Early Fall 1968

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When I last wrote about life at the “ranch” we had just returned from a 7-day horse packing trip into the New River area. After picking up the children we spent the night at the house in town and the next day headed for the ranch, stopping to see Florence and Leonard briefly on the way. Florence was washing and drying horse blankets. Took Rebecca to ride Topsy and Daphne for a few minutes before we left. She seemed very nervous—I think our absence was hard on her.

We went out to the ranch where I did several batches of laundry. We picked green beans and squash from the garden and apples from the orchard to take with us the next day as we headed for Nehalem, Oregon to see my parents. I left most of the children’s things packed as Barbara had washed them all. On our way to Oregon we ate dinner in Yreka and stayed overnight in Ashland. We went to Lithia Park to feed ducks and geese before going to the motel and stopped by there the next morning as well.

My parent’s house in Nehalem was yellow and two-storied. It looked old and had peeling paint but then coastal weather is hard on the outside of a house. Inside it was quite nice. They owned six lots up on a ridge with a view of the ocean and a river in the distance and a good view of Neahkahnie Mountains, steep peaks along the ocean. Their yard once had masses of blackberries but they’d done a big clearance job. There were lots of elderberries, maples, ferns and a shore pine, and spruce as well as some small holly trees. The kitchen was long and narrow but quite pleasant with doors to the garage, a half bath and the cellar. The living room had large windows in one corner and a fireplace. Upstairs were three bedrooms and a bathroom. They used one of the bedrooms as a utility room. The first day that we went to the beach was cool and foggy but we enjoyed it–Rebecca picked up everything in sight and brought it home, sand and all.

My mother didn’t pass her driver’s test when they moved there and they seemed kind of isolated but happy enough. The next day, at another park, we walked where there were several shallow caves and a waterfall. Later we ate lunch on the sand where both children ended up with sand in all their food but didn’t seem to mind. The third day I came down with the children’s cold. While the others took our car to get it lubed my mother and I went down into the basement, brought up some scraps of wood and built a fire. That Saturday we left. I voiced concern in my notes for living so far from them, not being able to check on them now and then.

We drove on Highway 22 and near Sisters Rebecca saw her first rainbow. It was a brilliant one with a more faded second one above it. We passed a lot of ranches that made us want to buy them. After eating dinner in Crescent we drove on to Chemult where we spent the night. It was noisy with lots of trucks and a train.

Sunday we drove through Crater Lake—cloudy, cold and some rain. There was snow and ice on the road. We stopped at park headquarters for a few minutes where Bob took pictures of some buildings and the microwave set-up while Rebecca and I ran up and down the road. We ate lunch in Jacksonville and visited the museum. They turned their old courthouse into a museum and it had lots of room. Rebecca didn’t seem to get bored—we kept moving and also there were lots of dolls and toys displayed. We ran though the Siskiyou County Museum and got to Weaverville about 9:30.

The next morning Bob got called in to work on the budget. I took clothes and children over to Florence & Leonard’s and washed a couple of batches of laundry. Bought groceries, mowed the lawn. We stayed overnight in town. Tuesday I took Rebecca to the library, did some shopping and went to the ranch where I unpacked, comforted children a lot and picked vegetables. The days continued pretty much in this fashion with berry picking—elderberries– making jelly, chopping wood. Bob was spending some work days tromping around on Weaver Bally looking for a good micro-wave site. It was getting colder at night and I began covering the tomato plants. Both chimneys had screens clogged with creosote that Bob cleaned off. In the warm, Indian Summer afternoons I picked and wrapped apples for when we would move back into town. Weaverville had three heavy frosts but we were still ok.

At the town house Bob dug up some azalea and rhododendron bushes by the back door where he wanted to put a porch. The Ohdes gave us a little kitten, gray with white bib and feet, that Rebecca named Tigger.

October 1st: “Jeffrey has been climbing onto Rebecca’s rocking chair the last few days. He gets up and down for 20 minutes at a time, sometimes sitting and rocking for a minute. It’s quite a struggle and sometimes he gets one leg caught and needs help. It drives Rebecca nuts because he ‘s having so much fun with her chair. She’ll sit in it even though she doesn’t really want to, just to keep him out. She is still quite nervous. Haven’t been able to calm her down since our pack trip.”

One day I tried to find the trail that goes around the point to Big French Creek. I found it but all the approaches seemed to be narrow deer trails that Rebecca couldn’t negotiate. We went up on our ridge and sat and talked, looking across at the house through the red poison oak leaves. The mountain on the other side of Little French Creek was beautiful that morning—“deep blue with just the tops of some of the taller firs catching the sunlight. Yellow leaves of maples on this side crisp against the dark. ” That day I picked some apples and made two quarts of applesauce, which I froze, and one pint of apple juice. Did some rockwork. Picked lettuce for salad and made sauce from some of our tomatoes. Rebecca took a new book to bed with her that night.

A few days later we were in Weaverville. Bob flew to Mad River and got back late. I took the truck over to the sand and gravel place and picked up a ton of gravel, brought it back to the house and unloaded it. Took the truck back and got the car and bought groceries. After lunch I got another ton of sand and redwood board for a mudsill. Out at the ranch that weekend Bob worked on the generator and I did laundry. We both did rockwork in the afternoon and he put in a mudsill. I picked the rest of the tomatoes. I’d gotten up at 3 a.m. the night before to build a fire in the big stove.

A couple of days later Bob stayed in town overnight to get an early start on going to Mad River. He was really late getting back and I began to worry about him and made a few phone calls. No one thought he’d be staying in Mad River. Bob got home about 11:30 p.m. He had a fawn in the truck. It was this year’s fawn but had lost its spots. It had a large gash in its left rear leg, very deep. He took the 22 and went down the road with poor animal but by the time he got to where he was going to stop it had already died. He had found it at the foot of the clay slide on this side of our creek.

Friends from the Bay Area came and stayed overnight (Ted and Betsy Lewis and children). Bob, Ted and Ned got in some fishing at the river and then the next day in Canyon Creek before they had to head back home. It was cold with some snow in the rain. Made my first green tomato pie. It was good—kind of like mincemeat. On nice days I’d take the children up into the meadow beyond the orchard because the house was mostly in the shade in the mornings now. Afternoons were pleasant out on the lawn.

Bob went to Mad River on a Monday and stayed overnight. That day, after lunch, the children and I played and read out on the lawn. Jeffrey would climb up on the porch with much effort, walk around for a while and then get off the porch by falling off. Tuesday evening Bob called to say he had to stay in Mad River one more night. I put the last of the gas in the generator.

The next day the children and I drove to Big Bar and had coffee and snacks at Towne’s restaurant. Went across the street to get a few groceries and gas for the generator. Stopped at Bill Jackson’s old place at Prairie Creek and picked some wild grapes on the way home. Also picked up a few rocks along the road to take home for the foundation.

“It was really exciting to have Bob home again after three days and two nights with just the three of us. Rebecca kept up a constant stream of chatter with him until I put her to bed.”

On one of our mid-October walks we found mushrooms at the edge of the woods, pushing up through the pine needles. I rolled a little log over and we found a salamander, about three inches long with yellow legs and tip of the tail, and large bulging eyes. After Rebecca held it we put it back and replaced the log. We looked under many other logs but found no more salamanders. Under one small, rotting log we found carpenter ants and their eggs and a gray scorpion. We came home along the opposite side of the creek and crossed after picking a bunch of wild grapes for Rebecca to nibble on. Jeff was asleep in the pack by then. We found the house full of smoke. The screen on the chimney of the heating stove was plugged again.

New River Part III

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Friday–Today we started out at about 10:00 for Thompson Peak. Florence, Leonard and Vernon took Topsy, Ginger, and Chollo down near the Moliter Mine (about six miles) to go fishing.


Bob and I hiked up the meadow and began to follow ducks and flags zigzagging up through a rockslide. About half an hour later we could look down and see three backpackers coming up towards the falls below us. It was fairly cool today with high, thin clouds and haze in the morning.

We arrived at the lake about 11:30. It’s really pretty—irregular shoreline with Thompson Peak behind and the snowfield glacier right beneath it. Talus slopes to the right and left of the snowfield. Smooth, polished rock around the edges. We immediately set about cleaning up a little before continuing. The water was very cold but refreshing. One interesting thing about the lake was the millions of tiny, red shrimp (I think) in the shallows. Whether they were further out or not I don’t know. There were some on us after ducking into the water and they were in our cup of water.

Jumping across the mouth of the lake, we went around to the other end. The distance between the lake and the waterfall is about 15 feet. We ate lunch at the other end, sitting in a small parch of grass in the shade of a little hemlock. I forgot to mention that there were a number of weeping spruces along the mouth of the lake and we also saw a couple down near camp.

After a large drink of water we began winding up the talus slides. About half way up the ridge we looked back and saw the backpackers at the lake. Later we found out that they had come a much harder way, closer to the falls. We got to the ridge after crossing several damp places with monkey flowers, gentians and penstemons blooming and came to a place that was flat and gravelly. We picked our way up the ridge skirting large boulders, mountain hemlocks and pines, foxtail maybe? We stayed too high, really, going up the edge and had to do some boulder scrambling. Coming back we stayed low.

We went up and down a couple of chimneys coming and going. Finally got to the top. It was hazy but we could see Mt. Shasta to the north and could look down on Grizzly Lake and the glacier to the east (?). Big crevasses in the glacier. Grizzly Lake is shaped somewhat like a big foot. To the south we could look down into Canyon Creek Lakes. Took some pictures and headed down. Talked a few minutes with the three boys at the lake. They were from San Jose and had come in from Cecilville in Siskiyou County. They wanted to know what kinds of jobs were available for a college graduate in Weaverville. They were hoping to climb the face of Thompson Peak.

At around 6:00 we were back at camp. The others hadn’t arrived yet so I started a fire and Bob turned the dogs and the horses loose. The dogs had been left at camp to allow their sore feet to heal. About then the other three came back. Freckles (one of the dogs) was so happy to see Florence that he went over and sat up beside her horse. Fish for dinner that night and brook trout that Leonard had caught for breakfast the next morning.

This may be Potato Mt. from earlier in the trip

South end of Devil’s Backbone

Saturday—Florence and I started walking with Topsy this morning. She said that, after having ridden Topsy yesterday, there was no way to make the horse go faster. Made me feel a lot better about riding her because I was beginning to feel guilty about not keeping up! We walked about three miles and got through the worst of the rocks and steepness. We met four backpackers on the way. The rest of our group caught up with us and soon we were all riding again. We ran into some yellow jackets and Topsy stumbled and nearly fell while running from them.

Adjusting a pack–kind of dark photo

We followed a ditch grade for a long time and looking across the creek could see the piles of rocks left from mining (like the dredging rocks) but these had been hand-placed by the Chinese. The trail today was either level or downhill a good part of the way and Topsy trotted to keep up. So I spent most of the day bouncing.

We stopped for lunch at Mr. Jorstad’s place. He has a log cabin along the trail, which he and a friend (who was with him today) built 40 years ago. The porch and inside floor are large square blocks of wood, with dirt between. There is a loft for sleeping. Outside he has a camp for summer staying with a wooden cupboard, stove, tent, wooden bed (which he made), wooden (pole) swing, swinging couches and a table. Water is piped across the N. Fork to the edge of the camp. A donkey is in the corral. We shared our orange juice and cookies with him and his friend and they talked about the mineral survey being done in the area and his mining, etc. He showed us a small bottle of gold. He’s a small man, thin, balding, nice smile. Quiet way of talking and speaks well.

We went on, Florence and I walking across a couple of bad stretches above the creek and got to Hobo Gulch about 5:15. The boys and trucks were there and, after the horses and saddles were loaded, we drove about 15 miles downhill to reach the highway. Got to Weaverville around 8:00, unloaded horses and went up to Ryan’s to eat. We rode 22 miles on the horses today. I rode Milkshake the last mile and discovered that riding needn’t be all bouncy. He has a rough walk but a very smooth pace.

We picked up the children at Austin’s around 11:00. They both seemed glad to see us even through their sleepiness. We enjoyed looking at them and listening to Rebecca talk—after a week it was like seeing them freshly and newly.

New River, Part 2

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Wednesday—continued—We left camp at 9:00 and rode to Marysville, which was established in 1885 and abandoned, I think, in 1913. There was a Marysville Hotel run by people whose daughter, Mary, is buried there. Nothing there now but myrtle (a groundcover with shiny green leaves and purple flowers) growing among the brush, and old logs and rocks, which were part of the foundation as well as old cans, pieces of iron stove, and bits of pottery. Florence found an old broken red, poker chip and we found an iron lampshade (small, which I brought along). We also found an old piece of rocking chair and the head of a bed.

Then we rode on to White Rock, which was fair-sized compared to Marysville I guess. Here were a number of cabin sites, caved-in cellars, etc. Many old rusted cans and lots of broken bottles. People had done lots of building there. There was even an oven door with a porcelain handle.

We then rode to the Boomer Mine but were unable to see the boomer because of the huge slide in Slide Creek, which has grown to eliminate the trail. Tremendously deep gulch there in the narrow canyon, several hundred feet deep. This was mined by the people who lived at New River City (Old Denny), which we next visited.

At New River City we drank water from a mossy spring—nearly muddied by Sport (Vernon’s dog), who loves water. Then we wandered around. One old cabin remains, another has recently burned. One cellar was carefully rocked in with layers of rocks, those in the corners overlapping smoothly with the walls. I found a tiny bottle with a broken top in the brush.

We went back to Mary Blaine, then up a steep climb all past the Cinnabar Mine, which we’d passed on the way down only on the opposite side. There was an old retort (like a big concrete stove), old cabin and a little shack with chairs in it, and two wheelbarrows. We ate lunch about 1:30 at Mary Blaine, put the packs on, and left at 3:00. We rode right across the top of that big slide that goes up above the Boomer Mine on a narrow little trail. When we came to Election Camp we found a note from Alice and Horace, which they’d left there Sunday when they hiked through. (My notes don’t say where they’d hiked from).

After a big Indian massacre at Lake City in 1864, all the people of the New River area had moved over into Siskiyou County. They didn’t want to lose their vote so they came to this camp to vote—about 300 miners.

We got off the trail a little but soon were going right again. We rode and rode –rocks, brush, timber—and a beautiful view always of Pony Mountain, Cabin Peak, Wedding Cake, and Thompson Peak. The others saw a bear once (I might have been behind on my fat horse!). We finally arrived at a cut over area about 6:30—clear cut and a mess. A wide road led through it. We entered through a hillside meadow full of cattle and they followed us for some distance, calves getting separated from mothers. One calf still had its umbilical cord. Reunions were loud and prolonged.

We found a place to camp off the road a way on the trail to Grizzly. When the horses were turned loose Target headed for the top of the hill and had to be chased. Camp was made in the dark and dinner, drinks and dishes done in the dark also. Two boys came hiking down from Grizzly on their way out. We covered about 17 miles. This may have been the camp where I remember having my highball and sprawling on my sleeping bag to be awakened by Bob telling me I needed to help fix dinner. What a day! I wouldn’t have believed a person could get so tired and sore by riding a horse or see so much beautiful country.

Thursday– We broke camp slowly this morning because our stove was so small and it took a long time to cook hotcakes. We went through one downhill stretch, which was kind of tough because of Topsy’s sway—made me seasick. But our trip kept giving us beautiful views of the Thompson Peak country. We ate lunch at a camp on Grizzly Creek about a mile above the Molieter Mine junction. Lots of large firs, ponderosa (Jeffrey?) pines today and some large incense cedar. The ground cover is thimbleberries and twin berries with the latter having bright orange color.

Just after we started up the hill this morning Florence’s cinch slipped on Milkshake (sometimes people traded off on horses) and the saddle slid way back. It was on steep switchbacks and she really had to work to keep the horse still and get the saddle fixed. We arrived at Grizzly Meadow about 3:30. Tall, jagged cliffs with remains of glaciers up at the top, a thin waterfall dropping down from Grizzly Lake in front of the further cliffs. Bob and I will go there tomorrow. Our camp is at the lower end of the meadow right beside the creek. There is another camp in the trees at the other end, toward the cliffs.

The dogs have such sore feet they can hardly walk. There’s a Douglas squirrel scurrying around just above our sleeping bags.

New River Part I

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The next few stories are going to be about our horse trip into the New River area so I hope my readers enjoy camping trips in the mountains. I’m mostly just copying my journal and re-living the trip in the process. I have slides but most aren’t labeled so I’ll be putting them in randomly. Maybe someone will recognize different places. Unlike my traveling companions I had no experience with horses. I was assigned a gentle horse who hadn’t been ridden much in recent years and probably needed to lose some weight but she wasn’t going to be a discipline problem. It turned out that she had a bad habit though. She would lag behind the others and then trot to catch up. I think Bob took most of the pictures.

We left the children with Barbara and Jim Austen and on September 1st Leonard, Florence, Vernon and I rode in the truck pulling a trailer. Ginger, Ed, and Daphne were in the truck and Topsy and Cholla in the trailer. Bob followed in our jeep, pulling Milkshake and Target in a trailer. When we got to Salyer, Bob, Dave and Chuck weren’t behind us so Leonard and Vernon went back and found them near Mary Carpenter’s—a trailer wheel had sheared bolts and nearly come off—5 more minutes and it would have been off. Bill Jackson had a trailer available so they went to get it. Florence and I stayed at the Salyer store.

We finally got started again only to have the fuel pump on the big truck lose a pin. Bob got it fixed and about a quarter mile further it happened again. We ate lunch at Grizzly Camp and weren’t on the trail until quarter to four. On the trail Vernon went first on Cholla, leading Target; Leonard on Ginger, leading Daphne; Florence on Ed, me on Topsy and Bob on Milkshake. Beautiful country: large Douglas fir, red fir, bracken, and hazel nut bushes. We stopped at 5:30 at Lipp’s Camp. Tall firs around a little green meadow. There was a rocked-in spring which we reached by dropping a bucket with a rope. Steak for dinner—tender and delicious. There was an old miner’s lean-to cabin nearby.

Monday we left camp at 9:45. It was a beautiful trail today. We went through forests of very large Douglas fir, some 8-10 feet in diameter. This was quite alpine appearing country—green meadows, cone-shaped red fir, with branches clear to the ground. We also ran across a couple of hornets’ nests and the horses got skittery. I really had to hold onto Topsy’s saddle horn! We ate lunch at a little stream; sat on a log alongside, about half a mile before Eight Mile Creek. We had to stop several times to re-arrange packs.

Along the way we passed several jeep roads leading to mining claims and also had to lead the horses across a large slide area. There were elderberries and dogwood with berries along the trail. At one spot Bob said he thought we could see the ocean off to the west. At another we could see Mt. Shasta and could look down on a little pond, partially filled with weeds. A large pond, where we watered the horses, had many water dogs (rough-skinned newts).

We stopped about 6:00 o’clock at Summit Mine and set up camp right by the trail. Vegetation was brush and fir. There was trouble with Milkshake. Both he and Target have a crush on Ginger and Milkshake got so tangled around a tree trying to follow her that they had to cut the rope.

This camp has a lot of old iron parts for mining equipment that were hauled in by horses or mules, including the remains of a ball mill. The spring here is small, about 200 feet from camp and comes from an old mine shaft, which has partially caved in. Florence and Leonard said that when they were here 15 years ago there was a cabin here and some men working.

I was really tired from lack of sleep and had sore muscles. My knees got especially stiff (Topsy was quite round).

Tuesday, after lunch, Target and Daphne had to be re-packed. We were sitting on a rocky point that had cedar, Douglas fir, knobcone pine, ponderosa pine and sugar pine on it. There were lots of small, brightly colored rocks with shades of green from yellow to dark. Much of the trail that morning was narrow with loose shale and steep mountainside above and below. There was a metallic clinking of hoofs and clatter of small rocks bouncing down the hill. It was nerve wracking. We also had to watch for holes in the trail. There were a couple of tricky crossings. On one steep dirt gulch Daphne’s lead rope dropped and she went up by herself. The other crossing was a creek with slippery rocks. At another point Chollo took a shortcut and Target had to follow up through brush on a steep side.

Vernon is fun on trips because he’s so full of stories.

Wednesday—Lying in my sleeping bag at Mary Blaine Camp. The sun hasn’t come up yet. There’s a golden glow beyond the Alps. We got here yesterday about 4:30 after more long stretches of shale slides. I couldn’t see how the horses kept on the trail. This is the most dramatic camp so far– to the east, the Alps with Thurston Peak; to the north at least eight ridges, including South Fork Ridge.

The camp is among red firs. There’s a small table between trees, dish towels on barbed wire, open rock stove and little tin stove with a stack, which we’re using to cook. Water comes from a spring in a little meadow just below us. It’s enclosed in a piece of culvert and we share it with the horses. To the far left, looking east, is a large meadow running clear to the top of the ridge. Vernon took the horses over there to feed and then brought them back.

We had our drink (highball) right after getting here yesterday. Really a tired crew I think. Bob and I went down to the spring and washed thoroughly after dinner. Vernon and Leonard took the horses over to the meadow. Florence bathed. Bob and I fixed our sleeping bag sites and I washed the dishes. There was a nearly full moon last night. So pretty.

There is so much country around here—it’s just big. We’d like to come through some time just walking, with Daphne—through part of it anyway, to take more time. People are beginning to stir. It’s 6:15 Big carpenter ants are in bed with me.

August 1968

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The refrigerator had been smelling really bad for awhile. Bob cleaned the vent and searched for the problem. He replaced the burner and put a spring in the pilot that had fallen out. One evening, a few days later, we found behind the refrigerator, behind the casing, a large mouse nest and on the floor about three dehydrated mice.

We must have taken the vacuum cleaner out to the ranch because I wrote of vacuuming upstairs (much better than sweeping, which simply filled the cracks between the boards). That day, after vacuuming, I sat on the back porch visiting with Rebecca and drinking a cup of coffee while “we admired our fine, fat, friendly alligator lizard” that lived out there.

Virgil DeLapp began working on the addition to the Weaverville house. By the 10th it was ready to have foundations poured. By the 14th the rafters were up. By the 22nd there was a roof!

August 8th we were awake most of the night because of a violent thunderstorm. The children slept through it. There were strikes all around us. We got up earlier than usual so Bob would have time to kick rocks out of the road on his way to work. We were sure there would be many because of the hard rain that came with the storm. After the fog cleared off I thought I could see smoke on the Prairie Creek/Trinity River side of the Knob. I called the Forest Service at Big Bar and Bob Johnson said Doris and the plane had called it in. He said that, up to that point, they had about 15 fires– one on Swede Creek, one up near Twin Sisters, etc.

Here’s a busy day: “ two batches of laundry; baked five dozen oatmeal cookies; did an hour’s rockwork after children went down for naps; chopped wood; folded and put away yesterday’s laundry and then today’s; called around to find another sitter for tomorrow– got Cheryl; mopped the downstairs floor; did some mending.” Bob called to say he’d eat in town because he had to fix the mobile system He got home around 9:45 about 15 minutes after someone called to say he was shipping some parts Bob had ordered.

We went to Cathy Marshall’s wedding reception. I met some new people and drank too much champagne. We talked with Alice and Horace Jones about their recent trip to Yosemite. Dick was growing a mustache. I enjoyed talking to Agnes Marshall. Later we went to Varney’s for ice cream, cold drinks, etc. The Austins were there with friends and Judge Paulsen came in. Then back to the ranch to pick strawberries, blackberries, feed and bathe children.

The next day Bob did about six feet of the rockwork and put the back panel on the sink. I did my usual chores and also cleaned out the bathtub-settling tank (for our water). It was a good thing I did that because there was a dead lizard in it; also hellgrammites, some attached to the lizard. And there was a leech type thing about two-inches long with a suction cup on one end that was attached to the tub.

That afternoon a friend from college called from Weaverville. I drove to Big Bar and got ingredients for ice cream and a few other things, then waited for them at Prairie Creek to guide them up our road. Pat and her husband and three children stayed for dinner and left around 8:00 pm.

“Rebecca likes to climb up the ladder when I’m picking apples. Quite fearless about it. She picks one or two that she can reach and then sits on the smaller ladder munching while I pick from the taller one. “

Bob Johnson came out one night about 9:30. He said Doris Ohe had seen the light Bob had out on the porch when he was working on the sink project . Our walking back and forth in front of it made it seem to flicker like a fire and she asked whether he could investigate. They had called and the phone had rung about 15 times he said but we hadn’t heard it. We talked for awhile and then he called Doris on the radio to let her know we were OK.

One Friday Bob flew to Garberville with his boss, Gil Snyder, I assume in Gil’s plane. When they landed on their return trip the wind gusts in Weaverville were so strong that the plane bounced several times.

I started sewing on a little backpack for Rebecca to carry her dolls. Jeff swallowed some aluminum. Bob braced the generator shed and put metal roofing on it. Rebecca got sick with a temperature. We had rain and I draped drying diapers all over the house. Jeff pulled the little shelf upstairs over on himself (small bookcase size). He got a cut under one eye. I had a benign fibroid tumor removed—Dr. Polka chewed gum during the whole procedure. Much worry and stress before and after until results were finally sent to him after a week. Fibroid. Relief.

There was some snow on Weaver Bally after the last storm and six inches on Granite Peak.

Jeff’s first birthday arrived and Rebecca helped fix the cake, a few cupcakes and a tiny cake in her small cake pan.

Quite often I’d bring fruit or vegetables into town to share: apples, peaches, green beans. We were getting ready for a horse packing trip and were going to leave Rebecca and Jeff at Austin’s and be gone almost a week so I tried to do some harvesting ahead of time. We were going to go with Florence, Leonard, and Vernon Ryan.

July 1968

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I’m enjoying reading this history and am sometimes amused at my younger self as well as being amazed that we did so much during this time. In this latest installment I can see some of the patterns: care and maintenance of things at the ranch—trying to get started on putting a rock foundation under the edges of the porch; taking care of the vegetable garden; cutting firewood; picking apples and making applesauce; making jelly from the gooseberries found in the woods; finishing the sink cabinets and counter; visiting with friends and relatives; observing wildlife at the ranch; working on putting an addition on the house in Weaverville; keeping automobiles repaired.

I don’t remember where this gate was supposed to go but Bob dug some holes and put pipe poles and cement in them. “He made Rebecca’s handprint, name and date and Jeffrey’s footprints and name. It will be buried under dirt (about six inches) but still the names are there.” The gate was going to be made from a large wheel from a hay rake.

I found a lizard hanging by its front feet from the clothesline when I started to hang out the laundry. It was about five feet from the porch. I took some pictures and then we helped it to solid ground. We weren’t sure how it got there, perhaps dropped by a bird or maybe it slid off the metal roof. On that same day I pushed a wheelbarrow of manure up from the barn, with Jeff on my back, and spread it around the garden.

On the 4th of July we went out to the Morris cabin at Canyon Creek. Nancy and David Adrian and children were there, Pete and Mildred Hurd and their family, Ruth and Vernon Ryan. Children got along well. Rebecca spent a lot of time throwing a stick for Vernon’s dog, Sport. Dinner was potluck and there was homemade ice cream. We got home around 11 pm.

It was very hot during this time with thunderheads. I varnished the kitchen cabinet again. That weekend Bob “planted” three more poles. I cleared debris out of the ditch so the trees could get water. We went down to White’s Bar picnic area where Rebecca loved the sand and Jeff ate it; we took turns watching kids and swimming.

I was trying to go for a quick walk in the evenings after dishes, picking up, etc. It was usually after 9:00—mosquitoes were thick but it was cool and when I got up past the lower spring I couldn’t hear the generator. There was a moon too, which was nice.

“We’ve been having peas and lettuce fresh from the garden. I give Rebecca her peas raw, in the pod and she thinks this is wonderful!”

Jeff started crawling instead of scooting on his stomach. July 8: “A sonic boom made Rebecca scream today. I hate those things. Can’t see why our quality of living should be reduced, and the quality of wilderness just because we don’t come in large quantities of votes”.

We had a doe with a tiny fawn appear now and then. When we went for walks we always had to take time to sit on the pelton wheel and on some “sitting logs” along the way.

From hot, the temperatures it went to chilly and we had fog some mornings. I started picking apples and making applesauce. “One night Rebecca needed to use the outhouse at 1:30 a.m. and we watched the last moon sliver rising. It lighted the upper part of the meadow before we could see it but a handful of trees on the east ridge were like golden, tree-shaped lanterns. The tip of the moon shown through them and finally above.”

July 22nd I fixed dinner for my brother Peter and his family and for Florence, Leonard and Robin (the latter three just having gotten back from a pack trip). After that dinner Bob brought Kathy Smith to baby sit (“Rebecca was not pleased”) and we went to the Joneses where Alice and Horace were having an open-house reception for their son Dixon and wife Heather. We spent a lot of time talking to Jinx and Dick Fores.

July 24th “ Put new contact paper (used like wallpaper) in the outhouse; did 2 batches of laundry; played “lid” with Rebecca (not sure what that was); weeded a little in the garden; watched one of the caterpillars peel its skin off and become a chrysalis—this was after about 12 hours of hanging head down. Rebecca watched too and was most interested. We missed seeing the 2nd one but saw it just a few minutes afterwards. “ Those monarch butterfly chrysalises are beautiful, a jade green. We were getting lettuce and squash from the garden.

And then I was doing some soul searching–“Have been doing some thinking today about who I am, what I want, where I’m going, etc. Thought I finished that after college! But my position is so different now.”

Another trip to the outhouse adventure–“Last night at 2:30 a.m. Rebecca and I heard apples dropping from the apple tree by the generator. We looked this morning and found porcupine quills, one on the tree and one at the base. I wrapped heavy-duty aluminum foil around the tree but don’t know if that will help.”

Bob put 2 x 6s under the edge of the porch at the ranch to go between the present stringers and the concrete foundations. In town he put our intake pipe on floats in the middle of the reservoir, hoping we won’t run out of water again.

We heard about a man who had abducted a couple and was loose down near Del Loma, which made us a little nervous. but in a call to the Sheriff’s office we learned they had caught him.

July 30th I left the children with Austens and took the VW to Redding to get the broken window replaced (we weren’t sure how or why it broke a couple of weeks ago) and to get the dented fender repaired. I left it at Bingham Motors and walked downtown. Had a doughnut and coffee and window-shopped. I tried to buy some pocketbooks (paperbacks) but couldn’t get a check cashed. Went to Gerimonte’s (they used to have a clothing store in Dunsmuir when my family lived at Castle Crags) and one of the Gerimonte brothers recognized me and “was most cordial”. He offered to be a reference for any future check cashing. I think he probably recognized my middle name of Twight rather than me. I had a waffle and iced tea for lunch and then walked to the Hislops (I stayed with them during the week when I went to Shasta College my freshman year), across from what was then the junior college on 299. It was very hot. Fortunately Marge was home and we chatted for awhile. She took me to the VW place at 3:00 when the car was ready.

Back in Weaverville that night we had dinner with the Fores. “”We had a good time although there was too much women talking to women and men to men to suit me. Conversation is more interesting mixed. Took them some squash and cabbage which I picked by flashlight last night.”

Our butterflies hatched. Rebecca was delighted and wanted to hold them on her finger for forever.

And a rant–“Bob brought home (to the ranch) our TV set tonight. Now we have even more wires across the ceiling and one going out the window across the south porch to a brass colored antenna . Our ceiling looks as if some gigantic spider had started to make a web and then changed its mind. The antenna, I discovered this morning, protrudes in front of the upstairs window between my morning view of Eagle Rock (taken automatically at the top of the stairs before coming down to fix breakfast) and the house. He says he’ll take it back after the conventions and I sure hope so. Last night Nixon was talking and I was trying to read the paper but felt I should listen to him and so did neither very well. It was another no-nap day for Rebecca and those are particularly exhausting with the constant chatter. I don’t mind the music on the radio but TV is nothing but noise. Bob feels that watching will help him decide on candidates but I wonder if reading about them wouldn’t be the same.

Some put on a good act on TV and others, like Nixon, have a difficult time putting on a good show. What we really need to know is their policies and how they think about things. I guess TV will help but to me it’s almost a sacrilege to have it out here. The ranch is pretty special—TV is ok in Weaverville and I enjoy it but it just doesn’t belong here.

Maybe it’s like my evening walks—that precious 10-20 minutes when I can be completely by myself, finding a little bit of me that has been splintered into mother, wife, housekeeper, gardener, etc. all day.”

Bob had been working on the sink. We had yellow edging around it and then cut and placed the top. The packing box for the sink top was about five feet high and 2 ½ feet across with the opening at the top. I suggested cutting a door and window in it. Rebecca loved it. That night she wanted to sleep in it on the porch so for an hour and a-half she and five or six dolls and stuffed animals squirmed and wiggled and came into the house for various reasons. At 9 o’clock I made her go to bed.

That afternoon when she had been in the box and was screaming I asked her to stop. She said, “I can scream in my own house!” Point won.

June 1968

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During this time Bob was working a lot during the evenings on trying to get more funding for the high school from the Forest Reserve funding. This would mean less for the elementary school but apparently the high school had been underfunded for some time.

Prepared for Rebecca’s 3rd birthday. She was so excited. We were in town. The morning of her birthday she raced for the wrapped packages, totally not seeing the new trike (used) that we hadn’t even wrapped! Gilda Sanders got her a soft doll that she named Linda. My parents gave her little wooden people candleholders, and we got her a couple of books.

Her cake was devils food with a light pink frosting and deep pink swirls, along with confetti colored spots. It was a butterfly cake with licorice antennae and a red licorice tongue. Suzy and Scotty Fields came and Jennifer Hooper. Florence arrived in time to have cake and ice cream. After the last child left Rebecca collapsed in tears and I read to her and put her to bed…she slept about three hours.

It seems to have been a chilly June. On the 12th the temperature at the ranch got down to 36. We took a walk up to the flat and then cut across the creek and up through the yellow flowers. Rebecca kept asking about poison oak and seemed to be able to narrow it down to one of three—oak, poison oak and raspberry. On the way back we found half of a robin’s egg. They are so fragile. Rebecca tried to keep it from blowing out of her hand and crunched it. Even a large piece that I brought the rest of they didn’t survive very well. We came through the orchard and again saw the young flicker with its head poking out of the hole in the first apple tree. I wondered whether it was always the same adventuresome bird. We could hear the others knocking on the wood inside.

A few days later, Paul Gonzales, the USFS patrolman for that area, stopped by. Rebecca and I had just finished stirring up an applesauce cake. He had a cup of coffee, staying about an hour, and left some Smokey the Bear things for Rebecca. Jeff was napping.

On another day we headed for Mt. Meadow Ranch. We stopped in Minersville so Bob could walk up a hill a way to look for a microwave site. We waited under some oak trees with orange juice and cookies. Then we went to Trinity Center to see Uncle Ed and toured his museum. “it has some very nice things and some junk.” One thing we’d not seen before was snowshoes for horses. We took our lunches with us to Uncle Stanford’s and ate with Gertrude and him, then went on to Mt. Meadow Ranch. They had a mobile phone and Bob worked on the antenna. Rebecca got to see chickens, horses and cows. They were shoeing the horses. She watched calves nursing and the cows being milked. We had a delicious dinner. “After dinner some of the summer help played guitars and sang. We sat up with them till about 10:00. Bob played one of the girl’s banjos and sang too. It’s nice to know college age youngsters haven’t changed much since we were that age but it made us feel a lot older too—sigh.”

The next day we rode horseback a short distance. After lunch we drove to Boulder Creek and visited with Angenett and Peter and family for an hour. They had a campsite near Alice’s cabin. A couple of days later we all got sick, starting with Jeff, and wondered whether we had food poisoning. He had a temperature and was so ill that we drove to Big Bar to call our doctor on the pay phone because our phone wasn’t working. It was nighttime and he wasn’t on call yet but an hour later we called from a friend’s house. He wanted to see Jeff so we drove into town. Dr. Breeden checked him and then called Frank Hicks to have him open the pharmacy so we could get medication. We stayed in town overnight and then we got sick too. That day Rebecca fell getting out of the car and landed on her face—swollen lip, bloody nose and screaming. Got her cleaned up and fed her jello and crackers. At the post office Vincent Ryan backed into the V.W. and dented the right fender and hubcap. After dinner, going down Oregon Mt. toward Junction City Rebecca got sick. It was after ten that night at the ranch by the time I got everything washed and finished the dishes we’d left when Jeff had gotten so ill. What a day!

A few days later, in town, after putting screaming children down for naps, I went downtown and bought a wheelbarrow, had coffee. Got home as children were waking up. Bob was coping but looked relieved when I when I walked in. We spent a couple of hours on getting the shingles off the end of the house for the anticipated addition, Bob removing the shingles and me hammering out the nails and stacking the good shingles in the woodshed. The next day we went to the museum for the dedication ceremony, leaving Rebecca at Austen’s. It was really hot. Afterwards we went to the barbecue after getting Rebecca. Mildred Hurd and children were there as were Pete Hurd’s parents from Dunsmuir.

Over the next few days I finished painting the floors at the ranch, usually during naps. I taught Rebecca how to answer the phone and put a captain’s chair below it so she could climb up to reach it.

One day, on the way back from Big Bar, I stopped to pick some wild raspberries for Rebecca. “Above Walden’s in the woods, I saw a quail on the road. Slowed down for a closer look and saw a little one so we stopped. I took Rebecca and we walked closer, watching and listening. The mother kept calling, as the flock had scattered and tiny little fluffs of feathers, that looked just like sun-dappled brown leaves until they moved, peeped in reply. She crossed the road and went up the bank and some of the leaves followed her. They were only about two inches high. What a treat!”

After we got back I drove up to the bathtub settling tank and cleared that while Rebecca “read” nearby and then fussed, and Jeffrey screamed in the car. I backed up a place that was too steep, lifting one wheel off the road. Scared myself a little. Made Rebecca get out while I rectified the situation.

“After the children went down for naps I did a laundry and pruned yards of grape vine from around the little pear tree. Turned the water on the garden and discovered a goldfinch nest almost above the faucet, about six feet above my head. The young looked nearly grown. A few minutes later I found a robin nest in the maple behind the house.

The wind blew extremely hard this afternoon. Brown leaves of last fall from maples in the gulch were whirling hundreds of feet up into the air, looking like pale gold butterflies—a bit of autumn in summer. My life has moments like that occasionally. Bob brought home pipe for fence posts and sand and gravel.”

Daily Living Plus a Backpack Trip

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Painting by Alice Jones–Looking into N. Fork of the Trinity River from near Pony Mt.

It would be a lot easier to complete these trips into the past if there hadn’t been so much going on! At least I’m now to the place in this journal where the ink is dark blue instead of pale green and the writing much easier to read.

I continued to get phone calls asking me to substitute, mostly at the high school. One evening Bob took care of children while I went over to the Civil Defense Building (CD Hall we called it, now the Veterans’ Memorial Hall) to hear Max Rafferty speak. He was the California Superintendent of Public Instruction.

One day, when I was taking care of Karen Austen while her parents were taking a church group someplace for the day, I took Karen and the children and we went down to the opening day of the new museum. Uncle Ed was the first person to sign the guest book, Karen the 2nd and I was third. Everything looked good but Florence said there was still a lot of work to be done before the dedication ceremony.

Vigil Delapp came to the house one afternoon to work with Bob on plans for the addition to the house. He thought his part would cost about $1500.

Bob continued to work on the burglar alarm at the museum, often getting home quite late. When talking briefly to Pat Hamilton, who edited the historical society publications, she said she was very impressed by how meticulous he was in keeping to historical accuracy while also making it interesting—said it was an unusual accomplishment. He was also meeting with people about the high schools, trying to find a way to get more funding.

On one of our trips out to the ranch we stopped to see the Waldens and their new baby girl. The older girls took Rebecca to see the rabbits, chicks, ducks and chickens. They gave us some tomato and cabbage plants. They’d been given an old crank Victrola and played it for us—the first time I’d seen or heard one.

“Going to Marlene’s (Towne’s)is such a treat for Rebecca—she’s so much fun to watch really—dreamily licking her ice cream cone, watching everyone who comes in, ice cream dripping down her chin. She and I have really been clashing a lot lately. I know I get after her too much but my patience just gets worn down—She is so good with Jeffrey though and I know sometimes she doesn’t really want to be nice to him.”

At the ranch I tried to spend more time with her. She was having a hard time adjusting to being out there without all the activity of Weaverville. And when Jeff was fussy with teething or a cold that meant I had to give him more attention than normal. My sleep was often interrupted by little people and that didn’t help either.

May 12th we moved a lot of things out to the ranch for the summer, including the washing machine but this meant a couple of trips to the laundromat to do diapers before we actually moved. After the move we had a spell of rainy weather and all of us had colds. I could wash diapers but couldn’t get them dry. I’d dry a few in the house and Bob took the rest to put in our dryer in town.

Often when they were napping I’d try to get something done like scrub the floor. I painted the shelves of a corner cupboard, one shelf one day, another the following day.

Bob went to Mt. Meadow Ranch to work on their mobile phone and didn’t get home until 10:50 p.m.

In late May we took a backpack trip, leaving the children with their grandparents the night before we left. It seemed strange to be in the house without them and I found myself going to their room to check on them.

“The next morning Alice and Horace Jones picked us up and we drove to Prairie Creek where we transferred to our Jeep pickup. Horace and Tammie (their dog) got in the back and we drove up Big French Creek. We ended up on a Jeep road that went on and on—went through a cutover area where there were many elderberry bushes and gooseberries in bloom in the woods—also trilliums. We stopped beyond Panther Camp and began walking because the road looked so bad. From there on it was quite good except for two steep hills that we might not have made.

Near Ladder Camp there was much black, shiny rock and further along, yellow and green. We at lunch at Ladder Camp. I was starved after our early breakfast. Ladder Camp is ¼ mile off the jeep road– two small springs, beneath white pines. Beyond that the Jeep road ended at the Wilderness area boundary and the trail began. The road had been very steep but the trail was more gradual. Many boschniakia in the trail, western serviceberry blooming alongside.

Alice and Horace at the campsite

We were going into the Thurston Peaks area now. We began to cross small patches of snow on the north -facing slope. There was a beautiful waterfall coming down through large gray rocks from a cirque-type area on the Thurston Peaks slope. It fell about 30-40 feet below the trail and tumbled from above. As we climbed into the treeless area there were small fritillaries in the path. When we got to the ridge above Pony Mt. Meadows we found a large snowfield covering the switchbacks leading down the other side. So we had to edge our way down through loose shale and follow Bob and Horace’s footsteps across the snow patches. Alice and I were quite nervous about it—very steep.

Bob, Alice and Horace nearing Pony Mt. Ridge

Our camp was beneath tall red fir trees, 2-3 feet in diameter. There was a snow patch above us and one right across from camp where we got water from its melting. We looked out toward part of Thurston Peaks and across the Whites Creek drainage to Wedding Cake and other peaks, still splotched with snow.

After dinner Bob and Alice and I hiked up to Pony Mountain and looked out toward Cabin Peak, etc. We could just see the tip of Mt. Shasta poking up through some clouds and many disk-shaped clouds. Bob climbed on up to the top but we went back to camp. I found what looked like a bear wallow—complete with indentations from footprints leaving it and beside it a white pine that must have been five feet in diameter.

Wedding Cake from ridge above Pony Mt. Meadows

It was very cold and I didn’t sleep much even after I got warm. In the morning we really hurried getting dressed and a fire started because it was so cloudy. Horace just got the fire started when a cold rain began to fall. Bob threw a ground cloth over the cord he’d put up Saturday night, just in case, and it made a small tent. Alice and Horace quickly got their things packed. We cooked breakfast—cereal, scrambled eggs and ham, juice, milk and coffee or hot chocolate—ate, cleaned and packed. Bob cut one of our ground cloths into four make-shift ponchos and we left. Going up that steep slope was much easier than going down had been, although still tricky. The snow had firmed up and we had to be careful.

We made pretty good time going out. Left camp at 8 :00 and were at Stove Camp (wonder whether I meant Ladder Camp?) at 11:30, seven miles later. We ate lunch there. We put some rocks in the back of the truck to help us up the hills and Alice walked ahead to clear part of a snow patch for easier exit (of rocks I’m thinking). We left with the truck at 1:00 and were at Prairie Creek about 3:30. They went on into town and we went up to the ranch to pick up a few things before going into Weaverville.

Sunset at Pony Mt. Meadows

June 5th—at the ranch, raining. Bob called me from town to tell me that Senator Robert Kennedy had been shot in Los Angeles the night before, had undergone brain surgery and was in critical condition. “What a shock!–how can people think that they can just go up and shoot anyone they may dislike or disagree with? What kind of government can there be when people insist on taking the law into their own hands; when it’s not safe for a person to run for office? If this continues, the only way to control it will be a police state and that’s a very unpleasant alternative.”

I used to sing around the house, just as my mother used to. She was raised in Florida and sometimes sang the old spirituals—Swing Low Sweet Chariot and others. I added in folk songs as well. On June 8th—“We listened to Kennedy’s funeral this evening. When they sang Battle Hymn of the Republic, Rebecca sang right along, “Glowy, glowy, hawowuia” in all her innocence. I think Robert Kennedy would have liked that. “

Spring Continues–bits of this and that–1968

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We continued to stay really busy. With the snow gone there was more yard work at both places. I was trying to jog now and then, using the backyard. I had it figured out as to how many times I needed to run the length and back to make particular distances and would try to do it while the children were playing or napping. It helped keep me sane I think.

Bob continued to spend a lot of time on the burglar alarm at the museum and would go down after dinner and work until late, as well as a lot of time on weekends. Night after night he’d be down there. Once I noted that he hadn’t gone!

He also spent a couple of evenings down at the high school welding on the drag for the road.

One Sunday in March I took Rebecca to church. She thought Jim Austin (Congregational minister and husband of Barbara who often took care of the children if I subbed) worked in “daddy’s office” and I thought she should see where he worked. She was amazingly good, though restless, and I’m sure welcomed the cookies and punch in the Parish House afterwards where I chatted with Pat Hicks, Alice Jones and Jan Hooper.

I took the kids to the elementary school to have their pictures taken and had coffee with Jim Holland, Ruth Brandes and Betty Gorsuch.

One Saturday, when Bob was on standby. I took Rebecca, Karen and Linda out to the ranch with me. He could take care of Jeff while being on standby. I needed to get my paints so I could do the illustrations for the Native American display of plants at the museum, and Bob needed some metal. When we got out there I put the rack on the VW, put the metal on the rack, got my paints and dug some plants out of the bog to put in with our polliwogs in town. We ate lunch by the creek from the upper spring. “The peach, plum and pear trees were in bloom.” When we got back to Big Bar we got ice cream cones before heading home. The Townes, owners of Big Bar Station, were building a dining room and adding on a small bar.

One of my projects was making a plywood slide for Rebecca and a teeter-totter (a plywood board placed across a box). I sanded off some of the rough edges and later painted the parts various shades of pink, yellow and blue. I took an old sawhorse, tacked on a string tail, and gave it a seam-binding bridle. She loved her “horsey”—said it hurt its tail and that it was doing exercises going up and down.

The blue slide.

Every now and then I substituted at the high school, usually a half-day. I was asked to sub at the elementary school in Lewiston but, since I was still nursing Jeff, couldn’t be gone all day. A full day at the high school was possible because I could feed him during my lunch hour.

We’d go out to the ranch usually for a half-day. I’d try to get more varnish on the pine boards of the ceiling upstairs, and Bob would work on the road. I couldn’t get much done and usually spent time with the children. April 6th and 7th we stayed overnight though. Sunday morning I wrote, “Children restless last night. Didn’t get much sleep. A beautiful morning –mist in the canyon, robins singing, a woodpecker hammering on the house about 6:00 a.m. waking Rebecca and she woke Jeff.”

It was nice to cook on the wood stove again—the smell of bacon mingling with wood smell. After breakfast, when we were outside, Rebecca found a 3-point deer antler.

Bob did some work on the kitchen cabinet that held the sink and did more roadwork.

In late afternoon Jan and Bob Hooper came with their children, Jennifer and Dennis. We all ate dinner at Big Bar Station on our way home.

Florence and Leonard bought Daphne, the mule. She was a small mule and quite gentle. We were to buy one-third of her. We all went to meet Daphne and she became part of a number of visits and sedate rides around their property. She became an important part of their family pack trips.

April 8th: Martin Luther King assassinated. Riots.

I started painting plants (water colors) for the Native American exhibit at the museum. I’d researched plants that they made use of and had given Pat Hamilton (at the Trinity Journal) the information. She did the printing to go with the paintings. I don’t remember all of the plants but noted that I’d worked on a dandelion, a pine cone, and Indian rhubarb. This was work I could do after the children had gone to bed.

Total eclipse of the moon on Apri 12th. On the 13th all the apple trees were in bloom when we went out to the ranch. I planted raspberries and Bob worked on the cabinet. Sunday Rebecca woke up at 10 minutes to 6:00 sayingl “Easter is coming”. She hunted eggs in the grass, still wet from the previous night’s sprinkler. French toast and bacon for breakfast. While Bob worked on taxes I planted lettuce, carrots, squash, cucumbers and the rest of the raspberries. Also planted Fiddler Henry beans, which I think would have been from Florence’s green beans that she planted every year, handed down through the family. She always saved a row or two for drying for the next year’s crop.

Bob, with Jeff in the pack, flew a kite with Rebecca but eventually it landed in a tree. While they were doing that I varnished one more board on the ceiling upstairs.

One day, when Nancy Van Duyn was playing in Weaverville with Rebecca, I looked out to see that Rebecca had opened the gate of the fence behind our house and the two of them were heading up the hill through the brush. They were half way up to the reservoir.

Another day we met Dave Ohde (Doris was painting a bedroom) and drove to Denny, taking our car and theirs. Linda, Jeff, Rebecca and I were in one car; Bob, Dave, Eric and their dog, Maggie, in the other. This was my first trip to Denny.

“The road takes off near Willow Creek. The first part was paved and the rest dirt. It went up over quite a high mountain and then down the other side into New River. There are some beautiful ranches just before Denny, the Daly’s being one. There is a telephone line in, strung from trees. No power. The Ladd store (built by Grover Ladd) is the center of Denny, containing store, post office and library. It’s a log structure with rock from the ground up to about four feet. We talked to Mrs. Holland who, along with her husband, now owns the store. They have two peacocks, male and female, which we all admired. Their daughter Gay, who is about 20, does pen and ink drawings of the area—we bought a pack. They have about 150 acres. Bob talked to Grover Ladd for awhile. His mother took photographs and developed them and he had some to give to the museum. While he was doing this Rebecca and I visited with Mrs. Holland in her kitchen, which she said used to be a cookhouse. Then we went down to look at their pelton wheel just above the river. Bob says the wheel is much larger than they need. They do supply three houses with power though. We looked at their horses—one Appaloosa, and their cow, which is about to calve. Linda and Rebecca were delighted to pet a chicken and a duck, which Gay caught for them. We had eaten lunch at the Denny Campground around 12:30. We left around 4:00 and drove back in our own cars. “

Later in the week we met with some people to talk about possible inclusion of New River in wilderness.

Activities in a Small Town–Spring 1968

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My journal is filled with a lot of day-to-day meanderings—batches of laundry, trips from the Weaverville house down the hill to run various errands, including buying groceries. I started using a pen that had green ink so there are pages that are hard to read now. These jottings may be trivia, but for me they were a way to track my days, like minutes on a clock, days on a calendar, months in a year.

Our daughter was 2 ½ now and, with a new baby brother, challenging to deal with, as are most from age two to three or four years old. She was also very bright and persistent. Dick Morris probably doesn’t remember the time I rushed into the hardware store where he was talking to a customer, handed Jeff (before I started using the backpack) to him saying “hold him”, and rushed out again so I could use both hands to get my meltdown child into the car.

We did get out some evenings for meetings or events and, from what I’ve written it looks as if I often tried to tie a grocery run in with a stop at Varney’s for coffee. If I had kids with me that would include lemonade and a snack. Rebecca’s favorite part was to pay for our snacks. I started carrying Jeff in the backpack and that gave me a lot more walking freedom. Bob was coming home for lunch every day and, if we timed it right, we could walk downtown and then ride back with him.

The attempt to negotiate with the neighbors to run a sewage line through their property didn’t work and we’d decided to put in a tank with a pump down at the bottom of our driveway and pump up into the town system. So Bob was figuring out how to put all that together, where to run the line down the hill, etc. Also in the works was the development of a town water system for our side of town with Cal-Pacific.

Vietnam was in the news a lot. “News on TV tonight showed a bombed out town in South Vietnam and some of the injured residents—many children. Such an awful situation. We worry about whether our children are getting along with others; whether their teeth are crooked; whether they have mumps or nightmares, and those poor youngsters and their families are living in one long horrible nightmare. Are we really helping them? Does our democracy mean more to them than existence in a semi-peaceful state? I don’t know. With the North Vietnamese in Saigon now we’re not progressing much. These people must live a poor existence at best and war is such a terrible addition to this. I was looking at the eyes of those children and thinking about what I would do if with mine if I were in that position. Even if the war were to end tomorrow they would be marked mentally, if not physically, for life.”

Rebecca had some play dates with Nancy Van Duyn, whose father also worked at the phone company. Her mother, Marilyn, and I got along well and this friendship continued for many years.

We celebrated Leonard’s birthday with various family members at the cabin out Canyon Creek where there were about 28 inches of snow.

There were nights of very little or often-interrupted sleep. “Rebecca was calling for me almost every hour last night.” And Jeff started waking up at 4:00 or 5:00 a.m. I’d do yard work—raking pine needles and picking up pine cones for as long as Rebecca kept entertained playing and then would stop. Jeff could nap in the backpack or sleep in the house. We found flowers that we hadn’t known were there since it was our first spring—crocuses and violets and others. She really seemed to like playing outdoors.

We attended Historical Society meetings—always interesting. I usually made refrigerator rolls to take to the potluck. Barbara Austin sometimes took care of the children and sometimes we got a sitter to come to the house. The February meeting was a history of the fire department, put on by Hap Miller.

One musical program we went to at the high school was put on by a group from Humboldt State. They sang Elizabethan songs, a self-composed opera, and folks songs. They had performed at the high school during the day and the evening program was sponsored by the Historical Society. Only about 30 people were there though. We went to a Trinity Player’s performance of Harvey.

Bob was spending some of his spare time working on the burglar alarm system for the new museum and he put an FM antenna up on our roof.

I got called to substitute at the high school several times. I didn’t have a high school credential but there weren’t a lot of subs available. This was when the high school was still down on Mill Street. The first time Barbara Austin came to our house to watch the children, bringing her two children with her. It was just for an afternoon: a typing class, reading and PE. The day before had been a vacation day for Washington’s birthday and apparently many decided to take Friday off as well because only about 40% of the students showed up. Afterwards the superintendent wasn’t sure I’d get paid because I didn’t have a high school credential. I got paid and eventually a provisional credential to sub.

Another time I substituted for a full day for Mr. Large– two U.S. History classes in the morning and two geography classes in the afternoon. I think this was the time I went to Austin’s with my sandwich and sat there holding a nursing baby with one hand, eating a sandwich with the other and trying to pay some attention to the big sister before heading back to school. I showed two movies. Jinx Fores and Beverly Forero were also subbing that day.

My parents came to visit after Jeff was born.

We made a few short trips out to the ranch to make sure the road was okay and to start up the generator for a while.

In spite of being our “town house” there were still maintenance problems that we hadn’t anticipated. The washing machine drained into a laundry tray and Bob put an attachment on the drain hose so I could attach a garden hose to it and drain the laundry water out into the yard. This meant a lot less water going into the septic tank and less sewage water in the ditch along the driveway, eliminating the bad smells outside every time I did a laundry.

I typed an application Bob was submitting to the health department for adding on a room even though we were connected to unapproved water (the ditch). Now I’m thinking they probably approved it because eventually there would be a good water system but maybe also because we were putting in a sewage system that would be healthier than an overflowing septic system.

We invited Florence and Leonard over for a birthday breakfast for her. The menu included hotcakes, bacon, scrambled eggs (with chives, mushrooms and creamed cheese and a dash of sherry), oranges soaked overnight in plum juice, coffee and milk. Ha! I probably haven’t put that much effort into a meal since! It makes me hungry reading this.

Florence and Alice took up jogging. (I have no memory of this and it’s wonderful to think about!).

We attended another Historical Society meeting that featured the Hoopa Indians (they demonstrated dances, songs; brought pottery and baskets). I mentioned that I’d like to have learned more about plants they used because I was planning a display for the new museum. At that same meeting Bob talked about the burglar alarm and also plans for smoke alarms. Afterwards we went to Austin’s to get the children and stayed for some time discussing Vietnam, which was to be the topic of Jim’s sermon the next day.

On another trip to the ranch, we were joined by the Ohdes, who had walked in from the gate. There were too many rocks on the road for their car. We gave them a ride in the back of our truck when it was time to go and ate hamburgers in Big Bar. On this trip we discovered that someone had shot the lock on the gate and jammed it. We used the phone company lock to get in.

Bob began to take a strong interest in the high school and was thinking about running for the school board. He began going to meetings.

“Ruth Dowdakin came up one afternoon and visited for a couple of hours. She was Hal Goodyear’s sister and lived in Berkeley. She had seven children, ages 4 ½ to a senior in college. She was much interested in the Indians of Northern California and wanted to help with our museum exhibit. She was very interested in the uniqueness of tiny tribes compared to the vast blocks of the Indians of the Eastern United States.”