Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Like everyone else, spring and summer are busy times for me. Actually, starting in February, I got my greenhouse going, my husband got some raised beds finished in my garden, and then we waited out all the rainy weather...clear through May! I've always tried to be content, but the older I get, the more I see why people go to Arizona for the winter! I like things brighter, warmer, more cheerful.
It always amazes me when my garden does grow! I literally live in a rock pit! My dad actually sold rock and built roads with the rocks on our property! When I got home from school most days, my parents would be waiting for us girls in the driveway, and take us to "work". My dad ran the loader, put the rock into a shoot, us girls would make sure it went through the opening at the bottom, my mom ran the conveyor from a little shed my dad kept heated for her with a barrel stove, and while we were at school my dad would haul the rock to recipients of our hard work. Yep, child labor, but I learned to work! So, yes, my garden is amazing every year. We have round rock in the soil, my dad thinks the rocks keep the soil warm?? I don't know, but the garden does grow some things pretty well. We started the raised beds for the sake of carrots, tomatoes, stuff like that.
We've also had one of those gazebos on a deck above our pool, the kind you get at Home Depot? It lasted probably 5 years, but, although I like rustic, the canvas on this thing was getting REALLY bad. So my husband and sons have been busy building a permanant one that will require less upkeep. Last week, I was wishing it was done, with the hot weather. It's nice being able to sit in the shade and watch the kids and grandkids swim. So that was another project.
We bought my parents travel trailer this spring, and have made a couple camping trips this summer. The first one, we went to Sweet Home, way up in the hills, to go gold panning with some good friends. We knew/know nothing about this, but had a wonderful time and found some beautiful land we had never seen before. Can't help it, I love Oregon, with all it's green and trees and water.
Our next trip was up in the mountains above Bend, to East Lake. Talk about beautiful! We went in June, and there was still snow on the ground. We took a friend of my daughter's, the girls and I drove up earlier in the day. They wanted to go to Sisters, I wanted to mosey along. Going up earlier than the boys turned into a bit of a chill for us girls. We got to the turn off from the highway, had 20 miles to go up into the mountains, never had been here before. We're driving up the mountain, and I asked the girls, have you noticed we've seen NO VEHICLES on the road at all? It's getting dark, I'm wondering what I've gotten us into now. We get up there right as dusk was coming, find our site, get out, and....it's freezing! Like 32 degrees! We drove down to a neighboring campground, found some firewood deserted from the last camper, haul it back to our site, and for the next hour, try to build a fire...with wet wood. The girls got their tent (they thought tenting would be fun) put up, I'm about to freeze, b/c I hadn't even brought a sweater. Good thing we had gas in the car, b/c we kept warming it up so we wouldn't be frozen when the guys got there. We waited, and waited. They finally got there at 11:30 at night! Glad the rest of the trip didn't go that way!
I knew my husband was planning to take the kids to the High Desert Museum, which by the way, they just loved! They also went caving, which is far from anything I would EVER want to do. I'm just way to claustrophobic for caving, just gives me the creeps, and I'm sure I'd faint. My idea of fun while they did that, was to go garage sale-ing in Bend and surrounding areas. One of those surrounding areas, I started wondering where in the heck I was going. With no one knowing where I was, I found myself on a LONG road in the middle of nowhere, but populated with kinds of houses that were a little on the scary side. They had fences with BIG dogs running along them as you drove along the bumpy dirt road, signs on the fences, "Stay back from fence!" "Beware of Dog!" The kind where it was unusual to see a couch laying out in the yard, one house was burned to the ground, well, definitely unwelcoming, druggy type of neighborhood. I got so far down the road, wondering if there really was a sale at the end. After miles of this, finally got to the end, and a guy was selling a couple plants he dug out of the yard, and some old fishing stuff. THEN he told me a shortcut out of the place, which I trusted him for, and yes, made it back to civilization. It was during this offroad experience that I recalled my sister telling me that there were areas of LaPine you need to be cautious of when garage sale-ing.
In Bend, I did find a really neat mirror that I thought I'd probably re-sale, but my husband loved it, so it got adopted. Other than a few little things, I really didn't find much, but had a wonderful time all by myself for hours, driving all over the place. I really don't get much alone time, so I reveled in my day.
I was beginning to give up on garage sales/estate sales, since the whole season so far hadn't yielded a lot of exciting things for me. THEN a couple weeks later, we happened upon an estate sale a couple of young girls were putting on for their grandma. Now THAT was more like it! I love those kinds of sales, where you come across a box of stuff someone else considers "junk" and you consider "treasures!" And for really cheap. This confirmed my faith in estate sales once more. We found some really neat prints, old typewriters, just lots of neat things that I'll be listing in my Etsy shop.
The economic crunch hit us a little last summer, but other than that, so far, my husband's kept busy. He builds custom homes, self-employed. Which means, if you have no work, you have NO MONEY, b/c you don't get unemployment. He used to have people waiting 3 years sometimes for them to get their house built. Since the economy thing, he's had one house trickle in at a time. He is right now finishing a house he's been working on (I'll take pictures later and show you) and then he was SUPPOSED to be starting another house. The plans were at the architect's, the land was lined up to purchase, then all of a sudden, the land owners changed their minds on selling it to the lady he was going to build for, she got a little fearful (she's an elderly lady), and tired of trying to deal with the landowners, and called and said she had changed her mind on building. OK, this is testing time for me. I called my husband and said, "First, I KNOW God is going to take care of us, but....(blubbering by this time....) the house fell through..." It's fine, we'll be fine. I know we will, but sometimes I need to be reminded that it is God who is my provider, and not myself. We do what we can do, and the rest is trust. Right away a couple of remodel jobs came together, and there will be more, unless we get stretched even more, but I need to keep my eyes on Him, and trust that He always has and always will take care of us. So, after my little meltdown, I'm back to knowing it will be fine. It would be a little/lot less stressful if my inlaw's estate would sell, but it's not easy to sell a 785 acres farm out in the middle of nowhere! But, we'll keep plugging away, there are people in a lot worse situations than ours.
The heat we've had recently has been wonderful! My corn is growing higher every day, the kids and grandkids are having a blast playing in the pool, things are getting done around here. My husband was laughing, telling me that someone mentioned to him, that, with the kinds of houses he builds, he must have the best of all of them in his own home. Not quite lol. We actually live very simply. Very modestly. Nothing like the places he builds. But. I love my home. I love my life. We were sitting on the swing under the huge maple in our front yard, enjoying the weather, talking...I told my husband I feel rich. Kind of like the Sonny and Cher song, "yes, it's true, we don't have a pot, at least we're sure of all the things we've got...." We have everything we need, and more. We once went and worked in an orphange in Mexico for a month. For all my humble home, all I could think, as ladies would invite me into their cardboard and blue tarp homes, with the tamales on their camp stoves, their barrel bath tubs at the door, (if they were fortunate to have the bath), was, "I'm so glad they don't see my home!" I was almost embarrassed at how wealthy we are in our country, when four hours from our borders, people were making $5. a day and living in shacks, their children sleeping on dirt floors, waiting in lines for beans from the orphanage. And you know what? I loved their homes! Because THEY were the home, THEY were the family, not the place they lived. I was warned not to drink the water, b/c our systems can't handle the germs, but I could see myself sitting and enjoying friendships with these people. Now THAT'S a trip I've been dying to take again, taking my whole family back down to the orphanage and making a difference in someone's life, and being blessed to meet new friends. It's all about contentment, isn't it?