Friday, May 31, 2013

Memorial Day Camping

Sunday after church, we packed our sleeping bags, sausage and eggs, and headed south.

We camped at the ranch on Sunday night.  Thank you Emiko, April, and Judd, who are not pictured but cooked the hamburgers and handled the wild children!

Emmitt and his boy cousins giggled far into the night in their little dome tent.  The rest of us all snuggled in with Kendal and Kelsey sharing a cot.  Kenna wasn't so impressed with the sleeping arrangements.

My kids love going to the ranch, and they love playing with their cousins.

Monday afternoon we went fishing. All Matt did was fix poles all afternoon.

Kelsey and Kenna, soaked in the sun while waiting for magic with the powerbait.

Kendal was a casting fool with her little Barbie fishing pole.  That is all she wanted to do, so that is about all she did. Over and over!

I don't know how many times Kelsey cast her line into this tree, but I can think of 4 times off the top of my head.  She was an expert at getting it out - EVERY TIME!

Emmitt lost interest in the fishing and just wanted to eat snacks and play with the sticks he found that magically turned into swords.

Kenna and I just took in the scenery and enjoyed the day.

Matt loves the ranch.  He loves his black cows that graze at the ranch.  He loves the water he changes at the ranch.  He loves to spend time working at the ranch.  The ranch is in him.  It always will be, and I am glad we get to share it with him once in awhile.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Idaho Civil War Volunteers

There was a nice little handful of us Utahans that headed north about a month ago to attend a civil war encampment near Boise, Idaho.  The Idaho Civil War Volunteers have a fantastic event the first weekend of May for area 5th graders. Thousands of 5th graders come out on Thursday and Friday to learn about life during the American Civil War.  Saturday is a public day open for anyone to attend.

The Idahoans have a fantastic artillery unit and this shows the kids watching them shoot the cannon, rather than the cannon themselves, sorry!  I just loved this shot of the kids on the hill, waiting in anticipation for the big guns.  It was wonderful!

I made many new friends and figured out that the blacksmith tent was the place to be on a cold morning.  Mr. Black and Mr. Smith (that is the their names for real!) are super great fellas and funny as funny.  I could have talked to them for hours.  Oh wait, I DID talk to them for hours!

There was of course Mr Lincoln, a favorite of everyone.  He held the attention of 5th graders very well and was great.  A super nice man to boot.

Amanda and Caleb talked about music of the time and of course played and sang a few great numbers.

The flag presentation was spectacular! 

Confederate camp life was great.  My favorite line I heard was telling the kids that hardtack was the power bar of the civil war - all the protein from the weavil living in the hardtack really made it so!

My sweet Kenna was such a good little girl.  She camped for 3 nights, chilly nights, in my tent and was such a good baby.  The kids loved her, and there were a few teenage and older reenactor girls that couldn't get enough of her.

My sweet friend Kay and little Kenna.  I love those two!

The Idaho folks were great.  What wonderful friends I made that weekend.  There will be more visits to the Boise area for me, because they are kind, sweet, and super fun folks.

The weather was perfection.  Well, the nights were sort of chilly, but the days were wonderful.  Not too hot, not too cold, just right for enjoying ourselves.

Some of the Utah crew - Austin, Caleb, Jody, and Kay.

One of the fun aspects of the Idaho Civil War Volunteer Group is the young ladies!  There were quite a few of them and they would dance for everyone off and on during the day.  They had Caleb and Amanda play for them a few times, and it was so fun to watch and listen to them.

I made a few sweet lady friends in Marie, Ricki, Kriste, Barbara, and Nancy, who I liked to call Wendy, silly me.  What fine women they are, and how sweet and accepting they were of me and all of us Utah folks.  Thanks ladies.  Kriste took a bunch of pictures, and I grabbed a few to put on here, since she is a fantastic photographer.  She captured some sweet moments for me.

Thank you Idaho, for such a great weekend and for your friendship.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Kenna's Corner

This is Kenna's Corner.  Her bin of toys are here, she can see the cats outside on the deck, she is close to the kitchen where I often reside, and she loves the sunshineThe window is more often dirty than clean.  I love being in the kitchen and seeing the sweet contentment on her face and in her eyes.  She will give me a little squeal of happiness every now and then, but is more than happy to stay in her little corner of goodness while dinner or lunch is being prepared or cleaned up.  Love that girl.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

No Popcorn Popping on Grandpa William's Apricot Trees

While we were down south over spring break last month, we made our annual spring trip to Capitol Reef National Park.  I love it down there.  I remember going there with my parents and family often, on dates in high school, with college friends, and now with my little family of course.  So, while I sat in the car with a super onery teething baby Kenna, my mom and other kiddos took the traditional walk through one of the apricot orchards.  I love it when we time it in bloom!

But more than just loving it because I have so many fun memories down there, I love it because my ancestors farmed the land down there for a few generations until the National Park Service bought them out.  Before it was Capitol Reef National Park, it was a small little Mormon community called Fruita.  The history books say that there were never more than a dozen or 15 families that lived there at one time.  My great grandparents, William and Dicey Chesnut were one of those families.  They bought pasture and orchard land in 1925 in Fruita.

That land eventually ended up as my Grandpa Jay Chesnut's land.  It was sold to the government in 1962.

These photos of my kids are right next to Loop C of the campground.  3 and half acres of what was my great grandfather William's orchard was cleared in order to make Loop C  of the campground in the 1980s.

In this online book,, I found this information:

Current Name: Chesnut Orchard
Other Name(s): Upper Chesnut Orchard
Location: Approximately 1.5 miles from the visitor center between the Fremont River and the Loop C Campground.
Acres Cultivated: 
Orchard 2.8
Number of Trees: 129

Historical Documentation:

Originally part of the Nels Johnson homestead, Johnson's descendants sold 53.76 acres to William Chesnut in 1925. The land remained in the Chesnut family until it was sold to the government in 1962. Documentation suggests that in 1940, Chesnut had approximately 6.4 acres in orchard, filling the land between the Fremont River and the Scenic Drive. In 1987, 3.6 acres of orchard were removed to construct Loop C Campground.

Historic Crops:
Peach (434)
Apple (84)
Pear (30)
Current Crops:
Almond (25)
Apple (75)
Red Delicious
Yellow Delicious
unknown varieties
Pear (29)

Apricot trees were apparently not grown on my grandfather's upper orchard property, but that is what these orchards are full of now.  I love apricots in full bloom.  It is a promise of a beautiful spring, plus it just makes me want to sing the Primary song I grew up singing about "Popcorn Popping on the Apricot Tree."

I am so lucky to have roots in such an incredible part of Utah.  My mom remembers spending time at her Grandma Dicey's home in Fruita and the famous Osage orange tree she had near her house.  It is still growing there although her home is long gone.  It is a picnic area now, named CHESNUT PICNIC AREA, across the highway from the old 'mail tree.'  Oh boy the stories that could be told if they were only written down. Thankfully, there are a few recorded stories and I love reading them.  I love visiting where they were played out, and I love that my kids enjoy it too.

Monday, May 06, 2013

spoiled rotten

I am spoiled rotten.
Last week was an incredible week for me.

 Monday and Tuesday resulted in new flooring I have been wanting for a few years.  Goodbye nasty carpet, hello beautiful wood.
 My parents came up on Wednesday and brought the sweet chicken coop my dad made over Easter weekend while we were down there.  They came to watch my kids for the rest of the week because Thursday morning I headed to Idaho.
So Thursday through Sunday, Kenna and I were able to attend a great civil war encampment where a few thousand Boise area 5th graders learned about the American Civil War.
It was a wonderful week.  I am so lucky and so blessed.  Thanks Matthew, Dad, Mom, and fantastic civil war friends.


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