(click on any photo to see them larger)

Monday, December 22, 2008


It is still snowing! The first day, I made sure and took pictures of the snow before it went away because that is what usually happens, snow, then quick melt. But each day since, it has kept snowing and I have taken a couple more shots as an update thinking it is as high as it will go. I am pretty sure that this is the most snow we have gotten at this house in the almost 20 years we have lived here. They said on the news that this is second only to the snow we had in 1968. Not only is it snow...there is ice. The first day we got snow, the second day there was freezing rain, so there is a layer of about 1/2 to 1 inch of ice, then on top of that, another layer of snow. My estimate from a rough measuring is 22". And guess what? I forgot to say that JESSI MADE IT HOME FOR CHRISTMAS! She got here last Tuesday night at midnight. We had a couple days of shopping and lunches out and meeting up with Grandma and Grandpa McCool and met up with Aunt Cyndi at the print shop to get her wedding invitations ordered. But then it has kept on snowing and snowing and now she has been housebound for THREE WHOLE DAYS now! She came a long way just to spend the whole time inside with ME! We are now in the 'what if' stage of plans for what to do about Christmas. John and Rachel and Emily and Joshua are still hoping to get up here on Christmas Eve, but there is a chance that it might not happen. We may have to hold her here a week or two longer and have a late Christmas when it all melts.
No bird bathing...
Nobody has made it to the front door.
The rose was still blooming when it all began...
I don't think the kids will be swinging for a while...
The trash man didn't make it out on Tuesday...and the mail and paper box got hit and knocked over by a van on Wed...I dug down and found them today...
No snow plows yet...would you drive up this? Or down?
John made it out to the wood pile today, and has a toasty fire going in the stove...hopefully we won't have to resort to that as our only source of heat if the power goes out.
The Canadian Geese took flight today...trouble is, they are headed north, not south...

Saturday, December 20, 2008


It hasn't stopped snowing all day! Last night it was huge flakes that pile up fast, but today, it is colder and the flakes are smaller, but they have been non-stop, so it is piling up. It is only 20°.

The neighbor kids are enjoying the road since there is no traffic today.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

This is my Christmas stocking. My Grandma Harman made one for all of us grandkids as each of us were born. It is made from flannel and she wrote my name on the cuff. Then she put two tiny bells on the edge. She said the bells were to alert us when they rang as Santa was filling them up. My two sisters each have one exactly like it, except she put the bells in different places. I don’t remember ever really believing in Santa, I probably did, but I do remember that every Christmas morning, the socks were full. We used to hang them on the mantel when we lived in the house that had a fireplace, but when we moved, we didn’t have a fireplace for Santa to come down, so we just left them by the tree. Our socks were always what we looked at first. We were busy emptying them while Mom and Dad were getting up and about, getting out the camera and all that, not really sure, since I was too busy looking at what was inside my stocking. It was always so much fun to discover what was inside. We got all kinds of little treasures. A ball and jacks, tiny games, little books, colors, water paints, jewelry, chocolate wrapped in foil to look like money, lots of little things. The toe always held a can of play dough or an orange. Isn’t it strange, how I can remember all those little sock fillers, but the ‘real’ presents I got don’t just come to mind (well, except for my Barbie dolls and all those clothes my Mom made for them). It kinda makes you evaluate the whole gift giving thing doesn’t it?

Monday, December 15, 2008

I woke up thinking it was Thursday. I had tons to do! While making my latte, I realized it was only Wednesday. There was NOTHING on the calendar for Wednesday. I had just been given an extra day! I sat down to admire my Christmas tree and count my blessings. The phone rang interrupting my prayers. I saw on the ID that it was the Red Cross. For a fleeting ½ second, I contemplated not answering, just let them leave a message. But I couldn't do it. I answered, sure enough, there was a fire. And it was not a close-by fire, it was almost an hour away. Reluctantly I said I’d go…but what about all those extra things I was going to do? Should I take time to wash my hair and put on some make-up? I was still in my pjs, so I got dressed, decided to just put on a stocking hat and packed my gear into the car and left. My ½ full latte getting cold as it waited by the tree. As usual, once I’m on the road, I’m in a whole new frame of mind and feeling guilty for the selfish hesitation to answer the call. Now I’m ready. My hair looks bad, no make-up…but one look at the soot covered woman adjusts all those vain thoughts. I’m no longer feeling bad about losing that ‘found’ extra day…these people just lost all their possessions, they got out with the clothes they were sleeping in, they no longer have a Christmas tree to sit beside and admire, the gifts they had under the tree are destroyed. Two little kids stand there with a stuffed Red Cross animal I had just handed them…and for the moment, it is their only toy, but they are pleased to have it. Another Red Cross volunteer and I assist them with a place to stay for a day or two, give them some assistance for food and a set of clothes until their insurance can take over. They are still shaken up, but feeling better when we drive off. I return to my warm home 3 hours later…there sits my cold latte, in a minute it is warmed and I am once again sitting admiring my tree and thanking God for all my blessings and thanking Him that I had been given that extra day to have been able to say YES to the phone call to go help.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

MY ORNAMENTS
A Hallmark commercial came on while I was decorating the Christmas tree. It showed two little girls looking at their ornaments and remembering stories behind them. I thought at the time that it would be nice if my ornaments had a little story behind them, and then as I put them on the tree, I realized, THEY DO!
My most treasured ornament is the 'Humdinger'. It came from my Grandma Harman. Every year my Grandma would hang it at the top of her tree and when we went to visit she would lift me up to ring it, each time she would say " It's a HUMMMMM DINGER". Mom had it on her tree for years after and carried on the tradition of lifting my kids up to ring it, but they didn't do the HUMMMM anything like Grandma used to. Quite a few years back Mom passed it on to me and now each year my own grandkids get a chance to ring it. I don't know if they even know what it is called. I've told them, but they don't seem as excited about it as I remember being when I got to ring it.
Mom painted soldiers and little dolls out of clothes pins...with every detail, check out the buttons on the shoes! Every year Mom paints us some kind of place marker for the Christmas dinner table. Usually it is a tree ornament, so I have quite a collection of 'John and Vicki' ornaments. The oldest ornaments on my tree are from John's mom Cleo, they were on her tree when she was growing up. I'm not quite sure what they are supposed to be except a decoration. (bottom row, center)
I have a plastic white reindeer and a red elf. Kinda funny looking, but we always had them on the tree when I was little. One year, before the days when Mom had a real tree flocker, my Dad sprayed white 'snow' all over the tree when we were done decorating to give it the 'just snowed' look. My littlest sister, Cyndi, got so upset because he got snow on the faces of the elves and ran for a cloth to wash it off them. There is a cute little horse that my aunt made, kinda clever how you insert a candy cane in it.


I have an ornament from Dennis and Abby of the US Capitol from when they lived in Baltimore and one from my friends Ron and Ann to remember when they took me to visit the White House (we even got to see President Bush!) I have two tiny bells that are made into snowmen with Emily and Joshua's names on them. And then there is the GREEN M&M. One of the ornaments depicts the nativity scene, another a snowball. I really like snowmen, so I have plenty of snowmen on the tree.


I have a tiny motorcycle to mark that Little John loved them, a skier turned into a snowball with skis that really rolls around because Dennis was into skiing, and a little ballerina mouse because Jessi was my ballerina. There is a sand dollar that I found on the beach, my sister-in-law Terri and I would walk the beach while the guys were fishing on the jetty and one time we found buckets of sand dollars. Once we got them all home, we had no idea what to do with them, so we painted some of them to look like poinsettias. There are other ornaments I made...a hazelnut angel, a walnut manger for baby Jesus, a noodle angle and a mouse made from a thistle, a wreath I wove from wheat and a reindeer from clothes pins. The first year Johnjohn was born, I started making hand prints from dough. I made them every year from all three kids and painted the year on them. I stopped doing them when my whole tree was covered with hand prints and realized it didn't look so good after all. Eventually most of them have broken, some of them molded in storage and have been tossed out, but I still have the first year's hand print from each kid. The first year I was married, I made ornaments from egg shells that I had blown the eggs out of. We had a lot of scrambled eggs that first year. I painted them all up and was pretty proud of them. The last few years, they have remained in the egg carton. Somehow, their time has past, kinda like the tree full of hand prints and mice made from thistles.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

IT'S CHRISTMAS TIME!
We went Christmas tree hunting this morning.

There are so many choices...this year I decided not to have a flocked one...look at all the choices in color.Once I decided between white or natural...then I had to decide which kind of tree I wanted...noble, grand, fir, spruce...nobles have plenty of spaces to hang the ornaments, but grands smell so nice...



I decided on a noble...because I have TONS of ornaments.....now it REALLY feels like Christmas.
Bazzel can't believe we actually brought a tree inside for him.This is where he has been since we put the tree up.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

HAPPY THANKSGIVING! Thanksgiving started out with a trip in to visit John's Mom and Dad in the morning. From there we went to my Mom and Dad's place for our usual Thanksgiving dinner at 4:00. The whole family was there except for Dennis and Abby, who were having Thanksgiving with her parents at their new place in Los Angeles with her parents this year, and Jessi who had her Thanksgiving dinner in the Dominican Republic with Ariel and a large group of missionary friends.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MOM AND MATTHEW!
Before we had the usual Thanksgiving pies for dessert, we celebrated Mom and Matthew's birthday with a cake.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Moles!

Everyone around here has them. This year they seemed to make bigger hills, instead, they were more like mountains. And there were so many of them! They make such a mess of things. Piles of soil you have to clear off before you can mow, they kill the grass and leave tunnels under the ground that gives way now and then and makes ruts in the ground. When I was in grade school, there were old mole holes in the field where we used to practice for track and I remember once as I was running, my foot got stuck in one and made me fall. Sometimes horses and cattle step in one and end up with broken bones. I’m glad I didn’t break a bone, but I remember how much it hurt. My Grandma used to go out and take all the soil that the moles pushed up and move it to her flower beds. She said it was better soil for her flowers. Sometimes they eat my flower bulbs and the roots off the shrubs which makes the shrub die eventually. (I got the two mole pictures from Flickr because I have never thought of taking a picture of one. Do you see those claws they dig with?)





Look how many this guy has! There are tons of ways people have come up with to get rid of them. Like putting a hose down the pile of dirt and turning on the water, pouring gas down, hot pepper, garlic, traps…my Dad used to have a little barrel, he would dig down in the dirt, place a shot gun shell in something, (I am not clear about it all because he never let us girls go near it in case it exploded when he was setting it up) and then he would cover it all with the little barrel. Then later on, we would hear the shot go off and Dad would run out there to see if it got it or not. Whenever us girls saw that barrel, we knew we had to keep way clear of it. Maybe it was not as dangerous as it sounds, but that is how I remember it from being a kid.

The dog we had when we were growing up used to catch moles too. Brownie was his name. He used to dig and dig and dig, the dirt was flying, and sometimes all you could see of him was the tail sticking out of the hole, just wagging and wagging as he dug.

John used to use this kind of trap.





He got a ton of them that way, but then one day I realized he was not using them anymore. He has switched over to using his shotgun.He keeps it ready to go and easy to get to in the summer. You have to be really quiet to shot a mole. You can’t make any movement on the ground when you sneak up on the hill as they are digging. He stands there for sooooo long waiting for them to push the soil up and them “BAM”. They never come all the way out, he just has to wait for the soil to move. Sometimes I don’t even know he is home from work, but then I look out the window and there he is, still in his work clothes, patiently standing there waiting. When we first moved to this house, I used to make fun of the crazy neighbor man…he would be out mowing his field, shotgun beside him then suddenly, he would stop the mower, jump off of it with the motor still running and run over to the molehill, gun in one hand and beer in the other, and wait…and wait…and wait! I can never figure out just what it is that they see when they know it is time to prepare for action (especially while riding a tractor!) I have stood there while John is there waiting…and I never see a thing. I guess you just gotta have that hunter instinct. I wonder if the new neighbors think there is a crazy man living at THIS house now!

The neighbor dog was up by my house once, just carrying on barking and barking and I heard a funny squeaking noise. When I finally went out there, there he stood with the dead mole in his mouth. I told the neighbor what his dog had done and he said “Sure, he goes to YOUR place and gets them, why not the ones that are HERE?”



These people decided to fence their moles in. Those little furry moles have really soft black velvet skins…maybe he has decided to cash in on them and make moleskin coats. If that ever took off, Oregonians could be rich!

Saturday, November 8, 2008


HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO JOSHUA!!!
7 years old last Thursday. We went to his party last night. Great Grandma made him a dinosaur cake with volcanoes this year.

I love the fall. All the colors of the changing leaves, the mushrooms popping up, the last of the summer fruits and vegetables. I don’t like it that there is less daylight and that it rains more. But the cooler temperatures always inspire me to start baking again. After a summer of cold salads and lighter foods, I am ready for some solid warm food again. I pulled the bread machine out and have tried a couple of new recipes…my favorite new bread recipe is a whole wheat with orange peel, cranberries and sunflower seeds. From the Cooking Light magazine, I found a non fat pumpkin muffin recipe, it has cranberries also. They are so good and you just don’t feel quite so guilty when you know they are low calorie. It won’t be long and the snow will start and I can build a fire in the stove, curl up with a good book and a latte and not worry a bit about what needs done outside…it is all taking time off and being lazy like me.

Just down the road is an apple tree not ready to give them up...it is holding on to them and looks like it is all decorated up for Christmas. I am sure the birds will appreciate them this winter.


For the past couple of years a tree in my front yard has dropped these really weird looking things. The first time I found one, it was a really small one and I thought it was a brain from some animal.Somebody once told me the name of the tree, but I forgot it. It is nothing I would try to eat...but I wanted to try to dry some, they are so interesting looking I thought they made good decorations, but they rotted. Inside is a huge seed like an avocado. They are the size of a softball. To get a better look click on the picture, it is worth it.






When I was out getting the berry bushes all cleaned up for the winter, the neighbor came over and decorated my front porch and I didn't even hear or see her do it. It was such a surprise to discover it all later on. The trouble was, I had no idea who put it there. I knew it must have happened while I was working because earlier that morning, I had been on the porch and knew it was not there then. After some detective work, I narrowed it down to her and called her to make sure. She thought she was so clever. I'm going to take her some pumpkin muffins...if there are any left, that is.