Friday, July 18, 2014

A Poem Shared

This is a drawing our grandson (and Julie's son) Samuel sent to the insurance man for Father's Day. It is a Native American arrowhead, submerged in a stream. It came along with an original poem that Sam wrote for his Papa. I asked him for permission to share it here.

"Here he lies, the old arrowhead
who sits undisturbed
on the quiet creek bed.
Through sun, moon and stars
his path has led.
When he was  young he used to fly
like some bird of death,
high into the sky.
Though from the day he was lost
he was made here to lie.
But now without knowing it
a hope he has got
though lies he abandoned
he lies not unsought,
because we remember the battles he fought."
Samuel Jones 
June 2014

Monday, July 14, 2014

Oh My... Ice in July!

 We had a short but intense thunder storm yesterday.
 Large marble sized hail, some as big as quarters. 
This does not even begin to show the damage that was caused. It just looks kind of pretty here. Let's just say this morning I have a new appreciation of what it must be like to clean up after a tornado or hurricane, or tropical storm.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Feeling a Bit Domestic

 It's July and it's hot outside, so I typically garden first thing in the morning and try to be inside by around 10am. I am free from piano lessons this summer, and so have decided to do several cleaning chores and some extra cooking with some of my free time. The first thing I decided to do was to try and make sauerkraut like Julie posted on here some while ago. I cut up my head of cabbage, and decided to use the crock above to ferment it in. After adding my salt, I put it into the crock above and weighted it down with agates in a bowl. After all it is summer, and the agates remind me of the beach, the cool beach. I think I left it in the crock for 6 or 7 days. I had never done this before, and I don't think I have actually tasted sauerkraut many times in my life. Certainly never homemade. A real adventure. The insurance man was dubious....

It came out beautifully, not too strong but rather salty. I decided to add it with other ingredients my first time out, so I sliced up some sweet onion and bell pepper, and stir fried them with the sauerkraut all together and added some large chunks of Italian sausage. It was good, but could have used more seasoning. We both liked it. I am going to try a different recipe for the kraut I have left.
Another morning I decided to clean out and organize the freezer. It's so much easier to find things, and to organize the meat we have to use it better. Each year we get 1/2 of a beef, grown by some good friends in Prineville. Anyway, I found 2 packs of soup bones and decided to make my own beef bone mineral broth. 

I cooked the bones with lots of veggies and scraps for flavor, and cooked the whole thing for 24 + hours. My first time to cook it that long. It made a nice rich broth when strained. The recipe said that the broth would gel as it cooled, and sure enough it did. I added the veggies and spices for a nice beef soup and could just feel all that goodness going down. There was actually a lot of meat on my soup bones, not like the photo above, so the soup was really yummy. (I even shared the cooked bones with a couple of black labs visiting next door.) It made a lot of soup, so it went into my nice clean freezer for another soup day.
And finally, I made up some freezer jam. It was and is a good year for berries in Oregon. I made strawberry, raspberry and a batch of strawberry/raspberry combo. We will be enjoying that this autumn.  

Tomorrow I am going to polish my silver in the morning. Next week I have in mind to clean out my china hutch and wash all the dishes. Who knows?

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

A Summer Evening Walk Past Cabins on the Metolius River

 We went camping this past week-end, to the beautiful Metolius River not too far from home. This is one of our favorite spots to camp and hike. There are a couple of bridges spanning the river and good hiking trails on both sides. Each evening we crossed the bridge to the west side and hiked the trail about a mile downriver to Camp Sherman. Along the trail are some wonderful old river cabins that the Forest Service built starting in 1916, but most in the 1930's. People now own the cabins and lease the land from the Forest Service. I love these old rustic summer homes and the touches people have added, and took some photos to share here.
The big screened in porches are wonderful in the evening. Some people were dining out on their porches, and some were empty like this one.

The people that owned this cabin had faced it with bark from the ponderosa pines all over the area. It gave an interesting look. The also made a path down to the river with tree stumps of differing heights, which kept it rustic.

This cabin had a path to the river and then a bridge to the island in the center of the river. We crossed over and saw that it would have made a wonderful place to play for children, in the tall grasses and wildflowers on the island.

 Here's a shot of the other side of the river and what the cabins looked like from a distance. They are not spaced too close together and it leaves a lot of privacy.
 There were swings of many kinds, but this one along the path was so rustic and homey, and looked just like it belonged.
 This one is a rustic gate and fence. You should click on the photo to see it well. The cabin is almost hidden back behind the grasses. The photo below is of the same cabin after you enter the gate. It looks really old, and simple and I could almost imagine one of our pioneer homesteaders sitting on the porch, rocking and smoking a pipe.
 Some of the cabins are a bit more updated with new windows, doors or roofs.
 I think some people live in these updated versions all year round. Please do click on these photos to see all the details, and charm of these cabins.
 Not all of the cabins are wooden. There are a couple like this one made of native stone. It too is charming. They have built on a deck and the furniture for it is all made from the surrounding forest. 
And then we arrived at the small 'town' of Camp Sherman. We stopped for a short break on the Post Office porch, where we shared a bottle of water purchased from the country store, below. 

 After watching the river for a bit, we started back on the trail on the east side of the river.
 It was growing dusk by then and it looked so comforting to see the lights lit and the smoke curling in the cabins along the way. Not all the cabins are Forest Service brown, but the majority are.
Some cabins had great rock chimneys, again made from local lava rock. I bet that one lets off a lot of heat in winter snows.
This cabin had a man sitting and rocking in one corner of this porch. He didn't seem to mind us snapping a photo of his wonderful cabin, with the lights glowing behind him.

 And finally some cabins even had country curtains, although most did not. This cabin had the homey touch of knotty pine interior walls with a brick chimney and fireplace.
Lucky families who own these beauties and pass them on to their children and their children's children. And lucky us, to enjoy the walk and the cabins and the river.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Individual Desires Eclipse Sense of Social Duty

Following is a quote I wanted to share that I appreciated this week.  It comes from the book When Fathers Ruled:Family Life in Reformation Europe, by Stephen Ozment.  My husband read it to me during a dinner discussion that we were having about the differences in the way that children are trained (or not trained) today and the way they have been taught in times in the past.  The main difference we were discussing had to do with table behavior and conversation, but it applies to all conduct and decision-making.  Manners taught in times in the past (for instance, at the table) were a reflection of a greater value system where kindness to the group was more important than individual expression.

"In the sixteenth century children were raised and educated above all to be social beings; in this sense they had more duties toward their parents and society than they had rights independent of them. This did not mean that the family lacked an internal identity or that loving relationships failed to develop between spouses, between parents and children, and among siblings. Privacy and social extension were not perceived contradictory. The great fear was not that children would be abused by adult authority but that children might grow up to place their own individual rights above society's common good. To the people of Reformation Europe no specter was more fearsome than a society in which the desires of individuals eclipsed their sense of social duty. The prevention of just that possibility became the common duty of every Christian parent, teacher, and magistrate."

Thursday, June 26, 2014

A Southern Oregon Break

Bridge at Gold Beach, Oregon
 In 1962 my family took our summer vacation as usual in Los Angeles, visiting my grandparents. Not as usual however, we took along our travel trailer and traveled down the Oregon Coast. I was 12 years old, and don't really remember much of that trip. The one thing that stuck with me over the years was a trip my Dad arranged for us up the Rogue River, out of Gold Beach, Oregon. This is the place that the wild and beautiful Rogue River rushes into the Pacific Ocean and is one of two rural mail routes left in America along a waterway. In 1958 an enterprising soul thought to make boats that could hold tourists as well as deliver the mail up-river. Somehow my father found out about this, and we were among some of the first tourists to go by boat up the Rogue to Agnes, Oregon about 36 miles up-river. They offered lunch at the Singing Springs Ranch, and then returned us all to Gold Beach. The beauty of the river and the fun of the trip never left me, and to repeat the trip eventually became an item on my bucket list. When the insurance man and I decided to take a short break from the hectic pace of May/June, I immediately knew that this was the perfect time to head to the south Oregon Coast. 
After a few adventures driving over from Central Oregon, we arrived in Gold Beach on a Thursday night. We crashed, and did virtually nothing but eat and rest on Friday. But by Saturday I was ready for a repeat trip up the Rogue.
 I was a little concerned about how it might have changed in 52 years, and gotten more 'sophisticated'. But one thing was reassuring right off the bat, in that the boats were virtually the same (although enclosed in 1962) and still made right there just for their purposes.
 Still the same company, and even some drivers left from the 60's.
They offered 3 different trips, the main one plus two other white-water rafting trips that went further up the river through rapids and took a whole day. We picked the same trip that my family took which started at 9:00 am and returned at 3:00 that afternoon. Our boat was full of eager river travelers, and with slightly cloudy skies and cool temperatures we all dressed warmly in layers. The scenery was as beautiful as I remembered, and we traveled against the current up the river canyon. Our driver was lots of fun, with great stories as we traveled. He also stopped to let us see birds and wildlife as we went. We saw several bald eagles, and a few on their nests high in the tallest parts of the trees overlooking the river. Wonderful views!
For lunch we had the choice of three different places that offered food, and again we chose the one that my family had been to, the Singing Springs Ranch. I need not have worried about changes, I don't think much of it had changed at all in 50 years. We hiked up a trail from the river to the top of the bluff, and there we found a simple buffet and took our meal out on the deck to enjoy the views of the river. Nice people and great memories.

I'm always on the lookout for flowers, and found these beautiful wild rose bushes along the trail with the river below.

You can't see them, but there are green leafy boughs over my head, and the river is below. Can you tell I'm on vacation mode?

On the way back the boat driver did lots of loops and fast turns to have some fun, and spray water all over us. Fortunately for me, the insurance man was on the outside and he's the one that came back soaked! 
Returned safely and satisfyingly, another bucket item crossed off my list.
We stayed in the area for several days, and checked out the towns of Brookings, Gold Beach, Port Orford and Bandon. Lots of hard working people there, and lots of fishing going on from the ports. We had a great dinner one night overlooking the harbor and celebrated our 43rd anniversary. On the day we visited Port Orford, we stopped at a Coast Guard Lifeboat Museum.
This is one of the actual lifeboats used until the early 80's, now decommissioned and on display. Interesting to see how things were stored and how this boat worked to rescue sailors in the worst possible storm conditions in the ocean.
This was the crew quarters for half a century, and is now the museum. They do a great job of depicting life here, and the risks the men took. It also showed some great history of how the Coast Guard protected our Western shoreline from enemy attacks in WW II.
This photo shows the safe harbor at the bottom of the cliff where the lifeboats were stored and launched. The Coast Guard crew had to run up and down the cliff to take supplies and rescue equipment to their boat before setting out on a mission. The lives they saved were impressive.

We also enjoyed walks on the beach while we were there.
 Interesting and beautiful beaches, with lots of rocks and few people. One thing we noticed was hardly any seagulls or sea shells. Just miles of sand and rock.
The views from our motel room were great, and the sunsets just were incredible. 
All in all a good break from routine, and we are back in full summer swing here in Central Oregon.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Rare Days in June

This has been a happy, busy summer so far. I thought I would share several of our goings on.
  First off, we have had exceptionally beautiful weather, with blue skies, cool nights and days in the 70's. The garden is blooming, with the wild roses spicing the air.
A couple of days ago however, 2 man-caused wild fires broke out 6 miles west of our city. Wildfires seem to be the only natural disasters we encounter here in Central Oregon on the High Desert.
 As the sun went down that evening we drove to where we could watch the fire and see the sun set in the smoke. Someone said we were in 'a beautiful mess'. That seems a good description of the last several days, as it takes the smoke and hardship to create these dramatic and beautiful conditions and photos.

These photos don't really do it justice, but they are amazing just the same. Now, the fires are contained, and the crews are just mopping up the hot spots. After some emergency evacuations and scares, things are slowly returning to normal. This is very early in the fire season for us, and we have dry, drought conditions, so the coming summer will be a challenge.
 Granddaughter Kory and her boyfriend Sam came for a visit. We had a great time, and enjoyed lots of good food, good visiting and good activities. Yesterday we hiked along the Deschutes River for 2.5 miles and enjoyed the beautiful day and being together.
You just can't beat that!
It seems to be piano recital season, both at Julie's in West Virginia and here in Oregon.
I held my recital at our church last Sunday afternoon. Here are a few scenes from our fun event:
 I had two of my students be our program distributors, and they did a fine job.
Here are most of the students, waiting patiently (or somewhat impatiently) for their turn to play.


A good time was had by all.....
And finally, we celebrated my in-laws 70th anniversary with a community-wide reception in their home-town.

 Wow...a marriage still going strong after 70 years. Now that's something to celebrate!
 Our niece Kellie and daughter Tiegan....
and some of the men-folk of the family.
"And what is so rare as a day in June? Then if ever come perfect days."
James Russell Lowell
What a nice time we have had, and what a great beginning to our summer.
The insurance man and I are off on a June vacation to the southern Oregon coast, and I will be back here in a couple of weeks. See you then.