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Well, our winter home was NOT on wheels this year. You know how it goes…life happens. We ended up spending the winter (from hell) right here at home in Washington. This winter we broke all kinds of records for amount of snow on ground – sure, since we had to stay home. Go figure.

 We ended up staying here as Terry had some health issues that scared the hell out of us – but I’m happy and grateful to say – ended well. He began with atrial fib, which resulted in several months of blood thinners while they tried to use medicines to regulate his heart rate. When that failed, they hospitalized him to stop his heart – and then they used the paddles to ‘shock’ him back to life and his heart into a normal rhythm. (The doctors all made this sound like an every day occurrence, but believe me, it was a lot more than that to us – (gasp)!)

We came home from the hospital believing the procedure was a success, but we had been through so much stress by this time that we  decided to spend the winter at home to be near T’s own doctors. Turned out to be a good idea as that evening his blood pressure and pulse crashed and he ended up taking a helicopter ride to the emergency where his pulse was in the 20s at the hospital. No easy feat that trip down. The ambulance had to take him 4 – 1/2 miles down our dirt road to a place where the chopper could land. (One small drawback to living on a mountain.)

Terry is fine now – feels strong and well. His heart is strong, his arteries all clear, however he has a small electrical ‘glitch’ and his heart doesn’t fire quite right. There are no restrictions on his activities and the  doctors assure us that  unless THEY are the ones to stop his heart, it isn’t going to stop – although they tell us that ‘down the road’ he will need a pace maker to even things out.

I was pretty sure that they were going to have to replace MY heart before we got through all this. I tend to stress big time – I worry and I have to know EVERYTHING. T’s cardiologist said he’s never had anyone ask so many questions. (I assured him that if his wife ever had a life threatening female problem – he’d have as many questions!) Actually, although I started out not caring too much for him, I changed my opinion. He’s great with us…..spells out everything and treats us with not only great medical care, but respect, which is important at a time like that.

I’m going to tell you first – it was BEAUTIFUL up here this winter. White as far as you could see and one of the most gorgeous winters I’ve ever seen. And having said that, I am going to add that I hope it’s the last one I spend here! I told Terry that he better start shopping for a good cardiologist in Arizona – because next fall – I’m out of here! And he’s with me on this one.

The wet/cold makes me sick every year – bronchitis with fever, cough, etc. for three weeks every winter (might have had something to do with the fact that I was smoking again, but we won’t mention that). And then plowing with the John Deere, much as T loves it, got pretty old. And believe it or not, even on 50 acres, you can run out of places to put snow. And now digging trenches to keep the rivers of water from washing us across the road, is also losing its charm. I’ll leave you with a few glimpses of what it’s been like here on our mountain.
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There’s no doubt it was beautiful.
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And then the snow slides off the steel roof and nearly buries the house!
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If you look closely at this next one, you can see my fingers in the bedroom window!
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And you do remember, don’t you, that I have a pond under here somewhere!?
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Hope the winter has treated you well. I’ve missed blogging and looked in on you every once in a while – but with this off again, on again service we have on the mountain – it takes me a day just to get one post done!

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It’s time for me to close the garden gates. Another season has passed. And along with the gates, I’ll be closing this blog.

I have so enjoyed the time I’ve spent online, sharing parts of my life with you, and being able to share small parts of your lives.  

Never is a long time, so I won’t say that I will never be back – but for now – good-bye, and thank you all. I know I will be thinking about you.

The best to you all,

       Jackie

 Thank you, Velvet! Although I can’t say I know what a ‘rockin’ girl blogger’ is – I’m mighty proud to be one. Especially since I can count on one hand, the number of awards I’ve received as an adult. Let’s see….there was one for square dancing, and that one for “Nice Matters” and ….well, I guess that’s about all!

Velvet received the “Nice Matters” award and you HAVE to go read her acceptance speech. It might be the funniest thing I’ve ever read on a blog.

I’m to pass this award on to five people. Although each and every gal I ‘blog’ with (and my guy friend, Dave)  all ROCK, for sure, I’ve thrown darts at my blogroll and picked the following five:

Nezza of The World According to Nez

Jenn of As I Was Passing

Nessa of Goldennib

Rain of Rainy Day Thought

Stacy of Never Wanted Nothin’ More

Rock on, blogger buds!

It’s getting very chilly here at night. The average frost date in Spokane is October 10th, although there has been frost as early as September 7th, and as late as the end of November. Here on our hill, our temperatures are always 7 to 10 degrees cooler. It cools off faster up here at night, frost and snow arrives earlier, and our bloom season is nearly three weeks behind the valley.

I can’t believe how long I waited to have ripe tomatoes, and then, for awhile, had tomatoes coming out my ears, and now they’ve slowed down and are nearing the end. The plants are still covered with green tomatoes and I don’t want to lose them.  I will put black garbage bags over them tonight. I know that some people believe that it takes sunlight to ripen tomatoes, and they will leave them on their window sills. What it actually takes is heat. They would be better off to put their tomatoes in brown paper bags and leave them sitting on the counter.  
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I stopped watering the tomatoes several days ago, and today I will go out and cut into the roots of the plants with a shovel. This stresses the tomato plant and it puts everything it has into ripening the fruit. I don’t sweat it much, if a frost is forecast and I have to pick the tomatoes green. I love fried green tomatoes – and I can always ripen the others in the house.

Here’s a great part of autumn for me – the birds are migrating and they stop here for a ‘bath’ every year. The bluebirds come with the finches.        
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And the pine siskins just bring their whole family.
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— and I didn’t even realize that until I was reading some blogs whereby gardeners are striving to be self sustained by their gardens.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m like a little kid when I come in from the garden with my pockets full of peas, or beans, or tomatoes. And I’m so damned proud of myself when I’ve made a batch of jelly or jam, or put up the pear preserves, or picked my OWN apples for a pie. But it’s just gravy to me – that bounty. It isn’t why I garden. Part of it is that I just love digging in the dirt. I love putting plants in…moving plants around…sowing seeds…watering by hand…getting down on my hands and knees to see which vegetables are beginning to sprout. 

But the big reason I garden, my first love, is to be surrounded by flowers. Flowers make me happy. Just looking at them. In the winter time, I buy them from the store, weekly, just to have them in the house to look at. No matter what variety, they are the *hyacinths that feed my soul*.

I’m feeling a little sad now, watching some of the summer bloomers die off. Although the autumn bloomers are beautiful – they are still the harbingers to me. And I’m not ready. Guess I better get ready. You know when autumn is here when the mums start blooming.

They are.                                                        

                                                           

and the Autumn Joy sedum turns from green to reddish-pink.   It is.

and the Autumn Clematis begins to bloom.   It did. 

 

* If of thy mortal goods thou art bereft,

And from they slender store two loaves alone to thee are left,

Sell one and with the dole,

Buy hyacinths to feed the soul.

 (Moslih Eddin Saadi)

                                                 

My blogger buddy, Stacy, of Never Wanted Nothin’ More, awarded me this “Nice Matters” award. Thank you, Stacy. I’m deeply appreciative, although I feel very undeserving.

                The words that go with this award are as follows:

“This award is for those bloggers who are nice people; good blog friends, and those that inspire good feelings and inspiration. Also for those who are a positive influence on our blogging world. Once you have been awarded, please pass it on to seven others whom you feel are deserving of this award.”

Now, since everyone I blog with deserves this award – this is hard to have to choose only seven. And if you are not on this short list – know that I AM aware of your ‘nice’ anyway. Here goes – seven people – in no particular order:

Alison at Inspired Work of Self Indulgence

Marcy at My Quilts ‘n Stuff

Chana at Go Forth And

Pauline at Glimpses Intangible

Holly at Creekhiker

Velvet Sacks at  Velvet Sacks

Inland Empire Girl at Gathering Around the Table

                                                                 Pass it on!

Postcards from 1946.

We lost our mother when we were young, so the few pictures I have of her are very precious to me. I guard them with my life. My mother and father divorced when I was eight, and I only saw him once (when I was 16) before he died. We don’t really have anything that belonged to  my mother, for a number of reasons, I suppose. One reason being our grandparents on Mom’s side moved in to take care of Mom and us five kids, before Mom died, and being faced with raising five kids from 2 years to 14 years of age, saving Mom’s things for us probably wasn’t a priority of Gram’s. Another reason being that after Gram died, her only surviving daughter decided that everything in Gram’s house, belonged to her. By the time we were old enough to wonder where things were, and to want pictures or anything that might be left, it was too late. When we’ve asked for copies of pictures, etc. from the aunt – we’re told that they “were lost in a basement flood”, “misplaced years ago”, etc. etc.

But, besides the pictures of Mom and Dad, I have two postcards that I treasure dearly. My mother and her sister were in Milton-Freewater, Oregon in 1946 and sent these postcards home to Idaho, to their youngest sister. 

This one is of the First Christian Church, and on the back, my aunt wrote, “We sang in the choir in this church. Pretty, no? Name is First Christian Church.”
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This one is of Stadelman’s Cold Storage building, and on the back my mother wrote this to her youngest sister, “Hi Squirt, this shore is a beautiful town and yesterday the wind almost blew us off the streets.  Today it’s so damned hot I’m about to die of the heat. Just thank your lucky stars that there’s a tree within walking distance of you, ’cause we’re in the desert. Lois.”
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Last week, T had to be gone for the day, so I took a day trip to Milton-Freewater, to find these two buildings in the postcards. And I found them.  

Here is the church now. In this first picture, I tried to take the same view as the postcard. I took the second one so that I could see the whole building.
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Stadelman’s was harder to find, and didn’t look like my postcard. I went inside their office and talked to two nice gentlemen, who told me that most all of the original buildings had burned to the ground in 1990, and that I was looking at what was rebuilt.
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I can’t explain how I felt looking at these buildings. And thinking about the fact that my mother attended the church I was standing in front of. And that she walked the same streets that I was walking. I can’t explain the feelings, but I can tell you – they were good. I felt that ‘connection’ that I sometimes need so much. I have and do miss my mother even more as an adult, than I did as a child.

It was a good, but strange day for me. Although there have been a few occasions in my life where I was ‘alone’ (where I traveled for business reasons or things like that) those times were rare. I have had someone by my side all my life – a parent, a sibling, a friend, a child, a mate – and I rarely am alone. While I was in Milton-Freewater, I was so very aware of being there alone. In a different state. Without family or friends. T was where he could not be reached, and so I called my sister, Caryl,  nearly every hour. I told her that for some reason, I just needed to keep ‘touching base’.  A strange day. But good.