1.8.18

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.

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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!

Trip to Idaho

Woke up this morning finally feeling almost back to normal after a bad bout with a stomach virus. I can’t remember the last time I was so sick – decades ago. Too miserable to do anything but sleep and lie around. No energy to even read until last Saturday and then it was only very light reading. Mind candy.

At 2:30 I looked out the office window at the slanting sun. It slides southward at an alarming rate these days, getting closer to the south ridge every afternoon. Not wanting to waste an entire fine day working inside knowing these warm days are numbered, I grabbed my keys, spindle and pepper spray then headed out the door.

For several weeks in August I’d daily taken a fast mile walk/run before drinking the first cup of morning coffee. It felt great to slowly be getting back in shap; to be able to run more than a hundred steps before my body shouted to walk and to work at quickening my walking pace. I’d love to get back down to 13 minute miles, though I might be content with 14 minute miles if I’m spinning at the same time. 🙂

Our son and daughter-in-law have been preparing to bow hunt for elk and they were eager to be in the mountains on opening morning and through the weekend if they didn’t get an elk right away. Knowing that Feather would have started school by then I offered to come and stay with the kids since we hadn’t had the opportunity to spend significant time with them in months. Originally I’d over drive on Tuesday but son phoned wanting Ed to go fishing with him on Monday. Suddenly we were both going to be away from work for an entire week. The second to last week of August was a blur of getting ready, trying to get as much work finished as possible, a house-sitter lined up, things packed and celebrating Ed’s birthday the day before we left.

We had a great time with the grandkids, but found ourselves exhausted before the end of the week. Crazy how much non-stop energy little kids have. They both learned to ride bikes earlier this summer and that is their favorite activity. I lost count of how many times we rode bikes round and round the block, up and down side streets in their housing development.

MJ wanted to get in more target practice so we loaded up and headed to the Dead-On Archery place. I was able to rent a bow (!) and had a blast trying to bring back some rusty skills, only this time with a 25lb compound bow.  Gracious, archery used to be a semi-inexpensive pastime. Ed and I used to shoot at a park in East Portland that had a bow range. When we were alone we’d walk the grass lawn behind the targets shuffling our feet feeling for buried arrows which kept us in good arrow supply.  Another happy memory is riding my horse bareback, bow in hand trying to shoot various targets as we’d race along the canyon bottom where I lived as a teen.

On Tuesday JJ joined MJ for the final outdoor tune-ups on their fancy bows and to work at their accuracy at 40 yards from the target.

Everyone else had to use the indoor range.

Ed managed to capture the arrow in flight just as I released it!

I took my spinning wheel with some Picperfic rovings with high hopes for doing lots of spinning. May as well have left it at home. By the time the kids were read to and tucked in bed at 8 Ed and I were both so tired we soon followed. I did get some knitting done, mostly during the 8+ hour road trip, each way, when Ed took over the driving for long sections. Normally Ed doesn’t do much driving in my car since it can painfully stir up his sciatica but this trip he seemed to do fine. A couple days ago I had the energy to finish the Pikku-Lilli baby cap, pattern by Lene Alve, which I cast on for during the trip. It was so much fun I immediately cast on for a bigger one for Violet. In going through all the pictures from the trip this evening I was chagrined to find I haven’t taken any photos yet of the cap. Until then here’s a picture of the grandkids that I took shortly after we arrived at their house and we’d just given them each a slinky.

And now I’d like to direct your attention to a friend of mine, Ellie, whom I wrote about three years ago when she set out to tackle the Appalachian Trail. She’s taken on another huge challenge this coming Saturday, The Savageman Triathlon. The 2012 Savageman is dedicated to raising awareness and funds for the Joanna M Nicolay Melanoma Foundation. It seems as though we all hear of Breast Cancer awareness and fundraising but rarely the other deadly cancers that affect so many of our friends. (I have 3 friends who’ve battled it.) Skin cancer is the #1 cancer in the US with Melanoma the most deadly form!

Ellie is 60 and taking on one of the toughest triathlons out there! She’s been an inspiration to me when I get the doldrums and want to stop working at trying to be more physically fit. I’d love to have you take a look at her page, and if possible make a donation to such a worthy effort. 🙂

A Walker

I had been at the counter a handful of moments when the postmistress popped around the corner exclaiming, “You’re a fast walker! I thought I’d get to the counter just as you did.” She had seen me coming in along the back way to the Post Office.

My ability to walk fast came from my mother, Anita. She had a long, effortless mile eating stride. As a youngster walking to the store, in the pasture or along the country road, she’d encourage me to take bigger steps, to swing my legs forward so I could keep up with her. None of the small mincing, hip-swaying steps for her. (Though her mother saw to it that she developed into a lady! During  college she was crowned the May Queen – the highest honor coveted by most of the female students.)  She laughed at her ability to walk quickly.

My mother loved walking. Growing up she and her younger brother, Roy, raced the four blocks to the neighborhood tennis courts in Berkley Park to play a few sets before breakfast. Their dad often drove the family into the Colorado Rocky Mountains  in pursuit of  mining and logging towns, hidden lakes, and mountain summits. He’d travel long distances, camera slung over his shoulder in search of  great photos while she and her brothers roamed along with him.

If she had her choice between domestic activities or yard work, she’d chose the yard work in a flash preferring to be outside whether working in the yard, playing tennis, swimming and diving in Berkley Lake or exploring the mountains with the family. As the second daughter, and second to the oldest child she felt overshadowed by her older sister. Bernice seemed to have natural talent for whatever she put her hand to whether it was painting, poetry, photography, sewing, gardening, cooking, teaching or raising a large family.  Anita had a more reserved nature and preferred quiet talks, long rambles, swimming and tennis, playing the violin and writing. Occasionally she’d confess that she often felt inadequate compared to her accomplished sister. Her words would wring my heart for she was a woman who didn’t show affection easily but loved deeply and with great commitment. She was one of the most selfless people I have ever known. Even when she was ill she’d be out helping the shut-in people, taking them groceries and meals or driving them to doctor’s appointments or simply sitting and listening to people who came to her for counsel, prayer and wisdom.

Her lungs had been flooded with gasoline when she was in too big of a hurry and impatient at the slowness of getting the gas to start flowing when she needed to fill her car tank. For some odd reason the tank that was provided where she was a missionary on the Hopi reservation in the late 40’s didn’t have a regular pump and nozzle but she or the other missionary woman always had to siphon it to get it going. She inhaled sharp and long and suddenly was gasping for her life, her lungs drenched in gasoline. They rushed her the long, rough dirt roads to Winslow where she was in critical condition for many days before her strong lungs and body began to heal. Her lungs were scarred for the rest of her life but she didn’t let that stop her from being active and walking. One of my earliest memories is of her standing outside on the back porch early every morning drawing in slow, deep lungfuls of air through her nose then even more slowly expelling it through her pursed mouth exercising her lungs making them stretch, expand and become flexible for the day ahead.

When she was sixty-five she had the opportunity to hike down into Havasupai to spend a week as part of the outreach program at the college where she was a Bible and English teacher. Excited at this incredible opportunity to hike in the remote, jaw-dropping beautiful place at the lower end of the Grand Canyon, but rather daunted at such an undertaking she began a daily walking regime that would put many a younger person to shame. By the time she stood at the top of the rim looking down into the canyon with its steep, switchback descent she was ready to tackle the trail.

She lived towards the south end of Silverton during her last years. Even as the scar tissue in her lungs slowly squeezed off her air capacity she continued to walked the mile into town to buy a few groceries, go to the bank or post office. Her limited lung capacity (about a quarter of normal!) forced her to slow down with age but she still managed to walk faster than many people her age.

Today would have been her 96th birthday. Tears well up and my heart constricts when I think of how much she would have loved her great-grandchildren. She was so gentle, yet firm with little ones – they always felt safe with her.

When we lived on the Navajo reservation she tried to keep ingredients on hand for her delicious stand-by cake recipe for when people would drop in unexpectedly or she’d hear of a need for some food. It’s not scratch but it’s delicious! In honor of her birthday here’s the recipe for

Fast Fixin’ Chocolate Cake
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Grease or lay parchment paper in bottom (my favorite method) 9 x 13″ pan.

1 – Box Devil’s Food Cake (or any dark chocolate cake mix)
1 – Box Instant Chocolate Pudding
2 – eggs
1/2 C Vegetable Oil (I use coconut oil or melted butter)
1 1/4 C Water
1 C Chocolate Chips (I often use more)
Caramel Ice cream topping (my addition)

Beat eggs, add the water and oil, mixing well.
Dump in the Cake mix and Pudding mix, gently mix until blended.
Stir in the chocolate chips and pour into greased, or parchment paper lined pan.

Drizzle the caramel topping back and forth across the top.*

Bake about 35 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

*Mom didn’t use a topping or icing on her cake, instead, when the cake cooled she dusted the top with powdered sugar which made a pretty presentation.
This cake is always a hit at potlucks, birthdays, and the community dinner. Especially with the caramel topping!

And now for a photo of wee Violet whom my mother would have adored with her whole heart.