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Saturday, September 24, 2011

It's Fall, It's Crush, It's a Weather Alert . . .

This has been one of the nicest, pleasant weather weeks since we have moved. It is now the second day of fall. On the first day of fall we went out to breakfast and marveled at the beauty of the season. Fall is a beautiful time of the year -- and it is different in the many regions of our country. This is what the first day of fall looked like around here:

We drove through the vineyards and when we were slowed by a vineyard tractor we pulled over for some photo ops. The vines were heavy laden with beautiful purple grapes -- the exact type we were not sure of other than they were probably not chardonnay or fume blanc . . .

These grapes soon will find themselves in the midst of the crush and much later possibly on our table -- or yours for that matter.

Besides seeing the grapes that needed to be picked we saw in our side yard apples that needed to be picked -- which we did and we now have several more bags full of apples for the local food pantry.

But--on the second day of fall I was greeted with the following when I logged on to my email:

While the temperature looked much lower than the previous days I wondered what unlucky part of the country was in for a "severe weather alert" . . . so I clicked on that for details and found to my amazement that it was for us. Us in Sonoma County -- how could that be and what kind of joke was this. The alert did say that Saturday would be "okay" but sometime on Sunday there would be a series of storms bringing a ton of rain. We've battened down the hatches, mostly meaning that we lowered the umbrella and put some things out of the weather, but other than that we are waiting to see how the new house handles large amounts of rain . . .

Friends Week --

It seems this was a week that many friends (and some relatives) came by and allowed us to take some time to reminisce AND to sit under the apple tree:

Just a birds-eye view of some of the visitors, but it was nice, we look forward to more of the same.

The Move-In Process

We spent the better part of three days working in and about the garage. It has been full so many times and we have never even gotten a car close to having room to be housed in there -- UNTIL now:

We are really proud of the fact that we could actually park Gail's car inside the garage and so this is proof. It may not happen again but her car is inside for now -- we even left the garage open for a bit just so our neighbors could see our progress.

The reason we worked on the garage was because we are going to have sheet-rock put up and then cabinets built along the sides for storing things. We are hesitant to show pictures of our family room, dining room and/or our guest bedroom -- for they are now filled to the brim with what used to be in the garage. We know this is only temporary but it is unsettling to walk around what we deem as "Costco closet" things in our living area.

But you can see that we do have room for a second vehicle in the garage -- and we have scouted around for some possible choices. We spotted one just the other day that might fit the bill and become a "hobby" vehicle and a project that we could work on as a family . . .

I am not sure exactly what make and model this is -- if any one knows, fill us in please.  This is a project probably that will have to go on the back burner -- way back -- but it did catch our eye. We are just kidding of course about parking this in our garage -- we have my car that needs to be inside. Besides, when we went back for another look the car was gone . . .

From the Family Tree Site

September is a month filled with birthdays of many of the folks that find their way into our tree. As a matter of fact there are some 168 September birthdays that are listed on my web site special reports pages. It is easy to access the website while reading this blog -- just click on the "related Hiles family" icon on the right and it is a direct link to the site:

Here is the "Reports" page where you can access any of the five listed reports available -- plus from there you can explore tons of photos and documents connected to the folks in the tree. While I go into the site myself everyday -- after the moving process subsides some I'll be able to continue adding branch material that I have been accumulating over time.

From Dick Eastman's Blog

I read Dick Eastman's blog almost everyday and find it very valuable. He stays on top of the genealogy world and over the years I have learned a lot from his blog. One item caught my eye yesterday and I share it now:

(Click on the above to enlarge)
I have always been a fan of Google and when they announced a program that was their answer to Facebook, I wanted to take a look and maybe participate -- but it was only open "by invitation" only and I did not get an invitation and so am really pleased to see that Google+ is now open to anyone to join. So I have joined -- please take a look at it and if you read this blog then why not be a part on one another's circle as Google describes it . . . if you do join Google+ include me in your circle and I'll do the same for you. I also participate in Twitter and Facebook, but Google+ really has my interest.

Well that has been part of my week -- it is Saturday and nearly time for sliders. Have a good week and we'll see you in a few -- if the creek don't rise.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Storage Reduction Success -- Cousin Mailbag

Somewhere I heard that "it has been a busy week" and that is certainly the case here. When we obtained the two storage units we resolved that we would not keep them "forever" and this week unbelievably we swept out the second unit and are even getting a small refund . . . HOWEVER, now all the boxes that were so neatly stacked in the storage unit are stacked throughout the house . . . we are working on them.

We took our first walk to town last week and along the way we spotted a "photo-op". A couple of years ago amid much controversy our down-town local Post Office burnt to the ground. Within days the rubble was removed and an attractive fence placed around the perimeter. Since that time improvements to the property include the scene seen here:

We felt it worthy of publishing this view -- while it is an improvement over the previous structure we anticipate additional items for our walking and viewing pleasure to appear from time to time -- maybe even a new structure of some sort.

From the Cousin Mailbag

A few weeks ago I received the following pictures from our cousin Bruce (New Jersey). The pictures show their dog Mattie going for a ride with Rosa (Bruce's wife). Bruce claims that someone must have doctored the picture on the right . . . thanks for sending them:

Maybe Mattie has spotted some postal pics . . .

Meanwhile, back to the storage reduction program. We removed numerous banker's boxes from storage. Among them were twelve really heavy boxes -- all twelve were filled with cookbooks -- just cookbooks. Our dilemma is that we have room for about two boxes of cookbooks at the most.

We have spent a couple of days going through the books and deciding on which ones to keep. First we kept favorites and the ones we use "all of the time". Then we saved the ones that were signed by the authors and finally a few others that we were sure that we would be using "in the near future" . . .

But one of the fun things going through the books was to find one that held special memories for Gail. It is a collection of handwritten recipes put into a spiral bound edition including recipes from both her Mother, Myrtle, and her Grand Aunt Inez:

As you can see (click to enlarge) Gail's Mother had two recipes in there -- neither of which Gail can recall ever eating or even seeing them prepared.  Her Aunt Inez had a couple of bread type recipes as well. Needless to say -- this cookbook is a "keeper"!  We intend to try the "chop suey" . . .

Here is where these two recipe contributors fit into the family tree:

Major Genealogical Event

The countdown to the release of the 1940 Federal Census is getting closer. It takes 72 years from the original date of the census before the release of personal information. Aggregate information of course has been released -- but now (after April 2nd of next year) we will begin to see the personal information of many of our family members as they were in 1940:

I borrowed the above poster from the EOGN (Dick Eastman) blog -- thank you very much. But the release of the census will be exciting because two of my siblings should be listed along with numerous family members allowing us the snapshot of that period.

Try Explaining This

The "Cousin Connection" is confusing enough, but this week I was sent this -- rather simple -- path to identifying another of my here-to-fore not known relative. Chances are if you are reading this she is your relative as well. Let me know your "take" on this . . .

The above was sent to me from and clearly -- click on the chart -- you can see where you might fit in as well.

It is Saturday and again a beautiful day here -- we will be watching another Giant's game later this evening all while enjoying our favorite -- SLIDERS . . .

This was part of our week, see you all in a few.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Low-Hanging Fruit and the Sales Process

It definitely has been a "mixed" week. We have had a variety of things going on and we are getting somewhat settled. I say somewhat because we are now concentrating on the second storage unit -- and the depletion of it's contents . . .

In between trips to the "old" house we are experiencing an activity that we have no history in . . . fruit picking. Apples to be exact -- though we are still unsure of the type, I am leaning still towards Gravenstein at least for the second of our apple trees.

This is the "side yard" apple tree and the apples are definitely showing more red than the back yard tree, maybe that has to do with the sun. But whatever the case and whatever the type we realized that we need a place to put these apples after we pick them.  After family deposits we are now taking bags -- several -- to the local food pantry where we hope they get put to good use.

The picking of the low hanging apples was and is no problem. But we have quickly reached the point where we needed a ladder -- which we did for one day. We soon recognized that putting our bodies in jeopardy reaching out from the ladder was not a good idea. A trip to the local  hardware solved the problem -- a fruit picker:

So we think we have the apple situation solved for this week. We used the picker to obtain a lot of the upper fruit -- which of course necessitated another trip to the pantry. The low fruit apple picker is just like the tools that I use while working on the family tree -- the low hanging fruit I've pretty much gotten and now I am looking for additional tools to reach the upper fruit. (I just renewed my Ancestry subscription).

From the Family Tree

This month represents many birthdays from our tree -- especially from my direct line -- September 9th would have been my father's 104th birthday and his father's (on the 6th) 128th birthday. So happy birthday to all in the tree for this month:

From the News this week:

When we work in the trees (fruit or otherwise) things get complex at times. But I can only imagine what the tree would look like for some of the inhabitants of the following story that appeared in the news this week in our local paper -- I am sure it made the news in most cities and represents a "nightmare"  for genealogists:

The father of these half siblings tree would be extremely complex as would the "cousins" associated with the siblings. As far as I know I don't have this to deal with in our tree -- but we never know . . .

Other Events/Mixed feelings . . .

We have been debating about what to do with our "old" house -- and we have decided to put it on the market even though the market is difficult right now. If that does not work to our satisfaction we may put it on a "lease"  plan . . . but it definitely hit us as we saw the "For Sale" sign put up just yesterday . . .

We had a "funny" feeling when this sign went up. Hopefully that feeling will subside when all is concluded.

The week had another bright spot though -- the NFL opening game on Thursday night. The game was a really fun game to watch -- at least for us -- probably not so much for Saints fans . . . the Packers won the game after leading most of the game but came perilously close to having the game tied in the last few seconds . . .

We look forward to the upcoming games -- especially the 49ers this coming Sunday against a traditional rival -- the Seahawks -- I have mixed feelings and depending on how the teams play I could be happy with either team winning . . .

It is Saturday and that means "sliders". But before the making of those sliders there just may be a "walk" in our immediate future -- one to the town plaza and the "Beer-in-thePlaza" event . . .

And so goes our week -- our best to you all -- see you in a few.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Sounds/Smell, Lawn -- Crape Myrtles

Driving through our town this morning gave every indication of a holiday. There were tons of tourists wandering the streets, going to the plaza for the Art Show and generally enjoying what is considered the "last" holiday weekend of the summer . . .

I remember growing up that the adults in my life did in fact look forward to taking the day off AND to Labor Day itself -- for a variety of reasons, the main one being that "us kids" were going back to school. Going back to school always was the day after Labor Day for me. Today of course, schools in our town have already been in session for a couple of weeks.

Being retired for the last several years means partially that one day blends into the other and so "to take the day off" doesn't have the same impact that it used to. For our ancestors beginning in the 1880s and becoming a Federal Holiday in the 1890s,  Labor Day has meant a lot.

I know that for some of the women in our family tree, Labor Day meant the end of the season to wear white clothing and included some pastel colors as well.  Today, especially here in California that notion really sounds archaic.

For us football fans, Labor Day marks the end of pre-season football and we look with great anticipation to the Thursday game (after Labor Day) for the official start of the season. I have to say though that I enjoyed the final pre-season game . . .

Taking the day off has not totally hit our neighborhood -- the unmistakable sounds of a lawn mower permeate the air as does the beautiful smell of freshly mowed lawn. I can remember 50 years ago experiencing the same sounds & smells and the really nice feeling that it was "someone" else doing the doing, and so it is today.

We are still going back and forth between two houses. Today we checked out our garden at the old house -- the tomatoes are really starting to ripen now. And the squash and zucchini are doing really well, plus we have one pumpkin that may or may not be ready for Halloween.

Just beneath the yellow squash is a large zucchini ready to be picked and turned into bread or biscuits. The squash we saute along with onions and a little garlic. We'll miss that garden -- but we have plans for a new one.

One tree that we did not have while growing up in the Midwest was the Crape Myrtle (or Crepe Myrtle). It is in evidence all throughout our town. From the window of my office I look out at one that is really beautiful and is a good example of how it looks in the evening sunlight.

The sun was hitting the top portion of the tree while the long shadows formed across the lawns and street.

Cousin Connection

I did communicate with a couple of cousins this week. Hopefully with the exchange of emails will come some family trivia or data that will help to break through some of the "brick walls" that have been looming for some time.

For me, it would really be a step forward if I knew from what country my direct paternal line originated. I do have knowledge of some of the maternal originating countries e.g. Sweden, Norway (my Dad's maternal line) and way way back -- thousands of years -- Africa . . .

And so it goes for another week. I wish you all a relaxing holiday weekend.

For us, we will enjoy a freshly made batch of sliders tonight . . .

See you in a few.