Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Sprinkler Party to Welcome Summer

The Southern Oregon weather has decided it is summer time finally! The sun is warming the Rogue Valley to mid 90's these days, so what better ways to bring in the hot season than to have a Sprinkler Party?! Ryan, Tyler, and Anna came to play on the farm with their sweet mama, Jolene and little, but sleepy brother Aiden. What a wonderful day!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

To Mr.
Thank you for all of the good work you do on the farm!
I love you,

Friday, June 17, 2011

Well Water or Not So Well!

Here is the pump house. The little roofed building next to the flower and herb garden. As you can see in the background, there is a repair truck leaving. On Sunday, the pump, which brings fresh, clean water to the house stopped working. We called "the pump guys" also known as brothers, John and Dave, and John's son, John, at Rogue Valley Pump. They were enjoying their Sunday afternoon with family and returned our message by saying they would be over on Monday morning. We had water in the holding tank (2,000 gallons, give or take a few loads of laundry and some flower watering), so we felt comfortable with the next day.

John came to our rescue and began investigating the problem. He was quick to discover that the "impeller" was not turning. Upon further inspection he saw that not only was it not turning, it had a chunk broken off and the rest of it melded together.

The rust colored yuckness was due to the heat, the melding, the breakage, and the need for repair. You can also see how utterly misshapen the other parts had become. John ended up dismantling the entire pump to take it back to the shop to loosen the most stubborn parts and gather the spare new parts for repairs. He said we were his priority and he would call to give a time frame for repair. John was true to his word and he called later in the afternoon to say the parts were 40 miles away and would be here on Wednesday, unless somebody wanted to pick them up. Well, that somebody was Mr. and Mrs. Yours Truly. Although, we had been confident with the holding tank when this adventure began, we have livestock to water, plants to water, people to water and sometimes even dishes to wash! So off we went to gather new spare parts.

Dave had made the arrangements for us to pick up the parts in an industrial park from a very nice man named Bruce. These large hangar type warehouses are filled from floor to ceiling with spare parts and Bruce had them ready and waiting for us. We seemed to be the only moving parts in the whole industrial park and only needed to call for redirection once. When the parts were back on the farm, we notified Dave and John and the said they would return first thing in the morning.

John returned to the dismantled pump house with our Goulds Pump minus the old impeller. He reconnected all of the parts, inquired about the prime and how often we had to prime our pump (each time it turns off), and John replaced the pressure gauge. John is extremely mechanical and pays attention to every little part because it matters to the whole function of this centrifugal pump that brings water into the house. John asked more questions and responded thoughtfully to our questions. By Tuesday afternoon, we had running water in the house. It was just in time too, because the trusty holding tank was beginning to feel an incredible thirst! We are so grateful to the great guys at Rogue Valley Pump!

Here is the Gould's Pump all put back together and holding the secret to life: Every little part matters to the whole! If all else fails, use a good pipe wrench for reinforcement, and remember to prime often!

Thursday, June 16, 2011


This is the time of year when farm time meshes with river time. As the rafting season gets busy, so do we. Yesterday after weeding the garden there was a little time to clean and shell the walnuts. We cleaned nearly a 10 pound bag and now they are sugar coated and ready for a river trip. It is summer time and life is good!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Congratulations Beautiful Grad!

My beautiful niece, Elizabeth graduated from high school last Friday. She has been such a precious presence in our lives from the time she was a tiny baby to the beautiful young lady she has become. Elizabeth loves all things beautiful from the outdoor world to a perfectly prepared meal to pretty hats to fancy jewels to random acts of kindness. Now she is embarking into her own self created lovely world.

We all arrived extra early to park and walk into the stadium. The Southern Oregon sunshine was out and felt so good after the wet spring. Here is Grandma Jojo, Mama Trina, Little Sister Margaret, Grandpa Bob, and Father of the Graduate, Rob.

Dozens of undergrad girls dressed up in their prettiest dressed and decorated arches with flowers and ferns. Part of the fun of decorating the arches is to find the roses grown in neighbors yards and parks. The graduating class marched onto the football field through the arches for the ceremony. Friends and family from near and far filled the stadium on both sides of the field to celebrate the accomplishments as the band played "Pomp and Circumstance".

There were speeches from classmates, administrators and a surprising visit from the Oregon's Attorney General, John Kroger to address the class of 2011. His message had three bits of advice for the graduates: dream big, thank their parents, and give back to the community. Here is Miss B, receiving her diploma from the superintendent of Grants Pass School District.

It was a perfect evening for all 380 graduates Grants Pass High School, Class of 2011.

The following day was party time! My sister Trina prepared a feast unrivaled by anyone in town! She orchestrated dished to be brought in by family, and baked so many tasty things at home like delicious herb bread, made pesto, bruschetta, lemon squares, brownies, and pumpkin cake.

Here is little sister Margaret serving up some "party punch". She is always a grand hostess and loves a party anytime! Margaret declared the punch the perfect summer time drink.

Trina put several types of meat on the BBQ. Here is the salmon that was cooked to perfection and another contribution from family. Aunt Val has a special way of bringing good food to celebrations. Jose Sr. all the way in from Guam for his own graduating son helped man the BBQ.

Uncle Tim is serving up some Family Farm Ham (thanks for roasting that one Trina!) and baked beans. You thought I was joking when I said an unrivaled feast!

Grandma Jojo and Cousin Glenn joined in all of the festivities. They are the best conversationalists and Glenn has a few stories up his sleeve that are so fun to hear. The laughter warms the heart for days afterward.

Cousins Elizabeth and Jolene spent a lot of time together with Karyn growing up. Jolene helped prepare food, helped get Elizabeth ready for graduation, and helped calm nerves around the big event.

Two of the great grandsons, Tyler and Ryan, took time out of all the party play for a hug with Jojo and Bob. They were off for more party punch as soon as the hugging was finished!

Congratulations Miss B! We are so very proud of you with all of our love. Remember to dream big! xo~

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Dehydrating Strawberries

These strawberries are delicious and they can be preserved and used in a variety of ways like freezing, jams, jellies, muffins, breads, and dehydrating. Here is a batch of berries ready for the dehydrator. After they were washed and trimmed, the berries were sliced with and egg slicer. It is an easy way to make sure the berries are a uniform thickness for a more even drying.

The 8+ pounds of berries filled 9 drying racks in the dehydrator. The temperature was set at 155'(F) for the first 5 hours, then reduced to 135'(F) for the next 5 hours. It took only ten hours for these little beauties to be reduced and preserved for a winter treat. There is a fan blowing in the back of this dehydrator to keep the air moving evening over the food.

When the dehydrating process was complete, the berries filled 2 1/2 quarts. They will keep for a long time if eaten in moderation. We like the dehydrated berries mixed with nuts, mixed into granola and yogurt, eaten by themselves tasting just like candy, and put into a river mix (trail mix). When the fruit is abundant, it is time to enjoy fresh and to preserve for winter provisions.