Monday, June 29, 2015

Happy 95th Dad.

Time for an update from the trip out West to see Dad after a little side trip for work.

The little part to the right was built from the original structure, a small cabin that partially burned on some land my cousin owned.  It was restored - Big Bro making a number of trips down as that happened, then my cousin L. designed the addition to the left, which in the last few years, came to completion. The kitchen is my domain and is set up to make about anything you can think of without a lot of wasted space or extra "luxury" kitchen items (there is NO microwave).
The foundation and slightly blackened original 100 + year old beams are about all that remained of the original structure.
It was a wonderful place for we kids to gather with parents coming down for Thanksgiving each year. But with my brother's death and Dad's rapidly declining health, I didn't think we'd get Dad out there again with limited vacation days all around.  But Dad's nursing assistant offered to drive him there (two day drive) and get him settled in with his meds and other needs, and then my cousin and I could take over for the rest of his stay before one of us drives him home again.
Mountain air, open meadows, no traffic. Behind them (not pictured as the sun was too bright) is a nice peak that usually has snow, but not this year, it's been really really dry. At a little less than 5000 feet elevation it gets nice and cool at night thought it was unseasonably warm during the day this last week.

My room's still the same with the big bed and a loft to the left with another sleeping area.  No space is wasted in this place.
Yes, those are the little toy horses my cousin and I played with as little girls.
Big Bro on his visits back in the day? Well, he was a bit different.  He didn't want to bunk in the house with the girls or on the sleeper sofa where Dad would stay when he came for Thanksgiving.  No,  during our summer vacations here, Big Brother bunked in the BUS.

No- not just ANY 1941 bus.  THE TWILIGHT LOUNGE
It has room for someone to bunk, both people and a dog - a fridge, sink, heater and fan, room to eat and drink and little port a potty out back.
A toast would be made here, late in the night - to the best brother ever, and many wonderful summer adventures.
My cousin is more like my sister than a cousin.  Her parents died when we were barely out of our teens so the summers together we had as families, just continued.  We did everything together, frosted their hair (oh no - there's photos of that) got sunburned, boogie boarded, hiked and played and laughed.  Oh, how we laughed. Being the older of us, she took me under her wing as a mentor and taught me many things, including how to ride a horse.
But there were a few years, with jobs and travel- we didn't see one another, and then came this place on L's land, a refuge for everyone from the stresses of city life.
It fits us - we are SO much alike, very outdoors kind of gals, who love horses and dogs and all sorts of animals. . . .
as well as all of those memories of growing up out West.


So many memories,  starting with the prune fights we used to get into with  our brothers on Uncle G's ranch, they got into ALL kinds of troubles.  Now  it's just the two of us here and we're still getting into trouble.
I will wake up first, being on Central time.  A check for bears wandering out of the National Forest next door, then  I will grab the laundry and make breakfast.
MMM.  eggs, chicken and apple sausages and homemade ciabatta bread made into toast!
Then time to sit out on one of the patios. All four sides of the cabin have a small deck so there is ALWAYS shade.
We both loves bones and rocks, so there's LOTS of them around.


A Cactus made out of horseshoes.
All the posts were decorated with our favorite things.  


Yes, I'm a little weird.

Hey -ANYONE can decorate with plastic flamingos and begonias.
But with acreage right on the edge of a huge national forest, there's room for all kinds of decor.
I think this was Big Bro's doing.

A stop for lunch.
Then it was time for some chores.

Buddy the horse, who travels to and from here in his own trailer, goes out to his pasture after an apple and carrot. Buddy is twenty-one and has a good life here and his other home down in the valley where he stays in the winter months.
After Buddy is settled, the place goes to the dogs.
 Look - it's Scout the neighbor's dog.  I think he's noticed the place is occupied with people and dogs.
 Come on Scout!  Up to our house! 
Luc - half Great Pyrenees and half Border Collie sniffs for deer while Scout chases Shasta the Australian cattle dog Rescue around the yard.
After we  got the enchilada casserole, quiche and Italian ragout from the sun oven,

(Yes, SUN OVEN)
friends started arriving with all KINDS of goodies -  everyone brought a little something to eat or drink

The neighbor butchered a young goat two days ago and shared the fresh meat. We marinated some in aged balsamic and oil for 24 hours, then slow cooked in the sun oven with a roasted vegetable sauce.
Green chili and cheese enchilada casserole.
Dad was so happy to see everyone as it had been a year since all the family was together with neighbors and friends joining in for a celebration.
Only one person here is related by blood, but we're all still family (though I'm the "baby", adopted pretty late in Dad's life).

You don't have to be related by blood to love someone. 

Dad is a much loved member of this clan of family and friends.
Happy 95th Birthday Dad! 
I hate when everyone has to go. 
But Dad had a wonderful birthday to remember always.
Thanks for the visit!