Fort Union had grown. There were more adobe buildings and better ones. I think mother would have liked to have lingered there. I know that Captain Shoemaker tried to induce her to stay and take some military boarders; however, she wanted to get Will and me enrolled in school as quickly as possible so we pushed on to Santa Fe.
I think I was never so glad to return to any place as I was to Santa Fe that autumn of 1860. I brought with me many eastern ways, and a rather nice wardrobe. At first I showed off a bit, but failing to impress either the students or sister, I forgot all about it and settled down into my uniforms and the school routine as if I had not been four year an easterner.
Mother moved again into the same house fronting the Plaza, and soon had more boarders than she could well handle. But this time there was no adjustment period for us. We chatted with our Mexican neighbors in their tongue. We cooked the hot chili and ate it. We shouldered the sleepy burros and sheep out of the way as we walked down the narrow crooked alleys... alleys that were ours by adoption.
Life slipped back easily and quickly into the worn, old groove. Some of the girls I had known four years before had grown to womanhood and had left the walls of the convent. Some of the nuns had been sent to other schools and new sisters had taken their places. I remember how we day pupils ate our lunches in the little refectory in the side yard of the Academy. And how when the sisters left us for a moment we would all begin laughing and telling stories. The gossip we repeated was a bit different from the gossip in Leavenworth. One girl would whisper that while the Navahos tried to be on good terms with the white folks, they were really spies and not to be trusted. Another one told of how an old Indian woman had stolen her mother's red mother hubbard (a long, loose-fitting, shapeless woman's dress or undergarment) right off the clothes line. Another girl whispered that the strangers in town, the ones with the wide leather belts and strange looking trousers and the spurs that jangled, were Mexican guerrillas from old Mexico.
One more happy year passed thus in Santa Fe, town of manana (Spanish for tomorrow). Then again mother conceived the idea of returning once again to Leavenworth. I really do not know why she wanted to go back but I think it was the lure of the trail that drew her. I know she loved Santa Fe and liked living there, but at heart my mother was a nomad. She gaily betook herself back and forth over the trail on first one pretext and then another. Who am I to condemn her, when today I would rather embark in a prairie schooner for parts unknown than to embark on white wings for a place in the skies called Heaven!
Sometimes today I am reminded of what the Indians told us about the scrub cedar - I think the cedar tree reminds me of mother. They said the cedar tree had power to close its branches on the approach of a snow storm, that way the snow fell only on the sides of the slender leaves. I have seen the cedar trees lifting up their boughs and turning the edges of their leaves to meet the falling snow. I have seen my mother lifting up her heart in an attitude of prayer that always helped her to bear what misfortune brought her. Today when I think of my pioneer mother I feel a joy unspeakable.
So once more we embarked in an eastern wagon train bearing cargo from far away California. Mule-drawn the wagons lid easily down to the cluster of huts on the Purgatoire. Many houses had sprung up there like little mud-colored mushrooms. There was a frontier store and a quaint Catholic church. We forded the river and camped this time on the northern bank beneath the tall, white bluff.
While we loitered around the fires that evening an old Mexican, wearing the tattered remains of a sombrero, slouched beneath the taut ropes of our wagon-corral and came toward us. He told us that the cluster of mud huts was call Trinidad, and the river was called the Purgatoire. The early Spaniards had called it El Rio de las Animas Perdidas en Purgatoris, the River of Lost Souls in Purgatory. When we asked him why it was so called, he said that many moons ago a tribe of cruel Comanches was forced by the Great Spirit to live forever beneath the surface of the earth, never again to see the light of day.
The old Mexican believed the Indian myth of the lost Indian tribe because there were places along the river where one might still hear strange sounds like the moans and curses of a people in pain. I remember how Will and I smiled at the story told by the old Mexican. In later years I was to be perplexed myself at hearing strange sounds like moans and curses coming from beneath the earth at places along the banks of the Purgatoire.
Even a year had wrought a change along the trail. We found a bit of plowed land here and there, black strips traversing our sea of silver grass. On the plains of Kansas the white men were killing the buffalo, killing them ruthlessly and in great numbers.
This time mother moved to Kansas City. Once more I entered school, and Will found employment on the Kansas City Journal. He spent all his spare time that winter studying for the ministry. In the spring he united with the First Baptist Church. However, when Civil War came upon us he joined a Kansas regiment and marched away to war.
I remember how he smiled at us and how mother tried to keep smiling. I tried to take my cue from them, and the last morning I stood beside mother as Will was leaving. I stood very straight and returned smile for smile while I wondered if I would ever see my brother come marching back again. Had we known, Mother and I, that we were not to see him again for fifty long years, perhaps we would not have been able to keep up the smiling.
Before those fifty years were ended Will was to have fought through the War, been ordained a Baptist minister, sent as a missionary to Calcutta, India, and then sent as a minister to Mexico City, Mexico.
He was stationed in Mexico City when that place was stirred by a great religious riot. With his own two hands he rang the first Protectant church bell in that city. Later he was ordered back to the States. Finally Will did the thing that surprised us all. He renounced the Baptist Church and united with the Catholic Church. He never in after years discussed his strange conduct. I cannot explain to you what I never understood myself. Will was always honest and sincere. Religion was the guiding motive of his life. Perhaps the seed planted by Father Lamy in his heart so long ago had born fruit at last. Always I remember his childish prayer, "Please God, may I some day see your face."
The Wagon Trail block representing this part of the journey that Marion and her family made is a variation of the Jacob's Ladder block with a fun combination of 4-patch and half-square triangle units.
Marion has stated several times before that New Mexico had captured her heart and she longed to live in Santa Fe. Before you go, tell me...
Is there a specific place that you long to settle?
Or even repeatedly visit because of a special connection you feel when you are there?
I did it! I got the Bright & Cheer Sunflowers quilted and ready to send off!
Other things that have been accomplished are basically non-existent, but I feel really good about this. We are focusing on getting the camper loaded with some food, bedding and clothes, wedding clothes selected, wedding quilt wrapped and reservation information for our overnight in Iowa on the way. Did I mention that Dave recently purchased a larger lawn tractor and we are picking it up on our way???
The other day the wind decided to pick up and there only a few leaves remaining on our maple trees... but what remains matches the centers of the sunflowers perfectly!
With this one and the Butterfly Garden quilt on their way home I am ready for a vacay!
Almost... Audio book acquired, sewing kit and a few postcard block patterns are ready to go... snacks and beverages available...
What sort of road-trip activities do you plan for?
A few weeks ago I helped a friend who had recently become a Pampered Chef consultant and hosted an on-line party. While I love PC and their products I had not really anticipated the amount of sales/orders that were placed. Because of the the fabulous hostess rewards and deals I received I am now the owner of an air fryer and a quick/slow cooker, all at a price that cost me less than $80.
Our daughters had gifted us an instapot a few Christmases ago when I asked for a rice cooker. Honestly, I did not keep it because of the size of the appliance and lack of space to store it. I did have room for the much smaller rice cooker.
We have seen and heard all the rage about the air fryers and now I have one of THOSE too! Another over-sized appliance... and the same lack of countertop space and storage space.
So... I need your help. Sell me on these two appliances by telling me where I can find your favorite "no-fail" recipes!
I have tried a few recipes in the air fryer but we have been less than impressed . Perhaps I am just an old dog when it comes to my preferred cooking methods. I enjoy my crockpot and the extra time that it affords me in my sewing room. The pleasant aromas of the meal as it simmers away is always enticing.
Again, maybe I am just an old dog struggling with change and I need to get over it... HELP!
As I reflect on all that I have experienced in the past week I have much to be thankful for!
#1 Restored health for both Dave and myself
While we have been fortunate enough to have suffered mild symptoms (very mild for me), we feel like we are functioning at about 80% and I am SOOOOOOOO happy to be out of the guest room! I attribute my extremely mild case and quick recovery to my regiment of supplements for my thyroid health and immune system, as well as the use of some essential oils... but I will not deny that the power of prayer was instrumental as well.
#2 The return of my Babylock Lyric
My machine was in need of a tune up. It had been in for servicing in February, but sadly was returned home not fully repaired. I got by fine for most of the summer, but when my frustration in the feeding of the fabric reached its pinnacle and cleaning did not improve it, I went in search of a new repair shop.
Boone at Diablo Sewing is a retired guy with a shop in his home and was quite thorough. I would guess that he has had some experience in repairing machines that the previous shop has had their fingers in.
I haven't given it a try, but the sample sewing he gave me looks really good!
#3 The colors of Fall!
Our flaming red maple trees are gorgeous this year!
And look at the multi-colored look of the larger one! Talk about inspiration for a fall quilt...
#4 The delivery of the proof of my book! Pieces From The Past ~ a collection of letters from former POWs is becoming a reality!
What are you thankful for?
Leave a comment... I love to hear from you.
Stay Calm & Thankful,
PS - Block 10 of the Pieces of the Santa Fe Trail Sew Along will be released in a week. Which means... you still have PLENTY of time to get the pattern for block 9 - Comfort of Home - and link up your finished block for a chance to win a free fat-quarter! Patterns are free to download for six weeks. After that each pattern has a nominal fee of $2 each. However, for the remainder of October you can get a discounted bundle that includes nine patterns for just $7 - rather than $14. No code needed, but you can only access the patterns via the high-lighted link above.
We had considered ourselves lucky but we knew it would eventually catch us... that dreaded bug. I am certain that Dave brought it home with him after his most recent grand jury session. That is the only place and time that we have not been out and about together... 😕
He has had a mild case but dealing with some lingering lethargy and I am just starting with a burning throat. My mighty prayer warriors are on duty and I can feel every one of their prayers.
While he was convalescing on the couch watching "man tv" I was in my studio cranking through last week's To-do List.
✔Both the butterfly garden quilt and the memory quilt were completed, including labels and being washed and dried on Friday.
The camping trip was not going to happen, even if the bug hadn't caught up with us because of snow above 10,500 feet. We're just not THAT crazy!
As I was trying to avoid as much contact as possible with the patient I assumed my position back in my studio for much of Saturday as I made some quilted cards to sell at the Historical Society's dinner in November. Three different landmarks, five of each and I have more cut and ready to finish. It may or may not happen this week, but I have time.
Honestly, I miss my bed... the guest bed is not really, well... they say that a guest bed should never be too comfortable lest the guests may over-stay their welcome. haha! That seems to be exactly where our guest bed seems to be... not intentionally, but seriously, I think we need to get something better! My lower back and left hip hurt. Tylenol, hot soaks in the bathtub and essential oils help.
❧ The plans for the coming week? Get my health restored and get back to normal. I am grateful that it seems to be a mild case and with the help of supplements, fluids, plenty of rest and essential oils (and the many prayers being spoken on my behalf) it WILL NOT be around long.
The internet service, facebook and the laptop that I am working on are not working all that great and while I have many more thoughts to share, my back is telling me it is time for another dose of tylenol and a soak... I'll take it as a sign to sign off.
Are you a user of essential oils?
I have been using Thieves and Immunity Boost as well as peppermint and eucalyptus... Before you go, tell me what are some of your favorites?
I see the light at the end of the tunnel! And I am confident that it IS NOT a train coming to run me down. 😁
✔ The wedding quilt had its own personal photo shoot! I met my One Month Goal for September and have it linked up. You can see some details about it over on "Love Grows Here"
✔ The Softball T's top has been sandwiched and marked and ready for quilting!
✔ The Butterfly Garden quilt is also sandwiched, marked and ready to quilt!
I am still dealing with final details of the book publishing and grants but I am hopeful that by the end of the day I will have those properly submitted to their respective homes and can turn my full focus back to quilting... at least for a short time.
❧ I hope to have these two quilts with binding ready for finishing by Friday. I will then make the decision at that time whether I hand sew the binding or machine finish them.
Dave and I have discussed plans to sneak away and go camping after church on Sunday at a small national forest campground not far from us. If this actually happens I will take them along as my hand-sewing projects. The colors of the aspen leaves should be at their peak and I can almost feel the chill in the air (and my blood pressure coming down) as we relax.
We both realized after his return from his hunting (rifle-hiking) trip just exactly how tired and burned out we were... though I saw it and felt it leading up to his time away. I recalled stating to him and to my friends "I feel like there is something terribly off in me, but I don't know what to do about it or how to fix it!"
The problem was revealed with an appointment to my naturopath. I had a deficiency of magnesium and the solution was a simple adjustment to my supplements! In my brief research about such a deficiency, I discovered that I had been experiencing 8 out of 12 symptoms for weeks. After just 48 hours on the new supplements I felt like a new woman! AHHHH-mazing!
❧ I'll be planning out the program for the Trinidad Historical Society featuring the POW letters and history of Camp Trinidad as well... but still guarding my newly re-established boundaries of "work"... but sometimes I have a hard time turning off my brain. My plan to protect the boundaries is to simply make brief notes as thoughts come to mind and then set it aside. I'll have Dave as my captive audience on our road trip to the wedding in Illinois is a few weeks so I can bounce ideas off of him then as I try to put everything into an order that makes sense.
❧ I need to get the next portion of the Santa Fe Trail Sew Along ready to go. It is a difficult to fathom that this series is two-thirds done! I have enjoyed seeing everyone's blocks. Do you have a favorite so far?
My September One Month Goal was to finish the wedding quilt for our niece Janna.
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
It takes the effort of both individuals to foster, nurture and grow a marriage with these attributes. And I believe that Janna and Justin are just the perfect couple to do this.
When I began considering a design for their quilt I chose a heart... the symbol of love. Janna and Justin had dated for a period of time, had gone their separate ways but continued to see each other within their circle of friends. Eventually they were a couple again... with a stronger relationship with the Lord and with each other.
One of my favorite memories of Janna is from when she was just a toddler. It was in the summer of 1995 when we had been in Illinois to assist with the cleaning out of my mother-in-law's condo after her passing away a few month earlier.
We were outside and there were some flower pots along their driveway. Janna found a green caterpillar. She was excitedly telling us about how she found this "geen worm". We asked "what did you do with the geen worm?" She replied in her little toddler voice "I pud id in da pants." With wide eyes we responded with "you put in your pants? Why did you put the worm in your pants?"
She emphatically stated "not my pants... the pants!" pointing to a flower pot sitting on the edge of the driveway. "Oh! The plants!"
She is now a beautiful young woman, a follower of Christ and a student of law... ready to become a loving wife.
The words of wisdom I offer is "Do not view the wedding ceremony as the finish line of the relationship. It is the just the beginning!"
I had my fair share of challenges as I tried to finish this gift, though I pressed on despite them. This quilt has my blood, sweat, tears and prayers stitched into every square inch! (Don't worry... the blood washed out!) I forgot to switch thread colors, not just once, but twice! But it didn't really matter in the end...
I went in search of a flower garden for the photo shoot and am in love with what I got. This particular shot captured the detail of the feathers as well as the vines and leaves...
What words of wisdom would you offer to a couple about to marry?
The spring of 1860 found us still in Fort Leavenworth. It also brought to us the first, faint rumblings of civil war. We heard much talk of the Fugitive Slave Act, the Missouri Compromise, the Dred Scott Decision, and the John Brown Raid. Perhaps mother grew tired of hearing so much of the nation's unrest. Perhaps like Will and me, she was just homesick for the west. One morning when we three were eating breakfast at a small round table and Will and I were talking about the wonders of Santa Fe, she pushed her chair back quickly and stood up to say, "Keep still! I am as homesick as you are. I can stand no more of this talk of the plaza. We are going west again as soon as ever I can get passage in a wagon train for us."
Will and I whooped. We ate no more breakfast, for we were too happy. I remember saying that if I ever got back in sight of the mountains I would never leave. I was to discover that for many years, perhaps never, I was not to be master of my destiny. It seems I have always had to go where others lead me. Even today I wait in land not of my choosing. I wait, as I wait, I keep thinking of that land of dim distance and long silence.
Mother said that perhaps this time we would go to Sutter's Fort stopping a while in Santa Fe, of course. We secured passage this time in a large Government train of two-hundred wagons. The wagon master was a Mr. Hamilton. The train was sufficiently large that we did not feel much fear of the Indians, beside that Uncle Sam had been busy erecting forts along the trail. At these forts soldiers were stationed to protect the traveling public. By this time I felt quite grown-up for I was fifteen and Will was seventeen.
I was now old enough to help mother with the camp cooking and, since she had no boarders this time, she too, enjoyed the trip more. Sometimes I walked by the side of the wagon with Will and the driver. Frequently, I sat by my mother on the high spring seat of the wagon and crocheted diligently. I made four yards of fine, white lace to edge my someday-to-be bridal petticoat.
At last the brakes of the Missouri lay behind us and our white ships were sailing across the wide sea of grass. At Council Grove we spent the Sabbath. The grocery-man did not remember me, for I had grown tall. I wore a long dress, and braids of brown hair were coiled coronet fashion around my head. He did remember Mother the moment that he saw her alight from the wagon, and he came with both hands outstretched to meet her. We camped by the store that night and I remember how a Kaw Indian came and traded the grocery-man a shaggy red pony for a sack of white bolted flour. While we stood watching another Kaw came and the grocery-man traded him the pony for a buffalo hide filled with yellow Indian corn.
Illustration by James Waitling
The buffalo were still numerous. Sometimes we had to take pains to avoid them. The country here was so level that we could see for miles in all directions and the sun seemed to come up or go down like a great yellow disk right into or out of the earth. Sometimes we heard a noise like thunder and then a great herd of wild horses would swoop past us. Wild horses were becoming quite common. They were descendants of horses that had been stolen from wagon trains along the Santa Fe and Oregon trails. Each herd was led by a stallion.
This trip across the plains we did not follow the Cimarron Cut-off but went by the way of Raton Pass and Bent's Stockade. Bent's Stockade was a sort of gathering place for the hunters and trappers. It was a bit like a present day country auction. A white man would hold up something he wanted to trade. The Indians would crowd around and do a lot of grunting. Then one of them would step forward and offer a blanket or a buffalo robe in exchange. The market for beads was not so brisk. The Indians now wanted guns and gunpowder. The more Indians present the better the trading, and for that reason there were always Indians lounging around Bent's Stockade.
One evening at sunset we found ourselves on the banks of the Purgatoire River, where the town of Trinidad, Colorado now stands. Our trail led us past a tall white bluff where an Indian stood, tall and straight watching our wagons ford the river. Along the southern bank ran a buffalo trail, and a log jacal (usually a brush shelter built to protect against wind, storm or sun) stood there among the brush and cedars. The tall white bluff where the Indian stood we call today "Simpson's Rest," in honor of an old pioneer whose grave is there. The old jacal was replaced in later years by the Cardenas Hotel. Many adobe houses were to spring up along the trail where our covered wagons camped that evening in 1860. I remember how I lay that night and looked out across the shining ford of the Purgatoire river into the moon-drenched country across which we had traveled. I did not realize then that I would end my days in Trinidad beneath that tall bluff; that often when sleep defied me I would look at that same moon-drenched country and remember that camp of covered wagons.
Next morning while more than a hundred little breakfast fires were sending spirals of blue smoke heavenward, two Mexicans came from among the scrub cedar leading a little burro laden with venison. I remember how gladly we traded gunpowder for venison. We were not permitted to trade guns or gunpowder to the Indians.
Breaking camp while it was still early, our cavalcade began the steep and tortuous ascent of the Raton Pass. Today we glide easily over hairpin curves that in 1860 meant broken axles and crippled horses. The trail was a faint wheel mark winding in and out over the fallen trees and huge boulders. Midday found us only a little way above the present site of Morley, Colorado. Our horses were jaded and tired, six of our wagons had broken axles. We made camp where a little icy cold spring bubbled by the wayside. We rested, ate and tried to repair some of the damage done to our wagons.
I always remember the smell of the wild choke-cherry and the pungent odor of pine that greeted us that first morning. To our left lay what we call today "Fisher's Peak," but what we knew then as Raton Mountain. They said that great mountain side was infested with a specie of great, grey packrat known no place else. The mountain was called by the early day Mexicans "Rat Mountain."
Once more we came to Fort Union and found Captain W.R. Shoemaker ordinance officer there. He was esteemed and respected by both the civilian and military population. His worth has been commemorated by naming the beautiful canyon on the Mora River east of Fort Union, Shoemaker Canyon, in his honor.
Marion found comfort in her memory... "I remember how I lay that night and looked out across the shining ford of the Purgatoire river into the moon-drenched country across which we had traveled. I did not realize then that I would end my days in Trinidad beneath that tall bluff; that often when sleep defied me I would look at that same moon-drenched country and remember that camp of covered wagons."
Simpson's Rest (with the Trinidad sign a top it)... There is a family connection and history with the Trinidad sign (are you surprised?). My Great-Grandfather lead the first crew to install and electrify that sign!
Fishers Peak (now a State Park)
and Morley are prominent land marks in my area. The picture of Fishers Peak was taken from our front yard. The ascent over Raton Pass is not nearly as treacherous as when Marion made it, but it does often cause issues when we have heavy rain and of course in the winter with snow and ice.
Marion lived out her life west of Trinidad in the beautiful Stonewall Valley... yet her heart remained in Santa Fe and on the Trail ~ Where your heart lies is where you find comfort ~ the Comfort of Home.
The modern day comforts of home are much different than Marion's. And the modern day conveniences are often under appreciated. But tell me...
Slowly... ever so slowly, the pieces for my book are coming together and with each step I am crossing things off on my list.
The pages were resized, but that caused problems with the layout. The document went from 116 pages to 140+. **Sigh** I made all of the necessary adjustment and followed the steps to embed the fonts and convert to a .PDF document. However... something did not work correctly **Grrrrr** and I have yet to upload the file. One more appointment made with my "lifeline" for the tech support with this problem has been made. Keep your fingers crossed and whisper a little prayer with me for success Tuesday afternoon.
The girlfriends arrived on Thursday afternoon... Sue and I were discussing some of our favorite Netflix shows and decided to introduce Julie to Virgin River. She's hooked! She went home and MADE her husband and daughter watch the first episode and now they are hooked as well. LOL!
✔ Finish quilting the borders and binding of the wedding quilt.
❧The quilt is has been laundered and is ready for a photo shoot!
We toured around town and enjoyed a few gift shops.
On Friday night we enjoyed an evening out at the local theatre. "Murder on Main Street" was a fun murder-mystery that the audience got to participate by asking suspects questions and then solve the murder.
We didn't solve the case correctly, but the director of the play/event was impressed with Julie's detailed answer and suggested she "help with the next one". Haha!
Dave returned home safely, tired and empty-handed. He and his hunting partner didn't see a single elk, only three deer and 30+ hunting camps in the area. No wonder they didn't see anything! None the less, I was happy to have him home and the girls didn't mind that he returned early. The timing was actually for the better as Jules wasn't feeling up to par and Sue had a family member that needed her help a day earlier than she had planned. All's well that ends well. 💗
✔ Start the t-shirt memory quilt for the college softball coach. All blocks have been trimmed to size and on the design wall. I have all of the fabric needed for the sashing strips, border, binding and backing.
❧ I will get the top completed and sandwiched this week. But the quilting of it will wait until I ❧ get at least one of the two quilt tops for my favorite and best customer.
In my time alone and time in conversation with my friends as well as the current Bible Devotion/Study I am doing I have realized that some of my priorities had become a bit mixed up and out of order and I think that has been a large part of the problem with my messy melt-downs, frustrations and mood swings. I've been overwhelmed... and simply kept trying harder and harder. Like the little engine that could... "I think I can, I think I can." Yet the harder I tried, the more frustrated I felt as challenge after challenge has come at me. I was feeling defeated, tired, frustrated, angry, unworthy and like a failure. The fun in life had been sucked out of me.
I am resetting the boundaries of "work" and setting weekends aside for creating and quilting for me. I am also reducing the amount of time spent on the computer/tablet. Dave is making a similar reset. It will be a challenge since both of us have used social media for our business, but not impossible. Prayers appreciated as we do this!
What tips and suggestions do you have to help make such adjustments in life?