Sunday, August 24, 2014

Dear Kids,
          We’ve had a ton of rain here! The ground is sinking in places around our house where it wasn’t tamped down well enough. You’d have thought it would have happened last winter, but I guess we didn’t have enough snow. I didn’t even figure that the ground hadn’t settled yet when we built the window wells. Unfortunately, one of them is now tipping away from the house. If it gets any worse, we’ll probably have to tear it out and build another one there. Dad says he’s willing to do the demolition. Needless to say, I’m very discouraged.
          Otherwise, things are going very well here. We had our chess club retreat Friday night at the cabin, and people came from three different senior chess clubs. (Sandy, West Valley, and Heber) We had a double elimination tournament, which worked out really well because we had exactly eight people playing. Originally we were short one person, because a lady with back trouble wasn’t able to come, but I talked Donna and Bevan into coming, and Bevan made up the extra person. It was fun having Dallin and Anna running around, and they entertained us all. Besides that, there was good food and lots of good chess. I tied for second place. The man who won is no way the best player among us, but that’s how things worked out. Nobody really cared. We were all having fun, which doesn’t always happen during our weekly chess club get-togethers.
          Charles and Julie Allen were camping nearby Friday night, up the canyon from Oakley. They were in a tent, and the rain absolutely pounded it, but they stayed dry. Yesterday afternoon, on their way home, they stopped to visit us at our house. Their kids played with little people in the play room, while we talked. They’ve just barely gotten into camping, and they were wondering about the best places to go. Maybe some of you can give them suggestions. Where can you just walk in, without making a reservation? Their phone number is 801 319 8271.
          I’ll be fixing Sunday dinner in two weeks, on September 7th. We’ll probably eat around 4:30. Let me know if you can come. Any requests for the menu? There are lots of things I haven’t fixed in so long, I’ve probably forgotten about them. Dave Michelson used to come if I was making meat loaf. That was so long ago! Do I even know how to make meat loaf any more?
          Life is good! I love you all! Mom

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Dear Kids,
          That wonderful family reunion is just a memory now, but I keep imagining I’m back in that beautiful campground waiting for the next meal. Thanks, Donna and Bevan, for all your planning and preparation. We all had a great time. When it was over I was glad to get home to my projects, but it was nice having such a pleasant break. 
          Did I already write that I ordered a sand digger for the playground we’re making? There are ordinary backyard sand diggers in the $50 price range, and then there are the professional playground sand diggers that you cement into the ground. We won’t talk cost here, but I ordered the professional one. Also, I had debated whether to use wood chips on the ground, with some sand around the digger, or to put sand everywhere. When I saw all the little kids at the reunion playing in the horseshoe pit, and having so much fun with that little bit of sand, I could see what I needed to do. Donna says you can get whole truckloads of washed sand from the topsoil people. I wondered how to get the dirt and rocks out of the playground area, since we’ve had such poor luck with excavating people, but I have a great new friend, Doneen, who owns her own tractor. Not only that, but she knows how to use it! When we were giving away rocks last week (a whole ‘nother story) she came with her tractor and took them all. She said we could hire her to do any leveling or excavating we needed. So she’s been excavating our playground, and moving the dirt to the low areas in our yard. She could put Mike Leavitt out of business if she wanted to, but her regular job is teaching kindergarten in Park City. What a wonderful world!
          I don’t have any other news. Dad and I will be having a chess club retreat this Friday night at our cabin. There are people from both our chess clubs coming. You can’t find such nutty and wonderful company anywhere! Francis Frontier Days, including the rodeo, is Labor Day weekend. McGettigans are coming for that. Jana has a great rodeo heritage, and we’ll have a lot of fun. The Riebens have reserved the cabin for the same weekend, and I hope they have a good time. Our poor cabin hasn’t had its usual attention and maintenance, but Dad and I have finally eliminated all the mice (I think) who took up residence there. Oreo could have had a field day, but we used bait instead. It worked.
          Lots of love, Mom

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Dear Kids,
          Dad and I had a lot of fun helping Paul and Stefanie move to St. George. Dad drove the rental truck, I drove our van, Paul and Stefanie came in Paul’s car, and Stefanie’s parents and aunt came in their car. Dad and I haven’t been down that stretch of I-15 for several years, and it was nice to be going somewhere. Of course it was hot, but not as bad as it could have been. Paul and Stefanie’s house is less than a block from the temple, and it’s very roomy! There’s a big living room-dining area, a master bedroom, a guest room, and a large family room–plenty of room for guests, it seems to me. I’m sure a lot of us will be planning to drop in on them, especially in the winter.  Paul started his new job last Monday, and he said he likes it fine. Stefanie has employment opportunities, if she wants them. I’m sure they’ll be happy there.
          We’re looking forward to the family reunion starting on Thursday. Dad and I won’t be doing the Timp hike or the cave, but we’ll be at the campground Thursday night, and from then on we won’t miss a single thing. Thanks in advance to Donna and Bevan for planning everything!
          The 24th of July parade here was a very big event. I had no idea. Our "float" was an old farm wagon pulled by a tractor, but most of the other wards had big metal trailers pulled by very large, very shiny trucks. A couple of them were pulled by horses, which were the last of the floats. Then came all the kids on bikes, and then all the kids in pony carts.  Last came the kids riding their own horses.   We went two blocks down Main Street, and then we turned around and came back. Dad and I wore cowboy clothes and we walked behind the Spanish Branch’s float, because we had two boys on bikes who wanted to stay with their own group. (All the kids on bikes had to have "walkers" with them.) We waved at people on the side of the road. We knew lots of them.
          Later in the day we drove up to Wolf Creek pass where there’s a campground, and a sheep road going along the top of the mountains for several miles. It’s a beautiful hike. You’re on top of the world! I want all of us to do that next 4th of July. Put it on your calendars!
          Oreo hardly ever eats his cat food now. Yesterday morning he was chasing a baby squirrel through our yard. He doesn’t bring us mice any more–he just eats them. He’s very lean. I think we should all be eating bunnies, baby squirrels, and mice.
          Lots of love, Mom