My Summer Vacation….

It has as usual, been a very busy summer for me. I cannot bring myself to sit down and work at the computer unless I have to when it is warm and pleasant outside and there is so much work to be done. Hence the gap in my posts from May until September.

joe-on-boat-evening.jpgJoe left on Sept. 17 on his last Grand Canyon trip of the year. He will get home soon on October 5th. I thought that I would try and get a post in before he gets back because he usually is at the computer in the evenings and I am still enjoying working outside too much to take time to do this in the day.

apples.jpgThe orchard has continued to take up a great deal of my time and efforts this summer. I did a major prune in the early spring before the trees budded, but then they put all their energy into new growth to make up for what I whacked off. The texts I have read said that when you are trying to rehabilitate trees that are out of control like I am, often you have to do another heavy prune in late summer or fall. After two weeks and numerous trips to the dump with loads of branches, I completed that task and the trees look wonderful, at least I think so. There are apples! Some trees have a few; a few trees have many and a few have no fruit this year. We have pears too. I made my first apple pie from our trees today!

canyonfamily08.jpgqueen_of_the_colorado.jpgThe Grand Canyon trip in June was great. It was a lot of work for those of us who were the crew. We loved being with family and friends down there. We had perfect weather and good runs in the rapids, lots of good hikes, an all around an overdose of beauty and fun!  The above photo shows me in the bow of one of the baggage boats in Granite Falls rapid, one of the BIG ones. That is why I am the only one one in the boat. The two baggage boats don’t have lisenced guides rowing them and the two trip assistants ride with them and do  the bailing, which there is plenty of. I am with Mike Leavitt and it was his first trip rowing the Canyon which always makes it a little more exciting.

boats.jpgMy six year old Morgan Willy bucked me off while I was riding with my friend Elly in the mountains on August 5th. I got pretty banged up as I flew way up high and landed on the downhill side of the steep hill we were climbing. I will spare you the list of injuries. I decided while riding and walking down the mountain that perhaps 3 horses were too much for me.  It was a no brainier whom I would let go. I finally sold Willy just last Friday to people who know his complete history and got a great deal on him.

The best thing about cutting back to 2 horses (gaited Morgan mare, Betty and Peruvian Paso, Tiki) is that the construction was just starting on the barn/studio project when I got bucked off. I quickly changed gears and made the space that was to have been Willy’s stall into more studio space for my print studio. So, thank you Willy for dumping me! It took that to make me realize the now obvious, that I don’t have time for 3 horses and I need the studio space way more than a 3rd horse! It was perfect timing.

tiki-and-betty.jpgTiki and Betty 

lifting-crib.jpgThe barn/studio is coming along slowly. It looks rather strange now with just the log crib and cinderblock structure for the stalls. It will start to look good (I hope) when the hay-barn and upper floor (painting studio) above that and the crib start to go up.

studio.jpg Joe is going to face the block structure with some of the stone he bought. That will happen slowly over the next year I bet, in between river trips.

barnshadow.jpgI hope I have enough money to finish this project and if not, that there will be a bank left that I can borrow funds from….I hope that people who have money to spend will realize that art is a smart thing to buy. Not only do you enjoy it, but if you buy quality art, it holds its value through troubled times.

ernie2.jpgErnie (our Boxador from the Mt Pleasant pound) turned 1 year old in August.  He is a handsome fellow, and I just adore him. He is every bit as good as I had hoped he would be when I adopted him last November. Protective, but very happy to make friends as soon as he knows its OK. He is so athletic and exuberant about life. He, Dixon, Andy and Jacques are all doing well. We take an early morning bike tour around town 3 or 4 days a week. The dogs love going along on the trail rides too. 

mom-with-dogs.jpgMy Mom is doing OK. She is not very happy as her life or ability to remember it slips away more and more each day. She is very inactive and in poor shape. We have happy moments or perhaps better described as moments of contentment when I or others visit her. She often expresses a desire to pass on and be with dad. I spend Sundays and often one weekday with her each week. The two little dogs go with me every trip and bring her much pleasure. Her ancient cat Wendell still lives with her at Courtyard at Jamestown. They stay in bed together 90% of the time.

Lately when I have gone to see her we have been taking drives in the canyons above Provo to see the beautiful fall colors. I try to squeeze in a couple of trail rides each week down here for the same reason. Driving or riding through the mountains in their fall glory makes me very glad to be alive to see and be in such beauty.

yellow-aspen.jpg red-maple.jpg yellow-maple.jpg These last three photos were taken while riding Betty or Tiki the last two weeks, just shot off the hip, not taking time to stop or even look at the view screen. Truly point and shoot method! lee-and-ellen.jpg

Lee and Elly

I am painting in our garage until the new studio is done. Any of you who know me, know that I haven’ t been painting much in the summer, just a little bit. Serious painting is usually a late fall through the winter effort for me. I am working hard outside and recharging my painting batteries at the same time. The garage has no heat, so I hope we have a long warm fall.

plein-air-08.jpgI participated in the plein air competition again here in Spring City a couple of weeks ago. It was fun. I did a painting of the Horseshoe Mountain and the town as seen from the hills above the cemetery. We have the Governor’s dinner in honor of Joe and I coming up in Dec. and a show in Scottsdale, AZ in early April to paint for. Everyday I have to prioritize my efforts. Do I paint or carve frames, pick and process the tomatoes or tomatillos, clean the house, take a ride, go to Provo and see Mom, work on the barn, dig thistles, trim the horses hooves, take the dogs on a bike ride, do the laundry, make more Mom’s Stuff before my outdoor kitchen gets too cold to work in…. The list goes on and on. I actually love doing most of it (exception for house cleaning) and just try to cram as much as I can in from the predawn hours until dusk.  

PS. Next day, October 1 I took a ride in them mountains with Elly and Roxanne until noon and then spent the rest of the afternoon tearing out beautiful, old growth Douglas Fir flooring from a home in Mt Pleasant that is going to be demolished any day. I just was made aware of it last night. It was harder work than I had anticipated. I wish Joe were here! I know he will be happy I got it though. I’ll be doing it all day tomorrow and probably the next unless the bulldozer arrives before I get it all out.

7 Responses to “My Summer Vacation….”

  1. Brandielle Says:

    Oh this makes me just ache to go riding up in the mountains again. So beautiful!!! I’m glad you kept Tiki, he was such a sweetheart. Thanks again!

  2. Roger Bourland Says:

    Ah, Lee…

    You are such a refreshing spirit and inspiration to both of us. I only met you once - at Joe’s workshop in Phoenix-but we’ve bought Joe’s pots regularly and use them daily. I hope we can get to your show in Scottsdale.

    But this is to thank you for your blog, the pictures, the newsletter - everything you guys do and stand for.

    Best wishes,

    Roger and Jo Ann

  3. Levi Peterson Says:


    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and your photos. I don’t envy your river running, but otherwise there’s little about your life that fails to strike me as pleasant and fulfilling–rides in the mountains, incorporating old buildings into new structures, cycling with your dogs, visiting your loved ones. I especially wish I could see the yellowed aspens and scarlet maples in the mountains.

    Thanks, too, for letting us print images of two of your paintings on the cover of the winter issue of Dialogue, which will be the last of my editorship.


  4. Ginger Woolley Says:

    Lee, you certainly don’t have to concern yourself about becoming your sedentary mom. This lifestyle you and Joe have created has shaped you into an amazingly fit, athletic woman in her 50s.

    I simply couldn’t get over that shot of you at the bow of the boat in the Colorado River rapids. Could you paint that one?

  5. Stephanie Goodman Says:

    Great to hear from you and love the pictures. Please let me know when you will be in AZ next. My parents are in Wickenburg full time and they would love to come see you and now I am spending 6 weeks in the winter in the sun too! Can’t wait to catch up.
    Love to everyone!

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