Thursday, February 26, 2015

Once upon a time we lived by a pond

Another great historical home has been a part of our family history.  In late May of 1982 we moved to Midway in Heber Valley from Bountiful, Utah. I have always been a lover of old houses each with their own history and individual charm.  Sometimes I still dream that I am in this house.  I loved this particular house that much.

I had just given birth to my fourth baby and only girl just two months earlier.  She had joined three older brothers, so at age 29 I had four children under the age of five with the oldest soon to be six.  At some point during our beautiful and magical summer on the pond we took these photos with our Polaroid camera.  I had planted out the flower beds and Glen had patched up the ditch which brought water from the Provo River to the pond next to the house.

It felt like a bit of heaven to be in the miller's house which had been built years and years before just west of Johnson's Mill from local rock.  The boys had so much roaming room but had been told over and over not to go near the pond without one of us.  Ryan asked one day, "If I fell in the pond and drowned would Heavenly Father get mad at me for getting the floor wet?"  I like how Ryan has become keeper of the Polaroids in this picture.

There were swans and geese on the pond.  I learned that geese are the best "watch dogs."  We all learned to canoe and my favorite thing was a sunset canoe ride across the pond and back.  Everything becomes magical during a sunset especially when the sun is setting over the mountains.

Unfortunately, winter comes early in Heber Valley and the winter of 1982/83 was a record breaking one.  Glen was commuting back and forth to Salt Lake before the roads were the easily traveled ones that they are today.  During one of those snow storms he went off the road in his small gas efficient car.  It really shook him up as he realized the responsibility he had to be there for his little family. We also knew we were in over our heads financially in spite of how much we loved this house and this property.  We remained less than a year and thus began our eventual move to Arizona.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Historical home part of our family history

Yesterday I was reading a blog entry about the historical details of the old Provo Tabernacle soon to be Provo City Center Temple.  As the blogger discussed ornamental details she mentioned one of Provo's old historic homes and I recognized it.  It played an important part in our younger life and our own family history.

When we were newly married, this home had been renovated into an office space which Glen and a partner leased.  Soon after, our first son was born and we used the home for an open house after Eric received his name and a blessing at the Manavu Ward building.  It was on July 4, 1976 which was also the bicentennial anniversary of the United States of America and we felt there were more than enough reasons to celebrate.  At that point the house had been refurbished but there was not a kitchen.  The outside was painted a light brown color with a creamy white trim.  We loved it!

On that day we had the honor of hosting many generations of family including grandparents, great grandparents, and even great, great grandparents along with their siblings allowing for this wonderful five generation photo.  There were also five generations standing in the circle blessing our new son. These pictures were taken on the historic front porch.

I learned from the blog post that this was the George Taylor home. 

At some point during the almost 40 years since we had stood on the porch with our brand new baby, it had been painted blue with white trim and then allowed to go to ruin.

I am so delighted that this home has recently been brought to life again.  Habitat for Humanity has helped a young family with five children make this their new home with a kitchen, two bathrooms, and enough bedrooms.  First built in 1885, it once again shines and has officially been placed on the Register of Historic Homes.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

It's all about the grandkids

I know that many wonder why we do so much driving back and forth between Utah and Arizona.  It's all about the grand kids.  With 8 of 12 living in Arizona we still need our monthly fix of grand kid love.  When we arrived in Arizona in early February, our flowering pear tree was in bloom.  Yeah!  Fall, Winter, and Spring are the short seasons in Arizona so we were thrilled to catch this tree blooming.  It is traditional that we take a picture of Glen each year by this tree mostly to show how each has changed.  I beginning to think it shows my husband looking steadily younger as the tree grows taller.  Seemingly not fair but it is part of the family pattern he inherited from his mother.  That side has many living into their 90's.

 This year we decided to include the grand children in this annual tree blooming photo shoot.  First the boys who are so handsome, happy, and kind.

 Then the girls. . .

who are so beautiful, busy, and kind.  There is a bit more drama with the girls which I love.

Their visit to our home also included the Valentine cookie baking tradition as well.  Can you see the little cutie patootie under the table?  He is the youngest of the grands and the happiest of babies.  You would travel, too, if these sweet young ones awaited you.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Lee's Ferry and Lonely Dell Ranch

On our last trip south to Mesa, Arizona we made a second stop to stretch our legs and take in the beauty and history of the Southwest.  For some time we have watched the trucks and large machinery going in and out on the road to Lee's Ferry.  The road from 89A into Lee's Ferry has been completely redone and Glen wanted to check it out.  The new road is wonderful with pull outs for scenery viewing and hiking.  It is definitely worth the drive in as well as out for the beautiful views.

Lee's Ferry used to be the main and easiest crossing of the Colorado River.  Without the Navajo Bridge built to the south and Glen Canyon Dam  and bridge to the north, Lee's Ferry would continue to be the main crossing of the Colorado River.  The Colorado River creates a deep chasm known as the Grand Canyon as it travels southward and then west.

Some parts of the original buildings at the crossing still stand.

It is easy to tell from whence the building materials were found.

The Vermilion Cliffs have provided.

Glen framed by an old window frame.

Doorways were wide as well.

Scarce materials were used judiciously as in these roof timbers.

Mining also occurred at this out of the way place.

Equipment from the mining days of the early 1900's remains strewn about.

The mining for gold took place in 1914.

It is a lovely quiet place with a walking trail that takes one further upriver.

And upriver was the location of the ferry.

We felt fortunate that we were here near the end of day during that magic light time as the sun goes down.

It was easy to see why this place would be the easiest for crossing the river.

We walked back to the car . . .

as orange and pink turned to shadow.


We drove back out to the turn off to the Lonely Dell Ranch.

The cliffs to the south were not as tall and the magic light reappeared.

I can hardly imagine being so far from others with just the occasional traveler for company. Emma Lee, wife of John D. Lee of the Mountain Meadow Massacre fame, lived here with her family during the 1870's.

The ranch sits at the base of Paria Canyon next to the Paria River which empties into the Colorado.  Through the use of irrigation systems using the river they were able to survive.

Emma Lee was a brave woman.

Later quarters were built for guests and workers.

But the original shelters were humble.

The short walk in is worth the history and beauty.

As we traveled on the new road back to 89A, the sun cast its last rays on the Vermilion Cliffs.

It was the day's last hurrah, or almost last hurrah.  We also were rewarded a most colorful sky as we wound our way south across the Navajo Reservation.