Thursday, March 25, 2010

Burns Trip

This past week-end, the insurance man, Doris and I drove to Burns. We wanted to view the migratory birds that come through in early spring. We left my in-laws home Saturday morning with a picnic lunch and spent the day mostly on the Malheur Bird/Wildlife Refuge out in the desert of Eastern Oregon. (For those of you who get Bethel's emails, these are the pictures that go with her Monday letter.) We saw several sand hill cranes close-up on our way out to the refuge, but didn't take any photos. Just before lunch we came upon some Tundra Swans out on the water by Buena Vista...just a one-building and rest stop kind of town. Doris is a wildlife biologist by training, and has two pairs of really great binoculars. She let us use the smaller, lighter pair and they worked so well, we enjoyed watching the swans for a long while. There were at least 50 swans here, resting and feeding before continuing their flight north. This is a view of the swans from an overlook above the water.
This is a view of the Steens Mountains to the south-east from the same overlook.

Dad and Mom at the overlook, where we took advantage of the nice location to eat our lunch.

They had recently put in these nice wall/benches which were so nice in the warm spring sunshine.

Here's Doris with her dandy binoculars. She has a can of root beer in her hand, only the second can of soda she has ever had. She doesn't quite know if she really likes it or not...

We continued on our way through the refuge stopping to view the museum there, and hear and see all the songbirds in the trees before driving on to Frenchglen.

We stopped for a restroom break there, and the insurance man took a power nap in the warm car, while Doris and I walked the street of Frenchglen. There is not much going on there in the off season. We did see a small group of black-tailed deer just out of town.

The hotel at Frenchglen...a fairly famous spot.

And this is the school there, built in 1927. In some ways it would be a fun job to teach at a small school like this.

On our way back home, we drove through the Fairgrounds to find the snow geese just outside of Bend. There are thousands of them, again feeding and resting before traveling on north. This is just a very small section of them.

They are easily spooked, and as I got my photo they decided to all take to the air. What a delight it is to watch them take off, each like a little airplane and to hear the giant whoosh of their wings flapping as they circle higher and higher.

The sky was filled with them, although no photo could ever do it justice. They are just so beautiful in flight.
We had a wonderful day, and arrived home to enjoy the smells and taste of crock-pot Mexican Chicken Chowder just waiting to be enjoyed!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


...or lack thereof! I am not terribly ambitious when it comes to crafting these days.I just don't have time to concentrate on non-necessary projects right now. BUT I managed to crochet these very simple bibs on a couple of Sunday afternoons in order to give my friend a homemade gift for her new baby. Since this is quite an accomplishment for me, I just had to share!

Monday, March 22, 2010

On a Monday morning..

There are a few different items to post about today. First, following up Julie's's a favorite quote from Jane Austen.
"Ah! There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort."
Second, one of my favorite things happened this morning. I went out to the mailbox at the end of our driveway, to find a package from Julie in West Virginia. In the package were two copies of a book written by a young woman in Julie's church, Tricia Regar, entitled "The Feminine Minority...a Brief History of Feminism and the Modern Woman." Julie had enjoyed it so much, that she sent it for me to read and an extra copy for me to let others read. I'm looking forward to it. Also in the package (and this is the favorite thing) were a pack of pictures drawn and painted by five of my grandchildren, along with thank-you notes from Christmas presents. I enjoyed each one greatly, but especially enjoyed the one from William age 9, as he wrote us several poems. Here is my favorite:
"Although the Son of God was born in a stall,
He will make His enemies fall
and the righteous stand up tall."
William Jones
Getting back to my sheet music are a couple more. The one at left in the photo below is entitled 'Love's Lullaby'. The interesting thing about this one is the portrait below at right. It says, "as sung by The Celebrated Hawaiian Tenor, Prince Leilani." I think there was a real fascination with all things Hawaiian at the time. This of course, was back in the days of Hawaiian royalty, before U.S. Statehood. My copy of 'Baby Face' says that it was to be played with the piano and was written for a ukulele accompaniment. 'Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered' at right, is the newest song in my stack, with much more of a jazz feel, and the music was written by the famous Richard Rodgers.

This piece of sheet music below is one of the popular songs of the sea at the time. I looked up this composer, Amanda Kennedy to find that she wrote a lot of music at the end of the 19th century. This particular piece was her most famous and was the best-selling song of the time for many years.
Another reason for writing music was for the various holidays. I am so glad to have this piece of music, written for Christmas (or for children.) When I was young we used to hear this piece on the radio around Christmas a lot. But I haven't heard it for many years now. It is a great one, and I love to play this. Bring back any memories for you?

One last poem:
"The sun may crumble,
man may die;
but God will reign
forever on high!"

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Sense and Sensibility

Elinor and Marianne Dashwood as portrayed in the 2008 BBC filming of Sense and Sensibility.

Have I ever showed you my Jane Austen set?

My previous next-door neighbor was selling these at a garage sale. Such a cute, hardback, coordinating set just couldn't be passed up. He wouldn't even let me pay for them.

I recently finished reading Sense and Sensibility. After seeing the new BBC film edition, I wanted to read it for myself as it was one of the few that I had not (now just Emma left).

I do recommend the film. It has a few flaws, in particular, the opening scene, but the rest is a very good representation of the book. However, just like any other movie that is based on a book, the book is superior. I highly recommend the book.

I wanted to share a few thoughts on what I like and appreciate about Jane Austen's writing and a favorite quote in demonstration.

One thing among many, that I love about Jane Austen's writing, is that she addresses moral topics. The reader, though reading a work of fiction, can actually be instructed by the lives of the characters. In Sense and Sensibility, two sisters both struggle through disappointment in love, but one sister learns from the other's conduct. I, myself, felt highly instructed by the conduct of the temperate sister, Elinor. When Elinor is finally able to reveal to her sister what she has known for 4 months, that the man she loves is already engaged to another young lady from several years previous and is too much of a gentleman to not uphold the engagement, her sister is naturally quite shocked. Having gone through the agony of losing the man that she loved herself, she is utterly shocked to find that her sister has suffered the same kind of loss without ever betraying her feelings in any way.

"'Four months!' cried Marianne again. 'So calm! so cheerful! How have you been supported?'
'By feeling that I was doing my duty. My promise to Lucy obliged me to be secret. I owed it to her, therefore, to avoid giving any hint of the truth; and I owed it to my family and friends not to create in them a solicitude about me, which it could not be in my power to satisfy.'"

The fortitude that Elinor displays in her trial changes her sister forever. I LOVED this! Marvelous that the sister learns from her own sister and is materially changed and improved by her example.

Monday, March 15, 2010

5th Season

Last week our 'adopted' granddaughter Lilly came to visit. During a trip to the library she told me " I think there should be 5 seasons...autumn, winter, dull, spring and summer, and we are definitely in the dull season!"

In keeping with that cheerful news, here is a little writing I did at my last writer's group meeting:

The Waiting Room
The waiting room was green, pale green. The color of new leaves, tender shoots and greening grass. Winter weary eyes drank in the color, while waiting. The time between, outside, was dull, with no snow and no color to brighten the iron skies and earth, while inside was a calm, happy place. A place to turn pages of flowers and seed packets. Waiting has no chore there, and patience richly rewarded. No one was lonely in the waiting room, where the company of others waiting was welcomed and comforting. Bright primrose faces edged the room, and the distant glow of young green trees gently blowing soothes and softens harshness. Green leaves and thin branches etched the walls and skies. Hearts anticipated and waiting moved on.
The waiting room was green, but now is orange, rust, golden, red and burning. The green has fled, and vivid beauty reigns in a dying fling. All are waiting, astonished, deeply drinking and trying to stop the movement. Can the colors remain a moment or two longer?
Waiting in a shiver, the room becomes black and white. The white of a soft gently rippling blanket, and the black of branches and trunks now bare. The ceiling is a thin blue with gray edges.
The waiting turn their pages of seed packets and the waiting room turns pale green once again. How long have they waited? The walls change in a blur now, spinning out the cycles faster and faster in a dance of creation, while the waiting continue to dream."

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Turn of the Century

Here are three pieces of music from 1900...the first of which is celebrating/welcoming 1900. I still remember all the exitement of the coming of 2000...can you believe it's been 10 years? All three of these pieces have the most gorgeous color on the covers...bold.
The one on the left is a daring fire rescue set to music and the other is Red Wing, an Indian piece with an Indian drum rhythm in the left hand.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Celebrating Culture in Music

It's too bad that this next cover turned out so dark. The song is 'Carry Me Back to Old Virginny', and the cover is a depiction of the interior of a black family's cabin...complete with all the little children. The one on the right below continues on with the black culture of the day...note the cotton in the bottom right. On the left is 'The Wee Hoose Mang The Heather'...I would say a very poor imitation of writing an Irish brogue! Is that supposed to be a Leprechaun on the cover?

I think the entertainment industry of the day was busy marketing to the various sub-cultures in America around the turn of the century..but it makes for another snapshot in time...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The grand ol' Hymns

Another catagory of sheet music would be Christian hymns. These would have been older songs, newly written out for expanded play on the piano. What great old songs...but very difficult music to play!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Political Music

Another piece of before-the-turn-of-the-century sheet music...this one a march written for the presidential campaign of William Jennings Bryan. He ran and lost to William McKinley in the election of 1896. Can't you just imagine the stirring strains of this very political music?

Monday, March 8, 2010

Sheet Music Continued...

This group of old sheet music features the sentimental favorites...overly romantic perhaps...but with such beautiful covers and colors. The music mainly featured waltzes and songs popularly sung in the parlors of America.
Then as now, romance and a pretty face is used to sell copies!

Notice how many of them feature roses too. Surely a way to get to many a heart.

In an era of no TV or radio, music was a large piece of their entertainment, whether played or sung. I long sometimes for that innocence and get lost in a reverie of simpler times.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Old Sheet Music

One of the things my Aunt Minnie left me was a treasure trove of old music. Minnie, along with her second husband George, both played piano and taught lessons at various times. I not only have their piano, but a wealth of music from former days in America. I recently looked through the sheet music, and found it to be a snapshot of American culture. The oldest single piece is from 1876 and the 'newest' is 1941. Most of it falls between 1900-1920. The covers are wonderful, and I have tried to photograph some of them. I found in looking through it what Americans were busy writing about in those years. They wrote music for political reasons, patriotic reasons, military reasons, songs of the sea and far-away shores, celebrating the diverse cultures here i.e. Black culture or Irish, religious reasons, songs for children and for entertainment as in dances, popular or parlor songs. I will feature a few of these in the coming week, but start with the military songs for the sake of my grandsons that I know will be interested. Eleven years after the Civil War ended many songs were still being written to commemorate the Great Battles and lives given in the cause. The piece I have is on the left above, and is entitled 'Sherman's March to the Sea'. Next to that is the great Stars and Stripes by John Philip Sousa.
A number of songs were written and made popular during WW I. 'Over There' by George Cohan is probably the best known and loved of these. In the photo at right is a lesser known song, one of probably hundreds. Note that after 1900 color was added to the covers.

Another lesser known song of WW I, but definitely not a lesser known composer! On the cover you can see the ladies waiting at home while the soldiers in the background march off to war.

There is a marvelous collection of military songs, bound together with a cloth binding from the 1800's in my collection. It features some terrific lithographs of military figures and scenes. This first one was a popular song from 1840, and is a 'Quick-Step March' featuring Leut. James Hewitt, New York Light Guard.

This one is again from 1840 and is entitled 'National Lancers on Parade'. The National Lancers have a long and distinguished history as a volunteer troop of the Militia Cavalry.
"There's a sound of hoofs in the city street;
The musical click of the steel-shod feet;
Of bugles shrill with silvery blare
and floating free on the summer air;
From each bright lance is a pennon red,
Held high aloft o'er each plumed head;
As the National Lancers Ride."

Whereas the two-step is a march, the quick-step is a ballroom type dance. This piece was originally written for a brass band, but most of these pieces of music were re-written for the newly popular 'piano-forte' or 'cabinet organ'. Isn't the lithograph wonderful here? so descriptive, and made to sell copies I'm sure.
Truly a snapshot in time, of an era long gone.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

My Beautiful Day, Part II

I'd thought I'd show you some pictures from the rest of my beautiful day.Some beautifully wrapped chocolates from my dear husband.

My favorite white dresses on my girls.

I like the shadowy effect of them standing by the window.

But I love being able to see their sweet faces too.

An afternoon tea party. Cranberry nut bread and vanilla tea.

Baby even attended.

A dinner prepared by the dear husband again, (he's amazing!) Salmon, potatoes with butter and dill and fresh sugar snap peas. I guess it was actually Steelhead Trout, but I couldn't tell it wasn't Salmon.

Store-bought cheesecake.

Some lovely gifts. This a table runner from my sweet sister, JoAnn. I love it.

Can a kitchen appliance be beautiful? Yes. Absolutely. I'm so excited about my new food processor!
I had a such an undeservedly nice day. I'm spoiled.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Our wonderful world

31 Simple Pleasures
  1. The smell of bacon frying or coffee perking when waking up
  2. Sitting down for a chat with a good friend
  3. Reading a really good book
  4. Opening a beautifully wrapped gift
  5. The smell and feel of new-mown grass
  6. A hot bath
  7. A climbing rose fresh with new blooms
  8. A new dress or skirt
  9. A storm out the window at the Oregon Coast
  10. Wildflowers along the hiking trail
  11. Fresh homemade cookies
  12. Wood smoke in the air
  13. Jet streams in the summer sky
  14. Clean clothes blowing on the clothes line
  15. The first snowfall
  16. Watching a grandchild be born
  17. The smell of roasting turkey at Thanksgiving
  18. Having someones hand to grab and hold
  19. Worship on a Sunday morning
  20. A nap in the shade in the hammock
  21. Seeing the sky from one end to the other
  22. A flower in a single bud vase
  23. A group of family playing a game together
  24. The sounds of the ocean lulling to sleep
  25. Learning something new
  26. Listening to a sad song or watching a sad movie
  27. Floating on your back and watching the clouds
  28. Working hard and achieving a goal
  29. Writing a good story
  30. The lap of water at lake's edge and a toddler splashing
  31. Watching a friend succeed

Monday, March 1, 2010

My Beautiful Day

Today is my birthday. I'm 34 years old. Originally, when we started this blog, we intended it to be a place to share beautiful things as we experienced them in our daily lives. Looking for beauty can help make sure that you find it! Also, we want to cultivate beauty in our homes for ourselves and our families to enjoy to the glory of God and sharing with each other gives us new inspiration. Over time, it has morphed into something a bit different, as blogs will do. I, Julie, rarely have time to add much here as I am busy with homeschooling my young children and mom, Jennie, has been able to use the blog for multiple purposes, including keeping me and the rest of the family updated with pictures of her travels, etc. But for today, I thought I'd make it my birthday indulgence to post some pictures of the beauty I am enjoying and receiving from my beloved family. We have nothing even remotely close to popping out of the earth in my part of the country, but my husband happened to see some hearty-looking tulips when he was shopping on Saturday and grabbed them for me. They are opening up just in time for my birthday today!

One tulip came in a vase on the tray that brought me breakfast in bed this morning.

Not for my birthday, but just because, Mom sent me a couple of lovely things to put in my room that she found at a favorite antique store. After my special breakfast, I enjoyed getting them out and putting them to use. Above is the dresser scarf she found. A lovely antique dresser looks so nice with an accompanying scarf.

Pale blue embroidery embelishes the edges.

This picture is a hint at the other item from mom and shows what I was doing this morning while waiting for my breakfast. A friend from church lent me the book to read with a high recommendation and of course, my Bible.

Pillowcases. With the same pale blue embroidery.

So pretty. A special thing for me to enjoy today.

Last, but not least, I opened one gift from mom that was for my birthday. I spent some time after breakfast browsing through it and I LOVE it! One of the things that I enjoy most is browsing new recipes that are good. This cookbook looks excellent with a simple and earthy emphasis with whole food ingredients. Right up my alley. What a beautiful day I'm having!