Thursday, April 28, 2011

What a wonderful summer...

The weather is still trying to decide if winter will give way to spring around here. The snow does make me dream of summer, with it's planting and harvesting times. I am remembering a time about 48 summers ago...when my mother, brother and I left the city for the summer, for my Aunt & Uncle's farm, east of Salem. We stayed in our small Shasta camp trailer that my Dad pulled to the farm. That gave us the opportunity to pick strawberries, then raspberries and finally beans with my cousins Bill and Beckie, and my Aunt Joyce.
We would get up oh-so-early, in the dim light of pre-dawn coolness, and do the farm chores first, including milking a couple of cows. Bringing the milk into the kitchen, we would pour fresh cream onto our bowls of cold cereal (usually cheerios). Cream really does make everything wonderful! When that was picked up, we kids would climb into the back of the old blue pick-up and head up the road to pick up a couple of neighbor boys that went with us, just as dawn was breaking into full daylight. Arriving at the designated field for the week, depending on what was ripe, we would get our buckets, baskets or crates and head out to the next row to be picked.

As the sun shot it's first rays over the rich dirt and ripe fruit, we would get busy, visions of money for school clothes and supplies spurring us on. We would have contests with each other, as well as with other kids to see who could pick the most, the fastest. We would usually pick pretty steadily for the first few hours, while it was cooler. But as the sun climbed and we grew hot and sticky, we found ways to entertain ourselves. Of course, my aunt and Mom were there to keep us in line, but as they could pick faster, and were usually out ahead, we were left to 'quietly' have raspberry or bean fights through the rows at each other. The berries ended up on each other, or in the dirt instead of in our buckets. We older ones also had transistor radios, and would listen to music as we worked. I distinctly remember listening to Sonny & Cher's 'I Got You Babe' that summer.

Lunch was always a welcome, but-too-short break. We ate the sandwiches and fruit we had packed the night before and drank fresh milk, while sitting in the shade of big oak trees. My aunt would encourage us to work hard, for the last two hours before quitting time. By this time of day it was HOT! I remember it being so hot on the sunny side of the row, that the soil burned right through the soles of my sneakers, and I would hop as I picked alternating my feet. My aunt made a practice of quiting around 2:00 or so, as it was just too hot to continue, and we would all be miserable. So gathering up our pickings, we would 'weigh' out at the side of the field designated for weighing out the produce, and paying the workers. It was always an exiting time, to see how much money we had made for the day, and who had won the most.

After quiting, we were all sticky, sweaty and filthy, covered with dirt, bean leaves or dried, smashed berries. We climbed into the back of the old pick-up again, heading out for our secret swimming hole over at Thomas 'Crick'. I know now, this was actually a branch of the Santiam River, and the swimming hole was on some friend's property. There were a couple of gates to open along the way, and one of us kids would hop out and open & shut the gates as we drove along. The swimmin' hole was a rock lined pool, shady under big oaks and elms. What fun we had each afternoon, jumping off the rocks and playing games in the water. It felt wonderful after our hot day working. I'm sure my aunt thought it was a great way to clean us all up! There was no one else around, and we could let off some steam hollering and yelling all we wanted.

Around 4:00 we headed on home, so my aunt could fix dinner for my Uncle Roy, who worked for the Linn County Highway Dept., and came home hot and tired. Mom usually cooked our dinner in the camp trailer, and we often got together and made some homemade ice cream after that. Then it was early to bed for all of us. We fell asleep listening to the frogs making music in the creek every night. What sweet sleep we had, after so much work and play. What a wonderful summer it was for us city kids.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Family Cradle

I'm about to take this up to the attic once again. Our newest family member didn't end up sleeping in it for as long as some of the other kids have. If this cradle looks a little old-fashioned and dinged up, well...I guess it is. My dad hand-crafted this baby bed out of his imagination back in the early 1970's. My mom says she's particularly fond of the bottom cross-piece because the shape is his design. Since my parents had 3 daughters, it was used by three girls first. When I got married and began having children, they passed it on to me. Since I have 7 children, it's been well used. :)
I think mom said that my aunt did this toll (sp?) painting on it. Certainly takes me back to styles from my childhood. Thanks, Dad, for crafting this for your children and grandchildren. I love being able to use it and feel connected with my family even from this distance.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Spring Weather

Yesterday we woke again to snow on the ground. I found that these daffies were beat almost to the ground by the cold and snow. I had to go out and 'rescue' them, and what a delightful Easter gift they have made. I found a good poem yesterday, and here it is:

"Rain, rain don't go away,

I love the sky all dark and gray,

It's fun to hear the raindrops play,

Rain, rain don't go away.

Rain, rain stay awhile,

When you pour it makes me smile,

Make my creek the river Nile,

Rain, rain stay awhile.

That says to me, that I need a weather attitude adjustment. So I will enjoy our 'winter' weather a little bit longer, and enjoy the time it's giving me indoors doing my Spring cleaning.

Have a wonderful Easter week-end, meditating and celebrating Jesus!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Getting ready for Easter

I haven't had much time to post on the blog lately, but thought I could squeeze in a couple of cute photos this afternoon. Julie sent me these via email, and I wanted to share them. I made this dress for Amelia for her 4th birthday which was a week or so ago. Then I thought that I would make a matching one for Cecily so they could use them for Easter Sunday. I got some pretty white gloves, and made matching hair clips too, (which reminded all of us of when my girls were growing up and I made them hairclips & dresses). Girls are such fun to dress, and these girls like to be frilly!

They are all ready, and look just like a breath of Spring!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Soup's On!

Chicken Tortilla Soup

The weather has been so cold and windy lately, that I woke up this morning and decided to make a big pot of soup. I wanted to try a different recipe than my usual, so I googled 'Chicken Tortilla Soup' and came up with this one. It was at a blog for "The Pioneer Woman". If you click on the title 'Soup's On' at the top of this post, it is linked to the site and you will pop over there.

The soup is mostly all by scratch, using fresh ingredients (except for a few cans of things) and turned out really wonderful. One of her secrets is to add 3 T. of cornmeal, mixed with a little warm water to the mostly cooked soup, and let that cook an additional 30 minutes. At the end I added strips of corn tortillas to soften, and they gave it such a good taste! Yummy dinner.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Spring Cleaning

Can you guess what I've been doing?

I decided to get going and really do some Spring Cleaning this year. During my working years, I discovered that deep cleaning is a luxury, not a gruesome chore. When you never have enough time for it, you come to relish the time when you do get it.

Last week, I had help. My granddaughter Kory came for Spring Break, and helped me out. When people would find out what we were doing for her Spring Break, they would wrinkle their noses, and think what a terrible Grammy to make her clean.

But it wasn't like that at all. We had fun being together, talking and listening to music. And it felt so good when we would finish up a project. Of course, that wasn't all we did all week. We cleaned for part of each day (which was about all this older body could handle) then do some fun things. I took some fun photos of Kory cleaning, cooking and trying out brussels sprouts for the first time. However, I just discovered that I didn't have my camera chip in when I took the photos. They are on the small 'hard drive' of my camera, and I have no idea how to copy them off. Anyone??

Well, my bathroom, closet, bedroom and now the upper hall are finished. Sure wish Kory were still here!!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Used Clothing?

I know that some people are not comfortable buying used clothing. I don't mind that at all. It means that people like me can clothe my children from the new clothes that they buy and don't end up using, for a ridiculously reduced cost. There is a children's consignment clothing store just down the street. Unlike a lot of these types of shops, the prices at this store are below my expectations. I visited the other day, spent 17$ and got:

Gap denim capris and Old Navy girly overalls for Millie, swim trunks for Ben, white blouse and sandals for Cecily, sandals and pajama shorts for Sam, leggings and slippers for Millie *and* dressy shoes for later (they were .99 cents).

Getting nice quality things for a great price makes me smile. :)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Line Drying

I'm just starting into my Spring Cleaning, and the weather last week was perfect. Warm, partly sunny and VERY breezy. I started out with washing and drying all my doilies and runners, then hanging them out to dry. I love line drying, and with the stiff breeze it couldn't have been better.
I'm so glad that clothesline time is back!