Chasing Waterfalls in Northern Idaho

Our latest adventure was totally inspired by the article I found at Only In Your State for North Idaho waterfalls.  Although it was informative I wasn’t able to get good directions or accurate photos of all the falls we wanted to see, but it was enough to get me on the right path, and for that I am beyond grateful. Since we live in Eastern Washington it wasn’t too far of a drive to begin our journey, and our plans changed depending on the time of day so we didn’t see all we wanted to, but that just leaves more for us to seek out next time.

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We left home in the afternoon on August 25, 2018 and had initially planned to stay in Wallace, Idaho to do some touristing in the evening and stay overnight and then find our first falls in the morning.  Once we realized how late it was before we even made it to Coeur d’ Alene we scrapped that plan and went another direction towards Fern and Shadow Falls.

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Thankfully there is plenty of National Forest Camping near all our destinations.  We arrived at Devils Elbow Campground late in the evening and found a spot right away, backed in, walked around a bit and then fell fast asleep. click here for more information about Devils Elbow Campground and to make reservations.

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Harvy in site #8 at Devils Elbow Campground

The ground was level, thick with beautiful trees and the air was still filled with smoke from all the fires in Canada.

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View from campsite

We woke up early to go chasing waterfalls!

Click here for directions to Fern and Shadow Falls

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Fern Falls and Shadow falls sign on Forest Highway 9

Once we turned of hwy 9 it was a dirt road that headed up the mountain.

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Driving up to Fern and Shadow Falls

Once we turned after the second sign it became more narrow and took a bit of time, but having to go so slow gave us a chance to really enjoy nature.

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We’re going the right way, we finally see the second sign

We had no idea what the road would be like until we actually got there…. yes it’s narrow, only room for one vehicle and lets just say that Harvy the RV now earned his stripes!  Branch scratches are all down both sides, but whatcha gonna do, gotta get livin’ and using things in life means they’re gonna get some scratches! I like to call them; memory markers 🙂

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In other words… pray that no one is coming in the opposite direction.

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Heading towards Fern and Shadow Falls

then the road got a little tighter

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This area was the most narrow and bumpy. Concrete strips with greenery growing between them.

Finally arriving to the parking spot we were thankful to be the only ones there.

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Harvy taking a well deserved rest

Finally, we had made it! You can hear the falls but you can’t see them. There is a good size parking area and enough room to turn around in a shorty RV.  There is a worn path that will tell you you’re walking in the right direction. First you will come upon Fern Falls and a small  bridge.

FERN FALLS

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Fern Falls

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The bridge that goes over the water near Fern Falls

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another viewpoint of Fern Falls, Mitch let me use his shoulder as a tripod…guess we still wiggled, oh well it’s the memories of the moment that matter most!

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Fern Falls and a little stream

Once we started heading towards Shadow falls we made the mistake of passing the trail on our right and followed a less traveled trail until it got too thick and realized we’d miss our turn.

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The trail up towards Shadow Falls

Back on track we keep going farther into the woods.

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A little resting spot for Papa’s cup I was drinking out of… that leaked all over Mitch.  hehe ,Papa you’re such a prankster. 

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Mitch hauling all my camera gear waiting for slow pokey me

SHADOW FALLS

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The view heading towards Shadow Falls

We’ve really arrived…my heart skipped a beat and my mind swirled with overwhelming elation. The feeling of being in this cove of serenity is indescribable.

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Shadow Falls

It’s as if God opened the gates of Heaven and shined down on Earth, right in this very spot.

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A different view of Shadow Falls

ahhhhh, just breath in the beauty

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Water droplets on the moss next to the waterfall

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up close image of the moss on the rocks dripping with water

I was wrapped up in playing with my camera
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Mitch got some great pics with his iPhone while I pretended to know what I was doing with my camera

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Mitch worked on his walking stick, patiently waited for me

Onto the next falls we go….

First let’s get a little lost… we headed north thinking we could just keep going and hit sandpoint…yeah, not a good idea. So after many, many miles we head back the way we came and couldn’t figure out exactly the best route to go to Grouse Creek Falls near Sandpoint.

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Without cell service we did what people used to do…we stopped in at the local convenient store and asked for directions.

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G&G Riverstop on NF-9  near Prichard Creek Rd

We were advised to head northeast through Montana right by Thompson Falls  (although we could’ve went back through Coeur d’ Alene) they said it was a beautiful drive.  After getting great directions we got to know the owners, both father and daughter own the store.  They were so welcoming and friendly, stop by and get some delicious ice cream if you are in the area! Try their coffee float too , it was yummy!

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Courtney (holding my strawberry ice cream cone while I took the pic) and her dad David at G&G Riverstop. Thanks to you both!

On the road again….

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heading towards Thompson falls on MT HWY 200

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Smoke fills the mountain sky from all the fires, but still beautiful

We stopped into Thompson Falls (ironically I couldn’t find a waterfall to visit while we were here)

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view of the Clark Fork River from the town of Thompson Falls

for some dinner at Minnie’s Montana Cafe

With our tummies full we headed north on the 200, once we got pretty close to the next waterfall location we searched for somewhere to sleep for the night.

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Sam Owen Campground

Click here for more information about Sam Owen Campground and to make reservations

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we stayed at Skipping Stone Loop site #32

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the back view of Harvy at Sam Owen Campground site #32

Mitch backed Harvy in the site and we walked about 150 feet and tada, we were at the Pend Oreille Lake shore

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view from Harvy to Pend Oreille Lake

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Monday Morning August 27, 2018

It rained all night, clearing out the smoke and reviving all the wonderous smells of the forest

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there is a trail between the shore and the campsite for walking

Grouse Creek Falls

Click here for the best directions on how to get to Grouse Creek Falls

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The road on the right takes you to the small camping area and the trail to Grouse Creek Falls

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There’s a small area to park if you don’t want to go down the tight lane to the hiking trail

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This photo shows the beginning of the trail to Grouse Creek Falls and a campground bathroom on the left

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This trail gets a little rough in spots

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endless foliage

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Once you are right above the falls it gets super steep. thank you big tree roots for making it doable

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My sweetie aka “camera caddy”

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Grouse Creek Falls near Sandpoint Idaho

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Grouse Creek Falls

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Grouse Creek Falls

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Grouse Creek Falls

click here for directions to -KOOTENAI NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE 

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fawn

blurry picture, but so cute!

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MYRTLE CREEK FALLS

Click here for directions to Myrtle Creek Falls

Easy access to the Myrtle Creek Falls

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Myrtle Creek Falls

Bridge and bench at Myrtle Creek Falls

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well maintained path to Myrtle Creek Falls

The creek flowing under the bridge and setting up to get a picture

After  our short hike to Myrtle Creek Falls we made our way just miles north to visit

SNOW CREEK FALLS

click here for directions on how to get to Snow Creek Falls 

make sure you stay to the left when you come up on the “Y’s” on your way to Snow Creek Falls.

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Mitch let me name our walking sticks, I’d like to introduce you to Romy and Michele. hehe

We headed out, not knowing what beauty we’d encounter… or the steep climb back

IMG_9361  We decided to visit the upper falls first, to get all the steep walking out of the way in the beginning since this was our third waterfall of the day and we were getting worn out.

Setting up to take a picture and parts of the trail to the upper snow creek falls

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Upper Snow Creek Falls

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up close photo of upper Snow Creek Falls

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closer photo of upper Snow Creek Falls

After spending some time at the upper falls, we then made our way back down to go see the lower Snow Creek Falls

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Lower Snow Creek Falls

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Lower Snow Creek Falls

After our trek back to Harvy we were ready to find a place to park it for the night, since we’d planned to head back home the next day we decided to get as close to our next destination as possible. After eating in Sandpoint at Jalapenos, we go west through Priest River and then north near Nordman, Idaho. click here for directions to Luby Bay Campground and to make reservations for a site

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Hello Luby

Overnight stay at Luby Bay Campground, site #38

GRANITE FALLS 

For directions to Granite Fall click here

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notice it does NOT mention Granite falls… but turn left anyway, because they are there. We drove further expecting some kind of sign… there isn’t

It’s a short drive down to the parking area where you will see these massive cedar trees and signs.

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A well-defined map, except it forgets to mention LaSota Falls up by the upper cedar grove

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Granite Falls…it’s not a crooked picture, it’s just the way the water falls.

There is a trail that goes further back after visiting the overlook, it will take you to LaSota Falls.

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Granite Falls from the upper view

Getting to LaSota Falls requires some mountain goating abilities, but it is worth it

During all our outings we were surprised we didn’t encounter more critters, thankfully even the flies, mosquitos and bees weren’t out all buzzing about! We did meet this frog on our way down to the falls.

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talk about blending in with the environment! This fella was hard to see and he even has his own “hopping” stick

We walked on these logs and Mitch set up my tripod so I could try to get some good pictures.

Mitch then continued to venture onto the other side snapping some pics of me on the logs

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Setting up to get some pictures, trying not to fall off the logs

enjoying the splendor of the falls

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Mesmerized by LaSota Falls

then Mitch took his own fall, right into the water

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nothing like dipping your toes in the water… with your shoes on.

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Good thing you water proofed your boots!

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well oops, that happened

LaSota Falls

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LaSota Falls

I got wrapped up taking some pictures of the miniature falls above LaSota Falls

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Mini LaSota Falls above the big falls

We headed back down and decided to go piddle around in the stream below Granite Falls  before leaving

Granite Falls in the late summer, a thing of wonder

Playing with my camera’s shutter speed makes the same thing look so different

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resting on rocks in the middle of the stream at Granite Falls

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Flowers and tiny falls below Granite Falls

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I won’t take this experience for granted here at Granite falls, what a wonderful time it was

We began to head home, making a count of how many falls we’d seen… Seven falls in three days …Fern Falls, Shadow Falls, Grouse Falls, Myrtle Falls, Snow Falls, Granite Falls and LaSota Falls. That’s pretty awesome!  There was one we’d missed and they say it’s right on the side of the road, so we decided to keep an eye out for it.  I’d gotten Zoomie (my sigma 300-700mm lens) out during the drive in hopes we’d see an eagle or hawk.  What’s that in the sky? He’s huge! Mitch pulled over and we just couldn’t figure out what it was.  Not until I got back into Harvy and zoomed into the photo did we realize what it was…. a vulture!

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Turkey Vulture Near Priest River Idaho

What do you know, right on the side of the road hidden under an unassuming building was our last waterfall.

TORRELLE FALLS 

click here for directions to Torrelle falls

(the easiest way to get to Torrelle falls is to map yourself to The Falls Inn because it is in the same place)

The Falls Inn with a hidden gem of a roaring small waterfall below

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behind the brown wooden fence flows the water

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cute little soap shop nestled behind the tavern and there is a path that will take you to the side of the water as well on the right

We visited the owner of Cedar House Soaps, got a little something and learned that we could get a better view of the water from the side.  On our way up the walk look who was welcoming us.

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Frog near Torrelle Falls

Mitch had been looking at the waterfall when all the sudden, he saw a fish jump.

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Torrelle Falls

I couldn’t believe it at first, but he said just watch.. and boing… out popped a fish!

jumping fish at Torrelle Falls

Jumping Fish at Torrelle Falls

Of course we had to get this on video

When you play the video the first fish is hard to see, look next to the rock near the middle left

In this video Mitch captures one of the fish in slow motion!

They say that the fish jump out of the water about every two minutes or so.  Mitch said, “if at first you don’t succeed, try in another two minutes.” Funny husband!

HWY 57 near Priest River, Idaho Torrelle Falls in located under the Falls Inn Tavern

And so we made our waterfall count 8 in three days and almost 500 miles traveled, wahoo! As we headed home I was thinking about how we finally found our stride with Harvy the RV, and am looking forward to making more memories with him in the future!  I hope this post helps if you are planning to do as we did, or if not, at least maybe we took you on a little journey into the wonderness of nature.  God Bless.

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The Wild Life

This summer as I try adapting to my new way of life due to my chronic back pain (found out it’s Degenerative Disc Disease with modic type 1, bulging discs and osteoarthritis) I’ve enjoyed the dynamic world of wildlife right in our back yard. DSC_0812

Thankfully I’ve found an anti-inflamitory that’s given me significant relief, but I’ve had to drastically alter the way I move my body and things I can do, no more bending over to pull weeds or riding the riding lawn mower, but hey it’s much better than it was, and it could always be worse.

Nettie and I’ve become avid bird watchers, trying to get different varities to come into the yard. House sparrows are our fulltime families, and in one bird house they’ve already had two batches of baby birds!

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unfortunately, not everyone makes it, no matter how much you want them to.

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While others flourish

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One day while sitting under the new porch cover Nettie noticed what looked like a hummingbird resting on our water feature.

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We realized it wasn’t moving, so I moved closer to get a better picture

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When it tried to fly off, we could tell it must’ve been slightly wounded,  but after a few attempts, off he went.  Every now and then we see a green hummingbird  and wonder if that’s our guy.

I’ve been trying out my macro lens and boy has it opened a whole new world!

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Waterdrop on a blade of grass

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It’s been unusually hot here too!

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Refinished Projects

I love finding something at a yardsale or getting something free and giving it a fresh new life with a coat of paint. I’ve been searching for a dresser for about a year, I just couldn’t bring myself to spending hundreds of dollars. So I wait, until..YES… that’s the one!  I found this dresser at a yardsale for $20!

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It is solid oak!

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I probably should’ve used a can of paint but I’ve become so spoiled with spray paint, it’s my go to paint source.

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First everything was sanded, vacuumed and wiped with a tac cloth.

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This was such a big project, my sweetie got stuck with the majority of the job, but he did great!

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The finished product!

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This chest of drawers was given to me by a friend who was moving to Arizona.  I’ve been wanting to get something to put in the laundry room to organize our hats, gloves, cords and manuals.

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I used the same color of heirloom white and then I found a flat Kaki color at the local hardware store.

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We have a few more projects in the works and will share once they’re complete.

 

Made for the Shade

Mitch and I talked for years about putting a real porch on the cottage, but time goes so fast and we just never got around to it. Until… one weekend when Mitch and Eli got together and knocked it out the park. It’s so awesome how everything always happens when it’s supposed to.

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The old little porch was so low and rotten it was close to falling down.

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They started in the morningIMG_8348

Took a couple breaks and paused for lunch

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And let me get some good picture of them

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Things came together so quick, every time i went outside things were so different

The next thing I knew, the roof was going on!

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Nothing like a little father-son bonding time

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Charlie is supervising and Milo is keeping guard while the guys work

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Charlie checking it out, knowing we now got it made in the shade

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Nothing like a hard productive days work

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The guys admiring their handy work

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what a special and unforgettable day! Thanks guys!

Life Cycles

I’ve always wanted to witness the metamorphosis of a butterfly, and thankfully I came across a company that makes it possible,Insect Lore.  I’d planned to order them last year, but as we all know too well, life has it’s own plans. Thankfully this Spring things worked out, I ordered the kit, note: the larva are not included and inside the kit is a free voucher for the larva, but there is a shipping fee. When I went online to redeem my voucher I really wanted to include Nettie in the experience so I ordered another container of larva and decided to create my own enclosure.

just taken out of the box,        March 17th 2018

Who knew that while we watched the life cycles of our butterflies, I myself would be experiencing a life cycle change. I couldn’t tell you exactly when things started to drastically change, but I’m going to blame it on my 44th birthday this past February. Having had a hysterectomy, my body doesn’t give me the tale tale signs of when my hormones are changing, but my emotional state was out of control. Over the last few years I can see now that I’d become progressively more withdrawn, wanting to do things, but not having the desire to want to do them, probably a functional mild depression, but I was still managing.

March 19th 2018

Looking back before this fog rolled in, I remember the way I once was, hungry for all that life had to offer, wanting to try new things and go places I hadn’t before. I used to be the girl excited to wake up in the morning, ready for what the day would bring, looking forward to the littlest things and seeing the glass of life as half full. I remember vividly the feelings of being happy and the thankfulness for life I so joyfully possesed. This new person I’d become struggles to do the smallest thing; making conversation with people and the act of forming words to come from my mouth was daunting. Human interaction was draining, as if the love and joy that I once exuded was now drowning in a vat of mud, and what was left was this heavy hearted, very burdened, emotional mess.

March 24th 2018

These last few months out of the blue I would experience a surge of great sorrow, my chest would feel as if an invisible 20 lb weight had been placed on me and a lump filled my throat, then I would begin crying. This happened so many times during my day, no matter where i was, I’d begun making jokes about how, “at least I’m not crying” or if I talked about how much I was crying, I would literally start crying!  Onto the other extreme was my inability to contain my frustration in certain situations and instead of handling them with a calm logical approach, I would say everything I was feeling in the moment without forethought. I ended up ruining a friendship, yell-crying at a postal inspector and quiting my job because I was in a such a downward spiral of mental dispair, (not to mention a still undetermined chronic debilitating back pain).

March 26th 2018

Yep, the girl’s got depression and to top it off, I’m perimenoposal!  I’ve been taking an antidepressant for a couple weeks now and am starting to notice a change. The heaviness has begun to lift, human interactions seem less frustrating, no more irrational thoughts in my bouts of frustation of driving my car off a cliff, and the crying has been less fequent… funny as is life, my eyes are welling up with tears as I am typing this.

March 29th 2018

Oh the stimgma of depression, I’d never really understood depression, it just didn’t make sense to me. I mean there’s so much in life to enjoy, why can’t people just choose to be happy? Now I totally get it….. I am so sorry to anyone who has struggled with this, it is real, it is debilitating, and definately not the way anyone would choose to be! Thankfully there is help.  If you are feeling any of the things that I’ve shared, please go get help now.  I waited a much longer time that I should’ve, I just kept thinking I could manage it on my own, but that’s the thing, I couldn’t. Last year when I had the flu, all I wanted to do was curl up in a ball and sink into myself, beyond exhausted with a fever and there was nothing more my body wanted to do than to sleep for eternity. For me, my depression has been like my emotions have the flu, unable to escape the all encompasing mirk of my mental state of being.

Crystalides March 29th 2018

Unfortunately it’s not like a physcial wound that I could put a band-aid on and let time heal, it just kept getting worse, not only for me, but for my dear husband who had seemingly lost his best friend. His partner in crime, who was always up for planning things, going places and making a bad situation an opportunity to create an unforgetable memory was for all intents and purposes gone. Since I was nothing like I once was, he was would look at me so confused and say things like, “who are you?, I miss my wife. What can I do, and are we going to be okay?” All I could say is that I am trying my very best, and I hope so. Now, I’d wished I’d gotten help sooner! I didn’t realize how hard it’s been on him as well, I just couldn’t see the forest (my man) through the trees (my depression)!

Our First Butterfly April 4th 2018

Today is better than yesterday and I have hope for tomorrow. I feel as if I too now have wings, soon I’ll be able to fly back into the world with a true smile that comes from within.

April 14th 2018 Waited for a day of 55 degree to release them

Thank you Lord for good doctors and medicine to fix the disconnect in my brain. Thank you for making me realize that it’s a chemical problem, a true medical condition, not a character flaw or that I’m a weak person that lacks resiliance.

Love doesn’t cure our illnesses, but it sure makes them worth fighting!

To all who have endured my struggles with me

Thank you for LOVE

Click here if you’d like to watch the video of us releasing the butterflies. 

Copyrights srz-2018 All rights reserved

Once in a Blue Moon

We’d heard on the news about a rare lunar trifecta (lunar eclipse, blood moon and super moon) happening about an hour before heading to bed last Tuesday.

The moon the night before

Wednesday,  January 31st 2018 at 4:30 am we got to witness the most beautiful lunar experience, a super blue blood moon.  Thankfully the clouds cleared the way allowing me to capture all its splendor.

Lunar eclipse in progress..Here comes the Earth’s shadow

why so super? The moon is at its closest point to Earth in its monthly orbit and is a full moon

This cosmic event hasn’t been seen in the western hemisphere in 152 years!

blood moon appears reddish as it’s illuminated by sunlight filtered and refracted by the Earth’s atmosphere (note…thank you google for making me sound like I know stuff!)

As the moon moved and fell behind a pine tree, I was super exciting to capture these photos.

I waited a few days to look at the pictures I’d taken, I wanted to soak up the fact that I was lucky enough to have that experience, standing out in the cold with Mitch and Nettie using my super cool camera, snapping away, I just felt so blessed.  And to be honest I wasn’t ready to see the pictures, I wanted to daydream and pray that I’d gotten at least one good one, before facing reality. Happy to say, prayers answered 🙂 yay!

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The Greatest Gift

Ever since high school I’ve loved the idea of being a photographer, having one of those fancy camera’s with the removable lenses.  Day dreams of traveling the world while taking pictures of waterfalls and capturing something worth a thousand words peppered my thoughts throughout the years.

Finally, at the age of 43 fate has found favor on me and now I can take all the pictures I want.  Thanks to a co-workers wife who was willing to part with her first DSLR, a Nikon D5100.  She gave me a few tips and has been advising me on things I may need and what to look for as I embark into this new world of photography.

our first outing, we came along some wild turkeys

She suggested I get a 150-300 lens, because it’s the most used and versatile and good for a starter.  Work my way up? nah, that’s too logical, I wanted get the big zoom, the super-duper zoom. Thankfully she talked me out of getting an 800 mm manual, eeeeks, but I just couldn’t let go of getting that zoom… and Mitch my love helped me to achieve it! So now I have a 150-600 mm with auto focus and I don’t know what the heck I am doing. There is so much to learn, and it’s overwhelming, frustrating and intimidating. I know learning it will take time, but to be honest with you I’m impatient when it comes to the time it takes to learn this, I want to just know it, for it to miraculously happen, I mean can’t I just be a “natural” at it? So far, all the things I’ve read and watched are not sticking…nothing.. big fat blank brain. Ok, I exaggerate, I do know there’s ISO, aperture, ..and another one, but still I can’t understand what they do and I even watched a video about water being the light and the measurement of it. It just seems too science like, the text book world of stuff I just don’t get.

It brings me back to when I was a child and wanted to learn how to crochet from my mom. I only wanted to learn when I was sick and stuck on the couch, because I couldn’t go outside and play.  I would try, and try and after what seemed like forever, without any real success, I would  breakdown crying from frustration. The next time I wanted to learn was….yep, when I was sick and stuck on the couch. My mom finally taught me how to crochet when I was in my 20’s, her breast cancer had returned and we knew it was now or never. I stood behind her with a video camera, she crocheted with her left hand while I taped her teaching me and she got me a book for left handed people. Then it finally clicked.

Today, Christmas eve 2017,  Mitch took me with him to deliver some packages, and it was try number two with my new lens.  It was a beautiful freezing day and the hawks were out ready for me to capture some great pictures.

Maybe I should start with my tripod because capturing them in the sky, not as easy as it looks. Shoot, even when they’re sitting on the post, the pictures are a bit fuzzy.

So of course, I managed my frustration in all the child like ways I did when I was trying to learn how to crochet, I pouted, I complained, I had a little pity party for myself making a sad comment about how dreams are meant to stay that way because the reality of them sucks! and then of course I topped it off with tears. After my ten minute fit, I thanked Mitch for just listening, letting me vent and we decided to stop by the Veterans Cemetery to take a few pictures.

I swapped out the monster lens for a little fella and as we pulled up near where we had the service for Pops I felt a surge of sad.  I miss my dad, and it’s my first Christmas without him.  As I looked around at the sparkling beauty of the day, I realized that each of the headstones have a wreath.

What a special tribute to our veterans, the stoic uniformity of loved ones passed, adorned with a holiday remembrance. I felt compelled to capture that moment, so I took a few photos.

As I was walking back to the car, I looked at my last photo and instantly I knew my dad was saying,” hi baby girl, I love you!”

The one name that is legible right out front is “RAYMOND”  papa’s name!

What a great gift he gave me, to envelope me with the his unconditional love,  giving me a sign, just when I needed it most.  I thank the good Lord for always knowing my heart, and making sure I see what really matters in life.

Its Christmas time

 stuff is swell

but

God is GREAT !

Thank you for

your greatest gift,

your son!

Happy Birthday Jesus!