Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Philip Andrew Thomas

Once in a while, life can surprise you, with things you had entirely forgotten. This was the case, when sorting through some old pictures, I had. I was so delighted, to find these, I could hardly contain myself, because I had forgotten they even existed. So here Philip are a few childhood photo's of you. I don't know if you even remember me taking these?

Do you remember this old place, and the day I took these?

I was home from Idaho, where I had been going to high school. I wanted some pictures of you, to remember you by, because you were growing up so fast. You must have been maybe three or four here, which would make it 1976-77, or thereabouts. There's that old motor-home, mom used to drive me to school in. Looks like I was trying to get it in the picture too. Boy was it ever a gas hog.

Later, when I came home that summer, I had you go to the same place, in front of the old climbing rose bush, so I could take your picture again, because in just that short time, you had grown so much. There you are with our old calico kitty, who didn't want to sit still for the picture.

I think of all of my brothers, you had the most nicknames. We called you, Phidge, Phidgedoley, Phlip, Curly Locks, and Budla, just to name a few, I can remember. You were such a cute little boy, with all of that blond curly hair. But you were a real mischievous bugger too. You loved nothing better, than to try to give us all heart attacks, with your antics. Like climbing the front of the tall bookcase, and sitting on the top of it, next to the ceiling, or climbing up, and sitting on the top of the piano. You really liked to shinny up things, that is for sure.

You were a very active, and very cheerful little soul, and I sure do miss the fact, that I had to go away to school, so didn't get to watch you grow up.

You did give me this picture, and I have always cherished it. I modified it to black and white, because I wanted you to see, just how much it reminded me of your grandpa, James Dow Thomas. The picture of which, your aunt Donna gave me, after grandpa passed away, because she knew how much grandpa and I got along.

Here it is. I love this picture of Grandpa Thomas. It must have been taken right about the time, he was going out to Kansas to work.c.1917-18
Your dad, and your grandpa, were two of the finest men, you could ever want to meet, and like myself, who also didn't get to know my own dad, I always wished there were more pictures.

Tho in truth brother, I think you also share an uncanny resemblance, to your grt. grandfathers brother, Harry Nathaniel Genson. He was my favorite, of grandpa George Gensons brothers, and the brother that I remember most. He was always making sis and me, cookies, which he gave to us in tins. Mother took them home, and one time, tried to hide them from us, by putting them in the cedar chest, thus ruining them, so none of us got to eat any, because they tasted like cedar and moth balls. I still smile to think of it.

I have nothing but fond memories of Uncle Harry. He was always making things for sis and me. He had a wood-shop in his garage, and he made us wooden toys. I remember he made us a Chinese Checker board, or some such game, that you used marble's on, and a large toy chest too, tho Angie took that, even tho her name wasn't on it. I never could figure that one out?! Since it had Linda and I, and I think Toby's names painted on it. Oh well, she was ever one to think, what was yours was hers. Funny how some people are like that. I always thought it very odd.

Anyway dear brother, I hope you enjoy these pictures, for this post was written up, just for you.

Monday, May 18, 2015

35th Anniversary of Mt. St. Helens Eruption

Today is the 35th Anniversary, of the eruption of Mt. St. Helens, in the state of Washington. This is a very memorable date, for my husband and I lived not all that far, from the mountain at that time. In fact friends of ours were tree planters, hired by the forest service, and were in process of planting a deforested slope, on the mountain when it blew. Because of this friendship, I was allowed to go into the, "Red Zone", and see some of the damage, within days of the eruption. I was not however allowed a camera, but I will never forget, the scene's of devastation. It looked like an otherworldly site, like some monster with a giant schythe had mown down the forest, like twigs, for miles, and buried it in grey ash. We saw huge pumice boulders melted into the pavement, and smaller ones, that we pried up and tipped over, had melted to the ground.

This picture was taken by grandma, Maryann Hanners, from her yard in Hood River, Oregon. She and I had been sitting in the living room of the house, chatting. When the mountain cooked off, we were hit with an earthquake. I remember thinking how odd it was, since I happened to be looking from the living room, down the hall, to the bathroom, at the other end of the house. I saw the earthquake roll towards me, down the length of the house, just as this plume erupted, from Mt. St. Helens. Grandma grabbed her camera, ran outside, and snapped off a few shots. Unfortunately when I went to find the pictures, this one was the only one of them I could find.

Update: I found the second picture.

My husband, Gregg and I, at that time, were living on Underwood Cliff, on Underwood Mountain, which you can see, just to the right of the plume. When we got home, it had popped all of the molding off of our ceiling, and it was all laying on the floor. The next morning our car was covered in very fine gravel, so I took a glass vial, which normally held seed beads, and filled it full of the ash, from out of the cars windshield wipers slot. I still have it to this day.

Here is a popular postcard, that was sold at that time. As you can see, Spirit Lake, was completely destroyed, along with the top of the mountain.

In 2004 my husband and I, and our two boys, went for a drive, up to Mt. St. Helens. This shot is looking into the crater, from a position on a ridge, just up from the visitors center.

This also was taken in 2004, you can see that this tree stump was not cut off, by a chainsaw, but was torn off, from the force of the blast. Some of the stumps we saw like this, were old growth, and very huge. Unfortunately the fog rolled in, soon after this picture was taken, and I wasn't able to get any pictures of them.
This picture was also taken on our 2004 trip. This one is looking down into a valley, that was filled full of huge drifts of ash.

In 2006 we went for a drive, up in the Mt. Adams Wilderness, and I was able to get these lovely pictures of another side of Mt. St. Helens.

This shot, also taken on our drive in 2006, clearly shows, how the mountain, was still active. We saw it sending up plumes, every time we got a glimpse of it.

So on this 35th Anniversary of the eruption, of Mt. St. Helens, I can pause a moment to remember, where I was, and what I was doing, when this mountain blew it's top, and be very grateful, I lived to tell the tale.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Quick Crafts

Here is a quick craft I did in about ten minutes. I needed some J-hooks to hang one of my old farm implements, on the rafter beam in my shop, and all I could find, were some very modern looking ones at Home Depot. Since they were only 1.97 a piece, I thought I could take them home, and do something to them, to make them look less modern.

As I was sitting in my shop, trying to think of a way, to improve them, I happened to glance at one of my shelves, and saw an old ball of garden twine sitting there. I always keep some of it on hand, for I never know, when it will come in handy. A idea suddenly sprang into my head, so I set about, putting thought to action. As you can see, this is what the J-hook looked like, before I changed it. I have just removed the end cap, poked a hole in it with a pair of sharp scissors, and threaded a piece of twine through the hole, which I then knotted.

I then slid the cap back on, and am ready to commence my project. You will need a hot glue gun, for what I did next.

Using the hot glue to tack my twine in place, I wrapped the j-hook tightly, putting more glue on as I needed it. Which was easily done, switching dabs of glue, from front to back, to keep my twine wound tight. When I came to the holes, I kept the glue on the sides, to avoid mucking up the holes, and continued wrapping until the entire j-hook was covered.

A quick snip of the scissors, and another dab of glue, and the ends were finished. All that gray paint is covered up, and I now have two rustic looking hooks, to hang my farm implements on. Now to see if I can get the husband, to come help hang them on the beam for me.

Yes, my husband kindly came, and put up my J-hooks, so here is the old family schythe, hanging snugly in place, on one of the rafters in my shop. It actually hangs up above my head, but thanks to the modern invention, of double sided velcro, it isn't going anywhere soon.

I just love that old thing, it always reminds me of the stories, I was told by my step-grandpa, James Dow Thomas. He used one of these, back in 1916-17, when he worked the fields of Kansas, as a traveling grain harvester. He lived in bunk houses, with a group of men, and they moved from farm to farm, as the fields ripened. He along with many young men like him, during that period, did this to support their families. He was single, sending his earnings back to his family, who lived in Ohio. He came home after the harvest, was there all winter, helping his father in his water mill. In the spring he helped his father plant their potato fields, but come summer and fall, would find James, back in the hot fields of Kansas, harvesting grain once more.

After the invention of the mechanical grain harvester, these schythe's were still used, to clean out the corners of grain fields, and wherever the ground was too steep, or uneven for the machine. My own step-dad, James' son, Richard, owned one of these. He used to cut the grass along our driveway with it, and he taught me how to use it too. It really gave me a lot of respect, for both of the men's strength, because it could really made your back and arms ache, in short order.

Mothers Day Thanks

I wanted to write here today, a huge thank you, to my family this year, for making my Mothers Day so special. They really made my day so wonderful, and I am truly thankful, for each and every one of them and their efforts in making me happy.

This orchid, was the gift from my daughter, Yvonne, and it is absolutely delicious, and I just love it. I have been enjoying it in the house for now, but the lovely thing about Hawaii, is that I shall soon put it in my garden. I have purchased just the pot, I wish for it to live in, and I shall enjoy looking at it every day, as I go in and out of my shop, as orchids like this one, can bloom for well over a month here. Thank you so much for the flower sweetheart, it is truly delightful. I only wish the pictures showed, how much more lavender it really is. I've always been glad, we shared a favorite color. Lovely shades of lavender and purple.

I was out shopping the other day, and came upon this delightful blue owl, and pale green pot. I couldn't resist their charms, so they came home with me. I shall put my daughters orchid in the owl pot, as both are so sweet to look at. Isn't that owl just a hoot?!  The big green pot, beside the owl, has some large orchids, that are sitting in it temporarily. I shall be putting a golden bromeliad in it soon instead.

The golden bromeliad, in my burgundy pot, is what will be transplanted, to the green pot above. It is presently sitting, on the other end of my shops patio. It ought to make a pretty arrangement don't you think?!

Here is my husbands gift to me. It came as  real surprise too. I had been wanting another couch, for more seating in the living room, and had my eye on one at Paradise Plants, a really awesome store here. However, when we went to see the one that I liked, we both soon agreed, that the pattern would clash, with our other decor. Well he wandered off across the street, to another section of their warehouse, came back and said, he had found a better one. Wonder of wonders, I liked it, and he liked it, so home it came with us. Here it sits in the alcove of our living room. I just love its bright bamboo green color. It is awesomely comfortable too.

I decided to put a cover on it for a while, until I can get some nice curtains, to help keep it from fading. I thought this vintage looking, double wedding ring patterned quilt I had, would do very nicely. The couch even matched the colors, in this floor lamp, I had brought from the Mainland. Woo Hoo! Things are coming together nicely.

Then my son, Andrew, came in, looked at the new couch, and said, "Didn't Dad buy you a couch for Mothers Day last year?!" I thought about it, and started laughing, because sure enough he did. Here it is, sitting on the other side of the living room, and comfortable it is too!  So husband, thanks a million, for both of my couches. I have no doubt, they will see many hours of comfortable use, by family and friends.

My son, Andrews, contribution to Mothers Day, was the purchase and installation of a 5.1, expandable to 7.2, surround sound system, for our living room. The first movie we watched with it was, Transformers. It liked to blew our doors off, and was really awesome. It is going to be perfect, for our Lord of the Rings, movie marathon. YAY!  Thanks bunches Andrew, for all of your hard work, and technical know how. It has added a whole new dimension, to our movie viewing.

I think this Mothers Day was really over the top, and from my daughters thoughtful gift, of an orchid, which she knows I love, even to finding one in purple, my favorite color, to the couches, and the crazy surround sound. I am deeply grateful for the love, that was shown to me, by my family, through their gifts. It will go down in my thoughts, as one of the finest memories, and most wonderful Mothers Day, I have ever had. Thank you, all of you, for making me feel so special!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Meeting Brackaidus Brambledracken

I had not been strolling the paths of Gomber long, one day, when I came upon a sight, which nearly altered my reasoning. If I had not had the presence of mind, to grab it on my caper capture apparatus, I still would have trouble believing, that what I saw, was actually true.

At first what I thought I saw, was a bramble pile, sitting in the woods, but as I went closer to take a look, I must have startled it. For in truth, it was a Brambledracken, a member of the Rioderan, and a very rare sight, even in Gomber. What happened next, near scared me spitless.

As I approached it, suddenly a bright red gold bubble, formed around the bramble, and the woods began to glow brighter. I could clearly see a dracken, inside the bubble.

For a brief moment, I began to see blue spots, and I couldn't tell if it was for real, or like spots in ones eyes, right before they pass out.

The colors were changing very rapidly, and getting more intense by the second. Fear rooted me to the spot.
While the whole forest around me, seemed to fade, into a bright golden haze.

My body felt strange all over, and the very space around me began to bend, as the dracken gained in power.

With a sizzling whoosh, it suddenly shot off to my right, dragging me along in its wake. I was being pulled into another dimension.

Horrified, I screamed out in terror, as it became this roaring, huge red Dracken.

I must have passed out, for when I awoke, there I was, standing in the woods as before, in front of a bramble pile. I even went up, and broke off a small twig, to make sure that it was really wood.

I found our later, that what I had seen that day, was Brackaidus Brambledracken, shifting dimensions, to reach his homeland, but my scream, had made him stop, as he was not sure, I could handle his true form.
It was probably a good thing, because I thought at the time, I was losing my mind. Since that day, I have become much more used, to the strange and awesome ways of Gomber.

I was even introduced to Brackaidus, and found out that he was one of the Rioderan, and a guardian of Gomber. I will admit however, that his form of travel, still shakes me up a bit, and is not for the faint of heart.
I apologized to him, for breaking off one of his scales, which I had thought was a twig. This only made him grin, and say that was his intent. For he was a brambledracken, and it was just one of his forms, of disguise.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Ordryke Bickerstaff

Ordryke Bickerstaff, is the oldest member of the Punter Clan. He mostly likes to sit by the fire, at Bumbershoot Inn, and have a nice pint of Ruffersons Ale these days. He doesn't go out on the Poigle Hunts any longer, but as the eldest of the clan, he is the Grand Master of  Hunt, and gives out the cup and ribbon for the best dressed and accoutered Punter. It is one of his grandsons, Guybo Gonebrain, which has rocks on his head. Neither he, nor some of his descendents, are known for their looks. Edgewicke Tottersdale is also related, but he is from the maternal line of Bickerstaffs, who were much better looking.

 He inspired the following poem:

Ordrycke Bickerstaff

His eyesight has failed him, his age has assailed him,
his pole has grown short, with the passage of time.
He sat there and wondered, his life now assundered,
if nights spent Bird Hunting, had all been sublime?
He drank his Galimpy, it sure wasn’t wimpy,
as he reminisced, on his youth spent and how.
If I could live over, my life as a rover,
I would not have changed anything, thought he now.
I wasn’t a fool, when I snuck out of school,
to hunt the night watches, the rare Poiggle Bird.
But as he drank slowly, in hamlet quite lowly,
he knew in his heart, all might think him absurd.
His life as a wanderer, they thought him a squanderer,
but he’d held a secret, close to his heart.
His dreams as a Hunter, his days as a Punter,
had been all he loved, and thus set him apart.
Well he was persistent, in that all consistent,
he'd hunted like someone, obsessed in his mind.
He gave his life to it, and never outgrew it,
‘til age and infirmity, made up his mind.
He had to stop hunting, now he was confronting,
his life at its end, and just what he should do?!
At the moment the whiskey, had made him feel frisky,
but he knew that his days, as a hunter, were through.
With sudden clearness, he saw the nearness,
of his final passing, and he wondered at last?!
Why a fellow grew older, and finally stone colder,
and every last thing he had done, was all past?!
He shrugged a thin shoulder, well so I am older,
but dead I am not, ‘tis as good as it gets.
I have loved living, and much friendly giving,
I’ll not now be whining, and full of regrets.
For I am respected, he now reflected,
will live out my life, surrounded by friends.
So when I’ve gone over, put under the clover,
I know I’ll be missed, and my story won’t end.
The Poiggle I caught first, my luck good, not the worst,
as many I’ve fooled, and that is no lie.
Our great Clan traditions, with all its conditions,
have been all fare worth, it I’ll not sadly sigh.
Tho few know the reason, it’s still "Poiggle Season",
and I ever caught one, well that is all right.
It’s a great Hunting Party, all decked out and hearty,
enthused to be hunting, the Poiggle's this night.
So I’ll give the blessing, as they finish dressing,
glad in my heart, for the truth of our plan.
As I of the Punters, the best of the hunters,
retires with full honors, the head of my Clan.

Ordrycke Bickerstaff has a bit of the staggers, from drinking too many jiggers
of Galimpy whiskey, and Strombarky Daggers. It is the night of the yearly Poiggle Hunt,
and this year, his retirement party. He is passing the hunt leadership to Edgewycke Tottersdale, his nephew.

Edgewycke too has kept the Clan secret all these years, and so Ordrycke gives his nephew the invisibility cloak as well. He would have passed to Guybo Gonebrain, but he just was too lacking in mental capacity, to handle such a large secret as the cloak.

My Sixth Poigle Bird Hunter

The name of my little person, inspired by James C. Christensens painting, Six Bird Hunters in Full Camouflage, is Edgewicke Tottersdale. He is a Poigle Hunter of the first water, and a member of the Punter Clan. They are a fun loving group of little people, who live in a village, in a meadow, bordering Brackenfern Forest. All Gomberlings take great pride in their clothes, but the only characters, that might outdo the Punters, are the people of Hood Winks Village. They are known for their awesome attire.

The making of Edgewick Totterdale, was really fun. He is one of my favorite characters from Gomber. He has in this picture, placed a piece of lichen on his head, but this hides his true head gear, which are a helmet, he made from seashells, he had collected from the seashore, in Hawaii. He is wearing the fabled cloak. Look well, before it disappears, and him with it.

He inspired the following poem.

Edgewycke Tottersdale

Edgewycke Tottersdale why do you roam,
up the hill, down the dale, so far from home?
Do you not notice that you are alone,
and all of the birds, to their roosting have flown?

Edgewycke Tottersdale what do you here,
the darkness has come, do you not fear?
Where is your lantern, on this dark night?
All of your fellows, have fled now for fright.

Edgewycke Tottersdale what seek you now,
the bird on the wing, the horse and the cow?
Or are you now hunting, the rare Poiggle bird,
which no one has seen, nor even has heard?

Edgewycke Tottersdale where are you from,
do you hear the beat, of a far different drum?
Is that why you dress in such odd attire,
and creep through the night, without aid of a fire?

Edwycke Tottersdale is that your real name,
do minstrel’s sing songs, that tell of your fame?
Are you a Punter, the head of your Clan,
who must now keep secret, the great Poiggle plan?

Six Poigle Hunters in Full Camouflage

As  I said on this blog once before, I give full credit, to artist James C. Christensen, for his help in reminding me, of my own Little People. I will share with you one of his paintings, that really inspired my own artistic talents. Not to spoil the fun, but as you can see, there are only five guys in the painting, the sixth it seems is so good, you can't see him. This led me to want to create the sixth hunter, and this led to the following poem.

The Six Poigle Hunters Of Dingle Dale

Six Poigle Hunters of Dingle Dale, went a hunting in Fringle Vale.
They carried there hammers, upon great poles, to hunt the rare Poiggle Birds, Griggles, and Croales.
Each Hunter was ready, with camouflage fair, one with roses, and fruit of the pear.
He knew he’d attract, the best of the breed, for he’d grown both the roses, and pears up from seed.
Another a stump, with fungus had he, and a frog on the top for fair company.
And of all of the hunters, this fellow named Pish, never carried a hammer, he swore by a fish.
The third Poigle Hunter, wore butterfly wings, and carried a trumpet, flute, whistles and things.
He thought would best catch him, a Griggle or Croale, with his blue ribbon tied hammer, atop of his pole.
The fourth Poigle Hunter, they thought him absurd, he was covered in feathers, wore a beak like a bird.
But they had to be careful, whatever they said, for he carried an egg, in a nest on his head.
The fifth Poigle Hunter, they bore with a moan, for he thought to use, “camo,” of pure solid stone.
His hammer was too short, his vision not bright, and he always looked squashed, and a terrible fright.
But they must endure him, as such is the case, for his Grand Sire had sponsored the Club, and the Chase.
Now the sixth Poigle Hunter, a dandy was he, ‘Twas the best of the best, and the hardest to see.
For tho he was dressed, as the rest in some way, when dusk turned to night, he just faded away.
He had learned to be quiet, he had learned to be still, for the hunt of the Poiggle Birds, gave him a thrill.
The rest dressed for daytime, ‘twas foolish thought he, when night was the time, for the Birds in the tree.
To be most at rest, and to be least aware, if a hunter crept up, with the greatest of care.
He could tap a fair Griggle, on top of its head, or a Croale, on the back, was the place it was said.
They’d have to come freely, and grant you a wish, and you'd surely not catch them, with some silly fish.
His hammer was finest, his pole of the best, and he knew of the hunters, he outshone the rest.
What made him so able, you shall soon see, to vanish at will, when in sight of the tree.
‘Twas a close guarded secret, kept by his whole Tribe, and it couldn’t be got, by gold, silver, or bribe.
For this one had been kept, down through very long ages, tho stories of it, had been told by the Sages.
This secret long kept, was a cloak, grey and black, that could shrink down to size, and fit into a pack.
Or a pocket, or purse, or a bag at your side, it was easy to carry, and easy to hide.
For their Clan had long ago, caught Poiggle Birds, and got what they wished, not by halves, nor by thirds.
For their very first hunter, had known what to ask, so now hunting for them, was no longer a task.
But a good bit of fun, time to dress up and act, for full costume was part, of their Poiggle Bird pact.
For the wish from the Birds, came with certain reserve, the cloak only given, if they had the nerve.
To play at illusion, to play at the Hunt, from their largest of hunters, to their smallest runt.
They must swear to keep secret, the source and the cloak, from the highest Punter, to their humblest of Folk.
Or the cloak would betray them, in their neediest hour, it would fade from existence, and lose all its power.
So naturally it followed, that unto a man, the “Punter’s,” had sworn, every man of the Clan.
For ‘twas a great treasure, it brought them great pride, so the cloak was a secret, most easy to hide.
And it still is a secret, they have to this day, so if you don’t go tell it, they’ll keep it that way.
Which is why, tho they’ve tried, no other hunters nor soul, has ever since caught, either Griggle or Croale.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

A Tribute To Mother

I wanted to write a tribute today, to a wonderful woman, who I was so fortunate to know. She was my mother in-law, for many years, and the best mother I ever had.

We had a mother, gentle and wise, who was not of great stature, but smaller in size.
What she lacked in height, she made up for in heart, for hers was so loving, caring, and smart.

She gave to us all, her humor and joy, and loved everyone, be it girl, or a boy.
She loved to throw parties, and birthday surprises, her gifts came by bunches, in all shapes and sizes.

She loved to make dinners, of food she made plenty, for guests that could range, from fifteen, up to twenty.
Her cookies and pies, and cakes of strawberry, tasted delicious, and made our hearts merry.
Her pie crusts were flaky, her cakes were the lightest, her tableware shiny, her wit was the brightest.

And ever she gathered, her family around her, she made us so happy, we found her profounder.

For none could compare, to Maryann Hanners, whose home was a refuge, of good thoughtful manners.

Were kindness and joy dwelt, in large equal measure, and visits to Mothers, was always a pleasure!

                                            Happy Mothers Day Mom. I miss you very much!