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Aquilegia formosa
western columbine
black background

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495 visits

L.L. Stub Stewart State Park

Western Columbine at L.L. Stub Stewart

Western Columbine at L.L. Stub Stewart 

(+7 insets!) (this update is another doorstop...coffee will be necessary to make it through to the end! :D)

Hello everyone! I hope you are all doing well, I miss everyone a lot. I really miss my "normal" routine of cruising around everyone's streams and dropping off comments for all of your latest pictures. However, I have had to change my priorities from my usual photography/ipernity/chores/etc. to trip preparation in all regards. I'm the sort of person that can't have the distraction of a favorite pastime interfering with important tasks. If I try to spend a small amount of time with something like photography or ipernity, I end up becoming totally absorbed and procrastinating away hours of time. I just can't seem to balance that one so the best option is just to stay away from these activities until I have my priorities under control.

Trip Planning
So, I'm still working on our Vancouver Island trip itinerary and also doing zillions of prep tasks, etc…six weeks is a lot for planning and coordination, let me tell you! We were able to find a person in the area who's an expert with snakes and frogs and he will be caring for Snakey McSnakerton and our two ancient, 18-year old frogs while we are away. We've arranged for a house-sitter. Pumpkin is microchipped and paperwork is in order. Steve's got all of our trip reservations--including our ferry crossings--finalized. I now know that we can bring most of our food across the border both ways--but no eggs or fruit!

Oh, and by the way, did you know that a sing freshwater fishing license is just $37 for a Canadian and a whopping $84 for a non-native? In other words, we'll be spending $168 just for the chance to fish! Sound the general alarm, that's CRAZY!! And yet, we'll pay the price because we're going to be on the island for five weeks. Did you notice the part where I mentioned "fresh water"? We WON'T be fishing in the ocean/shore/bay pier. That would be another $125 EACH to try that. (And, just for funzies I looked into boat charters of any sort…AHHHH!!! It's a minimum of $600-$700 to go out on a boat for two people…as much as I would dearly LOVE to have a guided trip for fishing, we just can't afford such extravagances.)

RV/Truck Maintenance…
When we were at our last RV destination, Diamond Lake, we noticed that one of the trailer wheels wasn't behaving quite right--it didn't turn freely when we backed the trailer up, pushing into the gravel instead of rolling over it (but seemed ok going forward). This was strange because we'd had the bearings repacked and the whole rig checked out by a local shop. But when we got home, Steve checked each of the wheels and discovered that three of the four wheel's hubs were cool to the touch as they should be, but the one we were concerned about was very hot--a bad sign that the bearings aren't moving easily. So, right away Steve got the trailer into the shop. Turned out to be such a strange situation that the shop admitted never seeing it before in the 20 years they've been servicing RVs! In fact, parts of the bearings assembly disintegrated into the wheel and it was a total mess--it was lucky we got home, actually. Because of Steve's diligence to check for problems, he discovered this blow-out accident waiting to happen. Happily, the repair didn't cost us a cent because it was the shop's error--although to be fair, it was a manufacturer's error--not theirs--because they'd done everything right except for putting in a bearing assembly that was defective.

Steve also took the truck in for an inspection by our local mechanic. We really should have done this before we began our RV adventures but the timing didn't work out until now. As it turned out, we learned that to get our truck up to snuff, we needed to sink nearly $5k into engine repairs. That's on top of the transmission we had rebuilt. Holy money pit Batman, at that point you really need to stop and think about cost vs. value. Steve and Huck, our mechanic, talked about the truck for a while and if these costs were worth it. But, just like our transmission mechanic, Huck didn't hesitate with the same opinion: these trucks will last forever with routine care, and this truck is unquestionably worth more than we paid for it, despite the transmission and maintenance costs. And, with these repairs out of the way, we won't need any work done on the truck for 100k miles or more. Ah well, it's just money and more importantly, we have peace of mind. The truck did make odd sounds sometimes which made us wonder. Now Steve knows what they meant. It's all good.

RV Upgrades, also known as, "STEVE IS AMAZING!!!"
Meanwhile, Steve has been working on making our RV better and better! His most important project when we got home was to fix the wonky, defective kitchen drawers and then to BUILD four new drawers--a pair that would go under the dinette seats and two under the master bed.

First he fixed the kitchen drawers. The idiot things didn't open/close properly and the slides were partially broken…what a nightmare! He replaced the cheap-crappy slide mechanisms with new ones that have a soft-close feature which pulls the drawer shut at the last inch. While he was fixing the drawer, he also added 6" to the length/depth of the drawer! MORE ROOM IS MORE!!! YAYYYYY!!!

What a difference!! When he was done we stood there like silly little kids taking turns opening and closing the drawers! HOORAY!!! *happy dance* The thing is--we use those drawers dozens of times every day and every time we had to fight with the drawers to some degree. By the time we got home from our last trip, we were both raving lunatics, and that's why he had those drawers fixed the day after we got back! HUZZAH!

After the kitchen drawers he attacked the dinette! The seats have cushions that can be removed, exposing a crappy piece of plywood that covers storage space below. Potentially useful? ABSOLUTELY! Realistically useful? NOT! So Steve set to work building a pair of drawers that should have been there to begin with. It was a challenge to figure out the drawer faces but his solution of using stained wood faces in a black frame works just super. We are beside ourselves with happiness at how amazing these drawers turned out. (Did I mention the fact that Steve's never built drawers like this before from scratch?) Now we'll have a proper place for our pots and pans and plenty of other stuff. All easily accessible by opening a drawer! Steve's AMAZING!!!

Finally, he's in the last stages of building drawers into the bed frame so we have proper places to put our clothes. We've been making due with the pair of closets at either side of the bed but the spaces are too small and require us to pile our clothes up and squish them into place. Trying to pull out an item of clothing at the bottom of a pile is a guaranteed disaster with clothes falling onto the floor, tipping over, and making a huge mess. Neither of us made a peep about it on our last trip because there was nothing we could do about the situation but we totally hit the wall. It would be a big project but the effort would really pay off. As he expected, the horrendous lack of building skill in the trailer's construction made it very challenging in regards to dealing with so many lopsided angles but he's been able to come up with clever solutions for every problem. He's almost done now and we are so excited to put these new spaces into use! YAY FOR MY CLEVER MAN!!! :)

Today's Pictures
Today's main picture and inset are a pair of the many lovely wild Columbine blossoms that Steve and I saw when we were staying at L.L. Stub Stewart State Park. Using a flash really make them explode in fiery color, especially against a dark background. I also have an inset which shows a Columbine in natural lighting. Incredible flowers, aren't they? I was so happy I got to see them in bloom, as I'd missed their bloom time here at home.

I'm also including insets that show the drawer work that Steve's done! What fun it is to show off Steve's handiwork! :)

Pam, I'm hoping that you've been doing as well as can be expected! Miss you mucho my dear! *MANY HUGS* and thank you so much for the comments on my picture! :)

Explored on 7/19/19; highest placement, #7.

micritter, Christel Ehretsmann, fifi, Cheryl Kelly (cher12861 on flickr) and 62 other people have particularly liked this photo

39 comments - The latest ones
 José Manuel Polo
José Manuel Polo club
Esta sencilla pero bonita flor abunda en mi entorno y le he fotografiado pero no tan bien como te quedó a ti esta vez.
11 months ago.
 Pam J
Pam J club



11 months ago.
 Jenny McIntyre
Jenny McIntyre club
These flowers are called "Aqualegia" over here, as well as Columbines. I just love these colours, I have aqualegias in my garden, but they are dark purple, pale purple, white,dark pink and pale pink, not as vibrant as yours. These flowers are really gorgeous.

Oh wow this RV is really costing you a lot. I know it's very important to you, but whoever you bought it off, must surely have known its shortfalls!!!! Thank heavens you have such a fantastic husband like Steve, who is able and willing to make a lot of these alterations to make things so much easier for you. I love the drawers he's made for going under the seating etc. It will give you so much more free space and you won't be picking up dropped clothes anymore!!

I am hoping to get myself a car, but it's one of those things that I say "I'll do it later"!!!! I went out for the first time yesterday since I got back from Turkey - that's why I need a car, but such a lot of things have to be done before I can get it, rather puts me off!!

Just enjoy yourself and don't worry about us here, we'll still be here when you get back from your travels. Just take gorgeous pictures (as you no doubt will do!!!!) and show it to us, so we can see parts of this world we'll never see ourselves.
11 months ago.
 William Sutherland
William Sutherland club
Stunning capture and great PIPs!

Admired in:
11 months ago.
 Helena Ferreira
Helena Ferreira club
11 months ago.
 Mario Vargas
Mario Vargas club
Janet you are a fantaatic photographer and writer ans so forth¡¡¡¡ :-)
11 months ago.
RHH club
Thanks for the visit, Janet. The Columbine photos are out of this world and the photos of the master craftman's work were great, too. Nice to hear of your preparations for the trip. Hope all goes well and as planned. We are at a youth camp and will be going back home tomorrow but leaving again Saturday for Lynden. Catch you later.

Back again, though it's next morning. Up early and waiting for the kids to show up for breakfast, but time for a few lines. Drinking a horrible cup of coffee while waiting that' hardly better than no coffee. I guess one of the perks of your set-up is that the coffee maker can go along with you. I miss ours when we are away.

Missing our home cooking as well. The food at the camp is typical camp food, undistinguished to say the least and some of it rather nasty. We had spaghetti last night that was overcooked (cook probably never heard of al dente) and some kind of cake that was nearly inedible which I would not have eaten anyway. Hate cake.

We'll be leaving for home later this morning and will have the rest of the day before we leave for a weekend in Lynden. Going to see Ed and Jess and pick berries there before heading home Monday morning. Ed's a good cook and so is Jess, so we'll be well fed there. We'll have time to water plants, mow the lawn and catch up a few things.

Speaking of plants, I am growing some tomatoes on the deck in pots and they are doing very well. One of them is an heirloom purple tomato which we are eager to sample. The first fruit is almost read to pick and is really beautiful. Have some other "normal" varieties as well and some cukes and peppers.

As I told you before the deer eat everything else, though Nancy found a recipe for a deer repellent that seems to work. It has milk, soap and oil in it and certainly sounds nasty. We've sprayed it on some of the plants and haven't had any nibblers, but, then, we haven't seen many deer around lately either.

Seeing some exhausted kids stumbling in, so had better go tend to them. All the best.
11 months ago. Edited 11 months ago.
RHH club
11 months ago.
Kawasirius club
Jolies fleurs, une sur fond noir et l'autre sur fond blanc ! HFF, Janet !
11 months ago.
neira-Dan club
Une belle sauvageonne de chez toi !!
11 months ago.
 Maria W.
Maria W. club
Janet, havu belegan semajnfinon:)))
11 months ago.
 Jaap van 't Veen
Jaap van 't Veen club
Wonderful floral close-up; works fine against the black background.
Have a nice weekend Janet.
11 months ago.
 Josiane Dirickx
Josiane Dirickx club
Un tout beau partage de cette belle fleur qui ressort très bien sur le fond noir
11 months ago.
 Keith Burton
Keith Burton club
Both flower images are stunning Janet..........full of wonderful detail and colour. I particularly like the main image - you've done an excellent job with the flash and the resulting black background shows the flower off perfectly!

Thanks for your recent visits to my photo-stream.............I was especially pleased that you liked my Puffin images. I have lots more yet for you to check out when you have time :-)

Great work on the planning front..................I hope everything goes well for you once you get on the road. At least you shouldn't have to worry about the performance of your truck and rig!

I'm impressed with Steve's DIY skills.................mine are none existent - to the extent that long ago, my wife banned me from doing anything at all as she got so fed up with having to get a professional in to put things right afterwards :-)

Take care.................and have a break occasionally!
11 months ago.
 Nicole Merdrignac
Nicole Merdrignac club
Superbe photo avec notes. Nicole. HFF.
11 months ago.
 Dean Morley (on and off)
Dean Morley (on and… club
What a beautiful flower, Janet. I love Columbines. :-)
11 months ago.
cammino club
Stunning bloom close-up. Your trip seems to be very well organized!
11 months ago.
 Eva Lewitus
Eva Lewitus club
I love the Columbine in natural lighting. but of course the flashed Columbine with the black Background is stunning.
The drawers are tremendous, so space saving... Have a wonderful trip.
11 months ago.
 Ulrich John
Ulrich John club
That's really wonderful, Janet !
11 months ago.
 Trudy Tuinstra
Trudy Tuinstra club
11 months ago.
Annemarie club
Wonderful. Happy weekend
11 months ago.
 Gisela Plewe
Gisela Plewe club
Artful nature , especially with black background, dear Janet.
11 months ago.
╰☆☆June☆☆╮ club
Good work.
◦•●◉✿ Have a great weekend✿◉●•◦
11 months ago.
uwschu club
schöne leuchtende Farben
11 months ago.
 Eunice Perkins
Eunice Perkins club
I love the colombine (or as we know them, aquilegia) shots! Your Steve's drawers look great too. The improvements will certainly add to your enjoyment of travel. Bet you can't wait to be off again!!
11 months ago.
 Dave Roberts 2014
Dave Roberts 2014
Brilliant colours Janet, nice on the dark background!
11 months ago.
sasithorn_s club
Exquisite Columbine photos and great PiPs! Such amazing work from Steve!!
Have a happy, lovely new week!
11 months ago.
 Horizon 36
Horizon 36 club
Awesome capture, well done Janet.
11 months ago.
trester88 club
11 months ago.
Peter_Private_Box club
Hi Janet

I really like this

Superb colours

But a fishing licence for that price... !! MMM I'd just give up and go to the supermarket!!

Best Wishes, and a good weekend
11 months ago.
Ruesterstaude club
Hallo Janet!
"simplify your life" is a good idea. Ich habe deine Aktivitäten stets bewundert und für deinen Rückzug mit dieser hübschen Akelei (kennst du auch die von Albrecht Dürer?) volles Verständnis.
Liebe Grüße und viel Erfolg bei deinen Prioritäten!

PS: die Akelei ist eine meiner Lieblingsblumen, die gern --> fotografiert habe, besonders weil sie wild wächst.
11 months ago. Edited 11 months ago.
 Christiane ♥.•*¨`*•✿
Christiane ♥.•*¨`*•✿ club
Sure a beautiful flower ....
and an excellent photograph ! ******
11 months ago.
sea-herdorf club
Eine wunderschöne Blüte, sehr schön freigestellt, Janet.

Freundliche Grüße und einen guten Tag
11 months ago.
 Andy Rodker
Andy Rodker club
A new but beautiful aquilegia to me!
10 months ago.
Valfal club
As I go back through your stream, I can't believe how many photos I missed! Apparently I have been away a lot this summer, too! What a beautiful flower you found, and what a great trip you are taking! How many things you have seen and how many activities that you did you may not get the chance to do again!
10 months ago.
ROL/Photo club
Magnifique Janet
9 months ago.
 Cheryl Kelly (cher12861 on flickr)
Cheryl Kelly (cher12… club
9 months ago.
 Christel Ehretsmann
Christel Ehretsmann club
what a beautifully contrasted flower !
great details...
quite an artistic work...
9 months ago.
micritter club
Gorgeous flower macros.
8 months ago.

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