Be true to who you are…..

And the family name you bear……

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Gatherers

The word gets out like Sutter's Mill. They're on!
It's happening like gold in the sluice box,
the huckleberries are ripe.

Hmmmm. How does one describe the flavor of a huckleberry? I don't know. But that little berry has been the cause of my August mountain trek for almost twenty years now. It has been the draw for thousands of others for decades before me. While Shane and I were dating, I told him of the huckleberries we use to harvest in the mountains of Montana. He surprised me one day by taking me huckleberry picking in Idaho???!!! Who knew?

From that time forward I have gone every year to the same mountain and rarely has it failed me. That mountain has shared many memories of life with me. One year I sought relief from my aching head and churning stomach in the fresh air as morning sickness threatened to consume me, the next year David rode in a back pack as I picked berries and Cody grew making me just as sick. Summer after Summer my boys played and romped in those hills escaping our city lot. There is the dead tree, lovingly dubbed "the ship"... where my toddlers played for hours as I picked in the "Huckleberry sea" If you gave me the real name for that canyon I'd be lost but when one of the boys reports "There's berries at the ship." I always find my way.
There was the summer that Shane worked in Florida and I was so lonely, The hills again were my consolation the summer his mother died, and the summer my father died. There was the year Rob tumbled down the hill and when he hit the bottom all anyone wanted to know was "did you spill the bucket?" There was the summer we moved to the farm and now it only takes seventeen minutes to make it to the mountain! How about the year we traded a gallon for a goat? Or the year Grace ate the cow pie......... memories, memories shared, to be brought to remembrance year after year.

I guess before you turn me in for letting her eat a cow pie, I should tell you that Grace was a year old and couldn't walk yet... I set her down in front of a bush so she could pick and eat, she loved to pick and eat, when her bush was bare she started crawling up the trail to me and stuck her hand in a fresh cow pie..... before I could jump up to get her~ she licked it off.. The forest resounded with gaging noises... hers,mine, the family up the hill......
Not one of my mothering moments that brings a swell of pride BUT we did live through it.

The older ones no longer play on the ship but they did show the younger ones all the great features it possessed before abandoning their post. They have stopped making stick guns to hunt down the "wild" cows that graze the bushes near by. And they no longer hide in the bushes from enemy cars coming to steal our berries. Now we have contests to see who can pick the most or who can go the longest with out eating one.... Zachary always wins that one, he doesn't like them.

We all pick different and have our favorite kind of berry to find. Shane keeps his bucket neat and clean, no needles or leaves, and what grates me is he still picks just as fast as the rest of us. I guess I am just a slob as NO ONE ever wants to clean my bucket of berries. Cody likes to find the tear drop shaped ones because they are the biggest and fill his bucket faster. The berries dictate the picking ~sometimes we pick alone scattered on the hill, other times close in a group all working in one patch.

As the boys have grown, they have capitalized on the huckleberry. When you have that many pickers you tend to get more berries than your family can consume. They along with hauling pipe and picking raspberries sell the huckleberries to earn their motorcycles.

We have met a lot of wonderful people through selling the berries, we have repeat customers year after year. My favorites, but the ones who break your heart, are the OP's..the spirit is willing to go but their bodies have betrayed them and they can no longer hike the mountain. They come with their own memories of huckleberry pickin'. They share their stories and we share a laugh but it always ends the same... a far off look and a shake of the head...." I just can't go anymore". What do you say besides "I'm sorry." They pay their money and promise to come back next year.

As the years roll on I know my time will come too. If the Lord wills that I live, there will be a time when I no longer can tread that mountain.

Then the phone will ring...

"Granny, do you want berries this year?" After all, my grandbabies will need dirt bikes too. I will answer "yes, I want two gallon, that's how many we had to put up when your daddy/ mommy was little."

But bring 'em to me fresh....not the berries, for like Zachary, I confess, I'm not a big fan. But the children.......... bring the children to me with the sunshine in their eyes, their hair full of the smell of pine sap and their lungs breathing deep of that mountain air. I want to see the lips, fingers and even their seats stained purple. Let them tell me their new memories and let me share my old ones.............

for that is the flavor of the huckleberry.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Hope Deferred

Shane has often said that he never worries about me spending too much money when I walk into a store. I'm not a shopper, I hate shoes and as long as the clothes cover me up... well, I'm good. My house decor is simple because I don't like to dust. I don't buy nick~nacks.

Spending money for me is never an issue unless......unless, it is a book store or a green house. Then I just about send my man into cardiac arrest. He has to budget me and budget me tight or I can't help myself.

In his defense, I have planted over three hundred trees and shrubs on our place since we moved here. In mine ....hmmmmm, I have no defense... yes, I do, I have gotten most of them for around a dollar a piece. (I know my soil conservation workers on a first name basis!).

Anyway, enough confessing here, the deer killed one of my apple trees over the winter and so this spring,

~~~~~~~I GOT TO GO TO LONE PINE!!!!!!!!~~~~~~~~

As it would happen, I arrived just as they had finished unloading the biggest truck of bare root fruit trees a gal could get her hands on. I got first pick, all the pretty ones were still there!!

I left with an apple, and a plum, and a cherry.....oh, and a peach!

No, I didn't get them for a buck and I really wish you could have seen Shane's face. It was like that Visa commercial ~Priceless
.......... Sorta.

We got them all planted and watered and I was so excited about them, especially the peach. I have four other peach trees but they had been so spindly when I planted them( that is what happens when you get them for a buck) that they still were not ready to produce. But this one had bloom buds on it!! With in a year or two I would be canning peaches, that tree would catch up to if not pass the others.

Then the horror of horrors, every tree in the whole wide world leafed out...but not my peach. Everyday I would check it.... every day the wood felt more brittle. My tree was dieing.

I watered it and talked to it and gave it every tree remedy there is but those little buds stayed shut tight and I gave up. There is a one year warranty on them, but Lone Pine no longer had bare root, only potted trees for ten dollars more... I'm addicted but not insane. I left it in the ground to be dug up next spring for a replacement.

What a disappointment.

Have you ever been at that place? The place of hope deferred? Or maybe even, hope denied?

I have, I have written about a "safe" hope because I can tell you about a peach tree with out emotion.
But there are others ~things I wanted to do for and with my children that I am starting to see will simply not happen in their childhood. There are babies that I hoped for that are not coming.... after all Grace is seven, seven years of an empty womb, God is saying something.

There are places I wanted to take them, things I wanted to teach them. ~ No, we can't speak three different languages like I had hoped. Sometimes, I don't think we even speak English all that well.

I have this pang of anxiety, like I am racing a clock that marches on with much more efficiency than I could ever posses. There are times that my candle of hope flickers. I have to pray and pray hard just to keep it from blowing out altogether.

It would all be too much, if.... if it were not for the peace that my Saviour sends me. What a blessing to be able to crawl up in his lap and like a child with a skinned up knee cry out my frustration on his shoulder. " Lord, things are not going right! ...................... This and that are broken........... my son is hurt, Lord........and the doctors keep draining my savings.............. and my grandparents, Lord, they are so old and feeble, it hurts to watch them go through this ...........and Shane took another pay cut just to keep his job..... and something is making me up set.................... and Lord, you said...... you said!!!!!!"

Out it pours, in such a jumbled mess that if He did not have perfect ears he would not have understood. There I stay on my knees waiting, until I feel it, that peace, the peace that surpasses all understanding. Until I am standing in the middle of the storm but I myself am calm. Now, here is the hard part. To walk away and not pick all of my unloaded burden back up.

You've heard the saying "give your troubles to the Lord, he'll be up all night anyway." Well, something else I've learned ~It didn't catch Him by surprise. Me? You bet! Him? Never, and what's more ~He knows the way out. If I just rest, rest on His precious promises, it will all smooth out. And in the end it will be for my good. It will be perfect. Sometimes,I wish there was a fast forward button and I could just get to the good, but alas, it is in the walk that we grow.

July 26, my Gracie's birthday. We had a BBQ. While the steaks were grilling, my neighbor and I walked the grounds (she's addicted to green too) . We were discussing different plums and such when suddenly I see my peach tree. It was amazing. My tree, after months of struggle, when all reasonable hope had failed, my tree finally triumphed over it's challenge and lived. Battered and bruised but there it stood with tiny little leaves. I fought back the tears, after all you don't cry at parties especially when no one else understands the battle. "I've got to prune this." I said. "Get the dead out of here.... I can't believe that crazy thing made it." As the breeze rustled the newly unfurled leaves,They took on a deeper meaning. I heard the unspoken words direct from the heart of my Saviour.........
This too shall pass....

Hope deferred maketh the heart sick,
but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.
Proverbs 13:11

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Visiting West Yellowstone

Shane asked me this Spring if I wanted to go through West Yellowstone?
I said "don't you think we should wait until the children are older?"
I wanted to spend a lot of time in the canyon area studying and that is quite a hike.
As he stood looking at the boys towering over me he asked
"How much older do you want them to get?" So, off we went.
I am glad we did not wait.
For some unexplainable reason as the children grow older so do I. It was me the canyon hike about killed. Although Grace, out of sympathy for her mother said she thought it was a hard hike too. What a beautiful day. We arrived so early in the morning that the mist was very heavy,
it made it hard to see much the first little while.

The paint pots.

Wild flowers abound in the park.

The paint pots are amazing. So many colors and
I couldn't believe how deep they were.

Monday, July 20, 2009

West Thumb

the paint pots.
the boardwalk of Yellowstone lake.

Taking the first of many breaks.

A trout at Yellowstone lake.

Canyon Area

This was what I had looked forward to for months.
As we started the decent
Shane turned toward me and said
"three eights of a mile, are you okay with that?"
I smirk. What does he think I am?
Guess he forgot to add the part that it dropped 600 feet in that three eights of a mile!!
And I didn't think about the three eights of a mile hike back up!
I nearly died!

No relief from the heat anywhere.

That poor guy sure needs his hooves trimmed. Any volunteers?

From the upper falls, the color was just unreal.

The crew all made it and are still smiling!

another canyon view.
The only part that was disappointing was the visitors center for the canyon. They had a video on the park and in the video the speaker was talking about microscopic life living in the acidic and extremely hot conditions of the pools. "Scientists" say that this life form was identical to the life form that we evolved from. Then he had the nerve to say "isn't it ironic that our earlier life form can survive in these hostile conditions
but our modern form cannot."
All I could think was "what "educated" person wrote this?????"
Would all the decendents of an acid dwelling worm
please raise your hand?
......didn't think so.
Do yourself a favor if you visit the Park ~spend that
fifteen minutes on something worthwile.
When God said he hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise....truer words were never spoken. And if this is how a smart man explains himself.......... Lord, keep me stupid.

Mammoth Hot Springs

Absolutely beautiful!
These rocks looked like books stacked in the mountain.

Know how to keep everyone quiet at the end of a long trip?

Outside the Engineers Office at Mammoth Hot Springs.

Mammoth Hot Springs.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009



When cross the lines of forty North
And fifty-fourteen West
There rolls a wild and greedy sea
With death upon it's crest.
No stone or wreath from human hands
Will ever mark the spot.
where fifteen hundred men went down,
but Manhood perished not!

Old ocean takes but little heed
Of human tears and woe
No shafts adorn the ocean graves,
Nor weeping willows grow.
Nor is there need of marble slab
To keep in mind the spot
Where noble men went down to death,
But Manhood perished not!

Those men who looked on death and smiled,
And trod the crumbling deck.
Have saved much more than precious lives
From out that awful wreck.
Thou countless joys and hopes and fears
Were shattered at a breath.
T'was something that the name of Man
Did not go down to death.

'T'is not and easy thing to die,
E'en in open air
twelve hundred miles from home and friends,
In a shroud of black despair.
A wreath to crown the brow of man
And hide a former blot
Will ever blossom o'er the waves
where Manhood perished not.
~Harvey F. Thew

Can you guess what we did? Finally! We visited the Titanic exhibit. It was long over due. Last spring we studied a little of the Titanic with the intent of visiting the museum as one of our final activities. When Zac had his accident we never finished school. There is a confession from a homeschooling mom for you! So have been finishing it up in bits and pieces. They wouldn't let me take pictures. But it was fun anyway. The children were really excited because the book we studied from was actually on display ( an older copy) at the museum. They had replica's of the bed chambers, everyone with out exception mentioned how the first class was treated like royalty and the second and third class, well......not so much. At the beginning they gave us each a ticket with a real passengers name on it, it told what class we traveled and who we traveled with. Then at the end we got to look on a wall that listed those who survived and perished in each class. I did not survive. Cody and his wife both perished. In fact I think Bethany and Shane were the only two who survived the trip. It was a sobering experience to witness so many lives lost from so many different walks of life..... but all was not lost, the poem above we memorized and it is a testimony to the true character of men at that time.

The rich and poor meet together:

The Lord is maker of them all.

Monday, July 13, 2009


Sometimes I wonder if God's favorite color is green.....................

Saturday, July 11, 2009


I am in the process of finishing up a chuckar hatch for a farmer up the road. We hatch and sell chicks all spring from our birds and then hatch special order chicks ( they supply their own eggs) during the summer. On a normal year we average from three hundred to four hundred chicks of various breeds. Not a large amount by any means but enough. Enough to know when things are going well and when they are not. I do not make a very good baby sitter during the hatching process. I can do the incubation but when it comes to hatching ~ well, I'm claustrophobic.
It just about kills me to sit and watch a baby chick try to struggle out of that tight... confining .......... ugggg, I'm going to hyperventilate just thinking about it......egg.

On this day however, I noticed that one of the chicks really was having a hard time, "Oh" I uttered with out thinking "He's not going to make it" Bethany, right at my side asked who and why. "That little guy there, his membrane is too dry, see how white it is, he'll never push through that."

"Mom, help him!" she replied.

I couldn't. He was one of the first to hatch and the incubator cannot be opened until the very end. If it is opened too soon all of the moist hot air rushes out and cold air in, killing the fragile chicks inside. Nope, this little guy was on his own, I couldn't risk fifty other eggs just for one.

I shrug and try to lead her away but she is persistent. "Mom, that's cruel! You cannot leave him!" As the tears swell in her eyes I feel a lump in my throat. Stupid I know, we were talking about a bird no bigger than the end of my thumb, and shortly there would be so many she would never have noticed, if I had just kept my mouth shut. "I'm sorry, honey." And once again we have a talk of how death is simply a part, a very important part, of life.

Her distress is common among us mortals. Isn't it?

I can't count the number of times that I have heard
" If your God is real/good/all powerful/ fill in your own excuse.... Why does he let bad things happen to good people?"
The answer is simple, we are not good.

"There is none righteous, no not one." declares my real/ good/powerful God. "All our righteousness is as filthy rags."
The truth is we do not deserve the GOOD things that happen to us, it's not the bad that we should be fussing over.

When God created the world he created everything "good" and wonderful. He said so. He then created Man and gave all his "good" and wonderful creation to him as a gift. It was now man's dominion. To till, to dress, to keep and enjoy. Man, however, was about the face his first battle. ~And fail.

When Adam sinned against God, by default he handed this world ( government, principalities, leadership) over to Satan.

"as by one man sin entered into the world and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned."

When my children were little I taught them the song "This is my father's world" I often thought that we should change it to "This was my father's world" For while we can see traces of beauty. Some of the glory, some of the peace. This is in fact a fallen world, corrupt and doomed for failure. This old world is a has-been. Traces of it's once glorious state are all that is left to us. When we feel the warm sun on our face or hear the musical tone of a child's laughter they are but mere whispers... urging us on, saying " take heart, my child, press forward, for the best is yet to come."

So what do we do with the bad? When a child dies, a spouse flees, the job is lost? How do we give thanks for that? With Zachary's recent accident fresh in my mind, I must stop for serious reflection before I write this. What if? What if my son had not been spared to me? Could I give thanks? We are commanded to give thanks for all things. Could I? The thought is almost too painful. The best I could come up with is......... I hope so. I hope that my relationship with my Saviour is deeper than lip service. Then again I also hope I never have to find out.
I imagine myself crying out as the father of the son who had the dumb spirit "Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief." I believe that you will work all for good but please remember I am but dust and cannot do it on my own.

It is so easy to look at life from our perspective, our limited vision. The apostle Paul puts it as "seeing through a glass darkly" . We in our flesh want a little genie in the sky to grant our every wish, but it cannot be.
Our view from the outside of the incubator was one that pained us, my daughter thought there was a "simple fix" but I knew it had to be. Likewise, with our Saviour, He feels and shares our pain. He keeps a close eye on us, knowing what needs to happen for our good. He promises to be there to hold us up but he does not promise to take it away.

There is appointed a time for everyone of us to return to the dust. There is growth in tribulation. EVERYTHING has a purpose. Sometimes it's painful, sometimes glorious....but always.....always for good.
What more could we ask for?

Father's Day

My mother in law asked me the other day if Shane was surprised about his father's day gift? Yes, he loved it and was totally surprised. He has been cut in hours so that he is only working 4 days a week so we picked it up the Thursday before father's day. When he came home we were all hiding in the living room and jumped out and yelled " HAPPY FATHER"S DAY!!"

He was also showered with homemade cards and kisses from the girls. The boys asked him why he never reads my blog....he claimed he did. The boys started laughing and said " Dad, if you did this wouldn't have been a surprise." ...I guess he figures he lives it so he doesn't have to read it.


I must have blinked.... I went from a cold wet spring to bringing in my first cooker of beets today. I sure missed my little gals. Their daddy took them all boating at Island Park today and you know, canning and cooking becomes work when they are not here to share it with me.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Her children rise up...

Bethany has turned out to be quite the cook. She keeps the boys in sweets and contributes a lot to my meals. It is really a blessing to me. It has not gone unnoticed by the other members of the family either, here's proof. We had a dinner party planned for the the 4th. I had a ton of cooking to do the day before. After getting the bulk of it done, I called Bethany in from her play to hep me put the finishing touches on and to make the Tiramisu. She honestly had not been in the kitchen five minutes when Zachary walked in, breathing deep, he sighs and wraps his arms around his little sister saying "glad we've got you around here to keep us all fed...smells good sis." and with out even a sideways glance at me he walks out. There I stood, in the same place I had stood for three hours, dripping sweat and thinking I'd kill him. However, one look at her face all flushed with pleasure and grinning from ear to ear.................. I forgave him. After all, isn't that what we want for our children? To out shine us? To stand on our shoulders and reach higher than we ever could? Well, Bethany's tiramisu was amazing, in a few days you'll have to check her blog. I think I talked her into printing the recipe. And Zachary did get an earful, to witch he replied "I know you can cook too mom..." Enjoy the Tiramisu, make sure you use goats milk and strawberries fresh from the garden.

Happy Fourth of July!!

What a beautiful weekend!! Sunshine and blue skies. I was in heaven. We had such a perfect time of fellowship with each other. Boating and fishing. A wonderful meal out by the fire pit, followed by Cody and David treating us to an awesome firework display. My daughters are budding botanists and entomologists. They, like their brothers, take a great delight in God's creation. One of them took this picture. Grace says when she grows up she wants to farm bumblebees with her husband.....
I'll bet they are hard to brand.
Grace listens intently to her daddy.

Chef David carves the watermelon... okay, so the man doesn't cook BUT if there is a sharp knife involved you can get him to do anything! By the way, when I asked how he got the hole in his shirt, he replied "from flexing my muscles..." . love ya, son.

Sneaking down a flowery walk, I spied two fair maidens....

Rire Reservoir.
Soaking in the sunshine.

Bethany and Cody hanging on for dear life. Well, Bethany was.
Cody said it wasn't wild enough.
That boy, out fishes everybody!

I think my favorite part of the whole day was late that night after the food and the fireworks. Sparklers were lit for the younger one. As they danced in and out of the trees and around the back side of the garden the only thing you could see was the sparklers fluttering along like giant fireflies. The only thing to be heard was their silvery laughter.
There is no movie or symphony in the world that would compare.
It was perfect.