Sharing The Memories Of Our Hearts Becomes A Golden Tapestry Of Our Life…

Sharing the memories of our hearts becomes a golden tapestry of our life, as we wrap ourselves in the heritage of life that makes us who we are.

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Often I wonder why I have this writing bug and why it took me so long to discover my intense love of photography as to me the images that I capture and the words that follow, tell a story of a very simple life. Although I have to say at times, my life is not that simple…it has been pretty exciting in certain seasons and also difficult during various circumstances.

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What I have learned is that hard times and difficulties bring out more of your character while deepening your resolve and strength…building your gratitude for getting through them and over them, as you go on with your life…while never looking back at what was or could have been, but looking forward to whats ahead.

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It’s not how you ride through the mountain top moments, but how you climb out of the valleys of hard times that count.

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When I am hit with the desire to write, I grab my pen and write with my heart, letting the words tumble out of my pen onto a simple tablet of paper…I go with it, as writing is part of what makes me, me.

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It is the same with my photography, I don’t know all the ins and outs of aperture and ISO or all the terminology yet, but I will. In the meantime I grab my camera and happily click away with that creative spirit full of heart, only this time, the story I write is through my eyes…

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I love capturing the exact moment when you know that, “Yeah baby I got it!!!”

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Writing is often like life, as we write and write only to find out that it totally stinks so we trash the hours and pages into the shredder and we move on. As a writer, no matter how many revisions you go through…no matter how much criticism you get…you can not stop…you write and write and write. Determined to write the darn best story you can write!

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It’s the same with taking pictures, no matter how many I take, it is never enough!

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Everyday when I get up and look out my kitchen window I am doing what my Mom did for the 42 years she lived in the house and I am doing what my Great Grandmother did for the 18 years she lived here…I can feel what they felt and hear the words they may have spoken, with the views of country life and the circumstances that come out of country living.

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When we pulled up the carpet on the main floor of the house, it was the first time I saw the wood floors, as Mom kept them covered. I had no clue there were solid wood floors on the main level of the house. I was overcome with emotion as I could see the foot traffic worn into the old floors, where my ancestors walked. I walked in their literal footsteps in my bare feet, feeling the solid wood and hearing the same creaks and squeaks under my feet while hearing the echos of a time long ago. 

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Mom keeping the floors covered was perfect in preserving them. When we got down to the last layer of linoleum in the kitchen we found that it had burlap on the back side of it…I had never seen flooring like that and thankfully the burlap kept the floors in good condition.

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The old house was revealing its glory! The floors turned out beautiful…and each day that I walk on them, is like stepping back in heritage and time. History and heritage are important as we are the only ones who know the memories and emotions of the generation before…writing down their memories, their histories and the heritage they passed on to us is so very important.

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Switching gears…we have a new baby and she is keeping us busy…isn’t she cute!!! That’s why I have not posted for a few weeks…life has been fast and furious!

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I was wondering if anyone knows where the summer went to? I can not believe that fall is in the air!

Talented Country Orchestra Performs Nightly Symphonies!

Talented country orchestra performs nightly symphonies where I live!

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The gifted musicians give their all with award winning music that fills our country nights, as it drifts into our open windows with a soft canyon breeze that gently caresses the night air. As the day begins to cool off, the symphony begins, singing me to sleep with an orchestra of various cricket musicians…they are on the first movement and it is truly beautiful to hear…with an occasional deep-toned rib-it from the frogs…and then silence…as the second set of musicians adds drama to the night.

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Hearing the screech of a hawk passing overhead, begins the second movement…as one of our dogs follows with several barks…and then our pack of dogs head out to give several more barks…setting off the coyotes, howling with different pitches to make it interesting…and on cue, night owls begin hooting on the hill behind the house in one of the trees…and then, silence once again….out of the stillness of night, one cricket will begin with one chirp, then another cricket follows and soon the symphony begins again.

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A few summer nights each year, the night does not move with the usual rhythm of sounds. Often when we have a storm coming, the crickets stop…it seems darker and eerily still…no breeze…just the sound of a deep silence…you know something is up! It becomes an odd kind of night but knowing the signs of our animals and country life…we usually know when either a storm is coming or someone or something is sneaking around.

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Minnie Mouse is taking in all the night moves with us, as she loves the night sounds too….she likes to sleep in the windowsills at night so she can smell the night smells and see whatever her eyes can see and listen to the various sounds…once she has had enough, she curls up next to me on the bed sleeping in peace, as she dreams of magical kitty memories, exploring warm summer nights. I do the same thing…as memories of growing up come back to my mind, going outside barefooted, walking through grass wet from the dew, looking up and seeing a million stars overhead…softly saying, star so bright, star so light, first star I see tonight…closing my eyes and making my wish.

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I still run around barefooted, walking across the gravel if necessary to capture a great photo opportunity or just to go see a horse….WB thinks its weird that I can do this but he does not have country calloused padding on the bottom of his feet like me. His feet are prettier as numerous horses have stepped on my toes…breaking several that healed crooked and look gnarly from being squished. I’m always barefooted in the warm summer months….inside or out, as I love the feel of my bare feet on the old wood floors in our house.

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Summer nights in the country are created for us to sit outside to be part of the miracles of the night. I love the front porch swing, gently swinging as we watch the stars….trying to figure out the constellations. “Did you see that?” A falling star or a satellite passing by…as the heavens of spring and summer are incredible…and then fall comes and brings on occasion the Northern Lights…what a WOW experience the first time I saw them here! I could not fathom seeing the curtains of colors and lights in the dark night sky…I was struck with awe! God created beauty all around us if we will just stop…shhhhh…listen and wait…there…did you see it, the falling star?

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Look for God’s blessings in your life…I know you will find them!

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God brought Minnie into our lives as a little kitten, that needed a home. She was a little over 4 weeks old and I fell in love with her sweet face, her eyes and her soft mews…she has been our constant companion and my shadow, for 18 years now…we celebrated her 18th birthday on Mom’s Day weekend. She is a gift from God in our lives, having gone through loosing parents, surviving surgeries and living the ups and downs of life to the fullest…she is our nurse and often our clown. Tonight she sleeps curled up next to me, gently snoring, dreaming away.

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My hubby of 37 years adds his own input on the nighttime symphony…softly warming up for a good night of snoring, that begins with a soft clicking sound in his throat that builds to a crescendo of rumble, roar and then he SNORTS! Waking himself up, he clears his throat and drifts back to sleep…silence…finally I begin to drift off myself…ahhhh…and just as I was about to drift into sleep…Minnie begins snoring too, keeping it amusing for me! I have a nighttime symphony on each side of me and out the windows too:)

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The soft breeze tonight is telling me that soon in a few more weeks…the wheat will begin to turn from green to a reddish gold as the heads will begin to dry. I love the smell of it in the night air…harvest memories will flood back into my mind filled with days of old, good times and fun times. These are the sounds of country silence and the sounds of the nighttime symphony…they are the sounds of an ordinary country girl’s life.

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Have a magical, musical, country night! HRCG over and out…..

Blessings That Fill Your Heart With Gratitude

Blessings that fill your heart with gratitude are little miracles in themselves, bringing sunlight and glory to our days here on earth.

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Sometimes you have to look around to see the blessings in your life and other times they can be right in front of you!

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I thank God daily for my life as I watch the sunrise on a brand new day, full of God’s plans for my day and His breath of love on each one of us, for we are all His kids:)

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And at the end of each day I am always blessed with each beautiful sunset, filled with God’s golden glory…with a renewed hope for tomorrow.

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Growing up Mom had a newspaper clipping on our refrigerator for many years held by a magnet. The clipping stood on the truth of its words.

“Oh Lord, You have given me so much,

Give me one more thing, a grateful heart.”

Gratitude…remembering the incredible things we have been given. I still have the clipping in my bible…and had it on my refrigerator for several years until we bought a stainless steel refrigerator…then my magnet would not work, so it is tucked away in a safe place.

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I am thankful and more than grateful for the many blessings in my life. When things get bumpy on the road of my life, I try to focus on the good and positive blessings that God has given to me…so I often make a gratitude list to add to as life is ever changing…below is my current gratitude list…if I were to write them all…I would have a book to share with you:)

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1. I am thankful that I have the freedom to worship God.

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After traveling to the Middle East in the mid-90’s, I experienced many different ways of life and many diverse cultures. I loved seeing where Jesus walked..it was profoundly holy and spiritual to walk in His footsteps. I loved the Old City and seeing the diversity of people. Israel was beautiful to see…I was blessed to have had three weeks to travel, as there were so many historical sites to visit and experience. However, when my plane touched down at JFK, I made a beeline to a Burger King for an all American hamburger with the works! The next morning was surreal to wake up here in Juniper Canyon…the farmers were in full swing of wheat harvest. I remember thanking God that He decided I was to live here in America, it was so peaceful and quiet. We do not know how blessed we are to live in the USA!

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Jordan was ancient in the scenery and beautiful. I loved seeing the desert and Petra was my favorite.

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 Petra was incredible in how they carved it and designed it…it was one of those places that all you can do is take pictures and stand in awe. I also enjoyed having dinner with the Bedouins one evening in their tents. Kind and wonderful people to meet. Everyone I met on the tour was very nice. We began our tour in Damascus, Syria and I loved seeing Palmyra too….we did a day trip into Turkey and then on to Jordan and finally Israel…loved the Sea of Galilee, so peaceful and yes you do float on the Dead Sea and Masada was incredible too. I did ride a camel which was both fun and funny:)

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2. Thank you God for my hubby Wild Bill…my soul mate and my forever. We actually do fit together like a jigsaw puzzle made by God. He is the most thankful part of my life on earth and the best part is that we will be with each other forever into eternity and beyond:)

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3. I am grateful everyday that I am alive and living with good health! Having gone through a serious diagnosis puts a new spin on your life and you truly do see life in a different way….with a thankful heart:)

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4. I am grateful for my parents….who loved me and kept me forever. I know I will see them again. Both WB and I were lucky that we lived next door to them for 20 years, as we were able to help them and do things for them before they became ill….and when they did become ill, we were there 24/7  for them. We were able to support them, finding things to laugh about, long talks into the night, helping them through medical tests and the pain, taking them places and helping them maintain their dignity. I loved my Mom and Dad more than I can say.

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5. I know I am one of the most blessed women to live with always owning a horse….growing up on a large cattle ranch helped…so did having a Dad who was as horse crazy as I was! We always had horses….and we still do. I love the smell of horses, the sound of horses and the relationship one can have with horses and everything about them…they represent a part of life that is my history and heritage. God loves horses too!

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6. Minnie Mouse our kitty girl…almost 18 years old and so much a part of my heart and my life….our life. She has been with through losing three of our parents, cancer and various tough times, and she always gave us her love and lots of funny antics to make us laugh…she has been with us longer than any of our kids and she loves us…we love her and she is our kitty angel:) Blessed by God:)

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7. Living in the very house that I grew up in with my Mom and Dad….that my Grandpa who I never got to meet, built for his mother, my great-grandmother who I never got to meet.

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Living here in a 100 year old family house though, I feel that I do know them and carry the same beliefs and family heritage they passed on to us. A house full of memories, honor and gratitude.

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8. I am grateful that I have always lived in the country, away from the hustle and bustle. I love the quiet and peaceful life of country living here, but I miss the solitude that I grew up in when we summered at the mountain cattle ranch without telephones, electricity, water and no TV let alone radio signal. It was pure bliss to live in such a beautiful place in the Blue Mountains, riding my horse everyday moving cattle or checking cows with my Dad. Life was simpler and the world was different then. I am grateful for all the memories I have of that period in my life growing up.

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9. I am more than blessed to own my “Little Red Car”…WB surprised me as he said “For my redhead and my love, this is your car”. And we do belong to the “Little Red Car Club”.

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10. And for my forever horses, that I will never forget…as they are forever with you:)

Mostly what I want to give to you is this…

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Sometimes when we look out the window of life…we see life that is gray and stormy. It can be depressing, discouraging and tough to see the storms of life we are facing…that is when we plug into our gratitude list, that is filled with determined faith, full of both small and large blessings and the tough times we survived before…as we can’t give up or in, we gotta keep on a going.

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And as we “stand strong on our faith and hope”, life will get better again. The good in life, continues to battle it out, with the evil during our lives…as life will never be perfect until we get to heaven.

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And God has already won for us! No matter how dark it can look in our lives, never ever give up:)

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Wild Bill and I are celebrating the day we met 37 years ago on Valentines Day…February 14, 1976! The picture above was taken two years ago when WB and I were interviewed here in our shop Holton Secret Lab on TV. Notice who is cracking a joke at the end…I am sure we were all nervous and making a funny joke was all I could think of doing…I love to laugh:)

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Happy Valentines Day! My hubby surprised me with the beautiful red roses this morning:)  I wish you all a very special day or night where ever you are!

As a footnote: I am working on the many awards I have been given the last few months. I am terribly slow this time and I hope that all the award givers will not give up on me:) I so appreciate you thinking of me and this blog. Wild Bill had a second surgery December 26th on his shoulder that has taken a longer recovery…he is getting better and still has to take things slow for a few more weeks but he is doing well…he began PT this week:) That is part of the reason for being slow to post new awards and blog the last few months…but I am here and working on getting those awards passed on soon:) Hugs and Blessings:)

Gray Haze Brings Lazy Blahzay November Dayzes While Minnie Mouze Snuggles In!

Gray Haze Brings Layz Blahzay November Dayzes While Minnie Mouze Snuggles In For Winter!

With the ever changing landscape, normal objects look surreal as if held by a magical time warp…is it 2012 or 1962?

You are now entering….”The Twilight Zone…a fifth dimension, beyond that which is known to man, a dimension of imagination.” Oops, sorry I was getting a bit lost in the 50-60’s.

Minnie Mouse says “Not complaining about time warps-de-warps at ALL…I love my heat pad, good wintry zzzz’s…as I get more of both along with kitty strokes and loves…as Mom is finally stuck with me in the house:)”

Peekaboo sun shines out a morning “Hello” on a steely gray dawn…like a flashlight lighting the way for us to see our way for the day.

This year I had many incredible palettes of colors in the sky on warm summer nights and bright days of delight…now as we switch gears to seek out the colors and images of winter, we will find a different beauty.

Artistic skies that draw your eye into a different monochromatic world of color, with layers of gray-blue colors, blending magical shadows on the familiar landscape. A view that stirs a photographers delight and fills my heart with winter light, full of  quiet inspiration for the profound beauty that I see through the lens of my camera, of the land that I have lived on forever and all my life.

Fun winter images and great photo moments to play with light on gray frozen days:) Shooting memorable snapshots in time and exploring different angles with my camera…smile “Yippee Ki Yay Yah!”

Summer skies will return full of God’s glory and heartfelt colors…and once again, I will stop what I am doing, looking up and grabbing my camera, knowing that I am blessed to live here on one of God’s slices of heaven on earth.

“Fanny Annie” will be posing for my camera with her sleek and shiny red coat once again…she is “One Sharp Dressed Lady!

And then there is snow that comes with winter….hmmmm. I have to admit I like it for Christmas week as long as it stays firm and frozen. When I was young here we usually had a white Christmas as I remember sledding down the hills…for the last 30 or so years we rarely have a white Christmas. A few years ago we had a brilliant Christmas morning to wake up to and I was on the move early to capture snow photos! This is part of the shop frontage that we designed to look like an old-time service station, under the bat and board siding is a steel shop…Wild Bill restored the antique gas pumps and added the hitching rail for my horse…with the old Chevy Pick Up and drifts on the roof and on the ground…is it 1930 or 2012? I hear Rod Sterling again with Twilight Zone music…doo-do-doo-do-doo-do:)

A beautiful image of our classic farmhouse in the snow…until it melted and then we had a mega mud mess. I got stuck in four-wheel drive in my Suburban in our driveway by the house that winter, incredible for me! Our parts delivery trucks for the shop got stuck as well as WB so I felt better:) It was a different winter as the ground was not frozen enough when we had the snow hit and as it melted it was like Jello.

 This is my Melody and the fence is three rail…thankfully she did not step over it! Minnie said I got sidetracked as usual…writers…visions and memories and words…words and more words…sometimes I even wonder where they come from? Minnie what were you saying?

“Mom, get your warm sweater on, wool socks and slippers, then ahhhhh relax…it’s house time…now get that dang camera out of my face…see this paw and the kitty stink eye look?” “Well I am also giving you a cute love look too:)”  “Meow, now, where was I?”

“Oh that’s right…roll back to the right side…hang paw over the chair…look cute for Mom…and here come the kitty loves and pets:)”

The beauty of summer will return with nightly visions of iridescent colors…images that speak softly to our hearts.

And yet, despite the cold, there is a beauty in winter…with the colors of glistening silver, brilliant vivid whites and various shades of silver grays…crystal particles that sparkle and softly float through the air…as the snow falls silently to the ground. There is a purity to the landscape and a serene quiet to the land that feels divinely holy…all of a sudden the dirt, the sage brush, the weeds on the hillside, the tumble weeds and the trees are covered with a beautiful garment of white. I love every season, not too crazy about being out in the freezing temps, but with my Carharts on I am good:)

Tucker and her other two buddies all got new doggie beds and yet here she is outside doing her guard duty….she is such a good girl!

May you all have a blessed week and stay warm!!!

Whoa…Slow Down…Summer Times A Flying!

I know I know I need to do a post about life here instead of awards….I am sorry to be so dang slow!!!

We have been busy busy with the house remodeling job and doing all the various summer chores….

Wild Bill was taking a picture of me mowing the yard…a country yard is sort of dirty work…out here we do not have manicured yards as we have various visitors such as gophers or critters that dig holes and then when you are innocently mowing the yard you accidentally hit a dirt mound and poof:)

It seems the days fly by and here it is almost half way through June!!!

Yikes I want summer to slow down and stay for as long as possible with warm sunny days:)

With this post I would like to show you how the old house has changed over the years. This is a picture of my parents right before they got married in 1939…when they returned from their honeymoon, Grandpa moved them into the house here in Juniper Canyon…where we still live today.

The house has changed the last 100 years, but it started out like this in 1920…with a full basement and the upstairs. It was a typical white clapboard farm house…built really good as it is very solid. When they poured the concrete for the basement they poured it deep…and the wood they used for the structure was solid good stuff as Grandpa spared no expense as he wanted the best for his Mother. This picture would have been in the 1950’s…about 35 years after the house was built. I think that is my Dad on the tractor on the left, he is moving dirt in prepping the site for the concrete patio…and I think that is one of my uncles off to the right.

Fast forward to 2007…the patio runs the whole side of the house wrapping around to the front porch. The yellow siding was added to the house by my parents in the 1970’s…the windows were changed out in the 1950’s the first time and eventually replaced with storm windows. In 1980 we moved into the house as  Mom was tired of the stairs…she wanted a one level newer house. I was delighted as I loved growing up in the house…it was home to me. Over the years Wild Bill and I have done various remodels and upkeep to the house.

This year it was time for some major upkeep remodeling with a new roof, new siding, a floor upstairs and revamping our master bedroom and re-doing the concrete patio…along with a new well and all new water pipe to the house etc. This was about a month ago…we have the new roof on and the old siding off.

We added blow in insulation to the outside walls and roof…and then they wrapped the house with insulation…so we have double insulation now and I can tell the difference already!

We chose a Hardie Plank Red Cedar siding as it matches our log fence and also the cedar bat and board shop. I love how it came out!!!  The garage doors need to be painted yet…and we still have to re-do the patio.

Oh my the patio…I roller skated on this patio…had lots of birthdays on it…swam in my swimming pools over the years on it and have loved it…still do today as we live out there during the summer. Our contractor feels they have to tear out the concrete on the side of the house and re-pour it….it has aged a lot the last ten years and it is time to address that too. Ok Minnie…you and me need to head to the high country as this will be very noisy!

Ms. Melody is not impressed either…she is down at the barn…good water and nice stall but….she wants her old stall back right outside my window at the house…when we drilled for water it was in her old stall so I had no choice but to move her to the barn for a while….its ok Mel…we love you lots and we are setting up new stalls for you, Buck and Annie close to the house:)

Me and Mel when she was three a few years ago…first night she spent here after I brought her home. She is a very social horse:)

I will update photos over the next few days to show you what we have done inside the house too:) This is the new floor upstairs…it is Acacia Wood and I love it!

And Ms. Minnie Mouse says “Remodeling stinks…why Mom does this I do not know…of course I am the cat…and I know where it is at…my name is Minnie Mouse and I am the Queenie of the House…Humph!”

We have had several beautiful sunsets….with intense and incredible colors!

Lots of weird but beautiful clouds…

Funky ones of every kind:)

And then there was this big boy…it seemed like it was sitting on us…it was just beginning to rain a bit when I got this picture.

But then it did this and the day ended beautifully once again here in Juniper Canyon…ahhhh.

Minnie had a good day too as she had a nice sun bath before it rained…whew:)

Have a good night wherever you are:) Minnie says “Bye for now:)”

Ranch House Remodeling…Hang On!

Before we began the remodel…before the siding was off…we had a yellow house.

Today our house looks like this…a rather naked tongue and groove house, almost a 100 years old. When I was little, I vaguely remember it being white…my parents put the first siding on it when I was 6…and then the yellow siding when I was 19. Today the insulation guys came and blew the walls full of insulation to help with being energy-efficient and to lower the electric bills next winter.

I think Minnie is ready to start her own blog about how “NOT” to remodel your house!

Between the pounding on the roof and the various people who come each day….”Geez Mom can you please stop it!”

I know Minnie I know but we have to finish it. It looks sort of old and pretty bad except for the new roof:)

The last time we remodeled we started here in the kitchen…

And found out we had a chimney that was hidden. Mom did not tell me about hiding the chimney when she remodeled the original kitchen. I always wondered why she had a funny shaped closet over there and we found out:) The wall that you see beside Bill we opened up…

To the living area so that when I was cooking I could still visit with WB or guests…this is looking back from the living area.

Yes we saved Mom’s GE steel kitchen…I will show you in a minute.

But first I want to show you one of the original 1920 red fir cupboards with the breadboard still intact. When Mom remodeled the kitchen in 1960 taking out the original kitchen she saved this cupboard and also the pass through cupboard for storage down in the basement…they were painted a mint green with pink trim….along with several other paint colors that I found when I refinished them. I remember my Mom making pie shells and cut out cookies on the breadboard…I would stand on a chair next to her and help:) I do have the original red fir top but switched it out with this awesome piece of pine from one of the old mills around here.

Both cupboards are back in the kitchen where they began…when our cabinet maker came to our home the first time he immediately noticed the old growth red fir floors…he said 30 years before he bought a bunch of antique red fir wood at a lumber auction and the wood was old then…would I be interested in having him make the kitchen cabinets out of it? Yes…Yes…Yes! I strive to return the house to the original build and era of 1920 and the kitchen turned out beautiful…classic and simple as he modeled the cabinets after the original kitchen cabinet.

Minnie was really “NOT” impressed with totally re-arranging her kitchen either…the carpenters left for the day and she came out of hiding to see what was going on…see how amazed she looks:)

Here is Mom’s steel GE kitchen in the shop now…and in this picture, T and I are making Norwegian Lefse…also known as potato cakes. Yummy and very good:)

We have a ways to go but before we know it, the house will be done:) I can plant my flowers…Wild Bill can sleep better again…and Minnie will be happy having her house back in order:)

Until then…she is staying on the coffee table keeping an eye on me:)

Humph…

Blue skies smiling at me
Nothing but blue skies do I see
Bluebirds singing a song
Nothing but bluebirds all day long…Nothing but blue skies from now on:)

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