Spring 1975

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February—bits and pieces

Rebecca gets well.
Jeff smashes his fingers in a door.
Drove to Big Bar in a rainstorm to go to the Forest Forum meeting. Had to go by Proffitt’s and pick up the film on Golden Trout, which Ray Proffit had forgotten.
Helped in Jeff’s class the next day.

Sunday, after lunch, we drove out as far as the gate and walked down to the creek. The children played while Bob walked on up to the house. We ate dinner in Big Bar. Children were tired after walking about three miles and being outside for the first time in a while.

Bob got back on Friday evening after having gone to San Francisco Monday, Seattle Tuesday evening, and Vancouver B.C. on Thursday. He said Vancouver was a very attractive city: clean, people were friendly. He brought back some Canadian money for the children. Jeff “immediately introduced Queen Elizabeth to George Washington on a one-dollar bill. “

Bob Young’s Barn

On the 22nd I took Jeffrey and Clarke to Redding to see a puppet show at the college. Rebecca chose to stay home. Afterwards we ate lunch in the mall and got some books at the bookstore. Lassen and Shasta both looked pretty with no smog. After we got home I made rhubarb pie and blackberry pie, and fixed lasagna.

While Bob worked on taxes, I sent a story to Ranger Rick and then hauled garbage to the dump. “While there I met a 70-year-old woman who told me she had adopted seven children of all races and nationalities and now lives comfortably on Social Security, collecting aluminum cans and collecting bottles. She plays the piano five days a week at the Nutrition Center.”

Bob was leaving the next day for Bakersfield so I ironed shirts and folded clothes after everyone was in bed. Mary Upham called to ask me to substitute that Friday for her at Douglas City.

Rebecca had been spending hours in her room with paper dolls, even making clothes for them. I’d gotten her a book of famous women paper dolls when I was in Redding.

I measured, sawed. and hammered boards together to make two boxes for lunch cubbyholes for new children at nursery school and painted them.

My mother sent letters she had written to her parents in 1938 and 1939. She’d numbered the envelopes. My dad was getting paid 60 cents an hour in September 1938, and working 12-14 hour days. Groceries for them and the two boys cost $25/month. I was on the way and was being referred to as Arabella, although I think they had no idea whether or not I was a girl.

Bob called from Bakersfield Thursday night and we talked for about 45 minutes. I was so tired of his being gone so much and he sounded exhausted.

Sunday, March 2nd, Bob went down to his office around 10:00 and didn’t get back until 7:30 p.m. He was home all day yesterday though, “sort of.”

Weaver Bally

When I subbed at Douglas City I had 20 children (I made name tags ahead of time) until 12:30 when six kindergarteners arrived. Jan Reese, who was the teacher’s aide, was in the 2nd grade when I taught the lower grades in 1962-1963. Back in town by 4:30, groceries, picked up kids. I’d had a nursery school board meeting the night before at Kathy Barne’s house.

Someone broke into the U.S. Forest Service office at Big Bar and stole the files on mining claims. The FBI was called in.

Got a very nice letter from Oliver Burglund last week. “Sure is nice to have someone to talk to about birds.” He said some nice things about a poem I sent him too. Also said he’d been snowed in for 10 days with 4-5 feet of snow and 12-foot drifts around his house.

On March 12th we took the older nursery school children to a music program at the elementary school for an hour. Rebecca’s class played recorders and sang. Jeff’s sang and danced; he wore his cowboy shirt. “Clarke, during the program, yelled at the top of his voice, “ I can’t hear you.” He and Steven Echols were playing some game where they were covering their ears. “I hoped everyone would think he belonged to Rosemary, who was sitting closest to him. “

I was in the middle of the Community Concert Campaign; typing and mailing a newsletter to the Forest Forum members; and trying to get organized to present a plea to the Board of Supervisors for a building for the nursery school that could also be used for small group meetings.

Saturday we all went out to the ranch road. Bob threw rocks out and I cut brush. The children played, gathering Douglas fir boughs to make beds, etc. Ones that I’d cut. We ate lunch in the car. It was cool and cloudy with occasional sprinkles. Sunday, Linda Ohde came to the house and Bob and I went out there. I cut brush from the gate down—got lots done. Bob packed a battery in to the ranch to put in the tractor and brought the tractor out. (I guess to the gate).

The previous Friday Linda took care of the children and Bob and I went to Redding. We ate at Lim’s and then went to the Community Concert—Welsh Male Chorus plus a woman who sang and played a lap harp, and a man who did readings from Dylan Thomas.

Clarke and Jeffrey and I all got poison oak. I knew I was cutting it on our road (really smart with the sap rising) but didn’t expect to get as much of a rash.

On St. Patrick’s Day, March 17th, we had about a foot of snow on the ground. I made a presentation to the Board of Supervisors to ask for funding for a nursery school room. They agreed to put it in the next year’s budget. Friday I met with Bob Gravette and George Files to go over our needs for a room. I’d made a sketch (to scale) the night before. One of the secretaries ran off ten copies of the sketch and the estimates.

Saturday Bob went out and put oil in the tractor. It was cold and stormy. Sunday we all stayed home. I left the car at the bottom of the driveway that afternoon. Got quite a few new memberships for the Community Concert that weekend.

Jan. 1975-Feb. 1975

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On a Sunday Linda Ohde did childcare while Bob and I went out to the ranch, picking up Darrel S., who bought property in Big French Creek up toward the Upper Ranch. He wanted to access through our place and we thought talking to him on the way in to our place would be good. He’s about 30, long, blond hair, smokes, used to live in Idaho. We got things worked out with him fairly well I think. At least we all understand each other a lot better. It was very cold out there but o.k. while we were moving. He and Bob climbed up on the big rock by the creek to look at the Douglas fir that leans out toward the bridge. He was a faller so could give some advice. We got home around 5:00 pm.

Saw a beautiful scene out there. We were sitting on the porch when a flock of birds, band-tailed pigeons perhaps, came flying in low over the field. At first I thought it was the wind, their wings made such a loud noise. Then they divided, two groups wheeling out in opposite directions, rejoining, dividing, swooping up and diving and turning so that the light and shadow alternated between the tops and under parts of their bodies like one of the Escher drawings. When we left, they were perched in the top of a snag and another tree and had been there for about 15 minutes. Saw another flock on the way out and some at Pigeon Point, along the river.

Tuesday morning there were just a few clouds in the sky when we got up. By 9:30 it was snowing and by 12:30 I slid around a lot on the road going out of Lowden Park. By 2:30 Oregon Street was all melted off. Made a snowman with Clarke. One day that week I wore my shirt that said, “The Hand that Rocks the Cradle Should Rock the Boat”.

Bob was out of town again. I wrote “I’m starting to get extra cross with the children again. I think a lot of it has to do with Bob being gone so much. I get so tired of responding all the time. It would be great to be a calm, even-tempered, lovable mother. I guess such ones exist.”

Thursday morning we had only five children out of 24 at Nursery School. The rest were ill. We took them to the cabinet shop (Weaverville Woodcraft) and then to Brown’s for a treat. The heat was off in the Recreation Building because they’d run out of fuel. So we were lucky to have warm places to go.

Friday it snowed all day. I took Bob to work and the children to school with just snow tires. Around 10:30 I started down the road but was sliding a lot so stopped at the turn (of our driveway) to put on chains. Got one on easily—too loose, actually, but couldn’t get the other. I was soaked from lying in the snow and muddy from dirt off the car. Hooked two tightening hooks together to connect the chain and drove down to the road. Clarke and I then came back up the hill and ate lunch. I put my jacket and pants in the dryer. After lunch I turned on the TV, channel 9, for Clarke to watch and went back down. Got the chain off and started all over. Finally got it fastened. Walked back to the house and got Clarke. Went down to get copies of my letter from Bob, bought groceries, and went to the post office. Picked up Rebecca and Jeff from the hardware store where they’d been since about 12:30. The school had called me, then Linda Lindsey, then Florence because the children were getting out early. Florence reached me when I came up for lunch. Got home around 3:00. At 5:00 I walked down to the car and went to get Bob from work.

When there was snow we’d park down at the bottom of the driveway and walk down to the car from the house. The next day, after breakfast, I walked down and shoveled quit a bit of snow from the front of the car, where plows had pushed it. Drove downtown and bought groceries and a birthday present for a friend of Rebecca’s. Went in the Village Greenery, which had its opening day that day. Went home and made two trips up the hill, the second time with my daypack. While I was gone Jeff said he’d gone down and done some shoveling for me.

Kinnik-Kinnick loved the snow and bounded through it and rolled in it. Unfortunately that day she caught a jackrabbit and brought it to the back porch. The kids were o.k. about it but were worried that it was still alive because its eyes were open.

Bob was sick with a sore throat and cold but everyone else was healthy. He was getting good feedback on his abilities from the main office. We had about 14 inches of snow on the ground.

Rebecca got sick. Rosemary Echols subbed for me at nursery school. At the night class Jack McMills showed a film on resuscitation and talked about CPR. It was a good class but only about half the people were there because they were sick or their families were.

I was reading a book by Edwin Way Teale called the “Lost Wood”. He traveled all over and observed and wrote.

One night I went to two different board meetings: one at the Recreation Building to ask the Park Board about dividing the room. Then went out to Rosemary Echols’ for a nursery school board meeting.

On Valentine’s Day I gave each of the three children a heart-shaped box of candy. Had never done that before. They seemed pleased.

Bob suggested Sunday afternoon that he would take one or two of the children to the office with him. I suggested him taking all three and they went down to play with the computer while I went for a walk. It was raining a little when I started, with a few snowflakes, and then steadily. I got soaked but “it felt good to be out by myself again. I practically ran up the trail. There was till some snow here and there; every little gulch was pouring water and water was coming into or gushing out of every gopher hole. I started down Pinky Gulch to the place I visited a lot this fall, which overlooks Garden Gulch. There was about six inches of snow, which squished slushily on every step. Ahead of me a large bird flew up. At first I thought it was a grouse, although it was bigger. The light was dim and through the rain I couldn’t see many distinguishing features. It was grey except for dark bands above the eyes. The crown and cheeks were white. The tail was rounded and large. It flew off in a curve so that it went up hill as I approached. I discovered a partially eaten rabbit carcass where it had been on the snow. The legs and hindquarters were all that was left and there were bloody marks on a small boulder nearby showing, perhaps, where it had first perched. I decided it must have been an immature hawk or possibly an immature eagle. Would have stayed a while to get another look at it but was getting cold. Had a thermos of coffee with me and drank some on the way home.”

Took the children and Linda Ohde to the Chinese New Year celebration at Moon and Dorothy Lee’s. Then Fred Meyer took Linda and the three kids to our house and took his children home while Jeannie Meyer and I went to a school board meeting. I wrote that it was one of the most interesting ones I’d been to where they were discussing priorities—teachers were expressing themselves strongly.

The next Monday afternoon Bob flew from Redding to San Francisco to take a class in Fortran (a computer language). He got back Wednesday afternoon.

Wednesday morning Rebecca woke me up at 6 a.m. saying her ear hurt and everything was blurry. She’d been sick and taking penicillin so this was a total surprise –had a temperature of 104. I panicked and called the hospital after giving her aspirin and putting her in a cool bathtub. They said to call our doctor, which I did, waking him up. Later felt quite foolish since I should probably have waited to see whether or not my efforts had lowered the fever. He said to go to his office around 9:30. By then her temperature had gone down but she was still really sick. By mid-afternoon it was back up to 105. The Ohde kids came to get Clarke. Jeff was down at Myer’s. I got Bob to come home to help with a very miserable child in cool water. After a few days she got better, of course.

A couple of days later I told my spouse that “the only place we’d been together, since my birthday two months before, had been two funerals”!

That Saturday, a foggy and cold morning, I was able to eat breakfast, get food ready for the children, run a load of laundry, fix a lunch and leave the house around 8:30. “Parked the car by Bagley’s and went up the trail. Frost had pushed the dirt up and I sank at least ¼ of an inch with every step, my feet crunching the pillars of ice. The manzanita bushes were covered with frost—crystals sticking up every which way, like sparse porcupine quills, and some lying flat against the leaves. Rose hips likewise had this sprinkling and all the spider webs were white.

At Pinky Gulch there were icicles hanging in the creek and some roots completely encased in ice. Took a picture of some ice at the first creek crossing. By the time I got up to Pinky Gulch the sun was shining. I went down to where I’d seen the big bird and the dead rabbit. Found many clumps of fur scattered on top of the rock, not much on the ground, no bones. There was also a hair-filled feces on top of the rock, fox maybe.

I went way up to the top of the ridge. I’ve been aiming for—but didn’t
get to–where it branches. About 200 feet from it I was stopped by a manzanita field. Must talk to Vernon Ryan again about getting up on that ridge to the left. I ate lunch sitting on a rock, which had short, dead manzanita branches on its sheltered side. It sat in the middle of a snow patch and manzanita. Trees are all oak and Digger pine (gray pine) on that ridge. Saw a couple of deer—many tracks. As I was about to leave, I saw a big red-tailed hawk. It came low over the ridge to land plumply in the top of a Digger pine about 50 feet away—magnificent bird, if you’re not a mouse! Went too far to the left on the way down and floundered around for a while finding my way back. At lunch I could see just the tip of Weaver Bally to my left but most of the ridges to the right still had snow- covered trees at that elevation.”

Saw shooting star leaves coming up—varied thrushes, robins, chickadees, towhees, Steller’s jays, and a gray squirrel. Oh, and also, while I was eating lunch, a flock of band-tailed pigeons came wheeling in, turned in formation and disappeared. I could hear their wings, like a soft wind. Greenleaf manzanitas are beginning to bloom.

“I really had a good workout—physically and psychologically. Very stimulating. “

We got a note from Florence and Leonard with their address for their stay in Mexico.

1975 Begins

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After the Christmas social life—breakfast at the Ohdes, dinner with the grandparents, a dinner on the 23rd with the Joneses and my brother and family—things got back to more-or-less normal.

I got Linda Ohde to come and do child care while I took a walk. We’d had a little powder snow the night before so there were lots of animal tracks. The only animal I saw though was a gray squirrel. I ate lunch way up on the hill with hard chunks of snow falling all around from the trees—one landed on my pack and in my coffee. It was warm in the sun.

Bob went out to the ranch with Mike Quinn, although not all the way. They put in the last downspout below a culvert. I took the children up on Glennison Gap to slide in the snow. Rebecca really didn’t want to be there so sat in the car to eat her lunch. The boys had a good time sliding on disks and plastic sacks. Bob and Mike came along and Rebecca rode home with them.

One day Linda came to be with the children so I could give a talk on the nursery school to Rotary. Rebecca went to slide in the snow at the Meyer’s. “I’m glad it’s over. Most of the men are well past child rearing so I think they weren’t really very interested.”

Cousin Jessica came and for lunch one day and stayed most of the afternoon.

“I’ve gotten some reading done–can squeeze it in here and there to preserve my sanity. Just finished reading Driftwood Valley, a story about a couple who lived in British Columbia for two different years, 300 miles from the nearest town.”

“Bob is working on a very complicated program for the computer but one which should save the company a lot of money.”

Aunt Nell died the morning of January 6th. She had been in the hospital since before Christmas. “I’m going to miss her. Wish I’d gone to see her sooner. “ I had tried the day before but there were nurses with her and it was obvious she was very ill. I think Aunt Nell and I had our wanderlust in common.

Florence took the kids the day before (Sunday) so Bob and I could go out to the ranch. We drove as far as the upper gate and walked down to the creek and back. We got soaked—our legs did—and icy, but stayed dry on top with our rain jackets. There was snow here and there, lots of rocks in the road, very isolated feeling.

Bob went to Bakersfield last Thursday and was supposed to get back Friday night but his flight was cancelled. He got back Saturday around 3:00. Saturday was his 40th birthday.

To Aunt Nell
Who is that knocking
on my winter door
tap-tapping as death
squeezes at my heart?

Oh, it’s you, come
to keep me company.
I’m glad you’re here
to see me on my way.
I do like a friend on
a snowy morning.

Used to be I rode my horse
through these mountains
along the winding trails.
But now I guess I’ll have to
travel on my own.

If you’ll just hold
my hand a minute
I’ll be ready.
I’ve not been there before
so I’m a little anxious.

But I’ve never been one
to sit still for long.

The cold and snowy day of Aunt Nell’s funeral I taught nursery school, went home to grab a quick lunch and clean up the dishes from making doughnuts at nursery school, changed clothes and just made it to the ceremony. Cheryl and Scott made room for me to sit between them. Rev. Jim Austin read a history of Aunt Nell that Bob and Florence had prepared. Afterwards we went to Florence and Leonard’s where a buffet was provided for about 50 people—people all up and down the street had brought food. Relatives came from all over—Ana May from Washington, Gene from Oregon, Aunt Nell’s grandchildren and only great grandchild from Orleans.

Later I picked up Rebecca from Pearl Gott’s where she had gone for piano lessons, Jeff from Doris’ (she had taken him to his piano lesson at Harriet Mathies’ and back to her house), Clarke from Linda Lindsey’s. Jeff just recently started lessons. Rebecca had a difficult adjustment period—having to share “her” piano, etc. He’s enjoying it and doing well. The adult parent nursery school for that night was cancelled because of slippery conditions.

Friday I took Clarke to Linda’s and took a walk. “Snow was dropping off the trees and, in some places, there were five or six inches. Got a couple of pictures at Pinky Gulch. Snow falling off the trees into the creek sounds like fish jumping in a lake.

Walking in snow takes longer—It’s like walking in loose sand. I really got hot walking, had on long underwear, a sweatshirt and my parka. Ate lunch where I wasn’t sitting under a tree—in part of the Pinky Gulch drainage. Came across a couple of places on the trail where there were lots of birds but couldn’t really figure out why they were there—no open ground or running water, no excess of berries (manzanita or rosehips). Saw flickers, varied thrushes, robins, towhees, and even some cedar waxwings. Saw a Steller’s jay when I was eating lunch.

“I was starting to read Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. “Oliver Berglund’s name was first on the card so I think he must have ordered it.”

Here was a day I didn’t want to repeat. Rebecca had been home sick, with a fever. “I’d had to rush home from nursery school, eat a sandwich, take Rebecca’s temperature (I’d had her call me every hour when I was at work), take Clarke to Linda Lindsey’s be back at nursery school by 1:00 for a meeting with Brigitte and Holly Stevensson (from Shasta College) who is in charge of their nursery school training program. At 2:00, as we were ending the meeting, Jeffrey called. He’d forgotten his piano music books at school and had gone home. I drove by the school to get his music, up to the house to get him, over to the Mathies’ to drop him off, then over to the dentist where I had a 2:30 appointment. Then went at 3:30 to get Jeff (his piano teacher let him stay an extra half hour), up to Linda’s to get Clarke, and then home. Read the paper, fixed diner for the children, washed the dishes, then went over to Ohde’s to get Linda, took her to the house and went to the Gables for a Forest Forum meeting.

We had reservations for 25 and 35 showed up. We were ordering from the menu so it took forever. Had a slight run-in with another member of our advisory group about his wanting to the group to make a statement to the board of supervisors about the National Recreation Area. Still another member made a number of remarks during the evening about things like “A woman’s place is in the home.” There were three drawings and I won two of them but I put one back in for another drawing and kept the first, which turned out to be two steaks (which we had that weekend and were delicious). The talk lasted too long and it was 11:00 pm before I got home.”

That Saturday I took the three children to Redding, leaving at 8:30 a.m. to go to the college to see the Magic Show. A busload of children from Weaverville went too. We took a lunch and ate in the city park after the program and then came home where we found Bob had arrived about 20 minutes before we did. He’d been in San Francisco going to a computer graphics school. He’d gone to Eureka to look at some stuff there for the bridge and flown to San Francisco from there. Friday night when he was supposed to fly to Eureka he’d flown up and then back to S.F. because of fog. Flew into Redding Saturday morning.

1974 Comes to a Close

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Jeffrey was starting to learn to ride his bike. We didn’t have much flat ground in the backyard but enough to practice. If Jeff reads this he will remember the “sticker” incident. Persistence.

I made a trip to Fresno with Bob in Lonnie’s plane as he had to go that way for business. I stayed with Candie, Jim and Carin in Fresno for a medical checkup. He continued from there on a commercial flight to Bakersfield. The children stayed in Weaverville with grandparents. After dinner Candie and I went to a Montessori meeting at Carin’s school. One afternoon Candie and I went into a bookstore and I bought paperbacks for the children. The next day I met Bob at the airport and we flew home together.

The 1st of November I wrote about hiking up Garden Gulch, leaving Clarke at McClurg’s to play with Amy. We’d had several days of rain so the ground was damp and the leaves noiseless beneath my feet. Saw gold-crowned sparrows, an acorn woodpecker, robins, a wren, a spotted towhee, a covey of quail and a chipmunk. I needed a jacket to sit and eat lunch.

The previous week had been “frantic”. Lots of house cleaning, and nursery school. I was making a long dress for Rebecca for Halloween, which was October 31st. “She wanted to be a pioneer lady, but really I think she wanted me to make a long dress for her. Finished it Thursday afternoon and ironed patches on some old Levis for Jeff to be a hobo. He wore one of Bob’s old shirts and carried a pole with a red bandana on it. Thank goodness Clarke was able to wear his bunny suit again.” We ate a quick dinner and rushed over to the Recreation Building where there was a little parade of kids and judging. Jeffrey won a prize. Then we picked up Ann Marie and went up to the house to get Bob and took the children trick-or-treating. After that it was back to the park for games and then home.

I’d gotten a notice on Thursday that there might not be continued funding for the nursery school’s extra class even though it had been discussed the previous year. So there was a meeting with the high school principal, the community college, Brigitte and myself and Bob Gravette (county schools). Mixed in with all that was hauling garbage to the dump, several meetings, and then nothing more written until November 21st.

I’d just returned from a lengthy nursery school parent meeting and was playing John Denver records, had a fire in the fireplace, and was drinking hot-buttered rum. Bob had just gotten back from a business trip that afternoon and was still not back from a planning commission meeting. We had stayed home the previous Saturday but had gotten Patty to watch the children Sunday while we went out to the ranch. Bob put drainpipes behind the abutment while I hiked up to the Upper Ranch.

“It was overcast and drizzled once for a few minutes but a marvelous walk. The maples were bright yellow—big leaves, twice as large as my hand, drifted down. Kind of spooky on a cloudy day in some of the dense forest—I felt as if people of 50-75 years ago should have been in the cabin and tending the field up there. I found an Indian pestle in the meadow and brought it home. The trees around the old cabin were brilliant reds and oranges. Got back to the creek around 4:00 p.m. Half an hour later it began to rain hard. Fortunately Bob just finished. We were sure glad he had the culverts in.

Tuesday I had gone to Big Bar to attend a Forest Forum program on forestry in Finland, with a little bit of reindeer thrown in. I’d found it interesting: very mechanized over there, small trees, even-aged, clearcuts.

December 2nd I drove to Redding to do some Christmas shopping. There was a little snow in the rain going over the hill. Bob was leaving that afternoon to go to Redding and fly to Bakersfield.

There were poems.

Is it difficult for a hawk when oak leaves fall,
rocking gently downward,
miniature kites whispering secrets
of the warm summer past?
Is it difficult for a hawk, coasting
in tight circles over
brown, oak-studded meadows,
to know what Is mouse and
what is leaf?
Is it difficult for a hawk,
with all the quick movements
among the baring branches,
or do her keen eyes detect
motion of life
from motion of death?

Family Thanksgiving dinner was at Florence and Leonard’s. I took my usual refrigerator rolls. We had gone to Lewiston that morning to buy a new dining room table and four chairs from Helen and Bud Fine. It was a nice table, round, with folding leaves and two extra leaves for the middle if needed. Others at the dinner included Dick, Kay and Michael; Nancy and David and children; Nancy and Dave and children; Uncle Stanford and Calvene; and Aunt Nell. We went out to the ranch Saturday and took Kent. Rebecca and Noel went out to the lake with Florence and Nancy.

On my 36th birthday I took Clarke to Linda’s and hiked up on the pointy mountain. (Not quite sure where that is.) Ate lunch sitting by a mossy- trunked oak. I could see Weaverville but mostly looked at the wind blowing the ponderosa and sugar pines and the Douglas firs. Misty rain fell now and then on Weaver Bally.

When I I got home I ran errands with Jeffrey for an hour while Bob and Florence were fixing bulletin boards (covered with burlap) for me. She had asked me the day before what color I wanted. Rebecca gave me a little pillow she had made at school, stuffed with pieces of sheets. Bob gave me a picture of the Crags that I had admired at Alpine Outfitters. Florence fed the children at her house and brought them home and Linda Ohde child sat while we went to dinner at the Lewiston Hotel.

Tuesday night I had gone to an elementary school board meeting and Wednesday a high school board meeting that was still going when I left at 11:30. I was on the agenda at 11:15 and the high school committed to funding the nursery school for the rest of the year.

On the 20th I noted that I had a bad cold and Bob had just returned from being gone for a week and had gone to a meeting. But “I had all my Christmas presents sent” although still needing to wrap what I had at home.

The nursery school’s last day before vacation was the day before and we’d had both classes together. They’d decorated stockings and then Santa (Dan Tucker) had come. Clarke and Andy were the only two who wouldn’t sit on his lap. Brigitte and I had to sit on his lap to get our presents.

“We had an especially good Christmas” that year. One thing I mentioned was that the children were old enough to wait with unwrapping to watch others unwrap. Everyone was healthy and I was able to give Bob some things he really liked without having to ask him what he would like. One was a plastic, raised relief map of Trinity County that came in two pieces. Rebecca was really excited about giving to others. Speaking of excitement, I’d asked Linda Ohde whether she could come and help me to finish things up on Christmas Eave and she was really excited about doing that! “After I took her home I heard a clunking outside. I finally discovered, by walking down the road with my flashlight, that there was a large, belled mule down on the turn!”

August-October 1974

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Jeffrey had a good birthday. He got lots of camping stuff and Scott Muir stayed overnight at the ranch. Scott gave him some trucks.

The rest of that week was really busy. That Tuesday we dropped Scott off at the elementary school (where his mother worked), picked up Linda Ohde to sit with children for a couple of hours. I took the car to the tire shop and left it, walked to Valley Pharmacy, bought a paper and sat in the Bakery with a glass of lemonade and a doughnut and read for 20 minutes. Walked back to the tire shop where we’d had recaps put on the back. Went to Rikerts’ to pick up stuff for the bridge; went to the hardware store for more stuff. Got home and Doris came to pick Linda up. At 6:00 we went to the Alps for inner. Aunt Nell, Lloyd and Marie came in while we were there, eating outside. They’d just gotten back from Redding after going to Brookings the day before to get Aunt Nell and driving back to Fortuna. Got to the ranch around 8:00. I was really tired.

Wednesday afternoon around 5:00 Florence and Leonard came out in their camper. They parked in the orchard and we all ate dinner up there, swatting mosquitoes and no-see-ums. Combined dinners. Thursday morning they and Bob and Rebecca got up at 5:00 a.m. and worked on the bridge abutments all day—to 6:00 p.m., 7:00 for Bob. I mowed the lawn and most of the orchard, picked blackberries and made a pie, took lunch down at noon, etc. Thursday night we all ate in the house.

School started and the children were adjusting to the new life schedule accompanied by fatigue and crossness. Clarke played well by himself in the mornings but was tired in the afternoon. Rebecca was missing the “down” time that she needed what with my running errands so many days after they came home plus the length of her day on piano lesson days. It showed in her fatigue. Jeff was disappointed that three of his favorite friends weren’t in his class that year. “He has such a funny way of saying things sometimes.”

I began cleaning the house and rearranging some things. I had the first nursery school parent meeting with 17 people coming. There were 22 children signed up so we scheduled two classes. (ended up with 25 children)

“I had a letter in the newspaper concerning the recent anti-nudity law passed by the Board of Supervisors.” I vaguely remember this! And I was surprised that I got support for it when I’d expected the opposite.

Bob and I spent a weekend out at the ranch, leaving the children with grandparents. It was mostly a relaxing time but of course we also did some work. Took leftover lumber from the abutment work up to the barn and stacked it; while he was stacking it in the barn I cleaned the pool. Then he picked pears while I picked corn. Froze blackberries the day before. Picked a sack of apples. We called Florence from Big Bar where we ate dinner, almost like a date. My writing during these months had notes of total optimism interspersed with kind of mournful poems.

Bob was up early the next morning so Lonnie could fly him to Bakersfield. He would be gone all week. That morning I took the VW to Miller’s to get it lubed and asked to be dropped off at our driveway so Clarke and I could walk up to the house. I noticed a little stream of water just below the road and discovered it was sewage from the pump house. The pump wasn’t working although the light was. So I called Sam Smith and he came over around 1:00. After numerous trips to get tools, pump, parts, etc. they got it fixed. The ball float had sheared off and they had to get it out of the tank, re-thread the shaft and put on a new ball. The VW was returned while they were there.

I was delighted to find a check from Ranger Rick’s Nature Magazine when I went to the post office. (I think this was for the article Linda Lives on a Lookout) When I went by Florence’s to get some corn and tomatoes I learned that the horses had gotten into their garden the night before and ruined most of the corn stalks. Took the children to the pool for an hour.

After dinner, when I was starting to serve ice cream, Clarke dropped his plate, which shattered all over the floor. I thought I had knocked a bowl off and cussed. Poor Clarke was so stricken he rushed out of the room. He thought not only did he break his very own plate but that I was really angry with him. We got that straightened out and Jeff very kindly told him he could use his plate (identical) from then on, which he did.

Brigitte and I met at the nursery school to get things ready. She brought Andy, who played with Clarke, while we worked. She would be teaching on Mondays and I’d do Tuesday, Thursday and Friday mornings.

We bought a used girl’s bike from Audrey Bush for $15 for Rebecca. It needed a new rear tire but that was included; we just needed to put it on. She needed a larger bike and this then allowed Jeffrey to use her smaller bike.

On another day I left Clarke with Linda Lindsey and worked at the nursery school for several hours. That afternoon Rebecca and Jeffrey helped me with more work. We picked glass out of the sand pile, placed tires, etc. for about an hour. Then I turned them loose downtown to spend money from allowances and birthdays. I went to pick up Clarke and met them at the bakery.

October 4th I was up Garden Gulch. ”up at the place I found last spring, below the creek where I found the gold pan, below where it enters Garden Gulch.” I was surprised to find there was water in Garden Gulch at this time of year with still no rain. I needed to be alone so badly. All I’ve been doing since school started is housework and nursery school.

“Jeffrey lost a second front tooth last week. It was very loose and he bit Rebecca during a fight! I’m afraid I wasn’t very sympathetic with either one.”

I really liked this spot along Garden Gulch and wrote a detailed description, including a sketch. I mentioned that I’d seen a lot of bear scat along the last half mile.

October 9th: Bob was in Bakersfield again. “Feel like I’m about 12 different people these days.

““Rebecca told me tonight that Jessica (her cousin) had brought her up to date on all the latest 4-letter words. Part of growing up I guess.”

“Got a letter from Walter Meyers (he was the author and photographer for an article in National Geographic about Crater Lake when I was working there.). When I think of all the hazards worldwide and personal—it helps knowing I’ve known such interesting people and really have had quite a varied and interesting life. I really like my present age—more confident, able to sort out things worth doing and people worth knowing, liking my husband for much better reasons than I used to.”

We went out to the ranch that Saturday afternoon and stayed overnight. Sunday I moved the lawn, most of it, and left by 1:00 so Jeff could go to Robbie Fox’s birthday party at 2:00. Did some chores. Bob called at 6:00 to say he was on his way in. At 6:45 he called to say he was back up at the house and the truck had broken down, had a brake stick. So I called Linda Ohde and Eric brought her over to be with the children. I drove out and got Bob and we were home by 9:30.-2802″ />

Salmon Lake 1974

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Sunday, August 18th: Yesterday we left the trailhead with Candie and Jim near Carter’s. This is the first time I’ve been to Carter’s since Bob and I camped at Big Flat on our first anniversary and walked in to Josephine Lake. Apparently he’s trying to sell the place now. Anyway, we left our car in the parking lot, walked back down the road and started up. Carter has done a lot of logging in there, which is really too bad.

It’s a pretty trail. Switchbacks up through woods, then winds around through small meadows filled with paintbrush, a few tiger lilies, monkshood, and small purple penstemons. We ate lunch along a creek (Kidd Creek) in a meadow. I spotted a small black bear near a lightning burn on the other side. Jim hiked up to a ridge top to see where we were. When we’d entered the meadow I’d seen smoke in the upper end. After we’d eaten lunch a couple came through heading out. We later decided it was their fire, left smoking, and we went up to look. It was still smoldering and they’d left a couple of mashed cans in it. We poured water and stirred.

Turned out that we were on the way to Mumbo Lake. Coming up the ridge we crossed a couple of patches of snow. At the top we could see Ward Lake and also talked to a man who was camped there and had come up to take pictures. We circled around above Ward Lake (where I slipped in the loose rock and gouged my hand a bit) and made our way up a series of benches to the ridge above Salmon Lake. Lots of wild mint in bloom along the way and we came across an air mattress torn to bits by bears. Marvelous view from the top–Sawtooth Range and others behind- glacial polished, shining. Down over more piles of rock. Jim spotted a big golden-colored bear down in the canyon below—huge.

Salmon Lake nests in the rocks along with two small ponds and another below. Heather in bloom, mountain hemlocks, some white pine and fir. Lots of smooth granite rock. Fish jumping all over. We all went swimming—very cold but stimulating. Fixed dinner and ate it up on top of a mound of smooth granite looking out at Caribou Mountains.

Lots of joking about our reserved tables and the view included in the price. Lasagna, peach brandy and vanilla pudding, preceded by soup. After cleaning up the dishes Candie suggested a bonfire so we had a warm fire to sit around and talk for a while. Finally went to bed and froze most the night. I tried sleeping on an insolate pad—warmer than an air mattress but it sure is hard.

Sunday we fooled around camp for quite a while. Candie fed a chipmunk and a golden-mantled ground squirrel—the ground squirrel coming to about two feet from her. I’d taken my usual early morning tour and discovered one more little pond. Saw the heron again and think it must have a nest in one of the big trees up there.

We went up the hill from camp and in practically no time were up on top. Started down the ridge and soon could see not only Deer Creek Meadows but also up into Black Basin (which I think must be a hanging valley). Finally came to a grassy ridge over which the main trail is supposed to go. We didn’t go as far up the ridge as we should have and ended up zigzagging steeply down the right side of the head of the Salmon Creek Canyon instead of taking the trail down to the left. Went through some pretty places though. Lots of Indian Paintbrush, lupine, etc. and in one spot a field of Western Pasque Flowers, though right by a snow bank they were in bud and about two inches high. 75 feet away they were 10 inches high with a big furry seed head. We ate lunch around 2:30 after coming to the trail, right where the water comes across the trail. Could look up and see where the water cascades down from Salmon Lake just before we dropped down to eat lunch by the creek. Missing the trail had meant a lot more work and sore knees but it wasn’t too bad.

From there on out the trail was easy. Wound through a big meadow and suddenly the trail turned to road. Scot Carter has logged all his land and has roads all over the place. I don’t see how he could do it to such a lovely piece of land. I remember going to a meeting where he spoke about his family’s love for the land, etc. and implied that some people thought the U.S.F.S. should have it, etc. Then he turns around and does this to it. Really bad coming out of the wilderness into that kind of thing.

We got home around 6:30. The breakfast dishes were still to be washed but Linda had started chicken cooking. She helped fix dinner and ate with us.

Monday I took laundry over to Florence and Leonard’s and washed a couple of batches of whites. Was just finishing when Nancy and David and family came in. They’d been staying out Canyon Creek.

Bought gifts for Jeffrey’s birthday that afternoon and made a few calls for nursery school. Eventually left for the ranch after picking up Jessica Twight from the Joneses.
Bob went to Redding and then got out to the ranch around 9:30. We made homemade ice cream and Rebecca and Jessica picked blackberries for it. Had pizza for dinner.

That Sunday evening the two older children were still awake at 9:30. The next day was Jeffrey’s birthday and of course he could hear me rustling wrapping paper. Jeffrey had pulled out a loose tooth and that was under his pillow—too much excitement. Then I heard Bob’s feet thump-thumping down to their end of the room and back and after that things were quiet. I have found only this one bad photo of Jeff, along with Clarke and Scot Muir for Jeff’s birthday. I’m thinking maybe, instead of a regular party, he had Scot come out for overnight at the ranch.

Jessica and Rebecca got along quite well. She was a year older but the entire time was full of talking, giggling and running. The second and third nights she was at the ranch we sent them out to the VW to sleep. The third night Jeffrey was out there also and Clarke until we went to bed when we brought him down to the house. Clarke was really disappointed when he woke up in his own bed instead of in the VW bus. The others knew he was being brought down but I hadn’t told him, assuming they would. I felt really badly about that. We ate lunch down at the creek both days, as Bob was working down there.

“Jessica talked about liking it here and at the Jones’ because it was so old fashioned—we had to hang our clothes out and had no dishwasher! I guess her first two or three years left no lasting impression on her because she hates bugs, spiders, banana slugs, etc.” She lived a very rural life in those first few years. Horace, Nick and Cedric came out for lunch Friday and took Jessica back with them.

Hall’s Gulch

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This seemed to have been a summer for making up for time lost or perhaps looking forward to far busier times when there would be less camping time. More photos, less writing this time. And I found a good photo of Clarke’s birthday party in this little yellow box of slides. I don’t know why so many of the slides are dark when copied.

August 12th—a little after 7:00 a.m. We are camped along Hall’s Gulch, the five of us and the dog. We hiked in yesterday, a Sunday. We drove through someone’s yard and ended up parking near a summer camp.

Clarke carried a little pack with his clothes in it. Jeffrey carried his and Clarke’s sleeping bags. Rebecca carried her sleeping bag plus all her stuff. We ate lunch where Fool’s Gulch enters Hall’s Gulch. We hiked only a mile and a half but it was a hot day and quite a struggle for Clarke. I membered our taking Rebecca in to the Sinks. Four miles up the Canyon Creek Trail, when she was four years old, and how she was getting sick at the time although we hadn’t known it. Much too far for a four-year old, even under the best of circumstances.

We stopped and sat on the trail while Bob went down toward the creek and searched for a good camping spot. The kids were cross and tired. Rebecca had sore feet and I thought she probably needed new boots. She had some jerky with her and passed that around.

I walked on up the trail and came to Hall’s cabin, a little cabin set back in the trees; dry meadow with rusty bedsprings sitting in it.

This spot is nice—a couple of big alders—lots of small ones, a small yew right by our sleeping bags, Douglas fir, maples, Indian rhubarb in the creek. Lots of slate around here. Yesterday the children were building houses out of rocks and sticks and making signs on pieces of slate to go with those—like “keep out”, naturally. Our sleeping bags are on a rocky, sandy flat about 15 feet from the water. The children are down the creek about 50 feet and up higher, where there is more duff. We brought Clarke down here last night after he’d gone to sleep and I took him up again in the morning after he woke up.

Bob took Jeff fishing up the creek just before dinner. Bob caught a fish and Jeffrey got to eat it. “Rebecca goes today. Clarke fished right next to camp after dinner. They’re using a pole that Bob Ocock left in the garage when we bought the house. “

The next day I spent a good part of the day making and repairing, mostly repairing, a stick person for Clarke, a dog for Jeffrey and hollowed out a little stick for Rebecca—a tiny compartment in it. It was nearly 11 before I was through with k.p. duties, including frying the fish for Jeffrey. Bob went fishing downstream for about an hour. After lunch I took a half hour break and went down to sit on a rock for a while. When I got back Bob was working on a paddlewheel. He had it working in the creek alter a while. All done with a knife and string. Later he went fishing upstream and brought back a live fish to release in a little pond he’d made along the creek earlier.

After dinner the previous day we walked up the trail to the cabin. It had really fallen apart over the years but there were pieces of stove around and that sort of thing. Bob held an old dustpan while Jeffrey took a stub of a broom and swept up leaves, clowning around. . We hiked on up past there a ways. Really had to watch Clarke because of all the poison oak. Finally all but Bob started back and he continued on up to where the creek divides. That night Rebecca came down with a flashlight with Jeffrey who had a nightmare. Later she came down. So Bob took his sleeping bag and went up with them while I stayed there with Clarke.

I mentioned that I’d forgotten to note that I’d killed a rattlesnake in the orchard before we left the ranch. “It’s hard to think about things like that and world politics, or Nixon resigning, which he did last week, in a place like this. Although we do have to think about rattlesnakes.”

On Tuesday Bob took Jeffrey fishing and they went about a mile up the trail. Bob caught three nice trout. Rebecca read most of the morning and Clarke lay on the sleeping bags near her and played. Then they played down by the creek. I made a little hut from woven fir branches near their sleeping bags. I used some branches we already had but and cut quite a few more but tried to do it inconspicuously and from crowded trees. The hut was big enough for all three of them to sit in, crowded closely together. It was sort of egg shaped with one side open and a window opposite. I really didn’t use enough fir branches to make it thick but it served the purpose and was fun. After lunch Bob rested a short while and then took Rebecca and went fishing. They got back just as I was getting dinner ready. They had seven fish so we each ate two trout that night, including those caught that morning. Bob cooked the fish and the children were quite impressed that he knew how to do that.

We’d seen dippers and Steller’s jays and a little wren came by a couple of times. I wrote that it was hard to hear birds because of the sound of the creek. And I blamed that noisy stream for some wild dreams that I had. But it was a good trip.

A 90th Birthday and More 1974

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Saturday we went into town for lunch. We were out of bread at the ranch. Bob had left earlier to go to Hayfork to get new boots. He’d bought some earlier in the summer but they were too tight. It turned out that he was able to get the new pair, plus Ernie Glass said he could sell the old pair so he came out fine on the arrangement.

After lunch we went to the library where signing out the books seemed to take forever. We went home and cleaned up a little. Linda Ohde’s parents dropped her off so we didn’t have to go pick her up. After Bob got back he and I went to Gilda Sanders and Hugh Brown’s wedding reception. I was really happy for her. Had a funny conversation with Barbara Simmons before we left.

After we got back to the house Bob took Linda home; I helped the kids change and put shoes on; I changed from pantsuit to dress and then we all went to Aunt Nell’s party. “That was really something!” 200 guests for dinner at Lowden Park with the Women’s Fellowship doing the dinner. The majority were over 60-years old and many over 70. They had a speaker system, which worked pretty well. Florence did a great job with her review of Aunt Nell’s life, her activities and her friends. Several people spoke. “I was afraid Bob would weep about half way through his—he feels so strongly about ancestors and is so fond of Aunt Nell. I really think he can hardly wait to be an old timer himself!” (I tend to assume that those reading my notes know most of the people I mention but: Aunt Nell Pattison, Aunt May Richards, Uncle Stanford Scott, and Uncle Ed Scott were all Bob’s great aunts and uncles, Florence’s aunts and uncles. The family owned the Scott Ranch, which got flooded by Trinity Lake. You can learn more at the Jake Jackson Museum or researching past copies of the historical society’s “Trinity”). Most of the Aunt Nell party pictures were taken by Bob/Robert Morris.

Clarke kissed Aunt Nell’s hand a couple of times, which delighted her. Uncle Stanford got up and said, “And I expect her to come to my 90th in 5 ½ years.” Uncle Ed, who was quite frail, said a few words also. Aunt Nell was so pleased and excited. She got presents and lots of cards. Rebecca made her two cards. Mrs. Rourke was there and insisted on introducing Rebecca to her husband. I saw and talked to Judy Duncan for the first time in ages. She invited us over to swim sometime.

At dinner Uncle Stanford said he’d like to come out to the ranch again sometime as he hadn’t been out there for about 12 years. Bob suggested he and Calvine come the next day. They were staying overnight with relatives in town. So they came out to the ranch the next morning with Bob and Jeffrey. I rushed around trying to get the Weaverville house in order, ironed a couple of Bob’s shirts, and still got out there in time to fix lunch for them. Noel had stayed overnight with us—she and Rebecca not getting to bed until 10 pm and then still talking at nearly midnight. I took Noel back to Florence and Leonard’s, bought groceries, picked up Ann Marie because Jeannie needed time with Fred, who was in the hospital. We got out there about 12:45. Uncle Stanford was resting upstairs. “Amid the bags of groceries I fixed lunch and finally got everyone fed.” Rebecca and Ann Marie headed back to town with Bob and Uncle Stanford.

I cleaned up after lunch (thank goodness for paper plates) and then the boys and I fixed ice cream. Pulled the drain on the pool and sat down with a glass of beer and the Sunday paper out on the porch. The phone rang and it was Jeanne Meyer saying Ann Marie wasn’t there yet. I assured her they’d left and Florence had called earlier to say she was sending some leftover food out with Bob so I knew they were in town. I called the house and told Rebecca to call Jeannie. I was still cleaning the pool when Bob got home and suggested that he and Rebecca put dinner together, which they did. Florence had sent out leftover macaroni salad and some ham so he fixed a green salad and heated up the ham.

Clarke and Rebecca had slept out in the VW van that week. It was still terribly hot. I’d had a bad dream about clouds of dust coming up from the Prairie Creek side of the canyon and then a giant clear-cut coming over the top and down that side.

That Wednesday evening I was writing by candlelight and listening to KKHI on the radio. The day before, around 10:30 in the morning, we had heard trucks coming up the road and the gas truck arrived. They left the big truck down by the creek and brought a small one pulling a lift trailer. They took a run at our hill and pulled up the slope perpendicular to the orchard, backed in between the two small apple trees, around the garden and between the garden and the plum tree to the tank. We were really impressed by his backing. Then they hoisted the tank and went down to the creek to fill it. I finished weeding among the tomatoes in the half hour they were gone. They had more trouble coming back and had to get a second run at the hill.
It was also more difficult lining the tank up correctly. When they were finished I offered them beer, lemonade or water. They took the lemonade. Don Larkin was the tank truck driver; I didn’t know who the other man was. They even re-lit the pilot light on the refrigerator.

When they were about to leave we heard a heavy plane and decided there must be a fire someplace to the northwest. Later in the afternoon many planes were going over. Some we could see and some not. I called the USFS in Big Bar and they said the fire was near Denny. We were getting some wisps of smoke in the sky by then. Bob called to ask whether planes were going over because he could see them in town. A large helicopter went over several times too. He was staying in town that night because he was leaving for Bakersfield early Wednesday morning.

Jeffrey slept out in the VW by himself a couple of nights. Even Rebecca was impressed with his bravery.

We went to Big Bar Wednesday morning singing “Country Roads” all the way at full volume. I took the garbage to the dump where we nearly collided with a woman driving a dump truck load of rocks. We stopped at the Forest Service office to see where the fire was on a map. Rebecca stepped on a bee on the lawn and had a swollen foot. I was reading Gunther’s Big Sky and getting emotionally involved in it.

I found myself thinking about my mother’s life as a mother and wife and wishing I could talk to her about it. But the stroke made it so difficult for her to talk and to put her feelings into words. She also must have had resentments, anger, sadness and so forth and certainly had more cause I thought. I got so upset over petty things and yet that was understandable I supposed because I had to deal with so many petty things on a day-to-day basis. “I’d like to be one of those calm, capable people who serenely takes care of others’ problems and isn’t disturbed by much of anything.”

On August 5th I noted that we were finally having some cooler weather. That Saturday Bob had spent most of the day in town getting parts for the gate, etc. Rebecca and Jeffrey went with him. They brought the stake-side truck out and Rebecca and Jeffrey rode “magnificently” in the back of it, having ridden home from the gate. When they got home Clarke, who stayed with me, was asleep on a quilt on the floor.

I’d pulled all the weeds out of the cement sand pile and given Clarke a hose to play with. He’d had a good time making rivers and plowing with the bulldozer. Most of the time he had it getting stuck. We’d taken our lunch down to the creek and spent about an hour and a half there.

Oliver Burglund and a friend of his came out to look at the gate site. He was going to put in the gate in return for Bob’s working on his water system. Frank Walden said he’d help too. I’d called Bob in town to bring some beer out and after he’d given them the grand tour it was quickly consumed. This would be a second gate, down by Walden’s.

On another day I got up early and went to prune brush along the road, starting at the creek and working my way up to where the horse gate used to be, just past the little spring that runs across the road. I was home by noon. “Pruning is hard work but I enjoy it—especially the quiet.” Then I fixed lunch and we took it down to the creek where Bob was stripping off the forms.

August 6th—“It rained all day yesterday. Beautiful! I could feel my whole body plumping up with moisture—the grass turned darker green, the air was soft, almost coastal, and everything smelled so good. Pieces of mist broke off larger pieces or materialized out of nowhere and came drifting up out of the trees.” I made a blackberry pie, baked cookies, cleaned the pool, read. The children too seemed to enjoy the rain. We all slept late except for Bob.

“Had a big argument with Rebecca about going to a friend’s slumber party, birthday party. Another girl whose older sister has slumber parties started this last spring. I don’t like the idea at all. I think it’s fine to have a friend stay overnight but these group things get out of hand—giggles until dawn and exhaustion all the next day. It’s Friday night and Sunday we’re leaving on a camping trip with the children. She’d be exhausted. I don’t know the parents, there are four younger sisters, etc. Good old peer pressure!”

Friday night, another big scene. I did call up Alice Jones to see when Nick, Jessica and Cedric would be up. They were arriving in two weeks and I made arrangements for them to stay overnight at the ranch during that time.

Somewhere in the midst of these happenings, Clarke had his fourth birthday.

“I’m getting mixed feelings about this business of the children and I being at the ranch all summer without other kids.”

Time for Butterflies 1974

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When I reached the parking lot and started down the road, a man flagged me down and asked for a ride back to near Lake Eleanor road where he’d left his wife in their car after running two tires into the ditch. He was worried that she might panic with him gone so long but it seemed to me that he was the one in a panic. He was sort of an older gentleman (whatever that meant at my age) and I nicknamed him “Joe L.A.” Dark glasses, slacks, sports shirt, nervous cigarette, big car. “I thought I’d be more tolerant after my trip but found myself less so—it was a strain to be polite.” After I dropped him off I met a jeep coming up whose driver was going to try to pull him out.

When I got to town I called Bob, cleaned up, put away things and headed for the ranch. When I got there it was back to reality. Of course I was really tired so things seemed magnified. Bob had spent the previous two hours looking for car keys so dinner had yet to be fixed and it was around 7:00. The children were dirty and hungry but eager to show me the dollhouse their father had built for them. He fixed a salad and we had canned spaghetti for dinner. After we’d eaten I took Clarke’s shirt off to swish him through a bath and saw that he had a rash—a bad case of poison oak. The caterpillars were out of food and the garden hadn’t been watered. Rebecca and Jeff got leaves for the caterpillars.

If I’d been a bit more mature I would have been grateful that they were all still alive, seemed to have had a good time, and their father had also survived. But that came a little later.

I was really sore and stiff and blisters were painful. That plus Clarke fussing from the poison oak itching meant not much sleep that night. Monday Bob brought medicine from in town that we’d used the previous summer to help with the itching. They had drained the pool while I was gone but hadn’t cleaned it so the bottom of the pool was littered with dead bumblebees and the walls coated with a film. By Monday evening after I’d done three batches of laundry, cleaned and filled the pool, “I was more optimistic”.

My eldest brother Ben, called from Corning that evening. He and his wife were arriving around 11:30 that night. We talked for an hour after they arrived and then went to bed, with them sleeping in sleeping bags out on the front porch. After breakfast on Tuesday we walked the loop. I hadn’t seen him since Clarke was about 16 months old. This was the first time we’d met Pat, his second wife. The children spent their time going from lap to lap. Ben was entranced by all our water. He ran sprinklers, mowed more of the grass around the barn, unplugged the drain, which had been full of grass roots, so that water from the lower spring would run under the apple trees. They left around noon on Wednesday. They’d moved from the Seattle area to Pennsylvania where he was teaching.

Thursday we went into town for dental appointments for the boys and to run some errands. On the way out of town we stopped to see Florence and she gave us chard, lettuce, squash and raspberries. We made one quick stop at the Woods for a quick dip in their pool and then dry off in their sauna. On the way out to the ranch we ran into heavy rain and hail along the river- “came down in great silver splotches that shown in the sun and splattered against the windshield”. Lots of thunderheads around during afternoon.

One of the caterpillars hung upside-down the night before and by this evening was a lovely green chrysalis and a second one was upside down.

I was concerned because Bob wasn’t home yet at 10:00. He was down at the creek putting plastic pipe upstream so he could keep the cement wet. Jack Simmons had brought out a ready-mix truck the week before and Bob, Ben Parks and Kevin Lewis had poured cement, settling it with a vibrator, powered by a portable generator from the hardware store. The abutments were further along as a result.

On Friday I got up early and fixed breakfast for Bob. After the children and I made a raspberry pie, from Florence’s raspberries, I’d changed beds and tried to start the generator to do laundry. It wouldn’t start so I tried the lawn mower to mow and it wouldn’t start. Called Bob and he gave me some suggestions. Got the generator started and laundry going. Cleared the air filter on the lawnmower and it started right up. The children spent most of the day playing with the little pottery animals that came with boxes of Red Rose Tea. They used a small plastic doll for Mowgli (I’d been reading the Jungle Books to Jeffrey.) After lunch I hung up the three batches of laundry; cleaned the bugs out of the pool and kicked for five minutes. Got the lawn mower going again by adjusting the fuel mixtures screen. Mowed the orchard with one stop for a swim and one to refill with gas. The children spent a lot of time in the pool.

Big buildup of thunderheads in the afternoon but no storm—quite warm.

That morning, when I was talking to Clarke about how he must take a nap he said, “I won’t have a steric, Mommy, I promise.” I’d told him he had hysterics when he didn’t take a nap. He didn’t get the nap but did pretty well. Talked to Candie for a while. It was Carin’s birthday.

Saturday we went into town to go to Vernon and Ruth’s 50th wedding anniversary celebration), having a good visit with Candie, Jim and Carin before we left the Weaverville house. The reception was really very nice—punchbowls and cake and lots of people—apparently about 60 of Vernon’s clan showed up. Big picture of them on their wedding day—Ruth calm, steady-eyed, capable; Vernon romantic and dreamy. We got there around 4:00 and were there till nearly 5:30. Bob was having a very good time seeing lots of people he hadn’t seen in a number of years and introducing me to many of them. Rebecca got to meet his former piano teacher.

The Asplins were there—Horgans, and others we hadn’t seen in a while. I met Ed Ryan, Vernon’s son, and his wife Ruthie. “I left thinking that I hadn’t been thinking about marriage as a 50-year investment of time and effort; more like ten- year increments. I suppose if one thought at the beginning in terms of 50 years it would mean working a lot harder at it—especially in terms of seeing that each partner was allowed and encouraged to develop to his and her fullest capabilities. We talked a lot afterwards about the various people there, about Bob, about marriage. I am so fond of Vernon and Ruth.”

We stayed in town Saturday and Sunday night. I caught up on chores there, even washing woolen things that should have been done last spring. Children played with friends. We ate dinner at the Brewery—fried chicken and salad. It was under new management and they didn’t have pizza anymore. Two walls of the upper room were covered with a mural of Weaverville. It was quite attractive but not very accurate.

Monday on our way to the ranch we stopped in Big Bar to get ice for homemade raspberry icecream. What wouldn’t fit into the freezer we used to make popcycles.

The children liked to play outside after dinner and that night they had the overhead sprinklers on and got marvelously cool before bedtime. “I was thinking of the childhood memories they will have and wondering if, when they’re all in their twenties, whether they’ll say, ‘and remember those sprinklers up on the roof’?’ I hope they store up lots of good memories because I’m afraid they’ll need them during the difficult times ahead for the world. They’ve certainly had a much more varied childhood than I did already. I think it’s interesting that out of the four of us the three boys and families are the ones that ended up in an urban environment, while I’m in a more park like atmosphere, at least in the summer. (Of course the last 15-20 years it’s been my brother Peter who has been living the rural lifestyle.)

July 29th, Friday—It has been unbearably hot the last two days. The upstairs doesn’t really cool off much during the night. The last three nights I’d been up a lot with Clarke. Sometimes I’d take him downstairs for a cool bath to relieve the itching. It was so warm in the house and for several days much of my time was spent trying to help the children stay cool night and day. Rebecca and Jeffrey slept in the VW bus two nights in a row and Rebecca looked much less tired the next day. When Clarke was in the pool I had to be there too. He went under once when I was there and once when both Bob and I were there. It’s only 2 ½ feet deep but we noticed that when he went under was while holding on to a floatation item. So we took those away. We were going into town for Aunt Nell’s 90th birthday party that weekend.

First Solo Backpack Trip 1974

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My proposed backpack trip had to be postponed several times and Bob suggested I take an extra day to make up for it, a Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

We were out at the ranch that Tuesday. I mowed the lawn while Clarke napped. Bob went into town late afternoon but got back around 7:30. The children and I had taken a walk around the loop after putting a roast in the oven, and then had warm roast-beef sandwiches for dinner. I watched the children out the window and enjoyed them. They were really silly that afternoon—lots of bathroom talk, plays on words, hysterical giggles. After dinner Bob told them that a jay in the barn had pooped on his shoulder and this set them off again.

“Jeffrey, this morning, very casually, very manfully, offered to go on my trip with me—“if you want me to”. I wept tonight telling Bob about it.”

Rebecca was re-reading The Yearling to herself, now that I finished reading it to her. “She is such a complicated child—so grown up in some ways, yet very vulnerable in others. She looked willow-the-wispy tonight—shiny, soft hair, dreamy-eyed, holding her blanket and her frog. And yet there is a great inner strength there too I think.”

Clarke had been cheerful and silly, alternating with wanting to be cuddled. He had a nap which helped a lot with overcoming his crossness of the last few days. The inconsistencies of naps made life difficult for him sometimes.

“I wish I could let the children know how pleased I am to know them so well—their marvelous uniqueness as well as their faults—without getting them all self-conscious about it. I think they know I love them well, even when I nag. I dread their being hurt by the cruelties life offers—I just hope there are enough good things to make it worthwhile for them.”

I was reading another of Ann Lindbergh’s books-Locked Rooms, Open Doors.

“July 12th–I am writing this at the head of Deer Creek Meadows, sitting beside a waterfall in the sun, just below the Luella Lake Trail junction. Kinnik-Kinnick and I got here about 3:30. I drove into Weaverville from the ranch yesterday afternoon—got there about 4:30 and really had to hurry to buy groceries for the ranch plus what I needed for this trip. After dinner I packed (called the ranch once and talked to each child and asked Bob a couple of things). Got packed round 9:00 and then vacuumed the house for some weird reason. Played our John Denver record a lot.

Got up at 5:15 and was at the trail around 8:00. Met lots of people going in. Kinnik-Kinnick got confused at Granite Creek Bridge and started following two teenage girls. I didn’t catch up with her again till we reached Granite Lake.

It is a beautiful trip in here—lots of water, azaleas still blooming (on the Granite Lake side)-pitcher plants at the beginning of the trail. Granite Lake lies at the end of a long meadow and over some rocks—big snow slide still at the end. I arrived there at the same time as the two girls, who had managed to pick up about six fellows. I ran right into the camp of a family who told me I’d missed the Deer Creek Meadows turnoff so I went back a couple of hundred feet and found it. Had been worried about snow but ran into a couple of patrolmen (one was Rod Duncan whom I’d taught in 5th grade at Big Bar) who said it was mostly melted off. Ate lunch by a little trickle of a stream looking out over Granite Lake.

That’s a very steep climb up out of there. I’d never have made it if it were a hot August day with no water. It’s 1.5 miles to the pass. Came down the switchbacks from the pass in about an hour, going slowly because my legs, feet and shoulders are very sore. My pack is much too heavy. Coming down there were some long green meadows—at the top of these tiger lilies were all in tight green buds—at the bottom some were in bloom. The 4-Lakes area has a lot of snow in it still. Passable probably but I don’t think I’ll go there. Peter built those switchbacks down from the pass about eight years ago. I was going to stop at their old camp but this looks pretty good and I’m tired.

Kinnik-Kinnick just came and curled up with me. I think she’s tired too! My shoulders are so sore. I hope I can make it to Long’s Cabin tomorrow. Am supposed to stay there tomorrow night and come out Bear Basin Sunday. I think I’ll try to eat around 5:00. (I was trying to stay at the places I’d talked about with Bob so if I needed to be found someone would know where to look.)

Alice Jones’ painting of Deer Creek area.

I’ve decided that solitude is all very well and good but I think if Bob were along I’d enjoy it more—or even one of the kids if they could walk this far. Sharing an experience enriches it. I thought it probably would be this way. I’m enjoying not having to respond to anyone but I miss the response to me! This is really kind of a pretty spot—foamy waterfall about eight feet high, hellebore and tiger lilies—but not in bloom. A kind of yellow lupine is just beginning to bloom and there are columbines blooming along the creek and on the rock by the waterfall. A few yellow violets in bloom next to the rocks. We may have picked a spot under a Stellar’s Jay nest for our campsite—at least they’ve really been squawking at the dog and one pooped on the air mattress. The trees look like white fir and white pine.

It’s 7:30 now. I’m in my sleeping bag—face washed, teeth brushed, hair brushed and small drink of peach brandy consumed. After dinner (primus stove worked beautifully) I read down by the creek for about an hour—a book that Jeannie Meyer loaned me. The sound of the creek is not consistent—sometimes the falls seem to slap the rocks—not unlike the sound of movement through underbrush.

I think I’m going to be consumed by carpenter ants tonight. Many big ones crawling around. I’ve blisters on the balls of both feet. Will try putting gauze pads on them tomorrow. Sun is off the meadow now but still on the cliffs at the head and on the mountains across from me—cliffs are a silver grey but the opposite mountain is quite red. Saw a couple of Steer’s Head Bleeding Hearts in bloom—many, many plants–just a few blossoms. Also saw a couple of leftover shooting stars.

Saturday—6:00 p.m.—Am later tonight making camp. Slept off and on last night waking frequently to hear the roar of the creek and once when a deer bounded off. Woke around 7:00. After breakfast I packed everything so it was all ready to go. Had a brief encounter with the stove. Wanted to fill it so all would be ready for tonight but took about 20 minutes to get the lid unscrewed. Was afraid for a while I’d have to have sandwiches for dinner and no lunch tomorrow—or breakfast!

Anyhow, around 10:00 the dog and I started up the trail with the idea of hiking to Diamond Lake since Bob had recommended it so highly—left the pack at camp. Really hard on my muscles at first. It is a lovely hike all the way—having to be conservative with pictures was agony. The trail climbs up almost as high as I was yesterday coming into Deer Creek only on the opposite side—very alpine, very spectacular–jagged peaks, fields of snow on them, bright green meadow with little ponds. One incident occurred which really made things grey for a while. Kinnik-Kinnick stirred up a fawn. It was bleating and she was yelping and I’m afraid she probably killed it. I whipped her with the leash when she got back and put her on the leash for most of the rest of the trip.

Luella Lake nests up in red rock above the Deer Creek Canyon—there was snow covering about 1/5 of it, and lots of snow around it. We zig-zagged on up the trail and had no problem till we got to the top of the ridge. Just below the top was a small cornice of snow–too steep in most places for me to climb over. Found a good spot to kick holes and then, right where the snow meets the rock, one foot went in. Fortunately the other foot was firm and I grabbed rock–could have been nasty as obviously no one had been over the trail recently and several days at that altitude with a broken leg would be yucky. From there to Diamond Lake took about 15 minutes.

Diamond Lake lies at the foot of steep talus slopes up which a trail winds but there was lots of snow on the trail. No wonder Bob wanted me to see this lake. Along the upper side is sloping green meadow with daisies and shooting stars, and hellebore is just beginning to poke up spikes along the melting snow, and has tightly bundled leaves, up about two feet elsewhere. A reddish rim rock sticks out on one side of the opposite shore. The rest of that shore is a look straight out at jagged, snow-covered peaks. I ate lunch there and was more full from the scenery I think than from the food.

Took 15 minutes to get back to the top of the hill, no trouble getting off the snow and was back in camp at 1:30. Left camp about 2:00 and, after traveling down Deer Creek about 15-20 minutes, had to take my boots off to get across. Think I saw where Deer Creek Camp is but am not sure about Peter’s old camp, which is supposed to be in that area. Started up the hill where the sign said Black Basin-3 Miles. It has many more switchbacks than are shown on the contour map. Quite a steep climb up and no water. We finally hit water in Black Basin and stopped for a drink and snack. There’s a beautiful little green meadow and a little pond, which looks out at the Sawtooth Range. Thought about staying there but decided to go further. A few hundred yards on there’s a kind of barren willowy camp with cut logs for stools and the trail to Mumford Basin takes off there as does the one to Bear Basin. I took the Bear Basin one and am camped, I guess, at Long’s Cabin. I told Bob I’d camp there but just happened upon it as it looked like a good spot. I guess there are two trails up to Bear Basin and I took the one that Long’s Cabin isn’t on—didn’t see a forks or anything, and looking over from the together trail saw this spot. So far today I’ve seen no one. Saw some fairly fresh tracks on the Deer Creek Trail and this one to Bear Basin looks like someone came out on a horse and maybe went to Mumford Basin. (After I got home I learned that yes, this was the remains of Long’s Cabin.)

The sun is still shining into here. Am wondering if it will shine in here early in the morning. I kind of doubt it. This camp is about 20 feet from a small stream. The area is used for snow surveys and there is an orange sign on one of the trees and one up about 20 feet in a tree across the meadow. The trees here look like mountain hemlock, red fir and white pine. It’s a pretty spot, patches of snow still around, lichens on fallen trees are a bright chartreuse. The peaks I’ll be going toward in the morning look like those at the head of Deer Creek—grey with reddish tinges-snow, a few patches of chartreuse lichens-not the furry kind as on the trees.

The breeze is cool in the shade I keep moving with the sun. Lots of old garbage here rusty cans, broken bottles, etc., pieces of what look like an old cabin—logs and boards with nails in them. Many carpenter ants here. One was into the stroganoff spoon as soon as I put it down.

Taking this trip has been a good thing for me—I’ve proved to myself that I can do it, have enjoyed my own company (it’s not much different from the long day hikes I’ve taken)—the dog has been kind of a nuisance—trying to keep her with me. I really must admit though that I can’t keep from thinking about the children and Bob. Like when I saw a parent Clark’s Nutcracker feeding a young one today I thought, “I must tell Clarke about that.”

I guess it means that once one has a family these individuals become a part of oneself. And one of the things, I enjoy about hiking—although I never realized it till this trip—is sharing the experience by talking about it…and sharing it with someone who cares about you.

I am really looking forward to our taking the children into Hall’s Gulch. I do hope they will enjoy camping as much as I do as time goes on. It will be fun having someone to go with when they’re older during the times that Bob can’t—or maybe we can all go a lot or Bob and I can take just one at different times as Foreros have done.

I thought I’d be poetic, bringing this paper but I’m so tired by evening it’s all I can do to write down the facts! I see now another sign in my cluster of trees—up about 20 feet.

Creeks are funny. It’s no wonder poets have talked about babbling brooks. I often think I hear children’s voices and my mother used to say she would hear our voices in creeks. Rebecca thought I was calling her the other day when we were down at Little French Creek but I wasn’t. I think Jeffrey would like this spot with the big green meadow across the creek and all the rounded rocky outcroppings to climb on. The sun must be going down but it doesn’t seem to have lowered at all since we got here—it’s just moved around a bit.

Morning of July 14th–Am nearly packed. I notice that my writing in the evening is very home oriented—mornings I feel so free! I think this kind of existence could really grow on one. By the third night one should sleep soundly—from the exhaustion of not sleeping the other two nights if nothing else. Probably one stops listening to the creeks talk by then. I have all the routines down now and everything goes smoothly—meal preparation, packing up, etc. and I’m sure my muscles are stronger—as well as the pack being a little lighter.

I wonder if that “evening family” thing is a primitive instinct of mankind. To draw together at night for protection. I think I’d like to do something like this for a couple of days every summer. Almost packed now and it’s 8:45. The sun came up in a totally different place than I expected this morning. Have had full sunlight since about 7:30. Robins were singing until after 9:00 last night and started at 5:00 this morning.

I ran out of film in the upper part of Bear Basin. Large patches of snow on the cliffs, but the trail was clear. Wound down into Bear Basin, crossed the creek on some short logs. I’d forgotten how beautiful the lower meadow is. Of course I’d seen it only in the fall before. A full quarter of a mile of pitcher plants, rein orchis, etc. Looking back up the canyon toward the snow– splotched peaks it was really spectacular. I lost the dog’s leash somewhere here. Ate lunch by a little spring along the stretch where azaleas grow in such abundance—air filled with their fragrance—maidenhair ferns, spairea, tiger lilies, deep moss, tiny pools, bright yellow monkey flowers. We didn’t meet any people until we were beyond Parker Creek where we met a teenage boy with a pack. Over 48 hours without another human. “