Monday, July 22, 2013

Leaf Bird Baths

My banker and friend Carrie and I have made our second set of concrete leaf bird baths!  This time we used decorative rhubarb leaves and magnolia leaves.  Last summer we made a leaf with a Gunnera or Dinosaur Plant.  That was too much of a good thing; really too much of a good thing.  That leaf takes at least two people to move it and is reinforced with metal webbing in the middle of the concrete because we thought it would easily break in half.
 This time we did four rhubarb, two magnolia and one other strange  large round-leafed plant that I don't remember what the name is.  I thought it was only fair that Carrie should get to keep the extra leaf as she had the bulk of the supplies.  I provided sand this time!  Next time she has to remind me to bring black spray paint!
We start by putting out mounds of sand, then lay the freshly cut leaf face down on the sand.  The next step is to scoop handfulls of our concrete/sand mixture onto the leaves and cover the leaves as evenly as we can to the edges.  We then let it harden.  After it hardens and the leaves are removed (sometimes it is quite a bit of work to get them off) and brushed off.  Following that, Larry, our hero in the project, saws the edges of the concrete to match the outline of the leaf.  When that is done it is ready to paint.  It is quite the project, but overall it is a  lot of fum and the result is fairly dramatic if we do say so ourselves!

Just wanted to add a little bit of size comparison for those who haven't seen these. 

During the spring nature fills these little birdbaths on its own.  In the summer we have to help out.  I personally like to put them in the garage for the winter so that they hopefully won't freeze with water in them and break, but some people do leave them out!  A little work (except Larry's!!), a little fun (especially painting) and they're all done. Oh, and we finish up with concrete sealer.  This year it was raining like mad right after we finished putting the concrete out; but it was sunny and warm when it came time to paint!  We're thinking of doing a few more smaller ones using hosta leaves and maybe a pumpkin leaf.  We keep a lookout for large leaves all year long.  Oh, the magnolia?  Well, we have a LARGE magnolia in our northwest yard. Here's a view of the flower!  These are beautiful, but since they are so high we rarely get to see them we picked this and brought it in.

Friday, July 05, 2013

Aunt Atha Writes about Family Wedding and Long Vacation

Salt Lake City – Aug. 1 – 1969

Dear Robert – Bernadine and family: -

I’m ashamed not to get around to writing more often. Am so slow I don’t seem to get much more done than be on call for the church, the neighborhood and the kids, so do get quite a few ”SOS’s”.

I went to Grand Junction, Colo. May 19-26, for our Class reunion the 23rd, 24th and 25th. Did enjoy seeing the old classmates and visiting around.

Was going direct from there to Los Angels to help Barbara (Letha’s daughter) get ready for her wedding but was feeling so exhausted and miserable I just came back home and rested, etc. for a while, since I had to come within 2 ½ hrs of Salt Lake anyway to get on the right free way to LA. I drove my car to Colo. (I made 80 place cards for our class banquet the 25th).

Then Julie and Marcee were out of school June 3rd so I took them with me. We left Salt Lake at 7 AM got in Las Vegas at 4 PM. Stayed all night in Henderson at Barb’s Dad’s. Left there about 4 AM to get across the Desert before it got too hot. The girls wanted to see the “Sun Rise” anyway and it wasn’t too hot all the way. In fact it was a little on the chilly side all the time we were in Los Angeles.

Got to Barby’s apt in Santa Monica about 4 PM. She wasn’t home from work yet so Julie and Marcee went a couple of blocks down to the beach and played in the ocean and dug sand-crabs. They had a “Ball” all the time we were there swimming at the beach.
[Barby a few years before her wedding in 1969]

I was pretty busy until the wedding was over. Barby had her wedding gown nearly all sewed together so I finished it and then did all the handwork on it. I made the train and fastened it on the back just under the daisy trimming so it could be unhooked and removed after the wedding and the dress worn as a formal. We bought white plastic baskets and I trimmed them with ribbons (5 of them) for the maid of honor, 2 bridesmaids, the flower girl and of course the bride and arranged the flowers in them. Also arranged glads, carnations and daisies on two large baskets for the altar and trimmed the tables for the reception. Oh! yes. I made a “head-piece” of the same material as the wedding-gown and trimmed it with sprays of pearls and sparklers and covered the pillow (with material like one of the bridges maid’s dresses) and put the tassels on the corners for the ring-bearer.

After the wedding Dick and Homer’s families and I cleaned up Barby’s apt and left for our vacation. We visited Marjorie and Frances and I went to Disneyland one day with Dick and Homer and families. Then while they went on down the coast and took in sight- seeing and swimming, I went to Laguna Hills and visited Mary & Ernest Klatt for a few days. Dick and family went on down into Mexico and Homer and family came back by Laguna Hills and I drove along behind them to Rick’s place (Letha’s son) in the NW. part of LA where we stayed and visited with them a couple nights and a day While they went shopping, etc I visited with some friends in Burbank.

Then we went to Sequoia Nat’l Park and Dick and family joined us there. Stayed there three days scouting around and sight-seeing. Climbed “Moss Rock” the highest point around with a cement (steep) stairway with a rock and pipe railing on both sides of stairway. Can see all around for miles when the weather is clear. Also saw the tree house (made of a fallen Sequoia tree) by Mr. Stark where he lived for several years. .

It was a hollow Sequoia tree and he boarded up the end up the trunk and made a door in it. Also made a fireplace and a big window. The furniture was made of logs, etc. Quite interesting, but vacant now.

Dick and family went home by way of Zion’s Nat’l Park – Homer and family went home via Pine Crest, Calif, where they visited friends and I went to San Jose to visit Grace.

Oh! yes, I forgot to tell you of the fun we had in the “Natural” swimming “Hole” in the river by the camp in the Sequoia where we stayed. Dick had his trailer house, Homer his camper and I my car).

Just above the falls the water swirled around and backed up on to a nice sand bar making an idea swimming pool where they could dive and swim and then was shallow on the sand bar. Of course all the kids wanted to stay there and swim most of the time. One afternoon we all had a picnic there and swam and played in the water all afternoon. That is everyone swam but Betty Jo, Honey and I and the water was cold (right off the snow and ice) for us so we just waded and then warmed our feet in the sand. But Stacy (Homer and Betty’s baby) had the time of her life playing in the shallow water on the sand-bar even if it was so cold it made our feet ache. She would cry and kick when we’d take her out for a minute and she didn’t catch cold either even playing in it all afternoon. Neither did any of the rest. So you can see a good time was had by all!

I stayed with Grace two weeks and they took me down along the Pacific Coast where I watched the big waves come in and break over the rocks. Only I ran out of film. But hope I got some good pictures. Then they took me to see the Ice Follies. All of which I wanted to do again and enjoyed very much. Tried to interest Grace in coming home with me but she said she didn’t think she could so I didn’t push it.

So imagine my surprise and joy when I was in my car all ready to start it and leave for home. Grace called for me not to go just yet she had something she wanted to put in my car. Then here came Romer with a couple suitcases and asked me if I had room for them somewhere! I was sort of puzzled wondering what they were sending suitcases up to the kids for. Then here came Grace. I knew she was ready to go somewhere but thought she was going with Romer (as she often does) when I got out of the way. Then as she started to get in the car I tumbled that she was coming home with me. Oh! Joy! Joy!

It was a wonderful surprise to all the kids here too and we got together as often as possible so she could be with all of us as much as possible for a week. Then we put her on the bus to meet Romer at Truckee with their cabin cruiser boat and the spent the weekend at Lake Tahoe before going home to San Jose.

Well, this is some of the “news from this neck of the woods.” George and Jean’s baby was born July 5, 1969 and is doing fine. A girl, ”Dianna Joy.” That makes 2 boys and 2 girls for them now. Don’t believe I told you Ricky (Letha’s son) has a baby girl born on Jan 69, so I’m a Great grandma now! They were married shortly after Uncle George passed away.

When do you folks come home? Must be getting close to time and hope this finds all of you well. Am so glad you are having so many lovely trips.

Ever so lovingly,

Aunt Atha

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Great -- and very Grand - Uncle Philip and Aunt Emma

Some of my favorite memories when I was young was the long trips to Wisconsin to visit relatives. Not the least among those adventures was visiting my grandfather Herman Weber's brother, Philip and his wife Emma. They had a house om Sparta with a screened in porch and all sorts of nooks and crannies to explore. They had a heavy, huge wood cooking stove which we kids thought was quite novel. It was fun to hold the hook and pick up the burner covers and watch the wood flame up. But the most memorable thing was dinner time.

Emma could make the best fried chicken, potatoes and numerous side dishes that were both good and plentiful. The quantity was daunting. She made terrific crab apple pickles that were to die for and we ate our fill. However, just about the time that we thought we would explode, Emma would say, "Now eat up, there's plenty and you haven't eaten anything." I guess all her years of cooking for threshers and farm hands distorted her perceptions of what the average person could eat, not to mention kids! The sad thing in their life was that they never had any kids. They hadn't been able to do so and apparently at some point Emma had to have serious surgery that then made that impossible. But Philip was so relieved to not have lost his Emma that he adored that it became a bearable loss for them both. They were sweet and loving and it is too bad they didn't have the chance to raise children. They were good at it -- at least great with entertaining visiting grand nieces and nephews! Now whenever I think of Sparta,  my mind travels back to hot summer evenings, sitting on their porch and watching the fireflies flicker in the twighlight. Such a sweet and loving couple.  Their devotion to each other provided a wonderful example for us all.