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Friday, June 29, 2007

Nothing Much

Tonight we ate the world's best strawberries. They were melt in your mouth sweet. No need for sugar, whipped cream, or chocolate. The local grower has fields of berries that are famous in our area for their superb flavor. I'm going to buy some this weekend and put them in my freezer. Unless I eat them all first.

The Contessa is having hairball problems. It's scary to have one of those green things chase me down the hallway in the morning.

She starts running for her life even before the hairball remedy tube comes out of the cupboard . I've tried hiding in the closet, sneaking up on her when she is sleeping, holding the door open just slightly so she gets caught in the screen, and singing "I'm just a little black rain cloud." Nothing works. She's OUTTA there. (Any helpful suggestions - other then to take her to the groomer and get her shaved for the summer?)

The ingredients are mineral oil and barley malt syrup. Made in Forth Worth, Texas. (I've heard they have the BIGGEST Hairballs in the world there.)

At work today someone threw the local paper on my desk and it fell open to the classified ads. A picture of a big white cat in the "lost and found" tugged on my heart strings, so I picked up the newsprint to say, "oh poor kitty."

Thats when that word in the Help Wanted caught my eye. Of course I passed it around the office.

Do you wonder if you are the work *ss part of a team?

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Toes in The Water

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Last week I wanted to live in the mountains.
This week I want to live at the beach. Even if it rains.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The $1 Kite

The dollar kite danced in the breeze
and its tail was the ribbon that decorated the clouds
Until a mocking gust of Pacific Ocean wind
snatched the reel from her fingers as it passed
and drew designs in the sand
with the trailing line.

"Daddy--- please catch it."
Buttercup cried.
And he did.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Fun Monday #22, What's In Your Shelves

The Swampwitch is hosting today's Fun Monday. I nearly missed it because we took a four day break and drove 6 hours to the ocean to be with daughters and their families.

Swampy wants to see my book shelves and my garage.

Sorry! Instead I'm going to show our storage rooms. The smaller one (lower right picture) contains our garden tools, and the larger one (lower left) catches e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g else.

Many years ago we were paying monthly fees for a storage unit to keep stuff in. Why do we do that? Why do we have so much stuff that we have to hire a place to put it? That changed when we attached a boatport (aka carport) and two storage rooms on the south side of our house.

Fortunately, the hubby can be very organized when it comes to our stuff.

Click on SWAMPY and visit all the other participants shelves, garages, and what nots.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

To The Ocean

In my previous post, I said I wanted to live in the mountains. That statement brought back memories of my childhood.

I grew up about 30 travel miles southeast of Seattle, Washington in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains. Probably 50 miles as the crow flies west of Mount Rainier. In the morning, we watched the sunrise over the Cascades and in the evening, we watched it set on the Olympic Mountain peaks.

Our small farm lay on a pie shaped wedge of hills high above the convergence of two valleys and the little town of Auburn.

The Green and White Rivers that stream out of the Cascades once met at Auburn, uniting to form a larger river rushing on its way to Puget Sound. That changed at the turn of the 20th century.

In the late 1800s, the valley farmers battled the annual flooding and dynamite was one of their weapons. Unfortunately, a planned explosion in 1899 redirected much of the White river into Stuck Creek which carried it into the Puyallup River. A massive flood in 1906 sealed the deal when it sent the entire White River surging southward.

Flood control came in 1948 with the completion of Mud Mountain Dam on the White River. This was before my birth, but I heard first hand stories from my father, who was a laborer on the project. By the time I came on the scene, man diverted the White River yet again. It rests a spell in The Lake Tapps reservoir before exiting to its ultimate destination, Commencement Bay near Tacoma.I have reason to believe that my dad is the man on the lower right in this picture entitled Mud Mountain Dam from my mom's photo album .

When I was “the kid,” the White River and its hidden wilderness lay just over a tree-filled crest from our modest farm home. There were primitive paths that climbed the ridge and then dropped sharply to the sand and rocks. The water was full of “glacier flour” which provided its milky appearance and name. Sometimes the safest descent was to squat and slide on my worn sneakers. My friends joined me, with swimsuits under our peddle pushers, to splash in our secret swimming hole. (It was probably a spring fed pool.) We retraced our steps by pulling ourselves up the steep parts using exposed roots and other woody plants

The other valley hosts the 65-mile long Green river, fed by many mountain streams. We would sometimes take a Saturday afternoon drive to Black Diamond, about 16 miles away, to enjoy the “Green River Gorge.” The “Gorge” carved about 12 miles and up to 300 feet deep through the rocky cliffs. We descended the switchback trail through the hanging moss and ferns into a narrow echo chamber of laughing water. We were often the only ones there. Now I hear it is a popular white water attraction.
Downstream, the valley widens to a half mile – and the farms were lush with berries, cucumbers, beans, and cabbage. A few summers down there picking strawberries are vivid in my memories. Like the time I popped a berry in my mouth and got stung under the tongue by an angry bee. I spit him out, of course.

A short distance further, Green River reaches Auburn and turns north, in opposition to the White Rivers turn south. It joins a few other rivers before it empties into Elliott Bay in Seattle.

The area around Seattle grew with haste the past thirty years. I grieve for the farmland that now grows houses. I resent the tall windows reflecting the sun off the cliffs.

However, I look at how fast my grandchildren are growing and realize that change is inevitable and I must accept it.

Well, one thing does remain the same. The rivers keep flowing to the sea.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A Mountain Day

We accepted a dinner invitation and a Frisbee Golf Challenge on Father's Day from our friends, G and L, who live in the mountains. (The teenagers, M and F, were toddlers when our daughters baby sat.)
Before dinner we hiked around in the old growth, looking for a log that we might use in one of our flower beds. Big Boy, their beautiful Belgian Draft Horse, and Sam, the fuzzy little donkey, acted like dogs and followed us along the path. Look at him just chasing me down the path!!! I seemed to always be last in line and never quite fast enough for Big Boy. He would nudge my shoulder with his nose to remind me to get a move on it. He also wanted to chew on my straw hat. The hubby finally found the piece of wood he wanted and the men returned to the house for the chain saw and tractor. We ladies sat on the log and chatted with the company of Big Boy and Sam.

The big horse walked a short distance away, stretched out in a comfy position, and began to pee; and pee, and pee, and pee. I finally grabbed my camera and snapped a photo because I was dutifully impressed.

My friend said, "Oh, he is just showing off!"The donkey walked up and started sniffing the frothy bubbles on the ground.
"Whaaaaaa?" I laughed. "I suppose he's going to show off, too?" Sure enough. Sam straddled the same spot just vacated by Big Boy and proceeded to add his donkeys worth.
I know nothing about equine, so maybe that is just all in a days work.

L and G have a hot tub hand built from a kit that is heated by an attached wood burner. A pool will be installed this week and warmed from the same source. The trampoline sits back in the trees with other native flora.I'm sure I would fall in the nettles.

We ate dinner on the log picnic table.
I watchedthe birds while sitting on thebench next to the clothesline.
And this is Dee-Oh'-Gee preparing to give me a Terrier kiss.

I want to live in the mountains!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Fun Monday #21, Hangin' on the Wall

Todays Fun Monday is being hosted by mjd at Return of the White Robin. Her Challenge: show us something that hangs on your wall that is fun, interesting, endearing, sentimental, or otherwise enticing. Select the picture of Uncle Horace, Grandma Galt's needlepoint, or little Susie's first fingerpainting to show the blogging community.

There are so many things hanging on the walls of this home. Where to begin and where to end?
Just look at the crowded hallway!

I think I will zoom in a little closer on the drawing front and center. Our eldest, Karmyn, did this self-portrait when she was in first grade. We stuck it in a frame - thinking that we would eventually get a mat on it. It has hung without the mat for 30 years, but I'm sure I'm going to get around to it next week. I swear.

(Sorry, about smearing out her last name.... just some privacy requirements.)

Little did I know those many years ago how she would grow up to love working in her flower garden wearing blue jeans, red shirts, and matching high heels. However, I believe she changes into her garden boots when she hits the tomato and zucchini.

If you look further towards the end of the hall and down you will see a picture that Amanda drew for a wine label contest. She didn't win. But, the Winery plexi-glass framed her entry and sent it back with a consolation prize: a stuffed Micky Mouse that was bigger than she was.

As a 7-year old she knew the sun and rain were required to grow luscious grapes. The hands sized like the INCREDIBLE HULK must have been all the better to pick them. Or, maybe to squeeze one of her sister's necks. There was some of that going on when the three of them were on the grow. (and it does look like a menacing "sis" written in there, doesn't it?)

I'm sorry I don't have a drawing done by their other sister Jennifer. I do have her hands up!

Head over to MJD's and check out the side bar with all this week's participants. Fun Monday is always a good time!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Crush Depth

That February morning under the sea in 1967 began just like any other for the handsome 20-year-old submariner. He was a quartermaster (navigations) on a old-style conventional submarine somewhere in the Atlantic.

His shift ended, so he joined his mates in the tiny dining hall to play five-card stud. An appropriate game for men in uniform. They did not know, as the game progressed, that the on duty crew received instructions from the Captain to test the boats handling stability in reverse direction.

Initially they did not feel forward or backward movement at the slower speed, so they dealt their cards, unaware that the officer of the deck had ordered an all back 1/3 speed.  The boat was moving with ease and maintaining a constant depth. The sailor reviewed his cards and discarded two.

Although huge diesel engines propel a submarine on the surface, it relies on electric motors powered by batteries while submerged. Two sailors with hand wheels independently control the bow and the stern plane systems, which regulate depth changes. One is responsible for small adjustments and the other for major changes. When the boat was traveling in reverse, the two sailor’s jobs also reversed. The small plane adjuster would now take on the job of major plane control.

When the crew responded to an all-back two-thirds order, they were barely able to maintain a level plane. The stern, now acting as the bow in the submarine’s reverse direction, was dropping slowly. The card game came to a halt as they sensed the cavitations from the changed rotation of the propellers.

He doesn’t know how it happened. There may have been a miscommunication. Perhaps an order given or misunderstood. In any event, the boat went to an all-back full even though problems were already manifesting.

The situation turned ominous as the stern began to nose-dive rapidly.

The table tilted and the men and cards slid with it. A pitcher of milk fell from a kitchen counter and hit the dining room wall without touching the floor. All four men braced against the wall, fear evident in their faces but not overruling their thoughts.

In order to qualify in submarines, a sailor must demonstrate knowledge in all systems: electrical, torpedo, engine, damage control, etc. The well-trained young and seasoned submariners mentally began to rehearse the emergency scenarios and responses.

There was an immediate order to blow the ballast tanks, which forces all the water out around the hull providing positive buoyancy. The plunge continued.

The Captain then ordered an emergency blow of the negative tanks for maximum ballast.

The weakest part of a conventional sub is where the drive shaft passes through the stern to the propellers. If the boat reached a certain (classified at the time) depth, the projection was failure (crush) in the packing around the shaft.

The young sailor was keenly aware of the popping and creaking metal of the hull. When this uncontrolled descent halted, (it was later calculated that) the lowest end of the acutely angled boat was forty feet below crush depth.

Then the boat began to rise. It picked up speed as it headed for the surface. The momentum of the massive steel monster popped it far enough out of the water that when it settled back his stomach dropped like it does on the first dip of a roller coaster.

Not all of the crew were aware of the potential risk they had encountered until after surfacing.

There were incident reports to file, and other possible ramifications to the officers in charge. Fortunately, there were neither injuries to the men nor any known structural damage to the boat.

The most important information of all: The future of my children and grandchildren was secure -- still twinkling in the eyes of a handsome sailor.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Todays Headlines

HOTTIES: Pa. women in their 70's and 80's posed semi-nude for calendar...

(AP) GREENSBORO, Pa. Giving sultry looks and sexy smiles to the camera, 12 Pittsburgh-area women recently posed at Monongahela historical sites, baring it all -- or almost all -- to create a charity-driven calendar.

I stand in awe! Fully clothed, of course.

Researcher Find 2,100 year old melon.

The remains are believed to be the oldest of a melon that still has flesh on the rind, Yamazaki said.

I meant to check to see if this was in Greensboro, PA.

Man Blames Beverage for Unwanted Erection
(AP) A man has sued the maker of the health drink Boost Plus, claiming the vitamin-enriched beverage gave him an erection that would not subside and caused him to be hospitalized.

The truth is that he had recently purchased a calendar in Greensboro, PA..
Okay... enough already about women and body parts.

Iowa woman named Butts Charged with Theft of Courts Toilet Paper
Butts, 38, was caught last week after an employee saw her taking three rolls of two-ply tissue from a storage closet. The fifth-degree theft charge, a misdemeanor, normally carries a sentence of less than a year in jail. But Butts could face more time if convicted under the state's habitual offender law.

I lied.

A Winner

At 9:42 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time I received my winning comment from Hazel of Adventures in Ruburbia.

Her comment: God's timing is perfect.

Well... so was Hazels.

As soon as I hear from her I'll be preparing her gift and shipping it off to Kearney, Missouri.

My 4,999 commenter was sweet Heather of L'Chaim who is also celebrating HER FIRST BLOGGER BIRTHDAY. That, coupled with the several comments she popped off in in a row with such conviction convinced me to give her a prize too.

Both of you lovely ladies please contact me at pamelathedust at yahoo dot com with your addresses.

Congratulations, and thank you for settling The Dust.

What do you think?

There is an inn, a merry old inn
beneath an old grey hill,
And there they brew a beer so brown
That the Man in the Moon himself came down
one night to drink his fill.

The ostler has a tipsy cat
that plays a five-stringed fiddle;
And up and down he saws his bow
Now squeaking high, now purring low,
now sawing in the middle.

The landlord keeps a little dog
that is mighty fond of jokes;
When there's good cheer among the guests,
He cocks an ear at all the jests
and laughs until he chokes.

They also keep a hornéd cow
as proud as any queen;
But music turns her head like ale,
And makes her wave her tufted tail
and dance upon the green.

And O! the rows of silver dishes
and the store of silver spoons!
For Sunday there's a special pair,
And these they polish up with care
on Saturday afternoons.

The Man in the Moon was drinking deep,
and the cat began to wail;
A dish and a spoon on the table danced,
The cow in the garden madly pranced
and the little dog chased his tail.

The Man in the Moon took another mug,
and then rolled beneath his chair;
And there he dozed and dreamed of ale,
Till in the sky the stars were pale,
and dawn was in the air.

Then the ostler said to his tipsy cat:
'The white horses of the Moon,
They neigh and champ their silver bits;
But their master's been and drowned his wits,
and the Sun'll be rising soon!'

So the cat on the fiddle played hey-diddle-diddle,
a jig that would wake the dead:
He squeaked and sawed and quickened the tune,
While the landlord shook the Man in the Moon:
'It's after three!' he said.

They rolled the Man slowly up the hill
and bundled him into the Moon,
While his horses galloped up in rear,
And the cow came capering like a deer,
and a dish ran up with the spoon.

Now quicker the fiddle went deedle-dum-diddle;
the dog began to roar,
The cow and the horses stood on their heads;
The guests all bounded from their beds
and danced upon the floor.

With a ping and a pang the fiddle-strings broke!
the cow jumped over the Moon,
And the little dog laughed to see such fun,
And the Saturday dish went off at a run
with the silver Sunday spoon.

The round Moon rolled behind the hill,
as the Sun raised up her head.
She* hardly believed her fiery eyes;
For though it was day, to her surprise
they all went back to bed!

-- J. R. R. Tolkien

The God Sod Squad

I am publishing one of my favorite posts again - one reason is because it was an experience that touched me and another reason is because I'm still counting comments and I don't have a new post yet.

I hope you enjoy this story from July 6, 2006.

* * * * * * * *

Those of you who listen to Paul Harvey will relate to the concurrent events involving my post Green Door, the continuing saga of the trials of THE BACK YARD.

Now you’re going to hear … the rest of the story.

Our church pastor began his own project about the same time as we did this spring; He was enlarging his kitchen, bathroom, dining room, and adding a basement bedroom. Acting as his own contractor, he was doing a tremendous amount of the work himself. However, like all remodeling jobs, you can plan on plenty of things going awry. And a lot did. He could match us story for discouraging story with THE BACK YARD chronicle.

His narrative took a much more serious turn in early May when he fell uncharacteristically ill. He did not get well. Weeks were churning and the finishing work on his project slowed to a crawl as his health grew worse.

Church members stepped forward as best they could to take over presbytery responsibilities …. Friends found spare time to pound nails. He became too weak to direct the helpers, and his wife finally brought the house project to a halt. He needed to focus on healing.

When at last there was a diagnosis, it was not an easy one. Especially for a robust man who loves to push himself to the limits. These were not the limits he wanted to push. (There is no cure, but there is hope for remission.)

On Saturday afternoon, the pastor’s wife walked outside the unfinished construction. She knew she wasn’t capable of working with the siding, or wallboard, or flooring. What they had managed to complete was livable and they would cope.

“I can work on this pile of dirt,” she thought, and grabbed a shovel and a wheelbarrow.

She told us later that she could see her husband watching from the window –angry because he was too weak to help her. In a very short time, she realized that working the torn up ground was a grueling job. Sapped and wearied by the responsibilities and worries of the past weeks, she wasn’t sure she had the strength left to shovel dirt.

A few tears came to her eyes as she was overwhelmed by the magnitude, not only of the incomplete project, but of her ailing husband.

“Dear God,” she spoke aloud, knowing He was standing close by. “Can’t you just send me a couple of strong men to help me level this dirt?”

In the meantime, please bear in mind that our sod had arrived on Friday. When the sun had set and I dragged the weary hubby into the house, there was a soft knock on our door. It was the people from six blocks over who had received the next sod delivery from the same big semi truck that day.

“You don’t know us,” the woman began, “but, we’re wondering if you would like our left over sod. Our son-in-law measured it and just can’t figure out how we ended up with a pallet plus left over!”

The hubby smiled and said, “Thanks, but it looks like we’re going to have extra too.”

Nevertheless, we agreed to keep in touch through the next day or so in case either of us found a home for the sod. (Neither of us wanted to pay the exorbitant fee at the landfill!)

Saturday afternoon proved the hubby was right. He shook his head as he looked at 1 ½ pallets and wondered, “How could I have ordered an extra 750 square feet of sod?”

Apparently, one of his headshakes brought the Pastors torn up yard to mind and he relayed an idea to me. As a result, I called the lovely couple with their excess sod and told them that it may not go to waste after all. “We just might have a lawn for it.”

The hubby continued to cut, edge, and roll ours while I made a call to Connie, whose name just popped into my head.

“Does your husband know anyone who might be able to help deliver some sod to the pastor’s house?” I inquired. “We have a pickup truck, we just need someone to load it up and deliver it.” I added that the hubby would try to get over there on Monday to measure, level and lay it.

Connie said she’d check with Ron and call me back.

She didn’t call back. Instead, five minutes later, her husband, their brawny son in law, and muscular Andrew walked into our back yard ready to rumble. Things were moving at the speed of Light.

The Pastors wife eyes were still moist from her tearful prayer when a pickup truck drove up and the doors slammed. There they were! Not two, but three strong men. They had more then shovels; they had grass. They were prepared not only to deliver it, but to install it. And just to add one more amazing point, I had rescued a short roll from the hubby’s discard pile at the last minute. With that addition, they covered the final inches of the pastors torn up yard.

You can rest assured that men do not always measure things correctly.

God does.

Now you know the rest of the story.

Monday, June 11, 2007

One Year Ago Today

One year ago today this blog was born.

This is my 297th post --

I'm closing in on 5,000 comments.

I'm happy. I am enjoying writing. Hooked I am, reading all the blogs I've stumbled on in this 365 day journey. One year ago there wasn't a strategy, there wasn't a goal. More than anything I wanted to publish some family history for my grandchildren and write some of my own. Perhaps the genuine plan is to pour like a pitcher, until empty.

The most astounding product of this adventure is the friendships. My cyber smiles and hugs are just as heartfelt as the ones I share in person. There are so many bloggers I want to meet.

To commemorate this 1st Blog-o-birthday I am going to give away a sweet present to the lucky one who types that 5000th comment. It's not big - it's not exciting. It is a small gesture of appreciation to all of you for being a part of my life this year.

Fun Monday #20, My Kitchen

Joy at A Spot of Tea is hosting today's Fun Monday. She said, "I would like to see everyone's kitchens. I spend a great deal of time in my kitchen. Not only for preparing meals, but for socializing, writing letters, watching tv, staring off into space..... So I thought it would be nice to see what other kitchen's look like out there."

Well Joy, we spend a lot of time in our kitchen, too. There is NEVER enough room when we have company. I think about the years when there would be twenty or thirty people over for a holiday meal and I get memory overload. How did we do it?

Because I have so much more to work with than my mom did, I have always felt blessed. Dishwasher, an extra fridge and a chest freezer in the garage, a gas water heater, two bathrooms, a dining room, a covered patio, and latex gloves.
My mom's hands were always rough and worn.

My fingers get their workout from blogging instead of canning and cleaning.

Our little kitchen was the center of a lot of action through the years. We raised three daughters - which usually entailed several other little girls or later on, teenagers of both sexes, running through the room and eating.

Just this weekend we hosted a sixtieth birthday dinner for my brother N. His wife had her first chemotherapy treatment on Wednesday but felt well and enjoyed the meal. The party included my brother's son, daughter and her boyfriend, our eldest brother and wife from California, and our two oldest grandchildren (Little Buddy and My Red-Headed Girl)

This evening, in order to take these photographs, we loaded the dishwasher and hauled out the leaf blower to clear off the table and counter tops. (Kidding about the blower.) It's a good thing you can't see the grime in these digitals. If you're coming to my house for dinner you have to put away your white gloves.

I am thankful, truly thankful for that grime.

Family and friends and a kitchen table - who could ask for anything more.

ps. Before Willowtree has a chance to point it out: Yes, my fridge has an assortment of things clinging to it with magnets. Just like my desk top is covered with Icons. I think I am a collector of what nots and what notes.

ps: Kila The lei on the phone was leftover from last years 30th anniversary party when our 3 daughters brought Hawaii to our back yard.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

I Heard the Cicada

Brood XIII, the official name of this year's cicada hatch, is expected across northern Illinois and in parts of Michigan, Iowa, Wisconsin and Indiana. Cicadas live only about 30 days as adults, and their main goal is mating. The Saginaw News May 21, 2007

Yvonne, at Uniquely Me, knew that I was extremely curious about the nymphs that make her life miserable. She lives right in the midst of the 17 year Cicada hatch.

When my phone rang on Saturday I heard a pleasant voice say, "Pamela, this is Yvonne."

At her house, the mating insects calls are so loud that they drown out the jets in the landing pattern for a nearby airport . She has to wave her hands and brush them off her body when she walks out of doors.

"They are a nuisance!" she confirmed sweetly.

She invited me to share in her experience. So I listened as she walked out of her house and braved the buzz to give me a telephone conversation with the hatch.

It was definitely one-sided as I listened to the vibrating love song that could very well have been the sound effects of a UFO from outer space. (Hey? Maybe they are?)

Yvonne - thanks for bugging me!! You're the bug bomb!

They Walk on Water

Two grandchildren hitched a ride with my eldest brother and his wife from California. They are here for a short and busy weekend. We went to the park and threw Frisbees. We hiked in the hills.

I have proof that they walk on water.

Sort of.

What kid can resist a wall of dirt.

And a victory celebration at the crest.

I took the path, but the satisfaction was just as sweet.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Walk on the Creek

Last night we walked the Creek. The grass is beautiful. I didn't think to take extra batteries for the digital camera, so I missed the picture of the Black-Crowned Night Heron. My first sighting ever.

However, we captured a Great Blue Heron on a fishing trip. This majestic bird was being dive-bombed by a Black Bird that finally convinced it to move along. There must have been a nest.

Another one caught a fish on the opposite rocky bank and the hubby snapped it in mid swallow.
A one-legged song sparrow would have been gone unnoticed had he not been singing the joys of the evening. Have you listened?

What? A giraffe?

And a buck that seems to be unconcerned about walkers on the bike path.

Little Bud and My Red Headed girl are making a surprise visit to grandma and grandpa's this weekend. See you Monday!!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The Hopyard Hobo - Part 6 (Written by my late father)

Part 1 of my father's short journal told about the depression and his experiences in California. Part 2 narrated a satisfying 5 weeks living off the fat of the land on a self sufficient farm in Southern Oregon. Befriended by a Hop grower in Part 3, he was hired as a chauffeur and then offered a job in the hop fields. Dad described his first impression of life on in a Hop Yard in Part 4. His high hopes of continuing the easy chauffeur type duties were doused by a hard dose of manual labor. The teasing by his fellow crew members and the young Russian beauties are not mentioned again. I think this says much about his discretion; Dad didn't kiss and tell. Part 5 describes a Hop Yard in the 1930's with detail - just in case you wonder where your beer has its earthy beginnings. Dad became the nozzle man on the spraying crew and a raise in pay. In episode six dad gets a little too involved with the bosses daughter’s romantic scheme.

(Part 6)


By this time, I was well acquainted with the Boss's family. I liked them all and seemed to be liked equally well by them. Winston and Nora were both college debaters and almost every evening they brought some subject to discuss. We had some lively arguments on finance, politics, religion, psychology, and sociology. They accused me of being a college graduate, but I convinced them I had only a grade school education, but "polished" by experience gained by thirteen years of bubble chasing and a great deal of general reading.

I admired Nora very much and dated her a time or two. I learned that she was in love with a young man whom her parents disliked. The younger daughter, Beth, was interested chiefly in outdoor sports. She especially liked swimming and almost every day we went bathing in the
Luckimute River.

On the Fourth of July, our Russian foreman gave a barbecue. Work was forgotten and everybody celebrated. I enjoyed the best barbecued meat I have ever eaten. We ended the day in royal fashion with an ice cream supper and fireworks.

Wondering what it was like to keep company with a Russian girl, I asked Grace, the older of the two girls, for a date. She said yes. I went out with her several times afterward but she suddenly dropped me like a hot potato. I seem to be extremely unlucky in my romantic adventures.

By this time, all of the work, except patrolling the wires, was done until picking time. The hops were a solid wall of green vines hanging full of cream colored, fluffy, cone-shaped fruit called hop berries. The weight, which the trellis supported, was enormous. Winston, Fritz, and myself were kept busy every day repairing wires or replacing broken poles.

It was the sixteenth of June. Nora had a long talk with me and confided that she was in a dilemma. She had told her sweetheart to apply for a marriage license four days before. Now she had decided to quit him, late in the game as it was. She wanted my advice as to what to do.

"Why quit Charlie"? I asked. How could I know how to advise?

But, the next day when Charlie came, Nora's father ordered him away before she could do so herself. This made her angry. Perhaps after all she really loved the boy. She had said his only fault was his lack of education.

In the evening when I came home from work, I asked Nora how she had solved her problem.

She answered, "Al, I am going to elope with Charlie tonight. I want you to help me, but promise not to tell anyone about it."

I promised.

Somehow, she had contrived to tell Charlie to meet her at
eleven o’clock that night at a certain corner on the highway. Everything worked in her favor, for all were asleep by ten.

The upper floor of the house consisted of three rooms. The girls were in one, the boys another, while I occupied the third. At ten or a few minutes after, I went to the door of the girls' room and barely whispered. Nora was already dressed in pajamas for speedy travel in making her escape. She carried a small bundle of some kind.

I calmly walked down the stairway. Nora followed as silently as a shadow. I opened the door and she scooted away in the darkness.

To a certain extent, Charlie was my rival, and I was helping my own adversary. But, instead of thinking about that, I was wondering about the storm in the morning when Nora's absence was discovered.

The next morning I was waiting for breakfast when the mother called for Nora to wake up and come down. About this time, Beth came in with the note which Nora had left, telling of her elopement. Mr.Putman took it calmly, but Mrs. Putman burst into violent weeping.

Believe me, I kept my mouth shut and was innocent as could be. I could have been getting myself into a lot of trouble. Mrs. Putman thought I must have heard her leave as she passed my door but I kept a poker face and told nothing.

In order to quiet the turmoil, Mr. Putman suggested a week's trip to the coast. They left Fritz and me in charge of the hop yard. They returned from the coast in better spirits.

Later on, Nora and Charlie were forgiven and amiable relations existed again. Nora did not tell of my help so I was safe. But, I shall be careful never again to give Dan Cupid a lift.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Fun Monday #19, Being Crafty

A long time ago, in a Galaxy far far away: I sewed. I had to come up with something because I didn't want to get left behind on Fun Monday.

This is Kar-2-D-2 and Queen aPamilana. (You may have already seen the "Where are they now" special.)

I haven't sewn anything but buttons on shirts in years. My sewing machine is probably an antique.

Please visit Karmyn at Dreaming What If's and check out some Real Crafty People.

And - May The Force Be With You.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Excuse Me!!!

Today I am playing with my new widgets and whatnots. Actually, I was working on my Labels.

Suddenly, my Blogline Feed Lights my blog up like a Christmas Tree!!!

Now I understand why I occasionally see 150 posts show up as unread on Bloglines for one of my Blogger pals.

When one is able to use the Label function on Blogger, and find some time to go back in time to add them, then the update is seen as a new published post by Bloglines.

As usual, I'm the last one to know.

Friday, June 01, 2007

May's Perfect Post Award

A Perfect Post – May 2007

It happened the very first week of May. I read this months Perfect Post.

The Grim Reality revived my childhood memories of our small farm where the second most lucrative crop was dandelions. (The first one was rocks.)

A day that started out bad for Wonderboy, GR, and me was transformed by a blissful roll in the gold.

I'm with you Wonderboy, how can anyone possible call them weeds.

I hope the rest of you take a moment to frolic with him in Dandy.

You can enjoy the other nominees by visiting Lindsay at www.suburbanturmoil.blogspot.com or MommaK at www.petroville.com.