same ones I put at the top of the page) to websites I visit occasionally to read up and gather current information on the state of the rivers and fish information.  We definitely believe in and want to keep the salmon and steelhead populations strong because we want to continue to fish these amazing waterways.  We also want to see the way of life we have come accustomed to thrive as well as the fish have been thriving.  As spring draws closer the fish will soon be returning to the upper portions of the rivers and you can bet Critter and myself will be out tossing a line or two trying to get some of those Springers on our line. 

(Columbia River Steelhead)
I may not know all of the information or have all of the answers, but what I do know is these dams are an essential asset to our beautiful state and as well as neighboring states.  To see them removed would not only be extremely expensive but it would destroy the successful efforts to restore the fish populations since their construction.  Spawning beds would be destroyed and would take decades to return to acceptable fish counts.  In addition we would lose the valuable irrigation, power and transportation resources their existence provides for our way of life.  I see the best option being to continually find ways to improve and assist the abilities of the fish to get to their spawning grounds and keep those numbers rising each year as they consistently have been through the years since building the dams.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Favorite Photo Friday - 2 Year Old Beauty

I have been taking photos of this gorgeous little one since she was in her momma's belly.  She still gets me everytime.  She recently had her 2nd birthday and we spent a chilly moring out chasing her and her balloons around.  Getting a good shot of her is never a problem, she is so photogenic and just plain beautiful that she makes my photography skills shine.  Happy birthday baby girl!

(2 Year Old Beauty)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Thankful Thursday - The American Farmer

(Metal Farmers Sign)

I am thankful everyday for the American Farmer who works long tiring days just to make sure that I can go to the store to keep food on my table.  This includes the rancher and the farmer.  Although we try to eat mostly deer and elk meat, sometimes a honey ham steak is just delicious or a breaded pork chop and heck who doesn't love them some bacon now and again?

If you ate something today that you didn't personally grow in your own backyard then take a moment and just send a thank you up to God for the farmers and ranchers of America that keep us all fed.  If it wasn't for them, eating would be so much more than going to the fridge to throw something together for dinner. 

Next time you travel also make sure you soak in all the beauty of farmland you see on your trip whether it be from the friendly skies or while trekking across our beautiful country. 

(Flying over some of the farms in my home town)
Photo Credit: Doe with help from Allegiant Airlines

Monday, February 7, 2011

Project Monday - Parma Rosa Pasta Casserole

I make a lot of 'throw it together' dinners that I end up loving and not writing down.  Critter loved this pasta casserole so much that I made sure to document it! 

Pre heat oven to 375 degrees

Cook choice of pasta as directed
Prepare the Knorr Parma Rosa pasta sauce as directed and set aside

Add these ingredients to prepared sauce & mix well:
*1 cup of cubed pre cooked ham steak
*1 bunch of green onions diced
*1 can of diced tomatoes
*1 can of sliced black olives
*Garlic Salt to taste

Add pasta to sauce mixture, mix well and add to casserole dish lightly sprayed with non stick cooking spray

Bake covered for 20 minutes

1 cup shredded colby jack cheese over the top

Broil for 2-3 minutes or until cheese is melted and golden brown on the edges.


(Ready to Bake)

(Ready to Eat)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Simple Sunday - Architectural Style

As someone who studies, enjoys and appreciates most architectural styles I find that out of the hundreds out there I find myself always coming back around to the same one as my favorite. 

I love raw cut wood, warm colors and natural solid surfaces.  I have been in the process of designing my dream home for a good 25 years now.  Over time as I have learned more and gathered more ideas my dream has evolved into something not short of spectacular.

I don't know when or if this dream will ever solidify but when it does it will be a collection of 1/4 century of sculpting and imagining.  What is so much fun now is incorporating Critter's dreams as well.  His shabby/rustic hunting lodge style and my antique ranch hacienda style are a perfect blend to creating something simply us and perfectly unique.

The photo is a picture courtesy of Architectural Digest of actor Gerard Butler's home.  I cannot get his amazing home out of my mind.  I love the rustic feel along with punches of glamorous elegance to highlight the rugged rawness of the materials and gives just the perfect 'feminine touch.'  This picture simply inspires the direction I want to take our dream.  Maybe someday Gerard will take me for a tour of his amazing abode... a girl can always dream right...

(Photo: Architectural Digest. Home of Gerard Butler)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Current Event Saturday - No Event At All

So I am a little behind on posts... sometimes that happens, time to play catch up so bear with me!

I like to post an event that is of interest to me that I think all of you may be interested in as well and for whatever reason I can't settle on something that isn't either too political or controversial.  I'd rather share something a little more fun.  But I'm scratching the bottom of the barrel with 'fun' events right now. 

Nothing has really inspired me enough today to post about it, so I think I will just leave you with a picture that I am drawn to.  The funny thing about this photo is that it is of something I don't really care for.  It is odd to me that I would find an out of focus photo of Christmas lights beautiful since other than the joy they bring during the Christmas season I am not all that fond of them.  I think sometimes it is the unexpected feel we have about something when we view it from a different perspective that creates the unsolicited inspirations we find in ourselves. 

(Photo Courtesy of Travel Wonders)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Favorite Photo Friday - Adoption Day

This is a picture of a happy day!  Finally, after almost two years of waiting, paperwork and raising kids they didn't know for sure they were going to be able to give their last name to, it all came to a celebratory end or beginning if you will.  These adorable kids aged 3, 2 and 1 finally have their forever home!  My brother in law's cousin and her husband adopted 3 siblings they took in as foster kids over a year and a half ago. 

Critter and I couldn't be more happy for them and I was proud they asked me to be there to capture this happy family moment. 

Congrats you guys, you are finally a family with the same name.  Here is to many blessed years to come!  Not that your days and nights won't be without their struggles, trials and tribulations but may God grant you the patience, support, love and understanding to raise these beautiful children.  In return they will fill you with love you never knew existed.  Good luck, cause you are gonna need it... that and some sleep!

(Adoption Day, Adoption Final!)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Thankful Thursday - Sunrise, Sunset

(Cold February 3rd Morning Sunrise)
God gives us the most amazing of gifts when we least expect them and yet exactly when we need them the most.  On my drive to work this morning I had to pull over and thank God for the unbelievable beauty he graced my morning with. I know the splendor only lasts for minutes and I didn't want to waste one more. Being the photographer that I am I always have my point n' shoot in my purse and getting images like this are exactly the reason I do it. 

Just when I was still reeling about the beautiful morning, God goes and does it again... yep, this was the sunset.  No words... I think this picture speaks for itself.  Thank you God for your awesomeness and giving us treats like this to brighten both our mornings and our evenings.

(Cold February 3rd Sunset)