New Arrival

Posted by Susy in Uncategorized | Comments Off on New Arrival

The “Junk Man” brought up 2 pelton wheels that Bob bought, with the long-range plan of putting them someplace in the creek and generating electricity. The larger one weighed about 2 tons. The other, though smaller, was even older. Both were cast iron. The cost was $50 for the big one plus $20 to haul it up to the ranch in a dump truck from Junction City. Bob had had to go down near the slide and take out some more dirt so they could get their truck around it.

When he brought them, around 7:30, Rebecca and I drove up by the orchard to watch the unloading process. I drove so we could watch from in the car, protected from all the mosquitoes. My notes indicate it was a bad mosquito year. When they dumped them out, between the first apple tree (a gravenstein) and the English walnut, the tailgate fell off their truck. Bob got the tractor and eventually they were able to get it back on.

A few odds and ends of information:
I discovered a greenback goldfinch nest in the maple tree, up near the top. I had heard the babies but thought it was some bird nesting in the orchard.

I got stung on my pregnant belly by a yellow jacket in the outhouse.

My mother called to say she couldn’t come down to help when the baby was born because her doctor said she was not well enough.

We moved into town toward the end of July to wait for our new arrival.
Our town home had a built-in phonograph and Bob was pleased to find that he still had some records stored in Florence & Leonard’s attic. He had thought maybe we’d given them away the Christmas where we gave everyone records (not a bad thing to do when you don’t have much money and want to give nice gifts!).

Rebecca and I discovered some Monarch Butterfly caterpillars on milkweed out in the backyard.

I did some cooking ahead—like making a double batch of chicken and freezing half, and making and freezing applesauce. Rebecca would be sleeping in an old iron-framed bed and I sanded some on that. I also made a little table and bench for her and painted them. Bob was still working on an article for the historical society and I typed up more of that. I kept cleaning things and doing laundry, worried that the baby would come and things would be unfinished. I enjoyed the flowers that Ruby had planted—gladiolas, roses. Hummingbirds fed from the silk tree flowers. We visited with Van Duyns, who were loaning us their bassinet.

“The water pressure got quite low and the water dirty. I walked up the hill to the reservoir. You can smell it from 50 feet away—not very appetizing. The pond looked dark and swampy, alders grow around it and there were frogs jumping in it.”

Let me describe our town water source. The water at the ranch came from a couple of clear, cold springs, running only a short distance before entering our waterlines. Here in Weaverville, our water came from West Weaver Creek via an open ditch, at least two miles long, that filled a pond a couple of hundred feet above our house and then continued from there around the hill where it provided water to other homes. Our intake from this pond was the lowest one so that, although we might not run out of water quite as soon as everyone else if the ditch sprang a leak, we got the thickest water.

There was a path all along the ditch and people walked and rode horses along this path. Our doctor, who lived further up the ridge, also got his water from this ditch and he told me one time, grinning, that it keeps you regular. We had slightly upset stomachs for the first six months and then no problem. Sometimes in the winter the ditch would spring a leak or would freeze and then volunteers would go fix it. Later on, Allen Young became the keeper of the ditch, He would hike the ditch and clear branches and reinforce various places. The excess water from the ditch ran down the hill a short distance into Allen and Bob Young’s duck pond along Oregon Street.

The ditch was called the Moon Lee Ditch. I think perhaps that Moon Lee, who was a well-known, longtime resident of Weaverville, had the water rights but don’t remember whether or not he received any funding for its use. If so perhaps that went to pay Allen to keep it up.

On the 19th of August we went to Kathleen Reagan’s wedding. When an usher politely asked when the baby was due and I said “last week” he quickly found a seat for me. The wedding was outdoors under a full moon.

About two weeks later, after buying jars for making pickles and getting cucumbers from Florence I decided to put the pickling off a day. That afternoon Bob wanted to talk to the USFS in Big Bar about Waldorff deeds but didn’t know whether I should go. I thought I might as well be down there counting minutes as at the house. So I wandered around with his watch and Rebecca while he was inside. At 5:30 we came home and I started dinner. By 7:00 it was time to call the hospital and they said to come in. I fed the two of them, had a few bites myself and then, since Florence and Leonard weren’t at home to take care of Rebecca, we called Austins. Jeffrey was born a few hours later. After a couple of days in the hospital we moved in with Florence and Leonard for several days and then moved to our own house.

The Roof 1963

Posted by Susy in Uncategorized | Comments Off on The Roof 1963

I came across these slides and thought I’d do a brief flashback to that first summer. Looking at these photos made me think that probably most people don’t take on this kind of project the first summer they are married. We waited two weeks and then plunged into it.
1. Pulling off the old roof.

2. Scaffolding to reach back roof.

3. A hoist to lift shingles to back roof.

4. Putting on the 2x4s

5. Foil–the pine boards (ceiling ) went on first but shows in a later photo.

6. Putting on pine boards for ceiling.

7.Shakes–kept damp. Note no lawn yet but ready for lawn.

8. Lawn side of roof finished.

9. Mostly overcame fear of heights–for awhile.

After the School Year, 1967

Posted by Susy in Uncategorized | Comments Off on After the School Year, 1967

Once school started I didn’t write in my journal until July 14th of 1967. We’d been out at the ranch for a little over two weeks. I don’t remember a whole lot from that preceding time of no journal entries. We were living in the Ohde’s house on Dockery Street during the school year. It was just right for our needs.

I do remember the first time I had to leave Rebecca when she was ill. She was crying. I was crying. Barbara later called the school to have them tell me she had gone to sleep shortly after I left.

It was a difficult year in some ways. I really enjoyed the teaching part of it and most of the children. Fifth grade is a great age—not little children any more, developing a keen sense of humor. I never thought I’d be teaching my nephew but Scott was one of my students! I also remember that, when I was hired, I was told by the principal that I wasn’t getting as much pay as the men because they had families to support. That’s the way it was then.

I’m sure we continued to spend many weekends out at the ranch—watering, mowing lawns, working on the road. So there was very little free time and lots of driving back and forth.

These were the two horses we had at the ranch for a couple of months the summer we were first married.

That spring we decided to buy a house in town and purchased a one-bedroom/one-bath house from Bob and Ruby Ocock, who were moving to Paradise. It had a view toward some hills, and was warm and cozy. They had done a lot of the work on it themselves, building rooms with cedar walls, and there was a rock fireplace. We decided that the one bedroom would be for children until we could add more rooms and that our bed would be in the living room. Bob Ocock was a retired teacher and also a former roller-skating champion (with winner’s cups on the shelves in their living room.). Ruby hybridized iris. I don’t remember what she did in addition, but the front yard was filled with lovely iris flowers. She left a multitude of little jars in the house with various labels on them related to her work. So now our trips into town sometimes included unpacking a few things there or doing some watering.

By the end of the year I’d pretty much decided that teaching and raising my own children was probably not something I wanted to do. Those who were able to do that were amazing, in my opinion. My daughter really wanted me in the evening when she was tired, and I was tired, and I’d be fixing dinner with her arms wrapped around my legs. Also I was pregnant with our second child, due in mid-August.

At the ranch, I’d fallen into a routine of up at 5:45 to fix breakfast and see Bob off; wash the dishes, make the bed; usually go for a short walk with Rebecca. I’d read to her four or five times a day. I didn’t get much done in the afternoons. We had a small garden with peas, lettuce, squash, cucumber and tomatoes and Bob had built a fence around it for me, keeping out the deer and our daughter.

Oh, and we had a telephone on the wall! Beige. Bob got it in just before we moved back there. It was a party line, meaning that each household on the line had their own distinctive rings—two long and one short, or whatever. And there was now a toilet upstairs but not yet usable. It was attached though and a pipe buried under the lawn leading toward where the septic tank would go after perc tests.

Bob had been working on an article about Big Bar history for the Historical Society off and on all winter and the previous weekend we had gone over to the Pattison Cemetery in Big Bar. There was only one headstone, a plaque and a bunch of mounds with rocks there. Sort of sad. I was typing his work as he got parts of it written.

“Walked up to the garden with Rebecca to eat a few peas fresh off the vine! The grapes along the outer edge of the orchard look as if we might have some this year.”

One day I scraped out a more weed-free path to the washing machine in the cellar and did a couple of batches of laundry. Then Rebecca and I drove down to Waldens’ and visited for about an hour. It seemed important for us both to get some social activities now and then. She got to pet a rabbit and a chicken. From there we went to Big Bar Station for a hamburger, then home for naps for both of us.

The “new” house needed a new refrigerator but we could use the chest freezer that was set into the floor in the kitchen. The washing machine that they left there was a wringer-washer and we would use that. There was also a laundry tray, which I came to appreciate for all of its many possible uses over the years, from a place to wash hair to a place to cool a watermelon.

One day at the ranch I fixed lunch and a thermos of milk to carry over to an oak tree by the fence across from the house. I told Rebecca we were going to have a picnic. She looked in the paper lunch-bag and asked, “Where picnic?”

Summer Comes to a Close 1966

Posted by Susy in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Summer Comes to a Close 1966

The afternoon we arrived at Ohanapecosh (Mt. Rainier National Park), we took a 3-mile round trip hike to Silver Falls, then drove to Tipsoo Lake and back. The next day we drove up to Paradise (I’d been there when I worked at Crater Lake and several of us took a road trip). Flowers were quite lovely where we hiked a short distance up a paved path. We took our lunch and ate at the Visitor Center, “ a huge monstrosity that’s completely out of place. It looks like a lady’s straw hat that got sat on. The interior isn’t bad but the exterior is awful. A blob on the landscape.”
(This picture of Rebecca was taken at Mt. Rainier with its wonderful flowers.)
The day after that was my brother Ben’s day off and we ate lunch at a small lake at Sunrise; then hiked three miles round-trip to Clover Lake. Saw and heard conies and saw several marmots. The last day we followed my sister-n-law (Jan) to a ranch near Packwood where we spent some time looking at Morgan-Arab horses. She drove back home and we continued south on our journey that included a brief stop in Oregon City to see friends of my parents and then on to Gresham, Oregon to stay overnight with Gene Richards, a relative of Bob’s, who raised blackberries commercially. This was such a busy household that we didn’t get much sleep so the next day just traveled a short distance to Newport, where we had a wonderful room with an ocean view and a Franklin stove.

From there we went on down the coast with a stop at Sea Lion Caves. Turned inland at the Ft. Dick turnoff; swam a little in the Smith River, where Rebecca ran on the sand; looked for a motel in Gasquet and ended up at a motel in Crescent City. Continuing south we stopped at Prairie Creek State Park, where I had worked two summers during college. We hiked over to Fern Canyon, four miles. I hadn’t remembered it taking so long and when we reached the beach we tried to find a ride back from other visitors.

The naturalist on duty there gave us half a peanut-butter and jelly sandwich for Rebecca and found a ride for us, although our ride providers stopped to pick up driftwood for a fire so it probably took as long as if we’d walked back. The naturalist had worked for the U.S. Forest Service in the Angeles National Forest for 10 years and knew my brother Peter.

The next day we were back at the ranch and I picked apples and canned two quarts of applesauce. That week I picked more gooseberries and, after cooking and straining them put the juice in the refrigerator, fixing the jelly that night. The generator wasn’t producing enough electricity to keep the light bright so I kept turning the light off and on and using candles.

While Bob was in town the next day, working on the Riordan’s stereo, I showed Rebecca how to run in and out of the sprinkler. By now I also had a key to my classroom and was starting to work on some school things.

Another day I spent several hours at school and took Aunt May and Aunt Nell (Bob’s great aunts) some gooseberry jelly. I also took some to Martha Costa and visited with her for a couple of hours. She gave us some tomatoes, squash, and more, plus giving me some good ideas on canning and freezing.

A last minute discovery was that wild plums were growing near the house at the ranch and I made plum jam.

Toward the end of August we had the Woods out for dinner—Helen and Herb, Sophie (Helen’s sister), Sophie’s niece Rebecca, and Bierget (sp?) and exchange student from Denmark. We made a table by balancing some boards, from the brick and board bookcase, to the card table. I think that bookcase had been in my apartment when I first moved to Weaverville. There was plenty to eat. We gave Bierget the rattles from the rattlesnake.

Speaking of rattlesnakes– “Last night, as I was coming out of the outhouse, I heard the rustle of rattlesnake rattles on the rocks. Bob had left a shovel in the sand pile by the cement mixer so I held the light in one hand and chopped the snake with the other, while also yelling for Bob who was already in bed but who came downstairs.” It was those rattles we gave to our visitor.

August 22nd: I started freezing peaches from our little tree (I remember being impressed that this small tree could produce so many delicious peaches) and made blackberry jelly. By the end of the summer we had 75 pints of frozen peaches. We heard coyotes at 8 a.m. that morning

“Bob and I went to a meeting in Junction City this evening on the dams to be built. We thought people were rude and not sticking to the subject and left around 10. Others felt the speaker was entirely at fault. A local realtor made an idiot of himself. “ After all this time I’m assuming the arguments were for and against the dam and whether or not it would destroy property without sufficient compensation, and/or enrich those who would have property along the reservoir.

“Went to Redding with Nancy and Florence. We shopped for material and patterns at Dickers and I bought some very expensive shoes ($17.00). They fit very well, are nice looking and should last a long time. Guilt pangs though. Also bought some gold corduroy for a jumper for myself and some reversible quilted material for one for Rebecca. We went to the museum at Redding Park for about 15 minutes to see some watercolor paintings one of Florence’s instructors had on exhibit. Poor Florence—that’s the main reason she went down.” I hadn’t remembered that I’d made clothes for myself that I actually wore!

We ate dinner in Big Bar and while we were there Senator Randolph Collier came in and we were introduced. “My general impression was of a big, pompous, slob with a shock of white wavy hair.” Can you be sued for slander after all these years?

(This photo is of Chris and Frank Hadley who were hired to live out at the ranch before we moved from the Bay Area–they did a lot of work and took care of the place and loved it.)

Froze 14 pint of peaches one day and 15 another. Bob took them to put in Florence’s freezer.

So busy–hemming old dresses for school, schoolwork needing to be done.

Florence, Leonard, Nancy, David, Robin, Noel, Kathleen and Freckles (the dog) came out for dinner. David helped Bob unload the generator. (Must have been a new one). Bob had spent the morning leveling the ground and fixing a place for the exhaust. I chipped ice for the ice cream and got dinner on the table. Nancy and Florence cleaned up most of the dishes—we used paper plates, which helped—before they left.

“The generator gives us bright lights. I can run the vacuum cleaner, etc. Very nice for sitting up after dinner when the baby is in bed to do school work! It goes on when you pull the light switch, while before we had to turn it on at the generator. “

“We saw a bear go across the top of the meadow this morning. It stood up to sniff the air. “

I drove to Big Bar and bought 25 pounds of sugar. Picked blackberries along the road on the way home. Also elderberries. Froze some blackberries and made jam from the rest. Sorted and froze the elderberries. (this photo of the house was taken by the Danish foreign exchange student who came for dinner with the Woods)

Spent a full day in teachers’ meetings and another working in the classroom, mostly on bulletin boards.

My last entry for nearly a year: “After dinner and dishes I picked the rest of the peaches off the tree by the lilac. I canned three pints, made a large baby-food jar of jam from leftovers. The pears I picked are ripening and I froze five boxes of them. Bob has gone to bed. I’ve cleaned up the fruit remains, am writing in this and am also going to bed now.”

Summer 1966 Continues

Posted by Susy in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Summer 1966 Continues

The Kamloops in Redding were interested in buying some of the old mining pipe (this is the pipe that David Adrian hauled for us shortly after we got married). Bob had built a hoist in the woods on a former logging landing and that’s where it was stacked. The goal had been to line the old water ditch that, years ago, ran from above the meadow quite a distance up the hill to the creek and was used for irrigation. The remains of the pond could still be seen at the head of the meadow.

But he decided PVC pipe would be better—easier to transport, less maintenance and evaporation. George Costa, who was apparently mining again, was also interested in the pipe and Bob went to see George and Martha one day. Martha gave him a couple of peaches, two large onions, some greens and some squash, which he brought home.

One thing that surprised me was how I’d gotten into jelly making, Wild gooseberries grew in the flat where the pipe was stacked and Rebecca and I went up so I could pick some. Wild gooseberry jelly is delicious. I also made raspberry jelly from berries Florence had given me from her yard—the first jelly I’d ever made. Florence made raspberry pies and cobblers, nearly always present at family gatherings. There were wild raspberries at the ranch and blackberries, enough for snacking.

I think I was trying to preserve as much as I could from the ranch to see us through the coming year in town.

Barbara Austin was going take care of Rebecca while I taught 5th grade. JoAnn Peters was originally going to but she was expecting. Barbara’s husband, Jim, was the minister at Trinity Congregational Church.

In between working at his job and on projects at the ranch, Bob would help people with their stereo or other electronic problems. He made several trips out to the Trinity Lake area to help the Riordan’s with their stereo set up.

The “cellar” we were working on was actually just space under the back porch, dug out and leveled, where we were going to have a food storage cellar. We also eventually put our washing machine down there. Bob would get home late that summer fairly often because, after work, he’d pick up a load of gravel for the cellar. We built a rock wall against the back and ends but then poured cement behind it. I tamped it while he was pouring and helped with putting rocks into the cement.

Family: My younger brother, Richard, who was in the Navy, was going to be stationed in Washington D.C. Alice Jones hiked into Deer Creek and saw Peter and Angenett, their children and the other couple. They were apparently doing fine but the cold weather had been hard on them

One day Bob came home with a battery, which he hooked up to the generator. Then he put a 50-watt bulb in the lamp and put another lamp upstairs. It was really nice! When the generator was off we could still use the lights because of the battery.

We had people come for dinner more often than I’d remembered. One afternoon Bob drove down to Prairie Creek to meet Vivian and Elsie Tye, so they wouldn’t have to drive on our narrow road. Bob had bought the ranch from Fred and Elsie Tye and Vivian had grown up out there. Elsie brought some of her old pictures of this place and the upper ranch and people.

Occasionally I’d have a “what a day!. July 19th was one of those—I tried canning applesauce. Got one jar ready but a second one was about an inch short. I had the water all ready to boil, then noticed no flame under the pan, no gas. Fortunately we weren’t clear out—the valve on one tank was turned off. I turned it on and then scurried around lighting pilot lights—stove, hot water heater and refrigerator (found a very old dehydrated, dead mouse under there). A sonic boom occurred while I was trying to light the refrigerator. For half a second I thought one of my efforts had blown up!

Meanwhile the washing machine kept stopping and having to be started. Rebecca woke up so we ate and then I finished the laundry.

In the afternoon she played out on the porch while I sat hemming a dress with my bare feet hung over the edge of the porch. A hornet (maybe it was a bee) got stuck between two toes and left its stinger. I yelled. Rebecca cried. My whole foot swelled up and it was quite painful. I hobbled around, and the next day still couldn’t get my shoe on.

Horace and Alice Jones and Brenda (a niece I think) came for dinner. After we ate, Alice and Brenda washed the dishes. Horace unloaded Bob’s gravel and Bob cut up a walnut branch for Horace, who built beautiful wooden things in his shop at their home in Weaverville. Horace brought a wooden lawn mower he had made for Rebecca. It had wooden balls inside of it.

During the time we were at the ranch I couldn’t do ironing because there wasn’t enough electricity. Diane Mortimeyer and her mom, Fran, and dad, Lawrence lived in Big Bar, and we paid Diane to do the ironing. She always did a great job. Every now and then I’d stop in to leave or pick up some ironing and visit for a while. I noted that the last visit I’d taken down refrigerator rolls for them.

On July 30th we headed north on a last vacation trip for the year, driving over the International Paper Mill Road. I noted it was “a pretty drive but a shame to scar up the country with it and provide such close access to Deadfall Lakes.” We stayed the first night in Klamath Falls and the next day drove to Crater Lake where we saw and talked to Ed Paine and Ted Arthur and families. Both of them were seasonal ranger- naturalists when I worked there. We were on our way to see my eldest brother, Ben and family, at Mt. Rainier, where he was a ranger.

Sugar Pine Lake and More

Posted by Susy in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Sugar Pine Lake and More

We started up the Sugar Pine Lake Trail at 8:00. It was a good trail, steep in spots during the first 5 miles, but the last three were nearly level. We stopped once in the morning for snacks and to let Rebecca run around. Stopped again for lunch and about an hour later for water and to let her play. The trail follows the creek and is through timber all the way. Many small streams run across so there was plenty of water. We passed through several meadows with small creeks and flowers—paintbrush, hellebore (not yet in bloom), monkey flowers, etc. In one meadow we startled a bear with a cub. She ran and the cub came down a tree and scampered after her.

We arrived at the lake at 1:30 and made camp. We each took a turn on the lake on an air mattress while the other played in the shallows with the baby. The lake is surrounded on two sides by step, jagged cliffs and tall forest comes down to the other shores- sugar pine, red fir, hemlock and another pine. Large boulders are scattered throughout the trees at one end. There were still patches of melting snow and a beautiful, cold stream plunging down short falls into the lake.

We ate macaroni and pudding the first night. Rebecca cried often during the night. I thought it was a combination of a new place and new food. She slept for about half an hour, then woke and wanted to chatter till about 10:00. We finally were too tired to sing or talk any more and she continued to talk to herself! There was a bright moon during the night and this was nice to lie and watch, especially its affects on the cliffs.

Most of the next day we loafed. She took a couple of short naps. We took our lunches over to where the inlet is, and ate at the foot of the waterfall. There were shooting stars and monkey flowers in bloom. Ferns grew in cracks in the rocks. There was an orchid not yet in bloom. In the afternoon we floated on the air mattress gain. Saw a Douglas squirrel, chickadees, juncos, robins, Steller’s jays and brown creepers in camp. We had a chipmunk gnaw a hole through our cloth lunch sack. Also, something took our bar of soap during the night.

I forgot to mention that we killed a small rattlesnake on the trail on the way in yesterday. Bob had passed already and it crawled across in front of me to hide under a rock.

The next day, I noted that there had been a strong wind that second night, with clouds blowing across now and then. Rebecca had slept very well. After breakfast she was ready for a nap and we packed while she slept in Bob’s sleeping bag. We stopped for lunch along a creek where there were azaleas and tiger lilies in bloom. We also passed several large bushes of blossoming 9-bark. She slept off and on as we hiked.

About a mile from the road we noticed a helicopter circling above us. It would disappear, go down toward Coffee Creek, and circle. Then a bomber joined it. When the bomber came we knew there was a fire. Further along we looked back and could see smoke rising part way up the ridge–well above the trail. The plane dropped borate but there was a strong wind and flames shot up the hill. Later, we watched nine smoke jumpers drop, three at a time. One landed in a tree. Two appeared to be dragged by the wind some distance across the brush with their orange parachutes.

By 2:30 we were back at the car. Drove into Weaverville and bought a few groceries, ate dinner in Big Bar and then home to get cleaned up.

The next day we all slept until 8:30. I did four batches of laundry. Bob cleared out the cellar area and we hauled some rocks from the top of the meadow and from down by the creek. In the afternoon he drove into Weaverville to bring back sand and cement. Our small cement mixer worked well.

Saturday we had rain, and some lightning and thunder. Rebecca appeared to be exhilarated by the storm, running up and down the porch yelling and talking. During dinner that night we saw a black bear wandering down along the edge of the field, opposite the house. After dinner I took her up to the top of the hill to pick some wild raspberries. Came back, bathed her; read to her and put her to bed. Then I went to pick some apples. “Every time I pulled on an apple, water poured off the trees onto me from the rain.” Bob mixed cement and placed rocks.

Sunday Bob suggested we go see the Ohdes, so after lunch we took the ice cream freezer, eggs, vanilla, etc. and picked up cream, milk and ice at Big Bar. We drove up to Eagle Rock Lookout. Doris, Dave and the two children were there. We visited, made ice cream, ate our ice cream and the cake that they’d made. We were invited to dinner and, while Doris was fixing it, the rest of us walked down to the spring. The trail drops down through Douglas and red fir, and crosses the hillside through brush and madrones. The water runs out of a small pipe. There are several galvanized tubs down there, apparently used for bathing by plane watchers during the war. They’d fill them with water and let them heat up in the sun. Several were short and more-or-less oval. One was large and barrel-shaped. We saw some old boschniaka (ground cones—a parasitic plant) along the trail to the spring as well as daisies, Indian paintbrush and penstemon.

We could see our laundry hanging on the line from up there! The changing light on the mountains was wonderful—there were thunderheads drifting around and now and then they would block the sun. It was cold and windy when we left around 8:30.

Spring Into Summer

Posted by Susy in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Spring Into Summer

Spring into Summer

I would be remiss if I forgot to mention the Treasure Hunt. After our daughter was born,Bob asked Dr. Breeden whether he’d like to be paid by having to find the check. For some reason this really appealed to our doctor. He thought it a great idea and a challenge and said he’d take his son with him on the search. So Bob figured out different clues that involved a compass and all kinds of directions to various places. It seems to me that the last clue included going to the cemetery and having to find several different pioneer tombstones, do some subtracting of dates, and pacing different directions. I wish I’d written all that down at the time.

My Mother’s Day present was flowers, four lilies that looked like tiger lilies. “They are so pretty, and it’s the first time I’ve been given flowers!” I planned to plant them at the ranch after they finished blooming. We went out to the ranch where Bob mowed the lawn and I cleaned the refrigerator and outhouse. Cool in the morning and warm in the afternoon. The Ohdes came out. Bob and Dave worked on the spring, diverting the upper spring water so it flowed directly instead of through the lower spring box. They connected it to a bathtub, which acted as a settling tank. Doris, Eric, Linda and I walked up to the upper flat and I showed them how to find the trail to the Upper Ranch. Then we went back to the house to make ice cream. After lunch Eric went to help Bob and Dave while Doris and Linda and I went upstairs to paint the floor. Later we all ate ice cream and cake and then went home.

I substituted two days at Lewiston, 1st and 2nd grades, on the 19th and 20th. Stayed overnight in Weaverville. Bob got back at 2 a.m. after working on Minersville phones. He worked at Minersville several nights in the next few weeks, not getting in until 2 or 3:00 a.m.

Scoot Miller’s agreed on price was $500 although he found afterwards that the work didn’t take quite that long. Bob helped one night working with the tractor in a place where Scoot would have sunk.

Bob Gravette was running for County School Superintendent and I began to help with the campaign a bit. I traveled some, taking Rebecca, and going as far as Del Loma.

Hal Sebring urged Bob to develop a trail counter saying it would help preserve Wilderness Areas by recording the number of people using the trails.

We moved back out to the ranch. Rebecca delayed the start a bit, the first day, by trying to feast on axle grease. Took some time to clean her!

Bob strung chicken wire on the south porch so it could be used as a large play area. He found a large leak in the pipe under the English walnut three. This pipe was about 60 years old and quite rusty. He fixed that but of course another leak showed up. Eventually it would all be replaced with pvc pipe.

“There’s a flicker nest in the second apple tree. The young sound like bees! Adults had peeled bark and twigs off that section and drilled a hole. “

We got some rain in early June. I finished planting my small garden and hauled a wheelbarrow of manure from the barn.

We celebrated Rebecca’s first birthday with my brother Peter and family—cupcakes and homemade ice cream at the ranch. Peter found a piece of chipped obsidian in the leak under the English walnut. He was working on trails for the USFS that summer. I think that was the summer when his whole family went out and camped on the trail, somewhere near Deer Creek. One of his co-workers and his wife camped there also. A cloudburst in Big Bar “severely washed” our road.

Shortly after her birthday, Rebecca started going up and down the ramp to the porch and walked up to the orchard a couple of times. “She’s so pleased with herself. She inches down the ramp the way I go on escalators!”

One Saturday Bob worked most of the day on the road. The drag broke so he took the tractor down to use instead. Rebecca and I ate lunch with him by the gate. Then we went home and took five gallons of gas over to him. On the way back from lunch a limb caught and wedged between the back fender of the VW and the front wheel, like a bow. I cut it with a hacksaw but it had dented the fender.

I gave Bob a picture of Rebecca for Father’s Day. Then he left to meet Dave in Weaverville to go fishing on Rush Creek.

My sister-in-law, Angenett, along with her three (Cedric, Nicholas, and Jessica) and Rebecca and I went to Tahoe to see my parents, leaving on a Tuesday (the eldest child was about four and youngest six months—I think we were in Peter and Angenett’s VW bus). The first day there went well, with some hiking with kids—my mother took care of Cedric—it was a short walk but there were bogs, snowplants, etc. The second day my dad had trouble with his heart at lunchtime, trouble breathing. After a nap he seemed much better but it was frightening. We left Friday and were back in Weaverville by 7:30. Reading this now I think we must have been nuts to make a trip like that with all those little ones!

While I was gone, Bob had installed an apartment-sized gas range where the gas plate used to be. It was brown and I was quite pleased. I could broil now and could bake without heating the whole house up with the wood stove. He also put an electric light in the house, 25 watt, 12 volt. It put out more light than the Aladdin lamp and we used the Aladdin shade for it. And he began building a shelter for our generator. That evening Frank Walden came up to tell us that their generator had stopped so we drove down there and Bob fixed it. We had ice cream and cookies and admired their house, which they’d fixed up nicely.

Doris was the lookout on Eagle Rock that summer. We still had no phone at the ranch, and she and I worked out an agreement that, if I needed help, I’d flash her with a mirror and she could report it. With her binoculars she could see a little white dot (the baby in diapers) running around on our lawn.

Because there was a prolonged time of bad weather we postponed a backpack trip a few days. This meant we would be taking Rebecca with us to Sugar Pine Lake since Florence was going to be gone.

Late Spring 1966

Posted by Susy in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Late Spring 1966

Life continued to revolve around family, road access, phone line, and having to earn a living—not always in that order. Having phone contact at the ranch was very important but getting to that point was taking a long time. There were trees to trim, insulators to put on them, brush to clear from underneath the line, wire to string, and Bob could work on it only after work or on weekends.

One Sunday, Bob went early to work on the phone line. Florence came to watch Rebecca while I went to join Bob. It was one of those warm spring days “with clouds frequently passing over the sun, making it cool enough for a sweater but as soon as the clouds passed, too warm for the sweater.”

Just before I’d left, Doris Ohde had phoned asking whether they could bring their lunch and eat at our house. I told her where we’d be and we met them as they drove up. We ate lunch above Waldens and then they walked up the trail and on up to the ranch. Bob and I worked till 4:00. I cut poison oak and other shrubs beneath the line and pruned the trail. We left a note asking Ohdes to dinner. They came and we had a very good time.

Bob met Scoot Miller on the way out and Scoot wanted to move our slides. Bob told him he hadn’t asked yet because we couldn’t pay him. He said he would do the work and we could pay when we had the money. The next day I had poison oak. Wednesday it was snowing.

My mother sent a letter about trapping pine martens. She and my dad had found old traps at the park where they were living–D.L. Bliss– (against the law in state parks). The season had been closed since 1952. The trappers would nail a piece of galvanized metal on the side of a tree and bend it into a little roof where they put the baited trap. When the season closed in 1952, pine marten pelts were worth $20-$40 each.

One day some boys from elementary school stopped by and I gave them all popsicles: Ricky, Lennie and Jim Anderson, Tony and Tye Duncan, and Kevin Monroe.

My morning walks were longer now and much easier as I started carrying Rebecca on my back in a Gerry Pack. These types of packs are common now for carrying children but were rare then. People used to stop me and marvel at what a great idea idea it was. One day, when walking with Rebecca, a deer came right up to us to be petted. The hair was worn off its neck where a collar had been—obviously had been someone’s pet.

Then my mother wrote that my dad had a heart attack two weeks ago. Why hadn’t they called one of my brothers or me? She drove him to a doctor and they did call a family friend who was a doctor. No heart damage but no more physical labor at that elevation. They didn’t want to be a bother to anyone but…yikes!

I substituted for a couple of days at Cox Bar School.

We continued to look for land where we could live while also trying to fix things up at the ranch and finally decided to buy land in Weaverville. I would have to go to work. We would rent the Ohde’s house for the coming school year as they were going to Corvallis so Dave could go to OSU during that time. I was offered a teaching job at the Weaverville elementary school.

Shooting stars, fawn lilies and redbud were in bloom at Big Flat as was buckbrush ceanothus. Madrones were just starting to bloom.

In March Rebecca could take a couple of steps but by the end of April
she was running instead of walking, and preferably while holding something in one hand. She chattered constantly in her own language.

On the last day of April, after dinner, we drove downriver to look at a second proposed dam site for the Helena Dam. If used, all of Big Bar would be covered and the lake would be only a short distance from the ranch. Helicopter sites had to be prepared on both sides of the river, at both sites, so they could drill down about 200 feet. These had to be prepared by hand as it was too steep for bulldozers. We drove up Swede Creek to get a closer look at the spot.

This was part of a plan to send more water to Southern California from the northern part of the state. This State Water Plan would create a project that would include 10 dams and reservoirs, 700 miles of canals and pipelines, and eight hydroelectric power plants to send water from Northern California to cities and farms in central and southern California. A second plan, from what I could find online, was to bring even more water from places like the Trinity, where “water was abundant and people were not”. Part of the plan included a dam on the Eel River that would have flooded Round Valley near Covelo. But the dams, tunnels and pumps would have destroyed the salmon-fishing industry. My information source says that then Governor Ronald Regan refused to approve this plan.

I do have some concerns that such a plan might get resurrected, given the water needs, or perceived needs, of the state and the realization that climate change is affecting water supplies for cities and the huge agri-business industry.

Nevada City

Posted by Susy in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Nevada City

I thought I’d forgotten to take my camera but found it the night before we left Quincy. No wedding pictures but sometimes it’s just as well to focus on the moment. I took a picture or two of historic buildings the morning we left.

Nevada City was a result of a Great Old Broads auction I’d bid on last fall. We kept trying to figure out a good time to go plus coordinating with the homeowner. Kathleen K. had offered her home for two nights plus breakfasts. Sight unseen she was willing to take two guests, like a personal B & B. The wedding got us close and the timing worked well.

What a treat! It was so hot during that time and had been very smoky in that part of the state. But it all worked out. We don’t have Smart Phones and my GPS had malfunctioned but Nevada City is about the size of Weaverville and people were able to point us toward the correct street.

Her home was off the street and quite private. It was inviting even at that time of year but must be even more inviting in the spring when everything is green. The house backs up against a grassy hillside dotted with ponderosa pines and several blue oaks edge the driveway. She has a large, organic garden surrounded by a high fence to keep out the deer. I was delighted to find a little stream, a water ditch, running down one side of the yard. One afternoon I sat alongside on some rocks and soaked my feet in the cold water.

The upstairs was where our room was located. It was quite large, with windows on three sides, and we had our own bathroom–a thing of beauty in itself with wonderful floor tiles and a window view. No need to worry about neighbors. Bookshelves lined the bedroom walls. There was an oval wood table and wicker chairs. There was a fan and air conditioning if we needed it. At night, with the windows open, the only sound was the crickets.

After Kathleen had welcomed us and shown us around she led the way downtown for a quick overview by car. She went home and we went to a pizza place, where we’d stopped to ask directions on the way in, and ordered Greek pizza and salad for dinner. Kathleen had gone to see friends. When we got home we brought the extra pizza for her to have for dinner if she wanted it. She did.

The next morning Kathleen fixed waffles, bacon and fruit, including fresh blackberries she’d picked in her yard. We ate out on the patio. She is a gifted potter and we enjoyed using some of the items she’d made–a syrup pitcher, a bowl, etc. –with our breakfasts.

Then she led us to where a trailhead begins above town. It’s a popular spot—a wide trail that goes along side a very large water ditch that runs from the Yuba River. The ditch and the trail are both about eight feet across. The water itself was probably 3-4 feet across the surface. The trail is for hikers, bikers and runners. We could see the edge of a subdivision above the ditch and some people had built little bridges to access the trail. Tom and I walked out a mile and back. Kind of hot and a bit smoky but still a good thing to do. There’s a woodpecker preserve along the ditch.

After we rested awhile at the house we drove downtown again to look around. Really too hot to do much exploring. It’s an historic 1850s mining town and the buildings have been well taken care of–would be fun to explore more in cooler weather. We decided to eat an early dinner and went back to the pizza place, Northridge Restaurant, where we each had big salads (tri-tip for Tom and salmon for me) and a glass of beer.

Breakfast the next morning was out on the patio again–granola and bacon (Kathleen had offered eggs) and fresh fruit. What a good time we had! I told Tom I’d just stay there and he could pick me up on his way home. But off we went.

Winter 1965 to Spring 1966

Posted by Susy in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Winter 1965 to Spring 1966

So it wasn’t mobile phones that were being worked on. I found a 1965 Trinity Journal news clipping that explains the phone project. At that time the phone company was called Western Telephone. They were offering the county a new 150-megacycle radio communication system on a lease basis. Bob was the company communication engineer. ‘He said the radio system, using Motorola Company equipment, had been substituted for a proposed mobile dial telephone system which the company had previously offered but which the sheriff and road departments had found unsuitable to their needs.’

“The coranchmpany proposes to install a repeater on Hayfork Bally and another on Oregon Mountain if the county would want a standby emergency unit.” The lease system would eliminate the need for a capital outlay to purchase equipment. Maintenance of the system would be included in the lease contract. The county’s current radio system was obsolete according to Sheriff Tom Kelly and Road Commissioner Ivan Jeans. The monthly rental would be “considerably lower than the dial mobile service” according to Gilman Snyder, president of the phone company. So that explains that!

My days continued to revolve around our child and making sure my husband got fed. Most mornings I’d take a walk with the baby after Bob had left for work. There was always housework—dishes, laundry, bathing the baby, feeding her and I often made bread. During bad weather I was more restricted so far as going outdoors was concerned but I did take magazines I’d finished down to Big Bar where there was a loaning/exchange area for books and magazines. I saved baby food jars to give to the school for artwork painting projects and saved some for Horace Jones, in Weaverville, for screws and nuts and other small objects for his shop. And I’d go to Weaverville to buy groceries, either on my own or with Bob.

We spent Christmas at Lake Tahoe (DL Bliss State Park) with my parents. When we arrived there were two feet of snow on the ground. They had such a nice house—an A-frame roof with beams, fireplace and a floor furnace. It started snowing that night. The wind howled in the chimney and the snow piled up. We left the baby with my mother the next day and rode down to Emerald Bay with my dad for an hour or so. A lost traveler woke us up at 5:30 on Christmas day. We took turns opening the baby’s presents.

One thing about having a son who is gifted with electronics is that you might get interesting Christmas presents. Bob’s Christmas present for Leonard that year was a switch that would turn off the sound on the TV commercials.

Back in Trinity, a few days later, it was snowing. Rebecca stood for the first time in her crib the last day of December. In early January, with the advent of more storms. the electricity kept going off. Bob couldn’t make it up to the creek. He put chains on all four tires to get to the top of the hill above Walden’s, where there was a slide. He managed to move enough of it to get past. At the gulch, which washed out last year, was a huge rockslide with a big oak in it. Both of these slides were where new roadwork had been done. I wrote, “He’s pretty discouraged, especially about finances for removal.” On the 4th we rode into town with him to get groceries—he chained up before we left. No electricity in Weaverville when we got there. “Trees had fallen all over town and a big limb had broken off the tree in Florence & Leonard’s back yard.” It snowed steadily all day. We stayed that night in town and learned later that it had taken Irene Nunn three hours to get home to Big Bar from town.

The phone company, courthouse, hospital and Morris Hardware had their own power systems. The bank moved one of their machines into the phone company office. Everyone else used Coleman and kerosene lanterns. We cooked on the trash burner at Florence & Leonard’s and kept the fireplace going.

A few days later, Bob and Larry Donaldson snowshoed to the top of Oregon Mt. to work on equipment. By January 10th we were back home at Big Flat. We still had no working phone. On the 15th he walked up to the ranch. There was about a foot of snow at the gate. Only a few trees were across the road, to our surprise. The clay slide by the creek was very large and fluid and had come down a little onto the bridge.

We had a serious discussion about living year-round at the ranch. Bob thought maybe we could buy a Scout and put blades on both it and the jeep. The idea of building another house and going further in debt on more land was very discouraging to both of us.

Earnest Duncan stopped by one evening. Earnest and his family had a ranch on the other side of the river. Two of his grandsons had been in my classroom at Cox Bar School. Earnest had walked way up on Manzanita Ridge and back looking for some lost cows and wanted to know whether Bob had seen them up at the ranch. He looked so tired, as if he were about to fall over. Earnest said the snow was quite deep. He had stayed on the north side where it was crusted but would fall through up to his waist whenever he crossed over bushes.

Bob continued to work on mobile units and testing how the phones worked from different places. Another day he left the car and went with someone to Horse Mountain. The mobile operated quite well from there to Oregon Mountain, a distance of about 60 miles. Sometimes he had to stay overnight in Willow Creek.

When I got a few spare minutes I would read and was reading Bequest of Wings and King Solomon’s Ring. We were in a “no pennies till payday” week. “The jeep is paid for now but we have income tax and fire insurance to pay.” I made bread. One thing about having a baby around was that there were always some new adventures being tried out. She was now crawling all over the house when I let her out of the playpen.

Later on, Bob was able to tell Earnest Duncan that he had heard cowbells above Walden’s. Earnest stopped by to tell me to thank Bob. He said he had found two cows in good shape and was leaving them till he could take them up Manzanita Ridge in a few weeks.

Bob continued to work on our telephone line to the ranch on weekends. He cut some trees that had fallen across it and spliced the line where it was broken.

One day, after Bob had left to go work on ourRebecca, 1965 phone line, the house began to get quite smoky. I found smoke pouring from a section of stovepipe in the living room. I thought there might be a flu fire and called Darrel Towne in Big Bar. He said he’d call the Forest Service. About five minutes later three USFS men came with their truck. They looked things over and decided to clear the stack. They climbed up on the roof and lowered a wire, scraping enough soot aside to allow the fire to draw (Bob had just said that morning that he thought he would have to drop a chain down the stack). When I went to take Bob’s lunch to him at 1:00 o’clock, he decided to come home and do a thorough job of cleaning it, and he did.

It just seemed as if there were one thing after another with the road. In the old days I think it was easier to rebuild a section of trail. Plus they didn’t need access in and out every day in order to make a living. Roads make things more complicated. Providing for water runoff is a huge issue and this road seemed to really want to be a trail. Toward the end of February Bob came home soaking wet after borrowing Frank Walden’s Tote Goat to check on the road and finding there was another slide just below the gate—huge boulders. He thought the clay slide might stabilize sooner than we had expected though, a slight bit of cheer. We found out George Costa had sold everything—house, cats, mine, etc. so he wouldn’t be able to work on our road.

A few nights later Bob called about 4:30 saying he was coming down Horse Mountain in a snowstorm through about eight inches of snow with fog and snow blending so well it was quite difficult to see the road. He arrived safely but late.