Friday, October 15, 2010

My Mother, the Author

Alice Isom Gubler Sabin Stratton

Aaron has been doing a fabulous thing...putting my mother's writings online for all to view. Here's the link to his website.

He is doing a fabulous job of putting her book, Look to the Stars, online...and also linking all of her published works so we can easily find them. Have a look!

Elderberry Jam

and a practically-perfect-in-every-way day!

I have prosed on and on so many times about how autumn is my favorite time of year. I actually think now that I love whatever season I am currently experiencing the best...just like my favorite book is always the one I'm reading right now. (Summer excepted. I've NEVER said summer is my favorite contraire!)

Two weeks ago almost to the day, my beloved hubby and I decided we were going to motor up on Kanarra Mountain to keep alive a tradition that we had neglected for a few years: gathering wild elderberries to make out-of-this-world-delicious jam.

We climbed in the Santa Fe, leaving Jack, our fabulous jack-of-all-trades(!), busily painting the exterior wood trim on our house. No work for us!(Bye, Jack! Have fun slaving away.)

After a brief but beautiful detour to New Harmony to get apples for another tradition--apple salad on Conference weekend--we headed into Kanarraville to find our mountain road. (The foregoing photo was taken from the Pace's back yard...the place where we bought our apples...can you imagine having this as your view???)

Soon we were in Kanarraville--(Obviously the home of some very STRONG females!)

The weather was so warm and beautiful that day. DarDar and I were having a blast just gawking about at local sights.
The owner of this old truck must love it very much to make it a permanent part of his home...and yes, the old service station is now a home!

Then it was away, away...up the mountain we chugged...stopping every now and again for a photo op. (Isn't my hubby absolutely ADORABLE???)

Note the dirt already stacking up on the back window. You ain't seen NUTHIN' yet!!!

As we climbed higher and higher...the scenery became even more breathtaking.

We found autumn up on that mountain!

and our favorite elderberry picking site!

Darwin and I were ready to reap...but there weren't many berries to reap! We felt like we were gleaners...coming after the main crop had already been harvested. But HEY...we were determined. Both of us got to with a camera dangling from my wrist.

We occasionally took a break...the pause that refreshes!!! (I took this pic. Not bad, eh? I had to have some proof that I was really there!)

We picked a few berries here, a few there, working HARD for the money...but we were having so much fun. The scenery was outstanding, the company was great, and it was marvelous to be out in the hills. It's funny how hard you're willing to work when it's your own idea. We climbed through the brambles, scrambling up banks of rock, and really quite wore ourselves out trying to find a few handfuls of berries. I'll bet we looked quite hilarious...these old folks puffing along the mountain roads. When we had quite stripped one bush, we'd immediately look for another. We drove slowly along, basking in the beauty of the day.

I don't even know how long we picked. One problem we had was that we brought no food of any sort to munch on. We had the box of apples from New Harmony, but after one or two apples...I craved something more substantial. I do not recommend trying to eat raw elderberries, P.S.

As the day wore on, we noticed a storm moving in.

We weren't quite willing to quit picking, though. It had become a mania to scavenge all the berries we could.

We even stopped at one fruitful spot and picked a whole box of chokecherries. Nature was very generous in the chokecherry department. Obviously, no one wants to mess with them because they were abundant. We filled a whole box at just one spot. I ate a raw one to prove to Darwin that they weren't some strange, poisonous fruit I was asking him to pick. "If I don't die, you'll know they're okay. If not...I guess you were right!" As I'm writing this two weeks later and the aforementioned chokecherries are all jellied up in little jars, you know they were the real deal.

(This pic shows the chokecherries ready to juice. Aren't they pretty? I found out that they were a staple food for many Native American tribes. Yeah, they pucker your smucker when they're raw...but they do make good jelly!)

We finally gave up our labors when the sky was getting so dark we couldn't see to pick. Our energy faded at about the same time as the light. We no sooner got in the car when the first big, fat raindrops started to splat on the windshield. Talk about superb timing! Autumn had a very subdued glow with no sunlight to brighten up the colors--but it was still beautiful.

As we drove along, the wind picked up. Leaves began to swirl down from the quaking aspen trees and gather along the a cool river of gold.
Quite suddenly, a hailstorm hit. It got so bad that Darwin was afraid we'd have a dented car.

We kept motoring on over the mountain, just relishing the vagaries of Mother Nature. What a fabulous show she put on for us. We were having a blast. The hail storm finally stopped before we began to ascend the mountain into Cedar City...but the skies were still dark and threatening.

The cows didn't seem to mind.

By the time we actually made it into Cedar City, it was raining in earnest. AND...we were both ready to start eating our own fingers we were so starved. Taco Time loomed out of the rain, and we pulled in. I have to say...the Cedar City Taco Time is a clean little fast-food emporium. AND the food was quite delicious. As my sainted mother used to say, "HUNGER MAKES THE BEST SAUCE!" (That quote was for you, Janna Lynn!)

The day had been, to quote Mary Poppins, "practically perfect in every way!"

The jam went from this--
to this

to the beautiful filled jar at the first of this saga--and ultimately, to THIS:

We all went NUTS over the flavor of the jam/jelly. We used sugar-free pectin, so we didn't add nearly as much sugar as called for. It was DELICIOUS!!! (And will be too soon gone!)

But what a day!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

2010: Year in Review Continued

This review is under construction...I want to catch up to August, for heaven's sake. At least I'm up to February, eh????

FEBRUARY: Aaron, Pancakes, and the Parade of Homes:
(Oh. And donkeys thrown in at no extra charge.)

This is my eldest son Aaron. He turned 40 in February. Yikes! I'm far too young to have a forty-year-old! But look how winsome he looks. He needs a wife. Anyone???

Darwin is a pancake maker par excellence! He has a secret recipe handed down from father to son. They are fondly known as "Dad's Pancakes."

We're always excited when the Parade of Homes rolls around--usually on President's Day weekend. I am so snap-happy that I usually fill a whole card with home shots. You are lucky that I'm only posting a couple.

I found that I was more interested in the people shots than I was home shots this year. This guys was in the garage of one home, peddling his wares--the western art you see in the background. He was happy to pose for me. Isn't he awesome?

These two mountain men were in a tent outside one of the homes in Elim Valley. I thought they were adorable, hawking their wares.

Oh, Janna...there are easier ways to get a free carrot!!!!

We stopped in Virgin to feed the donkeys. Burro had instant rapport with this one! They bonded!

The donkeys were sad to see us go!

2010: Year in Review

February 6, 2010 - Barry Anderson's funeral at Cane Beds

My brother Norman's old crony, Barry Anderson, passed away in February. Norm asked me to come sing at his graveside service. I'm so glad I went. It may have been the best funeral I've ever been to!

Barry's son Eric is on the left, with Corinne and Dell Stout (who was asked to speak). Note the fact the we are all outside in the red hills of guess what song I was supposed to sing? You're so brilliant! Of course it was Marty Robbins' Red Hills of Utah--probably the hundredth time I've sung this song at a funeral. This was definitely a fitting setting.
Norman, my sweet brother with muscular dystrophy, played his trusty harmonica. It was perfect.
My beloved husband toted my guitar case as usual, looking very handsome, as usual, too! Hugga dugga!
We were all standing around in the red dirt of Utah, with Barry's coffin right next to us. Can you see the picture of Barry in the background?
I sang my heart out for Barry. Look at me wail.
Friends and neighbors of the deceased were invited to speak their was sort of like "open mic" graveside. There were heartfelt feelings expressed, and no holds were barred. People were talking politics, religion, whatever their little hearts desired. It was casual. It was controversial. It was AWESOME!
This is one of Barry's neighbors working the crowd. He was GOOD!
I could not resist snapping secret photos of faces in the crowd. That's what follows:

Don't you wish you had been there? It was a real send-off for Barry, who was a rugged individualist himself. Bye, Barry. Thanks for letting me sing for you!