Archive for November, 2008

Indian Summer

Sunday, November 2nd, 2008

Our long lovely fall appears to be coming to an end at last. We had a few frosty nights way back in early Sept. and then a few more in early Oct. but then went back into classic Indian summer mode, which I have so loved and appreciated. In years past this would have meant I would have been riding almost everyday, but the horses have only been out twice in the last two weeks as we have had so much to do to get the garden, orchard and place in general ready for winter, not to mention working our guts out moving stone. We had to move it from Gunnison where it origionated in the demolished Farmers Equity building to the quarry in Manti, unloading it off the pallets so it can be split by the guillotine, then loading it back on pallets and getting it transported and unloaded at our place in Spring City. We have perhaps finished moving and splitting about half of it? Even Joe is beginning to wonder if he has bit off more than he can chew with this project. He has lots more info and photos on his journal about this project.


The pile in November 2007 

About a year ago now when he was trying to get my blessing on this project and first showed me the pile of stone in Gunnison, I looked at it, went over to the huge pile and tried to move a stone. I realized how heavy they are and how many there were (103 pallets, each probably weighing a ton+). The thought that passed through my body like a wave was “This is going to kill us.” Perhaps it will. Joe has already lost two fingernails to the project and we both know that we are over 50 by the way our bodies’ feel after a day of moving stone. But I have to admit that I am being won over to the madness. I could see from the beginning how excited Joe was about working with stone. I like being around a guy who is excited and happy about what he is doing and learning, even if sometimes he is way in over his head.


Stones on pallets, May 2008 

The owner of the quarry in Manti who is letting us use his crew and equipment to split the stone was adamant that Joe should not bring his wife to help, but of course we couldn’t get anyone else to help. At our age, there are few friends you can invite to do this kind of grunt labor. It is hard physical work, but I have always enjoyed that in doses. It was facinating seeing the stone split, learning how to select ones that would be good for corners, learning how to lift and move them without killing myself and watching the pallets empty and fill as the hours rolled by.  I know it sounds crazy, but I found myself being grateful that I was married to someone who likes to do whacky things like this, because I enjoy it too.  I would be much more cautious and timid about jumping into unknown projects like this without Joe’s lead. 

Right now we are just hoping to face the cinderblock addition to the barn so it will look like the traditional stone stable that many old barns in our town have. Joe dreams of building an energy efficient small home on our property and facing it with the remainder of the stone. Maybe we will someday. Depends on the economy and our ability to keep selling paintings and pottery in the upcoming decade. Perhaps it will be some of our daughters that build a home out of this stone. It doesn’t really matter. I am just so thrilled to be here on this 2.5-acre plot of ground, making it more productive and beautiful. I love all the physical work involved with it and the variety of it all. One of my polygamist ancestors was John D. Lee. He had many wives. Two were sisters, Polly and Lavina Young who always lived together. They divided up the responsibilities thus. Polly was in charge of the inside of the house and Louisa the outside chores. Guess which wife I come through!


The barn/studio is coming along. It has the roof sheathing on it now, and the windows arrived yesterday. Tomorrow the electrician is coming over to walk through all the plugs and lights with me.

Last weekend my sister Sara and I flew down to Phoenix AZ together to attend a Udall cousins party on Oct. 24 in Mesa. It was such great fun!


Cousins Donna Flaherty, Charlene Hawkins and Sara Henderson, my sister 

Lately the only time we see cousins or beloved aunts and uncles is at funerals. Funerals are good getting folks together, but coming in from out of town like we do, it is kind of overwhelming to be in such a huge sea of relatives, mostly consisting of the next generation and their offspring, most of which I do know. Naturally my cousins who are all parents and many of them grand parents are very involved and focused on your own broods, so quality cousin visiting is kind of hard to come by. This gathering we had last week was perfect. The aunts and uncles remaining were invited, but none of our children or grandchildren. I bet we had about 30 cousins there? A great meal and lots of visiting and then a wonderful presentation put together by cousin Tim Flaherty on our common ancestry, speeches by Uncles David and Kenyon Udall and Arden Palmer and Aunt Lee Flaherty. I just soaked it all up. Cousin Dave Palmer picked us up at the airport and put us up at his home. We throughly enjoyed time with his wife Cyndi and 4 lovely daughters.


 Dave Palmer and Ginger


Jacklin and Jenna Palmer with big smiles for aunt Lee!

We are planning another such gathering for next fall, this time over in eastern AZ in the town of Thatcher where my Dad grew up. The first time my father ever visited us in Spring City he said this after we had showed him around our little farmstead and town “This is what I escaped”. On the other hand I always longed to live on a farm and in a town like Spring City or Thatcher growing up in suburban CA. Dad was totally supportive of our choice of where to live and that was as close as he ever came to criticizing it. Thatcher has grown quite a bit the last 25 years, but compared to Mesa and Gilbert, it is still a tiny town and we have many cousins out there still, Palmers and Udalls. I am already looking forward forward to next years gathering.