Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Spring in Central Oregon

When I woke up yesterday morning this is the kind of day I expected after 80+ degree weather last week. I wanted to hang out my laundry...feel the sun, and breathe in the fresh scents.
BUT, this is the kind of spring day I awoke to.....

It seems like the warm air current from Mexico is battling with the cold air current from Alaska...and the Alaska front is winning!

We often have extremes of weather in the Spring....a spike like last week, and then cold frosty days...but not usually snow this late. I went outside to check the flowers, and they were happily absorbing the moisture. They don't care in which way it comes. We had rain, sleet, hail, and snow yesterday and the flowers and bushes didn't seem to mind a bit. The birds they were out in force.

Bleeding hearts are the first of my plants to bloom, besides the spring bulbs. This one is in a protected corner, and getting along happily with the wild weather.
This is another variety of bleeding heart, and it stays full and blooming all season long, while the other ones die back. They both grow from the ground up each spring, and this is a lot of foliage for April 28th around here.
It's another good reminder to accept the providence's of God in whatever form they come...they are all good!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Cute Baby

One morning last week we heard some noise out our front window, and saw this baby bird walking jerkily around and squawking. It continued that on down our driveway a bit, until it came to the sunshine and then decided to settle on the warm concrete with the sun on its back. I wasn't sure what kind of bird it was, but kept an eye on it while settling down in front of our big window to have my devotions. Pretty soon a mourning dove was diving around, landing in the bushes, on our truck, and in general acting distressed. After very cautiously scouting around for possible enemies, it approached the asleep in the sun.
I watched as this plucky little mama poked the baby to get it moving. She would poke it with her beak and move it a little, then the baby would flap its wings wildly, but just couldn't get off the ground. Mama and baby repeated this procedure about 1/2 way down our driveway...over and over. The baby had a pretty good size wing spread, but just couldn't get lift off. Boy, do I feel like that sometimes! Finally, mama flew off giving up for that time. The baby stayed there, and as I couldn't stay there all day...the next time I checked on it the baby was gone. I don't really know the end of this story, but I like to think the mama dove succeeded at last and her cute baby flew up out of harms way. Isn't that what all mamas want for their babies when they leave the nest?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Seasonal Clothing Shift

We're still in the clothing-switch phase. Every spring and every fall, life is full of CLOTHES as I get together everyone's wardrobe for the coming season. All of the clothes are gathered and ready and now we are in the part of the phase where we slowly remove those cold weather clothes and replace them with the warm weather clothes. I have also shifted storage around in the girls' room so that Cecily's clothes all have a place to reside. This little dresser in the closet was the inexpensive answer to my storage problem. The only trouble is that I had to take off the closet door in order to open the drawers. So...I'd like to know what you think. Should I get together a little curtain to cover this space or does it look just fine as it is? Everytime I see her little summer dresses hanging here, I smile. It's still not warm enough to wear them so they hang here in expectation and a constant reminder of the good warm weather that's coming. Lots of seersucker and smocking should make for cute summer pictures.

Friday, April 24, 2009

A New Front Door

Mom/Bethel has been waiting for a new front door for 50 years...isn't that something? Last year she and Dad decided to have a few remodeling projects done around their house. She was most exited about getting a new front door, as she has never liked the one that was there. As their handyman got busy it became all too evident that the front door was going to be the last thing on his list (of course). She patiently waited...and waited....and when it finally came this past January it was defective and had to be sent back and re-ordered. I think God was teaching her a patience lesson, and she never complained or whined a bit. BUT she was happy when it came, was stained and FINALLY put into place. This is what her lovely door looks like.
And when the sun shines, the glass just sparkles with beauty. It was worth waiting for!

Thursday, April 23, 2009


I tasted rain in the air as I walked. The clouds were low tonight, almost touching the edge of the field. It had been a dry spring, and I felt relief as the raindrops landed heavily one by one. I crossed the dirt road and strode among the stone pillars and slabs, marking the resting places of my friends and family. The rain drops made dark splotches on the granite as I stopped by a well known grave. It was a simple stone and small. Here lay my Almira, my wife gone so young. I felt a comfort here, as I sat in the now pouring rain. I talked and told her how Joe and Rob had grown so tall and strong. I told her about my planting and about Etties' problems as a school teacher. Her voice seemed to come back to me in the music of the rain. We had only been together eight years, but living here was hard without much regard for life. Another wife and 9 more children were good, but somehow I needed to touch Almira, my lost love. "I remember coming into Lost Valley and finding you here," I reminded her. "I thought I was going to die with the wagons, but instead I found you and our own land." I put my face up into the rain and remembered her hair, her loving, her strength. She had been the prize at the end of my fight to survive, waiting for me to claim her. I knew she was waiting for me now...another prize when the battle of my life was over.

Elias Pitzer Williams 1837-1921
Almira Russell Williams 1842-1866

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Easter Hat

She didn't wear it on Easter. That story is on my other blog. But one week late, Millie wore the little Easter hat and gloves to church. The hat has been worn for three generations, starting with my mom, Jennie. She put it on me and my sisters also and now I get to put it on my little girls. Luckily, Millie likes hats and "mittens." She was happy to wear them and happy to pose. Something tells me Cecily may have other tendencies when she gets this old. We will see.Calvin said she looked like a "town girl." I'm not sure what that means. : )

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Snow Geese

When we were in Harney County for Easter, we decided to go out for a ride Saturday afternoon. It had been migratory bird time there, and I wanted to see some of the beautiful snow geese. My mother-in-law was doubtful if they were still around. She told me that they come in late February, stay for about 40 days feeding to gain strength, and then continue on their journey north. They really are a sight to see in their giant flocks. JoAnn, Mom and I traveled around the country, looking at different familiar landmarks, but no snow geese were to be seen. Finally, after turning back for home we spotted some in the air circling. Mom pulled over to the side of the road and watched them to see where they were going to land. They were headed west so we followed them, watching them fly in their patterns above us. As we grew closer to town we could see they were settling behind the Fair Grounds. The gates were open, so Mom drove through to the back and we were in luck. They were feeding in the grass, and we could drive right up to them. There were actually hundreds of them, but at a short angle we could only capture a few on film. Mom stopped and we watched them for a while. They were on the ground and in the sky, a wonderful sight. But they are very skittish, and when we pulled forward just a little for a better shot....
up in the air they all flew. They are all white, except for the black marks on the bottom edges of their wings. From above they look snow white, but from below like in this photo, they look much darker.
They circled and some flew off, others landed in the water a distance from us, more protected. This is only a small amount of geese, compared to the thousands that land in this country...only the remaining ones. But we were thrilled to get to see them up close and personal, as well as their stunning sky display. I love the photos above, just because you can see that Harney County is 'Big Sky Country' too, and you can see from horizon to horizon. A great place to visit!

Friday, April 17, 2009

An old chair, well used and loved

This is a child's wooden rocking chair that we have inherited. I showed a photo of our granddaughter Macy in it last week. When we visited Burns we visited with our Aunt Wilma, the original owner of this chair. She and my mother-in-law were eager for me to post a few photos of the chair and it's history.
On the bottom of the rocker we have taped the information about its origins to preserve the story. It was made for Aunt Wilma by her grandfather, Joe Williams of Ontario, Oregon. The paper says 1919, but it must have been closer to 1917 because of the photo below this .
Here is Wilma in her wonderful new chair with a dolly. Since she was born in 1916, I would say that she had her chair by the following year as a toddler.

Here are Wilma's two sisters Bethel (my mother-in-law) and Elna in about 1937. They are a bit too big for the rocker, but it works really well for their two dolls. They entertained themselves on their farm in Ontario.
Here are the three sisters, almost grown up...Wilma-top, Bethel-right, and Elna-left, along with the rocker. They are entertaining their cousin Edith's son Gene in 1940. The rocker is just right for either toddlers or baby dolls. It really is big enough for larger kids too, and so heavy and sturdy that I could sit in it...if I could fit in it! Interesting that all the photos of it in Ontario are out of doors.
This is my oldest grandson Samuel. He is enjoying the rocker on a visit to my house, and I'm enjoying photographing him. This was in 2002 or 2003. After Aunt Wilma had to give up living on her own, we inherited her precious rocking chair. There is also a table that was made for her, and Aunt Elna has that to pass down in her family. Since we brought the rocker home, all my grandchildren have enjoyed it. When Julie has brought a little one home, she sometimes uses it to feed them in...and it works great. The only casualty has been when Calvin got turned around in it and got his legs stuck through the slats. We soon had him rescued though.
And this is another shot of Macy covering herself up and watching Veggie Tales in the rocker. What a precious heritage. It's so sturdy it will go on for several succeeding generations I'm sure...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Easter Cookies

We were at my in-laws for Easter week-end in Burns. For dessert my mom-in-law served home grown and canned apricots and sugar cookies decorated with little Easter egg candies. So festive and spring-like. We all took a cookie to enjoy when she popped up with this warning "be careful when you bite down!" We all stopped and looked at her and with a mischievous grin she let us know that she had hidden a quarter in one of the cookies. "Of course I gave the quarter a bath first" she informed us. "Whoever gets the quarter gets to keep it" was her last comment.
My insurance man was the lucky winner, and not only did he get a delicious cookie baked by his Mom, but a quarter as well. What a fun dessert time!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Girls at Easter

There is so much one could say at Easter. So much to think and ponder on. Today is Good Friday and I really appreciated Nancy Wilson's blog on why the word 'Good' is used on this day. I look forward each year to our service at Church on this night of Christs Crucifixion.
But in the end, I decided to show some of the beauty of Easters past, in keeping with the theme of this in our daily lives. Little girls dressing up for Church on special Easter mornings is certainly a beautiful sight.
This is my daughter Joy dressed up for Church in Burns, where it is always cold at Easter. Julie has the hat and gloves in this picture, and she asked me to find a picture of her dressed up in them. I couldn't find a photo of her...mainly because she never kept anything on long enough to get a photo of it. Also her hair was a bit unruly, and was usually done up in pigtails, so not good for a flat hat. The closest I could come was this picture of Joy wearing the gloves and hat. The gloves I bought for her, and the hat was mine when a small girl. Add a dress and coat passed down from her cousins and she was ready to go. Julie is planning on using these same gloves and hat for Millie on Sunday and I can't wait to see the photo she will post. We really like to pass things down you see...
As long as I was looking for Easter photos of Julie I thought I would pass along this favorite of mine. She was one year old in 1977, and in Grandmas' back yard hunting for eggs. Aunt Peggy was just in the nick of time to rescue her from biting into the hard boiled egg, shell and all! Grandmas' dog Dondie was watching all the fun too. Usually it was too cold to hunt eggs out-of-doors, and we ended up in Grandmas' basement...but this was an unusually nice year.
This was Joy and Julie in 1978, ready for Church and posing for a picture in our back yard. The gloves are back on Joy's hands, but with both having pig-tails, there was no hat.
After finding pictures of Joy and Julie, I wanted to find one more that included JoAnn. We had moved to Portland and the weather was usually more moderate with flowers blooming. Julie has a funny smile here...kind of like her William sometimes makes. I made JoAnn's dress and had so much fun doing it. I think it is the one I enjoyed the most in the making.
And one last photo of dressing up for Easter. This is 1957, and the frilly girl is me. Julie asked if I had a photo of me wearing the above hat...and I searched but no such luck. So I decided to include this instead. I love patent leather shoes and frilly dresses!
But why should we concentrate on clothing at Easter? After all, Jesus' clothes were taken from him and Romans cast lots for them. I think the answer lies in the age old answer of doing and looking our very best for him. I imagine on the feast days of Israel that the Jews put on and out their very best. And the tradition goes is part of our celebration. So, I hope each of my girls and their girls is celebrating this week-end.

2 Year Birthday, 2 Generations

My mom dug out this picture for me and scanned it. This is me, Julie, on my 2nd birthday in 1978. My own daughter, Millie, just had her 2nd birthday and I tried to make a similar cake. It was fun to see the cute cake that my mom had made for me and feel loved by that 31 years later. I wanted Millie to have the same thing. :-)

Canned Cream of Chicken Soup Replacement

I recently tried making a cream of chicken soup substitute for the canned variety that is called for in so many recipes. I've never particularly loved the flavor of the canned soup and I know it isn't very good for you. What I tried was so easy and succesful that I thought I would share it. The only catch is that it's more like the equivalent of reconstituted canned soup. It's not thick and globby, but smooth and creamy. Most recipes that call for canned soup usually call for another ingredient, such as milk, to thin it anyway. You have to be able to make some adjustments to your recipe or you could add more flour to thicken the homemade one more, if you like.

Cream of Chicken Soup

3 cups chicken broth (I use all-natural soup cubes to make this)
1 cup milk or cream (I used some of both)
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
salt to taste

In a saucepan, mix all ingredients. Whisk until smooth and thickened over medium heat.
(If you wanted to make a cream of mushroom, you could use water instead of broth and add in sauteed mushrooms.)

I used this to make a sauce for chicken enchiladas and it was certainly better than the last time I made it with canned soup. Much more homemade flavor.

Happy cooking!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Spring Break

We had a visit from our oldest daughter Joy, three of her daughters and husband Kirk last week during their Spring Break. I thought I would post a few of the photos of fun things we enjoyed.
These first two pictures are of Macy Hope, now 1 1/2 years old . She like to watch Veggie Tales movies, so she found a comfy chair just her size and a doll bed blankie to make herself right at home. Aunt Wilma, I trust you recognize your rocking chair....and that it's being put to good use. What a sturdy rocking chair it is too...90+ years old and going strong.
I had some fun time playing the piano with Macy...and she enjoyed it too as she is showing one of her rare smiles for the camera.

We spent one day in Sisters, had lots of fun and went to see a herd of raised elk.

I used to have a tradition of decorating a small tree out front as an 'Easter' tree as our trees don't have buds or leaves as yet. This year our oldest granddaughter Kory did the decorating..and it looks as good as ever. I can hardly believe she's old enough to reach the branches and decorate herself.

We celebrated my insurance man's birthday while they were here with a prime rib dinner Joy cooked for him, and a basket full of goodies.

Macy decided to help do the laundry with Papa one afternoon, and ended up with some clean undies for decoration.

And here I sat, watching and enjoying all the fun.
Our girls....Kory on the left, Lilly (our adopted granddaughter) and Kendall on the right. They did keep things interesting! A good time was had by all : )

Monday, April 6, 2009

It's Done!

Well, my patchwork quilt is all done and I am pleased with the results. JoAnn is pleased too. I do like the colors, but these photos still look like winter time, and as I am trying to update the blog for springtime, it seems like the quilt should be in pastels. I did in fact see a rag quilt for sale at a local home decor store that was all in pastels, but was just a very small lap robe size. The photo above shows the quilt about folded in half so you can get the idea of it's size. It is big enough to put on top of JoAnn's bed.
The clipping of the seams was messy and time-consuming, but it worked well and makes a fun patchwork effect. It was a great project to work on while sitting down. This is a much quicker project than making an entire quilt, and is fun for a change. After cutting out the squares for this quilt about 4 1/2 years ago, it feels so good to finish this project up. JoAnn has been very good about not complaining, but I'm sure she thinks it's about time too.
This is the back of the quilt...smooth likes normal blocks sewn together for a quilt. It's reversible, so you can change the look. There is something very satisfying about sewing, and creating things for gifts or for the house. I'm thinking about my next project now....

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

God's Encouragement

For three plus years now we have belonged to a health sharing ministry called Samaritan Ministries. Julie and her family of 8 are also members. There are many great reasons to be involved with this ministry instead of traditional health insurance, but I have just experienced one of them. For three years each month, we have sent a check to another believing family along with a card of encouragement and prayed for them. This has been a blessing in and of itself, but this last month we have been on the receiving end of this blessing. Many days it was hard to stay focused and encouraged (shall I say up out of the dumps?) even though reading in my Bible and praying. Staying down, sometimes sitting all day with my leg up, and sometimes laying flat on my back for 48 hours was just plain hard. As the cards began to pour into the mailbox in March, I began to see God's hand working in and through them and the people who took the time to send a note. These personal notes of encouragement from people I had never met, seemed truly to be a ray of sunshine sent from God's heart to mine. I know perfectly well that God does not need to use any physical means for encouragement, but in this case He did. What a special program Samaritan Ministries is.
I narrowly escaped some serious consequences of a blood clot going awry (into my lung...instead of heart or brain) and I know that having so many praying was surely a grand and glorious thing. It brought the glory to God for protection and we are praising and thanking Him. Some days are still rather bleak, but always God is faithful. Today one of my daughters and her family are coming for a visit of 5 days to help us celebrate my insurance man's birthday. Happy Birthday honey! We will be having a great visit and I will be posting photos, but again I can't wait for some commotion around here and the liveliness that kids bring. I am also thankful for 2 other very faithful daughters who have called virtually daily to help me as they can, and Julie's children never fail to bring a smile to my lips or a tear to my eye. The details of our lives each day become very precious when we are taken out of the game for while. Today I am extra grateful for the cards and words God sent in March.