Bigger Trailer for 6 Update

We’re raising funds to help a homeless mother move her family of 6 into an RV that will give everyone a good place to sleep.

Someone asked how we put our budget together. We’re trying to raise 25K: About 5K will come off the top to GoFundMe, its pay partner, taxes, registration, title, and misc. state fees.

Our purchasing power will be about 20K. What can we buy with that? I’ve posted an example on our page at http://www.gofundme.com/BiggerTrailer4Six

A $10, $20, or $50 dollar gift will be a BIG blessing. Your prayers are coveted!

Please Help This Family of Six

We’re trying to help this single mother move her four children, and disabled dad, out of this trailer and into a bigger one where they no longer have to take turns sleeping on the floor. Please check out her story on our GoFundMe page. Please consider giving some hope to this family. Thank you!
Chris and Kids Chris and her children (grandpa not pictured).

New Year’s Day 2014

We ended New Year’s Day reflecting and discovering in Long Beach, WA

Umpquah River Light

We made a tour of Pacific Northwest lighthouses. We visited the Umpquah River Light on it’s 119th birthday, December 31, 1894! Its glorious fresnel lens was manufactured by F. Barbier, Paris, in 1890.

Shoe Tree and Mad Burgers on CA Highway 36

We spent Christmas with family down in California. On the way back, we took Highway 36 from Red Bluff, CA, to the 101. About 10 miles west of Red Bluff, we found this tree growing shoes. Shoe Tree Highway 36 It’s our first shoe tree. Not one we’ll likely forget. Shoe Tree 2 I looked up the history. It seems people started leaving shoes for others as kind of a “leafy Salvation Army” about 14 years ago. What started with about 50 pairs has grown into… well, you count them. I gave up. RedSlippers Highway 36 is full of twists, rolls, hairpins, and sheer drop offs without guard rails. Slow down on the curves. Be sure to pack water, food, and toilet paper. Facilities are limited. Read that again and be warned. Whatever you do, plan to eat at the Mad River Burger Bar in Mad River. If you blink, you’ll miss it. Helpful hint: It’s right next to the post office. Also blinkable. Burger Bar They have great burgers and milkshakes! Mad Iver Here’s Mad Iver. GRIN! The burger bar is a camper parked beneath a metal pole roof. Facilities include porta-potties. Bring your hand-san. This one is for Darren Dust: Great Signs

Holiday Meals in the RV

We’ve experienced many changes from living in a house to living in an RV, but nothing tests one’s metal like preparing a holiday meal.

The first issue is scale. Our mini-kitchen has a mini stove, mini oven, and mini convection/microwave. We have next to nothing prep, stovetop, and cooking space. Worse, we discovered that our oven doesn’t maintain a consistent temperature. Hello. So, in addition to getting creative and organized about space, we had to think differently about cooking, baking, and roasting.

The next issue is scale. We used to hand raise our holiday turkey. We bought our chicks in the spring, raised them through the summer, and harvested them in November.

Isaiah feeds the new chicks.

They ran all over the ranch and got fat on bugs- especially grasshoppers.
Holy Cow Turkeys

Inevitably, we grew some very big birds. They ranged from 35-55 pounds. Our record turkey was 64 pounds-dressed! We had to use a commercial oven to roast it.

Turkey

This year, we bought a 10-lb turkey. Ivan cut it up into pieces, seared the meat, crammed it into a pressure cooker with an onion, tossed in some seasoning, and cooked the whole thing in less than an hour. My eyes twitched the whole time, but it turned out GREAT!

The next issue is scale. The stove top has three burners, but two pots barely fit on it simultaneously (Never three! Forgetaboutit!). I made stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potatoes, and caramel sauce in multiple stages (two food items at a time), by sliding pots back and forth over the burners. I used the microwave to make green beans.

We broke all the rules… we even used ready-made pie crusts and disposable pie pans.

The next issue is scale. Limited refrigerator space precluded us from making food ahead of time.

Our meal turned out great… but we had to be strategic to overcome limited counter, cooking, and storage space.

Navajo in Montana in Seattle

While at the University of Washington Medical Center, I found this silver gelatin print hanging on a bleak wall outside ICU.

The feathers bring to mind angels and doves. I thought of this verse:

And I say, ‘O that I had wings like a dove!
   I would fly away and be at rest; Psalm 55:6, NRSV

©1996 Phil Borges, “Joseph, 2; Crow Agency, MT,” 20″X20″. Joseph is a Navajo dancer from Window Rock, AZ.  Borges shot his portrait during a Crow pow-wow in Montana.

150 years later… still “above our poor power”

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract.

The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

— Abraham Lincoln

Nov. 19, 1863

Fall Walk with Ivan

I love this guy…

Who Am I?

What neat little “box” do I fit in? This question has followed me here from Montana. Am I a city girl? I was born in Chicago, after all. But I lived in Montana longer; am I from a rural community? Is there really such a thing as the best of both worlds? I feel like I’m not the only one who struggles with this. Every day, teenagers and adults alike struggle with our identity.

Who am I? It’s the resounding question hanging over our heads, telling us: “No, you can’t wear that, that’s not you.” It’s the voice of your best friend saying, “Hannah’s… Hannah,” when someone asks them to describe you. And it’s not always about appearance, although that’s oftentimes the case: race, gender, sexuality, personality, so-called “attractiveness”… All around, people are trying to put other people into “boxes”. “Everyone fits in somewhere,” they say. But they’re wrong. No one perfectly fits into a category; you can’t just assign people labels. The truth is, everyone so desperately wants to fit people into “boxes” that when someone who doesn’t fit in, people don’t know what to do. Come into school with purple hair? “Thats….. Interesting?” Show up to work with a new tattoo? “Umm..” And so on. People are so bent upon silently putting you on a labeled shelf that they are uncomfortable even discussing people who are different. How many teachers in a public school system do you think would be comfortable discussing not just racial slurs, but why they’re degrading, with students?

Most of them wouldn’t. That’s just it. Society has made it a taboo to talk about race or sexuality. It’s inappropriate to ask someone what gender they identify with, because you might offend them. But why? We have been taught to put things together since kindergarten: the red blocks go in the red pile, the blue in the blue pile, and so on. We were taught the history of the european world, but I can’t remember one single time when the history of, say, Africa, was brought up, except to remind us that they were shipped off to become slaves. We silently bias, and if anyone complains? “It’s not part of the curriculum.”

I guess my point is that I’m sick of all the perfect boxes; the government categories. I’m sick of adults being “cautious”, trying not to offend someone. I mean, I appreciate the gesture, but I asked a question to get an answer, and I don’t appreciate my education being snubbed because “That could be a dangerous topic”. I don’t have time to come see you after class, and I think the whole class would benefit from whatever it was I asked. I’m sick of people being told “Be yourself!” Because what if you don’t know who you are? What if you’re afraid of being judged? What if you don’t fit in a “box”? What are people going to do with you? We try to sort people; male or female, black, white, asian, or mixed race, straight, homosexual, transgender, the list goes on and on.

Why do I care so much about this? you may ask. And my answer is this: as Christians, we are called to “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”(John 13:35) And I’ll admit, I have done my share of not-loving. God says to love one another. That’s it. No “Love everyone, except people who fit into categories x, y, or z.” Just love. Is it very loving of us to try and put people into categories, so we can “see them in a better light”? Yeah, people say things like “Well you know, you have to know that that person is *insert category here* to understand them better” Yeah right! Knowing someone has done this or said this shouldnt change your perspective of who they are as a person.  We need to stop putting people in “boxes”

That’s a lot of opinion coming from a 14 year old, so if you made it this far, I congratulate you. To answer my question at the beginning, well, I just don’t know. I don’t know who I am, or who I’m going to be. I don’t know what boxes I fit in. And I don’t care, either. People can put me in boxes- go ahead. But ask yourselves this: Does it really matter in the long run? Will your peception of me really change all that much because you’ve labeled me as a nerd and not a high end dressy fancy socialite? I hope your answers to those are no, but if they aren’t- maybe you need to rethink your priorities.

~Hannah J.