Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Morning Christmas Morning...

Mark is outside in the rain
Splitting cedar, making bundles
For the Banning corner store.

That's not how the lyrics of that old english song I learned in second grade is.
This doesn't even rhyme.
Nevertheless, that's what he is doing.

While everyone else is having a holy jolly Christmas, Mark is working.
Not just because he is a compulsive logger, but he is....
After the morning pancakes, he started watching a video, but guilt took the better of him.

We are supplying one of the convenient stores in Banning with fire wood bundles and because they are muslims or hindus, or whatever they do over there in India, they don't know that other people have something of a relaxing day going on today.
They want more bundles and they want them ASAP.


Sunday, December 21, 2008

New Mexico

This is not the property we drove, in the middle of blizzard and snow storm for two days, to purchase in "sunny New Mexico". If we had our own TV channel to broadcast the classics, we might have the budget for a half a million acre lot ...... but ........

This is actually ol' Ted Turner's ranch out there in northeast NM in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and its foothills.

I am so lucky that my husband gets to work in exotic places like this! No sarcasm ... I really love this area!

The Turner fellow is planning to build a solar energy field in the near future on the lower 60000 acres of his "lot". The other 500000 acres are up in the mountains.

Where the mountains meet the prairie.

Mark designed this load machine to test the strenght of the steel columns, driven into the clay soil, that will serve as the base of the solar panels.

Here is the load frame in the trailer and the Cimarron Range of the Rocky Mountains in the background.

Mark shlepped trailer with loader and the whole family accross the "nation" to work in the mud for two days. We noticed that people do not drive very carefully in NM. We counted 14 accidents on I-40 between the Arizona border and Albuquerque, NM. Cars were flying off the icy road left and right. One SUV rolled over right in front of us.

We made it to Cimarron safely, two days later. This is the Will James Room in the Cimarron Inn, where we spent three nights.
Mark and Buck are settled for the evening with some reading material but Spitz is still looking for a little excitement.

The locals were interested in the proceedings of the solar field testing and came to say hello.

The old grain mill in historical downtown Cimarron was closed. The streets were far too muddy to walk around and visit the old sites on the prairie this afternoon, so we took a ride up to the mountain, in the storm, to let Buck and Spitz play in the fresh snow.

Eagle Nest Lake is located about 30 miles west of Cimarron at about 8400 feet elevation.

We walked out to the snow covered beach of the lake. By the time I pulled out the camera to take pictures, the blizzard was so intense that we had to turn around and push our way back to the truck through the horizontally blowing snow and ice, sticking to our eyeballs and freezing our faces. The dogs did not like it much either. Both had a white face, frozen with icicles hanging off their chins. This short walk was sure cold and miserable.
We were thankful to come out alive!

The picture of that scenery is simple, and it saves me some kilobites; it is a white, blank sheet of paper.

Instead of driving to Taos through these crazy mountains, we decided to turn back and head for the flat land.

The visibility reached zero at times, so we had to stop and wait until we figured out where the road was.

There is a little town called Miami which did not have as good of a restaurant selection as the one in Florida has. Miami, NM has approximately 15 ranches and that's that! We were hungry however, so we searched the next town, Springer, for a place to dine.

This is the Springer Court House in downtown.

Touring the main street, we came accross a pizza place. Perfect for dinner. I could eat pizza every day, all day long.

Even the pizza joint has historical features. The bar above is one of the 12 of its kind, built in 1908. It has seen a lot in the past 100 years and had been in many films as well. Recently made famus in the movie, Appaloosa. The bar is not serving to accommodate the drunkards of the west these days. Instead, it is located in this family restaurant ran by retired military officer, Gary Munden and his wife Nejla.
Nejla makes the best pizza and bread sticks outside of New York City!

The evening we found the Munden Haus Restaurant was when the Springer Senior Citizens Christmas party was hosted by Gary and Nejla. We got to join the party and listen to the Christmas songs played and sang by a local couple.

The next day, we started our long drive back to CA.
The first stop was Las Vegas, NM.

Mark with Buck and Spitz in the historical town center.

The Plaza Hotel in downtown Las Vegas, NM.

Bank building on the corner of the old main street.

Next stop was on the Laguna Res, in Budville, AZ, where Mark spent two months on his mission
many years ago.

The LDS Church changed a lot since Mark was here last time.
The community did not go through major changes.

We spent that night in Flagstaff and had an early start next morning to get back to Pine Cove.
West of Flag, the temperature reached -5 F. We did not stop to play in the snow!
There was plenty of it to play in on our yard. 4 feet of snow consolidated to about 2.5 feet by the time we got home and it took two days of shoveling to reopen the driveway and our walkways.

A new storm is coming in as I sit here, so I better get busy and bring some firewood inside before we get burried again.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Corbin's Day

December 13th is Corbin's Day!
He was baptized by Grandpa Price.

We were all so proud of Corbin.

Beautiful, little sister, Kayden attended "Big Brother", Corbin's special day.

"Come on Children" says grandpa Ray.

Watch out for cousin Jared! He does not miss an oportunity to flirt with a pretty girl.

"You mean you will leave your parents house to marry this handsome, young man?"
Says Stephanie to youngest daughter Kendra.
"All right... you have my permission!"

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Message From Buck & Spitz

If dogs were teachers, we would learn:

When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.
Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.
When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.
On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.
Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.
If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
Never pretend to be something you're not.
Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
Run, romp, and play daily.
Stretch before rising.
Take naps.
Be loyal.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Wood Gathering Sunday

On a cool, foggy and rainy Sunday, what better activity is there than collecting oak on the side of Black Mountain?

Spitz takes off with Mark to look for the logs they cut the week before.

Buck is coming back to give me the good news. The logs are still there, where they had left them last weekend.

Let's load them into the truck! The doggies are helping a lot!

Bullets were flying as we were walking along on the road with the dogs.
Someone else was on the mountain and they found target practicing a better activity than wood gathering. We had to vacate the site before we got hit.
At least the wood gathering is legal, so long as we obtain a permit. Shooting on the other hand is prohibited around here. But ... illegal people doing illegal activities is a common thing these days but we cannot do anything about it, because we don't want to hurt their feelings! Am I right?

Santa Made It To Our House On His Birthday

When I was growing up in BP, I always left my boots in the window on the night of December 5th.

Likewise, we left our boots out on the front deck on that night.
Santa must have delivered his treats early in Europe and took a quick flight to Pine Cove, because we found our boots filled with goodies the next morning.
We had walnuts, peanuts, pistacios, oranges, chocolate and Tootsie Rolls inside our boots.
What fun!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Saint Nicholas

Saint Nicholas Saving Seafarers (December 6)

Saint Nicholas

Early in the Advent season celebrate a feast that has been popular for centuries in Christian countries, especially in Northern Europe. In our over-commercialized society, this holiday gives us a good "teaching moment" to remind children that Jolly Santa Claus, is, in fact, Saint Nicholas, a fourth century bishop of the city of Myra in what is now Turkey.
Saint Nicholas was renowned for his great kindness and his generous aid to those in distress. Among the kind and miraculous acts attributed to him are saving three young girls from prostitution by secretly providing them with dowries, raising three murdered boys from the dead, and saving sailors caught in stormy seas. For these reasons, he is considered the patron saint of children, unmarried girls, and sailors, among others.
Traditional celebrations of Saint Nicholas Day in Northern Europe included gifts left in children's shoes (the origin of our American Christmas stockings). Good children receive treats - candies, cookies, apples and nuts, while naughty children receive switches or lumps of coal. Sometimes coins were left in the shoes, reminiscent of the the life-saving doweries the saint provided. Today - especially in families of German extraction - children still put a shoe outside their bedroom doors on the eve of Saint Nicholas Day, and expect to find candy and coins or small gifts in their shoe on December 6th.
In some households the father of the family may dress up as Saint Nicholas on the eve of his feast. He comes in, sometimes with his sidekick, Krampus or Black Peter, and helps each child examine his conscience. He admonishes the bad and rewards the good. If your family enjoys theatrics, this is a wonderful opportunity early in Advent to inspire children to amend their ways in preparation for the coming King. (Your family might get together with other families with young children and celebrate together.)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving Day

The Thanksgiving Dinner Gang
from left: Aunt Merretta, Uncle Revier, Mom Houghton, Karen Star, Bea & Mark

We did not invite the indians, it was just us ol' pilgrims.
It is more fun without feathers...

Dinner was superb and we were properly stuffed.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Autumn in Pine Cove

Mark is setting up his special birthday present on the front yard.
His 39th birthday BBQ had to be retired this summer after 6 years of active duty.

The sewing projects accumulate during spring and summer and they make the perfect way to spend the cool, fall and winter evenings and weekends. Since the garden is sleeping for the next few months, the interior of the house is getting most of my attention.

The windows are getting new curtains and the living room is repositioned to its winter layout.

Cozy reading corners close to the fireplace are well used during the holiday season.
Mark is sitting in Grandpa Houghton's chair, reading his book and warming up his toes by the fire.
Buck and Spitz are warming up on the back yard. They don't worry about a thing!
We had the first snowfall two weeks ago, but it warmed up the next day and it has been sunny ever since. Mark took the babies for a wood cutting trip this afternoon. We need to keep collecting firewood, while we can.
Never know... soon enough it might be illegal to cut wood again and THEN how the heck are we going to create our share of pollution to increase the global warming?

Friday, November 21, 2008

What Global Warming?

We are ready to generate some clean energy this winter!

Burning oak and pine in the fireplace does not cause any pollution does it?

It sure keeps us warm!

This is not our house but it could be.
If our fire department did not have such stringent regulations about fire safety and abatement, we would line our stacks all around the house also.

It has insulation value, and all you have to do on a cold winter day to keep the fire going is to reach out the window.

Instead, we need to stack our wood away from the house, along the property line.
Not too big of a walk though, because who can afford too large of a property as long as half of our income has to pay for whatever the BOYS in Washington determine to be important...

We have enough wood to contribute to the "reduction of global warming" for the length of the next presidential term.
I would like to start drilling for fossil fuels in the back yard as well, since nobody else wants to do it, but Mark says, my Black & Decker will not reach too far in the bedrock and there is not much down there to reach anyway.
I am so worried about this global warming thing ... but so long as the chickens are not running around on my yard I will be OK.
Luckily, there is one thing we have to NOT be concerned about any more. That is the moral standards and ethics in our society.
Why worry about something that does not exist?

November Highlights

Last weekend, Karen and Jason came to Pine Cove to visit us.

Jason is departing for Africa, to Guinea, to teach the people there whatever that is they do not know... He has his work cut out for him.
He is leaving in the beginning of December for a two year assignment.
Good luck Jason!

Thank God, our taxes will be higher soon, so we can pay for the education of the Africans!

Mark & Bea with Buck & Spitz in the Pine Cove Park

Jason & Karen in the Pine Cove Park

Mark and Jason had a great time bouldering in the park.
They spent several hours playing around on the rocks enjoying the cool autumn breeze.
Karen and I were walking around with the dogs and taking pictures.
It has been a long time since I dipped my hands into a chalk bag. Mark said it felt so nice to climb again and to feel his muscles for a few days.
I think I'll bake some cookies!

Friday, November 7, 2008

It's All Over!

We survived two things lately. First, the mockery of a Roman Catholic Holiday.
Second, and most important, we lived through the greatest fraud in US Government History.
The media did a wonderful job, like always, in promoting junk.

Bravo America! We are voting for COLOR instead of principle.
We ARE idiots!!!

If Obama were gay, that would REALLY be cool!
I feel bad for him though, poor guy... Hope he will
be allright and pull this off.

The good thing about socialism, if it's practiced correctly, that people are NOT equal.

Ah well....
Even Arnold is getting democratic these days. He is planning to
increase our already high sales tax.

Mark was reading the Moscow News yesterday. He is thinking about imigrating to Russia to experience living with a fair government. (I think)
The russian media is not much better than the american apparently.
They say:..... many people are starving in america....the dollar is weak.....
the donation of $1.00 will buy sixteen meals in the US.....please help the poor americans.....
Cute eh?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

No Playing Around With Pumkins Where I Come From!

"All Saints Day" became more significant in my life after my Grandpa died.

Grandma and I would spend the evening in the cemetery burning candles like everyone else, who considered this to be a very solemn holiday.

All Saints day is celebrated on the first Saturday of November.
The cemeteries are quite beautiful that night.
Everyone cleans around the graves of their beloved and decorates with fresh cut flowers.
Candles are burning on many of the graves that night, while people are praying.

The day after All Saints Day is "The Day of the Dead"
or All Souls Day.

On this day, the cemeteries must be silent. No-one is allowed to go there for any reason what so ever. The departed people must be left alone.

On this day, the souls of the faithful which at death have not been cleansed from venial sins, or have not fully atoned for mortal sins can be helped to do so by prayer so they can attain the beatific vision in heaven.

News From Budapest

My best friend, Agi, is curious about how I will vote.

She read that Sarah Palin had spent a lot of the campaing money on clothes for herself.
Good job Sarah!

If Obama would have spent some of the money on clothes, his wife could look like a potential first lady with some more coverage.

But Obama spent the money on buying more looters to support his party.

When I was growing up in Budapest, idiotic news was never published.
Who said censorship is bad?

Agi With Daniel and Noemi

Monday, October 27, 2008

Helicoptering on the Marine Base

Mark had a special project at the Twentynine Palms Marine Corps Base this fall.
They were installing a new design of towers on distant mountains all over the base.
Mark had to be helicoptered to the tops of these mountains because there are no roads available.
If you know him, you know how much he enjoys flying... NOT!!!

They had him flying around in fear for 3 days from sunrise to sunset.
This is really top secret, so that's all I can say about it.

Overlooking a Volcano

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Mark & the Plumbing

Are there any men out there that likes to work on plumbing on a Sunday morning? husband is not one of them.

He would even take the helicoptering instead.

A little bit of a clugged sink stressed him out so much yesterday morning,
he had to spend the afternoon watching a video with Spitzers.