Friday, December 28, 2012

Chicken Cave and Other Important Stuff

As you can tell by the depth of the snow on the roof of the chicken coop and run, snow has been falling in our corner of the world.  I suspect our snow amount is a pittance when compared with what Steve has in New York, or what Elizabeth has in Preston. We are thankful for what this means for next summer, as in water for the garden and yard. Because of the snow, our chicken project has taken on a whole new perspective.
The depth of the snow means there is no going outside the coop for the chickens and any running to look for anything green or wiggling on the ground has been put on pause(as in they are all "cooped up" and are now suffering from "cabin fever").  Each time we go in the run to check their feed and water, we are greeted with a chorus of scolding chickens, each in their own cleff.   Each morning either Paul or I go out and turn on the light in the coop so the chickens think there is sunshine.  We have had to put a light bulb under their water container to keep the ice at bay.  And lots of straw in the run and coop seems to help with the scratching impulse - something to kick around is evidently a happy thing.  Yet, we are finding it very amazing to gather between 10 - 12 eggs a day.  Hmmm, it is starting to feel a little like the zucchini wars in the summer.  I wonder who can use a few eggs today.  If we go over the "fiscal cliff", will this be our bartering chip for a little milk??  Or, should we just eat one or two?

May you all be warm and safe, wherever you are.  I must admit, having animals of a sort has brought back warm memories of our Penrose world.  Do you remember what winters were like, with the cows, pigs and chickens trying to survive the Wyoming winters?  I think it is such a blessing to know how difficult things can be, but to be able to live in such incredible comfort.  If you are ever close to my house, please stop by for a dozen eggs.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Visit With Grandma and Grandpa

In a conversation with Dwight I happened to mention some letters I have that Grandma wrote to Mother and Dad.  The hints of loneliness and missing the farm, missing noisy kids coming and going and someone to share her gingersnaps and hot cross buns with, was so apparent in her writing.  Dwight "suggested" I should share some of what is written in the letters so here goes.  The holidays seem to bring back so many memories for me, and one of those sweet memories is of Grandma and Grandpa in Penrose.  I see hints of Grandma's illness creeping in by what she wrote, but at the time I don't think anyone suspected what was going on, other than she was just getting old.  (I haven't corrected anything, these are as Grandma wrote them.)
(No date and no envelope with this letter)
Thursday morn.
Dear Folks:
How are you all? We don't see or hear anything from up that way so am wondering how all are.
We hope all well, and know you are busy as usual.  The weather continues spasmodic all kinds during a day.  Dad did plant a row of potatoes, peas, lettuce, etc, but it stays so cold cant see that any thing can even sprout.  You know we got a stove but the instruction book was not with it, and I sure need it.  They promised to send it but so far, not.
Now I am bothering you as usual, if you happen to go in town would you please go to the Modern Electric and ask if they have found an instruction book if they will please send it.
It works different than the old stove did and I have not got how to work the oven and some other things.
Dad is feeling some better this morning, but had a bad night.
Hope you are all well, and come to see us when you can.  There was something Dad was wishing for the other day, if Russ came down but don't know now what it was.
Guess this is all for today, know you are all busy.
Love to all
Dad and Mother

April 13, 1959
Dear Folks
Dad is so anxious to plant garden, has a row of spuds, lettuce and peas planted but it is to cold for them to even sprout.  So I talked him out of planting more right now.
Dad says if you should happen to come down would you please bring him a can of used oil and about 25 pounds of amonia phosphate.
I am so forgetful have to have him stand here and tell me while I write.
Then we will pay you.
Thank you,
Dad and Mother

Jan 4, 1960
Monday Morn
Dear Folks:
Thanks for the nice day we had at your house.  Hope you will forgive the monoply we made of the time telling our tale of woe.
We have been wondering about the folks and hope they got home alright.  We had nice sunshine in the afternoon but the roads were icey and yet people drove like they were sent for in a hurry.
Hope you get adjusted to your new job Minnie.  It will help to keep you out of mischief.  It has turned colder here, my Mother used to say "when the days begin to lengthen the winter begins to strengthen: which seems to come true here.
Best love to all of you
Dad and Mother

Lovell March 28, 1960
Dear Folks:
Haven't seen or heard any thing from you so wonder if you have gone on a vacations too.  Did see Stephen name in the paper.  Dont know if it is my glasses or just my eyes but seem I can't follow the lines.
It gets quite lonesome around here.  Of course people have been very good to take us to SS and Church,  Dad has had some bad days and that don't help to pass time.  But yesterday and today he has felt fairly good.
Suppose you are busy getting arranged for farming.  Cant think of any news, thought I had so much to tell when I started but now I've run down.
Let us hear from you if you have time to write, and we would not turn down a visit any time.
Love to all of you,
Dad and Mother

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Little Red Wagon

I was five years old in 1937 in the heart of the Great Depression.  I had few toys, but my one most treasured possession was a little red wagon.  I hauled everything in it, coasted where I could with one knee in the wagon and the other leg pushing.  That little red wagon was the joy of my life.  And then the handle broke, the metal just fell apart, and I could no longer play with my wagon.

I remember clearly the day when I was told to go up to Grandpa Wasden's, three-quarters of a mile or so from where we lived.  I walked up the road and went over to his blacksmith shop, and he presented me with my wagon, the handle welded together again.  Grandpa Wasden was a self taught master at fixing things and the forge and anvil in his blacksmith shop are part of our indelible memories of his life.  With a light heart and, I am sure, a smile on my face, I pulled my treasured wagon back to our house.

When things are broken, we try to fix them.  Some things we can fix, other things are not fixable.  We feel a sense of relief and, some times, a sense of joy when we can fix something that is dear or important to us or that we need in our daily lives.  And we feel a sense of despair when we realize that we must cast something aside or accept things as they are and make the best of them. 

As we grow older, our bodies begin to  betray us, and we seek fixes and repairs for whatever we can find remedies to help us.  The fixes and repairs become more problematic, more uncertain, the older we get.  And, at times, age is no respecter of betrayals in the ways our bodies work.  One of the most difficult lessons in life is to learn to fix the things we can fix and to live with the things we cannot.  Typically, this means our activites are curtailed; we can no longer walk or run as we once could, our hearts act up in uncomfortable ways, the rows of our pill bottles expand from year to year, and the frequency of our doctor's visits seems to multiply.  Our bodies, once free from pain, are often racked with excruciating pain.  And life becomes uncertain and unsettling.

Out of all of the experiences and changes and attempts to fix the things we can fix, though, our lives become more peaceful, more tranquil and settled, when we learn to live with what we have been blessed with.  Each morning, we have another day, another sunrise, and each night the curtain on the world comes down and we welcome the dark and the rest that comes with it.  And, over time, our thoughts go back to the little red wagons in our lives, and to the joys we experienced when we could fix them. And then we thank heaven once more for the moment that is now ours, for the chance we have to fix what we can, to mend the fences, to take take care of business, and to find the happiness and peace from having done all we can do to take care of ourselves and those whom we love.

Another Silent Night

This is the piece of marquetry that reminds me of Silent Night.  Maybe this is the old version and the one that is on the home page of the blog is the new version?  Either of them work, don't you think?

Comment Too Long for a Response

I have temporarily borrowed Steve's wonderful photo of snowy New York and have tried to make it large enough to spread across the top but have been unable to do so.  Steve, may I use this photo on a couple of Christmas cards, with credit to you for it being your photo, of course?

I have been trying to convince my dear wife that I need a panini press.  She admantly refuses to allow me to buy one.  I adamantly maintain that I absolutely need one.  So what to do?  Just scorch another grilled cheese in the frying pan.

I have a request for a guest post on our blog, which I will post when she sends it to me.  I thought we might as well spread a little help beyond our own family bounds once in awhile.

BYU beat the U of U last night, as is only fitting and proper.

The Daily Spectrum of Saint George is switching Sunday funnies, getting rid of many of my favorites and adding the new "mod" ones which I hate.

The sun is shining.

The election of 012 is over.  The election of 016 has begun.

When is a response to long for a comment, or a comment too long for a response?  We need some analysis here.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Friday Morning December 7 2012

Who remembers December 7, 1941?  Some of us were playing in the yard in Ralston when we were called in to listen to the radio when the attack on Pearl Harbor was occurring.  Our lives were never the same after that day.  Similarly, we remember other days.  I was home with a cold and everyone else was gone when the news came on the radio that FDR had died.  I had just finished the oral exam defense of my doctoral dissertation at the U of Michigan when I stepped out into the other room while they voted and discussed my plight when the secretary said, the President (JFK) has just been shot.  I immediately returned to the exam room, interrupted their deliberations, and broke the news.  Several of them had held high positions in the Kennedy administration.  My exam was over.  Not another word.  Just a somber, dark and heavy pallor over the group of distinguished economists.  It was ironic that their student was the one to break the devastating news to them.

Our brains are seared with the landmark events of our lives, which forever haunt us with sadness and forever permeate our perspective and respect for life and remind us that our existence is temporary, often fraught with fear and disaster, but still blessed with a new day, a new sunrise, a new appreciation for the beauties of the earth and of the sky.

I soon became ill after that December 7 day, and spent three and one half months home in bed.  A little radio Dad was throwing away was sitting on the shelf.  I tinkered with it, took out the tubes and replaced them, and behold, it worked.  That radio became my lifeline to the War and the world outside as I still remember Edward R. Murrow from the rooftops of London and H.V. Kaltenborn and the somber and fearsome moments of the war.  Now we reminisce, and give thanks for all those who sacrificed and for the wonders of each new day.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Response to Ann's Response Which Was Too Lengthy for Comment

I feel ambushed, schnozzled, one-upped, and demolished.  All by a younger, less-mature sibling who is defending her panini pan.  It has taken several hours to recover from the shock of reading her learned and eloquent reply to my commentary on the panini pan.  Ann must have spent hours, days, cogitating and writing and rewriting this masterpiece of clear and logical thinking.  I congratulate you for what surely is a literary masterpiece.

A couple of observations:
  • From Chapter 56 of Pride and Prejudice: "For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbors, and laugh at them in our turn?"
  • From Nelson Demille's novel, Night Fall, p. 173:  "As a wise man (me) once said, 'The problem with doing nothing is not knowing when you are finished."
  • My $5 Costco sea salt grinder is Mediterranean sea salt, a definite cut above sludge out of the Great Salt Lake.
  • We have not been provided with any recipes, testimonials, tutorials, or discussion of how to use a panini pan.  We remain in the dark.
  • How can you toss a pressure cooker after one try? 
  • How did Noah clean out the Ark?
We await your continued enlightenment and guidance.

Response Too Lengthy For Just A Comment

Hmmm, for an extremely bright, well educated economist, I can see there is a need for enlightening a wondering/wandering mind.  I feel a little like Mr Darcy, when in writing to Miss Elizabeth, he states that what he has written is a true narrative of all his dealings with Mr. Wickham.  This is written to share my innermost thoughts and feelings about my journey toward the panini press.

First point, as to the effect of my careful, well planned purchases over the years, there has been much pondering as to how this came to be. My thoughts go back to the first time we were at Mother and Dad's house in the woods and Mother got out her well cared for griddle to cook pancakes for our little army.  She had made a pillowcase type cover out of flannel that she carefully tucked it in after each use and cleaning. Oh, how I admired that griddle.  It meant I no longer had to cook two to three pancakes at a time in my cast iron frying pan, but could, instead cook eight pancakes at a time, thus making breakfast/lunch/dinner ever so much more efficient and quick with fewer dirty dishes to wash when the little mob of hungry mouths had disappeared.  So, my wish list consisted of a griddle, with non-stick surface, and one day, when there was a bargain, and our budget could handle it, I bought my griddle.

And thus began the quest for something to make life a little better, a little easier, or maybe just a little more enjoyable.  It took several years to perfect the ability to discern between what was needed and what was wanted.  Along the way I discovered I didn't want wigs, and didn't need 500 pair of panty hose.  I also discovered, I couldn't sell soap or the latest and greatest supplements.  And, more recently a careful purchase of a small pressure cooker has proven to be an unwise purchase.  I wonder who wants it for Christmas?  I did, however discover there were things I could do quite well, which meant I had to break away from the mainstream and go it on my own.  This meant discovering things like a little hand held scanner to carry with me so I no longer tear out pages from an old magazine at the Drs. office that contains a recipe I can't do without (although I must admit I have not always followed through with making said dish), or more important findings that required just a quick scan.  It has also meant the discovering of a different sewing machine, little gadgets in the kitchen, or chickens laying "real eggs" in our backyard.  It cannot be denied that the influence of siblings has played a role in my education along this line, however there came a time when I needed to become my own person.  I found I could no longer wait for someone to say "you should try this or that".  Time was flying by, there were things to do and a world to discover.

Lately the influences of my siblings has led to planning a place to plant a hydrangea in the spring (Judy), considering a new hoop for doing handwork (Elizabeth), looking into other scanning programs(Steve),  encouragement to keep going on my projects (Louise), and a need to check out Costco to see what is new (Dwight).  So much to do, so little time to do it in!

So this brings us to the current debate about the panini press.  First, in order to make a fair argument it must be stated that this is not called a panini press, but a "griddler-gourmet", which puts it in a whole different class  than "just" a panini press.  My reasoning for purchasing said wonder was (1) my George Foreman imitation grill was dying; (2) this was on special at Costco; (3) I could cook two hamburgers/pork chops/chicken breasts or thighs on the grill side in very short order with a minimal amount of mess and a quick clean up; (4) I could cook two pieces of bacon and an egg on one griddle plate -when opened up wide so both plates lay flat - and two pancakes on the other griddle plate, thus eliminating two frying pans and the larger griddle, which means fewer dishes and easier cleanup; (5) grilled cheese sandwiches are a breeze to make - no more flipping them over, and ending up with one burned side and one side barely done.  Both sides will be the same - either burned or well done.  The only time they would be barely done is when the sandwich is removed too soon, an issue which any cook knows how to resolve.  (6)  Hot ham sandwiches,  etc. are made quickly with little fuss and muss; (7) It is easily stored because of its size; (8) It sounds cool to ask if anyone wants a panini sandwich to go with their tomato soup.

I guess the bottom line is, if the world is ending in a couple of weeks, we won't need food storage, we won't need a new coat to replace one that is worn out.  Perhaps a good way to spend this time is to sit back, relax, enjoy life, cook dinner, whether it is in a "griddler-gourmet" or over a nice warm coal stove, and marvel at how life was when we all started out in our little white house compared to where we are today.

There is another line from Pride and Prejudice where Bingley is leaving the Bennet home after asking Jane to marry him.  As Bingley is leaving Jane to go and talk with Mr. Bennet, Jane and Elizabeth are talking and Jane says she never imagined she could bring such happiness to her family.  I must admit, I take great delight in providing a source for merriment and curiosity, however, that does present a challenge.  Where shall  I look for the next great adventure?  If Dwight would just follow instructions and go buy said item at Costco, this would be over and done with.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Ann's Panini Press

Several days have elapsed since Ann's birthday.  The euphoria of being treated like a queen and being showered with love, gifts, etc., is now diminishing.  So it is time to bring up Ann's panini press.  Actually, to be honest, since I usually lie, I considered buying a panini press before I learned Ann had wandered the halls of Costco and stumbled upon one and took it home.  Thinking, ha!, I now have something that no one else has.  So now we are holding extensive discussions about Ann's panini press.  Essentially, the panini press is something Italians use to smoosh otherwise robust thick sandwiches into thin toasty and smooshy sandwiches.  Velna claims that I am not allowed to buy one.  Judy says use the household iron and smoosh it down in the frying pan.  Or use the George Foreman grill and smoosh lines into it creating a fake panini sandwich.

I might dismiss all negative remarks since I read Mel on Mel's Kitchen Cafe food blog, linked on the Professor blog, says that the three most valuable things she has when away from home awhile are a grill pan from Williams-Sonoma (go look it up, Ann), a panini press, and, oh! I forget the third one.  Oh dear.  I am now seeking testimonials and evaluations on the usages and virtues of the panini press and invite any and all readers to provide input.  According to Amazon, each panini press generates a zillion negative remarks along with some superlatives.  So, who to believe?  Will the panini press merely find its way into the Smithsonian collection of discarded kitchen appliances?  By the way, we have not yet discussed dutch ovens and cast iron frying pans.  But we will.  Ann says buy it at Costco.  They take everything back for any reason whatsoever.  So if you go through three panini presses in a year, who cares?  Happy holidays.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Happy Birthday Ann Dec 1 2012


I'm sure this picture has been posted before, but here it is again.  The interesting components of this picture are (a) baby Ann, (b) Mother, (c) surely one of the most curious cats ever who was clearly wondering what was going on here, and (d) the family wash tub bath tub hanging on the front of (e) the cellar.  Did Elna take this picture?  Or Dad?  Mother didn't have a camera the rest of her life after her precious Kodak was lost or stolen one year at the Cody Stampede, thus we were without family pictures until we got Baby Brownies.  Elna must have brought a camera?
Here are some little known facts about Annie:
  1. Ann is addicted to infomercials and kitchen doodads.  The mere mention of a new doodad sends all of her siblings to the store (except Judy) to buy whatever new doodad Ann is trying.  Judy thinks I am gullible, so my new policy is to wait 2 years and see if Ann is (a) still using whatever she bought, (b) if it is still working, and (c) if it has been taken to DI or to the basement store room.  The last thing I fell into was the nucular salt and pepper shakers, which cost 29 bucks.  Imagine my dismay when I discovered this fall that Ann's nucular matched set had been discarded.  In fact, one of them got broken.  Who by? I asked.  By Paul, Ann said.  So after paying $20 for batteries to power my nucular shakers, I instead bought a new Tellicherry pepper grinder and a new sea salt grinder from Costco for 5 bucks each and, instead of having them powered nucularly, I merely give them a quick twist and Voila! I have pepper and sea salt and I don't have to buy any more batteries.
  2. With no experience and without a bachelor's degree in agriculture from the University of Wyoming, Ann is raising eggs for $20 a dozen. 
  3. Ann is perpetually busy finding new handyman construction projects for Paul.
  4. I have been trying to figure out what Ann is so busy at, but then she lives a stone's throw from Costco.  I don't know how much stuff she just makes up.
  5. Ann has hidden treasures of family knowledge which she has squirreled away and periodically sticks one on our family blog.
Here are some well known facts about Annie:
  1. Ann will cheer you up on the most dismal day, her infectious laugh and great glee over questionable humor making the phone call worth while.
  2. Ann has studied every known cure for every malady extensively on the internet.
  3. Ann is a good source of information that I can pry out of her and then surprise the other sisters that I know stuff they never heard of.  "Well, she never told me that," I huffily hear periodically. 
  4. Ann has the patience of Job, the optimism of Adam and Eve getting kicked out of the Garden of Eden, and the perseverance and bravery that have carried her through some dark and dismal days.  You can always count on a smile and a laugh.
  5. Ann is a genius when it comes to figuring out stuff and patiently explaining it to the rest of us.
So now you are informed about our sister.  I left home when she was still very young, and through all of those years I wandered I knew she was there somewhere.  But only in recent years when we have all had a bit more time to spend sharing our nonsense, wisdom, and extensive knowledge, have I come to more seriously appreciate the fact that Ann is a very smart and talented person.  I should have given her more credit for this when she was little and always running to Mother when I was bugging (entertaining?) her.  But now I see the light.  And the laughter she leaves with me makes my phone call always worthwhile and echoes awhile longer.  Happy Birthday.  Stretch out the day as long as possible, days, because after it is over no one will basically care for another year.  Love, D.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


I have flown over it and driven around it, but after all these years of being back east this is the first time that I have ever been to D.C.  We went with Mike and family, twice actually, over the Thanksgiving weekend.  It was truly awe inspiring and humbling when you think where we've come from.  My favorite was probably the Lincoln Memorial, it really lifts the spirits.  The architecture is magnificent and one really does feel that they are at the center of the universe.  The war memorials were powerful in their message, the Viet Nam memorial was overwhelming.
It was nice to be with family in a place that gives you great hope that we can overcome our shortfalls and become strong and independent again.
Love to all.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Something To Check Out

If you love music, are fascinated with what can be done with a cello, you have got to check this out.  Go to  . Beautiful music, some crazy stuff, but it made me smile.
Hope everyone is having a good day!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Time for Thanksgiving!

     I've been waiting for Dwight to come up with a Thanksgiving Memoir, but it hasn't happened yet, so I'll write about one Thanksgiving that I remember vividly.  The day was beautiful and unseasonably warm.  We all worked on the dinner, which included some foods that were seldom on our table - celery, red grapes, cranberries (cooked by Mother), and yams, plus the usual big hen baked to perfection in the coal range.  (We had a turkey my senior year in high school, and all decided that it was not as delicious and moist as the chicken.)  We cleaned up, dishes were finished, and with the day so beautiful and fine - blue skies, golden stubble in the fields, etc., so we older children decided to walk down to the river bridge.  All I remember about that walk was that as we were headed home, dark clouds began to appear in the west, and we hurried down the lane to home to avoid a possible storm.  One thing that Louise did was to save the embossed paper napkin she had for lunch (unsoiled), and color the patterns on it, so as in everything else, I copied her.  Paper napkins were only used on special occasions.
     Another Thanksgiving I remember was even earlier - around 1942.  Aunt Cindy and Uncle Norman were living in the remains of the little house that Uncle Orville had built.  There was a main room and a small back room.  As I recall, they just had Newell, and we all crammed around the table in the front room.  After lunch, Daddy and Norman went out and began to stake out the dimensions for our new home.  Unbelievably, we moved into that house on George Washington's birthday in 1943!  I spent another ten years in that home before graduating from high school and heading for Laramie.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Where Are You?

All right, everybody - where are you?  We either need an egg count from Ann, a book review from Dwight,  garden progress from Judy, or a quilt  from Louise.  I'm not sure of my responsibility in all of this, so I'll just post the picture that's a month old that Ron took some days after I was home from the last hospital stint.  Belated thank you all for the lovely posies.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Little Detour

I blithly followed the way to the above link and ended up spending a wonderful hour with uplifting music.   And I will be back for more.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

News Flash

It is said a picture is worth a thousand words so - 

 Nesting Box #1 with golf ball in tact
 Nesting Box #2 with golf ball tucked in the corner
Nesting Box #3 with golf ball just sitting there
 Nesting Box #4 golf ball with a friend
And the little red hen must be saying, "Hey, I know I left something in here".

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Harvest Time

As I am putting the garden to "bed" for the winter, there are still carrots and beets to pull.  However, as I started that little project, I ran across this really big carrot and have come to the conclusion that I will mulch that bed in with straw (thank you for the reminder, Judy) and just pull them as needed.  This carrot will feed us for two to three meals.  It has been a good year in the garden.

And then there are the chickens.  This is what happens when academics get together and try to solve non-academic challenges.  One of Paul's colleagues told him to put golf balls in the nesting boxes to encourage egg production (Huh!) and to teach the chickens to not peck on the eggs when they do appear, so the next morning when I went out to check the nesting boxes and found golf balls nestled in the pine chips, I have to admit my first instinct was to throw them out.  I asked Paul if I could post this on the blog, and he was just a little hesitant.  However, what if it will help?  Chickens are 22 weeks on the 29th so by Thanksgiving there should be something besides golf balls to gather!

As many of you know, we made a quick trip to Glendale, Arizona to go to church with Greg and Kim and to participate in their son's, (Shaun), ordination to the Aaronic Priesthood.  Their ward now has a new, handsome deacon to help out.  While we were there, there wasn't much time for doing anything, but we did manage to drive by where their new temple is being built.  It is about 10 minutes from where Greg and Kim live, and will be such a blessing to the church members in the northwest part of Phoenix.  After getting through so many obstacles, the framework is up.  Needless to say, this is an exciting time for them.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Rainbows, John Deere Tractors, and Squash and Pumpkins

I thought we needed some rainbows.  I know the background is too bright, but bear with me for awhile and I'll change it again.  This John Deere is much fancier than the one that we had, the one Dad constantly had to fix and order parts for and even drive it in to Powell to the John Deere store, and which I spent endless hours driving to rake hay and other field work.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

To My Siblings: Penrose Memories

To My Siblings: Do you remember these little gems?

  1. Mother: "Hurry up or you'll miss the bus!"
  2. The water bucket on the wash stand inside the door with water carried from the pump about 20 yards from the house with the dipper that we all drank from day in and day out.
  3. Dad: "Have you cleaned out the chicken house?"  Ghastly.
  4. The "slop pail" which took the place of a sink with a garbage disposal into which went all the refuse of the day and which I proudly taught Steve to twirl over his head in the yard without spilling a drop and poor Judy never mastered the scientific principles of centrifugal force.
  5. Taking baths in the galvanized round tub, usually Saturday night, but more frequent as I became more fastidious in my advanced high school years.
  6. "Mother, Dwight's picking his pimples again."  Well, I didn't have a mirror in my bedroom so I had to sit on the vanity in the girls' bedroom to see the mirror.  Whereupon mother would show up the with mercurochrome bottle and paint red blotches all over my face so I would cease and desist my pimple squeezing.  Tattle tale girls.
  7. Who got to read the serials in the Saturday Evening Post first?
  8. Crowding six kids and two adults into our Model A Ford, which served as our family transportation until after WWII when we finally got a normal car.  We hunkered down when we got to town because we didn't want anyone else to see us in our historic automobile.
  9. Gathering around the stove in the living room on frigid winter mornings when we left our unheated bedrooms to finish getting dressed when it was below zero and the wind howling.;
  10. Watching for cars driving down the road near our house so we knew who was going to town and when they came back.
  11. Going up to Grandma Wasden's when we absolutely had to make a phone call, whereupon Grandma would ring the number for us, we would listen to see who else was on the line, and then make our phone call.  We didn't have a phone at home until several years after I left home.
  12. Who else could have known what it was like to be raised an only boy in a whole house full of girls, with my one little brother being born too late to do me any good?  Unbelievable!
Whatever we six Bloods remember, whatever we did without, whatever we did have, the six of us today are still here, with Judy leading our round-robin phone relays, and occasionally we hear when I reveal a secret that only I knew, "Well, Judy certainly didn't tell me that!"  I don't think any of us have ever left Penrose and we go their often in our dreams and in our quiet moments.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A Letter to My Siblings

Much time has gone by since I updated the stuff I know that may have heretofore gone unnoticed, unappreciated, or just plain ignored, to wit:

  1. Ann has abandoned her nucular powered salt and pepper shakers.  Apparently her grandchildren think they are fun toys and so she had to put them away.  Sad.  She did, however, haul me to Costco soon after she bought hers where I foolishly bought my set.  I got back from St. George this year, and the batteries were dead in both the salt and the pepper shakers.  I put about 10 bucks worth of batteries in the salt shaker, which doesn't hold much sea salt anyway.  For pepper, I decided to give my Costco Tellicherry black pepper grinder a mild twist and thereby, voila, I have pepper without firing up my nucular powered pepper shaker with another ten bucks of batteries.  Moral:  if Ann tempts you to buy something, always wait at least two years to see if she has junked, abandoned, or donated it to DI.
  2. Ann and Paul have the only bunch of chickens herded by a dog and a cat.
  3. Ann's latest is 69 bucks spent on a Panini press with a two sided grill.  A Panini press, for the uninitated, is a press that squooshes decorative ridges into a sandwich, flattening all the stuff in the sandwich to boot.  But, she says, she can turn the grid over and fry an egg.  But from whence does the egg come from?  Not from the herd of chickens in her yard.
  4. Louise has recuperated, apparently, from her awful bout with bronchitis or whatever she had, lucky that it wasn't pneumonia.  We assume she is back at her quilt factory churning them out one by one.
  5. Judy walks on the wet grass in the middle of the night to ease her burning feet.  When I wake up in the night, I picture her out there, and communicate with her.  This is kind of eerie, ghostlike, sort of.  What will she do in the winter?
  6. For those not in on the know, Judy left her Bosch mixer, some 40 years old or so, sitting on the counter mixing bread dough or such when she went in the other room.  Said Bosch decided to dance a jig, dancing itself off the counter, on to the floor, shattering into bits, throwing dough all over the floor, walls, and kitchen.  I asked her what she said.  She said, I said, "damn."  So now she has a spiffy new Bosch and has sense enough to stand watch over it every moment it is on and a huge load of guilt for saying damn.  Mother would have been proud.
  7. Liz says her new pace maker is a Model T or Model A variety, whereas Ron has a Cadillac pacemaker.  Is this fair?
  8. I have admonished Liz to hurry and get home because I noticed that her fabric stash is not all color coordinated.
  9. Steve, from latest reports, is busy making furniture and posting fake pictures of locomotives chugging into Frannie.  I have thought seriously about relocating in Frannie since Steve posted this picture.  For one thing, Frannie is just Fannie with an R.  For two things, Frannie has a lot of urban amenities that Penrose doesn't have and you are closer to Deaver and Cowley, a huge advantage.
  10. As for Velna and me, we voted straight party line on our absentee ballot and mailed it today, thus reminding ourselves that we are disenfranchised in the state of Utah where 98% of the vote is Republican no matter who should be elected or not, the magic letter in the ballot box is the letter "R".  We didn't even wait for the rest of the "debates" to decide who to vote for.
I hope this update has been informative and has provided you with the necessary information to guide your lives for the indefinite future.  As further tidbits become revealed to me, I will pass them along post haste, and if they are juicy or significant enough, I will pass them along even faster than that.

Letter to Elizabeth

Dear LizzyBeth,

Welcome home.  I hope you get home today with your Model T Pacemaker and that you will cease your stubborn attraction to exotic twitterpations.  But you have always been a stubborn one, to wit:

Let us analyze this picture carefully:
  1. Who has the right to have their hand on the pitchfork?
  2. Who has a look that suggests that he or she has a constitutional right to have their hand on this pitchfork?
  3. Who has a look of total exasperation and disgust at the injustice being committed?
I think it is obvious that a miscarriage of rightful privilege of having one's hand on the pitchfork is being committed here.  I have worried about how this came about all of my life.

OK Lizabeth, hold my hand and we'll take our little can of worms and our primitive fishing poles and walk down to the river.  We'll wait for the cars to pass, if any, and walk out to the middle concrete pier which holds up the two sections of the old railroad bridge that once provided the entry into Penrose.  We'll climb down on the pier, dangle our feet over the edge, hang our fishing lines loaded with worms in the moving waters.  We will know full well that we will never catch a fish because we never, ever have caught one and, even if we did, it would be a bony sucker we would just chuck back in the river.

We will sit and while away the time, watching the river waters flow past, wondering where the waters came from and how far they will go.  So we will have a few moments of peace and tranquillity and calm that will light our memories for the rest of our lives, the waters moving by, the cars rumbling overhead, and no cares to trouble our minds.  But those moments were enough.  We never needed or wanted anything more.

Get well. Love, Dwight

Friday, October 5, 2012



Couldn't help but think of Garland, Powell and Laurel, still love it.

Friday, September 28, 2012

The End of the Shift

This video was taken close to the time for everyone to return to their happy home.  Watch as Charlie surveys his charges, sees me and wags his tail as if to say "I'm on the job and everything is ok".  Then he relaxes, after a hard morning's work.

Ok, so there aren't any eggs yet, but it has been very entertaining to watch a little piece of country life growing in our backyard.

Herding Chickens

I am not sure how well this is going to work.  I do know I can only post two little videos on one  posting, so please bear with me.  My morning routine now includes putting Charlie, the dog, to work "herding" chickens.  The dog whisperer says every dog needs a job to be happy.  I'll let the videos talk for themselves.  Because I am not sure of what I am doing, the videos get very distorted if you try to enlarge them.  I will figure this out one day.

Charlie saying good morning to his charges.

If you watch closely, the little red hen really "loves" Charlie, hence the peck on the nose.

Thursday, September 27, 2012


A feather in the nesting box does not an egg make.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Dwight is 80 Years Old!!!

 I lifted these photos of  Dwight's party from his granddaughter, Lori, on FB.  I hope I have permission, if not I will ask for forgiveness.  The blog definitely needed a pictorial record of this highly significant event.  Remember  when we thought that 80 was so old we could never reach it?  Well, now two of the six of us are there and doing great.

I think that in spite of the noble comments of, "I certainly do not want any party....fuss...attention, or whatever", he does look quite pleased at the efforts of  his family, especially Velna.  Thank you, Velna!

Ann and Paul were the well-wishers representing the other Blood kids.  They make great ambassadors because, look, Dwight has his best birthday smile. 

This is pretty tramatic for all of us: for Dwight who is 80, for Louise who is already 80, for Velna who is married to an old man, for the rest of us who will someday follow.  Lead on, Dwight, lead on.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Where to start?  Twirling slop buckets around the head without spilling a drop, "if there's water on my brain," as the the grandparents made an unheard of stop at the house, a front row seat made of hay so that Ann and I could learn from the Stacey brothers what not to say in a yelling match, very bright lights in MY bedroom while I was trying to sleep, a knot board that was the benchmark in the ag room for 30 years, a fish cutting board that hung in the shop, a boy scout manual that held all the secrets of becoming an adventurer, a sleek black sedan stuffed with all worldly goods, an avid reader, a skilled speaker,  scared my brother would join the marines and go to Korea, (what's a Korea? sounded scary), trying to talk the girls into going to the Byron pavilion, a Christmas sock with a whole in the bottom for maximum volume.  teasing, funny, serious, smart.  Does this sentence seem to run on?  HAPPY BIRTHDAY DWIGHT.
Love Steve and Mary Lynn

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Healing Flowers

When we arrived home from Ogden Saturday afternoon, there were tokens of love for us from family - this beautiful bouquet came from my five siblings with Dwight as the designated bouquet chooser.  Please enlarge this picture - the snap dragons were a perfect touch, with three red roses, deep purple carnations, the pink daisies and the white ones, plus a few other choice stems thrown in for good measure.  Thanks to all of you for thinking of me and sending these cheer-up reminders of the bonds and encouragement we share among us.  (Could we do this on our own?  I don't think so.)  Love to all five of you, Elizabeth.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Letter to Elizabeth

September 11 2012

Dear LizzyBeth,

We all have images in our minds of you reposing in your bed like a Queen while Ron is hastening around and waiting on you.  I thought this morning I would add some bright sunflowers and a white daisy to hasten your recovery.  When you start recovering more, I did notice that some of the colors in your fabric stash are not carefully coordinated, with some shades that do not come close to the fabric next to it.  I hope you will fix this soon so that the next photo of your fabric stash I see will have a stronger ambience.

I do have some problems with my sisters I will share with you.  Judy calls me up one morning and tells me I am grouchy.  I was just fine until she informed me of my state.  As I insisted I was just fine, she said wait a minute, I'll call you right back.  Wait, wait.  Then Ann calls.  Judy tells me you are grouchy and that I should call and cheer you up.  Has anyone ever had more devious sisters?  Now I  worry continuously about whether I am grouchy and wondering why no one is calling me up any more to cheer me up.  Why is this?

We have all had a few issues of late, but mainly we are all thinking of you and holding your hand and postponing giving you a hard time until you are recovered.  May your actual recovery be quick, but fake it for awhile so you don't have to do laundry, vacuuming, cleaning, dishes, cooking, etc., etc., for several months.  You will be glad you followed this advice.  Our best also to your faithful caregiver who has been your lifeline through all of this.

Love from Dwight, who is speaking on behalf of the rest of us also.

P.S., I just remembered, Judy actually told me I was  "becoming more difficult."  Can you imagine such harsh words coming from your dear sister?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Look What I Found

Mother talking with Paul and Ann (holding Laura)

Trouble?  Who can you name?

Add caption

Mother and Dad outside the Lodge

Dwight standing by his faithful stationwagon

Ann holding Laura talking with Beth

More Trouble?

Grounds around Scout Camp

Steps leading to the "bath house"

I tried to enlarge these a little more, but they became very distorted. 

Remember This?

(not the writing, but the rest)

Saturday, September 1, 2012

What Was This Occasion?

Laura (she looks pretty little), Paul, Kemp, and Dad perched on a log.

All I have labeled on these photos is "at a lake in Washington".

We must be watching the kids....and it must be windy(?) or cool (?).......Mom's scarf and the warmer jackets tell the story.  Who are those 3 cowboys in the background???

Anybody know anything about these?????

Friday, August 31, 2012

Tomato Soup Part II

The recipe I posted for tomato soup earlier today is really good, and it gets even a little better with a little cream mixed in and then heated.  However, it is really a lot of work.  Here is a second option, from Laura.

1 - 28 oz can whole tomatoes, in juice
1 rib celery, roughly chopped
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 to 1/3 cup cream.
Puree the tomatoes, celery and broth in blender (VitaMix????) until smooth.  Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.  Stir in cream.  Transfer to saucepan to warm through.  Swirl a dollop of prepared pesto in to soup (off to Costco??).
I haven't tasted this one, but Laura has and she really likes it.

What To Do With Buckets of Tomatoes

As I was talking with Dwight (per Judy's instructions), he wanted to know what I was doing. Making tomato soup to put in bottles, says I.  And what is the recipe for said soup, asks big brother.  Finding it a tricky task to relate said recipe over the phone, I promised to post it on Penrose Mornings within the hour.  Who knows if I have made that deadline, but just in case it is still wanted, here it is:
(This beats the store bought stuff by miles, no nasty additives, is low salt, and ever so good.)
Home Canned Tomato Soup
1 peck ripe tomatoes  - how much is a peck of tomatoes,you ask?  According to someone who is supposed to know these things, it is about 8 quarts.  In my world it is a large kettle full of juice - very precise measurement.
4 onions sliced
12 sprigs parsley
2 bay leaves
1 tsp peppercorns
1 tsp celery seed
1 tsp whole cloves
2 Tablespoons salt (I cut this in half and then let people salt it according to their taste)
1 Tablespoons sugar

I put my tomatoes through the Victorio juicer, so get them to the juice stage any way you want to. Put peppercorns, celery seed, whole cloves in a tea ball, or tie in a cheese cloth bag.  Put juice in kettle, add parsley, bay leaves, onions,  salt and sugar and tea ball.  Let simmer until it is at the consistency you want.  Strain out the onions, parsley, bay leaves, and remove the tea ball.  Reheat to boiling point after straining.  Pour into sterilized jars, seal, process in boiling water bath 40 minutes for quarts.

Wasden Daughters with Their Mother

How I wish that this photo was clearer!  I don't know where I got this and maybe it has been posted before, but I saw it in my files today and fell in love with it all over again.
Grandma Tilda with her floweredy dress smiles as she is surrounded by her daughters.  Left to right: Elna, Sofe, Grandma, Cindy and our mother, Minnie.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Pictures from Reunion of 1978

 Sorry the pictures are so dark, fuzzy, etc. but they do tell a story.  Top picture, left to right, as far as I can determine, Louise, in front of her, Mark, Bob and Judy, Hillary, ?, Paul, ?, Steve, and the two in front are Kristen, and Shannon, with Kemp.  (Correct me if you think differently - you can double-click on the pictures to enlarge them.
 Left side, back to front: Linda (now Consoliver), John T., Kemp, Shannon, Kristen; Right side, back to front:  Mother, Dad, Brig, Greg T., ?, Jim T., Dorothy, Shannon B.
Left side, front to back, Gary Paul, Rex Baker, Louise; Middle row:  Steve, Pam, Mark, Judy, Hillarie, Cheryl; Next row:  Linda, Tony, Kemp; and last row, Mom, Dad, Brig.  Memories are tied up in pictures, even those as poor as these - especially when they are good memories!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Blueberries, Anyone?

This is a recipe that I got from Aunt Lorraine on one of our few trips to Medford.  It is so easy and so good.

Blueberry Betty

4 cups cubed stale (or so-so) bread
3/4 tsp or less Cinnamon
1/2 cup white sugar
2 - 4 cups of berries
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup melted butter poured over all

Bake 350 till berries bubble and bread crust is crunchy, about 20 minutes.
Eat hot out of the oven with a cold glass of milk!!!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Back to the Boy Scout Camp

 You snooze - you lose - I should have gone ahead of this while I was on a roll???  Another shot of Mother, Lou, and Judy - deep in conversation.
 I think that supper is ready (note the time on the clock)  with Mother running the show, helpers Diana and Cheryl.
 I threw in this picture of Kemp in his sleeping accommodations - certainly above the mouse fray.  When I got the pictures back from this developed film, there was a note that this was a very good photo.  ReallY?  Arty?
Now I know that the group pictures I took can be enlarged.  Be sure to double click on this one.  Hard to pick people out, but oh, well.  There will be a few more of these.

Letter To Dad's Uncle Roy and Aunt Eva October 1941

Ralston Wyo.
October 23, 1941

Mr. and Mrs. Roy O. Blood
Box 626
Wheatridge Colorado

Dear Aunt Eva and Uncle Roy,

We live 1 mile west of Ralston on a 100 acre farm.  I am in the fifth grade and so is Louise.  Elizabeth is just starting this year and is in the first grade.  Elizabeth is just learning how to read.  She can print her name.  We go to school in Powell Wyo., and ride 8 miles on a schoolbus.  I have been out of school for 4 days and have spare time to be onery.  My glands were swollen up a little bit but thats all.  Judith says nu-nu for milk and will yell any time she wants milk.  She can say kitty, flowers, dolly, daddy, oh, dog, and a few other words.  Her birthday was last April 23d.  She is about 17 months old now.  Whenever she is mad, we get the mercurochrome and paint her dignity.

Lucinda married Norman Sorensen last winter.  I don't know what else you would be interested in and my pen is so scratchy.

Yours truly
Dwight and Louise and Elizabeth

Comment;  After Dad lost both of his parents, he was sent to Denver to live with his father's brother, Roy, and his aunt Eva.  This time was an extremely unhappy time for Dad, and soon after he was sent to stay with Dewey and Elsie Riddle at their ranch in Sunlight basin above Cody which ultimately led, of course, to his meeting my mother when she came to the ranch to work one summer.  October 1941 was the last brief peaceful time before December 7 1941.  My time out of school then was nothing compared to what soon happened, as I contracted mumps in early December and then, along with everyone else, came down with Chicken pox on Christmas 1941.  I did not return to school until late March.  Liz reminded me the other day that she also was out of school for six weeks during this time.  Mother rode herd over my schoolwork and my sisters brought my homework and reading assignments home from school. I earned all "1's (A's) thanks to Mother's teaching skills.  I probably would have learned a lot more if she would have continued to teach me since I never did learn whether the sun revolves around the earth or vice versa in 7th grade science. Meanwhile, I read a stack of Life magazines over and over.  I can still see some of the war photos in my memory.  I also had resurrected an old Monkey Ward radio which Dad was going to throw out and tinkered with it a bit and, lo and behold, it worked.  This radio became my lifeline during those lonely days in bed as I remember Edward R. Murrow on the rooftops of London, the Lone Ranger (rides again), Jack Armstrong the All American Boy, Dr. Brent (call surgery), Jack Benny, Phil Harris, Fibber McGee and Molly, Dr. IQ the Mental Banker, Phil Spitalney and his All Girl Orchestra (we must be diligent, we must be diligent, American patrol, with arms for the army, ships (I substituted "legs") for the Navy, let this be our goal).  I had one jigsaw puzzle of the fife, drum and flag bearer in the Revolutionary War which I put together so many times I had it memorized and could start with any piece and finish it practically blindfolded.  Later that spring I won our 5th grade class spelling contest and got to go to the county contest in Cody where I promptly lost.  I do remember the fried egg sandwiches our teacher got for us, never having had such a wonderful sandwich.
I remember these days a half century ago more clearly than I do the television program I saw last night. (I don't think I ever posted this before, but, if so, here it is again.)

Letter to Dad March 23, 1943

Ralston Wyo.
March 23, 1943

Mr. Russell M. Blood
c/o Metcalf Hamilton & K.C. Bridge Company
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Dear Daddy,
Last Sunday we went to Sunday School in the morning and went to see Bambi in the afternoon.  The other show was All American Co-ed and it was about a man who dressed like a woman.

We filled our War Stamp booklets and we are going to get our bond tomorrow.  I have 50 cents in another book.  I am saving my money to get the Open Road for Boys.  It costs $1.60 a year and I have 60 cents saved toward it.

Mother took our pictures tonight.  Two of them were of us on the haystack.  At school we are playing marbles and I have lost a lot of mine, as usual.  I haven't had to stand in the corner any more but I got a red 5.  I did manage to get on the honor roll for this week though.

With love, Dwight
P.S. Mother forgot to mail our letters in with hers, so we sent ours in another envelope.  Dwight

Comment: Dad went to Edmonton with Les Utter to do war-related construction work, I believe on an air terminal facility, riding the train.  When he left, we kids knew nothing until Mom and Dad came to school and got us out of class to say goodby. I think Louise and I would have been in the 7th grade.  Our grades were "1,2,3,4,5", and not ABC, etc.  Red 5's were marked in red ink.  I can't remember what was so egregious as to merit a red 5 and I don't remember standing in the corner.  The system we had of going to church or Sunday School in the morning and going to the movies in the afternoon was an absolutely wonderful system.  This system came to a screeching halt when Mother became a Sunday School teacher and I guess she didn't want to be setting a bad example.  Sadly, we saw very few, if any, movies after that.  I thought Bambi was a stupid movie for killing off his poor mother in the fire.  Dad's stay in Canada was short-lived, however, as one day we came home from school and he jumped out from behind the door in our bedroom with a big "boo".  He had contracted pneumonia and had to come home to get well.  Thus ended another in his perennial, and often unsuccessful, efforts to make a little extra money.  But he and Mother never gave up. My penmanship in this letter was remarkably good for an 11 year old.  In the first grade, there wasn't much to do so I kept practicing the Parker Penmanship script on the top of the blackboard until I got all the letters right.  I didn't know until just a few years ago that my classmate and ultimate fellow annual editor Dolores had done the same. thing.  To this day, the handwriting for each of us is virtually indistinguishable. I ultimately ended up with enough money to subscribe to the Open Road for Boys, which I loved.

Who Is Moses?

Here is another important bit of information for your genealogy records. Can you connect Moses to us? Please note, this has been entered as it was written in the newspaper, so no corrections, even when I would normally spell ocupation with two c's.

The following obituary appeared in the Floyd County Advocate, Charles City, Iowa, April 28, 1893.   Mother's note indicates she obtained this from Roy Blood in Denver on June 3, 1968.  The address label on the paper said "Moses Blood".
"BLOOD - At his residence in this city, April 25, 1893, Moses blood, aged 45 years and five months.
Deceased was taken ill some six weeks ago but was regaining his usual health on the day before his death confiding in his wife that he was fast recuperating and would soon be able to resume steady work.  On Tuesday morning he arose and made the breakfast fire.  The meal was almost prepared when uttering some sentence explanatory of his condition he was caught in the arms of his wife and never spoke again.  Medical aid was summoned but he had passed beyond the physician's power to aid.  He was buried on Wednesday afternoon.  Rev. Chas Noble officiating.
Moses Blood was born in Belvidere, Ill.  When a small boy he moved with his parents to this county.  Thirty eight years ago he married Miss Sarah Hawkins, who with four children Mabel, Roscoe, Roy and Ray survive him.  After spending a year in Missouri Mr. and Mrs. Blood returned to this county and engaged in farming which ocupation he followed until about four years ago, when they moved to Charles City.  Deceased is a brother of Mrs. B. Page, of the east side and of Frank Blood of St. Charles.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Family Reunion, Boy Scout Camp, 1978

The family reunion in August, 1978, was the first and, perhaps only one that we held as the Blood Family.   Mother and Dad planned and invited all.  All six children and their families were there.  I had returned from Germany the last of June, and Brig had come back from England in the middle of June, so all of us were back on U.S. soil.  (Or was that when Ron Blood was on his mission?)
Mother and Daddy came to Lovell where I was living in the Sorensen house until I could find something in Powell.  We bought lots of groceries, and then they loaded Dorothy, Sara, and Tony and me into the car, too, and away we went to Northfork.
When we arrived at the Boy Scout camp (on the way to Yellowstone Park), we found things in less than perfect shape.  Mother simply rolled up her sleeves (they stayed that way during the reunion), pitched in, and marshaled the rest of us, so the kitchen got scrubbed, organized, and ready to go.  As people arrived, we were assigned places to sleep (mice scampered around on the floor).  There were only outdoor facilities as I recall, but Mother and Daddy did have better facilities, which their years certainly deserved.
 Louise was happy being grandmother to Michael, Diana's first baby.
 Daddy was the horseshoe king - where did he get to be so good at something he did so seldom?
And, Judy watched and cheered all participants on.