Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sunday Evening

It's Sunday evening and we are sitting in the car on the top of the hill above the ranch. Not sure what is going on -- either the AT&T tower or my air card or something in my computer is NOT working right! But at least I have been able to get on line up here!

We've just returned from a VERY busy and full day. After church this morning, we went to lunch with Colleen and Dennis who quizzed us for a couple of hours about life on the road. They are pretty serious about selling their house and going full time RVing. Dennis has a pretty good little business going with his jewelry making (he makes a variety of bracelets, rings, earrings, etc. from old silverplate spoons) that they think may be enough to make fulltiming affordable.

Later on we went over to Michelle's house for her high school graduation party. It was a beautiful day to be out in the yard and enjoying Diane's catered dinner! Michelle is valedictarian for Ritzville High School -- we're VERY proud of her!

Thursday, May 28, 2009


I've been trying off and on all day to get on the internet, but have not been able to until now (almost 10 PM). Can't say that there is much to report as it's been a quiet day.

Forry did get his four wheeler started this morning -- thanks to the new battery -- and got at least the patches of Hoary Crest in the coulee near Auntie Violet sprayed. It's been a good year for the stuff, I think I've seen more of it than I ever have before.

Not sure what's going on with the wheat market -- it's up 45 cents since we sold some last week. I'm glad we still have a bit to sell, but it would have been nice to have hung on to what we sold last week a bit longer!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Not sure what's going on -- sun spots maybe? But we're having terrible reception at the ranch even with the booster antenna and the aircard. So messages will be short!

Forry spent most of the day getting his four-wheeler ready to spray weeds, but ended up having to take a quick trip to Moses Lake to get a new battery.

One of my classmates took this picture last year at the Alumni Banquet -- when Forry had his 50th:

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Spent most of the day doing it -- and still have some to do, Might have helped if I had gotten started before noon...

Not a lot going on here. Forry took a trip into Rizville to pick up spray -- he's got some hoary crest that has showed up in the coulee that he needs to deal with before it spreads into the CRP ground -- or before the Noxious Weeds police spot it!

Monday, May 25, 2009

A Special Day

I followed Auntie Violet and Forry back to the ranch this morning in the toad. It just seemed like too much effort to hook up the Jeep just to tow it 20 miles, then unhook it again so that we could go to Moses Lake! We don't do it very often, and then only for short distances, but I worry that we're going to get stopped one of these days for having Auntie Violet's license plate obscured. We have a shield that slips onto the front of the toad, covering the head lights when it's being towed. When we're not towing the toad, the shield is kept in brackets on the back of the motor home, thus covering over the license plate. Auntie Violet does also have a license plate on her front bumper, but evidently it's the one on the rear that counts.

We did minimal setup when we got to the ranch; extended the jacks and the slides and hooked up the electricity. We parked a good 8 feet further forward towards the creek then we usually do, hoping that we would get better reception for the antenna and my pc aircard, but it doesn't seem to have made any difference, I still only get three bars!

After we finished up, we headed into ML, picked up some doughnuts and lemonade and went to visit Vic and Phyl for a bit. She was resting when we go there, so we got to visit with Vic for a while until she woke up.

The big deal today was to go over to my Brother Pat's house where his whole family was planning to be home. We had not seen then since early last fall. Did we ever have a nice visit with them all AND a feast besides!

These fellows are my brother (on the left) and his oldest son Jared, a Seattle engineer who was home for the weekend with his wife. The two of them are fixing Cajon blackened tuna and halibut. Jared made pineapple salsa to go with the fish. My sister-in-law Cindy was wrapping bacon around potato wedges when we arrived; these were browned, then baked until tender. Niece Ashley was slicing strawberries for short cake.

The next little guy is my great-nephew Carter. He and Uncle Forry and his grandma are all watching the "pig-catching."

Pat's youngest son Nick and one of his friends parents are catching one of their project pigs in order to weigh it. They had four young pigs in the pen weighing between 75 and 95 pounds that they caught and weighed. It really was a riot watching them -- and the pigs weren't even greased!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

This 'n That

Gosh, had to get up early for the last gathering of our class at brunch. We had a little more structured time this morning for those who wanted some time to talk as a group -- but it turned into a "Trivial Pursuit" time of reminicsing. I even won a bottle of wine for remembering what teacher "never polished his shoes?" Our History teacher Mr. Hurst wore beautiful Italian suits, but never ever polished his shoes -- he'd been an MP in World War II and had vowed he'd never polish another shoe when he got out of the service!

I took these pictures the other day on the road to Cow Lake:

I don't know how palatable wild iris are for cattle feed, but there were a lot of them blooming and they sure were pretty!

This is the view from Auntie Violet's front door this evening as the sun was going down:

Every year the American Legion puts up flags all the way around the cemetery for Memorial Day. This morning, they were flapping in the breeze and the sunlight and this evening they are perfectly still as the sun sets.

And one last picture of Auntie Violet snuggled in for the night in the trees:

Saturday, May 23, 2009

So Many People, So Many Conversations...

I've talked to so many people today, I think even my jaw hurts! When you are an introvert (well, an expressive one, anyway), you can only deal with so much, before your mind starts craving some quiet time!

I had visited with most of my classmates and their spouses yesterday and today, but then we went to the banquet tonight and there was a whole 'nother group of people to visit with and catch up on families. Then as per tradition, there were people who went around to visit the parties of all the class gatherings held after the banquet -- many of them had not gone to the banquet, but just wanted to visit with everyone -- especially those from out of town.

We've got one more official class gathering tomorrow morning for breakfast at 9 AM.

I may survive!

Friday, May 22, 2009

High School Reunions

Last year I went to Forry's high school 50th reunion and this year I am attending mine. Ritzville High School, where we both graduated, is unique in the United States for having held reunions every year (except the year Mount St. Helen's blew) since the very first class graduated in 1904. Every year they honor the current graduating class, the 25 year class, and the 50 year class. Since everyone is invited to the reunions, there are also gatherings of 5, 10, 20 year classes, etc. I think this year I saw in the paper where the 65 year class is having a party! They expect to have 350+ people for the banquet tomorrow night.

I was being very lazy this morning, still lounging around in my night clothes when there was a knock at the motor home door. To my surprise and delight, it was our dear friend Polly who had stopped by to invite us to have lunch. (We had stopped by their place on our way home from Cow Lake yesterday and visited with John, but Polly had just left and we hadn't gotten a chance to see her.) My parents had lived just across the hill from Polly and John when we were teenagers on the farm and I have fond memories of riding my horse over to their place to baby-sit or visit.

We met Polly at the "new" Mexican restaurant (the "old" Circle T) downtown after she had gotten her hair done -- and I'd had a shower! We had a wonderful lunch catching up on everyone's families. Polly is a very young 85 and such a dear soul to talk to -- so interested in what everyone is doing!

About 4 PM, Forry and I headed over to the Golf Club where the Class of '59 was gathering. While I am not much for reunions, it was kind of fun to check everyone out and see how much they had or hadn't changed!

Poor Forry -- it was his 70th birthday and he spent it at my reunion...!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A Rose for My Dad...

It's Memorial Day weekend and after we moved with Auntie Violet to the La Quinta Motel and RV Park in Ritzville (in preparation for my 50th High School Reunion), we bought flowers and went to visit the family graves. It took trips to four cemeteries in the area.
Forry's grandparents and great-grandparents on the Hardt side are buried in the abandoned Lutheran cemetery that is now a part of the Stahl Hutterite colony:

His parents, my dearly beloved "mother-in-love" and father-in-law, are buried at the Menno Mennonite Church cemetery not too far from the ranch:

and I left a rose there for my late dear friend Judy:

From there we drove back to Rizville to the City Cemetery just west of the town where the Kubiks, my great grandparents and my grandparents on my mother's side, are buried:

(My Haight grandparents on my Dad's side were cremated and are in a mausoleum in Spokane.)

From the City Cemetery, we went to the other side of Ritzville where the Lutherans have their cemetery and where Forry's mother's parents, the Steffens are buried:

Both of my parents also chose cremation. My mother's ashes were strewn with her sister Marjorie's in my Sister Sherry's rose graden at the farm along the Touchet River.
My Dad wanted his ashes scattered across Cow Lake, out near the Carico Hills where he grew up and spent most of his life. We decided to take the last rose out to Cow Lake for Dad:

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Another Quiet Day -- But Not The Evening!

It was another quiet day today -- I actually slept in a bit -- much to Forry's dismay as he had to have his cereal without the berries I usually put in it for him...

Changed the sheets on the bed -- always a bit of a hassle as Auntie Violet's washer dryer combo does much better if I wash one queen sized sheet and pillowcase at a time -- seems like it takes forever.

Forry did manage to move a few of the things we've decided we don't really need out to the storage shed here at the ranch (old printer, propane heater, etc.). It makes a little more space in the hallway and living room.

This evening Curt and Sarah took us out for dinner at Inca in Moses Lake. Sarah and I had some great carne' asada (Sarah twisted my arm...) while Forry ate crab enchiladas. And you know, we were so busy talking and catching up, I never did know what Curt ate. It took us 2 1/2 hours to eat dinner -- and we were still talking when we went out the door!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Menno Ladies

The Menno ladies went to lunch today to honor the lovely lady who has been their president for many years. (it was really sweet of them to wait until I was home!)

Clara presented Phyllis with a lap robe they had made for her.

It was a good time with a group of wonderful women!

Monday, May 18, 2009

A Quiet Day Today...

Even though I had to get going early for a 7:15 AM conference call for the Mennonite Church USA Executive Director Search Committee, I had a pretty quiet day. Forry went into Ritzville to sign some long-overdue papers for the Farm Services Agency. We have just got to get Daughter MM on a power of attorney for the ranch so that she can sign this stuff off as soon as it comes in the mail!

I spent most of the day doing laundry and found myself most annoyed at the state of my shirts. It seems like all of the ones I usually save for "good" need to be moved into the "everyday" drawer! I don't know why I think they should stay nice-looking forever... maybe because I really dislike clothes shopping?

We had some interesting visitors in the coulee yesterday morning:

There didn't used to be deer in this part of eastern Washington, but after twenty plus years of conservation programs that have promoted miles of grasslands, they've gotten very common. Our tenant Jeff has even seen a moose in the coulee!

This was the view from Auntie Violet's living room window this evening:

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sunday at Menno!

What a joy! It was great to see so many of our beloved church family! As we walked in the door to Melanie's piano playing, it truly felt like we had come home.

A new baby girl since we left, two little boys who are not so little any more, and the twins are definitely taller!

It was a fun morning to be back as Diane showed her pictures of her week at Dulzura as camp cook.

Home for lunch and a quick nap then in to Moses Lake to pick up pizza at Chico's and over to share dinner with Vic and Phyl. While we were there, Pam, Renea, and Gabe, Bernie and Howard and Linda all stopped in, so we got to see even more folks.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Tree Heart Ranch, Ltd.

We started out today on Interstate 5 heading towards Portland,

then cut off on Highway 205

to connect up with Interstate 84 and head east down the Columbia Gorge.

From I 84 we drove Hwy 14 through the Tri-Cities to Highway 395 --

Then Highway 21 to Rosenoff Road --

to Batum Road --
and up the lane to the ranch.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Dinner with Dawn!

I had been feeling a bit blue, as we are very close to where our youngest daughter and son-in-law and those precious grandchildren live, but could not spend the night there as our daughter had basically placed them in quarantine! The whole Hubbard community has been passing around a Noravirus type thing with lots of puking and diarrhea and it has been ravaging their whole family. Dawn and the kids have all had it and now it's Todd's turn.

We had come as far as Wilsonville this afternoon so that we could do some needed shopping at Camper World -- and could spend the night in their parking lot. Daughter Dawn decided that since she had been well for a few days (she actually went to school today), she would come and have dinner with us. It was so good to see her! We left their place right after New Year's, so it's been a while. We didn't get to see the kids (Dawn had dropped Granddaughter Havela and two of her friends at her first inter-school dance in Canby) but at least er got to see her. Havelita, who is now 14, will be bussed into Canby for high school next year.

It was a good day for catching up with folks as we get closer to "home." Our friend Sarah called this afternoon to plan a get-to-gather and our friend Mary called to catch us up on friends who are starting their RVing adventure tomorrow in a 5th wheel.

We will make it to Tree Heart Ranch tomorrow afternoon sometime (even though the ranch is leased out, we have water, sewer and electrical hook-ups for Auntie Violet there). It will be good to be home.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

50 Years?

It's hard to believe we've been married that long! If pressed, I'd say it's more like ten or twenty. But then, if I had to add up all of the things we've done and the joys and sorrows we've shared, I'd say it was more like a hundred!

We celebrated today in the same way we function most days. We drove about sixteen miles to a nearby Wildlife Park (Forry tried to tell me it was as good as my dream of going to Africa...) and drove through the 600+ acres.
It was fun to see all of the various critters wandering around. We made the tour once, stopped to get some ice cream, then drove it again. The animals, which were mostly sleeping on our first go-round, were a great deal more active the second time.
We got back to camp in time for a short nap, a dip in the hot tub -- but I did swim a few laps first -- then showered and got ready to go out to dinner. (I had to wear the pretty opal earrings Forry got me...!) We had made reservations at the Camas Room and was it ever nice! We had fresh green salads with Balsalmic vinegar dressing and local goat cheese, then seared scallops with lime rice, plus a very nice bottle of Fume' Blanc. The resort comped us with cheescake for dessert.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Rainy Day, A Lazy Day

Oh, what a lovely day! We didn't get up very early this morning -- and that felt really good!

After lunch (avocado slices on artisan olive bread toast and fresh California oranges) we took a drive up to Galesville Reservoir about 16 miles from the campground. We only saw a few birds, but it was a gorgeous drive. We saw vultures, ravens, a spotted sandpiper, and tree swallows.

This verdant green country is so different from the mountainous desert that we have been enjoying for the last several months.

It's early spring here with lots of fruit trees in bloom as well as the dogwoods in the forest:

They almost look like patchs of snow in amongst the trees. There are not nearly the wildflowers yet that we have gotten used to seeing in Dulzura, there are mostly California poppies in sunny areas and these early lilies in the shady areas:

We got back to Seven Feathers just before it started raining in earnest (we'd had short sprinkles all day); had an email chat with Grand Daughter Havela; put spareribs into the oven; and relaxed a while before we went over and enjoyed the hot tub for a bit.

Indeed a lovely, lazy, rainy day!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Hello Oregon!

We had a l-o-n-g day of driving today. We decided we should push hard today to get to Seven Feathers RV Resort, then stay for a few days and just chill.

We got a fairly early start (for us, anyway) and left about 9 AM, pulling into Canyonville by 7 PM. By the time we got the power and water hooked up, the jacks down and the slides out, we decided to forego the hot tub, have a quick supper and go to bed.

I always forget how mountainous it is in northern California and in the southern portion of Oregon. I am sure glad we have compression brakes in/on? the engine!

Monday, May 11, 2009

From Desert to Fertile Valleys...

Today we traveled out of the desert areas of California into the fertile irrigated valleys. We saw many signs that said, "Food Grows Where Water Flows." I suppose they are in reaction to water rationing (you can only water your lawns twice a week...) in the cities who then complain about all the water going to farms.

From desert:

To mountain pass wind farms,

To juniper forests,

To fruit trees,

and vinyards:

All as we travled north on Hwy 99. We stopped to get diesel and saw this load of lovely red onions:
We stopped near Delhi, California at the Merced River RV Resort this afternoon about four pm and I immediately took a nap. I had only driven a couple hours of the trip, but I was tired! I think the past 2 1/2 months are finally catching up with us...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

On the Road Again!

Auntie Violet is HAPPY! She has made it plain that she is ready to roll!

She was feeling pretty cocky because I put the beautiful roses that Forry got me for Mother's Day on her dash -- I think she thought they might be for her? They look white in the photo, but they are actually a very pale yellow.

What do you do when your husband presents you with two dozen beautiful roses and you no longer own any vases (we down-sized, remember)? Ah, ha a waste basket! It worked very well and the basket sat very nicely in the kitchen sink as we traveled today.

I made a quick run Albertson's in Ranch San Diego this morning to get milk, cereal and OJ while Forry dealt with Auntie Violet's dirty floors. I returned just in time to tell the new crew good-bye as they left for church in San Diego. By noon we were ready to roll.

We traveled on 94 up to Interstate 8, then took Hwy 15 north to Hwy 395, then Hwy 58 to Hwy 14 to Mojave where we are staying at Sierra Trails RV Park. We're parked in their pull-through slot #3 for $13.25 a night.

We were driving almost due east of Santa Barbara and all of the valleys were hazy and full of smoke:

What a surprise to begin to see Joshua trees:

Here's a picture of Auntie Violet and the Toad, nicely settled in for the night: