Category Archives: Traditions

Chills, a Nudge & Footsteps

Standard

Hyrum C & Isabella Murdock Nicol Homestead Uintah  County, Utah. Settled 1906

Five years ago I was in Duchesne (pronounced Do-Shane) Utah over the 4th of July on a fire assignment … before in-briefing I spent a couple of hours in the county records office researching the homestead my great grandparents had near there. I was able to get a copy of the ledger page showing the final patent they received and the sale of the homestead. Just before we left for another assignment, a few friends and I drove up Sower’s Canyon and found the old place which is now inside the Uintah-Ouray Reservation. We took pictures, Dick made a video and at home I found a photo of my great-grandfather and grandfather outside the door of that cabin. It gave me the chills.

Well, lately the “Indian Ranch” has come to mind more than a few times; I don’t know why, but I have learned that when something comes to mind without a reason it’s something I should pay attention to. The attention I’ve been paying to the nudge has lead me to read old newspapers, searching for my great-grandfather’s name. Eureka! There were more than a few articles and advertisements found; one or two with my great-grandmother’s name also. So I’m on a hunt. For what, I’m not sure, but I’m certain in time it will be revealed.

In the meantime I had a wander through old newspapers. They’re fascinating, filling the bulletin board of a frontier and homesteader’s life: Who is traveling, who is sick, who changed jobs, who built a barn, bought a cow or a horse, put up fence in record time, or bought a murder house cheap. The insights into the world of frontier homestead towns and people had me thinking of the hard life and many sacrifices they made to build a country from nothing but raw materials and their hands. A big box store wan’t around the corner to pick up an extra board, saw blade, or food. They cut the trees, forged the iron, plowed the fields and built canals and dams in the desert to water those fields, their cattle, their gardens and themselves. They were no strangers to government greed and graft, religious contention, migration and immigration problems, financial market fluctuations, divorce, and violence.  I highly recommend a perusal through the Utah Digital Newspapers project if you have Utah ancestors or even just want to peer back in time.

So as I sit here, hooched up in my air conditioned room, on a comfy couch, sipping a smoothie after an early morning golf game peeking into the windows of my ancestors lives and I’ve decided I’m grateful that it’s not the time I was called to live in … because I know that I’m soft, and expect water from the tap, commodities in the store just down the street, instant communication, and stuff to do, places to go, access to everything I could ever want or need at my finger tips and once ordered they’ll show up on the doorstep tomorrow.

I also realize I live under the same sun, watch the same moon and stars each night, and by walking (figuratively or not) their trails and holy places, I follow their footsteps and I’m grateful for the realization and knowledge that I am part of an eternal chain of life; mother and father to child, as far back as life itself.  Now it is I  who is great-grandmother and I ask myself, what story will I leave behind? Where are the prints of my footsteps heading?

 

 

 

 

New Trekkers, New Trails, New Adventures

Standard
img_4989

Current Relationship

The other night I looked down at my shoes … I love my shoes, Asolo Trekkers … they looked a bit sad. They’ve been down rivers, across mountains, through desert sand and on many streets U.S.A. & abroad. I wear them almost everyday hence the worn tread, dusty suede, and lining formed to my foot.

img_4990

Meeting someone for the first time

Online I went, since they are hard to find around Boise, or at least the style I love. Which of course, every 2 years when I need another pair, they’ve changed them up in some form or other and I have an inner hissy fit complaining about  messing with a good, nay great thing. After the hissy fit, I ordered ‘the new style’. When UPS dropped them at my door, I immediately ripped open the box, ordering online is a little like Christmas, don’t you think?  … and … what did I see? a ‘gore-tex’ lined tag. (I don’t know why I didn’t see that little addition in the description).

unnamed

First Love & Best Friends

When I first discovered this particular shoe I was looking for a great hiker, that wasn’t a boot, and weren’t tennis/trainer/running shoes and didn’t have some splash of neon.  I love that the laces go clear to the toes which gives a great fit and the moderate tread is excellent on the mountain, but not so heavy that I trip walking across the floor. No break in time … ever … and though I buy a new pair every couple of years, the old ones have yet to be turned out to pasture.

I did say I wear them almost every day? It’s a good thing too. One day on the spur of the moment I decided I’d do an overnighter on the river for an evening and a morning of flyfishing.  I tossed my gear, tent, and cooler of food into the Escape and headed out.  Pulling in just in time for the evening hatch I setup my fly rod, pulled on my waders, and DANG! I left my boots 1 1/2 hours away, in the garage, next to the recycle box. There was no way I was turning around and heading home.  So what did I do? I opened the laces of my trekkers as wide as possible, slid them over my wading socks, tied them up and stepped into the river.  Excellent traction and they dried out the next day with no damage at all.  From then on we were friends for life.

Buying new shoes gives me angst … Will I love them as I’ve loved each pair I’ve owned? Will the addition of the gore-tex end my love affair? These are serious questions … well, I won’t know until I take the leap every new shoe buyer must take.  Slide them on, tie them up and hit the road, or rather I’ll spin them around the house, down the street and around the corner. The trails here are snow covered and my ski boots are still my best friends.

Cheers to new trekkers, new trails, and new adventures!

 

The Great Christmas Tree Hunt of 2016

Standard

I wasn’t going to put up a Christmas tree … I decorated the house, the mantel and chandeliers, but I wasn’t going to put up the tree. We were going to be gone, in and out, all month. What was the point?

Well, Dang! I missed the smell of pine in the air (and not from a scented candle). The corner where the twinkling lights warmed the winter evenings was dark … I missed it! Then I realized I was missing something else … my Christmas spirit.  I was missing my traditions! The tree … I needed to put up a tree … I needed my tradition of choosing and decorating that tree; watching It’s a Wonderful Life  while adding the lights, bobbles, and glitter to it’s branches and sipping eggnog from a crystal goblet. That tradition sparks my Christmas engine.

img_3963Yesterday, a few weeks later than usual , we stopped at our local Forest Service office and purchased tree hunting tags (10$ each, a bargain anyway you look at it). At home we layered up,  looking a lot like Ralphie’s brother after we pulled on knee-high rubber boots, jackets, snuggy gloves, and hats (beside being winter  and cold … it was snowing).

Up Pole Creek Road we drove, a few white knuckle slides until Sweetie put the truck into 4-wheel drive. Peering through snow crusted windows we searched for the perfect trees, close enough to the road we wouldn’t need a search party to find our way back, but far enough away to meet the 50′ from the road rule.

We spotted two little trees not far apart off the side of the road, well, down the hill off the side of the road. Excitedly I stepped from the cab where briefly I was on top of the snow before I abruptly dropped  through to the ground below … up to my knees (and my boots weren’t tall enough either).  Blazing trail Sweetie dropped off the road, carrying the bow saw and even following in his footsteps I was  pushing through thigh-high velvety powder (where were my skis?).

You know of course the rule that a very small tree found outside grows like Alice taking her 2nd pill and fills every available space once it enters the room. After forgetting this rule numerous times we attempt to err on choosing the smaller of small when on the hunt for our Christmas trees … even then we generally lop off branch ends to fit.

With little effort the trees were  down … actually Greg cut and hauled them … I took pictures.  Back up hill we went, Sweetie dragging both trees to keep from tipping over.  I had one thing to do … pull one tree 10 feet up to the road …  I dragged and slogged, and dragged some more grabbing whatever short branches poked above the snow to pull myself forward … near the top I floundered … I slipped, one leg beneath me and if a quickly thrust bow saw handle wasn’t within reach I would have tumbled head over tookus … me and the tree.img_3970

It was a very successful Christmas tree hunt … bagged, tagged and back to the house in under an hour … the snow inside my boots didn’t even have time to melt.

Right now, behind me, one of the trees is looking over my shoulder, wondering how the heck it ended up inside this tiny room when yesterday it was part of time and space .  It must be in shock! But it’ll be happy to know that once it shares our Christmas celebration it will grace our field sheltering quail from predatory birds.

Hey! I just realized I can tradition twice this year! Once in Council, and again in Boise … how can a girl get so lucky? Especially one who loves a good goblet of eggnog!

May your traditions lighten your heart and home with joy and happiness in this Christmas season. The celebration of the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. (Luke 2:1-20) … the greatest gift of all.

Merry Christmas!

#nochristmasbeforethanksgiving

Standard

Hey y’all! I’m holding out for No Christmas before Thanksgiving Day … I’m not buying a gift, or Christmas cards, nope, nothin’. I’m going even more extreme … No Christmas before December 1st! No black Friday for me.

I’m in ponder mode; what am I grateful for. I’ve been remembering how very, very blessed I am.  I’m remembering the days and years that I lacked everything; faith, hope, a steady income, transportation, even a telephone or heat in my house in winter. But I never lacked for love and care from my family and friends. Love I can never repay.

Yesterday I started out my 30 days of thanksgiving with love and gratitude for all of the wondrous souls in my life … obviously there’s not enough room for every picture, or every memory … but … you are all STUCK in my heart. You ‘ain’t’ goin’ no where.  That’s what love is, don’tchaknow?

Hey! Doyawannaknow what 4 days, 925 miles and uncountable smiles looks like?

Me & Beautiful Alexus Gdaughter #2

Me & Beautiful Alexus Gdaughter #2

Thursday: Sister & Friend’s day; pumpkin waffles for lunch then shrimp for dinner. That’s a good way to start a vacation!

Friday: First road trip with my granddaughter Alexus. We went south to visit her dad and my son Clayton. It is so cool to find friendship beyond gma/gdaughter roles!

img_3873Friday Night! 17th Annual Grandma Keri Pumpkin Day hosted at my daughter’s home … (Angie, that’s what happens when your mom moves 500 miles away and keeps having parties when she’s around.  You’re wonderful!)

Kaylee, Alexus & Abby

Kaylee, Alexus & Abby

Saturday started out with a Kneaders Bakery & Cafe for Breakfast with Kaylee Quinn & Abby (we had to eat quickly because we slept in).

Then off to yell loudly for AF at their first cheer competitions of the season with Megan De (Yeah AF! 2nd).

We hustled out of the gym after AF competed and busted over to the semi-final 3rd grade football game with Michael #22.  (sadly they lost)

Chyanne ... Baby Shower!

Chyanne … Baby Shower!

Taking an activity breather, we stopped at home to rid the kitchen floors of pumpkin guts before we headed over to Paradise Bakery where we baby showered Chyanne who’s waiting ‘impatiently’ for my 2nd great-grandchild … ?? Not me! I’m way too young. LOL

Sunday, my travel back north day, I ended my tornado trip with a quiet brunch at Roosters in Layton with my youngest son Steve ON his 35th Bday.

Steve with his Grandpa Keith

Steve with his Grandpa Keith

I was so excited to see him and his wife, Aarin that I totally forgot to take any pictures at all! Maybe my next trip down to familyland we can get together for a photo op.  In the meantime, here’s a flash back.

I am so very grateful for the gifts of love, family and friends. My life would be poor and dark without you.

Remember! #nochristmasbeforethanksgiving

 

Pick, Pit, Slice, & Juice … It’s Harvest Time!!

Standard
Boxes of Love

Boxes of Love

It’s Harvest Time! Pick, pit, slice, juice,  freeze a little here, bottle a little there, dehydrate a bit over there. My backyard garden has reached the tipping point … we can’t eat the fresh goodies fast enough, and the neighbors are starting to hide when they see me coming.  … Monday it was pear sauce, pear leather, and whole tomatoes, along with drying fresh mint. Yesterday, a small batch of green beans and today it’s more apple slices for the dehydrator, hot pepper jelly, and grape juice.  I do have to fess up that I burnt a batch of pears … the house smells yucky.

Hot Pepper Jelly

Hot Pepper Jelly

For at least a month I’ve been harvesting apples, making apple butter and dried apple rings (with cinnamon and sugar).  We had to fight for our pears this year; blister mites started early, ugly things, but they tasted great. We also have a dwarf apple tree grafted with 3 different types of apples; early summer, mid-summer and late-summer which spaces out the dehydration time (thank goodness)! Don’t ask me what kind of apples they are … ’cause I don’t remember … in fact, I’m not certain I ever knew.

Beans from a Bucket

Beans from a Bucket

And blackberries! It’s been a bumper crop; I’ve frozen blackberries, given blackberries away and away and away again. I have so much blackberry jam from 2 years ago … I don’t think I’ll be doing that again for a while. And the Chilean Chimnaya Peppers are are brilliant red and ready for rista tying.  And just a note, these babies are HOT …  1/2 of one replaced 10 jalapenos in my hot pepper jelly recipe.

Our dwarf peach tree is totally loaded.  So tomorrow early on it’ll be peach jam, bottled peaches, peach pie, and peach cobbler … and more whole tomatoes. Which to remind myself, I’d better check the zucchini; when I came home from fishing last week there was one that grated out 6 1/2 cups … the double chocolate zucchini cake was irresistible!

A Little Bit Here ... A Little Bit There It's Harvest Time!!

A Little Bit Here … A Little Bit There
It’s Harvest Time!!

Now, why am I bragging about the harvest in my yard?  Because this bountiful harvest comes from a small, city lot with poor rocky, clay-based soil.  How do we do it? Well, Sweetie built 6 grow boxes (4′ x 5′), pick axed and pry bar’d holes to plant 6 fruit trees (we only have 4 surviving though)  …  and dirt, manure, sphagnum moss, and compost comes in bags!  Anyway, I love having fresh produce and fresh fruit  all summer. I can feel a bit virtuous that I’m ‘Eating Local’ … mostly,  I love the feeling of having a ‘bit put by’ … just in case. I am not a ‘farmer’, nor a great gardener, just someone who love the smell of freshly turned soil in the spring, who loves the buzz of bees around the fruit and vegetable flowers, and who loves the taste of tomatoes warm and sweet from the vine.

Growing something from seed, or a greenhouse plant can change us.  There is hope  in planting a garden …  faith that the tiny seed will grow into a plant willing to share all it has with us.  Once you fall in love with a box of dirt and a garden catalog … whoa Nelly … your tomorrow will never be the same.  So why not give it a go? Next spring … find a corner, dig a hole, build a box, salvage a pot or bin  and plant something you love.  Your world will never be the same. I promise.

  Build ye houses, and dwell in them; and plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them; (Jeremiah 29:5)

 

 

My Dad’s Fly Rod

Standard
That's my dad's fly rod ... I helped build for his 47th birthday ... he would have been 85 this year.

That’s my dad’s fly rod … I helped build it for his 47th birthday … he would have been 85 this year.

I love summer. I am a lizard and the warmer it get the more I want to ‘do’ something! I’m in summer “pack it in” mode …that’s packing as many activities into the remaining weeks of summer as I can. so far, this month; Fish camp, zip-lining, harvesting and canning/drying, then it’ll be Fish Camp Phase 2 … (and a lot more in store for September).

Last week … my first ‘fish camp’.  I’ve been invited every summer for years, but I was always otherwise occupied … fire season you know. I would get a bit jealous hearing all the fish stories … Well, not this year!  Sweetie packed the truck with our trusty Kirkham Springbar Tent (which I’ve had for 36 years)  … of course, it’s had a new floor, and new screens, a few patches here and there and new poles, but it has survived monsoons at Yuba Lake UT, a tornado at Martin’s Cove WY; storms that shredded every other tent around.  Each time we open it up the canvas exudes memories. They are in the fabric and patches and sticky zippers. It’s been shelter from sun, rain, wind and snow. It has been staked in desert sands, beneath mountainous crags, in forested glens, and backyards. It has been Sweetie’s hooch the past 8 fire seasons. It is well-loved and I wouldn’t trade it for any other tent around. Can you tell I love this tent? Anyway, toss in the sleeping bags, camp box, cots, mats, fishing gear and a cooler (sounds like a lot of stuff, but it all fits snugly into the shell of the pickup) and off we headed to “Mystery” River.

"Mystery" River at sunset

“Mystery” River at sunset

We pulled into camp with enough light to setup and spend an hour or two around the campfire. The first night was coolish, the second night was so cold it froze water 1/2 inch thick in the dog bowl and I didn’t want to crawl out of bed to even let Mala outside.  The days were windy and warm and I loved every minute of it.

The river was narrow and tree lined.  I brought the fly rod that my first husband and I built for my dad for his 47th birthday. It was designed for skinny water.  I fished with it all week. My dad had engraved on the handle and steel rod case the date, from, & why … it made me smile when I saw his hand writing.

It wasn’t a killer catch a fish with every cast day, but we returned to camp to dutch oven dinners and later, shooting star sightings after the campfire burned low. The air held the soft whirs of nighthawks’ wings and the wash of the river against the brush and rocks set the background music of our evenings.

No, it wasn’t a killer catch a fish with every cast trip; I did get to spend time with my Sweetie, friends and new friends and I caught fish with my dad’s fly rod, and I remembered him and I smiled … a lot.

 

 

2 Trillion = Me

Standard
Most of us ... missing ... Steve, Aarin & Bayla ... Pam & Jeff, Clayton, & Breena ... & Chris' wife Cindy

Most of us … missing … Steve, Aarin & Bayla … Pam & Jeff, Clayton, & Breena … & Chris’ wife Cindy

Kings, Princes, Paupers, Explorers, Indian fighters, Indians, Pilgrims, Pioneers, Plague Survivors, Artists, Authors, Mariners, Dreamers and Adventurers’ … through them I exist.  The number of our ancestors is mind boggling. Just back 40 generations = 2 Trillion, yes Trillion, ancestors to make me or you. Of course, that is not 2 Trillion unique individuals … the further back one goes, the more redundancy in family lines and people. If only 10% of Europe’s population survived the great plagues, well, you can see the further we go back in time the fewer unique ancestors we have and in the end … we are all family.

Out of the 2 Trillion ancestors I have (we have), I know few of them.  I’ve known those near me, generationally speaking, my parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles. The connections to their parents and grandparents lost as they died and they left a few stories and fewer photographs. Their parents and generations back have for many years been forgotten and are generally only a name and a date in a book on a shelf.

However,  their stories are calling to me, find me, write them down.  Some five years ago I wanted to share with my family their ancestors. I spent six months and prepared for two family history weekends; one in which we told stories of our Utah Pioneer heritage and did a road trip throughout Utah and Wasatch Counties.  The second weekend we caravaned to Wyoming and spent three days reenacting a part of our family’s story, through a pioneer handcart trek in Martin’s Cove, WY.

As I started searching for stories of the people in our family who first came to America, and then found those that brought our family to Utah … (I started by taking the genealogy books off of the shelf) they came alive … they became real people who lived through turbulent times, loved, had families, gave up their lives, their homes, left family and friends to step onto a new land … to live something new. A new beginning, a fresh start.

Five years later, I am being prompted to find more  stories … and to share them. Those few stories I found for our My Heritage, My Legacy weekends have only whetted my desire to learn more about my ancestors and also to write my own story.  I’m an adrenaline junkie and when I read from a personal journal or recollection my heart starts thumping a bit harder, I hold my breath and sometimes the tears can’t be held back … it’s like finding buried treasure.  When I read or write about them, once again these ancestors live. At that moment, sometimes I think, someone hasn’t said that name out loud for years … and now they aren’t forgotten any longer.  Our stories may be only a short sentence in the scheme of history; but that sentence is everything … without our ancestors we wouldn’t be  where we are and without us our posterity can’t be all they are meant to be.

My question today is the same as it was five years ago … I have a wonderful heritage … What will be my legacy?