Chief Joseph Days

We had a spectacular family weekend, and by family I mean mom and dad, all siblings were there as were in- laws of siblings, cousins, family of family, and people we wish were family.  One big gathering for the weekend on the lake in Joseph, OR.  Everyone lived in and on the water for a couple of days, and when we weren’t on the water we were eating food.  Anything that could be cooked on a Traeger, was.  There was a parade too.  And then there was the Chief Joseph rodeo.  All the kids agreed they wanted to go again next year.  Quite a spectacle.  A little bit of western Americana, and all the kids loved it.


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Watching the parade…

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and waiting for candy to get thrown.

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When no bags are available to collect candy, pockets always work.


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Homemade donuts

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Darrell brought a large grill down to the lake and cooked bacon and eggs out of the back of his old, yellow pick-up.

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Catching minnows in paper cups.

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Steaks in the Traeger


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Lest you think every moment was happy.



The Perfect Christmas Tree Cutting Experience

While Mom et al were doing hand to hand combat with a crazed lumberjack, we were having the perfect Christmas tree cutting experience, complete with snowfall.

Crazed Lumberjack Adventure

Our annual tree hunt turned nightmarish.

We had everything- tasty treats- check, firewood- check, matches- check, saw- check, hatchet- check, warm winter boots, hats, etc.- check. Up the mountain we traveled in the spitting rain. No problem, for sure it will turn to snow higher up. But no. Our haunt of last year was barred shut. So we drove on up the mountain and still it rained.

We whizzed past one muddy and steep road turn-off with the gate unbarred and thought, “in a pinch.”

Pinch happened. Back down the mountain, we turned onto the side road, two cars slogging uphill in  the mud until we knew we would have to hoof it the rest of the way or risk a stuck car. Like some cheap movie, a monstrous logging truck came barreling up the dirt road behind us and looked like it would drive right over our cars and keep going. Just short of hitting the backend of the car, the truck stopped, trapping us uphill from his truck.

This huge lumberjack with crazed eyes jumped out of his lumberjack truck. As we began to amaze him with the timing of it all, we cut were off by, “A hundred bucks or I’m calling the sheriff.”

“What?” says us.

“Hundred bucks or I’m calling the sheriff.” Trapped with no escape except if he would back down first. And he meant to get our money. Not back down.

“We didn’t know it was private property … we have a tree tag- in good faith we were getting a tree on forestry property…we haven’t even touched a tree let alone chopped one down”  He didn’t care- ignorance is no excuse, we meant to steal a tree. AND did I mention he seemed a bit crazy? Eric finally called his bluff and suggested he call the sheriff. …  AND… then, ” did we mention he’s our lawyer too.” Ta Da!

Things turned round after that. The deal was our lawyer would give the lumberjack his name and number ONLY if  he backed his truck down the mountain so we could back our two cars down too. At the bottom, on the main road, he would get our lawyer’s name and number.

The lumberjack with crazed eyes, lumbered back into his lumberjack truck and we all backed down the road. At the bottom, we pulled off the road and the lumberjack with the crazed eyes revved his lumberjack truck and barreled back up the mud road and far beyond where our little cars could travel out of sight.

Still raining, we were kinda done with hunting for Christmas trees in the rain though we feebly attempted one more barred road. Defeated, we went back to Aileen and Jason’s and ate our tasty treats before heading to a hockey game.

Moral of the story- always have a lawyer in tow. Always.

It All Starts with a Glass of Wine at G & E’s!

We are so happy that our daughters, everyone of them, have married into the most wonderful families. We love their in-laws! We love them so much that we look forward to seeing them when we can. We even plan vacations so that we can pop in and visit.

This Thanksgiving we will be at Aileen’s in-laws. Aileen and Ellen have come up with a mouthwatering menu- not just for the big feast, but for the whole visit.

Last year we all dressed up 80’s style for bowling night- wherein Ellen looked like Farrah Fawcett and I looked like Temple Grandin (google image them). It’s true. This year we are switching it up and instead of bowling we are going to cheer on the Wenatchee hockey team!

Same as last year, we will all head to the woods for Christmas trees. I am packing some delectables to eat in the snowy wonderland- smoked salmon, pickled asparagus, boursin, and Taite has made her famous chocolate chip cookies.


Wednesday:  Welcome Everyone!!


     Glass of Wine   *(at G and E’s house)


Breakfast:  when we get up – *At G + E’s house

            Aileen’s Cinnamon Rolls (A)             Boiled Eggs (E)          Fruit (T)


            Appetizers:           Mid-day – *At G + E’s house

                        Smoked Salmon roll-ups      Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus Puffs (A)

                        Candied Nuts (A)      Bruschetta w/Goat cheese (E) and Tomato Jam (A)

                                                Sparkly Drinks!

            Main Meal:  Between 3;30 pm and 4 pm – *At G + E’s house

                        Turkey with Chorizo-Chestnut Dressing/Gravy  (E)

                        Classic Delicious Stuffing (T)          Brussel Sprouts w/Bacon (T)

                        Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows/Brown Sugar (E)

Green Salad w/Goat Cheese, Toasted Pecans, and Cranberry Vinaigrette (A)

Roasted Butternut Squash w/Apples, Butter, Brown Sugar (A)

Pretzel Rolls (A)        Wine:  Pinot/ Chardonnay (T)

Rest our tummies…….then….


Salted Caramel Tart (E)       Walnut Crumb Apple Pie  (E)

                 Pumpkin Crumble Topped Pie (A)

           Thanksgiving 2012 –  Cont’d



Breakfast:  when we get up – *At G + E’s house

            Oatmeal with fruit/yogurt/granola (E)

            Pumpkin Smoothies (E)


Christmas Tree Hunting in the Hills!!


            Lunch:  Feast in the snow!


            Early Dinner:   Before GAME!!!    **At  J + A’s house


5 PM – Costco Pizza 





            Breakfast:  when we get up – **At  J + A’s house

                        Breakfast Burritos (A)  w/ Chorizo (E)

                        Fruit tray


Camp Woods

Once a year we get a break from real life and escape to a little village full of tiny white cabins just a few miles down the road from my in-laws for a week of cousins, grandparents, aunts and uncles, someone else cooking and cleaning up, all the ice cream you can eat, dunk tanks, slip n slides on a giant scale, rock piles and toy trucks, evening entertainment for the kids, morning and evening bible teaching for the adults– all surrounded by corn fields and giant trees.

It’s the perfect retreat for just about anyone, but especially two boys being raised in the city.  We can’t wait till next year!

Happy Campers

I do not have rights to print these photos- they are Erin’s. But she is high above in the clouds with her family returning home after a good long visit. Our family planned a trek into the wilderness and all but Andrew, Taite and I and Meghan’s family did it. It was primitive camping- no potable water, no “facilities”, nothing. Not even their cars. They hiked straight up into bonafide wilderness and camped. With babies!

Say "good bye" to civilization.

Apparently, even if you didn't have a baby of your own you were allowed to take a turn.

No baby on board? Not a problem there was lots of other stuff that needed hauled in too.

Freyja just slays me, hand on her hip, " Let's get a move on, can we?"

This briefly made me wish I'd braved the trip. Briefly.

My kids have always loved jumping off cliffs and they married spouses that like doing that too.

Probably the best way to cool off and clean up.

Fun things you can do in the wilderness

Wilderness dirt is so good it's worth eating.

Fishing was great.

A visitor showed up for one night telling tall tales to the kids

This little guy is a happy camper.

But I am pretty sure I'd have been reduced to this about 100 steps up the mountain.


Forest Service Christmas Trees

If you’ve never done this, you should, once in your life. The U.S. Forest Service sells tags for $5 which allows you to cut down a tree for Christmas on federal forest land.  The tags are available at all forest offices and through local businesses.  You can look up your U.S. Forest Service by region to find a location to purchase the tag.   $5 is a great deal but even better than that are all the memories that go along with the hunt for the best tree in the entire forest.

Our tree permit goes on right away

The best tree in the entire forest, right here!

A big guy to drag it out is handy.












With our trees securely fastened to the roofs of our cars, we then head off for more fun.

Bloody Mary with pickled asparagus, hot chocolate too!

Delectable gourmet treats












Sorel boots, not just for warmth, pretty darn cute too

Keeping Maia's paws from freezing.

Our food stash












Warming up by the fire













Eight Mile




Jason't hair doesn't really look like this. I swear. I may have been the one to give him the haircut.

I was chomping at the bit this weekend to get out into the mountains since it is getting close to snow season and traversing the trails without snowshoes will soon be impossible.  Sunday was clear and cold and a perfect hiking day.  It turned from fall to winter as we crept up the 3.5 mile trail until we reached the iced-over lake where we spent some time sliding rocks out as far as we could across the ice until we had enough on to break through.  I think we are both teenage boys at heart.