Castles and Crocodiles

Castles, indeed. Right here in the heart of Utah.  :-)  Last week we went out “adventuring” with Chris and Louise, to some place they had scouted out but were keeping secret from us. After driving north about 15 minutes, we got off the highway and Chris followed Louise’s carefully issued directions as we headed eastward and upward.

Fernwood CastleJust before the road ended at the trailhead entrance the National Forest, high above the valley floor, we rolled to a stop in front of this amazing castle! They’d stumbled across it while looking for a route (apparently non-existent) that would let us drive up and check out the huge radar station up this way and thought we might have fun checking it out. (Remember you can click on any of the pictures and get a larger view!)

Bonneville Shoreline Trail

It’s apparently simply a private home, albeit with some mystery and conflicting stories behind its history, but it was a fun little “destination” for a Sunday drive. After gawking appropriately for a bit, we drove a very short distance further on the road and stopped to walk the first 100 yards or so of the Bonneville Shoreline Trail, a hiking/biking trail that follows the old shoreline of the ancient Lake Bonneville (of which the Great Salt Lake is the final remnant).

We continued on for a drive, meandering around through Ogden Canyon, around the Pineview Reservoir, winding our way eventually back to Ogden for a repeat meal at Uncle Lee’s.  Other menu items looked intriguing, but I couldn’t stop myself from ordering another of the excellent bacon cheeseburgers with baked potato.  ;-)

Aside from the nice drive, beautiful day, yummy lunch, time spent with good friends… one of the most exciting parts of the day was the discovery of the “hardy hibiscus” which actually not only grows in this part of the country, but produces these enormous dinner-plate sized blooms. (Notice in the photo the street curb, to give some perspective on size!) More research since then has turned up a nursery that carries them and they report they’re fine to plant at this time of the year and let them get “settled” before mulching them in for winter.  So I’m very excited to bring a touch of the exotic to our gardens!

And other exciting news? Well, we set up a new “breakfast bar” out on our west deck where the mountains and then the house shelter the deck on that side from the sun until early afternoon, so we now have a delightful space for outdoor dining for breakfast—and lunch, too, if we eat before it’s too late. Avila, of course, was formally dressed in a ball gown for breakfast!

Oh, and the crocodiles?  Well, I’ll admit—it was a bit of a stretch for alliteration’s sake. But it’s quite true that Avila is fascinated by the crocodiles in Costa Rica.  She’s not entirely certain that we’re telling the truth that they don’t have crocodiles in Utah!  And David was recently moving some books around and found my dad’s old copy of the Cajun Night Before Christmas, where Santa’s sleigh is pulled by alligators. We figure they’re close enough for a 3-year-old to crocodiles to amuse her!

And, although it feels like we’ve only just hit the full swing of summer, I know that Christmas will be here before we know it.  I went “school shopping” for Avila today with her mom for a few new clothes as she starts Mandarin semi-immersion preschool in a few weeks.  And Baby Scoopie is now about halfway to term, so he’ll certainly be the primary Christmas present for everyone this year.

Closing, as usual, with a few more pix and a plea for comments.  ;-)  Come on, tell me how your summer’s been going? What are you looking forward to this fall? How’s your grandchild(ren)? Show me some comment-love.

In any case, hope your July was magnificent and your August will be even better!

Avila at Bear Lake

Happy family—Jen, Larry, and Avila (and Scoopy in the baby bump)—at Bear Lake

Loves the sand!

She loves to look at pix on the iPhone! (Especially if they're of HER!)

Pioneer Day fireworks from our deck




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11 Responses to Castles and Crocodiles

  1. Deborah Kauffeld says:

    I had to laugh when you asked what your readers were looking forward to in the fall. All I could think of was “relief”! I have to admit to getting tired of heat and humidity and more heat and humidity! Other than that small issue, summer has been going fairly well here. So far no major storms (looking for wood to knock upon!) and that’s a blessing although there are still nearly four months left of hurricane season. Overall life has been feeling pretty good and I seem to keep moving forward which is a good thing! Glad to hear all is well over in your part of the world!

    • arden says:

      Hi, Deborah,

      Yeah, David and I have both lived our WHOLE lives in humid areas and never really fully recognized the potential for anything else. I can’t believe how much difference the low humidity makes here. SUCH a relief. Glad things are feeling pretty good there for you and look forward to new blog posts on your end! We wanna hear how Picasso is getting along. ;-)

      Actually, one of the wonderful things here about the seasons is that they’re *just* the right length. I know that IN THEORY each season would last 3 months, but of course, in reality, that’s just not usually the case. But here, more than anywhere we’ve ever been, you really do get just enough of one season to be looking forward to the next and then, LIKE MAGIC, it’s here! ;-) We are able to keep the A/C off most nights and well into the next day before we turn it on, so summer is clearly not “awful” but even so, I have no doubt we’ll appreciate the cooler days and crisp air of fall.

      Great to see you here!

  2. Louisa says:

    Hola Dahlink, I see this is a required field! Excellent reporting as usual.

    I would like to add to arden’s report that her research into Hardy Hibiscus convinced her that she wanted a specific variety…Sultry Kiss… what does that tell us?

    Arden was under the weather on Saturday, Chris needed a day trip to get out of the house, so he and I drove over to the nursery she had found in the tiny town of Unitah, where they had Sultry Kiss! I will leave it to her to describe, I haven’t gotten it over to her house yet. Maybe tomorrow. Stay tuned for Arden’s response to the Sultry Kiss!

    • arden says:

      YES, I am definitely awaiting the arrival of the Sultry Kiss to add to the garden! It has a lovely deep brickish red, and huge blooms. And so many other varieties too—I see a lot of hardy hibiscus in our futures!!

  3. Deanna says:

    I so enjoy your updates. I don’t know if you know that Darryl and I moved back to the states in January. Kingman, Arizona I was the most bang for our buck for real estate, since we haven’t sold either of our properties altho the small house is on a rent to own contract for another 18 month Love the kids that we are selling it to!

    I went to Oregon to work my usual summer job but it got canceled. Stayed 2 weeks and came back to Kingman to hot hot hot weather. the 104 days just about did me in :(

    I have been making jams and jellies. Was blessed with a case of bananas so I dehydrated some, making bread with some and smoothies with the rest of them( actually putting some in the freezer to make the smoothies)

    started crocheting caps for my community outreach this year – last yr I made over 100 scarves.

    before we left CR I was diagnosed with congestive heart failure but all in all I am doing well.

    We have a nice Messianic congregation that we attend so we have some new friends.

    that is it in a nutshell Blessings to you all

    • arden says:

      Hi, Deanna,

      Great to get an update. I *did* know that you’d returned, but wasn’t sure where, so it’s fun to hear a bit about how life has been going. Yeah, I’ve always heard that freezing bananas is a great ingredient to have handy for smoothies. (I’m one of the only people on the planet, it seems, that doesn’t like bananas — although I do love banana bread, go figure! — so it’s not a trick I end up using, but it sure makes sense. And a *case* of bananas — that’s really something!) Sorry to hear about the congestive heart failure but good to hear you’re doing well. (You’re not taking the drug Norvasc by any chance are you? That’s what had caused my dad’s *incorrect* diagnosis of CHF some years ago. All was fine once he got off that awful stuff!)

      Stay in touch! It’s fun to hear from other “ex-expats” and I’m glad you still enjoy reading the blog.

      • Deanna says:

        No I do not take any Rx’s at all only natural products Mostly my Reliv NOW and LunaRichX caps

        • arden says:

          Hi, Deanna,

          Yeah, I hear you on the “no Rx” front. That’s certainly my approach as far as possible (which is usually almost completely). Just thought I’d mention it since the fancy cardiologist has my dad all convinced he had CHF — they’d even called all us kids to break the news, etc. — and yet, once he got off the Norvasc, tah dah, everything with his heart was hunky-dory. So MUCH about Rx drugs that folks just don’t know. (Don’t even get me started!) ;-) Sounds like you’re on the right track and hope to keep seeing you here over time!


  4. Sally Oh says:

    oh, I love your pictures and descriptions. Life is good in KY, too :) Must wait another few years for grandchildren but yours keep me hoping, lol!!!

    • arden says:

      Hi, Sally — Nice to “see” you here! Sounds like things are going well for you guys there in the Bluegrass State. Yeah, it was so funny that we had just *no* connection to the whole idea of having grandchildren, and now that she’s here, we truly just can’t imagine life without. ;-) I know when the time does come, you’ll have a blast! And I *did* get one of those huge hardy hibiscus flowers planted yesterday and am going back to the nursery tomorrow for a couple more, so life IS good!

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