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Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Salmonberry blossoms
Fruit on the vine

I have lived in this same area all my life, and have always assumed that Salmonberries grew everywhere because they grow in abundance here. Apparently this is not so. Our dear friend Susie asked about them so I did a little research and this is what I learned.

Salmonberry, Rubus Spectabilis (who thinks up these silly names?) is native to the west coast of North America from southern Alaska to California. It is found in moist forests and stream margins, especially in the costal forests. Most I have seen are a golden color but as you can see in the last photo, they are also red.

They were an important food for the Native American. They were gathered to use in pemmican, and I'm sure they used them in many other ways also.

It is said the name came about because of the first Nation's fondness for eating the berries with half dried salmon roe. However I have always thought the berries 'resembled' clusters of salmon roe.

Incase you don't know what Pemmican is, the Native American people made it by combining dried fish, meats, fruits and mixed this with nuts and other food sources. They carried it in pouches when traveling. It was an important food source as it held most of the vitamins and minerals a body needs. I can't begin to imagine what it tasted like and really don't care to.

Now about the salmonberry jelly I mentioned in my last post, the color was absolutely beautiful, a rich golden shade. I have to admit it really lacked flavor and would be much better combined with another fruit, or maybe rhubarb even.

Back in those days of making do, my little ones liked it just fine on their peanutbutter sandwiches. Is was sweet and very pretty to look at.

I didn't have a recipe, but just mashed the berries down and simmered them a few minutes then strained the juice and mixed in some sugar and a little lemon juice and cooked it until it coated a spoon nicely. After it was in the jars I remember admiring the lovely color.

I have made my own jams and jellies since I was first married in 1955, and learned that if a batch of jam didn't set up it was great for pancakes, waffles or ice cream topping. Nothing was wasted.

Ok, so now you know about salmonberries and pemmican. If you didn't already know, you learned something new today.

God bless you all


Monday, May 26, 2008


I wonder if there are others like me, who have lived in several homes, but only felt a true connection to one?
After I married, we lived in twelve different places. I have some good memories of each place, especially those where we lived when my children were born, but there is one place that always ignites a longing deep within my soul when I think of it. Maybe it's the place itself, but most likely it's the memories it brings back to me.
In 1963 we bought a 15 acre farm on a road called "CHANCE!"
I have to say the name of the road certainly discouraged me, but when we took our four children (the fifth was born later) to see it for the first time, all my reservations quickly disappeared.
I watched these little city kids running through the fields of buttercups and daisies, squealing with delight, and this place settled in my soul and I felt my roots begin to dig in to the earth right then and there.
Our choices at that time were a large and lovely old farmhouse with all the original antique furniture included, and several acres. Oh how I wanted it, but my husband liked the Chance Road place. The house was so tiny, four rooms not counting the bathroom. It had once been a tall farm house but had been remodeled to look more modern by cutting the top story off and placing a slanted roof on it. I called it may squashed matchbox. It was painted an ugly shade of pink with dirt, moss and rusty looking stuff creeping down it's sides. I eventually painted it green.
My husband had worked at several jobs but ended up starting his own logging company, which did very well eventually, but in the beginning money was tight and we didn't have enough money for much outside entertainment, so we had to invent fun things for the kids to do at home.
One of my special memories of this place are the days when the kids were bored. I used to get chores done, then make sandwiches and take the kids for a picnic walk in our woods. Sometimes to pick mushrooms or berries, sometimes to explore like Lewis and Clark, or eat wild berries like the Indians, or to identify trees and plants, and on the hot summer days so they could play in our creek while I picked Salmon Berries that grew alongside the creek bed to make golden jelly.
When Mikey was a baby he used to stick unripe blackberries up his nose. I guess he got bored and needed something to do. I have to say it was really hard to get them out. He really packed them in.
It's interesting that these kids, now grown and grandparents themselves, remember those walks in the woods and cherish the memory but don't seem to recall the costly things like the circus and carnivals, movies, etc.
Well there is a lot more to tell about the Chance road, but let me just say that Frank Sinatra sang a song saying he left his heart in San Francisco, I left a piece of mine on the Chance Road.
I'm glad we took a chance!
(borrowed photo)


Sunday, May 18, 2008



I can only imagine how uncomfortable that accordion choker collar must have been. And to think that was considered high style!

Several years ago, when my interest in our family history began to bloom, I visited several times with my aunt Pauline Banks and asked so many questions that she finally shouted, "That's enough!"

I was very surprised at her reaction but at the same time a little ashamed that I had not been very considerate. That's how it is when the genealogy bug bites you. You have the idea that everyone feels just like you, and will be happy to talk for hours about great-great grandpa and the time he served in prison for stealing a bee hive!

However aunt Pauline had some questions for me and one in particular, she asked several times.

In her high pitched voice (she was in her 80's then) she would ask, "One thing I'd like to know and that's just who is Anna Kajans?" Then she would tell my how this Anna was a very wealthy lady and when she died, she left money to all her descendants and pauline's dad even got a lot of it.

Keep in mind that Pauline's dad was born in 1885, so if he got a thousand dollars, that would have been a lot back then. Aunt Pauline even went so far as to whisper that some family members thought this Anna may have been a 'madam' or something to have made so much money.

My Aunt Pauline passed away before I was able to unravel this mystery, but I hope somehow her questions are all being answered.

A certain lady was born in Vleckere, Norway way back in the sixteen hundreds. She married twice and had about eight children. She and her first husband were given a large tract of land on what is now called Long Island, NY.

There is a lot to this story but for the sake of a shorter post I will jump ahead and say that there was a fortune won in a law suit concerning this valuable land many years after the lady had died. This money was divided equally among her living descendants, and my great grandma, Josephine Lydia Jones was one of the happy recipients.

The lady's name, Annetje Jans. (the 'tj' has a 'k' sound.

She was approximately my 8th great grandmother, I believe through my Jones line.

I can see how my English speaking aunt thought the Lady's name was Anna Kajans.

Another mystery solved in the world of genealogy!


Tuesday, May 13, 2008


My driveway was full and more had to park along the road and in a small private road alongside my property. My little house was smiling at the seams!

Here's the new bistro set I got for the front deck. I have a pretty blue glass bowl on the table filled with agates and other pretty stones that my parents found, cut and polished. My sister Bonnie gave me the lovely bowl.

My daughter Cyndi is helping her granddaughter Madalyn with her sandals. Cyndi's ear is not black. That's her new fangeld phone that lives in her ear! What next?

Ethan and Victoria had fun with some wooden coasters. Kids find entertainment where ever they go. And I find entertainment wherever they are!

Ethan and Victoria's mommies are having a good time too.

Ethan has the cutest smile and is a very friendly baby. He is walking now but at that beginning stage where his confidence isn't quite up to par yet but it won't be long.

Victoria is a month older than Ethan and is walking quite well now. I love this picture. It looks like she is saying, "Ain't I just the cutest little thing?" And she would be right!

Even though our day started out cloudy and looked like rain, it cleared and we had some nice sunny breaks so the kids could get outside and run off some of that vinegar! Dylan and Kenny are showing me some of the little figurines they found in my Brownie Houses garden.

I love this one of Kenny with his hand in his pocket and holding his drink bottle with the other. He's walking on a path out behind my house where my family made a park like area.

This tiny bouquet was given to me by my great granddaughter Hailee. Three flowers in all, a violet, a buttercup and the blossom of Evening Primrose. I will always remember the sweet little hand that held this treasure out to me, the precious smile that showed how much she loved giving me this gift, and the hopeful gleam in her eyes as she said, "This is for you."

It didn't matter one bit that she found the flowers in my garden.


Sunday, May 11, 2008


My Mother
Irene Rosalind 'Ferris' Banks

I have always loved this picture of mom. I'm not sure how old she was but I think it was taken before I was born in 1939.

I don't know if the bottle was actually hers or if she borrowed it for the pose. But she was not opposed to a good snort now and then.

She had a wonderful sense of humor and often laughed until tears ran down her face.

She worked hard to help support her three daughters until a laundry press malfunctioned, fell on her arm crushing the bones in her hand and cut the end of her ring finger off. It took a few years for that to heal, then she was back at work again.

She always loved a big garden and canned thousands of jars of fruits and veggies in her lifetime. I remember picking berries with her, weeding the garden and helping pack the quart jars with green beans, her favorite veggie. She used to say her middle name was green bean.

She also made wine and beer. Her Rhubarb wine was potent stuff. One day her brothers wife came to visit and mom offered her some. Aunt Chickie thoroughly enjoyed it but when she got up to leave she kept walking into the door frame. Mother thought that was hillarious.

I could write for days on end about my mother. She was an extraordinary woman and mother. But I will finish this post by simply saying, take time for your mother now. You won't regret it.

I was blessed to have a close relationship with mine and was able to have a lot of time with her in her later years.

Happy Mother's Day mom.


Tuesday, May 06, 2008


Tonight I am posting something I did several months ago. I shopped all day and am just getting over a two week virus so am too tired to think up something original. Besides, I like this one!

"As I drove up the street where I lived as a child, the sun was setting and cast a pink, orange glow on the old house and I remembered........no, it was actually more of a feeling, how it was at the end of a warm summer day of hard play, beginning to tire but not wanting the day to end. Running down the gravel road with my sister Bonnie and our cousin Carol. It isn't dark yet but the sun is setting and casts a colorful glow on our world. The trees, the houses, everything looks different, even the grass. I saw the sunset colors in my sisters brown, wavy hair and in cousin Carol's blue eyes. As we ran and skipped through the golden glow our world had become a place of fantasy.

We not only saw the colors but we were enveloped, embraced by the warm glow. We could actually "feel" the sunset. The color penetrated deep into our soul.

When the sun is setting all the color radiated from the heavens embraces our world, and is hugging us goodnight with an everlasting memory.

Our Heavenly Father shows his love in many ways. He even hugs us with sunsets.


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