Our Lady of the Blue Highways

Our Lady of the Blue Highways
Portrait in oils by Jackie Poutasse

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


More from Chico
(check for multiple posts today)

The morning after I arrived in Chico, Carol and Ken rented a compactor to tamp down the road base in the pathway they had dug in the back yard. I have to tell you, the yard is beautiful!!! They put a lot of work into it. Carol says when they purchased the house, the yard had the big trees, and a ragged lawn – look at it now!

Once the road base was compacted, they started laying the slate. Over a ton of slate was used before the project was finished.

The Project

Ah-h-h-h Margarita Time:

While Carol and Ken were working in the yard, I was sewing. When I first started quilting, I asked my brother what Carol’s favorite color was – after a long pause, he replied: “Neutral” Which, in my mind put her quilt at the bottom of the list. When she visited Virginia for Mom’s 99th birthday – she looked at all my quilt tops, and this is the one she picked out!!!

The idea was to enlarge it from a double size to a king size, but after she chose it, she changed her bedroom color, and now it doesn’t go – so I finished it up in the size it was to use as a car blanket – then we lay it on the dining table to take a photo – it’s still there. She thinks it makes a great tablecloth!!!

I also made a lap quilt for Kit’s mom, Kathie. It’s hard to see in the photo – but the middle strip is an aboriginal design of kangaroos. Kathie was born in Australia. I think it turned out pretty neat – we’ll see what she thinks of it!!!

I also completed the Texas quilt – all the squares are embroidered. It’s on it’s way to Joy in Texas – I hope she enjoys it!

Here's a photo of the dining deck - is it any wonder most of our meals were taken here?

Out and about around Chico:

One Saturday night, we participated in a community campout. Ken was not at all keen on camping, his idea of roughing it is a Best Western. We put up the tents in the park and had dinner (Included in the fee) of hamburgers, hotdogs, salad, etc. The day was hot and windy and Carol had a little trouble between her tent and the wind, and discovered one of her shock corded poles was broken – thank goodness for duck tape!!!

At about 8:45 p.m., the entire group was invited to hike to the nearby planetarium. It was probably 1 ½ miles. We were able to look through the big telescope at Saturn. Then we were shown several other galaxies. The best part, though was a constellation tour – for which we moved to an outdoor seating area. It was so cool! Then we walked back to the park. Well, we worked at it - Carol and Ken walked ahead of me and Debbie – and of course, we got lost. Thank goodness for 2 little kids ahead of us who had a lantern. They became very concerned about these two old ladies, and whether or not we could find our way back!!! (Pitch dark, No street lights, out in the country, no sidewalks, and a warning to watch for rattlesnakes! - Enough Said?)

The night turned out to be calm and clear. Because it had been so hot when I put the tent up, I hadn't put on the fly. So, I just left it off - the sky was vibrant with stars. The whole top of my tent is mesh so I lay in bed looking at stars! Magnificant!!!!

Another time, we headed toward Oroville, to visit the Grey Fox winery, for tasting, and a tour of their new building. The wine was good, and the view was beautiful. If you can see the mountains in the background – they are, I believe, the Butte Mountains – the shortest mountain range in the world. The new building will have curved counters for wine tasting, tables for light food, and the whole front of the building will be windows.

We then drove to Lake Oroville, and my exercise for the day was walking up 3 flights to the observation tower. And, I realized, I was walking up stairs like normal people, one at a time, instead of stepping up with one foot then bringing up my other foot to the same step. I’m getting better all the time!!!!

Another adventure we had was to visit a lavender farm. Well, we attempted to……. We wandered around the mountains, finally found the farm, and were told there was no parking – to go down 5 miles to the village and catch the van. Fair enough. We drove to the village, arrived just as the last person was getting on the bus. No more room. So the driver gave us his business card, and told us to drive back to the farm, and tell them that he said to let us park at the farm. OK – back up the hills to the farm. Well, they had no idea who this fellow was or what he was saying – so……… we continued on.

We decided to drive through Mt. Lassen It has twin peaks, and is an inactive volcano. The last time it erupted, it fired lava rocks as far as Chico. We headed toward the park, only to find out, the road was closed – due to the unusually heavy snow fall last winter – the last weekend in June, in California, and the road still snowed shut!!! I know that happens in Montana, but California???

We finally ended up in Redding, CA, stopped at the Sundial bridge - the sculptural structure actually is a huge sundial – you can really tell time with it. We walked across the bridge – what an experience, the bridgeway is opaque solar panels – what a weird feeling – I couldn’t see through the panels, but I knew, I just knew one of them would break beneath me. But, I safely crossed, and re-crossed the bridge.

While driving around the countryside, I got this photo of Mt. Shasta.

Here’s a couple shots of the kayaks. Ken had a snug top put on his pickup, then got the kayak racks so they could get some paddling in. On Carol’s birthday, they spent the day on a lake in Paradise, CA – up in the hills about 10 miles from Chico. They loved it!!!! (Her’s is green, his is yellow)

On the 4th of July, we celebrated in the uniquely American way – we went to a baseball game. It’s been years since I attended one, and it was such fun! The pitcher warming up is a young lady from Japan – the only lady on the team, in fact, the only woman in the entire league.

The home team – which set them up for the playoffs. They also announced during the game the players who were going to play in the All Stars game – What great Fun - then of course, there were the fireworks.

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