Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Minam River Wedding Part 7

As I mentioned in my previous post, I'm on Spring Break this week. We're busy getting ready to take a truck full of boxes over to the Squash House on Thursday. Before we leave I thought I would post the last part of our Minam River Wedding. We probably won't have internet service again on this trip, so I won't be posting again until at least next Monday. I plan to take a lot of photos of some of the progress in updating the Squash House, so there should be a lot to talk about when we return!

Minam River Wedding – Part 7

It was time to leave our beloved Minam Lodge until the next visit. Our wedding, with all of its excitement and minor mishaps turned out better than we could have ever hoped. It certainly was something to remember and being that it will be eight years this August, we still remember even the little details!

Dick, our pilot, flew in that morning and was invited up to the lodge for breakfast, which is usually the case for the pilots who fly lodge guests in and out. A well fed pilot is a happy pilot! Breakfast was terrific as usual – fresh bacon, sausage, eggs, toast, pancakes, juice and coffee. In fact, it ran a little later than usual due to the large number of folks who had arrived the previous afternoon. Otis also made a deal with Dick to fly out some additional items, which took a little more time.

In the high summer, which is August for this area, flights in and out of the Minam are done preferably in the early morning. The reason for this is that when flying out of a box canyon, a plane needs all the lift it can get. Hot air is less dense than cool air, and does not provide good lift for planes. In the early morning, before the air has a chance to heat up is ideal for flying small planes in these types of conditions. With the late breakfast and Otis’ extra request of Dick, it was nearly 10:00. We had to get going – it was going to be a very hot day and it was already quite warm.

We said our goodbyes at the lodge and then Otis and Teresa walked us down to the plane. As we were loading up, we mentioned to Dick that Otis made the perfect preacher for our wedding ceremony. Otis heard this and immediately interjected that Dick was not to mention any of this around town – Otis had a reputation as a tough, backcountry guide to uphold and he wasn’t going to take any ribbing about getting into the wedding business. We had a good chuckle and boarded the plane.

Dick was again flying the small Cessna we flew in on as the larger turbo prop was still in maintenance. He explained that we would taxi to the spot where we touched down flying in, take off toward the box end of the canyon, hop over the small hill that separated the Minam airstrip from Red’s airstrip, and land at Red’s. Then we would turn around and take off from Red’s toward the open end of the canyon. With the heat and the lift needed, we wouldn’t have to worry about clearing the trees at the box end of the canyon. He radioed Red’s to raise any pilots and their planes that might be on the landing strip – making sure it was clear for us to land and take off again. There was no response, which was an indication that no one was there. Its standard protocol that radios must be kept on if planes are on the landing strip at Red’s and/or the Minam.

Mr. Squash was up front and I was in the rear seat. We taxied down to the river, Dick throttled the plane into power, made the hop over the hill and what did we see below, but a plane with two horses and riders next to it – right where we were to land! The stall warning on the plane squealed loudly in protest, indicating we were losing lift – remember – we were only making a hop over the hill, so we were barely in the air. Mercy. There were only two options at this point – crash into the plane and horses, or pull up and try to make it out of the boxed end. Of course, Dick deployed the latter option. He pulled up, we were heavy with Otis’ extra load, the morning had grown quite warm and the trees loomed up quickly in front of us. I saw Mr. Squash open the air flow above him – he was sweating bullets. I remember looking down and thinking if I put my hand out the window, I could touch the trees. Was this the end? Had all of this been for nothing? Dick throttled the engine as hard as he could, put as much bank into the plane as possible; we ratcheted our way along the tree line. Just a little more lift was all we needed – and maybe a prayer or two. Finally, after what seemed like eons, we cleared the trees. The look of relief on both Dick and Mr. Squash’s faces was priceless. We were going to make it - and we did!

I’m sure glad you’ve enjoyed this story. It was a lot of fun to tell. Otis and Teresa retired from running the Minam Lodge several years ago, however it is still in operation and quite a few changes have been made – you can now sleep in a teepee if you wish, and they’ve even added a hot tub! Sadly, Dick passed away two years later. I’ve included a few links below if you’re interested. The first is a blog post about the horse ride into the Minam which I talked about in Part 3 and includes some great pictures. The second is an article about the history of Red’s Horse Ranch and the third is the website for Minam Lodge.




Sunday, March 29, 2009


I've been working in my studio today trying to sort through more of my stash. I came across these scraps of flannel from a quilt project several years ago. I thought about throwing them away, but then I thought about you! Can anyone use these? In the photo below there are 5 fat quarters. The third flanel from the top has a vest front and back cut as well as some additional fabric - I have no idea where that idea came from!

Below are scraps of various flannels.
They will go to the first person to claim them. Please don't ask me to measure them specifically, after all, they're free and I'm sorry to say I just don't have the time to go into detail.

This is Spring Break for me. I'll be off all week. Thursday we're headed to the Squash House with a truck full of the contents of our storage room. Why pay to store it here when it's free over there? We'll also take delivery of our new appliances over there and meet with the contractor again.

We haven't had any offers on our house here as yet. People just aren't out and about yet - the weather is still pretty cold and dreary. I'm hoping when we return that house-hunting will pick up speed with more Spring-like weather.

I'll try to post the last part of my Minam River Wedding before we leave on Thursday!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Minam River Wedding - Part 6

We were married! Our little plan had worked after all despite a few hitches in the beginning. As were walking back to the lodge from the river I had a chance to ask Zeb and Teresa where my wildflower bouquet came from. Remember the first photo from Part 5 showing Zeb and Teresa heading off somewhere? Those flowers were picked off the manure pile out back near the horse barn! Now it wasn’t a fresh manure pile, and they came from an “older” more composted section. But it goes to show you what a little compost can do in your garden! Needless to say, we didn’t save the flowers, but certainly enjoyed them nonetheless. And it’s a good thing I didn’t ask before the ceremony - I would have been thinking about that manure pile all during our vows.

What was next? The crew had organized a little celebration on the lodge porch. Everyone from the wedding party attended as well as the dogs, and even the horses and mules were allowed to graze the grass around us. Teresa and Otis asked what kind of cake we wanted prior to coming. Why be normal we asked ourselves - let’s have what we really like - our two favorite pies - apple and pumpkin. We cracked some champagne and sparkling cider, made a few toasts, ate some pie, opened some unexpected gifts, then headed to change into our fishing gear.

We strolled back down the path to the river and decided to head upstream. Along the way we passed the neighboring ranch, Red’s Horse Ranch. Red’s was first inhabited about 80 years ago and for a while was a guest ranch much like the Minam. Red’s also has its own landing strip just as the Minam, separated by a small hill, but directly in line with each other. Mr. Squash had spent time there years ago which is how we found out about the Minam Lodge. Red's was taken over by the Forest Service in 1994, and is maintained by volunteers with help from the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest and the Fish & Wildlife Service who rotate on a weekly basis from April to November.

Once we reached the river, we fished for about a mile upstream. We caught some nice, fat rainbow trout and enjoyed the cool water as the afternoon grew hotter and hotter. Late in the day we were quite a ways upstream, so rather than fish the river back down as we often did, we decided to take the quickest route back on the horse trail. The trail was really dusty, not much rain had fallen. Walking behind Mr. Squash I was doing nothing but gulping big clouds of dust, so I slowed down my pace and told him I would catch up at the bridge.

Alone on the trail I started to hear strange sounds - sort of like a very large bee sneezing! I knew it wasn’t a bear - they have a distinctive sound - what could it be? It grew closer at times and I was beginning to worry. There had been cougar sightings and if the bear were coming down from high country for food, so would the cougars. I quickened my pace and then I saw it - the cougar’s tail in the distant bushes near the river. Holy smokes - I hadn’t been married more than a few hours and I wasn’t going to make Mr. Squash a widower any time soon. I knew the bridge wasn’t far as I quickened my pace and there was Mr. Squash patiently waiting. I proceeded to tell him about the cougar, but it was really an “alleged” cougar because in fishing if you’ve caught a big one and your partner doesn’t see it, it becomes an “alleged” trout.

Back at the lodge, dusty, dirty and tired, we found Otis and some new arrivals heading down to the river with all sorts of tools. What were they doing we asked? The water stopped running in the lodge, so that meant a break somewhere. With just a few folks at the lodge, a water line break isn’t an urgent matter. But tonight there were going to be guests coming in via the trail, dusty, tired and in need of a shower. And the next morning more guests were due to arrive via the airstrip which would make a full house. Cooking and washing up would be impossible without running water.

Otis and his volunteer helpers followed the water line from the back of the lodge down to the river and couldn’t find the leak. They came back for more tools and headed to the hill across from the river so they could begin from the source of the spring and work their way back. A couple of hours later they came back to tell us the break turned out to be in the part of the line that is suspended across the river. You could tell Otis had tried to repair it as he was soaking wet from the waist down. Problem was, the water was really cold and he couldn’t stay in long enough to make the needed repair. It was then I realized I had packed a pair of chest waders – would they fit Otis? He squeezed and pushed his way into them and sure enough and in a short time, water was restored. Otis had filled many hats that day, preacher, lodge host, and water line repairman.

Stay tuned for the final part of Minam River Wedding. We have one last exciting story to tell.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Doing My Part...

Lately I have been doing my part to stimulate the economy! I purchased quite a few goodies at the Quilter's Anonymous show and today I had to go to the dentist, so I stopped at The Quilting Loft in Ballard on my way back and came home with a few more things. A few of you have asked to see some of what I got at the QA show, so here's a little show and tell of some of my purchases at both places.

These are some wonderful Japanese fat quarters by Shiki/Hauru Kaze. Click on the photos to enlarge them and check out the delicate prints! I just couldn't resist these and have yet to decide what to do with them.

Here is a close-up of two of my favorite. Check out the little bunnies on the right and the little birdies in their nest on the left!
This is a new delicate fabric/lingerie wash. Its not harmful to the environment and unscented. Years ago when I first began fly fishing with Mr. Squash, I couldn't figure out why the bugs went for me and not for him. I figured it must have something to do with the scented soaps, hairsprays, makeup, etc that I was using, so I switched everything to unscented brands. And you know what? I am no longer a bulls-eye for bugs! They still like me better, but not nearly as much.
I just love this pattern by Anne Sutton of Bunny Hill Designs! I have several charm packs that will be perfect for it and one of those nifty Clover Yo-Yo makers.
These wools came from Carriage Country Quilts. The two on the right are hand-dyed and I can just see pink bunnies coming from them! I think I used to have a skirt made out of the green wool second from the left!
I couldn't resist several yards of this fabric. It will make a great backing for a quilt.
And this is the yarn for my crochet swap! I ordered it Monday and it arrived today! How's that for service. It's 100 percent cotton in a worsted weight and the price was just right! Check out Elann's website! I'm so tickled that you are all enjoying my Minam River Wedding story! It's been a lot of fun to put on paper and there are at least two more chapters left. We just couldn't leave the Minam without a couple more adventures!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Minam River Wedding - Part 5

Our wedding day had finally arrived! The day was heralded in with brilliant sunshine, minimal breezes and the promise of dreams fulfilled. The ceremony was scheduled for after breakfast when the dishes were washed and put away and everyone had a little free time. We didn’t want anyone to be left out. Two guests unexpectedly popped in just before breakfast and would join our little wedding party.

Being in the wilderness has a lot of perks - no traffic noise other than the occasional airplane landing and taking off, no telephones ringing, no computer screens calling your name, no neighbors mowing their lawns at 6:30 on a Saturday morning - you know - all the things that we dare to escape on vacation. However, believe it or not, there are a few downsides to the wilderness - cold water bathing, sleeping on the hard ground if you’re on camp-out, keeping food away from the wildlife, and no hairdryers! I’m not one of the lucky that can wash their hair and let the wind blow it dry and look fabulous! And I wasn’t about to risk my looks on my wedding day. I had arranged for Otis to run a long extension cord to the large generator in the horse barn so I could plug in a travel hairdryer and look my best for my wedding. It was touch and go - as soon as I turned on the hairdryer, I could hear it surge up and down, but it held on long enough to finish the job.

Mr. Squash and I finished dressing and walked over to the lodge to see if Otis and everyone else was ready. I walked in the door just to see Otis coming down from the loft in a clean pair of jeans, a starched clean shirt and blood all over the shirt collar! He was so nervous about his “preacher duties” that he had cut himself shaving and didn’t even know it. Teresa, knowing Otis well, had packed an extra shirt for him, so we were all set.

The wedding party gathered and began the walk down to the river. Passing the horse barn, Zeb and Teresa told us all to go on ahead, they would catch up with us in a few minutes.

We got to the fence that separates the landing strip/pasture from the river. Otis held down the barbed wire so we could all easily climb over and we paused waiting for Zeb and Teresa to catch up. Mr. Squash and I were holding hands looking down river when I felt a tap on my shoulder, turned, and saw Zeb and Teresa holding the most gorgeous bouquet of wildflowers for me. I was stunned and couldn’t imagine where they found them so quickly! I was speechless and so very happy that they would do this for me.

We all walked down to the spot we had picked out the day before while fishing. Bob and I stood flanked by Teresa and Don and Otis stood in front as our honored preacher. It wasn’t until that moment that we noticed the piece of tissue still stuck to Otis’ face where he had cut himself shaving. We politely said something to him, and the consensus was that he leave it there so there weren’t any more mishaps during the ceremony. We had a good laugh and Otis began. “Dearly beloved”.....he smacked his shirt pocket and what I can only describe next was the sound of a loud “whoopee cushion”. Stunned silence, then uproarious laughter. What the......? Otis didn’t want the ceremony to be a somber occasion – he wanted everyone smiling and laughing. In his own way, this was his solution to make everyone smile and laugh. Oh, boy we thought to ourselves, let’s hope this is the worst of it. The ceremony proceeded without a hitch. Otis was a fantastic first-time preacher. He even pronounced us Husband and Wife. Then he told Mr. Squash to kiss his bride, all the while forgetting the Native American Blessing! We let him read it and a huge sigh of relief was felt all around.

The happy couple....
The Wedding Party...

Now if you think this is the end of our wilderness wedding story, you would be mistaken. There is lots more to tell. Stay tuned for Part 6…..

Monday, March 23, 2009

A Bloggy Meeting!

I had a great time at the Quilter’s Anonymous show in Monroe yesterday. It follows the Sew Expo every year. QA is a large guild in our area which puts on a great show each year. The most fun part is that we the viewers of the quilts get to vote and pick the winners in each category! This year’s theme was “Wrapped in Washington Memories”.

But even more fun this year for me, was to be able to meet a fellow blogger, Lisa, of Stashmaster! She was working in the Keepsake Cottage booth today. We were able to have a very nice chat and a “photo op” before things got a little busy and she had to get back to work. Lisa, it was terrific meeting you!

The blue and white quilt behind us in the photo is one of two of Lisa’s that were hanging in the booth. I must say that the piecing on both is absolutely exquisite! Lisa, you are a fantastic quilter! The other quilt can be seen here and is another masterpiece!

I also got to meet (again) Naomi of Hummerdog Quilts. I’ve purchased from her booth in the past, but since last year we have emailed back and forth a few times and it was nice for us to make the “connection”. Naomi told me her blog will soon be updated with lots of new quilt kits!

Carrie, I thought of you when I saw this little quilt – it was one of the entries in the show. I know how much you love birds! (Sorry my camera was a little out of focus).

And then there was this one that I wish Mr. Squash had been along to see in person as he bought a Jeep last year! The quilter made this for her husband who restores old Jeeps. She looked all over for Jeep fabric and finally found some in Australia! The quilt is her own design and she machine embroidered all of the Jeeps!

I didn’t take a lot of photos of quilts. There aren’t any restrictions on photos, I just didn’t want to get in other folks way when they were trying to view the quilts and read about them.

I managed to add to my wool stash some more and picked up a few small items – some of them gifts. All in all it was a good trip.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Minam River Wedding - Part 4

Today I'm headed off to the Quilter's Anonymous show in Monroe, WA. It's a yearly event with many wonderful quilts that are judged and a large vendor mall. I hope to be able to meet a fellow blogger, Lisa. It should be a lot of fun! I'll leave you with another chapter of my wedding story. Also, check out the sidebar to the left where I will be grouping the stories in one section in case you want to go back and re-read them in one spot!

Minam River Wedding - Part 4

We planned our trip so we would have a full day at the lodge before the wedding to fish a little, relax, and make sure that Otis was comfortable with the ceremony. We had emailed the Native American Blessing to him earlier in the summer and told him he could choose any vows he wanted as long as he kept them clean and pronounced us Husband and Wife, as opposed to Man and Wife. Mr. Squash already knew he was a man, as did I. I think this was more important to me having gone to college during the late 1960’s and during the women’s movement. Not that I’m a feminist as they call it nowadays - I just could never understand why when a man got married, he had to be pronounced a man all over again! But we won’t go any farther here. Otis understood and promised me he wouldn’t fail my wishes.

The day we flew in and the following day were filled with new and old friends who were staying at the lodge. However, they were all leaving the next day which would leave just Otis, Teresa, Don, his girlfriend Jessica and the ranch cook, Zeb and housekeeper, Tiffany. Even the wrangler was headed out the next day to take a pack train to town for supplies. This was fine by us. We didn’t want a lot of fuss and to-do over the wedding. We wanted it to be a simple, easy affair and go fishing afterwards!

After a hearty breakfast, we grabbed our rods and fished up the river for several hours. Oh how we love fishing the Minam River! In August the river is at the most knee deep and not too cold in the shallower reaches. There are some great pools and some really nice rainbow trout waiting to be caught then released back to the water to grow bigger for the next season. If you’re lucky, you might even be there when the salmon are swimming upstream to spawn. I’ve stood many times in one spot motionless from the waist down casting back and forth into a deep pool and looked down to see a large salmon swim between my legs on its way back home.

Now I’ve already explained how remote the Minam Lodge is. There is no electricity except for a generator located down in the horse barn that is run for a couple of hours in the morning and evening. Water comes from a spring that is piped from behind an adjacent hillside across the river and up another hillside to the lodge. Each cabin has a shower and commode, and hot water provided by propane tanks, which have been known to run out in the middle of your morning shower! In the colder weather there is a small woodstove to warm the cabin up in the mornings and late evenings.

There is also - how shall I say it - a wildlife problem from time to time. We were quite used to the horses and mules grazing right up to the cabin doors and around the main lodge. There would even be an occasional deer or elk fairly close to the lodge and cabins. Otis and Teresa also had three dogs we adored - Hanna, the Border Collie, and Jawea and Boot - mother and son Springer Spaniels. But this particular year and the prior year and seen a lot of forest fires. When this happens, animals such as black bear, come down from the higher hills searching for food sources.

That evening after dinner all of the guests gathered in the lodge for conversation and laughter. It was as full a house as we had ever seen. Otis played some tunes on the banjo accompanied by others who had their guitars with them. We laughed and laughed and had a wonderful evening. As we were all getting ready to say goodnight and head to our cabins we saw Zeb, the cook, head out back with a rifle and a sleeping bag. What was he doing, we asked?

Zeb explained that the bears has been raiding the food storage shed on and off for several nights recently. He would hear them breaking the door down, but by the time he got outside with his rifle, they were already heading back into the woods. This particular bear had a nasty temper as well and they were worried that it might harm one of the guests. So Zeb was going to lay his sleeping bag down on the path that leads to the food storage and try and shoot the bear as he entered the area. We were in awe that he would take such a risk.

Later that night I heard something very heavy walk across the porch of our cabin. I always sleep lightly in the wilderness - you never know when a marauding raccoon will come into camp so you have to be vigilant! I didn’t want to wake Mr. Squash, but not long after that we both heard a gunshot loud enough to levitate us both out of bed. Zeb must have gotten the bear! We fell back asleep assured that we were safe and sound. Sure enough, next morning there was the bear - nearly right next to where Zeb had placed his sleeping bag! It was enormous, with huge paws. We quickly tried to put this out of our minds - after all - we were getting married the next day!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Minam River Wedding - Part 3

August 21st was quickly approaching. We made plans to fly into the Minam from Baker, OR in a small bush plane. There are only two ways into the Minam Lodge – by foot or horse on a trail, or by air. Mr. Squash had been there several times before we met and had always gone in on guided horseback. It’s an eight mile journey on a very narrow, steep trail with long drop-offs in many spots. If your horse is spooked by a bear or cougar you need to hold on tight! Being that this was a momentous occasion, we didn’t want to spoil it with the demise of either one or both of us just in getting there! So flying it was, which we had done several times out of LaGrande. But, being adventurous as we are, we decided to try going in from Baker this time.

We arrived at the Baker airfield on August 19th. Dick, our pilot, who is an extremely nice gentleman escorted us to the plane which was ready and waiting next to the runway. It was a small Cessna – a nice, comfy little plane with great windows, not the regular super-charged turbo prop that was out of service for regular maintenance! We stowed our bags and fishing rods, hopped in and taxied out to the runway where the plane promptly stalled. This was not a good sign. Mr. Squash isn’t very keen on flying as it is, and a horse was looking real good to him at that moment! Dick very patiently tried several times to restart the engine, but it only coughed and sputtered. He wasn’t able to make anything happen, so he radioed back to the tower to call the mechanic. Unfortunately, it was early Sunday morning and the mechanic was nowhere to be found when they called him at home. We had no choice but to deplane and walk back to the waiting area from the runway.

Dick apologized profusely and said they would continue to try to reach the mechanic and let us know when the plane might be ready. An hour later and several more calls would not produce the mechanic. We aren’t sure to this day why, but the pilot called the high school kid who had cleaned out the plane from the day before – maybe trying to find the mechanic. He actually had a suggestion – maybe as he was cleaning, he could have accidentally bumped the emergency fuel valve and turned it off. Bingo! No mechanic needed! By this time the plane had been towed back to the hangar. Once situated back on the plane we promplty flew out of Baker. It was a glorious, sunny day and proved to get quite warm later in the day.

Now flying into the Minam has its own “issues”. It is always best to fly in and out in the early morning. The box canyon we fly into can get notoriously hot which isn't good for uplift when flying a plane. When you're coming out of a box canyon, you want all the lift you can get. Also, the landing strip doubles as a pasture and there is no real up-keep other than if anyone happens to be walking down to the river from the lodge and sees rocks of any size, they pick them up and cast them aside! Usually if there are deer, elk, horses, mules, the occasional cougar or turkeys on the runway they scatter as soon as they hear the plane.

The rest of our flight was mostly uneventful and we arrived in one piece. This is a video of landing at the Minam which we found on You Tube.

Stay tuned for Part 4 of Minam River Wedding!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

All Spruced Up!

We found out last night that there is going to be another Broker's open house Thursday and a public open house both Saturday and Sunday this week. I was already in a panic about how part of the back garden looked, so around 11:00 this morning I asked if anyone minded if I took the afternoon off to get it in shape for the open houses. Everyone agreed so here is what I spent the afternoon doing.

The part of the garden on the left is much longer than what you see. Until last summer when we knew we were going to sell the house, I had three 6 foot long raised beds filled with vegetables. It was my pride and joy! Over the winter the weeds took hold big time, so I spent most of the afternoon weeding and re-tilling that area. When I was done I raced down to Lowe's and picked up 20 primroses which I planted along the edge and some bark for under the Mimosa tree. I've amended the soil over and over with countless bags of compost and soil over the years. Thank goodness, because it made the weeding much easier! I also bid a fond farewell to my wonderful worm population back there. Libby will understand.

Above to the right you can just make out an empty bird feeder. Below on the right if you click on the photo you can see the replacement block I put on today. Can you believe it was entirely eaten in just three days since this weekend? Our bird population is pretty hungry right now! Most of our feeders are packed away - but I couldn't let them starve!

And I couldn't leave you without a photo of Miss Sophie lounging in the sun in Mr. Squash's office this afternoon!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Minam River Wedding - Part 2

Happy St. Patrick's Day! I'm half Irish - my father was born in Newfoundland where his parents had emigrated to from Ireland. I can say most definitely that I inherited the fair Irish skin as well as that well-known feisty Irish demeanor!

Thanks to all of you for your wonderful suggestions for my wonky strip piecing! I am continually amazed at the helpfulness and generosity of the blogging community! As soon as I apply your suggestions I'll post another picture.

OK - I know you've all been waiting.....

Minam River Wedding - Part 2

While we were waiting to see if Otis could be ordained as a minister over the Internet, we began to make some actual wedding plans. August seemed to be the best month for both of us. Not only would it be warm in the Eagle Cap, but the fishing would be fantastic! Hey – this wasn’t just a wedding – it was also a chance to go fishing! We settled on August 21st.

Next was what to do for a ceremony. We could be fairly certain that if Otis performed the ceremony, it would have to be short and sweet. Otis is an outdoor kind of guy! He guides hunts for bear, cougar, elk and deer. He’ll set up camp in the wilderness, cook you a terrific meal over the campfire after a hard day hunting or fishing, play a few tunes on the banjo and tell you stories that will make you laugh so hard your sides hurt. What he’s not is a terribly sentimental fellow. We decided to have him perform traditional vows and include a short Native-American blessing we liked at the end of the ceremony.

Finally, what to wear? We knew we wanted to be married while standing in the Minam River. There are many really pretty spots on the river close to the lodge on the other side of the landing strip. Anything formal was out of the question. Mr. Squash wanted to wear his fishing gear then head upstream with our fishing rods after the ceremony. You know, I actually gave this some consideration --- for about 3 seconds! The going fishing part was great by me, but wearing waders and a fishing vest were not! We settled on shorts and a Hawaiian shirt for Mr. Squash and a sundress and sweater I had hanging in my closet that I had only worn once. Shoes – well Teva water sandals, of course!! They weren’t very fashionable, but would keep us upright on the slippery rocks while we said our vows!

Not long after we finalized the details, we received a call from Teresa and Otis. Otis was an ordained minister thanks to a fantastic Internet site and $25.00! He also filled out the proper paperwork with the State of Oregon and donated another $25.00 to make it all legal. We were so happy that this was going to work!

Then we realized that we needed to firm up one last detail. I had already asked Teresa to be my matron of honor, but Mr. S. needed a best man. We again called Otis and Teresa and asked who else might be booked at the lodge that week. Turns out only one other couple were coming, and they were a couple we had met the previous year and liked a lot! Mr. S. called up Don, asked him to stand up for him, and Don said of course!

Stay tuned for more!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Lesson Learned – Advice Needed

Actually, there are two major lessons to be learned here. The first one is that you just can’t suppress a quilters desire to create – at least for this quilter! We had more snow and bad weather this weekend, so I was pretty sure no one would want to view the house. I thought I could whip out the piano borders for my Halloween Journey wall hanging. After all, it was just a matter of sewing together strips of fabrics, slicing them up and attaching the borders. It wouldn’t mess up my studio much and I could get it done fairly fast.

Here is as far as I got:

I began sewing together the strips, pressing the seams to one side and thought I was doing really well. After several rows I thought it looked as though it was getting a little wonky. Can you see how it curls on the bottom row? My seams are even; my strips are cut straight, each sewn strip measures exactly one inch from end to end – what could be wrong? I decided to alternate each strip a different way – selvedge on one side, raw edge on the other and see if it would straighten out. Nope. So I stopped. I think this is happening because I am sewing along the “stretchy” edge of the fabric. Do you agree? Lesson two learned – research something you haven’t done before you begin a project. Gee – I thought this would be so simple!

So before I rip everything out and begin again, do you have any suggestions? I plan to cut these strips into 4 vertical sections as borders. There are quite a few more strips to be sewn as well. I know many of you have made “strip quilts” from scraps. So has anyone else had this problem? Any comments you might have will be greatly appreciated!

I’m so glad you enjoyed the first chapter of my Minam River Wedding story. Soon I’ll post another chapter!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Minam River Wedding

As you can all see from my profile, I got married at the rather “late” age of 51. And it wasn’t your typical wedding, either. It was an extremely adventurous affair at best! One thing about Mr. Squash and I - we have a lot of adventures and they always seem to turn out memorable. So I thought for some of the “lean blogging” times I’m going to have while major quilt projects are put on hold during the sale of our house that I would tell you the tale of our Minam River Wedding. Now, PW I am not. No Black Heels to Tractor Wheels story here, but one worth telling and will most likely make you smile. So sit back with a cup of tea or coffee, and maybe one of Penny’s Banana Peanut Butter Muffins and enjoy this story that I will bring to you in parts.

Minam River Wedding - Part 1

We had been together for several years and had our ups and downs, but one day while sitting in the living room enjoying the late afternoon sunshine, we looked at each other and realized that we were very happily enjoying our life together. In fact we enjoyed it so much, that we decided it was time to get married.

So what does one plan for an “over 50” wedding? Go to the courthouse? No, that would be too banal and simple. Get married in a church? No, too structured and having no children for either of us or even family nearby, too fussy. Have an outdoor ceremony in the local arboretum? Well, sounds good, but who would marry us and how could we predict a nice day in the Pacific Northwest? No again.

I then remembered our friends Otis and Teresa who ran the Minam Lodge in the Eagle Cap Wilderness of Northeast Oregon. Didn’t Otis tell us at one time that he was a minister of sorts? What about asking him to marry us in a ceremony on the Minam River? Oh, my, yes! Now that appealed to us!

We had spent several fly fishing vacations up at the Minam thus far. Otis and Teresa, became great friends with us the instant we met them. Otis is quite the character. He could sell you anything and during his life has done just that - cars, pianos, hunting permits to name a few. He is also very proud of (as well he should be) of his sobriety over the past 20 years. He’s helped many people along the way and continues to do so. And he is one heck of a storyteller!

So we called Otis during the off-season and posed the question - would you marry us up at the Minam? Long pause over the telephone. Otis - you okay? Otis congratulated us - then in spits and sputters wanted to know why we asked him to perform the ceremony! We explained that we thought he mentioned at one time he was a minister. He laughed and said it was probably one of his stories! He apologized and thanked us for thinking of him and said perhaps they could help us find someone around the area to perform the ceremony. Teresa was on another extension and exclaimed - whoa doggies - maybe Otis CAN do it! Another long pause from Otis. She suggested that they get Otis ordained as a minister over the Internet! We heard a loud thump and thought maybe Otis had fallen over at that point!

After some discussion, they agreed they would research the possibilities of getting Otis ordained and get back to us. We agreed that we would pay any fees they incurred as long as it would be a legal ceremony. Stay tuned for part two...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Where Have I Been?

Thanks to everyone for their well wishes! I'm feeling much better now! I think I must have had "selling your house" syndrome! After a few days rest and not doing anything other than what was necessary, I am back to normal!

I've really not done much other than prep some handwork and a little more crocheting. When I came home from work yesterday, I found this quilt I made many years ago draped over the back of our couch. The housekeeper had been in that morning and apparently knocked it off the wall and couldn't figure out how to hang it back up.

It's a McKenna Ryan pattern and one of the first machine applique quilts I made. It has its flaws - like the tree on the far right that is hard to see, and the fact that the water is a little too bold, but being a fly-fisher - I really like it. I got to thinking as I was re-hanging it, that it needs a bit more embellishment. I stitched in the ditch as much as I could, but I think I'll add some quilting around the border and perhaps use some metallic or decorate threads to embellish the water and the trees. The fly hooked in the fish's mouth is one of my real fishing flies!

This time of year finds Mr. Squash and I pouring through the Spring fly fishing catalogs - Orivs, LL Bean, Cabelas and the latest fly fishing magazines making sure we have enough flies and gear for the coming season! We also like to read about possible new fishing locations and dream of warmer weather to come!

Monday, March 9, 2009

In Like a Lion....

March is definitely roaring in like a lion around here. This was the view from the front seat of our car on Saturday as we drove to the mall to kill time during our open house. Today we have a similar situation, although I think there is even more snow!

Thanks to all of you who sent good wishes for our first open house! Unfortunately, only three neighbors came out of curiosity - probably due to the weather! As I responded to many of you - the cherry trees will soon be blossoming out front, my roses are already sprouting as are my perennials and there will be many more folks out and about as the calendar ticks off.

Yesterday I was feeling quite under the weather, so I sat at my sewing machine and made a couple of gifts which I will share with you after they are given. Other than that I really don't have much to report.

Please do visit Kaaren at The Painted Quilt. Not only is she a wonderfully nice person and talented artist/quilter, she's having a great giveaway for a lamp she hand-painted and designed!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Eggs – Ceptional!

I got a call yesterday afternoon at work from Mr. Squash. He said he had solved the dilemma of what to have for dinner. One of his co-workers, Pete J., had given him a dozen and a half eggs from his chickens! Look how beautiful they are! Don’t you love the wonderful colors!

We had some Cougar Gold Cheese that wasn’t getting used, so I decided to make mushroom, cheese and onion omelets! Now that was a great dinner and a wonderful way to start the weekend! Thanks, Pete!

This afternoon we have to be away for a public open house. I told the realtor to call us in case she gets an offer and wants us to stay away longer than planned! How's that for a positive attitude!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Night Job!

No - I didn't take a second job - but I am having a change of pace in the evenings of late! I purchased this yarn a while back - I really like the soft, variegated colors. Its been a long time since I crocheted anything and after watching Terri make so many great crocheted projects lately, I thought I would try something. (And you must go visit Terri and check out her new "Fancy"!) Plus it doesn't make as much of a mess as stitching does - when I'm done I can stuff it easily in the hall closet and be clean and neat for anyone who might view the house the next day!

It had been so long since my last crochet project (15 years?) that I needed a little refresher. And I have to admit I've ripped this one out to the beginning twice! I finally figured out what I was missing and in two more skeins, I'll have a nice little neck warmer!

Yesterday I thought I would gather a few fat quarters and plan a couple of fabric baskets that I can easily throw together for gifts on a Sunday afternoon. I've been using a wonderful Aiden Linen for the bottom and handles that I got from Kathy over at Pink Chalk Studio. But as I pulled the fat quarters, I realized I could use some more colors of linen. I went on Pink Chalk Studio's website and ordered these luscious Ivory and Lime Green half yards at about 2:30 pm yesterday. They were in my mailbox when I arrived home this evening! Now that's service! Of course it helps that we are a mere city apart, but nevertheless - wonderful service!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Fabric Karma

Last week I mentioned here that I was thinking of making this stitchery into a quilted wall-hanging with a piano-style border. Well, not a day later I was on Pat Sloan’s website and saw her new fabric line called "Arabella". I realized the colors were perfect for highlighting the poem, so I ordered her fat quarter bundle of the entire line.

Don’t you just love the rich colors and fantastic designs? I think Pat really struck gold with this fabric line and I’m so happy to have it!

We’re having the broker’s open house tomorrow and an open house for the public on Saturday. Lots of flyers have been removed from the box, and we’ve seen people driving by slowly to look, but there haven’t been any official showings as yet. Got to keep those positive thoughts flowing!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Twiggy's Back and she Loves Sushi!

So how many of you remember Twiggy from your teenage years? Oh how we longed to be that skinny, funky, British model! Most of us knew we would never in a million years look like her - but she was a lot of fun to watch along with other folks across the pond like Emma Peel, Ilya Kuriakin, and oh, yeah - John, Paul, George and Ringo! OK - so I've dated myself, but I have fond memories of those years!

Today's Twiggy is a little different and I've been watching her as well ever since she arrived a while back! I love the delicate, nature inspired print! At Sew Expo, one of the vendors was selling a kit for the pattern which was designed to go with the fabric! That did it for me. The quilt was made up and I must say the photo of the pattern below doesn't do it justice. I'll be making this one for our master bedroom - sometime next fall or winter.

I also came across this Sushi Roll (sushi must have been one of Twiggy's diet secrets) of lovely, daiwabo inspired Lecien fabrics. For those of you who are unfamiliar with a Sushi Roll, it is the same as a jelly roll, except the strips are 2 7/8" wide. I also purchased a jelly roll pattern for this, but it was out of stock at the show, so its being mailed to me later.
I took the wrapping off the package and twirled the roll so you could get a look at all the prints - aren't they pretty?
These are the last of my Sew Expo purchases. I really had a great time there this year. A couple of other items are showing up in the mail - I'll give you a look at those in a day or two. I've also been working on a crochet project in the evenings. Last evening I got to looking at my work for the first of the three skeins of yarn it requires. Something just didn't look right, so I ripped it out to the beginning and will try to figure out what I'm doing wrong. And it may be that there isn't anything wrong, but I am a perfectionist in these things, unfortunately, so as soon as I get it right, I'll give you a peek!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Wooly Goodness

I was really hoping to add to my meager wool stash at Sew Expo. As Vicki and I perused the booths, I was getting worried that I wouldn’t find any. Finally down the last three aisles, I hit gold! Bird Brain Designs had a huge basket of 8” wool squares. I picked out one of each color. Then as I was paying for them I noticed one last bag of wool scraps which I greedily readily snatched up. Thinking back, I should have gotten more of the squares, but I’m sure I won’t have much trouble finding more on another shopping adventure (Vicki, are you game?).

Another vendor had some gorgeous hand dyed fat eighths which I also couldn’t pass up - I bought all that she had left. Somehow I misplaced her business card – her wool was exquisite and she had some incredibly creative patterns using wool and fabric.
On the more practical side, I invested in some more Mary Ellen’s unscented Best Press and a new type of dye catcher sheet for the washer. It’s supposed to last 30 washes. I also picked up some hard-to-find white refills for my Sewline Fabric Pencil.
We sure didn’t see any shortage of folks contributing to the economy at the show. I think it proves how much we want to keep the tradition of hand-made alive and in this dismal economy it’s a great source of comfort and satisfaction for many. Tomorrow I’ll show you the last of my purchases.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Girls Just Wanna Have Fu-un....

…And did we ever! Vicki and I headed out early yesterday morning for Sew Expo in Puyallup. Mr. Squash took a photo of the happy quilters as we were leaving. Isn’t Vicki’s homemade quilted bag wonderful? I decided we might need something sturdy to carry our purchases, so I brought along my REI rolling backpack.

We arrived safely at the Puyallup Fairgrounds and started off in the Pavilion complex. The first booth we hit was so much fun! Called Yesterday’s Charm, they had all sorts of vintage dishtowels and embroidery patterns and other great vintage stuff. They even had vintage dishtowel yardage! I couldn’t resist an iron-on transfer pattern of butterflies for towels at the Squash House kitchen. I got the pattern and 7 yards of toweling to make all the designs. I'm also going to look for some sort of vintage trim for the edges of the towels. The green stripe will look great with the new lights in the kitchen! The gals in this booth were hilarious and having a great time as were we!
Next we stopped by the Sew Steady Portable Table booth which also carried the Bendable Bright Light that so many of you love for your sewing machine and also some great apron patterns. I knew Vicki could use the light so I encouraged her to talk to them about it. Up walks this gal:
What a hoot! It was Katie Organ from The Paisley Pincushion (Terri - I was thinking of you!) who was sharing the booth! I asked her permission to take her photo for my blog and she graciously obliged! Thanks, Katie – what fun!

Then we wandered down to the Bernina booth(s). I always love seeing the gals from my Bernina store there and of course accessories are always on sale at the show! I picked up the #11 Cordonnet foot for working with heaving threads – I recently saw a demo on machine Sashiko stitiching using this foot and want to give it a go! The we got to talking to one of the gals about the new Bernina 830. I had to take this picture of one of the backgrounds on the machine for Kim over at Kim’s Big Quilting Adventure! Kim is a big fan of cows! This gal also showed us how you can make a cow "moo" on the Bernina 730!! She said her eleven year old nephew figured it out!
This is quite the machine – it’s enormous and filled with so many wonderful new capabilities! We also saw Libby Lehman helping a very young, adorable lady (so young she was sitting in Libby’s lap) do some free-motion quilting on the new 830! This little gal was doing a wonderful job - she's going to give Libby a run for her money someday!

Tomorrow I’ll show you some more of my goodies from the Expo!