Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Boxes, Beavers & Birds -- oh MY!

Packets for Virginia attendees will be going into the mail this week – so watch for those! I don't know why we call them "packets" -- they are BOXES! I love dreaming these up – but getting them in the mail is a daunting task. The worker bee crew was here over the weekend – so laughter was rampant!

The boxes spilled over into the hallway and down the stairs.

And it will take 3 to 4 trips to the Post Office to get them all mailed. Its always a great relief to finally get the job DONE!

We are getting excited about heading to Asilomar. The event begins April 13. And where our brains were when we scheduled the events for 2008, I have no idea. But I get home from California on April 17 and then leave for Virginia on April 28! Back-to-Back events -- it will be an adventure!

Unfortunately, Cindy will not be joining us. She has moved on from her role with Art & Soul. Her numerous contributions to the events, her calming manner and her detail to organization helped things run smoothly. She was a tremendous asset and I know we all wish her the very best on her future endeavors!!

Do you have any idea what it costs to hire someone to use a live trap for a beaver? I was flabbergasted. They want $295 to set the trap and an additional $150 for each animal that they catch. I’d set the cage myself, but am not too keen on wading into the pond. I would be over my head before I could get to the dam. I have lots of trappers who want to kill the little family…..(I’m certain that Bea & Bobby are about to be parents)…..but that is definitely not an option. We disrupted their dam as best we could, and according to my wildlife manual, that should discourage them enough to move along. We shall see.

Last week, Marylin and Tracie Huskamp joined a group of us for a wonderful class. We learned how to paint birds!! Actually, I was
so ill, that I could only join them for a few minutes at a time. A major disappointment -- but as I was in bed, it warmed my heart when the house vibrated with laughter coming from the studio! The gang had a marvelous time – including my Abby who produced some pretty great art. Check out Marylin & Tracie’s blogs to see more pics of the gals & their artwork.

This is one of Abby's paintings! She is 9yrs old -- and had a ball.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Spring Activity

I’m finally feeling almost normal! Thank God for good drugs. The weather is beautiful and after being housebound for so long, I was feeling a bit ‘antsy’ for some fresh air. I wanted to explore the property to see what wildlife was present, but knew that I didn’t have the stamina to walk ---and then -- Abigail to the rescue! My 9yr old granddaughter came over to get me in the Easy Go – a rancher’s answer to a golf cart. She handled that thing like a pro and carted me all over the yard.
We drove to the back of the property where there is a large pond/small lake. The water seemed to be a bit high to me and as we explored further we found that we have a very active beaver. This little guy has been busily taking down small cedar and alders and plugging the fish ladder. It is amazing how much they can accomplish in a short time. Abby & I sat quietly by the water watching some wood ducks when I noticed a fairly large ripple in the water. I pointed it out to Ab & we inched closer to the bank. As we continued to watch, a beaver swam past us and circled the pond. It was hard for us to contain our excitement and remain still. The beaver made three passes – and then -- WHAP WHAP WHAP --slapped its tail on the water. Boy – guess he was telling us!! Get away from my home! At that point, Abby & both giggled with glee and the beaver dove out of sight.
Unfortunately, we will have to trap the little guy and destroy his new house. He can’t block the fish ladder. I’m hoping that we can take him to my old house/property in Corbett. There he has 100’s of acres, Trout Creek and the Sandy River to play with. I will try to get a photo of him -- in the meantime, Abby got some good pics of his latest work!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Ready, Set, CRASH!

Well – what an exciting day we had yesterday! We should have had a premonition of things to come when Cindy learned that Comcast was replacing their cable lines in her area and she would be without Internet service. AWK!! She quickly packed her laptop and files and headed to Starbucks where she attempted to set up a temporary office in a quiet corner. Did I say “quiet”??? An Internet cafĂ© is not the best place to set up an office – her headache had just begun.
The past two weeks, Cindy and our web people have tested, run and re-tested our new on-line registration system. All glitches were found and addressed and we were ready to go for Portland registration on the 11th. Web management did tell us that they had some “possible” concerns about our server, but they thought it would be minimal. If only it had been minimal.
I don’t understand all this techno mumbo jumbo -- and I don’t care to learn. I just want it to work. Sort of like my car. Don’t bother me with pistons and carburetors -- I’ll change the oil, keep the tires up, fill her with gas and expect perfect performance. Cindy deals with the web crew – she gets it. So – here she is, sitting in Starbucks, computer at the ready. The background noise is about to drive her crazy and she is on pins & needles waiting to make certain that all goes smoothly. I’m sitting at my computer, at home, wrapped in blankets surrounded with antibiotics, cough syrup and lozenges…. as I have pneumonia. Coughing, wheezing, nauseated (and that was from the anticipation of the registrations!!) knowing full well that I can’t do a thing but offer support if things go haywire.
You know the rest. Ultimate chaos for the next 3 hrs. Actually – for the next 16 hours. It took that long to sort thru the mess and to get everyone organized. I can’t begin to explain to you the technical problems that occurred. Basically as I understand it, we have 200 sites on our server and all of us together use about 5% of ”it” daily. When our attendees kicked in at 1:00 – it went up to over 100% of usage and crashed everyone on the server. Our web people felt the only solution was to get a mega server and move all 200 clients. A tremendous job that took all night.
We are now back on line and ready to go. Portland registration will pick up again on Thursday at 1:00. We have so many fantastic classes that interest in them is spread out pretty evenly so I don’t anticipate that people will have trouble getting their preferred classes. Cindy and I sincerely appreciate all the support, understanding and patience from all of our great attendees.