Friday, December 30, 2011

Foreign Friday

Misawa, Japan
Fall 1979
 Once I found a reasonably-priced used car and obtained license and insurance, I was able to move out of billeting and into my off-base house.

Notice the outside mirrors mounted on the front fenders. I never could figure out why they were located there instead of near the windows. It was tricky to adjust them.

I can't tell you how many times I went to the left side front door to get in only to remember the steering wheel was on the right.

Even though the car had an automatic transmission, shifting was tricky because I am right-handed. The accelerator was located on the right, which made it easier to adapt. I had to constantly remind myself that as the driver, I needed to be sitting on the inside of the road. I avoided passing other cars: it was just too difficult to force myself to look right to check for on-coming vehicles.

It was a good car and served me well for two years although it was sometimes temperamental when moisture got under the hood.

My friend, Betty made arrangements to sell it for me when I returned home.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Carol's Fall Flower

Carol's Fall Flower
December Block

I took some artistic license with the December block because I did not want to fuss with convex and concave pieces. If I had cut the pieces, I knew that none of them would have turned out the correct size, so I grabbed a pencil and created an adaptation.

The directions called for lovely curved petals to form a chrysanthemum. My adaptation (see my pencil lines on the diagram) looks more like a star; thus, I am calling it a "Star Aster" rather than a chrysanthemum.

All the blocks for the 2011 Block of the Month are finished. Now, I need to decide what to do with them.

The complete set of Quilter's Neighborhood blocks. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Grandma's Haircuts

Larry Stearns & Grandma Rosie
Whenever any of the guys wanted a haircut, Grandma Rosie brought out her trusty clippers and the wild, layered skirt and got to work. I don't know whose skirt it was, but it was used every time someone got a haircut. I think my Mom stored the skirt with the clippers.

Notice Larry's trimmed locks in the lower left corner of the photo above.

I don't know when my mom started cutting my brothers' and nephew's hair, but she did it for years and the pile of used clippers in the cupboard served as evidence. I don't think my brother had anyone else cut his hair until after Mom died in 1989.

Terry Stearns & Grandma Rosie
Note: Just to clarify, Mom didn't give buzz cuts but trimmed the hair into the style my nephews or brothers wanted.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Right Place, Right Time

I am seldom in the right place at the right time, but the stars aligned for me on December 17, 2011, the day to pick up the last block of the month at Sheep Camp Quilt Supply.

After selecting some tone on tone yardage for my stash, I wandered to the back room where Clearance items are located. A kit for a 66 x 82 inch quilt, marked 50% off, caught my eye. I thought it was a great deal, so I picked out some coordinating yardage (also in the Clearance area) for the backing and the binding.

I was pleasantly surprised when the store owner told me that Clearance kits were 75% off. Wow, an even greater deal!

The two pieces of fabric on the left are the backing and the binding, and were not included in the kit.

The damages: 

Floral backing fabric (top left) was 60% off -- $18.92
Red binding fabric (lower left) was 55% off -- $3.94
The remaining fabric was in the quilt kit which I purchased for $16.75

Grand total for a 66 x 82 inch quilt: (not including batting)   $39.61

I was definitely in the right place at the right time for these bargains!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Silent Night

Silent night, holy night.
All is calm, All is bright
Round yon Virgin Mother and Child
Holy Infant so Tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace,
Sleep in heavenly peace.

Silent night, holy night.
Shepherds quake at the sight.
Glories stream from heaven afar;
Heavenly hosts sing Al-le-lu-ja.
Christ the Savior is born.
Christ the Savior is born.

Silent night, holy night.
Wondrous star, lend thy light.
With the angels let us sing
Alleluia to our King.
Christ the Savior is here,
Jesus the Savior is here.

Silent night, Holy night.
Son of God, love's pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face,
With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus Lord at thy birth;
Jesus Lord at thy birth.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Foreign Friday

Christmas Display
Misawa AFB
Misawa, Japan
December 1979
Christmas Display competitions were held on base the both years I was there, and the panels shown above were exceptional. This display was simply beautiful and a work of art. Click the photo to see more detail.

Merry Christmas to all of my readers. 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

What Does This Mean?

seen on Burma Road
December 2011
Burma Road, a local farm to market road, was under construction most of the summer. A major portion of the road was relocated to remove some dangerous curves, but Burma Hill remained. I saw the sign, shown above, last Saturday. My first reaction was, "doesn't every hill block a view?"

I'm not sure what danger this particular sign and its twin going the opposite direction (one for each North and South bound traffic) is pointing out to motorists.

Just past this point, the road curves and the grade of the hill is significant, but this Warning sign or others around it do not indicate the curve. Burma Road will probably only have local traffic so most motorists will be familiar with the road's curve, yet this sign it more of a novelty than a warning.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Historic Winter - 1986

Shetland Road, north of Wild Licorice where the mailbox was located.
 The storms in 1986 were similar to those of 1978 (see this post), but the County and residents were better prepared to deal with the aftermath. After the storms in 1976, my brother purchased a rear-mounted snow blower for his tractor, and in 1986 between his labors and that of the County Road Department, Gabe's Road was kept open to the highway for the milk truck.

Nancy Stearns on Shetland Road, north of the mailbox.
Rosa Stearns checking the mailbox at the intersection of Shetland
 and Wild Licorice roads, west of the farm. The mailbox post was broken
 off by the County when they plowed, and here it is merely stuck in the snow
 bank. In the Spring, my brother John welded a metal pole on the box
to replace the wooden post. 
Gabe's Road south of the silo.
Any cattle in the fields for winter could easily
step over the fence. 
 In 1986, I lived on the farm north of Pavillion. My brother, Rich would come over on nights when the wind was howling and drive his four-wheel drive truck up and down the road multiple times to break the forming drifts, hoping that I would be able to get out in the morning to go to work. It worked well most of the time.

One morning, however, I could not make it up the hill on Disneyland Road in my little Toyota Tercel (shown in the top photo, the car was amazing and had the heart of a warrior.) I went back to the house and waited to see if the school bus could get through, as it had to come down the hill, and I had to go up. Once the bus came by my house, I jumped in my car and followed since we were both going to the school. The bus broke drifts, making it easier for my car.

At school, one of the boys on the bus, who lived on a farm across Five Mile Creek, called his dad and told him I couldn't get out that morning. That sweet man (Jerry Huelle) drove his huge tractor many miles to blade the road so I could get home that night. I can't even imagine the diesel fuel he used that day to clear the road. I truly appreciated his labors.

Following that morning, I kept a packed suitcase in my car in the event I had to stay at the school or at my Mom's.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Oddball Update

Little Miss Muffet
I didn't work on this blanket, but it is too cute not to share
Several Oddball blankets have recently been finished. I've posted updated photos at the end of their previous posts.

Citrus Burst

Raspberry Delight



Monday, December 19, 2011

All Aboard!

Train Barbecue designed and built by
John Stearns
June 1986
Regular readers may remember the post about the train barbecue that my brother, John built. Recently I found some photos of the barbecue in use and wanted to share them.

Brenda's high school graduation party
June 1986
John Stearns and his train barbecue
June 1986

Friday, December 16, 2011

Foreign Friday

Malaysian Children
December 1979

The children gathered at a Mosque gate when my group toured the building. Our group probably provided a distraction for them on a hot December day.

In my travels, I only encountered children begging for food/money in the Philippines and in Bangkok.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Fall Harvest

Fall Harvest, a Western Region Oddball Baby Blanket, is promising to be a stunning blanket. So far, it has been to Idaho, Canada, and Wyoming. Where will it travel next?

The first section used Garter Steps; the second, Purled Ladder; the third section, Single Chevron. The blanket is 104 stitches wide and will have six four-inch sections.

Update: January 31, 2012

Fall Harvest needs one more section before the border
Update: April 18, 2012

Fall Harvest is finished!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Historic Winter - 1978

Terry Stearns
Gabe's Road - 1/2 mile from Hwy
December 1978
Over the weekend, I found the photos of the Winter of 1978, and I discovered the photo on this post is really from 1986 and not 1978, as I first indicated. Once I saw the other photos of 1986, the memories came back, but that is for another post.

This post contains a lot of photos of the aftermath of the 1978 storms. I am giving direction and road names for those know the area: my apologies to those who do not.

Long-time readers of this blog know that I grew up on a dairy farm. My mother and brother did all the work themselves, and the Winter of 1978 kept them extremely busy. Fresh straw had to be placed in the corral for the cows to have a place to bed down and not freeze their udders. The cows had to be fed twice a day, they needed fresh water (sometimes the stock tanks or automatic waterers would freeze), calves had to be fed and kept warm with fresh straw and heat lamps. It was exhausting work, but the Winter of 1978 compounded that work because all of the outside chores had to be done in miserable conditions - high winds and drifting snow. Then, add the stress of not knowing if the milk truck would be able to navigate the roads to pick up the fresh milk or if the electricity (juice) would go out. I admire my brother and mother for enduring those grueling days and nights.
Looking North on Gabe's Road
This is the route the milk truck used to come to the farm.
If the truck didn't arrive, and the stainless steel tank in the barn
 was full, the milk had to be dumped.
It was difficult for the County Road Department
to keep roads open after they were plowed as the wind continued
to blow and new drifts were created.
My brother, Rich was constantly pulling stalled vehicles out
with his tractor, that is if he could get to the vehicle.
Gabe's Road plowed and ready for traffic.
It was dangerous to drive after sundown, especially if the wind
was blowing: drifts could not be seen until it was too late. 
Wild Licorice Road, looking East.
This is the small hill that led to the farm from Gabe's Road.
On the left of the road is a deep irrigation ditch with cement drops.
That ditch was drifted over so it is difficult to distinguish
between the road and the ditch.
It may look like a road, but this is the drifted irrigation ditch, especially
dangerous if an unsuspecting driver thought it was a road.
Wild Licorice Road, looking West from the weir.
Even if the roads were plowed, a strong wind could create
new drifts in a matter of minutes. Farmers took down their fences and
created paths through their fields circumventing the roads until the
winds stopped creating massive drifts.
Clearing the road (Wild Licorice) in front of the farm.
The County Road Department worked long, long hours. 
Even this big equipment struggled with the packed snow.
Progress was slow, but it was still progress - that is until the
wind started howling again.
Wild Licorice Road, looking west up the hill to the farm.
 It was hard to know if or when you would meet another vehicle
at the crest of the hill. One lane traffic made careful driving a must. 
Rich, Pepper, and Rosa Stearns
Rich moved as much snow as he could in the farm yard with this tractor.
After the winter of 1978, Rich purchased a rear-mounted snow blower for this
tractor. In 1986, he managed to keep Gabe's Road clear for the milk truck,
but it took most of the day. They also purchased a generator that hooked up to the
tractor's power take-off. If the electricity went off for an extended period, they didn't
need to milk 60 - 70 head of cattle by hand. Many lessons were learned from
the Winter of 1978.
Rosa Stearns, always a jokester, keeps an eye out for the County dozer. 
By the time I was ready to go back to Wheatland, Gabe's Road had been
widened enough for two vehicles to meet and pass each other.

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