Monday, September 27, 2010

Canning Pears

On the way home from Colorado this past weekend, we stayed in Grand Junction, CO overnight.  In the morning, we went to the nearby town of Pallisade where there a lot of fruit farms.  We found some wonderful pears and bought two boxes to take home and bottle.   Fortunately, the pears were a little green; so we were able to wait until Monday to put them up.  They were just perfect--nice and juicy and sweet.  Chuck cut them in half and cored them, and I peeled and packed them.  Then we processed them for 30 minutes in a boiling water bath on our Camp Chef out on the deck.  Everything worked beautifully, and before long, we had 23 1/2 quarts all done.   We listened to Mormon Tabernacle Choir music as we worked, and the time went quickly.  It was really kind of fun working together on this project.  Now we will be able to enjoy home canned pears this winter.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Return to Old Stove Prairie School

Newly Remodeled Stove Prairie School,  Bellevue Colorado
During our visit to Fort Collins, Colorado,  Chuck and I made it a priority to travel up into the mountains to once again see the rural school where I taught until I retired twelve years ago.  At that time it served K=6th Grades.  It now serves Pre-school - 5th Grades.  It is over one hundred years old now, having been established in 1898 by farmers and ranchers as a one-room school.   It is tucked away in a high, secluded valley (about 7,000 ft. elevation) northwest of town about twenty-one miles.  I used to teach combined grades Kindergarten, First, and Second for several years before I was forced to retire after a bout with cancer back in 1998.  I loved teaching there, especially the cooperative, helpful parents who often helped me out in the classroom.  Before I was assigned to a regular education classroom, I taught in this and other mountain schools as an itinerant special education teacher.  I traveled all over the mountains to provide educational services for special needs children in the elementary grades.  But my favorite assignment was this school--Stove Prairie Elementary.  Not only was it very scenic, but the children were mostly eager to learn, and were a lot of fun to teach.  During the winter when it snowed, sledding down the hill out back was great fun.  We also enjoyed seeing the elk in the fields next to the school when they came down from the high country during the fall and winter.  I enjoyed the scenic, forty-five minute drive up the winding canyon road, especially in the fall when the aspen were so colorful.  I even managed to maneuver my little front-wheel drive Diahatsu two-door car in deep snow with snow chains which I installed myself whenever needed.

During our visit, I was able to meet the new teachers and principal and see one teacher, Kathleen Edmiston, and the school secretary, Karen England, who remained from my time there.  They were happy to see me and renew acquaintances.  I have been corresponding each Christmas with Karen England in the intervening years; so it really didn't feel that twelve years had passed.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that the whole school has been recently remodeled and improved.  It now has five classrooms and a new media center/library with separate rooms for special education tutoring and "special" instruction; i.e. math, music, art, p.e.  The playground has also been improved and is really nice for the children now.    I'm so glad we took the time to come here to visit and enjoy the pleasant memories of years gone by.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Colorado Old Home Weekend

After driving east through Utah from St. George and over the brilliant foliage covered mountains on I 70, we finally arrived in Fort Collins.  We were welcomed by our old friends, Donna and Bill from our old neighborhood where we enjoyed visiting in their home and eating a wonderful home-cooked meal together.  After catching up on the happenings going on in our lives, we went to the home of another pair of friends, Niel and Janette, to stay for the remainder of our stay in Fort Collins.  The next morning we attended an open house for our old ward (church) which we had not been in for eleven years, ever since we relocated to Utah.  The old Lynwood Chapel has been completely remodeled and the stake was hosting the open house not only to highlight the improvements in the building but to give people an opportunity to explore what the church has to offer those who attend.  It was fun,  informative, and well-attended.  We were amazed at the improvements made in the building's appearance and accessibility throughout.  Best of all we saw many of the old friends from years gone by--all looking older, but still pretty active and healthy.  The old feelings of fellowship and good will still remained after all these years.  It was heart warming to experience these feelings.  This was heightened later that evening when we attended a session of Stake Conference and saw even more of our church friends from years ago at the meeting.  I got all choked up as the meeting started when those feelings of love and familiarity continued on into the evening.  I thought to myself,  "I wonder if this is the kind of joy we will experience when we pass to the other side and see all our old friends and family again."  I think so.  I hope so, because it is a truly marvelous and satisfying feeling to have.

We drove around the town to see some of the changes that have occurred.  It has grown much larger, but all the old landmarks and neighborhoods we knew so well have remained.  Our old house was a different color, but it and the neighborhood looked much the same.  The Colorado State University campus has grown a lot.

Tomorrow we plan to attend another session of conference and go to the rededication ceremonies for the remodeled chapel.  The next three days we plan to visit more friends in nearby towns and drive up to see Stove Prairie School  in the mountains where I used to teach elementary school.  I'll try to take some pictures and get them posted to this blog as soon as I can.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Getting better

Well, now I know what it is like to get a bad cold and sore throat after being free of this for several years!  Two weeks ago I started symptoms like allergies usually give me; runny nose, sneezing.  Then after a few days it suddenly turned into a bad sore throat and fever.  The sore throat grew increasingly worse, and I was choking during the night.  It was scary.  I went to the doctor who gave antibiotics for one week.   I stayed down for a whole week, and it gradually grew better.  However, I have little energy.  I so often forget what being sick is like and take good health for granted.   I am looking forward to going on a trip to Colorado now.  Hooray!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

My New Humanitarian Project

On these hot summer days it gets up to around 107 degrees in the afternoons.  I don't much like to go outdoors during the heat of the day, so I just stay in the house with the air conditioner.  Instead of just watching TV most of the time, I decided to find something that wasn't too difficult to make and that might be of benefit to someone else and might make a difference in their lives.  When I went to a monthly meeting of our LDS Women's group, lo and behold, they were starting an ongoing project for our local humanitarian center which we could work on in our homes.  It was to make little girl's dresses for local distribution by our local Bishops around Christmas time.  We were taught how to make them that night, and they proved to be relatively simple to do with a sewing machine and a little bit of fabric and knit T shirt tops.  This proved to be just the thing for the project I was seeking.

Using a measurement chart corresponding to the proper size of T shirt, I just cut off the shirt to the proper length and attach a width of matching or contrasting fabric cut to the length on the chart.  I then sewed one seam in the skirt back, gathered the top, attached it to the shirt at the waist, zig-zagged the seam, hemmed it up, and it was finished!  I used the left over fabric from the cut off T shirt for pockets, bows, etc.  I was happy to find cute little girl's knit shirts on sale at Walmart for only $2 each in sizes 4 to 12.   I got the fabric there too for about $1.50 per skirt (about 1/2 yard of 45" wide fabric).   I thought it was pretty neat and fun to do!   The long, hot afternoons, passed by quickly, and I felt pretty good about how I spent my time.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Free Peaches

Today my husband and I went to our church owned peach orchard to pick peaches because they are being offered for free.  Apparently, it was a bumper crop this year, and they couldn't process any more through our local cannery.  There are millions of peaches just hanging on the trees.  Some are a little too ripe now, but there are many more that are ready for canning.  There were hundreds of families out picking this morning on Labor Day.  We came home with five bushels.  Now I must get busy and bottle them before they spoil.  I will take some to friends and neighbors first.  Thank goodness I have plenty of canning jars because when I went to buy more lids at WalMart, they didn't have any more quart jars in the two stores I tried.  They did have quart lids, however, but the wide mouth lids were all sold out in the first store.  This goes to show that it is important to keep a good supply of canning lids and supplies on hand to use in case of emergency; i.e., a  power shortage necessitating processing of meats in the freezer or a sudden surplus of food to be stored.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Chinese Motor Scooter Dilemma

Have you ever purchased a Chinese manufactured motor scooter?  If not, consider yourself lucky.  I bought one for my son four months ago hoping that it would provide reliable, inexpensive transportation for him around town.  He is partially handicapped and needed a three-wheel scooter that he could operate with only his hands.  It was ideal for him--that is for about one month when the electrical system connectors disintegrated causing the spark plugs to come loose and started a fire.  After that was fixed, the rivets holding the exhaust system together fell out and the plastic tailpipe broke.  The chain is about to fall apart now.  It is a really pretty scooter and looks nice on the outside, but the insides are cheaply made.  It is really just a piece of junk.  Now I will probably have to scrap it and pay three times the amount on a quality scooter from a reputable manufacturer like Honda or Suzuki, which I should have done in the first place.  I guess we live and learn don't we?