Friday, December 25, 2009

Lapland or Finland

Pine Mountain News

It is Christmas at Pine Mountain Ranch. Jeff and Squeekers have joined us to make this a memorable and joyous occasion. We had a large breakfast and have just finished lunch.The presents have all been opened and Laurel and Grace are trying to get Squeekers to spell his name with scrabble tiles. Squeekers is being his usual obstinate self. It is hilarious to watch them.

Poem of the Week


The ground is whitened with snow
It means there is no more grass to mow

Cold and piercing are the stars at night
Fading from sight in the full moonlight

From the fireplace comes warm waves of heat
Washing over the man on his seat

Through the air flies the owl
Off in the distance the coyotes howl

Underfoot the snow crystals crunch
While on a cookie the man does munch

Across the heavens a meteor does streak
And a wish to be granted a woman does seek

The snowflakes on the winds twirl
Around the corner of the house they do swirl

Darkness comes early it seems
Off to sleep go the people to their dreams

Weekly Travel Adventure

Lapland or Finland

by Roxana Arzamazova

Lapland met us snow-covered, with a light fros
comfortable bus brought us quickly from the airport
to hotel in about 20 minutes. We received our room
keys,unloaded our luggage and proceeded to a dinner
at restaurant " Mango" . The dinner before us was not
included in the vacation package and cost on the
average of 35-40 euros for two. The menu was not too
extensive, but it was tasty. I heartily recommend a
fried venison in port wine sauce. I also recommend
the salmon soup.

Next morning we had breakfast buffet (included in
the vacation package)fritters, rolls, sausages,
ham, very tasty house cottage cheese, and local
dishes of type of baked puddings not giving in
to the name, omelets, boiled eggs, fruit salads,
yogurts, kefir, milk, juice, cocoa, coffee, tea,
and for certain something I have forgotten still.
All of it was very tasty and fresh.Having
properly filled our stomachs, we rested to
digest our food then decided it was time to visit
the local tropical aqua park.

The way to the aqua park lay through the general
locker room. In the locker room area per besides
the shower there was a Finnish sauna, and a
Turkish steam bath.The aqua park had various pools
connected by beautiful bridges and transitions,falls,
a jacuzzi,and the stream had a current like a river.
There was a 30-40 meter hill, a bar at the water,
and a children's splash pool.Palm trees and other
trees created the effect of tropics.The water was
beautifully highlighted from below,and the temperature
in the aquapark was really warm (25-30 degrees centigade).

We visited this summer place every day , our spirits
soared in the saunas, and in the jacuzzi.We sunbathed
on the aqua park beach. It was very pleasant to us.
When you transition from winter to summer at the aqua
park, after you come from skiing or cross mountain skiing,
it is really great!

In the evening of the second day (and evening in the
conditions of polar night is at 3 PM)
, we decided to examine the small town of Kuusamo.
Even Santa was there.

We arrived at Kuusamo, Finland. The main
street was elegantly decorated with firs and
garlands, it made lovely impression, with one
and two storied houses on either side of the
There were a lot of little shops, souvenir
benches, markets, small restaurants, all clean
and sparkling. Local residents ride bicycles
on the streets even in winter.

We also saw fantastically beautiful sleighs
going through the snow. In an hour of walking
we have seen all of the small town and have
bought some souvenirs at a bench kiosk. We
then proceeded in the opposite direction to
the road service station and from there in
15 minutes to Ski base A and from
there to the hotel.

Around our hotel there was a remarkable pine
wood and nearby a frozen lake. We could not
pass by it without enjoying the beauty. On
day 3 we have devoted ourselves to studying the
vicinities. We began by crossing the lake and
climbing up on a porch of a private small summer
house. We were photographed against a garland
by a small lamp placed next to a deer statue.
Very beautiful. We then passed to shined ski
lines and walked on them for an order of 5
kilometers, admiring the beauty of the snow.

On the fourth day of our stay we could not
avoid visiting a place called "The Hand"
that is 20 km from Kuusamo. The Hand is a
well-known Finnish mounting skiing resort
in which draws skiers and snowboarders not
only from southern areas of Finland, but
also from Europe, Russia, and the Ukraine.
The same Ski bus delivered us for 5 euros
per person for 20 minutes directly to the
slopes. The road goes to picturesque places,
to the left and on the right is a line of
fine wood. When we came closer to the slopes
there rising over us were majestic mountains
covered with pine trees.

It was a very remarkable week.

Pine Mountain Evening

Christmas is drawing to a close. We
have just finished a dinner of prime
rib and mashed potatoes with a fresh
vegetable salad and apple pie for desert.

We are now gathered in the family room
and are playing an interactive game about
a caveman and what he has to do to survive.
It is interesting you have to survive the
sabre tooth tiger attack and find a cave to
get out of the storm and make a fire and
so on.
I am now relaxing in my easy chair
while my fine dinner digests. I am trying
the sample coffee of the week from Tonight my
sample coffee is
Chocolate Mint. This
American roast coffee tastes like coffee,
chocolate, and mint all rolled into one.
It goes great with some after dinner
sugar cookies.

Well my coffee is done now and it is
getting late. Christmas is over for another
year. Join us next week as we welcome
the New Year. Good night all.


Friday, December 18, 2009

St Augustine Florida

Pine Mountain News

December is half over and with it 2009 is fast drawing to a close. Here at the ranch things are on a normal schedule for this time of year. The Christmas lights are up and we have had a couple of small snows.
The vegetables are doing well in the greenhouse and the wind and water turbines and solar panels are performing well.

The wood shop is busy again after a slow year and the people and animals are well fed. What more could anyone want.

Poem of the week

Wine.taste in McMinnville

by emily d stine

The cool Pacific air ruffles through my hair
as we race out of Portland & into Oregon wine
country. Windows cracked and music blaring,
the little black Audi climbs through bridges and
interstate exchanges & shuffles out of the

The landscape grows quiet, dead as we drive,
gnarled knots in thin trees sprouting from the sides.
Onward to McMinnville, enter vineyard at the back.
Tour underside of a wine glass, fermenting wine vats.

Forward to the front, after the wine work is done,
and into the tasting room, where all the tourists run.
Step outside, alongside an oaky-tasting Chardonnay,
& I’m delightfully disheveled in the setting sun’s rays.

One more sip, the flavors swirling inside my mouth,
and I swirl myself inside, set my glass by the fire for warmth.

Travel Story of the Week

St Augustine Florida

After roaming around Mexico for about a week we decided to head east once more.We kept going until we reached Florida. Our first stop was the town of Milton we bought gas then went to Santa Rosa island on the Gulf of Mexico.

We saw a couple of shrimp boats heading out. We spent a couple hours on Santa Rosa then we were back on the road. We kept going until we reached the Atlantic ocean.

One of the first things you notice about Florida is the interstate is a lighter shade of gray. This is from the crushed shell in the concrete. We checked out the beach and the Atlantic ocean then headed south on I - 95 and stopped at St Augustine.

St Augustine was founded in 1565 and is the oldest seaport in the continental United States. Originally founded by the Spanish, St Augustine became a British possession along with the rest of Florida in 1763. In 1821 Florida became part of the United States. Florida became a state in 1845.
One of the cities famous landmarks is the fortress Castillo de San Marcos and it is now a national monument run by the park service.

Other old landmarks include the Ponce de Leone Hotel,

the Saint Augustine lighthouse, and parts of Flagler college. The city celebrated it's 400th birthday in 1965. The city was a leader in the civil rights movement of the 1960's.

St Augustine is served by one major highway I - 95 and has an airport with 5 runways. The airport became a private airport in 2008 when Skybus ceased operations.

Visiting the historical section of St Augustine is like a journey back in time to colonial America. the Spanish architecture gives it an old world European feel.

Pine Mountain Evening

It is evening once more at the Pine Mountain ranch. Dinner is over and we are relaxing in the family room by a warm fire. Laurel and Grace are playing scrabble and I am reading my Discover magazine. Tonight I am enjoying Irish Cream from This American roast coffee with the Irish Cream taste goes well with the chocolate cream pie that we had for desert.
Grace won the scrabble game once more and now my coffee and pie are finished. It is time for bed. See you all next week.



Friday, December 11, 2009

Cape Town, South Africa

Pine Mountain News

This week winter showed up as evidenced by
the nearly 5 inches of snow on the ground.
More storms are on the way so that
accumulation could easily double in the net
few days.
The Christmas lights are up and their
multicolored glow is reflected by the white snow.

This week winter began and I spent time in the
greenhouse checking on the fish and vegetables.

Poem of the Week

Sauntering around Trappist Abbey

by emily d stine

Slamming the car door, I submerge my senses
to chill of December, exhaling clouds of white.
We wander up to Abbey Way, quaint crosses
affix off-white walls. Indiscriminate we pick
a trail, assuming they all lead back to base.
Frost outlines the brush beneath us, I’m reminded
wistfully of snow. But it never snows in Oregon
and to the hike back my mind goes. We stumble
upon Our Lady of Guadalupe, a quiet shrine
where coins, flowers, trinkets are left
in homage to the lady divine.

We keep climbing, and the hills bend into a meadow.
Trees covered in caterpillar green overwhelm the
silent beauty of the scene. We pause to breathe
one moment,perhaps two, and saunter back down to
a little pond, and watch the birds bathe in the
frosty blue.

Feature Story of the Week Cape Town South Africa

by Jordan Williams

I have to admit, I’ve long been reluctant to travel
to Africa, which was a silly kind of phobia for me.
But I grew up when all you saw of Africa on the
television was starving children in ads for UNICEF
, and that combined with a general paranoia about
diseases like Ebola had more or less kept me off the
continent, except for a trip into Egypt to see the

So I decided to go to Cape Town, South Africa,
which is in fact the most popular tourist
destination in Africa. So I figure that millions
of tourists can’t be wrong, and I scheduled my
trip. Cape Town is the largest city in South Africa
and one of the largest on the continent.

They also speak English, which my monolingual
self considers to be a major benefit. I didn’t have
any real plans when I touched down, planning to
interrogate the first local I could find who didn’t
run away fast enough. But first, I spent some
time just wandering around the city.

It was a good time, as there is unsurprisingly
quite a lot to see in Cape Town. For one
thing, there’s quite a lot of interesting
architecture. There’s quite a lot in the Cape
Dutch style, which is drawn from the old
architectural styles of the Netherlands,
Germany and France.

Cape Town also has the advantage of being
placed on a peninsula, allowing it to have
close access to a number of beaches with
a variety of different environments. I am
a fairly big fan of beaches, so I was
enjoying it. I also enjoyed the sharks.

Oh, yes, sharks. Now, these were nowhere
near the beach, so don’t get worried. But
one of the things that you can do in Cape
Town is go down in a shark cage and get
up close and personal with sharks. Now,
I love both Scuba and sharks, so this was
a blast for me. I was actually able to
reach out and touch one, which was pretty

There’s also sand boarding, where you ride
a board down sand dunes like you would a
surfboard. I’m not much of a surfer, but I
did manage to stand up the whole way
down the dunes, which was fun. There’s
also, apparently, ostrich riding, but
considering my size, I decided to take it
easy on the birds.

There’s also a lot of natural splendor to
take in, as the Table Mountain National
Park is nearby. This includes the flat
topped Table Mountain, which allows
you to get some great hiking and
mountain climbing in, if that’s your
kind of thing.

One thing that I enjoyed at the park was
the baboons, which were plentiful in the
southern part of the park. These are
fun to look at, and I got some great
pictures, but you need to avoid feeding
them (and they will try for it) because it
makes them too familiar with humans,
which is dangerous for everyone.

I had a great time in Cape Town, and it’s
got me excited for more travels on the
continent. If you’re looking for somewhere
to travel for the whole family, I don’t think
you could wrong with a trip to Cape Town.

Pine Mountain Evening

It is another evening at Pine Mountain ranch.
We have finished dinner and are relaxing in
the family room by a warm fire in the fireplace.
Laurel and Grace are watching a movie and I
reclining in my easy chair by the warm fire
reading my Discover magazine.

Tonight I am enjoying a plate of chocolate chip
cookies and my coffee flavor of the week
African Safari from
This American roast coffee is a blend of 4 of Africa's
finest coffees.Tanzanian Peaberry, Kenya AA,
Ethiopian, and Zambian Terranova.

Well my coffee and my cookies are finished now
and the movie is over so it is time for bed. Good
night all see you next week.


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Milan Italy

Pine Mountain News

This week has been a typical first week
of December. The temperatures growing
slowly colder as the last weeks of fall
unwind and winter begins.

Christmas is approaching and people are
spending just a little more than they did at
the first of the year. This week I built a few
more pieces of furniture and harvested
more vegetables from our aquaponic
greenhouse garden.

We had our first snow of the season which
stayed about a day before it melted.

Poem of the Week

Moving Away

by emily d stine

Fold clothes, place neatly in basics
eliminating the unnecessary

Oneself leaves with so much more
than oneself brought, leaving me
contemplating conservation of energy

Accumulate memories only to throw 'em away,
a faded laugh to the recycle bin, and others
flung to trash, a banana peel half.thought.

Pictures of good times paused
stripped from the wall, freeze-framed smiles
stuffed into envelopes and pressed into albums.

Strip the color, de.cheer the room,
destination storage room. Color loses
vividity in cramped amnesia spaces.

In the end, it seems, I'm packing myself
in boxes-- labeling them Air Express to China.

Feature Story of the Week

Milan, Italy

by Roxana Arzamazova

So, Milan. Just the name justifies a rank of
capital of the world industry of fashion and design.
An acknowledgment of that fact can be seen
by the main historical area of Duo-mo. One of the
largest trading complexes of the city is located there.
The central and side streets are lined with fashionable
shops and boutiques.

Absolutely Milan looks different at night. Milan rules
above all the major cities of Europe in illumination. All
the buildings and statues and artwork take on an air
of well lit cultural sophistication.

The well lit theatre of La Scala is known in all the
world.The building is typical enough for the city
center but it draws attention to inspired greatness
at night.To pass by it without a visit is impossible.

A separate mention is deserved by a complex
of sports buildings that is one of the oldest stadiums
of the country.
- San Siro looks like and reminds you of a huge
intergalactic ship which has landed on deserted
suburb of a megacity. To admit, at some
instant this large object starts to impress in the
grandiose sizes, especially against ascetic
constructions surrounding it.

One more curious moment.The activity of club
shop of soccer teams "Milan" and "Inter" located
in one corner directly inside the Dignity of Siro. To
begin with I will notice that the schedule of its
work hardly corresponds with interests of the fans.
During the day it has opened the doors only at 1600.
Even more surprising the total absence in presented
production looks. Actually, it offers to the
buyer about 30 names of goods of each of the teams.
That it is obvious not enough for
so eminent of clubs.

Coming back to a theme which in a
greater degree interests potential tourists
and people who plan to visit the capital of
Northern Italy, I will tell you in a stream of
words about the food and travel about the

In Milan you can find just about any food
or item you are seeking. Transportation is
furnished by trams and underground subways.

In the conclusion I wish to warn visitors
not to reach the airport at the last minute.
Such a focus in Milan won't work.

First, the road leading to the airport is narrow
and easily clogged by dense traffic.
The second problem is the presence at
the airport Malpensa of two terminals located
apart from each other a distance of 5 km.
To travel from one to the other
is possible only by a special bus
(time takes up to half an hour). Considering
the absence of any information displays,
you can easily find out that you are at the
wrong terminal while your flight takes off
absolutely from the other terminal. So be vigilant!

Pine Mountain Evening

It is evening once more at Pine Mountain ranch.
We have just finished dinner and are relaxing in
the family room by a warm fire in the fireplace.

Laurel and Grace are watching a movie while I
relax in my easy chair by the fire and read a
Discover magazine. This week I am having
fresh baked sugar cookies and my coffee
of the week from
tonight's flavor is French Vanilla. This French
roast coffee is intertwined with the taste of
the vanilla bean to make a delicious coffee

Well my cookies and coffee are finished now,
and the movie is over and it is time for bed.
Good night all see you next week.


Friday, November 27, 2009

Northern Baja Mexico

Pine Mountain News

It was a holiday week this week. Thanksgiving has come and gone at Pine Mountain Ranch.We had a huge Thanks giving feast and Jeff and Squeekers join us from the Desert Outpost.

It is the end of November already and fall is almost over. Winter is about to begin. A winter storm has brought us 2 inches of snow tonight.

Poem of the Week

A Mexican Thanksgiving

by emily d stine

a suitcase, small smile, a passport (for good measure)
and we're the south.side of snow and Estados Unidos.

the sun is the weather and the stress is swept
seaside via wind and salt. we lay tanning
our faces and resting our eyes, eyelids imprinted
with impressions of blue skies.

soon time meanders around and calls us to eat.
ruffle our feathers inside where the staff dons white
linen uniforms for the occasion.

and the fare is American, Thanksgiving in theme,
from the big giant turkey to the banana creme pie.

we eat and we eat, though it's not quite like home,
and at the end, there's no dishes to wash, no table to scrub,
we simply throw on our bathing suits and digest in the sun.

Feature Story of the Week

Northern Baja Mexico

We entered Mexico at Mexicali. We traveled highway 5 and arrived in San Felipe about 120 miles later. San Felipe is on the sea of Cortez in the northern part of the Gulf of California. The last 19 miles to San Felipe is a paved 4 lane highway. San Felipe is a popular spring break destination. The town has many hotels and restaurants several gas stations and an airport.


The area was discovered in 1535 by Cortez and the area was named in 1746 by father Konscak. The town was officially established in 1925 as a fishing camp. The town grew slowly until the 1960’s when hotels and nightclubs opened. One of the newest is the Rockodile club and a giant crocodile sign advertises this club as you approach San Felipe.

When you have seen San Felipe and want to get away from the noise and people a nice trip is Puertecitos. This town is located about 90 kilometers south of San Felipe at the end of the paved road. Puertecitos is on a small peninsula with the Gulf of California on the east and Puertecitos bay on the west side. The bay contains a hot springs. The hot springs is best enjoyed at about mid tide. At high tide it is about the same as the Gulf of California. At low tide it is too hot and will burn you. The town consists of about 200 dwellings and is a mixture of expatriots from the US and local Mexicans. Puertocitos is what San Felipe was before it was developed. It is a great place to relax and unwind. There are several campgrounds and a small hotel.

After a few days we left San Felipe and made our way to the west coast.We stopped in Ensenada

then went to Estero beach. The people were warm and friendly but we did most of our traveling in the daytime. Night time is a time to stay in town especially when you are close to the border. These areas become a bit of a war zone at night with smuggling and so forth.

Pine Mountain Evening

We are gathered around a warm fire in the fireplace in the family room of Pine Mountain ranch. We have finished dinner and are relaxing with the coffee of the day from Tonight we are enjoying Irish Cream. This American roast holiday coffee goes well with holiday meals and as an after dinner drink.

Well my coffee is finished now and the movie we were watching has ended. It is time for bed. See everyone next week.


Friday, November 20, 2009

Australia: Great Barrier Reef/Queensland

Pine Mountain News

This week we made more furniture and worked
in the greenhouse. We mended some fences and
did some more preparations for winter.

We cleaned the intake on the water turbine
and did quarterly wind turbine maintenance.

Poem of the Week

The Ghost of a Good Time

by emily d stine

lurking beneath the folds of a photograph
a winter white ride up the rocky mountain high
a plane we almost didn't catch, wasting minutes
at the bottom of a airport bar gin & tonic.

it's there in the curves of my L's and the
corner of my suitcase, a seashell abandoned,
a letter forgot.

it's the mud on my shoes from the vineyard
we walked, a stamp on my passport, a postcard
i bought, all on a whim in the frivolous now.

today it's all here and it litters the floor,
a faded stamp, crumpled postcard, a
letter unsent. Half journals, some luggage,
a pair muddy flats, it's the silence, the sound,
and the ghost of a good time

Feature story of the Week

Australia: Great Barrier Reef/Queensland

When I first read about the Seven Natural Wonders of

the World, I thought it would be fun, in my globe

hopping, to try and see them all. Which was how I

ended up in Queensland, Australia. It wasn’t my first

trip to Australia, home of the word’s deadliest

everything, but it certainly was memorable.

Queensland has the Great Barrier Reef, which is why

I was there. The Great Barrier Reef is a 1600 mile

collection of about 3,000 reefs and a couple of dozen

islands, and it’s one of the most beautiful natural

structures on Earth, and one of the down under’s

biggest tourist attractions, literally.

The first city I was in long to take a look around on

the trip was Gold Coast, which I keep wanting to

add a ‘The’ to. I’d never been t Gold Coast and,

frankly, it’s pretty awesome. Also known as surfer’s

paradise, it’s right on the water and, as Australia’s

sixth or so largest city, there’s plenty to do.

Physically, the city is beautiful, as you might imagine

something called Gold Coast would be.

The city is designed around waterways and, much like

Miami here in the states, feels as if it’s been built out

onto the water.

As the surfer’s paradise moniker might have lead you

to guess, there are lots of beaches with great surfing.

Or so I’m told; as a huge hairy mammal, surfing is not

something I do much of. But it looked fun, and I reckon

if you’re a bit more graceful than me, it’d be an excellent

place for it.

There’s also, I’m told, a great hinterland behind Gold

Coast, which basically means the area nearby to the west.

Great, in that contains a rainforest that is part of a national

park, and so has a lot of wildlife that is rare or endangered.

I wasn’t there long enough to check it out, but I’m

guessing it’s worthwhile.

After Gold Coast, I was off to Lady Elliot Island by way of

a small chartered plane. Lady Elliot is a tiny island right on

the reef, with a resort and a variety of accommodations.

You can get anything from an eco cabin to full on suites. Me,

I picked something in the middle.

I was lucky enough to get there during turtle season, when

the big critters come on short to lay eggs and whatnot. I’ve

always been fond of turtles, so it was cool to get to see them

up close.

But mainly, I was there for the water activities. Because of the

position near the end of the reef, the water clarity is

astounding, pretty much crystal clear.I took a glass bottom

boat out to getan idea of there was to see, but after that it

was all scuba snorkeling for me, cavorting with the 200 or so

giant rays that hang out around the island.

It was well worth the trip. Words don’t do it justice; the

natural coral and the wildlife that goes with it are almost

indescribably beautiful. Between the warm clear waters

and the abundant wildlife, I was immersed in another

world, and I can’t wait to go back.

Pine Mountain Evening

Good evening. It is night once more at the Pine Mountain

ranch..We have just finished dinner and we are gathered

in the family room by a warm fire.

Grace and Laurel are watching a movie and I am enjoying

a plate of sugar cookies and trying a new sample coffee


Tonight my coffee is Pumpkin Spice. this American roast

coffee tastes just like pumpkin pie. It goes great with sugar


Well my cookies and coffee are finished and the movie is

over so it is time for bed. Good night all see you next week.


Friday, November 13, 2009


Pine Mountain News

Another week has passed on Pine Mountain. Fall is in full swing, and preparations are being made for the coming winter. the windows and doors have been caulked and weather stripped.The barn is full of hay for the animals. The furnace and chimneys have been cleaned and new filters inserted.

The greenhouse furnace has been prepared as well so the vegetables and the fish will stay warm this winter while snow swirls on the outside and the winds howl around the corners of the house.

Poem of the Week

On Disobedience, A Note to Mr. Thoreau

by emily d stine

No thank you, I prefer obedience.
The world is just more placid with my ipod on.
Who would protest high speed Internet,
semi-annual sales, a case of Key Light?

I’m sorry Mr. Thoreau, I just like my things.
2Y2M2D at WPMA is an awfully long time*
away from the World Wide Web.
I know you find beauty in nature, ducks and such
therapeutic effects of sauntering through the woods,
(I'd rather just get a massage)

But I must confess Mr. Thoreau, I just don’t buy it.

*2Y2M2D refers to the 2 years, 2 months, 2 days
Henry David Thoreau spent at WPMA,
(Walden Pond, Massachusetts)

Feature Story of the Week


We arrived at Canberra the capital of Australia. This city began in the 1900's and was laid out like the spokes of a wheel. It is 170 miles ( 280 km) southwest of Sidney and is Australias largest inland city with a population of 345,000. The city spreads out over 314 sq miles ( 814 sq km)

The city is built on a floodplain between high hills. and was subject to annual flooding before Lake Burley Griffin was built. In 2003 bush fires burned 487 homes as well as the telescopes at the national observatory.

The city has a marine west coastal climate with four distinct seasons.The highest temperatures are in January 82 F ( 27 C) and the lowest are in July 52 F ( 11 C) The seasons are the reverse of the northern hemisphere.

We left Canberra, which means meeting place, behind and drove to Sidney. We saw bush lands and plains and kangaroo. Australia still has a lot of wide open spaces.

We visited the world famous Sidney opera house and watched a performance by the Sydney symphony orchestra. Sidney is the largest city in Australia with about 4 1/3 million people. The city stretches out over 12,000 sq kilometers.
Sidney is a world banking center as well as a world commerce and cultural arts center. It is considered a world Alpha city. It is a city of parks and multicultural communities.

Sidney was first settled by Europeans in the 1770's but the Aborigines have called the area home for more 30,000 years. We took many sightseeing tours and ran out of time before we even saw half of the things we wanted to see. Australia is a large and varied country but you need at least 6 months of time to see the country properly.

Pine Mountain Evening

It is evening once a gain at the Pine Mountain ranch. Dinner is over and we are gathered by a warm fire in the fireplace in the family room. I am in my easy chair reading a magazine while Grace and Laurel are watching a special on Crystal Skulls and how they may predict the a world wide change in 2012.

I am enjoying my sample coffee of the day from Tonight I am enjoying a brew called Australian. It is an American roast coffee that starts out bold goes away then boomerangs back for a fine finish. It goes great with some chocolate chip cookies.

The show is over and it left just mysteries behind. My coffee and cookies are gone as well and it is time to head off for bed. Good night all see you next week.