Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Perfect Celebration of 45 Years

To celebrate our 45th anniversary (could it possibly be so long ago?) we decided to try camping in the insurance man's stomping grounds, Harney County.
We traveled 22 miles or so south of Burns, to a campground at The Narrows. This was named for a small spit of land dividing Malheur and Harney Lakes. It no longer is the only division, as the Lakes have shrunk over the years, but is stilled called the Narrows. There is now a restaurant/gift shop, and campground there, where once was a small thriving town at the turn of the 20th century.
This is High Desert Country, with only scrub, sagebrush and field grass in sight. The owners of the campground have planted, watered and tended trees to suit the desert environment, making our campsite shaded and pretty. The above tree (unknown species to me) was so pretty with dusty sage green leaves and dark red berries. I loved sitting beneath it and watching the birds come and go with beaks full of berries.
 As you can see there were not a lot of people here, making it quiet and peaceful with only the coyotes calling at night. I loved seeing the blue skies from horizon to horizon full of bright sun in the daytime, as it traveled from sunrise to sunset.
 We had decided on two of our favorite pastimes, mine a bit of solitary reading and relaxing and his going out to hunt for arrowheads in the desert (on private land with permission.) He got up early on Saturday and Sunday to head out, while I slept in until I wanted to get up to read and write letters. He came in around lunch time each day to clean up. His parents, Larry and Bethel drove out to join us for lunch on Saturday at the restaurant and then a bit of chatting and dozing at our campsite before returning home.
A perfect anniversary breakfast for one!
 This is some beautiful country, for those who know how to appreciate it. After Mom and Dad left, we took a long drive. The above photo is green irrigated area with the Steens Mountains in the background. The 'notch' you see in the Steens is called Kiger Gorge and is famous for it's wild mustangs. The view from up there includes 3 states.
 Some famous Harney County sites, and yes the population of Diamond does say 9. That's because there's not much of a town, but most live on ranches in the beautiful Diamond Valley.

The insurance man came back on Sunday with a big smile on his face. These were his reward, and boy did it make him happy. He is really good at finding these and appreciating the Native American work. (If you click on the photo to enlarge it you can appreciate them too!)
A campfire at night, in the belly of an old re-used wash machine basket, was just right before bed. We started before sunset, then watched a desert sky as it finally darkened and the summer stars appeared.
We were blessed with perfect weather and no bugs to speak of. After returning to Burns on Sunday, and a Chinese dinner with Mom and Dad, we left for home satisfied and still in love after 45 wonderful years.

Friday, July 8, 2016

4th of the July the way it should and family!

We were blessed to have granddaughter Macy here the week before the 4th. We did lots of fun 4th of July things, and here is a fun red, white & blue breakfast of yogurt and fruit. Macy loves fruit!
And here Macy and the insurance man are frosting red, white and blue cupcakes for my piano recital. And eating a little bit too....
Finished product, and some of the refreshments for the recital. Moms brought red and blue cut up fruit to go along with the cupcakes.
 Emily is getting really good, and has been playing long enough to be relaxed at recital time.
And here are three cuties after the recital is over, so they have big smiles!
We took Macy home and stayed for the whole weekend. Saturday we all hung out at the Lewis River on family property. Kirk and the men took a 3 hour kayaking trip down the river to the property. The insurance man got a pretty bad sunburn on his legs, maybe the first ever, but enjoyed the beautiful scenery. Later, grandson Lane wanted a ride too. There was lots of time to spend with the babies and kids.
And lots of good time spent with daughter Joy.
On the 4th we all went to Ridgefield to watch the great parade they have there. 
Granddaughter Kory joined us for the parade as she had the day off from working.

Kirk drove his restored tractor in the parade along with Lane, and Kory brought her fiancé Sam as well. We are looking forward to their wedding in October, another fun family event.
And finally when we got home we took JoAnn and Neil to go watch the fireworks show at the home of more family here in Bend. JoAnn made a special scarf just for the event, and the weather cooperated as it was chilly and cool that night.
Great 4th of July 2016!


Thursday, June 23, 2016

June Happenings

Last weekend we had the blessing of attending a graveside service for my Aunt Joyce. We traveled over the mountain to where she lived her long, good life. We met up with my cousins Bill and Beckie, along with their families, shared some great memories and had good fellowship. We all grew up together, and it's hard to believe how old we are getting now...all these many years later. It was a true blessing to be together once again.

 Meanwhile, back at home the insurance man is hard at work, building our new storage shed. Every spare minute is going into this, hoping to complete it by the end of July.

It will not have electricity, so he found this cute window and placed it so that it faces NE, and will let in a lot of Central Oregon sunshine.

 Here are a few close-ups of the actual construction for those in WV interested in building a shed of their own.

and while he's working outside, I have a few 'shabby-chic' spots for reading and relaxing.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

June Projects

 So nice to  have a handy insurance man around the place! He is building us another storage shed, this one for storing our daughter JoAnn's belongings.
 He has the walls up, space for the door, the stringers on top for the roof now, and a cute window for light. More next time....stay tuned.
 There is always gardening this time of year, and we are getting slower each year, sigh.
 But the compensation is that we are having a wonderful spring, early summer with all the plants thriving, happy and beautiful.

A comfortable place to be for sure.
 Yesterday the insurance man brought in a letter from Julie's 9-year-old Millie when he brought in the mail. I had just written her, and so we had incoming and outgoing for each other. FUN!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Something New, Something Blue

 You might have read before that Mom (Jennie) helped my daughter Amelia do a sewing project while she was here visiting in West Virginia.  I thought I should show off their handiwork.  Amelia is 9 and this was her first time to sew much by herself.  Mom was terrifically patient with her and with the project which proved to be less than straight-forward.  There many good results, not the least of which was the covering of the unsightly hole that used to hold our dishwasher.  Since that space will remain empty for the time-being, it is so nice to have a curtain!   
We hope to make a matching curtain for the window above the sink during summer break in a few weeks.  A little more experience for Amelia and a little more beauty in the kitchen.  Thanks, Mom, for your perseverance and for the inspiration!

Monday, May 30, 2016

Loving Memorial Day Week-end

 Memorial Day week-end always seems to include a visit to the cemetery where my parents lie until the resurrection day. (Click on these two photos to enlarge for the best effect.)
We had a beautiful day yesterday, and the military section is always beautiful in it's own way, with flags flying. They must have a thousand flags up and include flags from each branch of the military, as well as tiny flags on each veterans grave, including my Dad's. Inspiring to think how many men have faithfully and honorably served.
 This spring has been a good one in Central Oregon. I got my very first bouquet of Lilly of the Valley and was just thrilled with their sweet, subtle scent. Now we are onto peonies, iris's and the first wild roses.
Another thing we always do is stay home and do projects. This week-end included some gardening, 2 dinners together with family, and a big project for the insurance man. He has started building an outdoor storage shed, and I'll post some photos as he goes along.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Once in a Lifetime Part 3

It was hard to say good-bye, as it always is. But good-bye it was, and on we drove back towards Oregon. We left West Virginia and crossed Ohio, then Indiana and Illinois and stopped at the eastern border of Iowa. We had planned on doing a little family research in Iowa and our first stop was Pioneer Cemetery in Scott County. My mother-in-law was a 'Brown' and her great grandfather and grandmother are buried here. Their names were Horace T Brown 1812-1854 and Alma Barber Brown 1816-1881.

Their daughter Angenette Brown, 1851-1867 is buried here also. She died at age 16.

There are a few other family members here also, and this is where Susan Alford Brown, (Alma's sister-in-law) was buried. 1830-1855

 Her little son George is buried beside her 1855-1856.

 It was a very pretty small cemetery among rolling farmland.
There was a stone wall around the cemetery and this cool old stone shed in one corner.
Seen from this photo of the wall, you can see the back of the shed was actually built into the wall.
Next we drove on to Des Moines, a large city. We were looking for a small cemetery in a suburb called Polk City. Our GPS took us out a gravel road that ended abruptly at the Des Moines River where a fisherman was trying his luck. So we backed up and tried again, this time with success. We were looking for the United Brethren Cemetery, which is in back of what is now a Methodist Church.

This is where ancestors of my father-in-law's mother are buried. We found the stone for the insurance man's great, great, great grandmother and grandfather and his great, great grandmother. Wow! Their last name was Fagan.

John Fagan (1806-1878) and Ann Gooden Fagan (1809-1875)

Their daughter Margaret Fagan Barrick is also buried here. (1839-1880)

This was a lovely spot, and wonderful to find these relations.
Next we drove to south Iowa and Ringgold County. This time we were looking for my side of the family. My great aunt Minnie used to come back here each year to visit her relatives. My grandfather was born here, and although they left the area when he was in high school there was much they talked about. We drove around to several little towns, all in the space of 20 miles or so, including Mount Ayr, Delphos, Malloy, Benton, and Diagonal. All very small towns and each unique in their own ways.
My grandfathers family lived in Benton, which is 3 miles from Mount Ayr, the county seat.


We found this little cemetery way out in the country after much difficulty (like our new car being covered in Iowa mud). Many of my great-grandmothers family are buried here. It was fenced but a good walk from the car. There were cows all around, curious and bellowing, and I thought perhaps one curious female was about to chase me back to the car.

The fence stopped them....
We then drove to yet another small cemetery in a place named Knowlton, which no longer exists. Again, fairly difficult to find. We stopped and asked the farmers...and then succeeded in tracking it down.
Centenary Cemetery, Knowlton
My great, great grandparents: Hannibal Jones (1832-1880) and Lorania Ely Jones (1833-1903).
Our biggest surprise was finding their oldest daughter Virginia (Jennie) Jones Asher (1852-1901) buried here. I had not previously been able to find her burial place.
And then, last but not least we drove to Western Iowa and Missouri Valley where both my ancestors and the insurance man's ancestors had farmed and lived.
In Harlan, Shelby County we found the burial place of the insurance man's great grandfather's brother Andrew Mager Brown (1854-1925) and his wife Rachel. His great grandfather had lived and farmed here also, but had eventually found his way west to Oregon.
This was a much larger cemetery, and we were only able to find the graves with the help of the men mowing and tending the sites. They gave us the phone number of the man who had a map of the cemetery and he was able to direct us to the right spot. We drove on south through Missouri Valley down to Harrison County and Cass Township. Here we were looking for Frazier Cemetery, the burial place of the insurance man's great, great, great grandfather Ammon Sherwood (1807-1893). We were running out of time and daylight that day. We discovered there were two cemeteries, Frazier and Old Frazier, each in a different little town. We only had time for one so we chose Old Frazier and found it was the wrong one. But at least we got to see the area where they farmed and lived.

One thing about doing family history research, is that it's striking that so many of our family lines came through Iowa. Both the insurance man and I had relatives that were poor farmers generally. Much the same in our backgrounds. We enjoyed looking around and discovering Iowa and appreciated the hard labor that must have gone into farming and feeding their families.

We headed west and drove through Nebraska. We had a terrific downpour one day, and because of that lost our way and went north out of our way about100 miles. But due to that we drove through the small town of Plainview, NE which happened to be where my father-in-law's grandfather immigrated to the United States to after leaving Denmark. It was a German community at that time, and again they were farmers there before leaving for Idaho. An unplanned but delightful mishap.

It took several more days of traveling through Wyoming, Utah and Idaho to reach Burns where we stopped for a quick visit with my in-laws before heading for home-sweet-home. As I titled these three was a once in a lifetime trip for us.