Sunday, November 29, 2009

how was your weekend?

Ours was good. Uneventful...until Friday night that is. The girls were with my sister. Rick was playing video games. Cole was playing with his trains and I was in the kitchen. That's when the alarm went off. I went straight to the alarm panel to see if I could disarm the alarm. Didn't work. Rick went around the house trying to figure out what was going on. He said it was the Carbon Monoxide monitor. But, since we didn't seem to notice a problem, it was probably just a short in the wiring, right?, Then he realized that the CO monitor that was going off was the one located right next to the upstairs furnace. He got a little suspicious and called the Fire Department to see if they could send someone over to check with their more sophisticated monitors. It was funny, I could hear Rick on the phone reassuring the dispatcher that we were all OK and that he was aware of the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. A few minutes later a patrol car turns down the street in front of our house. And drives right past our house. And turns around. And stops at the neighbors house 2 doors down. And then he went to the next door neighbors house, all the time I am standing on the front porch with all of the lights on waving my arms. (We are in good hands here in Mapleton). The 17 year old patrol officer finally finds our house and proceeds to take a body count to determine how many ambulances to dispatch. I repeated assured this 118 pound public servant that the 3 of us now standing on the porch were the only ones home and that we were all awake and alert. No need for an ambulance--or 3. He radios in to dispatch that all occupants were safe and that there was no need for an ambulance. Just then the fire truck shows up. 3 firemen walk up with their equipment and send the police officer on his way. (I'm glad to know that Mapleton is safe with such a veteran police officer patroling the streets!)
So, the fireman comes in with the gauge and gets a reading near the alarm/furnace of 23 ppm. Apparently our monitor that is wired to our alarm system is sensitive to 20 ppm. We opened the windows and turned off the furnace. They went outside to clear out the gauge. When they measured the main floor, it read 8. The alarm went off as the CO dropped below 20. We had to reassure the fire department that we would not stay in the house over night and that we would have the furnace serviced immediately. Great. A holiday/weekend/evening service call. We can't seem to have a crisis at this home until it's at the worst possible time. See this story from a few months ago.
So, after about an hour and a 20 degree temperature drop in the house from having the windows open, the furnace guy comes. Sure enough. The furnace is the problem. As he took the blower apart, it was COVERED with drywall, sheetrock and all sorts of construction junk. He took the blower back to the service shop to clean out the blower. It came back looking brand spanking new. So, we have lived in this house for about 32 months with the furnace/ac blower full of dust, dirt and trash. The furnace is NOT supposed to be used during construction. Hum, I wonder how this happens and who to blame. I'm sure there will be some finger pointing.
So, after about 3 hours, furnace service guy gives us our options:
Keep using the furnace we have because it's now in good working condition.
Replace the furnace and save so much in utilities because of higher efficiency and rebates, that the system replacement would pay for itself in approx. 5 years.

Who knows what we'll do, but furnace service guy is coming back next week to work on the basement furnace.

What we also found out:

Most CO monitors are not that reliable. Many of them are not even sensitive until about 70 to 75 ppm. By that time, you would be symptomatic. You'd probably be on the way to the ER. Rick has already treated several patients with CO poisoning this season. Some BYU students came in recently who had a reading in their apartment of 80. I'm not certain if they had a monitor or if they came it because they were feeling ill. But, Rick assures me that the price we have to pay to the furnace service guy for a holiday/weekend/evening service call will be much less than the cost of 3 (or 4 or 5) of us to visit the ER and take a trip in the hyperbaric (100% oxygen) chamber for several hours apiece.
So, we've done a little research on CO monitors. I would really recommend that all of you have more than 1 in your home. Check them regularly. And spend the money to buy a good one. If you end up needing it, it will save you loads of money in the long run to have monitor that is more sensitive. Also, if you have one, check it out on the internet. Look up the brand. Find out how sensitive it is.

The symptoms of CO poisoning are similar to the flu--headache, nausea, shortness of breath. Which sounds similar to the effects of Thanksgiving feasting the day before...

We don't really know how long we have been exposed to the low levels of CO. Maybe since we've been using the furnace since it cooled off this fall. Rick and I have been doing this crazy P90X workout for the past 6 weeks. I've felt so wiped out, but now I'm blaming it on very low CO poisoning. Now that the problem is solved and the air is better in my house, I'll see if my energy level goes up and the workouts get easier. probably not.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

pickled beets and flowering cabbage

This is one of the two flowering cabbages that I managed to grow from seed. I picked it last week and put it in the house so that I could enjoy it for one last week before winter really settled in for good. My Grandma Ethel would grow these in her yard. They would grow about waist high. I have no idea how she did it. People would stop and take pictures of her flowering cabbages. (Mom, do you have any pictures of them? or of Grandma with them?)
Some other things that she grew that I remember were columbine, marigolds, and petunias. They had a hedge of lilac bushes that were thick and beautiful green. But, they never blossomed. I think that had something to do with the fact that Grandpa kept them pruned back and he was actually cutting off the "next seasons blooms". They had a snowball bush that I always thought was beautiful. And the Forsythia bushes that bloom in the spring always remind me of Grandma.

And the beets...My Grandma made the best pickled beets. It's been years, but I am going to try to grow beets next spring and see if I can replicate the taste of pickled beets like Grandma Ethel used to make. And my other favorite food from Circleville was "Noodles". I would beg my Grandma to make homemade noodles. My mouth is watering right now. I can feel the texture of the noodles in my mouth. My Aunt Dolores has tried to make noodles like Grandma, but she says that she can't seem to get it just right. Grandma didn't have an exact recipe--she just made them from memory. Oh well. I'll stick with the pickled beets for now. I don't really want to attempt Grandma's noodle recipe until I have a little more time on my hands.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Calculating the harvest

well, the canning season is over. Happy and Sad. The problem with canning is that those darn fruits and vegetables just ripen on their own time and demand to be bottled according to their own schedule with no regard to my schedule.
I thought that I would list all of the things that I canned this year and last. I think it will help me to see how fast we are using up these things and help me decide in the spring what I should be planting.

(Not that the rest of the world even cares about what I planted or harvested, but if I write my own list and put it in a special place where I will always remember it, then I will not find it until Cole graduates from high school. So, I will record it here and will always remember where to find my list...)

Peach Jam 8 pints
strawberry Jam 8 pints
Salsa Verde 24 pints
Tomatoes 5 quarts (and lots of frozen tomatoes)
Jalapeno 4 pints
mustard relish 14 pints
Zucchini relish 8 pints
Jalapeno jelly 10 pints
Tomato Juice 4 quarts
Apricot Nectar 7 quarts

Currant Jelly 3 pints
Grape Jelly 1 pint
Chokecherry Jelly 12 pints
Peach Cranberry conserve 7 pints
Pepper Jelly 3 pints

BBQ sauce 8 pints
Enchalada sauce 7 pints
Salsa (USU version) 4 pints
Salsa (zesty version) 16 pints
Chili sauce 9 pints
Peach Pie filling 10 quarts
Peaches 5 quarts
Honey Spiced Peaches 6 quarts
Plum jelly (syrup) 6 pints

Plus, during the summer of 2009 I filled the top of the freezer with stawberry, raspberry, and mixed berry freezer jam because I prefer eating freezer jam. But, I like to have freezer jam and jam on the shelf because you never know when the power will be out for an extended period of time and you will be forced to eat all of the freezer jam in one week. And then you can sit back and relax because you still have jam on the shelf that won't go bad.

One thing I noticed for both years... NOT ENOUGH HOT PEPPERS!!
Do not plant those nasty pear tomatoes.
Let the cherry tomatoes grow from seed in the area next to the drive-way. They are so yummy.
Do not let more than 5 tomatillo plants grow. They are really just weeds.
Next year...plant carrots and beets in the "tomato row". That has good soil without rocks and will allow the roots to grow nicely.
Do not plant more than 1 zucchini plant. Even if they come in a 3 pack.
Plant more pumpkins.
Plant more indian corn along the back fence.

And last of all pray that the apricots freeze again next spring.

Any other suggestions?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Corn Husk Dolls

Remember the wreath I made a couple of weeks ago with the Indian Corn? Well, we took a bunch of the leftovers and made some corn husk dolls. I had used a bunch of the corn stalks to decorate the front yard and I still had a bunch left so I found a great tutorial on corn husk dolls here.

It was pretty fun and quite an easy project. We made several batches of dolls. I looked at different projects on the internet for different ideas. One of the ideas that looked like fun was to make a nativity scene from the corn husk dolls. I just thought I would post this idea for some of you who have corn stalks decorating your yard for Fall. Don't throw away your corn stalks until you have made some corn husk dolls. It would make a great Thanksgiving activity. Happy Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Happy Birthday Mom

Today is my mom's birthday. I hope you have a good one. We'll celebrate on Sunday with dinner.
This picture (not the original) was taken on August 5, 1998. It was Summer's first birthday and just 2 days before we moved from Utah to Kirksville, MO.

BTW, Pretty typical of my dad to be wearing a 49ers hat. Right after this picture was taken, Dad got out the maps to find out exactly where Kirksville, MO was.

Grandpa Whitey and the mower

Not a great picture, I realize, but it goes along with my recent post about family history. This is my Grandpa Whitey. (Morgan Leon Dalton) He got the nickname Whitey because when he was young his hair was so dark. On formal occasions he went by the name Leon, and not Morgan because his father was also Morgan. Anyhoooo...this picture was probably taken around 1980 to 1985. If you have a better guess (or the original photo) let me know. I think Grandpa mowed the lawn about 3 times a week--his own & and the park next door. I think when the mower lines faded is when he decided it was time to mow again. I wish the picture showed more of the yard because it was always so beautiful.

Indian Corn Wreath

This was our harvest of Indian Corn:

My talented back yard neighbor had the cutest wreath on her door last fall and I told her how much I loved it and she told me that she MADE IT. HERSELF. WITH THE CORN SHE GREW in her own yard. So, sometime last winter I received a little brown bag with a few ears of Indian corn for me to plant in the spring to grow my own Indian corn. I was so excited.
So, here I am armed with my glue gun and wire cutters.
My corn turned out a little funny looking, kind of small. Oh well.
I made my wreath in a circle shape. I liked Amara's a little better--
it was a little more random with groups of 2-3 ears of corn grouped together.
I saved a few ears of corn so that I could plant another crop next year and see if I can't make a little better looking wreath.
And this was the final result, before I found a permanent spot on a little table on the front porch for the wreath.

PS Is it politically correct to call it Indian corn. If there is a more correct term let me know so as not to offend anyone with my craftiness. It's just corn.


No this wan't Cole's Halloween costume. This is Cole in his official Japanese Samuri gear. Jason and Kyoko brought his back from their most recent trip to Japan. Cole has been a little weirded out by the whole thing, but we recently convinced him to try it on. Too bad I didn't get a better picture of him in it. It's pretty heavy duty for a little guy to wear around. He did look pretty handsome in it. I need to get a few more facts about it from Kyoko...

Sunday, November 8, 2009

This is why I go to the Youth Sunday School Class...

so, Rick has informed me that nobody really reads my blogs any more. So, I guess I am not writing this for anyone else to read but for myself so that I can remember this event...
it was Sunday School last week. Brother G gave the lesson (actually a 2 part lesson) entitled "The hearts of the Children Shall Turn to Their Fathers" and Finding Joy in Temple and Family History Work. I really enjoyed the lesson that Brother G gave. I think that he prepared the lesson just for me because of the way that it touched my heart.
First, he wrote a bunch of names on the board. Then he proceeded to tell a little bit about each person. Then he wrote his own name on the board and drew lines from each person's name to his own to show how he was related to each person.
Then, he asked the class if they knew all of their grandparents. He called on one girl to answer the question. I don't know anything about her situation other than she is adopted and her parents are "older". I know that she has siblings because she has referred to them before, but i don't think that any of them still live at home. Anyway, she said "no". She does not know her grandparents or even their names. I was a bit shocked. There is another girl in the class who didn't even know how to answer the question. She is 17. She was officially adopted last week, I know this because I attended the court where she was adopted. She has been living with her "new" family since February. So, she hasn't had very long to become familiar with her family tree. Plus, she had a foster family she lived with for 4 years, an adopted family before that, plus her biological family. That's a lot of people to get to know. Clearly these young people have a long way to go in getting to know their ancestors, but this lesson was so encouraging and exciting that I hope they will all feel the Spirit of Elijah and turn their hearts to their ancestors.
One thing I thought about during the lesson was that I had the opportunity to know 3 of my grandparents. I spent A LOT of time with my Dalton Grandparents. I would beg to stay with them in Circleville every summer. As a young child visiting my Grandparents, this is what our days would consist of:
watch a few game shows,
then out to the yard to water and prune (my Grandpa was a maniac with the pruners--especially the electric ones)
gardening--they had a huge garden and my favorite thing to eat was the turnips.
mow the park--they lived next door to the city park and for a long time I just thought that the park was a continuation of their own yard. my Grandpa took great pride in the presentation of the park.
dump--we would take a load of trash to the dump and we would rumage around the trash piles left behind for things to recycle. my Grandpa would take different metals, batteries, bottles, whatever to Richfield to cash in for a few dollars.
and there was the cemetery. if the park was a continuation of their yard, then so was the cemetery. It wasn't just a quick stop either. We would either pack water jugs to the graves or a hose to hook up to the tap. Grandpa always traveled with a shovel, rake and hoe just in case some work needed to be done. I think this was the first "exposure" I had to family history work. I learned never to walk on the gravesite. I learned who was buried in which cemetery and a little story about the people who were buried there. I loved to hear the stories about these people I never knew. One thin that we always did when we went to the Circleville cemetery was walk and walk and walk all the way down to the far Northeast corner. This is where Julia Dalton was buried. That was my Grandpa's Grandmother. We always cleared off a little area next to her grave. One year I learned that the reason my Grandpa cleared off that area is because that is where his brother, Dwight, was buried. I wouldn't have known that if Grandpa hadn't talked about his brother who died in childhood, because there wasn't a headstone or grave marker. I didn't realize the significance of that information until about the year 2000. My mom's cousin, who is also a Dalton, was trying to get all of the Dalton records together. He had located everyone except Dwight. It was a deadend. They couldn't find out anything about this child. Cousin J mentioned this one time when I was present and I said, "I know about Dwight. He died as a child and is buried in Circleville." Nobody had figured that out because there was no grave marker. Cousin J was able to find the cemetery record. Find the birth and death date, and find a death certificate quite easily. Shortly after, Dwight's temple work was done. He had died at age 18 months and was sealed to his parents.
Another cemetery story I have is about a cousin of my mom. She is buried in the world's most ugly cemetery--Junction, Utah. The first cemetery in that community was in a grassy area that became a little swampy as the area was farmed and frequently flooded with irrigation water. So, to combat the sinking graves, they relocated the cemetery to a hill where there is only wind, sage brush, and snakes. The road spirals around the hill until you get to the top and then you spiral back down. Buried in Junction are some of my Grandma Ethel's family. We would find ourselves in Junction quite often to check on those ancestors. My mom had a cousin named LaWanna. LaWanna died when she was 12 years old of a head injury from falling out of the back of a moving pick-up truck. When we were kids and we'd see a pickup truck with kids in back bed of the truck, we'd always ask to ride in the back and we'd always get the same answer, "you cannot ride in the back of the truck. That's how LaWanna died." I thought of that story every time I went to Junction and every time that I see people riding in the back of a pick-up truck. Not too long ago I found myself telling the LaWanna story to my own kids and explaining why we don't ride in the back of a truck.

We've always had a thing for cemeteries in my family. If we were ever driving in certain areas in Southern Utah, my mom would say, "Stop here" and we'd know she was going to go walk though a cemetery. If we drive certain places now, we can say to each other, "Remember when we made Dad stop so we could check out that cemetery?" and then we laugh because we are weird.

I don't know as much about my Robison ancestors. Their longevity isn't quite like the Dalton's. My Grandpa Robison died when he was 56ish. He had 27 grandchildren and died before any of them were born. He died 5 years before I was born. I know that he wasn't very tall. He was blind in one eye for a good part of his life. He had stopped on the road on the South side of Richfield to help change a tire and some how he was hit by another car and lost his eyesight. He was a quiet man who stuttered a bit. he was smart because I remember so many times as I was growing up my dad would use these little quotes or phrases and tell me that it was something his dad used to say. My dad did the same thing. One of his most famous phrases was, "If you're not 5 minutes early, you're late." I loved my dad's little quotes. I wish I had more of them written down. They come back to me from time to time and I will try to write them down as I remember them.
Grandma Robison died when I was 7. Some things I remember about her are that she twittled her thumbs. She could crochet and sew very well. She worked at the Drugstore in Richfield for years and while there became famous for her dipped chocolates called Forsey Bars. She didn't finish high school because she had to quit to go to work. Her family needed the money. Her older sister Jenny was in college to become a teacher, so my grandma quit school to work and support her sister and family.

Anyway, back to the Sunday School lesson. Brother G pointed out that is important to do what we can in our lives to get to know these people who came before us. I think of how many people sacrificed and suffered so that I can be where I am today. That I can live in this country, under these circumstances. Brother G pointed out that even if our family history work is done, what good will that do us when we die and are reunited with these people that we know nothing about. That would be sad. That would be part of the prophesy of the whole earth would be "utterly wasted" at the Lord's coming. For "the earth will be smitten with a curse unless there is a welding link...between the fathers and the children." D&C 128:18

One more point that was made in the lesson is the significance of technology in facilitating this commandment. Blogs, facebook, the internet in general can be such a time waster. But if we use technology to our advantage, we can all be instrumental in turning the hearts of the children to their fathers.

Look for more posts about cemeteries, family, grandma nan stealing a tractor, pickled beets...