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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Ice on the tree

This morning, the sun is out and I opened the door long enough to take this picture of ice glistening on the tree in the sun. We have a solid sheet of ice on all of the roads. Our multi-Stake Conference broadcast was changed to 1:00 pm but we decided not to travel the 20 miles to church to watch it. It's not going to get above freezing until late today.

I have to admit, I loved this weekend with everything coming to a halt and being able to be at home and putter around at a much slower rate of life!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Dreaming of our summer garden

I don't know if you can tell what this is, but it's a diagram of our yard and garden. I've wanted to do this for a long time. The round circles are fruit trees we've planted and the squares are our raised beds. The big square is our soon to be greenhouse and the raised beds on the other side of it are beds we plan on building this spring to increase our garden size.

I've wanted to have a plan so I can track what we plant in each garden bed so I can rotate plants and document how things do. The first 12 raised beds are our berries.

Last year we had such a wonderful garden and ate out of it daily. The fresh food that we grew organic is so superior to what you buy and I know there are no preservatives in what we ate and canned. I didn't document the pounds or bushels but I hope to do that better this year.

January 2010 snow and ice

Today is a great day to stay indoors and keep warm and just relax and do some things I never get a chance to do! Here in the South, if we get anything frozen, everything stops. This is more ice than snow and they don't have any equipment for the roads. I was supposed to speak in Stake Conference tonight but that has also been canceled and the Saturday night one will be in two weeks so I guess I have longer to worry about it. I do have my talk ready though!

Monday, January 25, 2010

The great Oregon fire!

I don't know how I could forget this big event from the trip. We were enjoying our time with Rich and Renetta one evening when we started smelling some burning, melting plastic and had a smoky feel. Rich went downstairs and found the top of their new gas furnace had flames and part of it was melting. Rich was able to get the fire out but in the meantime, Renetta called the police to ask them to send someone from the fire department to come and check things out. They live in a 100 year old, historical home in Monmouth. A few minutes later, we heard sirens and two trucks and the fire marshall pulled up at the curb. They quickly blocked the street as if ready for a big fire. A fireman came in and checked things out and helped turn off the gas and made sure all would be well until they could get the part replaced.

Renetta went out to thank the fireman so I took her picture. She put her arms around two firemen but couldn't because they had big tanks! Doesn't she look cute in her PJs!
Seriously, Renetta has made dad's life so enjoyable and she makes sure all of his needs are taken care of. I don't know what we would do without her care for him. We sure love our family.

Dad's 95th party

Last Thursday was dad's big day for his birthday. We took him up to Forest Grove for his party. Doesn't he look good. I doubt if I even live that long, that I will look that good. I think we had about 45 people come to see him. He just loved seeing long-term friends and knew everyone.

Dad's short-term memory may be 2-3 minutes but he does know his family and friends, which is a blessing. When LaDonna and I walked in he didn't act surprised at having us there but Renetta takes such great care of him that he knows our love through him.

Rich and Renetta have done wonderful with dad and Renetta loves to tease back and forth with him and get him to tell stories from his past.

Dad has a quirk about going to dinner and bringing back sugar packets. He doesn't remember doing it and so he keeps doing it. I was surprised to see sugar packets in his medicine cabinet. . .

or in his kitchen cabinets. He does have a sweet tooth and Renetta keeps him supplied with goodies.

We were lucky to be able to meet Mick and Mary for lunch on Saturday. Our two hour lunch was really enjoyable and relaxing.

After days and days of rain we had two great days and one morning we walked and even saw Mt. Hood! I do love seeing my mountains so it was great to get a peak.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Dad is 95!

I flew out to Oregon yesterday for my dad's 95th birthday. Physically he's in great shape. Mentally his short-term memory is gone and his long-term memory is fading. He does know who we are so that's great and he can tell us some wonderful stories.

We're having a big party for him today and have invited a lot of his friends from the past. He will enjoy it while he has it!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Collards in January

After several weeks of freezing cold weather even in the daytime, we had a really nice Saturday in the 50s. I used the day to do some pruning on our fruit trees and also looking to see if anything was still living in the garden. We have some carrots still in the ground and I decided to get the rest of the collards, which survived many days below 32 without too much loss.

It was quite a job to wash them all and chop them up. I'm sure glad to have my food processor to help the job!

Maybe I've learned how to cook them like the south. I had a ham bone left over from Christmas and used some spices with it. I pressured them for about 30 minutes and they went down in half.

Since I had so many, I decided to put a big bowl in the fridge and then I canned the rest. This is my third or fourth picking and cooking the leaves off of them! It's amazing how many collards we had on just 6 plants

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Jumbo Shrimp!

We have a friend who has done a couple of runs to Charleston for some fresh shrimp and took orders! We took him up on his offer!

The season is over until summer so we stocked up. Here's 20 pounds for the freezer! We've never had that much shrimp at one time before but we look forward to some special meals coming up.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Caleb's cute smile

I was Skyping with Todd and caught our little Caleb with his cute little grin where he scrunches up his face. Isn't he adorable!? I sure miss cuddling him!!!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

2009 Charleston family trip

We were able to rent a beach house for three days after Christmas and so that was our Christmas present to the family. It was a big house with seven bedrooms.

The neatest thing was a huge kitchen with about the biggest bar I've ever seen. It was big enough to sit about 8 people in an open area with a living area.

Look at our slideshow of some of the pictures of our time there.
It was colder than normal while we were there but I think most of us made it to the beach a couple of times. We did got into Charleston to see the open air market and then ate lunch at Hyman's. After lunch we were brave and took a horse drawn carriage ride around Charleston to see the old homes and battery. They did have blankets! We also went to Ft. Moultre and Boone Hall with their famous avenue of Oaks.

Evenings we played games (I learned to love apples to apples), ate great food, and watched movies. One unique thing we did this Christmas was instead of the adults sharing presents for each other, we shared some of our expertise and things we were intersted in to help our each family to improve our families. We had some gerat discussions!

All in all we had a great, fun trip and the concensus is it would be fun to rent a big house like that again to spend time together.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A taste of the Harper Christmas 2009

I'm still trying to get caught up on the Christmas pictures and activities. Here are some highlight pictures of the big day!

We decided instead of going to a photographer with crowds and having to wait we'd take our own family pictures this year. We used our nice camera and Michael even got a wireless remote that will click the picture so everyone can be in them.

It went pretty well, but let's just say that they are not professional but do have more character to them than the professional everything is right pictures. He's a slideshow of what we got!

Boy it's been cold!

It has been frigid for are area of South Carolina for several weeks. We just about froze when we took the family to Charleston but that was warm compared
to what we've had for the past two weeks. It's now warmed up into the 40s without wind so things look to be better. Even our little pond had a coating of ice over it. It's starting to melt now in the sun.

See what our cats have been doing to stay warm!