What To Do When You Have Vacationing Friends/Family Visiting

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This past weekend, I had my cousin and her boyfriend from Sweden visiting, and also my aunt from Washington. Naturally I wanted them to feel welcome to my home, and know how happy it made me that they decided to come for visit. I live a rather simple life. So how could I make them feel welcome? I thought about it for a couple weeks before they arrived.

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I decided to go for a combination of things. When they arrived I gave them a tour  of my house, garden, property, and introduced my animals (dog and horses.) It was probably ten years ago since I saw this part of the family, and we had a lot of catching up to do. It truly was wonderful to see them all.

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That first night, my cousin and I cooked for everyone. It was fun. It gave us a chance to talk. For me it was a treat to speak my native language. Even though I feel that I can make myself understood in English, my native language add more color and emotion to a conversation.

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My family had enjoyed my photos from Lassen Volcanic National Park on social media. I asked them if they wanted to go there. I go there several times a month. It almost feels like second home. They were thrilled for the opportunity to see the park themselves. The photos in this post is from our visit there.

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I really enjoyed giving them the tour of the unique volcanic landscape in Lassen. We entered through the northwest entrance, at Manzanita Lake, and took the 30 mile long, Highway 89 through the park. We stopped at many vista points to enjoy the views, talk about the landscape, and of course take photos. We enjoyed a picnic lunch along Kings Creek.

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It was a perfect day! Around 80 degrees, and very comfortable weather, happy people, and awe-inspiring vistas. We took Highway 36 back, towards Red Bluff (CA.) On the way we passed a fire.

 

They later named it the TuscanFire being near Tuscan Lookout Road. The fire is 100% contained now.

We finished the first day by going to my favorite restaurant in Red Bluff, Casa Ramos. Casa Ramos is a chain, but the Red Bluff location definitely is quiet a bit better than the other ones. (The other ones are nice as well.) I’ve been going there for years, and tasted everything on the menu. I usually bring guests there. Everyone loved the food, the service, and the cozy atmosphere.

The next, and final day I took them to see three waterfalls, and another amazing restaurant (actually in the top 100 list, in all of the US.) That will be another post. To be continued..

What do you like to do when you have faraway guests visiting for more than a day? Do you give them a taste of your world? I guess that was what I was trying to do. I know that they were curious to know what I’ve been up to, and what my life is like. That was what I tried to show them; my home, garden, animals, hiking, and our amazing corner of northern California. Tell me about how you like to treat your guests. How do you make them feel your love?

 

Love,

Ms Zen

 

A Tree I Admire

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I’ve always thought olive trees have a special kind of beauty. I think it goes back to the childhood summers I spent in Spain. We had a house in Marbella. This was before it become a tourist attraction. The locals used to stop dead in their tracks, and ask if they could touch our blond hair. My mom loved to explore the countryside, and we often walked through grooves of olive trees. These crooked, small trees, felt unreal. Different from other trees somehow. When I see olive trees I can feel my mothers hand in mine, as we take a walk through an old farming community, admiring these beauties.

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We have a similar climate where I live now, in northern California. There’s plenty of olive trees. One day I’m going to have some that are mine. I did try planting them in containers a couple years ago. It went really well. They thrived, and become huge. I sold them when I could’t move them by myself anymore. I’ll have to plant some new ones.

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Early Saturday morning I was driving home, from Sacramento. I passed these beauties, just before sunrise. Of course I had to stop, and stretch my legs for a bit. The fact that they are older, and not perfectly trimmed, makes them even more beautiful in my eyes. Do you have a favorite tree? Maybe a tree, or plant that brings back wonderful memories? Tell me about it!

Love,

Ms Zen

 

Weekend Coffee Share; Northern California Weather & Co-Parenting  

How about another cup of coffee? I sure could use one. I drove my daughter to Sacramento yesterday afternoon, to leave her with her dad for the rest of the summer. That was kind of hard. I stayed the night at a nice hotel, but didn’t get much sleep. Just too loud in the city. I started driving back at 4.30am this morning, and had a big cup of the black magical brew on the go. I never eat at McDonalds, but if I’m on a road trip, it’s usually the only place open for a coffee when I start driving in the am. The coffee was extra delicious this morning, but I’d love to have another cup with you. How do you like it?

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I stopped by the side of the road to watch the sunrise this morning, while enjoying my coffee. It was magical. 

It’s been a  busy week, with very hot weather. I’ve spent every second possible with my daughter, having many conversations, and trying to prepare her the best I can. She is always with me, and is very used to me being there for her. I’m sure she will be fine. Her dad is a good man, but a workaholic. She haven’t seen him in 6 months, and they haven’t spent all that much time together. It’s just the mom in me hoping that she will get the attention, and care she needs. Not that I have any reason to believe she wouldn’t, but still.. She’s my baby, even though her 6th birthday is coming up. I do her hair every morning, reminding her to brush her teeth good, not snack in between meals..you know, mommy stuff. She’s never ever been away this long. I know that she’s going to have so much fun, going on an airplane for the first time, and spending time with relatives on her dad’s side all over the US. That is what I’m going to focus on. I am happy, and excited for her, that she gets to have a relationship with her dad (I didn’t get that with mine.) Time with him is something she has been craving. She adores him, and I can understand why. I gave her my birthday gift yesterday, a camera, and a camera bag. I helped her put the battery and memory card in, and showed her the basic settings, before saying good bye yesterday. She’s been borrowing mine a lot lately, and she was thrilled to get her own.  

The garden is doing good. Fighting the heat. Two days ago we had a high of 117. There’s lots of fires all over northern California. It’s going to be around 108-110 this weekend. We harvested our first corn, and cucumber earlier this week. We still have plenty of squash, and tomatoes. The salad is doing OK, and so is the kitchen herbs. I’m kind of amazed that the salad is still doing OK. I thought for a while that I wasn’t going to  get more salad, but the beautiful green blessings just keeps coming. This time of the year I usually have problem keeping the salad alive. I planted it in my compost from last year, earlier this spring, and have been mulching a lot on top of that. Maybe that’s why. Last year I bought organic soil, and by July there was no nutrition left. A high percentage of what I eat now comes from my own backyard. I like that! It’s something that I am working hard to increase even more. My goal is to have my own homestead, and being as self sufficient as possible. At least knowing that I can be. That I don’t need the grocery store to survive. I do enjoy having grocery stores out of convenience, but…I don’t want to depend on them, and I don’t. Everything one would need for survival is available within a short distance from where I live. Hopefully I will never be forced to actually experience that kind of survival, but this is not a bad place to be. I wouldn’t consider myself a prepper, but I do plan for the future. Different possible scenarios.

How is your week? I have guests coming to visit later today, that is great timing. Giving me something else to think about. I should clean the house before they come. It’s not messy, but I like it when it smells good. Any fun plans for the weekend? 

Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!
Grab a cup of coffee and share with us!

 

Love,

Ms Zen