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Archive for May, 2007

My sister, Caryl,  and I made our pilgrimage to put flowers on family head stones.  We had to visit the grave yard in Post Falls, Idaho to put flowers on the graves of Caryl’s first husband, his father, and his brother. Then on to Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho (where we were raised, more or less) to visit the graves of our mother, grandmother, grandfather, two uncles, an aunt, and two cousins.

This is always an emotional trip for us. We lost our parents when we were young. And lost the only  grandparents we knew, while she was 29 and I was 30. Caryl and I are thirteen months apart in age – and are glued together – a part of each other. DSCN5188

We are NOT two peas in a pod. Although our mother dressed us alike while she was alive, and people couldn’t tell us apart: and although even up into our thirties, some people couldn’t tell us apart – we don’t look exactly alike any more – and are on opposite poles on most anything. Abortion, affirmative action, the war, homosexuality, you name it – we have opposite opinions.

But at our core, we are one. We weren’t exactly raised up in anything near what you might call a ‘functional’ home, and neither one of us has lived exactly what you’d call a ‘conventional’ life, but through it all, through our entire lives, we’ve had each other. Through the highest points in my life, through the lowest points – and all those inbetween, she walked beside me. And I did the same for her. We are each other’s grounding – the ‘other one’ who has been through it all, and knows every piece of it. As long as we can touch, we will be okay,  always.  Just being with Caryl, just doing what we did together, was memorable enough.

AND THEN….while I was looking for our aunt’s grave, I saw FOUR gravestones, all connected. When it dawned on me they were all connected, I looked closer and immediately noticed that the date of death was the same on all four stones – August 1959. I called Caryl over and we were figuring out the ages these people would have been when they died. The eldest was born in 1917, then there was a boy who would have been 17, a boy who would have been 11, and a girl who would have been 5 years old. The eldest had an unusual name – which we assumed was a woman’s name. We decided that it was a mother and three children and they must have died in a car accident or a fire….and went about our business.

I couldn’t stop thinking about these people that died when I was ten years old and living in the same town. (I obsess about all kinds of things). By the time I got home, I knew I HAD to find out more about these people. I told T that I was going to research this – and he said he doubted I’d have much luck looking up deaths from 1959. It took some time, but I did find out about them. And what a sad story.

On August 17, 1959,  a 7.8 (Richter scale) earthquake struck the high mountain country west of Yellowstone Park.  Seven miles below the Montana Power Company’s 87 foot high dam, there is a canyon where the Madison river winds away from Hebgen Lake. A truck driver from Coeur d’Alene, with his wife and children, were camping. He and his wife were in a trailer and their three boys and one girl were outside in sleeping bags when the earthquake struck at 11:30 p.m. The top of the mountain split off and what was described as a “great wind rushing through the canyon”. The wife saw her husband grab one of the children and then grab onto a sapling. She said the wind straightened him out like a ”flag on a flagpole”, and then she saw him let go as the mountain crashed down around them. The mother and 15 year old son, were found alive in the river bed the next morning. The father and two sons and a daughter were killed.

I couldn’t stop thinking about this family. Though 15 other people died as well, I can’t get this family out of my mind. The mother, Irene, would be 90 years old if she’s alive. She isn’t buried there, so is she still alive? Did she remarry? And is she buried under a different name? And Phillip is 63 years old if he is alive. Where is he? There were no flowers on the gravestones. Does this mean he is gone, too? And there is no one left to bring flowers? I need to do more research. I need to know. I think I’ll probably remember them for a long time. And I think that next year when Caryl and I make our trip over to pay respect and ‘remember’, I’ll take them some flowers for them, as well.

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We’re staying home!

We like to take the motor home to state parks in the summer. We try to make reservations for three or four days each month, in parks in Idaho, Washington, and Oregon. Reservations can be made nine months in advance – and believe me, if you don’t make them nine months in advance – you’ll be lucky to find a spot.

We had reservations for Steam Boat Rock State Park, outside of Grand Coulee, this coming week. We stay there every summer – it is a beautiful park right on Banks Lake.

But after being gone six months this winter, and then living in the motor home for another  month when we came home, while we made major repairs on our house, we decided we just aren’t ready to go anywhere! The thought of getting back in that motor home (and I love it!) is just too much for me right now. Not to mention loading it again, groceries, clothes, etc.  No way. Not ready.

So we are staying home.  And enjoying it.

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The temperatures are still fluctuating here,  between warm (low 70s) and cool (low 50s) days, but the tulips and daffodils are past now and some early bloomers are coming on.

Our two old lilac bushes are in full bloom. For about three weeks, we get to enjoy their beauty and perfume. Sure wish they lasted longer.  Img2128

 

This is called Jacob’s Ladder. If I cut it back after it blooms, it will bloom again this summer.

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This one is Coreopsis. The variety is ‘tickseed’. It’s one of my favorites as it blooms all summer if I keep it deadheaded.   Img2146

 And the Columbine are beautiful now. I don’t know what happened to my yellow ones – but these are nice, too. Img2158  

It’s great to have some time to spend in the garden now. I just putz around – go from one thing to another. It’s funny how on some days I’ll walk through the yard and the gardens, and I’ll be nearly overwhelmed with all I think needs to be done. The next day, (or maybe even the same day), I’ll walk out just to look at something, and I’ll end up moving a plant, or weeding, or – you know –  something. And pretty soon – it’s cleaned up and looking good!

Now I just get to watch things grow. I love that! I’ve been known to use the binoculars from the house,  to check growth, when it’s too rainy to go out!

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This time of year, we get to see a variety of hummingbirds – and a LOT of them. From now until the flowers are all in full bloom, we will refill our feeders every other day. We have two front windows, with a ‘lighthouse’ feeder hanging in front of each of them, and a ‘sunflower’ feeder in the middle of our small front yard. There will sometimes be between 20 and 30 hummingbirds fighting over the feeders!
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The little suckers  lickers actually lick the nectar, dipping their tongues into the feeders or flowers at a rate of 13 licks per second! They are fascinating to watch, and they have fantastic flying abilities – flying forwards, backwards, and even upside down.
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Hummingbirds are attracted to color, rather than smell, and will ‘buzz’ you if you wear anything bright. When I’m watching them, I don’t notice their sound too much, but when I’m busy doing something else and they ‘buzz’ me – it gets my attention! I’m always sure the mother of all bees is after me!
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Although we see many varieties of hummers – I think we probably see the Rufous most often. They are the most aggressive of all the hummers – chasing others away from their food source. ALL hummers are aggressive though, when it comes to their food. I once read somewhere, that we should be glad they don’t weight more than one and one half paperclips – because as aggressive as they are – we’d all be in trouble!

This guy had the deepest blue neck – beautiful.
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I tried and tried to get a picture with ten or twenty of them in the front – but nothing was turning out. They move fast! Factually, some will dive from 90 feet, obtaining speeds of 65 miles per hour! Amazing. And they just never stay in one place very long. I’ve stood under the feeders with my fingers extended, and had them land on me. That’s pretty amazing, too!
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My bleeding hearts are blooming. I always think of my childhood when I see these flowers. And my sister, Caryl, and I never forget what we called them when we were kids! And still giggle and have to do this, everytime we see bleeding hearts.

 I don’t know who showed us how to do this, but if you pick one of the ‘hearts’, turn it over, and then gently grasp the curly-que on each side between your thumbs and forefingers, and then gently spread them open – you get this:

                                          Lady In A Bathtub!

P.S.  Thanks, everyone, for your picture posting tips. I’ve tried, and am unable to make some of them work, but did these on Flickr.com and we’ll see how it works out.

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As I mentioned before, we came home to a mess that entailed a LOT of work on the house. And since T and I seem to have suffered some temporary form of brain damage – as we elected to redo the upstairs while we we at it! You know, painting, putting down new rugs, floors, etc.  

OMG. I AM getting old. A day of laying tile while on my knees, means I can hardly walk the next day – and have to switch to a different chore.  A day of painting – means I can’t raise my arms above my head the next day. Oy. I’ve always been an early riser so I usually start in about 6:30 a.m. Then I shower at 8:30 at night and fall into bed. This is pretty much the schedule we’ve followed since we got home.

I’ve also ‘weeded and feeded’, killed unwanted grass, and mowed several times. In between, I DID finally get the garden cleaned up and some things planted. Finally. It didn’t really drive me crazy having to wait to plant – as the weather stayed so cool anyway, it wasn’t safe. We live in a zone 5 area with 110 growing days. I keep saying that I do a lot of work in the garden and yard – for very little return! I still love it though.

There is another reason that I haven’t blogged – though I’ve taken many pictures in the garden – and this is where I need help! My pictures are just huge when I try to blog them. I have tried to optimize them – can’t figure out how. Or how to make them come as thumbnails. I use the upload dealie on the bottom of wordpress – but then the picture covers the whole screen and I have to yank the edges down to some smaller size. I have read EVERYTHING I can find in wordpress and nothing works for me. I’m about ready to go back to blogger!! Can anyone tell me what I’m doing wrong????

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I wanna dig in the dirt!

I started these seeds in the house ten days ago, as it’s a little cool for outdoor planting.

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Now they are this size and just looking at them makes me want to go dig in the dirt. But I haven’t got the time – or the weather.

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Since we came home from ‘South for the winter’, to a mess this year, we’ve been pretty busy keeping up and cleaning up here. AND THEN….we decided that since everything was pretty much getting in disorder and desarray anyway, that we’d go ahead and do a couple of other little jobs. For one – we’ve ripped out the upstairs carpet and are redoing the floors!

I like staying busy, I like re-dos. But I really wanna dig in the dirt! And the lawn REALLY needs mowed. It’s raining as I write this, so I can’t feel too badly about not being able to work outside  today. But I need to get out there soon – for my sanity.

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