Nuptials & Adventures (with a few smiles…)

WELCOME BACK, I SAY THAT FOR YOU AND FOR US…

(you'll need this link to our Youtube videos... for a better understanding of our antics...  https://youtube.com/user/4L4only )

To say the miles, continue to get logged and the antics continue to be shared would be an understatement. Celebrating Three Years being together, Leslie & I couldn’t have scripted our union any differently. The soul-mate-esque connection we share is truly unlike anything else either of us have shared in our individual, previous worlds.

Imagine every attribute you’ve ever dreamed of in a partner, communication, compatibility, desire, patience, frivolity, shared load, great cooks, intelligence, humor, did I mention attractiveness… understanding, desire to grow & prosper… as well as a realization that in the few moments of hiccups and stumbles…. We get to listen and express equally and have learned valuable communication skills that have those moments occur much less frequently…

We met… Fell in love… married 6 weeks later and haven’t stopped growing and smiling since. So we approach our three year anniversary on 10/10 and look forward to a lifetime together...

When last we shared, we had returned from Europe, with an eventful 5 weeks of amazing smiles, architecture, new favorites memories, and a deepening of our awareness that we can travel together.  

So now stateside… and a New Year... 

Starting the year off early in February, we get to head out to My Home Away From Home and stand alongside our brother, Tod… a man who walked into a bar that I was tending on Orcas Island, in 1990. A smoke filled, hole in the wall, million-dollar waterfront view… with funky and very eclectic group of characters as the regulars. 

Both Tod and Stuart walked into the bar, with their lineman boots on, a swagger that spoke volumes of their prowess for stringing thousands of miles of cable, atop 40' telephone poles, across 4 states, 3 different times zones, and for multi-million-dollar companies…  

Two Silver Bullets is what they both ordered… I remember so well, as they have continued to be Coors Light fans, for these 30 past years of brotherhood. 

A few years back, Tod had been in a life altering scuffle with another islander… details aren't important as it would give me anger and thoughts unbecoming of a senior citizen.  :-)  The results however caused him to have a stroke, limited eyesight, severely reduced mobility… and more than a little bit of a broken spirit. With islanders as well as friends & family from afar, reaching in to assist with the caretaking for this brother…. he continued to push on, persevering through discomfort and disappointments alike. 

Then January 6th happened…. one of those days that will rival December 7th, 1941, as "a day that will live in infamy". An insurrection in Washington DC, that affected Tod's world unlike anybody else present on that day... 

Along with a few capital police officers…  a few rioters… there was one person that became the face of the riots, as her face was plastered on every media outlet for weeks after the insurrection. Her name was Ashli Babbitt... Air Force Veteran and Tod's daughter.  They had just recently, within the last 2 years prior to this date… rekindled a relationship, getting to know one another after decades of being astranged…. a father finding a daughter… a daughter finding a dad… and both becoming friends in the interim... 

The remaining, though diminishing spirit of of Tod, fell on that day… and for the next 13 months, his heart sank further… his spirit withered away… and physical ailments began to add up… we said goodbye to Tod, on the 22nd day of the 2nd month of the 22nd year of this new millennium... that a brother from another mother, 30 year friendship, gone, would join his daughter… For an eternal peace for both of them... RIP Tod & Ashli... 

(A moment to regain oneself...)

Now comes Spring... and the early stages of harvest here on the farm.  When everybody else is carving pumpkins late last October, we planted 84 bulbs bulbs of garlic.. Multiple varieties… And all planted with great anticipation of a mid, late Spring harvest.Needless to say, the garlic did not disappoint...  The marathon navigations around this large property of grass and the subsequent mowing also began. We treated ourselves to a Zero turn lawnmower which makes for listening to an audible book of Harry Bosch, that much more enjoyable, while mowing, for 3 hours, twice a week...   

Leslie is the master gardener, and has personally had hands on, with every shrub, plant, tree, bush… picked up every fallen pinecone and leaf on this 5 acres. The word… "arboretum", has been used before to describe the plethora of varieties here on this Olympic Peninsula Oasis. See The Listing HERE..... https://www.zillow.com/homes/72-Fern-Gully-Port-Ludlow,-WA-98365_rb/226724487_zpid/ 

We joyfully shared responsibilities of the gardening… when it comes to sustenance… daily watering... pruning… thinning... and of course harvesting. 

This year's crop, aside from the garlic…. included a variety of beets,  carrots, sweet onions, leeks, rhubarb, chives, tomatoes, gourds, string beans, and a surprise crop of juicy strawberries.. as we ate along the way, canned as much as possible, and smiled as we had fresh vegetables now until the end of the year aplenty.  So, if you want to, or care to, stop on by, as we have canned harvest goods for the taking... You might even get in on the Fresh Blackberry preserves we have stashed in the icebox.. 

Collectively being more than slightly nomadic as a couple, we've chosen to list our home, and move on to our next adventure. Though the real estate market has slowed, we are still very optimistic that it will bounce back, and we can carry on with our next adventure somewhere else. So that being said, we got busy in the woodshop, and built ourselves a replacement outdoor deck table, as the previous one was large, heavy, and awkwardly of metal design. It truly has been fun these last 2 years, to have a woodshop, to build birdhouses, flower boxes, end tables and a coffee table… mostly out of collected driftwood from the neighboring beaches...  

As the full moon brought in another season… summer, higher temperatures, and even more responsibilities here on the farm to keep everything green and pruned…. we started to plan a few more excursions. We also prepared to have visitors throughout the summer, starting with Aaron... who's Aaron?  

THANKS FOR ASKING... 

(Notice the dates)  

April 2002 my wife at the time & I, we're traveling to Coulee City, visiting some property that we owned, we stopped into a local grocery store on Main Street, and I walked in to get some road food. As I walk through the sliding doors, it opened into the check-stand area where there was an infant boy in a car seat on top of the check-stand with a lady behind the check out, helping people. I remember touching the young boy on the cheek and making a baby sound, and going on about my business buying groceries, came back through her line, paid for my groceries, reached down and touch the little boy on the cheek once again and left...

On June 21st of 2002 (3 months later) my wife and I were sitting at a waterfront restaurant in Western Washington. I usually did not bring my phone into restaurants, but I happen to have it with me this particular day as I was waiting for a friend of mine to sail into the harbor so we could have cocktails together. My phone subsequently rang, and it was my sister who lived in Yakima still and she said that we had "lost Doug".... (younger brother, born two years apart, on the same day...)

I remember instantly thinking that he was a bad ass, trained by mercenaries to survive, we'd been in multiple fights, (he far more than I) had four beautiful children and basically a survivor. So, when she said we “lost Doug” I couldn't help but think that he was somewhere that was un-traceable but would be found in two days after he came down off the mountain. 

As it was, she said that “he drowned”, and come to find out he was with his lady friend Darlene, and inadvertently three of his kids and two of her kids were on the riverbank that day as well. 

Darlene had gone out to the water 15 ft in the winter runoff, high flowing Spokane River, looking at something shiny that she'd seen, she slipped and fell and went under. Doug came off the riverbank and tried to rescue her, as he had been a volunteer fireman over the years and that training probably instinctively kicked in. 

As fate would have it though, they both bobbed twice, and neither one of them came back up a third time, with this all happening in front of the adolescent kids, five of them......

 

White as a ghost, I walked out on the dinner bill, went home packed a bag, drove from Marysville to Wenatchee, picked up one of my older brothers... and we drove to Spokane. 

Arriving just outside of Spokane in the early morning hours, we stopped into a small convenience store to pick up refreshments, and they're on the newsstand was that day's edition of the local Spokesman Review... with a picture of my two nephews and niece on the front page and the tragic story of the loss of my brother. The insensitive eager reporter put a camera and recorder in front of these three kids (approximately 5, 7, 11 years old) and pulled out of these kids, what had happened… (no guardian / adult present) .... I'll leave that.. right there.. 

We scoured the riverbank along with search and rescue, me fully convinced that Doug was pulled up into a treed back pond somewhere awaiting rescue… the S&R teams finally gave up the search, and Doug's body was found five days later, and Darlene's body was found 7 days later.

Fast forward to July 2002, when I was going through Doug's paperwork, and found a DSHS paternity test results. Come to find out Doug had fathered his 5th child with a woman back in January 01’. 

I called the mother on the phone, told her what had happened.... after condolences… she asked, “Do you looked a lot like my brother?” I said YES. She asked me “Do you have a beautiful blonde wife?” I said YES. She then asked, “Do you drive a blue truck and had a black dog?” With an eerie feeling in my gut… I said YES! how do you know? She said “because you met Aaron, he was the little baby on the checkout counter back in April. (The gut punch, the eeriness, the kismet... all hit @ the exact same time...) 

In December of 16’ after multiple attempts to connect with the Mother, who inadvertently chose to raise this child without our family’s participation, regardless of the fact the he, the child had siblings and cousins galore… we finally met him. He is now part of our family. Though she has died back in 13’, he has a brand-new chapter in his life full of family, siblings, cousins and even a few nieces and nephews of his own... And we have a brand-new nephew, cousin, brother... This Is Aaron...

Trying to have been the favorite Uncle for 3+ decades, it was high time that he received some of the smiles and antics of Uncle Kelly.

I had multicolored smoke bombs for a fun video shoot we did… (see the above Youtube link) we put him on the zero-turn mower complete with an ear to ear grin…We thoroughly went through the individual steps of making the perfect Northwest baby back barbecue…. had more than a few smiles and definitely some great memories.... (see the above Youtube link)

We'd also took our friend's up on an offer of coming out to Orcas Island once again, to hang out at Buck Bay Shellfish Farm, and do some drone photography for their upcoming listing of their amazing property.  The freshness of seafood aside… the friendship, love, camaraderie, and hugs from these people as well as a few other select islanders… made for a great weekend getaway... 

And now I would like to introduce you… husband and wife… We are blessed to have been invited to a couple of weddings, both on Leslie's side of the family. A surrogate niece, as well as a nephew… made for 2 different wedding ceremonies, equally as beautiful as the other. Idyllic settings… made for the perfect moment for these two couples to begin sharing a life together. 

The nephew’s wedding was in Cave Junction, outside of Grants Pass Oregon. Our Airbnb could not have been more picturesque. Complete with horses, the mule, the chickens, the 10 acres of perfectly farmed and manicure gardens, all with Cate being the PERFECT HOST @ Laurel Farm Creamery Guesthouse ... All surrounding the remodeled milking barn into a sweet Airbnb suite.... (see what I did there... )

The nephew’s wedding was in the most rustic of campgrounds that forced time to stand still for the entire ceremony. The Rogue River raging just below the bluff where they exchanged vows, the open fields, and treed pastures full of nature… family and friends of both newlywed couples gathered together, to honor them, to encourage them, and to send them off into a world of love and matrimony...

We rented a car as we landed in Medford and drove the 250 miles round trip throughout the weekend of the nephew's wedding… getting to see beautiful landscapes, big ugly spiders, and more than a few friendly bears that littered the sidewalks and street corners downtown Grants Pass... 

From there we went on to Montana… (no moss growing under our feet...) where I had lived collectively for 4 years In the past 4 decades...  Learning enough about Montana to know that I don't care to move back, it is still one of my favorite places to visit. Amazing people, the scenery around every corner is breathtaking, and the waterways and hugs are incomparable throughout the world. Primary focus this trip, was to introduce a dear friend of mine, Liz…. to Leslie... 

Liz & I have now known each other 15 plus years… And my prayer is that everybody in life, has someone in their life, that makes them smile, has an infectious laugh and a genuine heart and an un-movable dedication the family like Liz....  As a bonus we were able to meet her guy… Chris, and to say these 2 make a great couple, would once again be an understatement... Thank you Liz for the comforts of home while there. See the antics throughout the Youtube videos here...  https://youtube.com/user/4L4only

Please click on the link above, to visit our YouTube page. It is truly full of videos of our travels, adventures, home life, and more than a few friends...

Most notably, the most recent videos, of our trip to Montana… include fly fishing on the Kalispell River with Adam of AJ Coulter Outfitters… zip lining just outside Glacier National Park… meeting more than a few wonderful people like KJ & Brit @ the Remington Tavern in Whitefish and the amazing Lonesome Dove Guest Ranch where we stayed @ one of our nights.

When I say amazing guest ranch… it is truly a Silver DeLorean trip back in time. From the 2-hour horse trail ride, high into the hills of Montana, to the amazing breakfast hand crafted by the owner/ proprietor and her faithful team…  Sharon, Becky, and Melissa… give way to a highly effective trio of empowered women, that keep this entire guest ranch in full operation.  The adjectives are hard to conjure up, to describe this place. Fresh huckleberry preserves and syrups for your Cinnamon raisin French toast... Farm fresh eggs from out in the coop 1 hour prior, all the while getting to view Natasha and Tomtom, the 2 resident Bison. (Pssst.. I think you're drooling...)

So many fun stories from these last 24 hours in Montana, on property, the TeePee itself…... comfortable beds…. 8 blankets… to help keep us comfortable and warm, in 38゚ weather. Needless to say, we might have our return visit be earlier in the summer, as it was just last week. Mid-September in  Montana gives a nightly hint of just how cold the upcoming Winter will be...

Well for now we say 'a dew'... that's Montanan for Adieu.....

Hoping to hear from you (HINT HINT ON THAT 'MESSAGE' LEAVING THING ABOVE..

Hoping these adventures inspire you to get out and enjoy... 

With Offers Of Blessings... thank-you for following along..