Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Country Scenes and Children's Dreams

Like I promised, we are at the edge of the arena at the fairgrounds in Burns. The insurance man took the day off and we went and took his mom to the fair. We started by looking at exhibits and seeing the theme of the fair in every one's handiwork. The theme was ' Country Scenes and Children's Dreams', a theme I really liked. We visited with friends, had some hamburgers with grilled onions, and then we decided to go into the grandstands and watch horse roping and some horse races as well.
Here are all the cowboys all lined up on horses, waiting their turns to rope a wild horse. Harney County is still one of the cowboy capitals of our country. Lots of ranchers here.
Just waiting for the next riders. 
They rope in teams of two, one around the neck and one to capture a back leg.
They are pretty good with their ropes, but only a few teams actually got their ropes around both the neck and leg. Beautiful horses. I especially liked the gray and black horse in this photo. Enlarge the photo to see it better.
While their Dads and Grandpa's were roping, some of the little cowboys were having a grand time in the dirt. Complete with hats and boots.

We had some fair food while we watched. Mom had an ice cream cone and the insurance man and I split a root beer float. We also ate some 'funnel cake fingers' and split an order between the three of us.

There are also plenty of cowgirls out there too.They are very good at their horse skills. 
We watched two or three horse races, and enjoyed that before going out to look at the 4H animals. 
Really cute calf that came along with his mama, so that she could be judged.
We decided we were tired, so went home and fixed dinner before relaxing for the evening.
On Saturday morning, we got up early and went to the 'Cow Ladies' breakfast. The ranchers grill steaks, flip big pancakes and fry eggs on outdoor grills, while the we follow the line and end with an offer of brandy. (Too early in the day!) The breakfast was yummy (love that steak) and it's all for a good cause, college scholarships for the 4H kids. My mother-in-law loves to visit all the people who have come into town, and a good time was had by all. After that, full and stuffed, we went downtown and put up chairs for the Fair Parade. A friend of ours was named Grand Marshall of the parade, and there were children in droves, exited to pick up the candy. This family was next to us, and the candy they snagged should keep them going until Halloween.

The insurance man and mom, the empty chair is for the lady snapping the picture!
The honor guard came first, and we all stood to recite the pledge of allegiance. You gotta love small town America, where there are no protesters in sight....
Then we all sang the National Anthem while some old cars went by. Beautiful.
And the parade was wonderful, with a visit from Smokey the Bear, no less. 

Another great fair to celebrate!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Fun in the old town tonight!

Today it feels a bit more like Fall outside. We continue to have thick smoke and dangerous air quality, but today is a bit cooler with some clouds. They say we might even have a thunderstorm this evening. Rain would be good, lightening most definitely not. Our hearts are sore for the loss of our forests, hiking trails and beauty due to many wildfires. It doesn't quite feel like summer is over, and yet my yard and garden are acting like autumn is approaching. Plants have a way of knowing when to turn each page of the year.
September is a time when I feel like closing things in to home and all things domestic. More cooking, and more creative juices flowing. I feel powerful impulses to clean out cupboards, finish up older projects and start new ones, decorate inside and out, read a new book, bake some pumpkin nut bread and even go to the Harney County Fair.

 At the first of August we took some friends of ours with us to our local Deschutes County Fair. This is Emily age 16, and Abby age 12. We are 'glowing' in these photos, as the temperature was in the high 90's.
We had fun looking at all the animals, and the girls had friends who were showing their 4-H animals and staying at the fairgrounds for the week of the fair. A soft bunny below, and some pretty pigeons above. They make the most peaceful coo-ing sounds.
We ate fair food, and watched a children's ventriloquist while we ate. We saw exhibits, people, (lots of people) photography, vegetables and flowers, quilts and cakes. 
But we waited until sunset to go on rides.
It was cooler, and so pretty with the lights all lit up. The girls had never been on rides, so the insurance man and I had so much fun watching them enjoy it for the first time. Just like when we were young, and enjoying rides.
I think they decided that this was their favorite ride. Sort of a long boat that rocked back and forth, higher and higher.
And finally we all went on the Ferris Wheel together. The seats were enclosed capsules that held four people, perfect! We had a beautiful view of the skyline after sunset, with the Cascade Mountains standing out against the night sky. So much fun!!

But now it is September, and time for the Harney County Fair. It is always the last of the County Fairs for Oregon. So we are headed across the High Desert of Oregon to Burns, and will spend a few days going with my mother-in-law to all the fun small town fair activities. A local parade, ranchers and wives pancake breakfast, and the fair itself, which includes a rodeo and horse racing events. Lots of fun in the old town tonight! 

Hope you are enjoying September and the first taste of Autumn in your world!

Monday, September 4, 2017

The Diversity of Oregon

One Saturday in July we decided to check out the back country of Deschutes County, where we live. In the past when we wanted to go out into the High Desert of Central/Eastern Oregon we would go to Burns and out into Harney County. But this day, we wanted to see what was in our own back yard. Obviously, lots of sagebrush, juniper trees and views.
We drove on various dirt and gravel roads and took a picnic lunch along. We found that most of the land was fenced off  and posted private, no trespassing, which surprised us. We didn't know so much of it was privately owned, since it is mostly desert space. We found several old homesteads, long abandoned and derelict, but with a kind of haunting beauty of their own. This one was in a fairly green valley with several little springs of water dotting it. 
We found this big barn, really large by High Desert standards. It looks pretty good from this side...
but not so good from this side. We got out and walked around it, and admired the original workmanship. It won't be standing too many more years. 
There was a nice little spring just down the road, and we could see where they got water in the 'old' days. 
Many dreams and stories are abandoned out there, and the trees were quick to invade this little house and call it their own.
We did find one nice large farmhouse, still housing a family and farm, far from 'civilization'. Shady and green in it's little valley it seemed an oasis in the midst of sagebrush. We also encountered a sheriff deputy, who pulled up alongside us and seemed glad to chat about the area. He said that the land owners wanted a law enforcement presence known, to quash any vandalism or theft, so routine cycles were driven once a week or so. Interesting. Oregon is a state of such diversity. From the ocean, to the fertile rain-filled Willamette Valley, to the High Cascade Mountains, to the High Desert. 
We are planning another trip out to view another section soon as we love exploring our state.

We'll take you along too....

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Summer Food Items of Note

 This is a rather dark photo, but it is a summer morning breakfast. Cornmeal griddle cakes batter, with fresh blueberries to add...along with coffee of course. Delightful!
  And then my mother-in-law came to visit, and we made raspberry freezer jam together. A tasty treat in the winter months. 
When we were over at her house visiting, she showed us she can still make a delicious potato salad at age 95. Wow!
And finally a summer dinner. It is a taco salad, made a little differently, with each fresh ingredient separated and then mixed all together at the end. It's pretty this way, don't you think? Adding a few fresh grapes for dessert, we had a wonderful meal. 
(Each of these photos shows up better if you click to enlarge them)

Friday, August 25, 2017

A New Way of Looking at Things

A while ago, I was reading on one of my favorite blogs (Susan Branch, Millie) about using old fashioned liquid bleach on linens. I decided then and there to try it out. I remembered my mother using it, and then ironing the damp fabrics. It was a trial and error for me.

I first collected all the vintage doilies, and linens I have all around the house. This is NOT by any stretch all of them!
I then ordered the bleach from Amazon. They still make the same old stuff....who knew?
Next I washed all the linens and line dried them to get out the yellowed/rust spots and make them smell sooo good! There is nothing like UV rays for whitening and brightening. Then I brought them all in and slowly soaked them in a mix of 1 part water to 2-3 parts starch. Back out to the line to dry again. I tried bringing them in damp to iron, but it didn't really work, so I let them dry again. Only this time they were STIFF.
But the ironing was easier and they came out lovely, slightly stiff, crisp and white, and they stay that way! Now ironing is not my favorite domestic chore, but somehow ironing vintage tablecloths, aprons, clothes, doilies and runners is more fun and rewarding.
Here are a few, line dried, and waiting for the iron.

I am now in the process of cleaning the linen closet, putting some out for display, and the rest nestled in their closet.

 It feels like Grandma's house around here, but I don't care because I LOVE vintage linens. (But it was a lot of work!) A rewarding household project, completed.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

A Walking Miracle!

 As you probably already know, John and I had a pretty amazing adventure/nightmare last week. Our friend that feels like family, Jerry Thomas went missing a week ago last Wednesday while picking huckleberries with a friend. He was camping up by Parish Lake on the west side of the top of the Cascade Mountains in Linn County.

For the next three days there were search and rescue teams from 10 counties, sheriff's department officials, a heat-seeking helicopter from the Oregon National Guard, horses, Linn County Posse, scent dogs and their handlers, ATV teams, and the best tracker in the United States, combing the area and searching daylight hours.
Every day we would get up and rendevoux with team leaders and they would depart on their duties. Most of these people were volunteers, trained in search and rescue techniques. There was also a wonderful chaplain, again a volunteer, attached to the Linn County sherrif's office. 
The forest is not like on our eastern side of the mountains, but thick, brushy and filled with old growth timber and lots of fallen logs. It made for very difficult searching.

Jerry and Mary were camping for a few days with friends Don & Linda Wright, and Don and Jerry were huckleberry picking when Jerry wandered off in search of the best berries. It wouldn't and didn't take long to get turned around in the heavy terrain of the area. This is a photo of the Wrights trailer and ours, with the insurance man, Linda Wright, Mary and her sister Judy. The first 2 days the forest service would not let us search on foot, but only in vehicles on all the roads and logging spurs we could find. On Friday most of our gang decided they had enough of that, and set off on foot searching. (They were careful to stay together).
Saturday morning, after 3 days and 3 nights in the forest, Jerry walked out here. He had slept by or under logs, had collected thunder storm water in his hat, and eaten berries that he had or found. He is one tough cookie! When he woke up that day he just knew he would find a road, and he did...a logging spur. He walked it down here to a trail head at Daly Lake.
Looks pretty peaceful doesn't it? But it wasn't peaceful for all of us looking and searching for him. He found a guy with his camper there and Jerry asked him to take him to his campsite. 
What a stir it made when they pulled up together in the midst of about 100 searchers! The guy driving said he felt like he set foot in the middle of a hornets nest. Jerry just kind of looked around and wondered why all the people were out there in the middle of the forest. 
When I took this photo he looked up and said don't take it, I haven't combed my hair!! We all had a very tearful, joyous, riotous reunion.
Later he sat and told us about his adventure. He refused the ambulance and no one saw a need for it. He was not injured in any way, not even any scratches. His glasses were broken, his hearing aids dead as well as his cell phone, but he is the old time kind of rancher, hunter, cowboy who knows how to survive in the forest. And he has a great protector in his Heavenly Father.
Here are some of the friends and family that were there to welcome Jerry back and celebrate together this walking miracle.
 I have never been so glad to see anyone in my life! Even a little thinner, a little weaker, and a little grayer. So glad he's home.