Friday, January 31, 2014

Through the Seasons 2014

It's been a couple of years since I did "Through the Seasons" posts. I think I'll start again.

This photo was taken an hour after sunrise on Sunday, January 26. Looking north from Haugland Hill over the South Platte River Valley toward the Village of Sutherland.

Though it's not very picturesque, I'll leave the telephone pole on the left in the pictures. It'll be a good reference point as we watch this view through the seasons. 

Rather than taking photos at random times, I'll try to take them an hour after sunrise toward the end of each month. Easy now when sunrise is at 8:01am, but it won't be so easy in the summer when it's more like 5:01am!


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Wildlife Wednesday

There are lots of Bald Eagles overwintering in the Platte River Valley of Nebraska. Sutherland Reservoir is a great place to see them.
 There are lots of juveniles at the Reservoir, but a few adults too.
 Of course, these photos have ma jonesing for a bigger lens for my camera! But don't let the quality of the photos put you off. It's much more fun to see them in person anyway - and bring your own great camera equipment to take better photos.

The two below were having a wonderful time chasing each other around the sky - mostly far out of camera range!
 There was even one hanging around on the North River.
Remember to get out when you have the chance and enjoy the world around you!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Sunday Sunrise

I didn't get it posted Sunday... or yesterday either, but here, for your Tuesday morning enjoyment is Sunday's sunrise. The winds we have been experiencing have at least one positive effect - to spew dust in the air that creates these wonderful sunrises.

I took these photos over the course of an hour, from just after 7:00am to the 8:01am sunrise. I learned a lot - I'll use a tripod next time so they don't jump around so annoyingly!

Enjoy - hope your sunrises are beautiful!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Sunday Stories: Callander Family Part Three

Excerpted from: McPherson County: Facts, Families, Fiction; Established in 1890

Memories of the Callander Family – by Ann Callander McGiff

Oh, how times have changed since the Pioneer days. I was born June 22, 1918 to Fred and Agnes Callander in the sod house on the old homestead. I am the youngest of their seven children. Those were good days but very hard times. I remember how hard we worked putting up hay and raising crops for the livestock. We would go for miles and miles to find chokecherries and wild plums to make jams and jellies for the long winter ahead. Sometimes the horses would become frightened and run away, leaving us stranded. We would have to walk for about five miles before the neighbor found us and took us home.

The homesteaders suffered much in those early days, fighting the elements to survive: raging blizzards, high winds, ice and snow, summer drought, hail storms, electrical storms, loss of crops, property loss (and/or) damage with no insurance.

On Monday, May 22, 1933, the old sod house was destroyed by the cyclone that caused so much damage on that fateful evening. On the previous Friday afternoon, on the last day of school when I walked home with little Iola Pyzer, I had no idea that the next time I would see her she would be with younger sister in their Mother’s arms lying in a casket. Along with the other five victims in the mass funeral services held in Miller Chapel. The Harry Pyzer family lived less than a mile north of us.

In the early 30’s, I became a high school dropout, when my father started work on the W.P.A. road project. His only means of transportation was by his team of horses and wagon. It was such a long distance to travel that he had to leave at 4 a.m., this left no one at home but me to do the morning chores. Things were better by 1935 so I attended Parochial school in Tabor, Iowa, but again in 1938 I was needed at home so I became a high school dropout for the second time. Due to my father’s ill health I had full responsibility of raising the livestock and poultry, this continued through most of World War II when my father passed away in January 1944.

By that fall I went to be with my sister, May, and her husband, Rasmus Gordon “Joe” Johansen. A prince of a man, a veteran of World War I. In the early ‘20’s after the war he was undersheriff of Green River County, Wyoming. Later he went to work for Union Pacific Railroad. For many, many years he was Station Master in U.P.R.R. Depot at Cheyenne, Wyoming. Joe was very well known and respected by all, everyone in the family adored him, but most of all the nieces and nephews thought he was the most fantastic story teller in the whole world.

My sister, Ruby lived in California. She had five sons and a daughter. Three of her sons served in the service of our country. William Wayne Cass, Jr., her eldest son, a veteran of World War II, arrived in North Africa three days before Field Marshal Rommel surrendered. Wayne’s tour of duty with the 5th Army under General Mark Clark’s command continued through Sicily, Salerno, and Cassino. James Cass, second son, was in the U.S. Army Air Corps in European Theater Operations. Later her fourth son, Robert, served his tour of duty in Occupied Germany during the Berlin Air Lift.

My brother Archie’s eldest son, Glenn, entered the service in March 1944, received his basic training at Fort Maxie, Texas. He spent 13 months in the Philippines under General Douglas MacArthur’s command, with the Engineers re-building Manila.

November 17, 1947, I married Cpl. Francis “Mac” McGiff U.S.A.F., a veteran of World War II. He had entered the Army in January 1942 and after about five months was shipped overseas. There he was engaged in five major battles, landed on Omaha Beach on D Day June 6, 1945. He also drove a truck in General Patton’s Red Ball Express. Later he served on the Task Force Frigid in Fairbanks, Alaska. Our veterans have served a great deal of time in Military Service, both in peace time as well as war time to keep our country safe from the enemy forces.

In July 1955, we adopted Randy James (Jim) seven years old and off to Alaska we went. Jim graduated from high school in Santa Ana, California, attended Citrus Junior College in Glendora, California. He received his Master’s Degree from San Diego State College. He married his lovely wife Sandra, a Dental Technician and he is a financial consultant in the San Diego area.

June 1, 1966, I went to work for the County of Los Angeles at Rancho Las Amigos Hospital in Downey, California. I also attended Downey Adult night school along with Administrative Housekeeping courses, and finally, at the ripe old age of 53 I graduated and received my diploma, but I made it! I retired February 22, 1981 as a Custodian Senior Supervisor.

When I look back across the years and remember the enormous contribution the pioneers have given to their families, the heritage we have derived from their efforts, it is no wonder that we are living in the greatest country in the world, because our forefathers made it great for us.

I have flown above the clouds and sailed the briny deep. I’ve seen the spectacular Aurora Borealis and the great frozen glaciers. I’ve lived in the Far North, the Deep South, and at present in the Golden West. I have worked with all kinds of people and ethnic backgrounds, but I have never known any finer people than the dear hearts and gentle people with whom I grew up.

Monday, January 13, 2014

The California Zephyr - You have to want to go

I don't say that to in any way disparage the experience you'll have once you actually get ON the Zephyr. It is wonderful. It is only that making the arrangements is difficult. You truly have to want to do it, because Amtrak doesn't make it easy.

In tourism today there is an adage: Questions create anxiety, anxiety creates resistance, resistance causes reluctance (a reluctance to visit your destination). Traveling with Amtrak for the first time certainly causes anxiety, resistance and reluctance. Their website doesn't provide complete information about (All of your questions won't be answered here, either, just the assurance that even with not knowing everything, it will be OK!)

Our original departure date was Wednesday, January 8. At about 6am on January 7, I got an automated phone call telling me that train had been cancelled because of the effects of the Polar Vortex over Chicago. I spent the next hour (mostly on hold, the actual arrangements took only minutes) to reschedule the trip, fortunately for the following day. This phone call actually reassured me, because nowhere did Amtrak assure me that they would be diligent in notifying me of delays or cancellations.

Amtrak in Nebraska follows the southern BNSF route, which means we had to travel to McCook, a distance of about 75 miles and get a motel room (we chose the Chief Motel because of its proximity to the station) for our scheduled 3:43am departure time. I understand the philosophy of Amtrak's scheduling of the Zephyr. They want to be going through the scenic Rocky and Sierra Nevada Mountains during the daylight, so they schedule travel through what they consider the "boring" Great Plains at night.

We set our alarm for 2:45am to get up in time to make our way to the station. There was a text message waiting for me letting me know that the train had been delayed until 5:55am. That's the trouble with these middle-of-the-night departures. Notifications come in the middle of the night too. We set our alarm again for 5. That time when we got up, the arrival time had been moved back to 6:10am. Not too bad.

The Amtrak station in McCook doubles as the BNSF headquarters. It is not staffed by anyone that can tell you anything. It is dingy, dreary, with very little signage, and no where indicating long-term parking, etc. The surfaces are rough and uneven. There is a ramp on the west entrance, but when the train actually arrives, it has been drilled into your head that it only stops for two minutes, so everyone scurries trackside. My mom, in her walker, dumped her luggage going down the two steps to the platform. No attendant held the door or helped. It was fellow passengers who assisted us in getting everything gathered up.

We made our way to the train with the other passengers and all of our luggage, only to be told that there was no room in the cars for baggage and that we must follow the conductor a couple of car lengths down to stow our bags. Now, we're making a 36 hour trip on this train, and I will be needing what I've packed in our bags! So we get to the car and she's trying to hurry everyone on board and FINALLY listens to me when I tell her we have booked a sleeping room. Oh... in that case, walk BACK to the original location, wait for them to pull the train forward, then board, bags and all.

We get on board (again, with no help, even for Mom or our bags), to find that there's no room in the baggage rack. The train is super full since it was the first to leave Chicago after two days of cancelled trains. Our roomette already has the bunks made up, since we were expected to board at 2:43, so we just heave our bags up into the top bunk. Our wonderful room attendant Stephanie comes by and helps us make the bottom bunk back into chairs and lets us know the dining car opens at 6:30 Mountain Time. We sit and read, watching the small towns go by, guessing which ones they are until then, and make our way to the dining car.

Once you get on the train, all is well. The staff is wonderful - informative, friendly and professional. It seems that the shortcomings belong to corporate Amtrak. When you book a sleeping room, all of your meals are included, minus snacks purchased from the lounge car and alcohol.

Once daylight arrives, we spend our time back in our roomette watching the Colorado prairie and small towns roll by. The train doesn't make too many stops between McCook and Denver, though it goes right through many small towns. Most towns have beautiful little depots, dating from an earlier era of train travel. Sadly, Amtrak doesn't use these. Many are closed and decrepit, or have been purchased by private owners and repurposed.

In Denver, there is exciting new construction of a light rail line between the Denver International Airport and Union Station, so the historic stop is closed for about another month. After tweeting this fact, I was contacted by Amtrak and told that the station would open up again in February of 2014. Union Station is located in the heart of Denver's downtown district, and would make a great overnight or weekend trip, as there are plenty of hotels, dining and entertainment within easy walking distance.

After a brief stop, it's on up into the Rocky Mountains, stopping first at Fraser, (Winter Park), then Granby. I never have been able to figure out if there is good local transportation options if you were to decide on a weekend trip, say for skiing to these two destinations. Same too with Glenwood Springs. However, I am happy to report that Amtrak in Glenwood Springs stops right downtown - easy walking distance to lodging, restaurants and the Glenwood Hot Springs. Might be the destination for a future adventure!

Perhaps these destinations - Denver, Fraser, Granby, Glenwood Springs, etc. should market Amtrak packages!

I can't say enough good about our cabin attendant Stephanie. She is so warm and professional, even working 18 hour days on the trip and being on call 24 hours.

The scenery through the Rockies and the Sierra Nevadas is, indeed, spectacular. It's great viewed from the roomette windows, and even better from the observation car, though seats can be hard to come by. Because the train was so full, there were lots of folks sleeping in there.

A word about sleeping... Mom slept great, but me, not so much. I do recommend packing some kind of sleep aid. I'll try some Advil PM on the return trip and hopefully that will be a little bit better.

Though our trip started out two hours late, by the time we reached our departure point, Sacramento, we were only 15 minutes late, plenty of time to catch our San Joaquin train south to Bakersfield. The station at Sacrament is another perfect example of a dismal Amtrak station.

We arrived safe and sound and I'll continue the narrative on the return trip.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Sunday Stories: The Callander Family, Part Two

Excerpted from: McPherson County: Facts, Families, Fiction; Established in 1890

The Callander Family – By Lawrence Callander

When Agnes and Fred Callander moved to McPherson County in1905 from Holbrook, Nebraska, with their three children, they settled on a one-section (640 acres) homestead one and one-half miles east of Tryon. There was little civilization in McPherson County at that time. On many occasions Indians were seen migrating through the area on Indian ponies. Wild animals were plentiful, especially coyotes and timber wolves. The Callanders raised turkeys, and were constantly faced with protecting their flocks from these wild animals.
Fred farmed the homestead, and if machinery became inoperable, repairs were almost non-existent, so repairs were made with whatever was available. Once a bearing in a mowing machine “burned out” on the pitman shaft. Fred placed the shaft in the center of the cavity, placed a thickness of paper around the shaft for clearance, and poured a new bearing from melted lead, through the oil hole. It worked just fine. Another time the barrel of the family shotgun became bent. He drilled a hole in a 4” x 6” piece of wood, the same size of the barrel, cut the wood in two pieces, through the center of the hole. He then placed the un barrel between the pieces of wood and hit it with a sledge hammer – it was a complete success. This is only a sample of what the pioneers of that time had to contend with. Fred was a real pioneer.

Agnes and Fred had four more children, all born in a sod house on the homestead.

There was some tragedy in the Callander family on August 4, 1929, when Archie drowned in Whitewater Lake in western McPherson County, leaving a wife and two small boys, and, of course, all of his family. In May, 1931, a tornado struck the Callander residence. Fortunately, no one was seriously injured, even though most of the buildings were destroyed.

In 1934 Lawrence joined the Civilian Conservation Corps (C.C.C.). He was stationed at Nelson, Nebraska. On July 3, 1936, he met Ruby p[arks, and it was love at first sight for them. They were married on October 20, 1937, in North Platte and have three children: Gordon, born in 1939; Ruby Kaye, born in 1941; and Marilyn, born in 1943; they have six grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.

Lawrence worked on the Union Pacific Railroad in Cheyenne, Wyoming, as a car inspector, from 1941 to 1953. Ruby and Lawrence and family moved to Downey, California, in 1953, where he worked for Los Angeles County, first for the District Attorney, then for the Welfare Department as a welfare fraud investigator, and fraud investigation unit supervisor. He retired in February, 1976. Ruby also worked for Los Angeles County, in the Hospital Department as a housekeeping supervisor. She retired in 1972.

Ruby and Lawrence were very involved in the Model A Ford hobby. They restored nine Model A’s to show condition, several cars won national trophies.

In 1980 they moved to Elk Grove, California, a small town of about 11,000 population. They are involved in many community activities. Lawrence is President of the Elk Grove Chapter of the American Association of Retired Persons; Ruby is Vice President for 1984. They have a large back yard and grow a big garden.

Their three children live in California, Gordon in Pleasanton; Ruby Kaye in Whittier; and Marilyn in Downey.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

All Aboard!

I'm doing a first tomorrow! I'm traveling cross country on the California Zephyr (I really like saying California Zephyr!) with my mom from McCook, Nebraska to Bakersfield, California (via Sacramento) to visit my daughter, son-in-law and of course, granddaughter Mary!

I travel quite a bit, and am usually able to take it in stride, but I have to admit that this trip has given me many sleepless nights. Probably it is just the novelty of it. With the frigid weather and nasty storms in the east, the Zephyr has been running anywhere from 1 to 8 hours late in the past few days. Normally the departure time out of McCook is 3:43 a.m.

My husband is a life-long railroader, with about 35 years in with Union Pacific. So far, I have been unable to convince him to to rail-trekking with me, so this time it's just me 'n Mom. Of course, he has also been filling me full of stories about how freight takes precedence over passengers and how we could be stranded somewhere along the track for hours if not days.

His predictions have come part-way true. We were supposed to leave Wednesday morning, but I got an email this morning at 3:30 and a phone call at 6:30 indicating that the train had been cancelled. I then spent the better part of an hour on the phone getting my reservations changed. Thankfully, we were able to book the exact same itinerary, accommodations and price for the next day, so all is well and I give kudos to Amtrak's customer service. My experience with the cancellation makes my preparations seem even more appropriate. An extra suitcase filled with blankets, pillows, food and booze. If we get stranded over the Donner Pass, it will be a few days before Mom and I start seeing our fellow passengers as lunch.

I'm sure experienced train travelers will think I'm crazy, and hopefully I won't even have to open this suitcase (except maybe to spike my coffee).

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Preparing for Adventure

My New Year's Resolution is to have more adventures. It's hard to have adventures if you're not prepared for them. We are both in our 50's and all of the kids are gone, yet we still find the most dreaded words in the English language are "What's for dinner? If we want to play, and not go to the expense of eating out or buying pizza at the grocery store, I decided to get prepared for adventures.

I searched websites like Six Sisters, Moms with Crockpots, Moms Fabulous Finds to find easy, simple crockpot freezer meals.

I picked out twelve meals, made my grocery list and went shopping. When I got home I labeled my ziploc bags and called it a day. The next day I began cooking.

In just under three hours, I had a dozen crockpot meals prepped and in the freezer. I had also planned to have meat loaf the night before, so I made extra of those too and I also have three meatloafs and three pans of cheesy potatoes as well.

Now, with just a little foresight, all we have to do is remember to thaw out a meal and get it in a crockpot before we head out for an adventure and we'll be able to enjoy a hot meal when we make it back home.

Here is a list of the recipes I prepared. You can find the actual recipes on the websites I linked above:

Teriyaki Pork Chops
Pork Carnitas
Sausage & Peppers
Cilantro Lime Chicken
Maple Dijon Glazed Chicken
French Dip Sandwiches
Chicken Cacciatore
Black Bean Taco Soup
Beef Tips & Gravy
BBQ Spare Ribs
Chicken Broccoli Alfredo
Pepper Steak

I spent $211 at the grocery store, made all of the above plus the meatloaf and purchased two marinated pork loins that were on sale. All in all, 17 meals for about $12 apiece. Not necessarily a bargain, but considering it's just the two of us and each meal has plenty for lunches the next day, I'm satisfied.

Now to plan the adventures!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Sunday Stories: Callander Family, Part 1

Excerpted from: McPherson County: Facts, Families, Fiction; Established in 1890

The Callander Family – by Mildred Doudna

In October, 1905, Fred and Agnes Callander with three small children, Archie, 7; Ruby, 5; and May, 2 ½ years old, came to the Sandhills, filing on the Kinkaid Homestead, one and a half miles east of Tryon, McPherson County, Nebraska. Here they raised their family of two boys and five girls. They built, (or layed up) a sod house and it was there I was born February 14, 1908. I was named Mildred Frances, namesake of Mrs. Jennie Frances Clothier, the mid-wife. On November 15, 1910, another girl, Marie Dora was born. Then after building another sod house almost a mile north, Lawrence S. was born April 8, 1914, and on June 22, 1918, Rachel Ann arrived on the scene.

In those early pioneer days having enough to raise a family was made only by sacrifice and long hard hours of work by the homesteader and his family.

My father had a four-horse team of small horses and a freight wagon used to haul freight of various kinds, mainly I think, food supplies, and taking corn to market and returning with some coal for heating. He hauled freight from Stapleton and from North Platte, many miles on ungraded roads, through valleys and around hills, for both the Mike David and I.C. (Ide) Heldenbrand stores. He would take one day to go, and another to come back. The miles have been shortened much as more modern roads were made. In these little stores they had most anything you would want to maintain that way of life, from food, remedies, pills, liniment, kerosene for the lamps, hardware, dress material by the yard, (or dry goods) sewing notions, hardware, feed and some lumber and fence posts., etc.

In winter it was unbearably cold, so to keep going the long hours the trip would take, he walked many miles alongside the wagon. When he made the trip with snow on the ground, the sound of the wagon wheels made a very weird or eerie sound that could be heard for miles on a cold quiet evening. I remember so well when waiting for him, if after dark, going outside listening in the stillness, and guessing how long yet? It was always a homecoming for we all loved him so much.

It is hard for today’s generation to imagine, or visualize the “way of life” of so long ago (three quarters of a century). Flour came in 48 pound cloth sacks (the old David Harum brand and the Sioux Lookout brand) I remember, and sugar in 100 pound muslin sacks. These sacks were used for dish towels, or whatever the need. There were very few cereals, a few boxes of Corn Flakes, but mostly long cooking Quaker Oats or ground corn meal for mush. Of course we didn’t get eggs and milk in cartons, but from our own farm.

There was no electricity, so no refrigeration, telephone, radio or TV. To keep foods cold they were kept in the water barrel with fresh cool water being pumped by the windmill, and it was kerosene lamps and lanterns that lighted our way.

He also did some carpenter work for others, helping to build barns, and other buildings as progress came. Even when building a sod house, there were doorways, window frames and sometimes floors. There have been many live on a dirt floor till there was money enough to buy the lumber for the floor.

My father also worked for the U.P.R.R. “Rip-track” for a time, but he had to stay in North Platte away from home, so it was not for long.

Then by 1914 and 1915, he and Archie worked planting pine trees at the Halsey Reserve. During the time of planting they rescued some of the smaller culls of Jack, Scotch and Yellow Pine that were being discarded, took them home, planted and nourished them. For many years they were the only pines in the Sandhills and they still stand out, tall, proud and glorious. One spring day 20 or more years later, pushed by high winds, a fire raged through the forest burning many of the trees planted during the years the Callanders worked there. But over the years, our home trees grew very well.

Planting at the Forest involved first plowing a furrow over prairie hills and all, then working with a spade pushed into the soft sandy soil, worked back and forth, a tree was inserted and with a firm step pressed closed, it was left to grow.

It is really a miracle that I lived, after being stricken with Poliomyelitis and Meningitis at 18 months of age, weighting 28 pounds. I was taken to Doctors A.J. and Marie Ames, husband and wife. Tenderly caring for me and studying the case, Dr. Ames wrote to me later that he often referred to the case, and it was recorded that he had distinguished the difference in polio and meningitis. I’m sure it was only through the loving family and the persistence of my praying mother that my health slowly returned, but I was down to only eight pounds when going home. I had been unconscious, or in a coma for 21 days.

Starting school had to be delayed until I was seven years old, and I was the first of the family of seven to go to high school, graduating in 1928 from McPherson County High School. There were usually three of us at a time going to school, a distance of one and a half miles, walking most of the time. However, we had a kindly old neighbor, John Crayne and his wife who lived about a mile or so on further east and north of us. He would come to town quite regularly, in the afternoons driving the shiniest, fattest, most beautiful team of horses in the country, hitched to a fine four-wheel “Top buggy.” He would plan his time to go home just as school dismissed and would give us the ride home that we appreciated so much. That walk was really tiring in severe weather, either cold, or hot, when we first started. He also owned a feed grinder pulled by horses. We used it to grind feed for our chickens many times.

In 1931, June 1st, George Grabbe and I were married. He was employed at the State Farm, the sub-station of the University of Nebraska. We lived there for 13 years. During that time our two daughters were born. Dottie was born on May 15, 1933, and seven years later Mary was born on August 9, 1940. After moving to an acreage in the northeast part of North Platte, we became an active 4-H family, both with livestock and domestic programs. George passed away April 4, 1956.

On January 6, 1963, Winfred Doudna and I were married. Again we were involved in livestock, being some of the early breeders of the new Limousin breed of cattle. They had been raised many years in France. The breed was introduced to this part of the country by means of artificial insemination. I was the Secretary-Treasurer for three years of the Nebraska Limousin Association, after Winfred passed away January 13, 1976.

My home is now in North Platte. I think I’ll always be a real native Nebraskan, as I enjoy the different seasons and being involved with church work, as I have been a life-long Christian. My family now consists of my two daughters, Dottie Sanchez and Mary Henry and her husband Larry, and their families. Deb Sanchez, George Henry, Dawn (Henry) Walker and her husband, Gerald Walker, are my grandchildren.

Callander Family Data

My father’s parents, were Archibald Callander, from Bannockburne, Scotland (April 30, 1935 – August 17, 1914) and Elvira Callander, born in Vermont on January 29, 1831, reared in New York, and died March 28, 1905. He had one sister Mary, and brothers James, Hugh and Eddie, a twin, living just past a year. Fred Callander came to Saline, County Nebraska from Indiana at 13 years of age. In 1894 the family moved to Oxford and on April 8, 1897, Fred married Agnes M. Smith. They came to Tryon in 1905.
  • Fred Callander: December 26, 1873 – January 15, 1944, at rest, Miller Cemetery
  • Agnes Callander: January 7, 1879 – July 1, 1962, at rest, Miller Cemetery
  • Archie Callander: February 27, 1898 – August 4, 1929, at rest, Miller Cemetery. He drowned in the Whitewater Lake, west end of the County. Left his wife Bertha and two small sons, Glenn and Clair.
  • Clair Callander – Died after a farm accident at 13 years of age, at rest, McCook cemetery.
  • Glenn Callander: Glenn has four sons, Grant, Archie, Fred and Calfin. Glenn and his wife, Dawn, were married on May 30, 1983, and live near Hayes Center on a farm as of 1984.
  • Ruby Cass: May 5, 1900 – 1950. Died as a result of a car accident that also killed her husband Wayne Cass. They had five sons and one daughter.
  • May Johansen: Feburary 6, 1903 – September 6, 1973. Her husband, R.G. Johansen, preceded her in death.
  • Mildred Doudna: February 14, 1905 – September 1989. North Platte.
  • Marie Martin: November 15, 1910, lived in Monrovia, California as of 1984.
  • Lawrence Callander: April 8, 1914, lived in Elk Grove, California as of 1984. He married Ruby Parks of Upland, Nebraska. They have one son and two daughters.
  • Rachel Ann McGiff: June 22, 1918, lived in Long Beach, California as of 1984. She married Francis (Frankie) McGiff. When it came time for Ann to attend high school, she was needed at home, the folks were failing in health and aging. All the others were married and/or gone, so after she married and settled in California, she attended night school in Downey and graduated in 1972 in a large class.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Sandhills January 3, 2014

Yesterday it reached an almost-unheard of 61 degrees here in western Nebraska. We took advantage of the beautiful day to road north about 30 miles with our tools to put the plastic on my grandparents' homestead cabin windows. We should have done it LONG ago, but just never managed it. Better late than never. It was such an amazing day that it reenergized us to get this project finished. It would be wonderful to be able to come up here and spend the weekend in comfort, yet roughing it.
On the way home, we caught this herd of Mule Deer. They were contentedly grazing, and we had to whistle at them to get them to look up and pose for photos.
Mule Deer
There were some great bucks in the herd. I'm not positive, but I think the majority of the antler deer seasons are over, so these bucks should be around to make trophies next fall.
 What adventures are you planning?

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Let the Resolutions Begin!

What would New Years Day be without resolutions? I'm fortunate in that I have had a week and a half of PTO to reflect and think about how I would like my New Year to shape up.

Have you seen those "year in review" posts coming across your Facebook timelines? Facebook conveniently puts together everyone's most momentous posts of the past year. I shudder to think how they do this, but I'm sure there's an algorithm for that. Anyway, if you've read through your friends' or maybe did one yourself, did you notice that there weren't any posts about how many hours you spent at work or how much time in front of the television?

Taking that lesson to heart (though I believe in working hard and giving to my job 100% - after all, I've got the best job in the world!), I resolve to make the most of 2014!

Having not "grown up" until I turned 50 - and my definition of growing up is finally understanding who I am and having the courage to pursue my own interests, I have a lot of catching up to do.

When I was 50, I made the resolution to have more fun.

Now that I'm 52 (and nearly 100% recovered from the unfortunate accident that has kept me sidelined for a year and a half), my resolution is to have more adventures!

I'm off to a good start, having recently begun negotiations to purchase an RV so we can start experiencing that lifestyle, a week from today, I embark with my mom on an epic train trip to California to hug on that beautiful granddaughter once again, and my husband and I have our first-ever trip to Jamaica scheduled for April. Not bad.

Of course, along the way, I want to recommit to this blog. Thought I posted a lot in 2013, I'm not satisfied with the quality of the posts. I want to get both more personal and more in-depth in sharing the Nebraska Outback with my readers. I'd like to be a more dedicated photographer and hone my skills in that area.

Personally, I need to be more caring and thoughtful and am even toying with reconnecting with organized religion, though maybe just supporting my local church financially will suffice for that. I'd also like to spend the year decluttering (The Clark homestead features not only our house and attached garage, but three large outbuildings that are overflowing with too much stuff).

And I have the obligatory wish to get in shape and lose weight! Eighteen months with only the slightest exercise has taken a toll on my girlish figure and I want to stay healthy and strong for all those adventures!

That's a lot of pressure to put on 2014! We'll see how it goes.

Thanks for stopping by... the coffee is always on.