Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Lake is Near; is High.

062709: We have been lucky this year. The lake has continued to remain high into our summer season. How long it will do so remains to be seen.

In the meanwhile we will continue to enjoy it. And on the edge of a very hot week, the customers will enjoy having the water so close that you can feel the cool breeze across the water.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Smiling Trooper

062509: I threatened to take a photo of Chris even though he didn't want me to. Obviously I took it anyways. And by the smile on his face he didn't seem to mind.
We had just spent the last 1/2 hour on the docks working to tie down the boats tighter as Mother Nature had decided we had not been challenged enough lately. Today she threw a heavy Southeast wind through Antelope Valley causing rollers (not wakes, but big rollers!) at least 7 feet high to pound our docks. Okay, alright already - they weren't 7 feet high and I couldn't begin to guess how high the rollers were from peak to valley. But using the "Holy" exclamation scale, today's rollers reached the "Holy C%@p" exclamation level!
Chris & his brother-in-law, James, were gearing up to take James' boat out to moor it on a buoy. The rollers were giving James' boat an e-ticket ride while tied down to the dock. Not wanting to swim back from the mooring, James & my hubby came up with the idea that James & Chris would take with them a large float that they would board and attached to it a long rope by which my hubby, who remained on the dock, would reel them back to safety. That's the point at which I had to go get my camera! However, Mother Nature got bored and changed the wind direction and the men's stupendous plan never would be seen! Darn~! That would have been a much more interesting photo!
Though I am happy to show the smiling face of Chris, who come rain or shine (or wind) is always game to lend a helping hand.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

1 Year Ago Today

062409: Today we celebrated the annual "June BBQ." This is a Park function that exists solely because of the efforts of our great customers. The day's events include a horseshoe & cribbage tournament and ends with a feast of pork loins and potluck. It is a good day, a fun day and a tradition.
The June BBQ is held sometime in the 3rd week of June every year and this year we chose today as our day of celebration. It was a special day for it's tradition, but even more so we chose to celebrate the life of our friend, Murph. A man well-loved, well-respected and even more so, well-missed. A year ago today we mourned his passing during what would have been his annual two week vacation at Topaz Lake. Today we held our glasses high (a beer for you, Murph!) to celebrate his life and his family who returned to be with us again this year. (Any many years to come...)
The touching words in the remembrance of Murph left many with tears in their eyes. And during it all, quietly and lightly, the rain began to fall. When the words had been said and the resounding clapping of his friends concluded, the rain stopped as suddenly as it came.
We miss you, too, Murph. We miss you, too.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Summer Season Has Arrived

062009: The Daily Topaz went on hiatus this last week while we were preparing for our summer crowd arrival. School is out and the families are heading out for vacations and we are the lucky recipients of many of those vacationers!

So to play a little catch-up here are a few photos from this last week:

Rain! Lots of rain this month. Rain clouds filled the sky everyday.

The sunrise.

The sunrise in his face!

After the number of watercraft 37!

No red boats allowed on this dock.


And now, if you don't mind, I'm going to bed.

Friday, June 12, 2009

It's Partly Sunny!

061209: The June Gloom continues...
Threat of weather all around us accompanied by distant rumbling thunder.
Wondering if this weather will ever turn the corner towards our average sunny days?
Last year the lake was low, and fishing poor and the days were sunny. This year the lake is high, fishing good and days are partly cloudy.
We can't win them all!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Break in the Weather

061109: It was mostly sunny today. Such a nice change in the weather compared to the "June Gloom" we have experienced so far. Though no one seems to be complaining too much as the morning, a.k.a. "fishing time," has been calm enough for the fishermen to go to "work."

Besides the sunny day, we enjoyed the visit from some friends who stopped by on their way home. They left our Park on May 1st for another destination and dropping in today they were surprised to see the lake level had risen so high in a mere 6 weeks. We so enjoyed seeing you Phil & Nancy.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

An Honest View

061009: Everybody seems to be commenting on the numerous pelicans these days. And you might be getting tired of pelican photos, but soon this majestic birds will be gone, and I will miss their presence.

Besides I have a funny pelican story to tell you...

A new customer arrived at the Park in the last day, having never been here before. He walked from his RV towards the lake and when he realized that the water was so close, he exclaimed: "WOW!" I was standing near and pointed for him to look to his left, towards the crowd of pelicans and we heard and even more enthusiastic "WOOOOOW!"

Yes, I agree. The lake, the pelicans, the everything - they all bring out the "WOW" factor.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

To Be

060909: We are going to have a busy summer.
We are in high gear now preparing for the summer crowd.
We are cleaning up the Park.
We are getting so many phones calls.
We are getting just as many emails.
We are getting many drop ins looking for a place to vacation this summer.
We are looking forward to seeing you all.
We are looking forward to our annual Stevens Family Reunion at Topaz Lake.

(We are tired already, but we are thankful!)

Monday, June 8, 2009

Topaz Lake, near Seattle, WA

060809: Rain again! (No complaints though, as it is all helping raise the lake level.) The day started sunny but quickly turned to clouds, thunder in the distance and steady rain. It was a day to spend inside.

At the end of the day I wandered downstairs to the garage and found hubby working on a gunsmith job (more on his talent another day...)

I kissed him and whispered the sweet nothing every husband loves to hear:

"Honey, Love of my life, I think the docks need to be raised...."

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Leveling the Swallows

060709: Since the barn swallows returned in mid April they have been busy building their little mud nests. Every night the pairs ~ there are about 10 now ~ hunker down for the night and the world becomes silent.

One girl and one boy have decided that the wind chime on our back porch is the perfect nighttime perch. These chimes are right outside our backdoor and every evening when I let the dogs out into the backyard those little birds remain like statues. The wind can be blowing and those chimes are swinging, but the swallows remain planted firmly.

Several weeks ago I got a step ladder out and straightened the chimes as the round wood on top was quite slanted. Ha! I just realized that just like the customers in their RVs, I leveled the swallows, too.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Another 1st

060609: Our LakeCam is being viewed around the world. As I've mentioned in a previous post, I have a way of monitoring that people are viewing the website/LakeCam and their general proximity. It's quite fascinating to watch that people as far away as on the other side of the world think we are fascinating enough to watch....

I received this photo from the Fullers who spend a few days with us last week. Despite the days of rain and wind, they thoroughly enjoyed themselves. At one point they (& their dog, Buster Brown) posed in front of the LakeCam to wave hello to their friend who captured this photo on his computer. And, by the way, not a bad photo captured by the LakeCam!

I'm sure this will be one of many scenes I will see this year of waving or sign-holding people in front of our LakeCam. (Yes, that has already happened, too!)

Friday, June 5, 2009

1st Postcard

060509: Wow - I'm up and at 'em early today. As I sit here answering emails, with an IV of coffee to wake me up, I'm already thinking about today's Daily Topaz. So I decided, why not post it now?
I mentioned in a previous Daily Topaz having one postcard from the Tommy & DeLila Thompson era. I have scanned it for all to see. It's condition is rather poor (it makes a photographer's heart ache), but I love it still the same. I'm really guessing here to say that this photo was taken in the early to mid 1970's. I base my guess on the size of the trees and the lone dock.
Last weekend I was checking out a longtime customer, Fritz. I teased him as he made his check out to "Topaz Trailer Park." Many longtime customer's still refer to us as "Topaz Trailer Park." Fritz' "excuse" was his wife usually checks out with me, but because of my teasing he asked, "When did you change the name of the Park?"
Uhhh, 1984, Fritz.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Path to Nowhere

060409: I might have explained this in an earlier post, so forgive me if I'm repetitive. The "weeds" on the very South end of our beach, referred to by me as the "hayfield," start growing before the water level rises from the snow melt. As the water rises, it kills the weeds and when the water level begins to drops what is left is a nice clean beach. Any weeds left behind clearly indicate the high water mark for that year.

In 2008, the water level did not rise very high so consequently we had an abundant hayfield last year. A natural, clean path from the South end of the Park to the water's edge is created by the customers walking through the growing hayfield. We would get a chuckle out of watching someone disappear into the hayfield, maybe see their head bobbing occasionally and reappear down near the water.
This year the water is much higher and as it rises it has nearly covered the hayfield. The water will melt away last year's hayfield. However, as the photo shows, there is still a path - directly into the water! My intent was to photograph the trail, but the pelicans swam into the frame. In their rush to get further away from me they swam right up the path.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Chicken For Dinner

060309: Sorry. Sorry for yet another pelican photo. I couldn't help it! The pelican population has suddenly exploded overnight after a recent drop off. I suspect we are seeing returning parents with their young. It's hard to tell the difference between an adult and juvenile pelican as they are the same size.

Today as I sat and photographed the pelicans swarming the fishermen at the fish cleaning station I marveled at their focus & the bravery in their proximity. These birds wanted fish! (And look at that symmetry!) Donna, wife of Denny (cleaning fish), exclaimed the same and stated that she stood guard over their stringer in the pond above fish cleaning station for fear that the pelicans would take their stringer. I didn't doubt her...
Later today, Mary came into my office to get some quarters to do some late unplanned laundry. She laughingly told me that the pesky pelicans had taken their stringer of 6 fish from the pond and had eaten all but one fish off the stringer. She found the stringer and the one lone fish in the water off the shoreline and went wading in after it. I'm sure it was quite a scene during & after the stringer burglary. If I was there, I would have had my camera. And made you suffer through more pelican photos.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Last Bonfire

A while back I mentioned I'd tell a story about David's first and only burn lesson from my fireman father. The photo doesn't match the story but is evidence of weed burn gone slightly awry. The scorched tree stands nearly 20 years later.

060209: On February 14th, 2002, we weren't officially opened yet, but had two customers staying with us. The first was an longtime customer who arrived early for his seasonal fishing at the lake. And the second was a husband who surprised his wife for her birthday (I think), by blindfolding her, packing up and bringing her to the Park.

That night, after creating a massive pile on the beach of leaves, tree cuttings, etc., that stood over 6 ft high and a diameter of about 20 ft, my dad decided to show hubby how to burn this pile the "fireman" way. Now I could go into alot of details here, but let me just summarize this and explain that a fireman doesn't flick a bic, light the pile and watch it burn. NOooooo. That wouldn't be any fun and besides it would take too long!

If I remember right, I believe the use of an accelerant, a high powered blower, and two tractors (you need a back-up) were required equipment. At one point the flames, fanned by my now maniacal hubby were so high, so bright, it lit up the BACK of the Park. Oh...did I mention it was nighttime? Despite the scream of the high powered blower and the roar of the inferno fire, I swear I could hear hubby's inner Mr. Hyde coming out: "BwaHaHaHaHa! Burn, baby, burn!!!"

Those customers never came in early again. We had burnt faces the morning after. And we haven't burned debris since. The fires in the area in the summer of 2002 completely changed the burn policy making it much more restrictive- tiny piles, burn during the day only and you had to have a water hose on hand, etc.

That's not any fun! For pete's sake, what self-respecting fireman would use a hose!?

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Color of Sun

060109: CrAzY dAy! Need I say more? Pulling a photo from the archives.

Enjoy the color of the sun.