Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Deja Vu

  Gingerly relaxing in my "retired" morning mode, I was sitting at  my computer going through my emails.  The home phone rang, which is rather odd, seeing that seldom does someone use a land line nowadays!  When I answered, I was greeted with, "Hello Pal," a greeting which only a couple of people still use these days!  It was a life-time friend, Kim Simpson, who kindly reported that someone had stopped at the gatehouse to Wolf Creek Ranch and told them there was a whole herd of cows on the loose just about ready to cross the River bridge.  Kim knew they were Earl's and called to let me know.
   I jumped up from the computer, ran to the bottom of Rob's stairs and frantically yelled at him to hurry and jump on his four-wheeler and head to the Church Farm to get the cows in!  On a chance, I grabbed my cell phone and called Earl, hoping he might be on his prep period at school. As I was grabbing a jacket, I hit Olivia's picture on my cell phone and ran to the car, waiting for the call to connect.  It never did, so I left a needless message for help. I pulled in her driveway, ran in her house and found her styling "performance" hair on Liv.  When I told her I needed her help, she said she was taking Liv to the dance studio to practice her trio with Emmie and Noelle.  I ran out and jumped back in the car, driving up Lower River Road 55-60 MPH.  With almost a stop at the sign, I continued my pursuit to the wandering cows and turned on to Bench Creek Road.  I could see ahead that Rob had found the cows and was taking them back to the pasture.  I sped up the road, only to notice that there were more cows in Dr. Winn's yard eating and pooping as they chomped away, than were trailing up the road with Rob.  I drove past the contented cows in Winnie's yard and went to help Rob.  Richard Staples fence is down across the road from the Church Farm, so of course, they all headed in to the River bottoms, with me running on my gimp leg as fast as I could to try to get ahead of them.
   About this time, here came Earl's car whizzing down the road in search of his gold, and yelled at me as me passed, "Is this all?"  I yelled back, reporting on the girls and their new babies that had found what they wanted in Winnie's neatly manicured yard.  He flipped his car around in the middle of the road and headed back across the bridge.  About the time I was able to get the 6 or 7 cows out of Richard's place, I see the whole herd trotting down the road with Earl behind them, urging them forward with the use of his car horn and yelling from the driver's seat.
   Luckily, the cows turned in to the field, Rob shut the gate, Earl headed up the hill to make sure there were none who had gone the opposite direction.  Meanwhile, a while van pulled up and stopped.  I couldn't see who was in it, as the windows were tinted, but I went forward with a smile on my face.  The window came down and I saw two older people, perhaps around my own age, in the car.  The man driving wasn't as pleasant looking as the woman, who was holding a real estate ad in her hand.  I smiled and said, "I thought we would see how skilled you were at avoiding cow poop on the road this morning."  He didn't smile!  The woman was sitting on the edge of her seat and had a huge, excited grin on her face.  I again tried my hand at humor and asked if they were enjoying the brisk country air.  The man replied, "Where's the rancher that these cows belong to?"  By this time, Earl had turned around and was right behind the van.  I said, "Well, he's right there behind you!  Have a great day!" and walked away.
   Being the "farmer's daughter" I am, I walked to Earl and leaned down to his window (he is handsome and it is difficult not to smile when I see him).  I suggested he either 1) move the cows up on the hill to fresh pasture and then bring them back down in two weeks for shots, ear tags, and elastration; 2) feed the cows early morning before leaving for school so they were content or 3) hire an all-day herder.  (I'm sure he appreciates my advice!) He calmly stated he'd better get back to school, and drove off.
   Now comes the deja a child, I recall many times, leaving our home and starting down the road to find the cows were out.  We would ALWAYS stop what we were doing and go to retrieve the cows.  Mom always told us it was our living and our first priority.  It was never a bad chore -- it was our life!  While the older sisters milked the cows, it was my sister Georgia and my job to take the cows to pasture on summer mornings.  We usually rode our horses, Dixie and Star, bareback and we were barefoot (Dad would have gotten after us if he knew that) to take the cows down the road to Priscilla's.  As soon as we had the cows in the pasture and had gotten off our horses to shut the gate, we would bring the horses up next to a rock we could stand on, and then climb back on the horses.  The horses knew just what they wanted to do and just what we got a thrill out of doing....once we were sort of on the back of each of our horses, they would spin and take off as fast as they could up the road.  Georgia and I would literally just lay our upper bodies down on the horses' necks and hang on to their manes for dear life, as ole' Dixie and Star raced each other as fast as their legs would carry them, back up the road to home!  Back then, there were pine trees along side the road by the church and by the old Betts' place.  We really did have to lay down to avoid getting brushed off because the horses were on a mission!  The horses would then turn and run in the driveway and take us right inside the shed, where they knew we would have to get off!
   Just the smell of the air this morning, and the sight of the cows and the new spring grass allowed the deja vu to wash over me, returning me to my childhood days of freedom/chores, life/duty, commitment/obedience and love of life!  My Heavenly Father loves me and has abundantly blessed me with the richness of life that I cherish!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Sometimes dreams do come true.....

     Ever had a wonderful dream that left you wondering when you awoke
     If it was just in your head or if it was real and you knew you should take note.
     The day has come, my dreams take life and become much more than thoughts,
     I'll stand in shepherd's fields and sit by the sea and walk where Jesus walked.

Pictures and narrative to follow......Earl and I will be joining the Latter-Day Festival Choir, led by Brady Allred, as we travel to Israel for twelve days!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Time for a change...

   I try to be patient and wait for Earl to finish his farm work before I ask him to do any projects for me.  As everyone who knows anything about farming knows, the work is NEVER done!  Earl is pretty much gritting his teeth and groaning inside because the weather is so beautiful and he could still be plowing up on Bench Creek, but I have finally convinced him it is time to do one of my projects!  
   The pictures below just show one four-hour session putting up the beam.  Prior to that night, Earl went and bought the beam and brought it home.  He then spent time measuring and planning and marking the walls.  That night, I tended Allen and Patrice's little ones while they went out.  Earl was staying at Chelsea's, as she was on call.  When Allen brought me home, he came in and began cutting the wall where Earl had it marked.
   We had Thanksgiving without working on the project, but the next day, Allen and Earl spent lots of time carefully cutting out the walls and planning exactly how they would install the beam.
   The project will expand the bridge that runs from one side of the upstairs to the other side in to a loft which we will use for a TV room.
We are so lucky to have the boys all close and willing enough to come and help when Earl  calls.
Tim, Rick, Allen, Noah, Rob and Earl all worked together to install the beam -- which took lots of physical power as well as good ideas.
After a lot of hoisting, lifting, huffing, puffing, knocking out an additional area of wall, jacking and propping...the beam was in place and the new stabilizing studs are installed.  I think we are ready to move on to the next step!
See where the existing bridge is?  That railing is coming down and the floor will expand from the existing beam to the newly installed beam and the railing will go back up.  I'll relocate couches and TV amoir, creating a whole new room.
There is still a lot of work to be done, but I really appreciate the willingness of all the men I love, to work hard to complete this project!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Family Is the Best!

Here we all are together!  It takes lots of time and cooperation to get a family picture...especially when there are 26 people!  We did pretty well...considering...there were four little girls who are a little persnickety....okay, let's restate that....three little girls who are a little persnickety (Noelle isn't old enough for that yet!).  This picture was taken at the end, so the endurance level had waned somewhat, but overall, I liked the picture.  In the years to come, we will look at this and laugh at those two little girls who would only cry during this picture.  We do have a really great family.
These are our children and their mates.  Beginning from left to right - Noah & Giselle Rasheta; Allen & Patrice McNeil; Chelsea McNeil Johnson; Earl & Billie Sue; Rob; Billie Jo & Tim Butikoer; and Olivia & Rick Gunnerson. 
The extremely handsome grandsons - from left to right...Rajko Rasheta; Evan McNeil; Noah Gunnerson; Luke Gunnerson; Jack Johnson; and Elijah Gunnerson! 
The extremely beautiful girls ...from left to right back row...Mia Butikofer; Tess Butikofer, (kneeling) Ellie Butikofer; Front row from left to right...Evie Butikofer; Emmie McNeil; Liv Gunnerson and (being held) Noelle Rasheta!
The Butikofer Family - I just call them the Beauti-kofer's!  They are!
The Gunnerson Family - Some of the most handsome gentlemen you will find and two beautiful girls!
The McNeil Family....such a good looking family!
The Johnson Family...Jack loves his Mom (and the Aggies, as you can see from his facial tattoos.  One cannot attend an Aggie football game and NOT get tattooed!). 
The Rasheta Family...yet another beautiful little family!
Whew!  Look what we started!  Love them all!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


Family Pictures....

    We had family pictures the other day.  It was a big day and a pleasant day.  I am sure everyone will think something is wrong with them when we see the pictures, but honestly, for two people..... with six children.....and four in-law children....and thirteen grandchildren, it went pretty smoothly.  We probably won't have a family picture without Liv and Evie crying, but just think how cute -- even next year, when we do it all again -- think how cute we will think they were with all those tears!  We love our kids and the times we share.  We're so glad we started this party!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Woodland Chokecherry Festival 2012 

 Welcome to the Pumpkin Patch!  The field looks innocent, peaceful and serene...
The scarecrows are beckoning to us to see what is there....
The horse and wagon are there for us, just as they were back in late 1800's....
There are plenty of wonderful items to be found at the Boutique - the Fudge Fairy is there; Sister's Stitches; NuJourney Music; DeLoy & and Trudy with roasted Hatch chiles; Jackie Purser with her lovely lotions, soaps and such; scrapbook supplies; children's clothing and jewelry; Billie Sue with the addicting chokecherry jellies and syrups--and don't forget, "Charity's Chokecherries" and the new book, "Charity's Winter."
The fun of the train ride never ends...nor does the bouncee house and face painting.
With Earl taking us to the pumpkin patch, who knows what adventure we will encounter!  Better ride the wagon so the pumpkins found in the patch can be brought back.
The petting zoo pets are eager and anxious to be admired...
With their feathers standing up and looking perky, they are ready to greet the public.
Any food connoisseur would be in heaven at the Chokecherry Festival, with smoked ribs, smoked pulled pork, smoked turkey, baked beans, garlic/rosemary roasted potatoes, creamed zucchini, corn meal muffins and sparkling cold, clear Woodland water!
Meet Sam and Ellen Gines as children, played by Luke Gunnerson & and Tess Butikofer.  They grew up together in the Rhodes Valley Fort.  As they grew older, Sam noticed Ellen was no longer a little girl!
Rick Gunnerson, Rod Maxfield, Jace Cannon & and Seth Leery sing "The Last Farewell" honoring Joseph Smith.  Henry Moon was a close friend of the prophet's before coming to Woodland.
The cast waits anxiously for their turn in front of the audience.
Meet Peter and Annie Duncan and Peter's sister, Catherine, who married John Thomas Moon -- Henry and Lydia Moon's son.  When Peter arrived in Omaha prior to crossing the plains, he met little Mary Ann Thayne--who was 12 years old. 
Mary Ann Thayne - played by JoDe Miles, was Henry Moon's 3rd wife.  She lived in Woodland and raised a large family.  She was the daughter of John Johnson and Sidney Thayne, who came to Woodland to set up a sawmill.  Thayne's Canyon in Park City is named after John Johnson Thayne.
Henry & and Lydia (Henry's first wife) Moon are portrayed by Rod and Gayla Maxfield.
Sam and Ellen (Russell) Gines married and moved to the Woodland Bench after growing up together.
Meet the Bisel's -- Henry and Fanny Jane, played by DeLoy and Trudy Bisel.  Henry and Fanny Jane came to Utah along with the Lefler's (Fanny Jane's family).  Fanny Jane's mother was a sister to John Johnson ThayneWhen the Bisel's moved to Utah, they lived in the same area as Henry Moon and John Lefler. 
Uncle Tom came all the way from Idaho to go on the trail ride that Julie Woodard and JoDe Miles head up.  Bridge Hollow was a beautiful ride and I guess Uncle Tom entertained them by singing, "Frankie and Johnny." 
Luke and Tess sang, "Somewhere There's a Mountain," representing those children from long ago who walked everywhere...across the plains, from Salt Lake to the mountains, to school, herding cattle, trading yeast cakes and living and loving.
There were  always fun times at the community dances.  It seemed everyone played some kind of musical instrument and they all came together to sing and dance and play and socialize.  People in a community cared for and helped each other.  They celebrated and mourned together.  They were a family.
And so, as we bid farewell to this year's Chokecherry Festival, mark your calendar for next year and come and be part of the fall celebration as you make memories we can talk about in the future!
Woodland Chokecherry Festival 2012

Sunday, September 9, 2012


   I remember being about three years old, walking between my Mom and Dad and each of them holding my hand.  We were walking through the alfalfa up on Bench Creek and I can visualize it now.  My Dad said, "This hay is as tall as she is!"   This was an "ah" moment for a little child.  I felt happy, safe and content.
    I can also remember playing on the old hay elevator with Georgia and climbing to the top and looking down the Valley and having a little "ah"moment.  I felt happy, safe and content.
   I have had many experiences when I looked around at the great expanse of what Heavenly Father has created and I had an "ah" moment of happy, safe and content.   
   I could go on and on about "ah" moments in my life when I experienced a manifestation of His Spirit whispering to my soul and giving assurances
   Today was one of those "ah" times.  It was our Stake Conference and the Stake Choir was singing.  We had gone early to practice our songs.  The closing song was, "O Holy Jesus," which is an absolutely inspiring song about our love and commitment to our Savior.  There is a two-page section of "follow" and "amen" that is really much more of a musical movement than words.  The counting is difficult, as each part has different timing.  We were working so diligently to cement the proper counting for each part of the movement and it occurred to me that the feeling we produced should be that same feeling I had experienced so many times in my's difficult to explain...but just a feeling of pure joy when the Spirit whispers to your soul that it is all true.  I expressed to the choir that we were making it too difficult and mechanical and that we should just close our eyes and envision the most beautiful, peaceful place we had ever been and then sing with the joy we had known.
   Each speaker in conference was wonderful.  Our special song, "As the Bridegroom to His Chosen," was beautiful.  The rest hymn was energetic and moving.  The Stake President's talk was excellent.  The closing song was an "ah" moment in my life.  I felt happy, safe and content that I know my Savior lives and loves me, I know who I am and what I am doing here, I know I am blessed beyond measure, I know Joseph Smith had one of those "ah" moments when he knelt in the Sacred Grove, and I know my Heavenly Father loves me.
   "Ah," what a wonderful day!