Posts Tagged With: blackberries


Past family reunions always included a run on the flume over the Independence Day Holiday. Virginia is floating peacefully along. I chose this picture to show what the flume looks like with dappled sun, shadows, and growth on the banks of the gunite flume. It was built during the gold rush to bring water to the miners.

A staying hand, a paddle or two, and the tube obeys in the swirling waters.

Flume Master, Doug, is the hoss, picking the best drop-in to start and the best, and the safest, pull-out near an eddy. He wanted to introduce his friends, Dirk Christianson and family to a unique waterway.

Everyone carries  their own tube. You can jump in anytime but a low spot we’ve nicknamed the beach is Doug’s choice to launch. The gunite can be rough on knees and elbows so an anchor helps people up the bank.  The flume is practically in our backyard, so it’s been our air conditioning for years. Jump in, get your clothes wet and stay cool in half damp clothes for the rest of the day.

Mother, Kelly skipped the first run. She is strong and supple and has the appearance of a yoga maven.

And that is the way she sat her tube. Doug told me later that she is a yoga aficionado. I love my yoga and thai chi, so we have a lot in common.

Daughter Kendal…

…and her friend, Jenna were enjoying the ride. The water is high this year, but that is a relative term. Some places are thigh deep, others calf deep. In a low year, your butt can’t always clear the rocks.

Dirk is watchful, and takes the tubes out for the girls

Young and nimble, they need no help to get up the bank.

They tell the Flume Master all about their experience. It looks like Kendal has twigs caught in her hair.

Time out for snacks between runs.

By the second…

…and third runs, the girls are relaxed and playing games. Kendal admitted they were careful on the first run, watching for poison oak,  spiders, the swift curves and maybe other things Doug teased them about.

Dirk liked the flume. He also pulled out some plastic garbage tangled in some bushes.  The girls snagged a flattened tube someone ditched on the bank. Our rules are you take everything out that you bring in.

Dirk found himself a cool spot, hanging onto a tree root, to sit and enjoy the cool water in the shade.

Virginia and Theo got into a race, passed the girls and…

…the winner was Theo,  first under the bridge.

Mom was a close second.

When Theo made it up top, he was surprised to find out that his dodge past a patch of blackberries left him souvenirs.  The flume is not a straight shot. It winds around and around to slow the water and passes several spots for water to be taken out in case of fire.

Cedric opted to snack and stay on the bridge with Owen who appeared to be feeling poorly, though he denied it.

Hmm! I don’t know. There has to be something amiss with a 17 year old who doesn’t pay attention to two beautiful girls. Time to do some digging and turn that sad face into a smile.

Back at the house, the Flume Master also reigns as Master Meat Chef. Doug makes some amazing tri-tip, ribs, sausage and chicken come off the grill.

Neighbors Cindy and Gary Gonzalez joined us for eats, along with my brother, Bill. Pushing eighty he looks terrific for his age. I’d like to steal some of his natural curly hair. He told me to meet him at the barbershop and take home what I wanted. That wasn’t exactly what I had in mind, doncha know.

Happy Independence Day tomorrow.


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Thousand Trails RV Resort – Bow, Washington

The motorhome is parked the Thousand Trails RV Resort located in Bow, a few miles north of Burlington, Washington. I’ve been here several times in past years. My departure date is August 14th.

I’m just hanging out taking maximum advantage of my Thousand Trails membership and very agreeable weather.

Mary’s personal to-do list plate, which can only be handled by herself, continues to over-flow. During yesterday’s phone call, we acknowledged that her meeting up with me in September, just is not going to happen.   😦

I’ll next likely see her when I arrive at her home in November. A friend recently expressed a concern about the status of our relationship. Not to worry…it continues to function per our original agreement when we met in October, 2008. That is…I remain on the road and she will join me when her other life allows. We talk every day on the phone…sometimes more than once. It’s just the way life is!


Here are some photos of this park…

As always you may left click upon an image to see an enlarged view and then click once again to see an even larger view…


First the ranger station…


Then my site among the beautiful fir trees…


The Olympic-size swimming pool…


The spa…


One view of the lodge building…


A closer view…


The  adult lodge is on the lower level…


A welcome sign in the hallway…


The family lodge is on the upper level…


And a final view of the other side of the lodge building…


You can read all about this 227 site park by clicking this link…

There are a number of reasons that this area is my favorite place to spend the summer, such as: scenic beauty, agreeable climate, clean air, friendly people, and no bugs are some. In addition there are lots of places to pick wild blackberries. Due to a dry rain year, this year they are not as abundant, large or tasty. But, they are still here and still very good. Yesterday, only a few feet away from my motorhome I picked some of which I will enjoy for breakfast this morning. Yummy!







Yesterday was a cloudy/sunny and 75 degrees. Forecast for today is mostly sunny and 77 degrees.

Enjoying nice weather is another joy in the life of a full-time RVer!

The red dot on the below map shows my approximate location in the State of Washington. You may double left-click the map to make it larger…





Enjoying 65-75 degree temperatures with low humidity most of the year is a primary joy in the RVing lifestyle!

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving”…Albert Einstein






On October 27, 2012, I created a two-minute video titled America The Beautiful. The music America The Beautiful is by Christopher W. French. The photos, which I randomly selected, are from the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Tennessee, Washington and West Virginia (not shown in that order)…are mine. Yup, That’s me standing in front of the Post Office in Luckenbach, Texas…Y’all!

Click this link to start the video. Make sure you have your speakers turned on and go to full screen asap.

If you would like to see my YouTube videos, click this link…

There are more than 600 photo albums in my Picasa Web Albums File. To gain access, you simply have to click this link…

If you have not checked out my Ramblin Man’s Photos Blog, you can do so by clicking this link…

For more information about my books, click this link:

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2015

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Memory is not dependable. We knew we had visited this area in 2011. The problem was, we visited both parks in 2009, not 2011. I remembered so well the marvelous blackberries but forgot to bring a container.  Luckily I had a plastic bag in my purse. The Blaine Marine Park must have a mile of blackberries in several different stretches. But here we picked once before.DSC07714 (Copy)

The plants were bigger and meaner. Blackberries grow on new growth, so the old canes are big and sharp. We contemplated that the park must have to mow the whole works down at some point to keep them in such tight control.  I ate my fill and picked enough to take home. We had a big lunch earlier at Lizzies, all wonderful, homemade cooking. So we decided to stop at the store for ice cream before going home.

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We walked the docks where all the fishing boats come in across from  Semiahmoo point. The breeze was heavenly and ruffled the feathers of the gulls. They are messy and bomb the wharf with clams to break them open, but we enjoyed watching them for about an hour.

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They seem to know where to find the biggest clams.

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When they fly around, we tend to think of them as white, but they really have a lot of variation in color.

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Then I noticed this pigeon. I didn’t think pigeons hung around salt water. And look at those red feet.DSC07727 (Copy)

This must be mama, though she seemed to be chasing him. She is bigger and less colorful than the male.

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We walked out through the commercial buildings on the dock. This truck belonged to a Crab Buyer but his logo is a lobster.

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We were following the raucous sound of the birds. These cormorants were screaming and hollering to a similar colony across the water from them,  along with some gulls.

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Then we drove over to Peace Arch Park.

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We wandered through the gardens and then walked to the Canadian Side of the arch, first.

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Then, the U.S. side.

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On the inside of the arch is this commemoration from 1914. On the opposite side, the same gate with the statement, MAY THESE GATES NEVER BE CLOSED. It is refreshing to see this wide open border between our countries and sad to think of the horrible gates between the U.S. and Mexico.



The gardens and sculpture on display at the Peace Arch Parks, both Canadian and American are spectacular. I’ll post some pictures tomorrow.

At home,  we ate blackberries and ice cream in place of dinner. Jim and I both realized in the five years we’ve been together, we’ve never bought ice cream, other than a cone here and there along the way. Neither of us are big on ice cream. But, it was heavenly with berries.

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Doug and Jose have a yearly ritual of picking wild blackberries. They pick enough for pies, jam, and some for best friends, as well. Doug is the pro and leads the pack. His banner year was 57 quarts when the berries cooperated. Doug is washing his pick while Norma is picking thorns out of her husband’s arms.

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Grandson Stewart picked for the first time this year, as well has my son Ken, who hasn’t lived in the county since his last year of high school.

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Ken showed his pick.

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And his scars. Doug decided Ken deserved his berry picking medal.

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They picked three huge thorns out of his head, too. (Mom’s hint: WEAR LONG PANTS, LONG SLEEVES AND A HAT.)

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Antony said, I picked some of those, too. He has the stains on his shirt to prove it. He picked into small containers and dumped into the bigger bowls. He is only six but likes to be like the big guys.

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Everyone went to the flume to cool off after picking. Ken’s legs got rinsed and cooled.

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Norma, who has never picked before,  decided this was the year. Abby fell asleep in the car after a short dunk in the flume. She’s only four.

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Everyone snacked and listened to berry tales of derring-do. Stewart is a skeptic.

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Laurie and Stewart played Cribbage, and Stewart beat his mom. Mason claims he doesn’t play because he always wins and it’s boring. (The challenge has been hurtled, Mason.)

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I can’t figure out why Doug likes to barbeque in the heat. Laurie brought a Mexican coleslaw with black beans, peppers and fresh corn. Norma brought Enchiladas that we could warm in the microwave. The chicken and ribs were delish along with some marinated carnitas Norma brought, just for us to taste.

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The guys went out for a second round of picking in the late afternoon when it had cooled a bit. Norma and I stayed inside. She brought me two big Aloe Vera plants and potted them and arranged them in my greenhouse. When Doug was seriously burned, about fifteen years ago, he was able to avoid skin grafts by squeezing fresh aloe vera juice on his burns. When his partner bought the aloe vera salve in a tube, it didn’t have the same effect. It was a long, painful experience. He couldn’t wear a shoe on his foot and he was out of work for nine months. It ended well because of aloe vera. Norma claims she peels it into thin filets and puts it in a blender with milk and other fruits and it retards pain. She has a neuropathy in her foot that is very painful.

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I’m looking forward to trying her smoothie idea.

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My son Doug is a blackberry engineer. Every year he comes up to his old high school haunts and picks roadside blackberries.  They are wild and free and mostly ignored by the locals. The last couple years, his friend, Jose came with him and  picked.  This year, Jose’s son, Anthony  joined the effort, learning how to pick berries like a master.

The idea is to pick at first sign of ripeness and test for the sugar content. Then return in a week  or two if the sugar isn’t just right. With so much rain, the berries are fat and juicy, but they haven’t gotten enough heat to develop the proper sweetness. Disappointing. Yet, you take what you get. This pick was only about six or seven pounds, delivered to the neighbors, intended mostly for jam or pies. Doug makes sugarless pies, so he had to add apple to the berries for our pie yesterday.  The next pick should  be the big one. He goes out with a pruning shears, gloves and long sleeves. He prunes away dead, non producing vines. He cuts off a berry laden vine,  drags it out, picks the berries and discards  the empty vines in a neat pile. He picks enough for the year and tucks them away in the freezer for Thanksgiving, Christmas and family reunion use. His youngest sister always gets a couple of pounds for jam. The blackberry engineer.

Afterward, everyone headed for the flume to cool off and play a bit.

Three year old Abbie, with mom, Norma,  was a bit uncertain at first,  but after a while, she too enjoyed the water and the ride.

Dinner afterwards was my bon voyage treat. Berries found their way into ice cream, pie, the fruit salad. And then, there was the mystery cake?

I was busy, doing something on the computer, I walked into the dining room and there was a beautiful cake sitting on my table. I tried to thank  the  most likely suspects, neighbors Karen and Jan.  Ron and Suzy. Nope!  Not them. Eventually, I found out it was ,  Jerry Baumgartner,  another neighbor. I didn’t hear or see a thing.  The cake was delicious. Thanks, Jerry.

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