A Resilient Aunt

My grandparents were married on this day 114 years ago in a tiny town in SE Minnesota.  Grandma gave birth to her fourth son on her eight anniversary. Five years later her sixth child, and only daughter was also born on their anniversary. Imagine, two of your children sharing birthdays  on your anniversary, with even bigger celebrations when Thanksgiving fell on the 28th of November!

All six children were close to each other but the bond between my dad and his little sister was very strong. Within a few years after my folks settled in Oregon to raise their family, Aunt Ruth packed up her small household and followed him west.

Aunt Ruth wasn’t much of a talker. Her passion was singing, most often in church choirs. Before she moved to Oregon she’d been in a large choir that had even put out an album in the early sixties. She was quite proud of that album.

She was a lady, in dress, actions and manners. Her elegance reflected in her slender posture and the clothes she wore even though she was very frugal making her meager dollars as a secretary stretch as far as possible. I never heard her tell her story; it was something she’d put in the past and refused to dwell on but my dad told me about it when I questioned him why no one ever mentioned her husband.

The story as my dad told me: A few years into her marriage her husband took her and two-year old Vic to a remote hunting cabin during a late snowy spring. Shortly after they arrived he told her he was leaving them, got in the car and drove away.  Abandoned with her small son deep in the forest.

The cabin was so remote there was little chance of anyone coming to their rescue in time. With only the food and wood they’d brought for the week she knew they’d been left to die.

The next morning she bundled herself and Vic in as many layers as possible, and packed what food she could carry as well as needing to often carry Vic. Praying for protection and strength, she set out to walk to safety along the snow-covered road occasionally seeing faint tire tracks left by the car. Trudging through woods where bears were plentiful and at a time they were coming out of hibernation, hungry and mean. It took two days of walking to reach a road where they were rescued, on the brink of collapse. Sheer grit, determination and God’s grace got them out alive.

My quiet, unassuming aunt was a rock of fortitude, courage, resiliency, and tremendous faith.

The hanging basket on our porch is still sending out new shoots and a few flowers even after a few freezing mornings.

Grateful for
  – my aunt and her steadfast example of resiliency and never complaining even though her life wasn’t easy.
– my dad and his wonderful example of quietly loving people.
– the abundant, real life that they’re now enjoying!

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Monopoly

One of the fun things we did while visiting family in Idaho was to teach the grandkids to play Monopoly. We had a hoot!

The best part?
Faith cleaned everyone out!

About mid-way through the game.

For awhile Ed was building up hotels like a grand baron with Wes close behind. Until, Faith’s accumulation of all the Railroads followed by a block of multiple houses which everyone seemed to land on each time around the board suddenly had her claiming all the other players’ Monopoly money.

The second best part: Wes was a very good sport about being wiped off the board! He’s always been a very competitive kid who doesn’t like to lose. I’m very pleased how well he handled his loss with grace. When his dad, Justin, was his age we could hardly play board games for he was a terrible loser. He was ultra competitive who absolutely hated losing. The rest of us played for the laughter and the fun; we really didn’t care who won. Sometime between age 10 and 11 Justin got a firm rein on his competitiveness. He didn’t talk about it but we saw a transformation from a kid who could not stand to lose to a kid who played, ran, skated (remember in-line skates? that kid was pure joy to watch skating around town) for the fun of doing so. He chose to make it not about winning.

I saw the same change is Wesley and am very grateful!
I’m also grateful that Faith won.

I’m grateful for the fun family time we shared together.
Late in the game when Faith is raking in the properties and dough.

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The rising Super Moon graces a fir tree in the 2018 sky.

Ed and I celebrated our 40th anniversary on the 2nd.
Home-cooked favorite foods and a quiet evening at home.
Picture of Ed & I taken right before worship service a week or two before Christmas.

2018 has brought spectacular sunrises and sunsets so far.
Colorful displays flaming in the skies, stopping people, making hearts sing.
God paints the sky with colors from the sun’s light hitting moisture in the atmosphere.
The colors intensify with each passing second.
Then the moment passes, the glowing clouds fade, the sky brightens. The color show over for the morning.

Wednesday brought our son and daughter “home” for supper.
A work trip brought Justin from Idaho and we were able to make the most of the evening together.
Childhood favorite comfort food: a huge pot of chicken soup with homemade noodles to celebrate the occasion of having both kids at our table once again.

Violet, Aurora and Gus
Gus, Aurora and her family – Violet & HaymakerI am blessed!

2018 The year to trust God for courage to victoriously face a couple of my lions.

Memorial Weekend Grandkids

We were blessed this past summer with our son and his family driving over from Idaho twice visits. The first visit took place over Memorial Day weekend which also included our grandson’s 8th birthday.

Our daughter-in-law has a number of relatives also living in the Willamette Valley so it’s rare that they stay with us so it was a double-pleasure when they decided to use our camper, which is parked on our property, as home base.

The cousins liked shopping expeditions,
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And had fun with the keyboard.

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Feather, who loves being productively busy, begged to help in the graden.
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Gus worked on his monkey bar maneuvers.
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Papa adjusted their new bikes and they learned to shift gears.
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Round and round they rode at the cul-de-sac a couple blocks away as they practiced shifting under Papa’s tutelage.
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We celebrated Gus’s birthday at the city park with friends and family.
dsc03153And saw more monkey bar action.
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Family pictures were taken. Silly ones.
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And not so silly.
dsc03179The only sad part of this gathering was Aurora’s husband, Haymaker, couldn’t be there. He was working long hours mowing the first hay cutting of the season. It was a good year for the hay business.

Thankful for so many good times this year with family!

Thankful for a wonderful dad

My dad would have been 101 today. His gentleness and genuine  love for people and animals was as natural to him as breathing. His quiet charisma drew people to him, his calmness could sooth the crankiest baby or frightened, hurting animal.

He had to drop out of school while in his teens in order to work the family farm. But he never stopped reading and continuing to learn as much as possible. One time when I was quite young we were eating a Sunday dinner with friends and the two men were deep in discussion when the other man looked at my dad and said, “Paul, it’s a shame you were not able to finish school and become a doctor. With your personality and brains you would have made an excellent doctor!” Looking at the man’s earnest face, for the first time in my life I realized what not being able to finish school meant to my dad. Words like that, one doesn’t quickly forget.

He enjoyed being with women but never pursued any in a romantic way until he met the love of his life when he was in his thirties. They married when he was 34 and stayed in love until he died 38 years later.  In this picture, taken at Thanksgiving 1950 he is looking at his darling wife, who is expecting their first child – my sister.Dad, laughing
I am thankful that he encouraged each of us children to reach for the stars. He never discouraged me from my dreams and was quick with quiet praise for work well done. As the youngest of four children by the time I was sixteen I was his “right hand man” in helping him with the various maintenance tasks that fell to him as caretaker of the small Navajo mission where we’d moved when I was thirteen. He taught me to change tires, change oil and replace a U-joint. I climbed the ladder and helped put new roofing material on our small house and the building that we used for Sunday school classes and game nights. I dug ditches and pits for the grey water from our house, chopped wood and carried coal for heat. He made me feel loved, confident and competent. I was blessed!

I’m thankful that he welcomed loved ones and strangers alike to our table and was always willing to share what he had with anyone in need. Holiday meals always meant the table leaves put in, card tables placed nearby and chairs clustered close to squeeze in as many people as possible. Often they were people that had no place to go, no relatives nearby. When I was six or seven he invited two Iranian men who were studying animal husbandry at Oregon State U to spend the Thanksgiving break with us. A change encounter through his job that turned into a long friendship of letters exchanged between the two men and my folks long after they’d returned to Iran.

Shonto Canyon where I learned to do so many tasks at his side.
Dad, ShontoTwenty-nine years have passed since his home going to Heaven.  I’ve grieved that my children didn’t have the opportunity of his warm love.

I am so thankful that we will see each other again! Happy Birthday Dad!

Food, Knitting and A trip to the Zoo

That nasty flu bug was far more stubborn than I’d realized. There are still days when I don’t feel very well. I certainly have not yet come up to speed, as much as I desperately wish to be.

Originally I’d planned to spend most of the weekend hanging out at the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival (OFFF) spinning and chatting with people but I’m so far behind that I’ll only be going over there for a few hours Saturday and Sunday afternoons. I’ll be delivering spindles to Carolina Homespun and Herndon Creek Farms tomorrow afternoon and maybe look around a bit but the festival doesn’t officially open until Saturday (except for workshops). Ed and Aurora want to go with me on Sunday so that should be fun.

There are still some gravenstein apples from our tree to make a last batch of applesauce. The tree produced the best and biggest crop this year. So tasty! I made numerous pies – mmm, gravensteins make delicious apple pie! (Pictured, one huge apple with a 1 cup measure.)

The last of the corn needs to be picked and preserved, and all the green tomatoes to be picked to let ripen indoors. It’s crazy but I never transferred the knowledge that tomatoes shouldn’t be refrigerated (they lose flavor) to picking them before the temperatures dip into the forties. Makes sense! The temps have been in the low forties several nights though we’ve had wonderfully sunny warm days, until today when it only reached about 70 after morning clouds burned off. The beets, squash and potatoes will stay in the garden for now.

Our poor garden. It was shaping up to be a bumper year but we were gone during the peak harvest time for the green beans. If I hadn’t gotten sick I still could have put up a decent amount of beans but by the time I had enough energy to deal with canning them (with the help of Aurora) lots of the beans were too big and woody so we only got 8 pints. We’ve had several more small pickings for supper and there are still a few young ones coming on. The corn also went beyond their peak so we’ve been letting them dry on the stalk, picking an occasional cob and using the kernels in soups. (Lots of homemade soup the past three weeks, plus juicing fruits and vegetables to consume every evening.) We are determined to never take a lengthy trip again during the end of August into the first few weeks of September, not after putting all that time and water into a garden.

A picture of the Pikku-Lilli making the piping at the back, knitting the two rows together around the back circle. This took four sets of 16″ circulars since the circle was smaller than 16″.

I love the cute back details.

Sadly I didn’t get a picture of it on the tiny recipient – a wee granddaughter of a neighbor who was born late August.

The day after it was off the needles and blocked I weighed it, 25 grams, and determined that the 31 grams of left over Cherry Tree Hill yarn would be enough to make one for Violet so I cast on with #3 / 3.25mm needles instead of the 2.5mm needles I’d used for the yellow one.

There were a number of days that the needles didn’t see much action but the bonnet is now only 8 rows short of working the piping for the back. At about the eighth set of the four row pattern repeat I started to get a sinking feeling. Weighing the ball of yarn and figuring the amount left to be knit I was optimistic so kept knitting. Last night after finishing the 11th repeat set I looked at the tiny ball of yarn. The sinking feeling settled into the depths of my gut. The remaining yarn hit the scale. Only 10 grams. Instead of making I-chord ties I could use matching ribbons. Even so it’s going to be very close. The bigger needles are using up more than I’d anticipated. This morning I knit a couple more rows in grim determination that there will be enough. Ha, not likely. Sadly it’s destined for the frog pond. argh So much wasted time. It wouldn’t be so bad if three weeks hadn’t elapsed.


Spinning has been fun and cumulative. Two more bobbins are filled and plying commenced today. We’re now watching Violet on Tuesdays and Thursdays each week. After her mid-day bottle I’ve been putting her on a blanket under the tree and spinning alongside her. She loves watching the action and tries to grab the yarn. Sometimes she sits on my lap and watches the spinning from that vantage point. Maybe she’ll be the one who loves playing with string. She turned 6 months on Monday and is almost able to hold her sitting position alone but topples over after a few moments of a swaying balance.

 

We took Feathers and Gus to the zoo while in Idaho and had a great time there with them watching the tigers playing in their water pit.

 

Spending time in the butterfly hothouse having thousands of them flutter all around us, and hitch rides on us. Feathers said the little feet hurt her skin! She had a number of them attached to her at different times.


 

Lunch time while waiting our turn to go into the butterfly hothouse.

                                                                                                                            

 

Before we’d left for Idaho Ed bought us some shirts at an Arts Festival.   

The words don’t show up but Feathers’ and my shirt have the words, “Never trust a sheep in wolves clothing.”  Gus’s reads, “Just hanging around”

 

Last, but not least, the sunset our first evening in Idaho.

Thanks to all who’ve left comments. I do love getting them!