Spring to Fall 1970

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April 14th: Bob was in Laytonville that day. The next day he was in Garberville and then home Thursday night.

That weekend he and Dave rode out to the ranch on a Honda. He cleaned the spring and did some watering. We were having problems with our nearest neighbor out there and his feud with the US Forest Service on access. I took the children out to the airport and we watched two planes take off. Then we went home where I fixed a lunch and we went out to Rush Creek Campground and had a picnic, using a tree stump for a table. They had a good time throwing rocks in the creek and pieces of wood for boats.

“The crew of Apollo 13 is on its way back to earth. An explosion in the main module made them hae to use the lunar module as a source of oxygen. The lunar module and the main module are being brought back together. Carbon dioxide is building up. Also they are worried about a hurricane during the landing.”

Snow flurries on April 26th.

The previous Saturday we had gone out to the ranch. The U.S. Forest Service hd the road cleared Thursday and Friday. We enjoyed being out there again. Threw re lots of apple blossoms, and the lilacs were just starting. Inside the house there were a lot of dead flies and there was mouse dung, which I swept out. Because it was so cold we ate lunch in the car.

Uncle Stanford’s wife, Gertrude’s funeral was during this time. Bob was a pallbearer but I didn’t go. Too much going on and I was really tired. I took the children with me to my check-up –Jeff had such a croupy cough that he couldn’t get his breath. Rebecca got to see blood pressure taken and listened to the baby’s heartbeat. Jeff was put on antibiotics and Dr. Breeden said if got really bad that night to take him to the emergency room.

The day before that I made butter from whipping cream using the mixer. The children were delighted—especially when the buttermilk splashed them.

I went to my music class but left early so Connie Martin (a favorite sitter) wouldn’t have to cope with Jeffrey. I had told her to keep them up as long as possible and they were still up when I got home. He breathed better when he was up.

In May I went to an ecology class in Redding, starting on a Friday night. I went down with Dottie Murphy who taught third grade at Weaverville Elementary School. She was living in a trailer at Indian Creek Trailer Court. While we were at the class I met Warren Bailey and his wife—I had botany and zoology from him when I went to Shasta J.C. Stephanie Mills gave a talk on population We got home around 11:30. The next day the class continued and after fixing breakfast and lunch for Bob and the children I decided I’d better eat elsewhere or “the demands wouldn’t cease”. So I ate at Babe’s and then drove to Redding. I was home by 5:30 and had dinner started when Bob and the children got back from going out to the ranch. That Friday morning the children and I had delivered May baskets to Florence and Doris.

Sunday Bob put up a swing in the cedar tree for the children. I started scrubbing the walls and ceilings in the kitchen. Funny how you go on cleaning binges while pregnant. Later that morning I took the children over to Wilkin’s so we could watch them shear their two sheep and admired the new goslings. “The shearing was fascinating—sheep doesn’t kick around, just lies there.”

“Now we’re fighting in Cambodia—much student reaction in the colleges. “

June 3rd: I worked for Dorothy Underwood in the library that morning—I’d quit May 22nd.

“There was a thunderstorm around Big Bar yesterday afternoon. Bob, on his way to Garberville with Lonny (Pool?) got Lonny to fly over the ranch on their way so he could see what things looked like. The children and I drove out there this evening. We left at 7:00. We met Bob McChesney driving out. He said the fire was up near the upper ranch and under control. Trucks, jeeps and a couple of Hondas were parked in the meadow above the orchard—helicopters kept coming in and landing to load and unload. It appeared to be going up the Big French Creek drainage, looping around the upper ranch, landing in our meadow, taking off and going around the point into Big French Creek. We got home around 9:30.”

My notes now were often long after the fact. Rebecca celebrated her birthday at home with just us and Uncle Peter came over just as they were going to bed. She was pleased. A few days later she had a party from 10-12. Winnie the Pooh invitations went out to 8 children. Cake was Winnie the Pooh also. They made crowns and played pin-the-tail on Eeyore.

Sometime during June there was a meeting with the USFS and others on the proposed wilderness area.

Bob met with some environmental people to fly over the proposed wilderness area. They were going to land at Ft. Jones and hike in to some place near Cecilville and stay overnight. He was to come home the next afternoon.

Bob and Dave Ohde went with Herb Upham to Berkeley where Ted Lewis gave them a grand tour of the engineering department including views of pictures taken under an electron microscope. They stayed overnight with the Lewises. Hard to remember but I think Herb was a promising high school student that both Bob and Dave wanted to encourage.

On our 7th anniversary we drove to Lewiston for dinner and ate at the Lewiston Hotel. Then we drove around the lake and also up to look at the new reflector site.

Ohdes had bees and they gave us some honey they had extracted. They started collecting honey at 9:30 at night and finished at 3:30 a.m.

One evening after work Tom drove out to Trinity Center to look at a large galvanized tank that someone wanted to sell. He bought it. In early July we drove to the McDonald’s place on Coffee Creek to pick up the eight foot galvanized water tank. Bob had spent all the day before building a wooden frame to fit on the Coot trailer. (Coot trailers must have been made to carry the offroad Coot vehicle. I had no knowledge of that. Maybe they used it at the store. I had to look this up.). The McDonalds only used their place in the summer. Their daughter and her family were staying there. There was no power. The place looks out across Coffee Creek toward Billy’s Peak. Deep, irrigated pasture –water from a ditch ran into Boulder Creek. It was cloudy and cool that day. We ate lunch that we’d brought at Uncle Stanford’s visiting with him for about an hour, then drove back to Weaverville. He dropped us off at the foot of our driveway and we walked up to get the VW and drove out to the ranch to watch Bob unload the tank up above the meadow. It was 7:00 by then and we had to get back to town because the Coot trailer had no lights. While Bob returned the trailer I drove down to the A&W and got hamburgers and root beer. We’d had graham crackers and Cool-ade before leaving the ranch.

That Monday Rebecca was sick. After a couple of days she was better but then her temperature went up again. Jeff went to Dennis Hooper’s birthday party. Both children were invited but I kept her home.

Had some good visits with Angenett and children. One day we went swimming with them out at Mule Creek where it runs into the lake. Rebecca and Jeff loved it. They’d never been around that much safe water before and were able to run and splash and play alligator till exhausted. “I wore my pregnancy swimming suit and paddled around a little too.” I remember it was black and had a red rose right over my belly button.

We took the children to the 4th of July parade. I wrote that it wasn’t much of a parade that year. Got a pink helium balloon for Rebecca and a green one for Jeffrey. They loved it when they got them home and could let them hit the ceiling and still have the string within reach. Some “cave men” scared Jeffrey and made him cry. Bob and the two children were sitting in the sun on the curb; I was standing behind them in the shade. I tried to get to him in time but didn’t make it. I remember cave men in a parade in Dunsmuir, one of the few we ever went to, coming up to me –all sweaty and scary. After dinner that Saturday we went out to the ranch. Really hot out there too. “I started out the day removing a mouse nest with dead mice from the closet and scraping a maggoty one up off the floor. Ugh.” After breakfast of bacon and pancakes Bob mowed the lawn, which was very deep. Rebecca worked voluntarily in a phonics book while he mowed. Jeff colored, played with various toys. I let them run through the sprinkler before naps and later. “I spent most of the day sponge-mopping the floor-made me feel a lot better about the mice, flies, etc. Also weeded the strawberry patch which is being thoroughly chewed by grasshoppers.”

When we got back to town around 9:30 at night the house was hot and crawling with ants. Got the children to bed (Jeff with a temperature of 102) “sponge-mopped from our bed in the living room to the kitchen to get rid of any sticky places and to squash ants. Then started on the stove area, which was swarming. Bob found an army of them coming into the house up the wall of the addition. He soaked the area with water and washed off the wall, which seemed to help. Was up about every half hour that night with Jeff whose temperature was 104 at 7 a.m.”

The next day was my check-up and I’d lost four pounds. Rebecca went to Jessica’s birthday party. I took Jeff to see Dr. Breeden who prescribed some stuff. That night was another croupy night for him. He was better the next day but still not well. I took Rebecca to Mary Ann Field’s for Spanish lesson. (I’d forgotten we were trying to do that with our eldest children. Not sure that lasted very long. Maybe with Maria?)

Bob went to a historical society meeting to report on the smoke/fire alarm he had installed for the museum.

It was September 11th before I wrote anything again in my journal. Clarke Stanford Morris was born in early August! Took him a long time to decide it was time to arrive and then came quite suddenly. Dr. Breeden, rushing, was locked out of the hospital and that created a bit of a stir. Then someone momentarily put his cap on over his eyes.

“Three is a lot more than two so far as care and maintenance are concerned.”

1970 Arrives

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This was just a really bad year for childhood illnesses. Sometimes a couple of other parents and I would trade off on having a “play day” at our respective houses. One Friday afternoon, after hosting: Mary Beth and Debbie Kaz, Nancy and John Van Duyn—Rebecca got sick and by Saturday was really sick. She didn’t eat all day and couldn’t even hold down juice. Sunday she was better but had itchy spots on her back. Jeff developed some blisters and I suspected chicken pox, which turned out to be correct. A week later Rebecca got something else that included a hugely swollen gland in her neck. No antibiotics for the chicken pox for either of them but this needed antibiotics.

Bob went to Garberville that Monday and Doris picked up my sitter (also took her home) and she and I went to the music class. Tuesday he called and said they were having to work late into the night and he wasn’t even sure he’d even be home Friday.

“Am quite tired—guess mostly due to pregnancy. Think this will be another August baby.” I had some worries this time about a possible miscarriage and had to spend some timem, off and on, lying down.

The children weren’t well at Christmas but a few days later were healthy. At least we had lights and water that year. The children enjoyed decorating the tree. “Jeff spent most of his time holding and admiring decorations.” We put a little tree in their room, complete with a small string of lights. The family Christmas dinner was at Dick and Kay’s.

I’d gotten way behind on ironing what with sick children and Bob and I seemed to get colds fairly often—(when kids got sick) plus my own busyness so took it to Debbie Mortimeyer. She also ironed sometimes when we were at the ranch in the summer where there wasn’t enough electricity for an iron.

I took the children to see Ring of Bright Water. They enjoyed it. Took apple cider and cookies, which helped. Bob got home that night, around 10, from an overnight trip to Mad River.

After a very tragic fire down the street from us, that took the lives of two children and severally injured another, the town was in shock. Bob talked in terms of setting up smoke detectors in the house. “We’re wondering if eventually building laws will be such that no house will pass inspection unless smoke and fire detectors are installed. No different than safety belts.” I didn’t realize until typing this that smoke alarms weren’t common then.

January 6th “Must do something I really enjoy that means something to me. Haven’t taken a long walk by myself or spent a morning bird watching in years. Feeling depressed about it tonight.”

On the 22nd I wrote “Bob spent last week going back and forth between Weaverville and Mad River, arriving home Friday night. That Monday I went to Big Bar to hear Biz Johnson speak on water and mining claim problems. Roast beef dinner and a drink for $3.15—“delicious”. I rode down with Dave Ohde and was glad I didn’t have to drive in the rain. “Biz Johnson didn’t have much to say but Hazel Wilburn had some specific things to say.”

This is a photo from 1968 but will help readers understand what Bob was working on and how excited people were to get mobile phones.

Bob and I went to see Romeo and Juliet. It was well done. Ohdes were there and we went to their house for awhile afterwards.

Marne Wilkins quit work at the library and Dorothy Underwood took her place. I learned that I’d placed first in the civil service Intermittent Ranger exam, 88.89 on the written and 92 on the oral and education exam.

Bob was working on his project every night. I wish I could remember what it was now.

Weaverville became part of the widespread flu epidemic and Rebecca was the first one to come down with it in our household. I stayed home from work to take care of her. On February 16th her temperature went up to 104.6 twice. I took her to see Dr. Breeden and she was put on antibiotics but the temperature remained high. By the 19th she was finally recovering and Jeffrey was getting sick. She still had bronchitis and looked awful but was better. The night of the 16th we were up with her a good part of the night. I kept sponging her “She’d sleep for an hour, then wake up crying. After being comforted she’d sing for awhile and go back to sleep. At 5 a.m. –temperature 104.4 we put her in the bathtub for 20 minutes to try to cool her off. At 7 a.m. it finally dropped. I ended up staying home from work all week.

Bob worked on putting cedar boards in the addition that weekend and I’d gone to see the movie Sweet Charity with the Ohdes.

The previous week we had gone to Redding to hear Paul Erlich speak on population. That was kind of a strange experience. Here I was pregnant with our third child and going to hear about how there were too many people being born. Not only that but I had to use the restroom just before people were allowed into the auditorium (too many had shown up to all fit) and when I got out my companions were gone! They’d gone inside and I was stuck in the lobby. It was shown on TV there but I wasn’t a happy camper. When the program was over they came out and decided to take me for ice cream. Good decision.

One week we tried to go out to the ranch but the road was closed by a dirt slide just above Walden’s. We walked up the road a little way, went back to the car and got our lunch, and then sat by a small stream that had a moss covered waterfall and ate.

Bob and Jim Pierce brought up a chair we had bought from Jim’s parents and we planned to also purchase a couch. Paid only $65 for them.

In late February Bob walked out to the ranch. He found that there was a big washout at the second culvert below the house—25 feet deep and 50 feet long. “He’s quite discouraged and is actually speaking in terms of trading it for land closer to town and more accessible. “

We went to a dinner at the Country Kitchen sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce for Citizens of the Year. Lucille and Gil Snyder and Al Wilkins received awards.

Bob flew to Victorville and would return on Friday.

My monthly checkup—I’d gained eight pounds.

“Last week was awful. Monday and Tuesday afternoons I worked from 1-5 in a training session at the Joss House. Thursday and Friday Dorothy Underwood worked my morning shift at the library while I substituted for Mr. Clark-both days. “

And suddenly it was March 17th, a Tuesday. Bob went to Garberville Monday night and would be back Friday night.

Chopping block and seeds

Kay had a boy—Michael David Morris. Jeffrey had a very bad, croupy cough. Nancy Van Duyn came over after ballet, as she usually did. Marilyn wanted me to watch Nancy and John the next afternoon and I wanted to monitor Jeff’s cough so I decided to be home for that and then work at the Joss House Friday afternoon.

In late March we left Rebecca and Jeff with Florence and Leonard for a few days while we went to the Bay Area. My brother and his wife were out of town and loaned us their apartment for a few days. We went to UC Berkley campus where Bob spent some time in the engineering library and I walked around. We ate lunch in the student union and went to the campus bookstore and a few others. Went to Mr. Mopps. Went to San Francisco to see the Committee but it was sold out so we went up to Bocca Ball where three people sang operatic parts, interspersed with piano and accordion music. Very enjoyable even though drinks were “3.50 each time”.

“The North Beach area is really hippy-two different restaurants we went into—one in Berkeley and one in Palo Alto– had signs in the windows saying “No Bare Feet”. We stopped in a hippy button store and got a few and a poster.

The next day we went to Palo Alto and spent most of the afternoon on the Stanford campus. Ate dinner at the Black Forest Restaurant with Gene Ammon. Afterwards we went to his apartment to talk awhile. Stayed in a motel in Palo Alto.

Thursday we searched for an Indian storybook doll for Rebecca and finally found one. Bob ordered a book and we bought a couple of Beatrix Potter books for the children. Stopped for half an hour to talk to Janie Nelson and then visited with Hans Nelson where he worked for Geologic Survey in marine geology. Hans was a seasonal naturalist at Crater Lake the first summer I was there. He showed us a lot of the equipment he uses. We also visited briefly with Mrs. Anderson, Bob’s former landlady. Got home late Thursday and picked up the children Friday morning.

The day before Easter Bob took the kids down to a grassy hillside to fly kites.

“That vacation trip was really nice: dinners without constant interruption, conversations on an adult level; browsing through bookstores.”

Fall 1969

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It was almost two weeks into September when I played catch-up with my journal, noting only that I’d taken Jeff to see Dr. Polka because he had developed a terrible, croupy cough.

We’d promised Rebecca a backpack trip that spring and, although she probably didn’t remember that promise, decided that this was the time. She was really excited about it. We left Jeffrey with Florence, hoping he wouldn’t keep her up at night, and drove out Canyon Creek, stopping at the cabin, where Hurds and friends were staying, to borrow a cup and spatula.

We headed up the trail—me with the three sleeping bags, Rebecca’s blanket and the camera, and Bob with everything else—including his attaché case! Headed up the trail about 11 a.m. She did very well although fussing sometimes. She wanted to climb every rock along the trail. All these years later I still can’t believe we took a 4-year old that far, about four miles, to the Sinks. There was lots of dogwood, big Douglas firs, and cedar but no water. Fortunately we’d taken a canteen. I played games of “do you think there’s an elf behind that rock”?, hide-and-go-seek, and other diversions but eventually we hit a stretch out in the sun where she started crying. About then, Bob, who had often gone ahead and then come back to check on us, came back and said the camp was just ahead and she ran to catch up with him.

The Sinks got that name because water goes underground there and then comes up again. There were big cedars and maple trees. There was trash but we went across some rocks and found a nice spot where the two branches of the creek joined. Here there was a pool with a little beach of white, granite sand. We cooled off and Rebecca even gave her little doll, John, a swim. Back at camp Bob built a stove, using rocks and a stovetop from another site. We ate dinner and Rebecca helped wash dishes while Bob studied. She was up and down to the creek many times. “Before going to bed Rebecca asked Bob about tigers and he said there weren’t any, but might be mountain lions. Very reassuring! But he told her they were afraid of people.”

Right after we bedded down a doe with large twin fawns came tromping around. Rebecca had chosen a camp spot about 50 feet from our sleeping bags and I asked her if she would be more comfortable with us. She was glad to move. The deer made a lot of noise and I think I’d have wanted to move closer too.

At breakfast Rebecca mixed the pancake batter and washed all the breakfast dishes, except for the griddle. She loved it! “The dish washing pans were on two stumps and she was just the right height for them.” Later she spotted a large hornet nest up in one of the maples (Bob had seen it earlier).

She seemed quite tired that morning so I suggested we leave earlier than planned and it was a good thing we did. She got more and more tired and fussy. After lunch she wanted to lie down on every flat rock with her blanket. I began to think she was coming down with something and she began to complain of a stomachache and a headache. When we got home she had a temperature of 104 and complained of being cold. While Bob took the store truck out to the ranch to get the washing machine I called the hospital and Dr. Polka saw her and said she had tonsillitis. Frank Hicks opened the drugstore to get medication for her. I felt terrible that she had walked that far while she was so sick. The medication must have taken immediate affect because by the next day the fever was gone although she was fatigued and cranky.

In reading my notes I’ve been surprised that the children were sick or had colds as often as they did. I guess that’s normal for small children but all these years later I didn’t remember the frequency.

September 10th—I took the children over to Hooper’s and I went to work at the high school library. “Pay is $2.34 per hour and I work from 8:15 to 12:15. With that salary I can just pay a sitter, taxes and maybe make $4 a day. If it doesn’t go up in a few months I’ll quit. My job is to police a study hall and do librarian work also. Marne Wilkins works from 12:30 to 4:20. “

Kathleen was coming to our house after school again.

That weekend we went out to the ranch. Bob went with us but then drove the truck home. I picked some strawberries, green beans and lettuce. And some squash to take aback to Weaverville the next day. Picked lots of apples and put them in boxes in the car.

“I think Rebecca’s unwinding a little. She and Jeff have had other children around for three days, morning and afternoon. She can’t take the lack of privacy.”

My next entry wasn’t until Sept. 22nd and I mentioned being tired and that “Seems as if I’m on my feet all day—in the library and at home.” That Friday I’d worked all day because Marne had to be out of town. “6th period was terrible.”

Rebecca and Jeff began staying in the mornings at Dorothy and Jim Pierce’s house. They lived just a short distance down the street from where we did. They had two boys, seven and five and the 5-year old was home mornings. Our two and Ronny, the younger boy, seemed to get along well. Dorothy even made Rebecca a pink plaid duffle bag because she went there in her pajamas and then changed into clothes.

Bob had a cement truck come and he and Bill H., and the driver poured the walls and floor for the sump. Bob didn’t get through until nearly nine.

September 23rd, Bob had to leave for Fresno. He got back around 1:00 a.m. Thursday morning. Brought a cable car for Jeff and a Snoopy ring for Rebecca. That Friday I substituted for coaches. If the high school needed a sub they’d pull me out of the library. “It was really a frustrating, ridiculous experience as half the school was gone.” Florence invited us over for a venison dinner, which was nice. Saturday I drove to Redding to take a civil service test for an intermediate ranger, hoping for some part-time work at the Joss House.

The previous week, two boys I’d taught in fifth grade were using guns and one accidentally got killed. Really upset me for a while. Nice youngsters.

November 8th I wrote that we had moved back into our house after spending three weeks with Florence and Leonard because our sewer completely stopped functioning. But by November 8th we were all hooked up to the town system—the pump installed in the sump, etc. Bob worked evenings and weekends to get it done—sometimes until 11 o’clock at night. I did a lot of backfilling with the ditch and cleaning dirt off the road.

Rebecca was taking ballet from Marilyn Van Duyne. She loved her tutu and didn’t think it at all funny when Grandpa Leonard asked her whether that was her fourfour.

One night Marilyn and her daughters (Jane and Nancy), Doris (and her daughter Linda), Rebecca and I went to Redding to see Peter and the Wolf and parts of Swan Lake and the Nutcracker Suite. Marilyn brought sandwiches; Doris tickets; and I took everyone to the restroom. After the lights went out we munched tuna sandwiches and pickles and after the program we went to Sambo’s where we sat with Bev Forero and sons. We used to travel a long way for a bit of culture!

I took the two children to the homecoming game because Cheryl was running for homecoming queen. Rebecca knew a number of the people who were there and said, “Mommy, the whole world came!” We left at halftime.

Marilyn, Doris, Bev Forero and I went to see a modern dance program. “A mixed color group. Creative and varied. I didn’t know so much could be said in modern dance. Beautiful bodies.”

Bob was gone quite a bit in October. Several trips to Garberville. He and I took the children around trick-or-treating on Halloween. Rebecca was a bit hesitant about knocking on doors but Jeff just marched right in.

We were trying to make sure none of our apples went to waste. One weekend I took Kurt Parkan out to pick for his family. Another Hal, Dorothy, and Gail Goodyear came out, and another Doris, Eric and Linda Ohde.

One night Marilyn, Jane, Nancy, Rebecca and I went to Redding to see a marionette program –Jack-and-the-Beanstalk and the Three Billy Goats Gruff. It was well done.

On November 8th I cleaned house and Florence helped me move stuff from their place to ours because Bob had to work up on Oregon Mountain all day.

Two weeks later I wrote that Bob had installed a speaker that he had originally made for Nancy and David Adrian but they didn’t need anymore so we could finally listen to records.

We started trying a new baby sitter off and on, Maria Diaz. She was from Brazil and had moved to the U.S. three years ago. She was going to the high school as a foreign exchange student and was 22.

Bob had gone to the ranch to work on the tractor. It needed new spark plugs and he was going to drive it down to near Walden’s where I was to pick him up. I was in the middle of making a pie when he called to say he was leaving the ranch. So I finished the pie and did some errands and ended up being an hour late to get him. I was so sure it would take him two hours but he said an hour and a half. Felt really bad when I finally got there because he was so cold.

I started going to a music class taught by Dick DeRosear at the Elementary school—a rhythm class for adults that was the same as what he taught children. There were about ten of us there.

My job was pretty frustrating. Got tired of disciplining. And it was also really cold in the high school library. The heating system was blowing cold air in.

Rebecca looked at the pink clouds one morning and said, “Maybe it’s getting ready for a pink rainstorm.”

August Ends

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Late July: had green beans, lettuce and squash from the garden tonight. My hands were getting black lines in them from the apples. Well, and probably the blackberries.

After a breakfast of applesauce, French toast and bacon, I made a lunch, Bob mowed the lawn, and we left for Ironside Mt. Lookout arriving there a little before noon. We stopped first in Big Bar to get the ingredients for ice cream. “Just as we got there a car containing John and Judy Schilling and son, Jeffrey, drove up. So we all chatted, ate lunch, made ice cream and ate it. They left around 3:30 and we about an hour later. It was very nice seeing Doris again—I miss talking to her in the summer. They have a tent set up for Eric and Linda when they’re there.”

Lots of clearcuts to be seen from Ironside and one big cut just before reaching the lookout—really a mess. Eric and Linda go down to a deep hole fed by a spring in this clearcut area and swim in it. I took up a few apples, applesauce and squash.

From the lookout we could see all of the New River area, Daley Ranch, Moss Lumber and Salyer. Could look out across to Potato Mt., Mary Blaine, Pony Mt. and Limestone Ridge. Lots of fires started in the New River and Six Rivers areas from the last storm. We could see smoke coming from Grouse Creek.

Monday evening Bob called at 5:00 to say he wanted to stay in town that night to finish up some work as they were really swamped.

Both children played a lot in the plastic pool that afternoon. “Rebecca is doing much better. She is really quite a complicated little individual and it’s hard for me to see the whole picture. She’s reading , and re-reading, Bronson’s book on Coyotes—also her book on the American Indians. She seems to enjoy the Burgess books a lot and has a book of poems from the library called “Just Around the Corner”. “

A few days later Bob needed to stay in town again. He was going to work on the translator with Jim Austin the next day and on pipe fixtures at the house in the afternoon. After he got home he saw something that needed correcting so went up and worked on it more, taking Dave Ohde with him. He was hurrying and so something went wrong and he went up again that night and worked on it. “He called from Oregon Mt. at 10:30 saying he was just leaving. I suggested that he stay in town another night rather than coming clear out to the ranch. He sounded so tired.”

That day I had baked two apple pies and frozen one. Also made chocolate chip cookie dough but only one batch of cookies because the house was getting quite warm from the oven. “Rebecca and Jeffrey ate up under the apple tree. She wanted a lunch menu so I put what was to be for lunch on a green folded paper entitled-Menu—Rebecca’s Tree House. “

The next day I baked the rest of the cookies and worked on the fence around the little pear tree. The children stayed in the orchard with me, munching apples, until Rebecca took Jeffrey down to the house and read a book to him for over half an hour. I nailed together some 2 x 4s, plywood and a small log to make another longer table under the apple tree. I added to Rebecca’s menu and the three of us ate lunch up there.

When Jeff wants his shoes and socks off he says, “feet off, feet off.” He wants three or four books read to him when he goes down for a nap or at bedtime.

I was reading a book by William O. Douglas called “My Wilderness” about the Pacific Northwest. He had hiked and camped in that area since boyhood and did a wonderful job of describing it. He also talked bout areas he used to reach by trail that now had paved roads into them.

August 1969

Angenett and children arrived on a Tuesday and stayed overnight. They played in the sprinkler and the little pool. We made home-made ice cream. The next day we ate breakfast in shifts. Bob and Jeff first because he had to go to work. The rest of us took a walk up through the meadow. After lunch they played some more and Nick helped me pick apples for them to take with them when they left that afternoon to go back out to Coffee Creek. Angenett and I had a good visit. After they left the two children and I took naps.

A couple of days later Bob brought home the news that Cheryl Morris and Janet A. had been in a car accident, totaling Janet’s car. Cheryl had some puncture wounds in her knee.

Made yeast cinnamon rolls and helped Rebecca make cookies. She was getting quite good at using measuring spoons. Picked nearly a gallon of green beans from our garden. After lunch we drove down to the creek and the children played in the water for about an hour. Both were getting more used to moving water and slippery rocks.

Rebecca was reading a book about babies—how they are conceived, etc. I read it to her a couple of times first. She was very interested and treated it very matter-of-factly as if it were any library book but slightly special.

One Sunday we took the children to Florence and Leonard’s and went out to the lake to join Gilda and Sandy and the Riordans on the Sander’s raft. We all went in their boat out on the lake to water ski. Bob came right up on the first try—hadn’t skied for seven or eight years. I’d never done it and it took me many tries but I finally made it and was up three or four times. Once I figured out that my left leg was stronger it made getting up easier. We went back to the raft for drinks and dinner. The next day we were both very sore.

We now had two ditches across our driveway in town (top and bottom). The plan was to have a pipe going down to a sump by Oregon Street and pump from there up into the sewer district pipe.

After a trip to Redding to see the pediatrician we learned that Rebecca would need to start wearing a brace at night to help correct her toeing in. We’d need to take an old pair of high-top shoes down to have them attached to a metal brace. Also had to order new corrective shoes for both children. Rebecca and I went to lunch at Sambo’s afterwards where I saw my Shasta College speech and drama instructor. She remembered me after she learned my former name.

Out at the ranch again, a couple of days later, I did two batches of laundry; baked 4 dozen cookies; went to Big Bar and bought oil for the generator; went to Price Creek and picked blackberries. Gave Rebecca an extra nickel on her allowance because she did such a good job of babysitting Jeff by picking blackberries for both of them and playing with him in the car. After lunch all of us napped. I sorted berries first though, setting aside four cups for a pie, freezing three pints, and saving enough for dessert.

On August 21st I borrowed Florence and Leonard’s car, with air conditioning, and took the two children to Quincy to see Peter and family. Peter was going to Forestry School there. “It sure takes a lot longer to drive and feed, give drinks, pick toys off the floor, etc.” with just one adult. The Forestry Camp was off a dirt road about 10 miles from Quincy. They were living in one side of a duplex. The children’s beds were on a long, screened porch. We slept in a tent cabin where Angenett kept their clothes. Friends of theirs arrived shortly afterward with three children. Angenett took us to Nancy and David Adrian’s while she did laundry. They were living in a big house but were about to move. The next day we left for Weaverville. When we got there, around 4:00, we had to walk up to the house because of the ditches. I left the children in the house and then made 3 wheelbarrow loads up to the house. We were all exhausted.

The following day I put gas in Florence and Leonard’s car and traded the car for our truck. Went to Trinity Gas but no one was there to put the gas tanks in the truck. Worked on the ditch for 20 minutes, but it was hot. Vacuumed the house. Children were coming down with a bug. Went to the gas company again but it was 5:00 and they were closed. The people at Wards called Carol Weingardner for me. He had apparently driven around town looking for the truck and had gone home. I was really embarrassed. Went to his house and he traded tanks for me. They were going out and we had delayed them. Drove to Big Bar, ate a sandwich and salad there. Went home, put children to bed, hauled things from the truck. Set sprinklers in the garden. Bob must have been out of town because I was wondering what he was doing that night.

Next day—kids with fevers. Bob called saying he’d be home around 9:00 or 10:00 that night, then called a little before 9:00 pm and said he was in Redding and would stay in Weaverville that night.

By Saturday we could drive to the first turn on the Weaverville driveway. Took Jeff in to get medication.

Tuesday was Jeff’s 2nd birthday and he loved it. Florence and Leonard gave him a big cab with a trailer van with four horses in it; a stick horse from Rebecca who also received one, at her suggestion; and some wooden cars. Grandparents came for dinner and the cake was shaped and decorated like a truck. The next day I went over to the high school to talk to Marne Wilkins about my job in the library. I would have the morning shift and she’d take the afternoon. Nice library in the new high school. The down side would be having students using the library for study hall.

On the 31st I drove to Big Bar where we got gas for the car and the three containers filled for the generator. We ate lunch at Town’s—grilled cheese sandwiches for the children, hamburger and coffee for me. I was still making applesauce and jelly.

Florence and I talked about doing a book together with me doing the writing and her the illustrations. Sure wish that had happened!

Summer Progresses

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Sometimes being up a beautiful canyon, four miles from the nearest neighbor, had a down side. One day in mid-June, around 1:00, I had a phone call from Frank Walden saying that Maureen had seen five motorcycles going up our road past their place. I locked the doors and called Bob when I could hear them. My being upset got Rebecca upset and that wasn’t a good thing. I later chastised myself for showing my nervousness. They didn’t go past us but perhaps had gone up the old road and gotten above some way. I called Maureen and she said they hadn’t come down. Around six Bob called from Big Bar and said that five people were loading motorcycles into a truck at Big Bar. They must have had trouble with one because of it taking so long for them to return to the highway. It was raining a little and not really good for riding.

In town again for a couple of days, Bob brought home his five-year anniversary pin (with the phone company) and the matching necklace for me. I started sawing plywood to make a stove for Rebecca. Bob dug all the dirt off the top of the septic tank. I took the children and went to the Laundromat. Washed all the towels from the Weaverville house. We headed back to the ranch that evening and ate dinner at Big Bar at the Towne’s restaurant. The children seemed happy to be back there, rolling down the lawn and playing on the porch.

Rebecca was reading now and I noted that she seemed really tired and I was going to have to limit her to just two books in bed at naptime and at bedtime. “She is really such a pleasure most of the time—is getting an occasional insight, has a clever sense of humor.” Jeff was starting to supply the final word of lines of several songs and of the Hop on Pop book. He was also beginning to put two words together at a time like “daddy’s shoe”.

I was reading a book called “Death at an Early Age” about African American ghetto schools in Boston.

We moved a treadle sewing machine out to the ranch and I was able to do some sewing with it. Nice to be able to do that without starting up the generator.

The children liked to coast down the slope of the lawn on the kiddie car and a little Playschool wagon.
One day while they were napping I painted the window frame on the fenced porch as well as the doorframe. We used a quick-drying latex paint on the floors and I’d paint the floors off and on during the summer.

There was a maple tree along the road below the barn, that leaned out at almost a right angle, that Rebecca liked to climb. We’d walk down the road so she could do that and I’d coax Jeff to walk back.

One morning Rebecca helped me make a pineapple upside-down cake. It looked and smelled so good after we baked it that we each had a small piece. And had another piece with lunch and more with dinner that night. “Jeffrey calls it an up-down cake.”

To celebrate Gilda and Sandy Sanders’ 25th wedding anniversary there was a gathering at Cedar Stock Resort. We took the children to Florence and Leonard’s so we could attend.

Bob worked on the ceiling in the addition the next day and I got chard and more raspberries from Florence. Froze some of the berries and took some out to the ranch. Grasshoppers and leaf-hoppers were chewing away on the cucumbers and other vegetables in our garden.

One evening, after work, we all went to Colleen’s so I could purchase a dress. I don’t remember this or the occasion for which it was purchased but I was trying to be sure I got something Bob would like. “It’s bright yellow with a shocking pink trim and white daisies’– about three on the front and one on each sleeve, with pink centers. About ¾ length sleeves. Very bright! I had a preconceived idea of something more of a white or blue sheath, which this definitely wasn’t but also want to wear clothes Bob likes. I buy so few dresses I’m not really sure how his taste runs—he was making much more conservative choices till he saw this one. Anyhow, I’m happy to have it.”

During a 3-hour children’s nap I made a half recipe of fudge, weeded in the garden, hauled some 2 x 4s up from the barn so I could fix a prop for the peach tree, cut a lot more grass around the edge of the lawn, took down the laundry. I’d called Trinity Gas that morning and they said they’d bring gas the next day—not exactly willingly. Bob usually called before he left town but didn’t that day. Our phone had gone out. After naps the children played in the small plastic pool. Jeff “practically rolled” in the water –“had more fun!”

We started having our morning snacks out on the back porch in a patch of sun. The children would eat and talk. I read and talked. “Very pleasant”.

The phone was working again and that evening Bob called and said he had a chance to get a load of wood for free out at Minersville so ate in town, drove out to get the wood, and called at nine to say he was on his way home.

On the 4th of July, before the parade, we bought (50 cents) a big, yellow, helium-filled balloon from the Boy Scouts for Rebecca, her first (my first too!) and tied it around her wrist. She loved it. Then, after short naps, we went out to Canyon Creek for a family gathering that included the Hurds, Vernon and Ruth Ryan, and Nancy and David Adrian and their children.

Back in town that Sunday afternoon I took Rebecca to see the movie Dr. Doolittle. It was too long for her and had too much singing but otherwise was ok. “She consumed more goodies than I should have allowed but she was tired and also restless.”

The next weekend we were back in town again. Moon Lee was having a party and, sitting on our porch drinking iced tea, I recognized Leonard’s voice and a laugh that was familiar but that I couldn’t place. The Lees lived right across the street from us, on a small hill.

In town the following weekend, Bob had begun digging a ditch for the sewer line from the house. One morning I vacuumed white sheetrock dust from his work on the ceiling in the addition while the children watched Captain Kangaroo. After lunch the next day I helped with digging the ditch. about six feet, 18 inches deep. “It’s very hard work and I’m quite tired tonight.” The ditch was completed though from the septic tank down to where a backhoe could reach it. This was when we were still planning on an easement from our neighbors, but a week later they informed us that they weren’t giving us an easement.

“Rebecca was going to sleep outside tonight in her tent. I took her sleeping bag out and flashlight. About five minutes later, here she came, lugging the whole works—she’d changed her mind. Maybe she can nap out there tomorrow just to get used to the idea.”

In mid-July I built a tree house in the apple tree nearest the generator shed. “Made a wooden ladder to get to the first platform and made another platform above that. It took a long time and by the end of the day I was screeching at Rebecca and had bruised my thumbs from hitting them with a hammer. My own fault I guess for starting it with my limited carpentry abilities but it’s pretty nice now. Rebecca had no nap and was anxious to play in it so we fought over property rights. “

The next day I was working on some boards for fences around the little trees. I was getting nails from on the back porch and Rebecca stepped over the ladders we used like fencing along the edge of that porch. I yelled, “Don’t go over there” but she did anyway, tripped and fell off the edge about eight feet. I ran around to where she’d landed, mostly on rocks, and she was lying on her back screaming. It knocked the wind out of her, and she had abrasions on one shoulder blade, her lower back and her head. After she lay on the couch for awhile she complained about her stomach, so of course I had visions of internal injuries. I thought it was probably fright and having the wind knocked out of her but figured I should call the doctor just in case. I dialed the number and the phone went dead. So we drove to Big Bar where I called again. Reassured (Dr. B. said that the worst thing to do if it had been internal injuries was going on our rough road—thanks doc) but by the time we got home she seemed suspiciously healthy.

July 21st we went out to Coffee Creek to Alice and Horace’s delightful cabin. That was fun –with Florence and Leonard, Alice and Horace, and several cousins. There was a shallow area in the creek where the children could play. Leonard caught fish so we had fish with dinner the second night. We cleaned up after dinner and came home where we watched “the men step on the moon and the rock-collecting events. Fascinating –looked as if they were jumping in water—slow motion. “

Several Trinity County residents were interviewed by the Trinity Journal about their reactions to the moon landing.
Robert Morris: “The basic principles used in the moon landing have been around since Newton formulated the basic laws of mechanical motion, but the technology required to do this job is extremely recent. Without the digital computer, we’d never have gotten off the ground, and all the other technologies involved are very recent. I think that probably the most important thing that has been demonstrated by this accomplishment is the crucial requirements of meticulous planning and reliability of systems. We’ve never had this kind of reliability in any technological system before and we’ve learned a lot about achieving reliability in all kinds of technological systems now.”

Bob was happy because someone was being transferred from Victorville to help him at work. He has been swamped.

Summer 1969 continued

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Reading these journal entries and looking back on our life then, from where I am now, all these years later, is a bit like being my own grandparent. Sometimes I think, really? You said that? Or you thought that? Why didn’t you……? And once in awhile—Good for you! As a couple we were at a stage where we were still sorting things out about life—what was important to each of us, what was important to us as a couple—and we had two children, two homes, and not enough time or money. In some ways all of these issues continue through one’s life but gaining maturity gives us more strength to deal with it, to weigh things with fewer distractions.

Bob had originally planned to live in the Bay Area and immerse himself in the science for which he had trained. With a background in electrical engineering and experience with some of the first laser technology he would probably have been quite successful. But he had such a strong bond with Trinity County that he also wanted to live there. I’d been raised in state parks and had a major in wildlife conservation so Trinity County was perfect for me, and my fondness for the outdoors. All those roads taken and not taken combined to bring us together and into a complex relationship, not only with each other but also with the land that we both loved.
The streams and rivers were high that year due to snowmelt.
Late in April Rebecca and I walked over to the bog and collected some frog eggs to watch turning into tadpoles and then frogs.

Another day I noticed, from the upper end of the meadow, a very sweet, strong smell drifting up and finally tracked it to a large madrone fully in bloom.

Rebecca and I were delighted to discover that we could get books from the elementary school library. So we started getting books downtown AND from the elementary school. I also started taking her to nursery school to see how she would like it and to give her more interactions with other children.
I was still looking into employment possibilities and interviewed for a job at Junction City School but didn’t get it. One day I subbed for Marne Wilkins in the high school library. Jan Hooper watched the children.

I needed to make an exhibit for the museum “in my capacity as Natural Sciences chairman” and wrote to the Sierra Club in Arcata and to Humboldt State asking whether they had information about plants used by Native Americans. This was long before the days of Google!

La Grange Cabin: Florence invited us to a potluck picnic at the cabin on the La Grange Ditch. I made a salad, carrying Jeff in the pack in the process because he wouldn’t let me put him down, and we drove up on Weaver Bally. “It’s small and has dove-tail corners just like the house at the ranch. Hal and Dorothy Goodyear went too and the men measured the building. They’re hoping to move it down to the museum. The La Grange Ditch used to run right under it. Many maples around. Quite dark. We sat on the ground near the cars and ate. Drove back to Weaverville and went to the museum to look over a possible site.” When we got home Jeff had a temperature of 101. No wonder he’d been fussy.

Mid-May: “This morning I saw a small (about 13 inches) garter snake, with yellow stripes, swallowing a toad that appeared to have a body length of about 1 ½ inches. The snake had just the head in its mouth when I spotted it in the driveway, right beside the truck. I got my camera and Bob and Rebecca came along to see it. We watched while the snake continued to swallow, apparently elongating the toad. Finally, after about ten minutes the feet of the toad disappeared into the snake’s mouth. With the toad about 1/3 of the way down its body the snake glided off and went into a small hole, where it remained. This took some doing as the spot where the toad was stuck some.”

A trip to Seattle: In late May we drove to Seattle, via Scott Mt. and Callahan. Stayed in Ashland the first night. They were building a new indoor theater for the Shakespeare Festival. We spent two nights in Nehalem with my parents

and then went to stay with my eldest brother and family in Seattle. We went on a ferryboat ride one day

and that afternoon Rebecca and Jeff had their first escalator ride. The next day we all, including my brother and family, went to Bellevue and visited a college friend and her family (Nancy Piper Garing and husband John). This was followed by a trip to the zoo. That Saturday we drove to the N. Cascades and took a hike to where we could see Glacier Peak on the way in. Very lush growth. Rebecca walked the entire way, two miles.

Back at the house Rebecca and Dana took blankets, pillows, books and flashlights and fixed up a “campsite” behind the furnace. Rebecca’s favorite part of the whole trip.

On the way home we left the freeway at Eugene and, in Oakridge, ate sandwiches that Jan had fixed for us, along with milkshakes that we purchased. We stayed overnight in Chemult and the next day drove through Crater Lake and then home. Saw an antelope near Doris. When we got gas in Redding the starter wouldn’t work so we had to get a push.

Jeff was trying hard to talk, pointing to things, wanting to know their name. He was rapidly learning new words.

On the 9th of June we still didn’t have the washing machine out at the ranch yet because we hadn’t officially moved so I washed some diapers there with the scrub board. Frank Walden told us “hippies” had been packing off things from summer homes from Big Bar to Corral Bottom. He wanted to put in a gate down by his place so people couldn’t get up behind him.

Our neighbors in town decided to not let us have an easement to run a pipe across their property to join the town sewerage system. They were willing, though, to give us a corner of land plus an edge behind the garage where the roof overlapped their boundary in exchange for a survey and $250.

Moon Lee and Cal Pacific were apparently much closer to an agreement on Cal Pacific taking over the water system, which would eventually lead to our being on a town system and not using the ditch for our water. Dr. Polka and the health department were involved.

On Rebecca’s birthday I made a Smokey the Bear cake. Cheryl helped out some at the party. Guests were Jenni Hooper, Nancy Van Duyn and Scotty Field. The children made crowns, unwrapped presents and ate. Peanut butter sandwiches, cheese sandwiches, carrot sticks and cool aide, then cake and ice-cream.

Bob went to Victorville for a week as part of his job. I drove to Redding with the children and picked up Tigger (the cat) from the animal hospital where he’d been left the day before to get neutered. We then went out to the ranch. When I went to show Rebecca the baby robins, pulling down a branch of the maple tree, the only remaining baby flew out of the nest, while the parents had hysterics. I chased him and put him back in the nest but by evening he’d gone.

Question from Rebecca one evening at bedtime, after having gotten up numerous times: “If I had two noses, would I smell with one and breathe out of the other?” Around 4 a.m. I’d brought Jeffrey downstairs to get him a drink of water and discovered “the largest scorpion I’ve ever seen crawling across the floor between the stove and the sink—3.5 to 4 inches long. I put Jeff in the rocking chair and killed it with the edge of the flyswatter.”

The next day we walked up to the bathtub settling tank (carried Jeff most of the way) drained and cleaned it. The children played in the little creek near the tub. Came back and I opened the valve below the house to drain all the muddy water out. While the children were napping I cut two chunks of wood into stove wood and kindling; cut grass around the raspberries; cleaned out the irrigation ditch in the orchard; cut grass in and around the driveway.

That Friday we went back into town and in late afternoon drove to Redding to pick Bob up at the airport. While backing out of the driveway I remembered I hadn’t combed my hair (was dressed up and even wearing heels). I got out of the car, leaving both children there, hurried into the house and into the bathroom. Then I heard Rebecca scream and, looking out the window, saw the front of the VW disappearing. I raced through the kitchen and out the back door and got to the car just as it came to a stop against a row of rocks that kept it from rolling down into the trees. I comforted Rebecca (who fortunately hadn’t tried to get out the door I’d left open) moved the car, turned it off after putting it in gear and firmly set the brake. Shaking, I went briefly back into the house before we left.

On Sunday, after dinner, Bob had to go up on Oregon Mt. because of problems from a thunderstorm and didn’t get home until midnight. For Father’s Day he got the book “On the Loose” and a hairbrush.

Our rather frantic lifestyle was beginning to get to Bob. I was terribly busy with small children and trying to keep two houses relatively clean and tidy but I didn’t have a required daily commute and a fulltime job outside the home (s) to deal with. In mid-June he was “again quite discouraged about trying to keep up two places and the driving involved. He has even mentioned temporarily abandoning or even selling the ranch. Sure hope we can work on a compromise of some sort. I understand, I think, but am so fond of the ranch and living out here in the summer. But the drive back and forth every day must be tiring and he has things he wants to do get done in town. He had some inventions in mind and the addition was going to include a large table with plugs all around it for electronics. ) I love the isolation out here and the chance to walk in a beautiful spot even though tied down by household things.”

Wetland Wander

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Interesting wetland wander this morning thanks to Willamette Resources & Educational Network (WREN). I haven’t been on one of these monthly excursions in a long time. About 15 of us met at East Kirk Pond, near Fern Ridge Reservoir. Our guides were Wes Messenger, Willamette Valley Project botanist and Aaron Conich, Wildlife Technician with the Army Corps of Engineers.

Wes gave a background of the the geology of the area from ice age to the present and explained how vernal pools are perched on material washed down from the Montana floods as well as ash from Mt. Mazama (think Crater Lake). He told us about native Americans burning periodically to keep plants like ash trees from encroaching on the prairies so that plants they used, such as camas, could continue to thrive and he identified some of the plants growing nearby.

Aaron’s explanation of the life of Western Pond Turtles was what I found of greatest interest. These turtles nest on land along the upland prairies as well as spending time in the water. They have a lot of competition from an invasive species, the Slider Turtle, that also nests in these places. Sliders can lay eggs several times a year while the Pond Turtle usually nests just once a year. And the Sliders lay more eggs each time. Predators of both include raccoons, foxes, coyotes, and skunks. We viewed one tiny pond in a nesting area that was surrounded by an electric fence to help discourage predators. He showed us the remains of one Slider nest that included some bits of egg shell, spongy and more like snake and lizard eggs. Pond turtle eggs are bit more like chicken eggs in texture but both turtles’ eggs are quite small.

We were very lucky that Aaron had found an active nest just a couple of days ago. It now has a wire enclosure over it that has holes big enough for a tiny turtle to escape if it wanted to. A stainless-steel tag is numbered and attached. The enclosure is firmly attached to the ground. I asked about the hardness of the earth and he said that the female gorges on water and then urinates on the ground to soften it so that she can dig with her strong feet. She digs a tiny hole, about the diameter of a 50-cent piece and lays about four eggs, stacked. She then scoops up some of the wet earth and makes a rounded plug to plug up the hole. The evidence of there being a nest is the plug plus what little grass that is there being matted down in the shape of the bottom of her shell. The babies don’t hatch until next spring! I was surprised at that. Then they make their way to the water. A very fine-mesh screen covers the top of the cage to keep raccoons from putting their agile paws down to pull the plug. When Aaron finds a nest he pulls the plug, checks the eggs–without removing them–to see which kind of turtle is the parent–and then replaces the plug with one moistened by water from one of the ponds.

As with some other kinds of turtles, the temperature of the ground at a certain time during the incubation period determines the sex of the turtle. A cooler temperature yields males and a warmer one females. Because they are stacked, the top layer may be slightly warmer or cooler than the bottom layer. Ongoing studies are being done throughout the Willamette Valley and citizens can contribute to the information by signing up with INaturalist and reporting sightings.

January to May 1969

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Late 1968 and early 1969 seemed to be all about snow, transportation and young children. We had a lot of snow that winter. And, with young children there are colds and other illnesses. I wrote of being depressed during early January due to being confined to the house with either the children or myself being ill or unable to get out because of snow, or both. That eased as the snow melted but just when the driveway cleared it would snow again. Finally, in early February, we were able to get both vehicles in and out of the driveway, which gave me more flexibility.

Occasionally Mary Ann Fields and I would get together to talk, mostly about teaching our eldest children to read, and Rebecca and Scotty seemed to play well together. Our younger children were too young for interacting much.

When the weather wasn’t bad I tried to make use of going to buy groceries by walking downtown, carrying Jeff in the pack. We’d try to ride back home with Bob when he came home for lunch. This trip would include a stop to look at the ducks at Bob and Alan Young’s place and usually time for a snack at Varney’s and/or a trip to the library. I was taking care of Kathleen Morris from 2-5 every day after school. She and Rebecca usually got along fairly well. I tried to have some kind of craft project they could work on or cookies to decorate—something to keep both of them busy. When the weather got better we’d often go to the park.

Sometimes Bob had to go to the top of one mountain or another to work on phone company equipment. Going up Long’s Peak (out near the lake) included riding a skidoo to get there. He was still interested in the school board and attending their meetings. Now and then he had to go to Garberville for a couple of days. And once he had to go to Victorville for most of a week. Rebecca was enchanted by his packing process and “helped” him put things in the suitcase. Later she took a cardboard box and carefully folded up doll clothes to pack in it. She said she was going to New York.

Dave Ohde was showing a movie to interested people called “The Medium is the Message” based on Marshall McCluhan’s book. It implied that the way we send and receive information is more important than the information itself. Actually, when the book came out, there was a typo so it read “The Medium is the Massage”. McCluhan liked that and kept it. I think Dave also showed it to some of his high school classes.

My nephew, Nick Twight, had heart surgery and Alice and Horace Jones took care of his brother and sister for two weeks so the parents could be with him. Alice asked whether I could help out for two days so I took them one day each week of the two weeks they were in Weaverville. I made cookie dough the night before so cookies could be cut out and decorated. The first day, everyone made valentines in the morning. In the afternoon they rolled out the dough, cut and decorated. “I’m too hovery–would have been better if I’d gone out of the room and stayed out. But they couldn’t get their cookies from the table to the cookie sheet by themselves; Jeffrey was screaming in his bed; crumbs were all over the floor; I got crabby. Then they all went outside and played for awhile. When they came in they had hot chocolate and cookies. Alice and Horace came for them at 4:30. The two children were quite a pair—bright, quick, aggressive. Jessica loves dressing up. Cedric put together a puzzle 3 or 4 times as quickly as I could have. I’m really tired.” Alice said Nick was doing better than expected and would be able to go home sooner. The second day that I had the Twight children we went to Varney’s and the library. Afterwards we went home and I cut out crowns for them to decorate and wear. Hotdogs for lunch. The two boys took naps, the two girls talked. After naps I put up card tables and blankets for a house.

I was involved with trying to get information out about the damage that would be caused by the proposed Dos Rios Dam and wrote several articles for the Trinity Journal. The first one was on anadromous fish. I did some research and also consulted with John T. from the California Fish & Game so I could be sure my information was correct. This came out in two separate issues of the Journal. I began working on a second article in mid-February—this one on deer migration. Researched deer browse, talked on the phone to Burt K., Marvin H., and Gene G. about deer browse. Took the kids with me over to the U.S.F.S. to get a paper on deer browse.

In mid-February Bob hooked the washbasin, shower and laundry tray to one line, running plastic pipe out across the garden. That left only the sink and toilet going into the septic tank. He had to leave the sink on because the only vent went up from the sink line. Then he put lime where the leech line leaked. He also said there was a lot of water just standing under the house–drainage from the rain and snow running off the bank behind the house. That was going to require a ditch across the yard with a drain. I was up about five times that night with coughing children.

February 23rd—Bob went downriver and walked to the ranch from above Walden’s. There were lots of slides and the creek had washed around one end of the bridge. Up at the house, the generator wouldn’t start nor would the tractor. The roadwork needed will cost four or five- hundred dollars. “He is very discouraged. I am too because I feel more than ever that I should try to get work next year.” We have so many areas where we need to spend money—“I hate to see Bob get too involved in lots of back-breaking type physical work when he can do so much more with his hands and mind.” A few days later Bob decided he could do the roadwork with the tractor but would take most of the summer. I made some phone calls to ask about teaching jobs for fall. There were some for upper grades at Big Bar and Lewiston but I wasn’t qualified for that. At the same time, I really wanted to have a third child.

Feb. 26th – Bob and I stayed up until nearly midnight working on a letter to Reagan. He wrote and I typed. (I’m assuming this was about Dos Rios dam.)

I’d almost forgotten about Mounty Mt. Lion. Some controversy arose locally about the whether mountain lions should be eliminated or not and I decided to leap into the fray by anonymously becoming Mounty Mt. Lion. Various letters to the editor were exchanged. My most articulate responder was a mouse. That was fun!

At a Historical Society meeting we went to (Dr. Amesbury spoke on Ishi), my entry and another from a lawyer who lived in San Francisco, tied for the title of the newsletter—Trinity Trails.
“Cat got into the meatloaf while I was gone.”

As the weather improved the children played outside more. Jeff would go to the door every chance he had and squeal to be let outside. I worked on cleaning up some branches from a tree Bob had cut down, raking pine needles and cones and hauling them in the wheelbarrow down to the road where they could be more easily loaded into the truck. Bob finished putting the wiring in the addition. One day the children and I rode out to Riordan’s so Florence could take some pictures of the lake with snow around it. Jeff wouldn’t go near Thelma or her mother but went right to Clint.
Bob had gone to Garberville for a few days. I put in some insulation in the addition.

The U.S. Forest Service told us they wanted to make a jeep road on our side of Little French Creek to do some surveying for a road in Big French Creek. They planned ro log up around the Upper Ranch within the next few years and wanted to haul the logs out Big French Creek. “I don’t mind the logging as much as I do the access created for people to come in around us.” Bob hoped he might be able to get them to do some roadwork in the process.

One day, while we were eating lunch in the car on the way to the ranch, Rebecca looked up at the sky and said, “The clouds have big blue blankets.” Jeff was learning to say a few words—Daddy (Adee) and Bye-Bye. He loved to be read to and if Bob came in late, close to bedtime, he’d grab a book and take it to his father.

One evening, after Bob got off work, we rushed out to the ranch. We could drive all the way to the house by then. Scoot Miller’s cat was parked out there. The children ran around the house looking at their possessions—In two minutes Rebecca bounced her ball, pedaled her trike and swung on the swing. “It was so nice to be at the ranch again. Many deer in the meadow, Eagle Rock covered with snow, grass growing green, trees budding.” We ate dinner at Big Bar.

Easter Sunday I hurried outside, after having the sunlight wake me up, and hid eggs. Put slippers on the children and went outside with them to enjoy the hunt in the wet grass. Bob stayed in bed to sleep. Rebecca’s stuffed animal was a little donkey while Jeff’s was a rabbit. A little later we all went over to Florence and Leonard’s for another egg hunt with cousins. In the afternoon we worked on the addition.

I covered a packing box with contact paper to make a small closet for Rebecca.

Ironing was often mentioned in my journal—it seemed ongoing and constant along with doing laundry. So glad it is a rare occurrence now!

Bob didn’t get elected to the school board. He was disappointed and I was for him but “in many ways it’s a relief. He is involved in many things already and is so conscientious he’d probably work his head off.. Today he got some of the results by districts, which was heartening. He came in 3rd in Weaverville, 1st in Big Bar. “

In mid-April we drove out to the ranch. Redbud and dogwood were just starting to bloom. The peach and pear trees were blooming. Two apple trees had fat flower buds. At Prairie Creek the gooseberry bushes had small berries but at the ranch they were still in flower. Bob walked up the hill with Jeff in the pack to the boundary but Rebecca and I turned back and spent some time watching ants carrying tiny bits of dirt from their hole, putting it down, and going back for more. A week later when we were out there all the apple trees were in bloom. And on that weekend Bob worked on the tractor and generator getting them both in working order. He gave Rebecca a ride on the tractor from the orchard to the barn.

One evening we let Rebecca stay up to watch Cinderella on TV (black and white). “She loved it. When the fairy godmother appeared she asked (hopefully and wistfully and I thought it was so sweet) “Mommy, do I have a fairy godmother?”

November & December 1968

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Child rearing is a learn-while-doing enterprise. Sometimes you make the right decision, sometimes you don’t. If you’re lucky you have books that help, or even better, helpful older friends or relatives.

Reading this now is a reminder of how little sleep one gets with small children. Many nights had interrupted sleep and mornings were early. Plus parents get many of the colds that their children manage to come down with. There were sometimes a few perks to that interrupted sleep stuff. Once when I was up in the middle of the night with one of the children I saw a striped skunk on the front porch moving back and forth with its nose to the concrete.

Rebecca, looking at a tall pine tree, decided that if she could climb to the top she could probably touch the sky. She had a generally cheerful disposition but was very insistent on doing things herself, including opening heavy doors at the post office.
Sometimes she wore the little pack that I made for her to carry her dolls, or whatever. She usually carried “Friend”, a red-haired, soft, stuffed doll that someone had given Jeff when he was born but that we had decided she needed more than he did at the time. Reading the journals I can see that I’m writing about Rebecca a lot more than about her brother but she was mobile and talking while he had just begun to move around on his own. And I can also see that the first child just naturally gets more coverage—everything is new for the parents. Do parents of five children say “Oh, yes, George (child number 5) started walking last year some time?”

The Ranch
Vernon Ryan called to tell us the insurance company would no longer cover the ranch in case of fire.

Time Goes By
Aunt May (Florence’s aunt) died on the 23rd. The hospital called to tell us at 11:30 p.m. because they’d not been able to reach Florence and Leonard who were out of town. They were back shortly. She was 86. I remembered a story Aunt May had told me about going to her woodbox one time and, when she opened the lid, finding a rattlesnake. She ran back into the house, got a teakettle of boiling water and killed it. Her funeral was the first I’d ever been to. I decided I didn’t want an open casket at my funeral. (I just read Aunt May’s obituary in a binder of newspaper clippings from the past that I’ve saved and I read that she had two children who died at 6 years old and 18 months from measles and whooping cough, which might be of interest to anyone involved in the current controversy over vaccines.)

Thanksgiving dinner was at Florence and Leonard’s. Afterwards everyone had places to go so Florence washed the dishes and I dried. I’m assuming Bob and Leonard watched the children. Afterwards, when we got to our house, we realized the doors were locked and neither of us had a key. We went into the addition and there was a window into the kitchen (that used to be to the outdoors). Bob opened it and lowered Rebecca down between the freezer and the refrigerator. He gave her a flashlight and she made her way into the living room to let us in the front door.

One of my notes mentioned that we had too many presents to give and not enough money so I tried to make some of the Christmas gifts. I sanded and painted left over wooden blocks from the addition, sometimes going out into the garage to paint them after the children were in bed. I also made a jumper for Rebecca and a matching one for her doll.


Florence and Leonard brought over a few things of Aunt May’s for us including Sudworth’s book, which I was delighted to have. The book, “Forest Trees of the Pacific Slope”, was published in 1908 and is a U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service publication by George B. Sudworth, Dendrologist. At the time it could be purchased from the Superintendent of Documents in Washington D.C. for 60 cents. Gifford Pinchot was Forester then. Aunt May’s signature is neatly written in the front, Clara M. Richards, Lewiston, Calif. Today I still think this is one of the best tree books that exists. Sudworth explains that Dr. C. Hart Merriam was very helpful in establishing distributions.

The illustrations are quite wonderful and the each species has detailed descriptions about where they may be found. For instance, in the case of the Weeping or Brewer’s Spruce: he names the parts Oregon where it was found at the time—east end of Chetco Range in Josephine county between 4,000 and 5,000 feet Sucker Creek and high mountain tops south of Rogue River (north slope of the Siskiyous). He is equally detailed about Trinity County locations, including head of Canyon Creek and others.

Also between the pages of the book was a leaflet from Better Homes and Gardens, dated 1933, entitled How to Identify the Evergreens. And a note on page 165 by the Macnab Cypress where it’s written in pencil “Between Shasta and Whiskey Town”. At that time it was a rare tree. Not sure now. It makes me wish I’d known Aunt May better. Why did she get that book? What was her interest?

This was the first of a planned 4 volumes—the others were to be Rocky Mountains, then southern states and finally northern states.

One evening Florence and Leonard came over to babysit while we went to see the movie “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” with Sydney Portier and Audrey Hepburn. We sat with Doris and afterwards went to her house for coffee, cake and conversation. “A very enjoyable evening”.

Bob left on Dec. 12th to go to San Francisco to see a Professor Linsley at Stanford about desalinization. I don’t remember what this desalinization event was all about but think he was probably thinking of some kind of invention. He brought home a book on butterflies for me, a little red, white and yellow Stanford owl for Rebecca and a stuffed Santa for Jeff.

One evening at the Ohde’s, Doris and I had a long discussion about raising children. “with world affairs as they are now and our own brink of “race war” condition. She feels that our children will have to pick up the pieces and that we must work hard to teach them to judge others and events only on the basis of their own knowledge and not to be led by a persuasive speaker, etc.”

We went to a school board meeting and came home reeking of cigarette smoke.

December 17th I took the children to Jan Hooper’s and substituted at the high school—study hall all day (I’m sure that was not fun!). That plus coffee, plus being up too late the night before left me exhausted. Rebecca seemed to have had a good time but Jeff apparently spent the day looking for me. I also subbed two half-days the previous week.

And There Was Snow
Florence walked through about a foot of snow to our house all the way from her house to watch the kids. I took the truck to get chains put on the rear wheels, got a haircut, bought some groceries, got chains put on the front wheels and came home. Later I took the children to the doctor—both were on the verge of tonsillitis so we got prescriptions.

On another night we invited Florence and Leonard, Alice and Horace, Peter and Angenett, the Wilkins, Herb Upham, the Ohdes, and Dixon and Heather Jones, to our house. The Ohdes walked all the way from their house as did Alice and Horace– who stayed only an hour and then walked home to take care of grandchildren so Peter and Angenett could come. As Ohdes were leaving the lights went out. Peter, Angenett, Dixon and Heather stayed for a little more wine punch and cookies and listened to Bob play his banjo.

With no power for heat or lights we moved the children into the living room and had to wake up often enough to keep the fire going in the fireplace. Still no electricity the next day and around 11:00 our water stopped. Bob went up to the reservoir to try to start the syphon. I started briquettes going in the broiler (?) and we were able to have hot coffee and soup for lunch, after a cold breakfast. By now there was two feet of snow in Redding and some roofs there had collapsed.

The next day Bob went down to Austin’s and borrowed their little generator to recharge our refrigerator and freezer. That night (Christmas Eve) we cooked hamburgers in the fireplace with a hand grill. Rebecca slept on the couch again—Jeff in a porta-crib– and somehow Santa filled stockings and distributed presents without disturbing anyone. About 7:00 a.m. that morning all the lights went on.

My mother always made handmade Christmas cards, printed from linoleum block prints that she designed and printed herself. She had so much artistic talent! I’m including one of them in this article. I have copies of many of them and someday hope to share.

Dec. 26th—Peter and Bob went up to the reservoir and by 11:00 a.m. we had water!

We had filled the laundry tray with water when the water had started running low and I forgot about it. The washing machine drained into the laundry tray and the forgotten water ended up all over the floor and into the kitchen where a lot of it ran under the freezer (which was set into a hole in the floor) and then to the ground.

On the 27th we got Janet Anderson to babysit and we went to the Joneses and watched the special programs on the astronauts’ trip—10 times around the moon. “The pictures of the earth were really something—not like a globe with supports at both ends—just a shining ball against a a black background. We had coffee and dessert and Bob and Peter argued “reality versus meaning” until midnight. Lots of fun.”

Fall Harvest

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October continued in much the same way as had September but with perhaps a greater sense of urgency since we didn’t know exactly when we’d be moving from the ranch back into town. Bob worked on his second article for the Trinity Historical Society publication. I continued to harvest a few things from the garden—green beans, cabbage. And we had many apples, which we’d give away to people who came to visit or take into town.

Florence gave Rebecca’s kitten (Tigger) a wicker basket house and made a little soft, brightly colored bed for inside.

On October 21st we went to a meeting at the CD Hall where Hazel Wilburn and Al Wilkins as well as Dick Wilson and Joe Paul (from Trout Unlimited) spoke opposing the Dos Rios Dam. There were about 135 people there. The general mood was No Dams for Trinity County. Those opposing didn’t speak up. Many questions were asked from the floor. There were several sports writers there. “Trinity County will form a similar group and there will be a steering committee of members from both sides.” (‘In 1967, the US Army Corps of Engineers unveiled a proposal to construct the largest dam and reservoir project in California’s history: the so-called “Dos Rios Dam” on the Middle Fork of the Eel. In addition to being 730-feet-high, the dam would have flooded a 40,000-acre area for its reservoir, equal in size to the Shasta and Oroville reservoirs combined. This proposal was brought about due to flooding in 1964-65 and to Los Angeles’ need for more water. Among other things.

Richard Wilson was a wealthy Republican who owned a ranch in Round Valley. The flooding of Round Valley would also have meant that the Native American tribe there would have had to be relocated. The tribe teamed up with environmentalists and Wilson to fight the proposal. Eventually it was vetoed by Ronald Reagan). For still another possible pending water grab see https://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/2302448-181/eel-river-has-long-been–?sba=AAS)
Back at the ranch, mornings were usually clear at six but by seven it was foggy. “As the fog clears and the sun rises the colors of the foliage are brilliant. The English walnut is bright yellow now and the peach and pear trees various shades of orange . The Virginia creeper on the porch is a deep red.”

One day Rebecca and I saw an owl in the maple tree behind the house. I thought it was probably a sawwhet owl, about robin size with white spots on the wings. It was about 15 feet above the ground and was hard to see because it looked so much like the leaves and branches. It stayed for about 15 minutes and then flew when I went under the tree to try to take a picture.

There was always rockwork to do in spare moments, or painting window trim, or chopping some wood, or picking apples. Florence brought Eleanor Asplin out one afternoon when she came to take some fall color photos. Leonard, Rupert Asplin and Vernon Ryan had gone hunting. Some weekends Bob would be busy with phone calls about various phone problems.

One evening when Bob brought home a big stack of mail from town there was a copy of a Ranger Rick Magazine that had a short article I’d written. I was pleased, even though it looked a lot different than what I’d originally written.

After naps on October 29th, Rebecca and I worked on turning a pumpkin into a jack-o-lantern. Bob had called earlier saying he had to stay in Garberville that night. “Rebecca was most interested, and helped pull out seeds and fiber and put chunks I set aside in a pan for pie. “

We had the washing machine in the “cellar” space under the porch and if it rained and I was doing laundry, it meant running down the bank to the machine and back up through the wet.

November 1st: “Did 3 batches of laundry, running up and down through the rain. Cut some wood this morning for the heating stove (3 wheelbarrows with Rebecca riding)) and more this afternoon. Dug up all the carrots I could find. Finished hauling and stacking the last load of wood as it began to rain. Cold—temperature stayed around 45 degrees. Made 3 baby food jars of tomato preserves. Cooked venison stew and a tongue. Folded one batch of clothes. Put them away and bathed the children before Bob got home. “

The next day, a Saturday, Bob was busy getting things ready for winter: tractor, generator, lawn mower, etc. We’d had a heavy rainstorm the night before. Coyotes were barking and calling on the hill after lunch. I packed a lot of things in the afternoon. The next day we moved into town. Bob and Rebecca went back out to the ranch with the store truck to get the washing machine.

November 6th— Bob and Jim Barrett and a man from Redding rode up Weaver Bally on horseback to do some survey work for the microwave. It was about seven o’clock when they got back and they rode in the dark for about an hour.

Nixon got re-elected. This was back when we were both Republicans. When I moved to Oregon I changed to the Democratic party. “Nixon had 187 vote lead in the electoral college but both he and Humphrey had 43 percent of the popular vote with Nixon barely a few thousand ahead. “

I had to turn down a substituting job in Lewiston because I couldn’t find a sitter.

A few days later we spent an hour or so letting the children ride on Daphne while we took pictures with plans to put one of the photos on our Christmas card. That Sunday we drove to the ranch, stopping on the way to look at the Pattison place where William Wilshire Pattison was buried. Bob had borrowed a polaroid camera from Pat and Dick Hamilton and took some pictures of the headstone. “It’s really pretty—marble with the base covered with moss and the top in four scallops, each with a different print. Above the inscription is a miner’s pick and shovel, on another side a crown, etc. We ate lunch at the ranch and about one o’clock the Goodyears came up with their pickup. I’d started defrosting the refrigerator and was cleaning some but left that to pick apples with them. Finished a little after 3:00 o’clock. Bob stayed in the house most of the time, working on the biography for the article. After the Goodyears—Dorothy, Hal, Elsie, Gail and Jan–had toured the house they left and we left shortly afterward, eating at Big Bar.

One evening, while Bob was working on a post for the gate at the ranch, working at the high school, I took the children over to Florence and Leonard’s and put the kids to bed. Florence and I stirred up ingredients for mincemeat (including apples from the ranch). I peeled, cored and cut apples while Florence ground the meat and apples.

Bob and Harley Lowden went to Mad River two different days. The kids and I went downtown on November 14th –library and other errands—and it started snowing fine, powder snow on the way back. I gave a ride to a woman and her son who were who were walking up the hill. That afternoon I swept the snow off the plastic, that Bob had put over the porch cement, about every half hour and typed a few more pages of Bob’s article. Rebecca and I made chocolate chip cookies. Doris and I decided to not go to Redding to hear Ansel Adams speak. It was snowing clear down to Redding. (I don’t remember that we were going to hear Ansel Adams speak! Too bad it snowed.)

Florence brought up seven quarts of mincemeat. I took the children outside to try to play in the snow but it was very cold. I filled some glasses with water and showed Rebecca how to tap them with a spoon to make music. She put food color in the water.

Dick’s VW was stolen from behind the store and a few days later was found in Yreka with a flat tire.

Bob went to Earnest Duncan’s funeral. He said someone sang Red River Valley and Ghost Riders in the Sky. “I’m glad I didn’t go because that would really have shaken me up.” I always think of Earnest with a handful of roses for Marlene Towne at the restaurant or the night he came into our house at Big Flat, barely standing, after hunting for his cows up on Manzanita Ridge in the snow. He got a lot of enjoyment out of life.”