Saturday, March 23, 2013

Family History Friday #8 - Isaac James Lee

   I spent some time this week working on the family of Isaac James Lee and Lulu Frances Stoner, my great grandparents. I was trying to review the information in Familysearch and see what new records were now available.  One significant problem for openers is I couldn't find my Lee family notebook. Its possible I farmed it out to someone else in the family. If you read this and realize you have it in your possession , please let me know.

    I started out looking at the census records and was able to find the family on the 1910, 1920, 1930, and 1940 census records, all in Mystic, Appanoose County, Iowa.  Lulu Stoner was a lot easier to track down than her father, Jacob Stoner. It seems that after she married she lived the remainder of her life in Mystic, Iowa, a stark contrast from her father. Jacob Stoner seldom seemed to hang around in the same state for two consecutive federal censuses.  Isaac James Lee died in about 1921.  His death at a relatively young age was mainly a consequence of working in the coal mines.  Lulu Stoner lived to a ripe old age as a widow. Their son, James Ray Lee, was shown living with his mother on both the 1930 and 1940 census records.

       I remember meeting James Ray Lee once at Great Grandma Lee's home in Mystic when I was about eleven years old. Unfortunately, I don't remember much about him besides the fact that I met him once.  I don't remember much more about my great grandmother, Lulu Frances Stoner. When I was eleven she was about 81 years old. That is about the same age as my mother is now, but  Great Grandma Lee wasn't nearly as active and healthy as our Grandma Cozy.  I'm not sure she even drove herself to the grocery store, let alone on solo road trips to visit relatives in distant states. I remember going to her house on several occasions but we didn't interact much. I suspect she may have been a little too fragile for very much close contact with active boys. The one thing I remember about Great Grandma Lee's home was that it had a cistern.  There was a pump in the yard and my mom told me that it wasn't for a well, but was the pump for the cistern. At the time I remember being puzzled as to what was the difference between a well and a cistern. I really need to get a little more information on Great Grandma Lee from my mother and Aunt Judy who would have known her a bit better.

     I already had a birth record for Sylvia Lee, but I easily found it on the internet as well. I also found two birth records that both seem to pertain to James Ray Lee.  One is for a James Roy Lee, born on December 4, 1908. The second is for James Ray Lee, born on December 4, 1909.  Both records are for a male birth in Mystic, Appanoose County, Iowa. Isaac Lee and Lulu Stoner are listed as the parents for both records. I'm suspicious that they pertain to the same birth record, but one might have been indexed incorrectly. It would  be an extreme coincidence to have two siblings born on the exact same birthday, one year apart, who are both males and their names are the same except for one letter in their middle name.

    I addition to that little puzzle, I found a third child, Jacob Lee, born prior to Sylvia Lee (my grandmother). However, I couldn't find a birth record to confirm his existence. A check on Familysearch revealed that I was the original source of that information.  It reminded me of my favorite Pogo quote, "We have met the enemy and he is us!"  Actually I am quite sure I didn't make up Jacob Lee, much less a specific date of birth. I suspect he comes from family information I got from my grandmother, Sylvia Lee, which is probably documented in the above mentioned Lee family notebook.

      I haven't run out of leads to do online on this one. I was very happy to learn that there is an Iowa State Census for both 1905 and 1915. The 1905 census may well show little Jacob Lee living with his parents in Mystic, Iowa.  However, the 1915 census was apparently just of heads of households. There were a few bits of information on the 1915 census that I found interesting.  First of all that the entire estimated value of the home and farm of Isaac James Lee was $700.00 and he only owed $50.00 on the property. A second item of interest was that Isaac James Lee only had two years of formal schooling, but he could read and write.  I think we often fail to recognize what a great blessing education is in our lives. Life was probably pretty hard to Isaac James Lee and many other men who lived in his time. He mainly worked as a coal miner, but may have done some farm labor as well, I suspect his days were usually filled with hard labor.

    I took advantage of all the indexed census records to follow Isaac James Lee's trail to living with his father, Johnathan Lee, on the 1900 census. Also living with the family was his younger brother, Johnathan E. Lee, and his younger sister, Jessie A. Lee. I next found the Johnathan Lee family on the 1895 Iowa State Census, still living in Mystic, Iowa.  The family composition was exactly the same as on the 1900 census. There was no mother in the home and Johnathan Lee was working as a coal miner. Under religious belief it listed the abbreviation M.E. which I'm thinking might have meant Methodist. It didn't seem like happy circumstances for an eight year old girl, living with her coal miner father, two older brothers and no mother in the home. On the 1885 Iowa State Census the Johnathan Lee family was still living near Mystic, Iowa in Bellair Township. The family consisted of Johnathan Lee, his wife Ida A. (Daniels), daughters Lillie M., Mable, and Phoebe A, ages 9,7, and 5, and the two little boys, Isaac J. and Jonathan E. ages 2 and 0. One item of interest was that the 1885 Iowa State Census listed the County of Birth for individuals born in Iowa.  Starting at the oldest and working down to the youngest of the children they were born in Ringold County, Illinois, Appanoose county, Ringold County, and Appanoose County. Even if they weren't moving very far, it seems they were moving every other year over the space of about ten years. I also found the family on the 1880 Federal Census living in Centerville in appaloosa county, Iowa. Johnathan Lee's mother appeared to be living next door.

   The big triumph of the day was after I had followed Johnathan Lee's trail on the census back to  the 1870 Census in Knox County, Illinois, I succeeded in finding his wife, Ida Daniels, on the same census in Knox county, Illinois as a 13 year old girl living with her parents, Samuel and Phebe Daniels.  It was a wonderful little "Eureka!" moment, late at nigth on the computer. It also clearly shows how family names travel down the family tree. Jonathan Lee and Ida Daniels named one of their daughters Phebe, apparently after Ida Daniels' mother, and another daughter Jessie, apparently after Ida Daniels' sister.


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Fit as a Fiddle

    One of many happy things which occurred during our trip to Portland was the repair of my fiddle (damaged through my carelessness on my previous trip to Portland).  My son-in-law Chet seems to have a veritable plethora of friends who are good at one thing or another.  Lucky for me, one such friend repairs violins.   I brought the fiddle back down the the scene of the crime so to speak and a few days later it is looking and sounding better than ever.  It has a new bridge (the old one leaned significantly) a new A string (the old A string was starting to fray), a new sound peg (apparently the previous one was undersized), a new chin rest (the old chin rest broke in the fall from the top of the car), and is very clean and beautiful. I think the new sound post may have slightly improved the tone. It's great to have the fiddle back in tiptop shape. I felt a little empty or incomplete having my poor broken fiddle  sitting there in the case.

A less than focused  photo of the recently repaired fiddle
    While we were gone to Oregon our escape artist goat, Black Jack, escaped yet again from his enclosure.  He conducted his own form of severe pruning of blueberries, currents, chives, and narcissus. While he did a lot of damage to various parts of my garden, his primary crime was the wanton destruction of my little fruit tree nursery. He nibbled all but one of the baby fruit trees down past the graft unions.  I'm not sure what Black Jack finds tasty in chewing on grafting rubber bands, elastic plastic wrapping tape, and rubberized tree sealant, but goats have been known to chew on worse tasting things.  He easily pulled most of the newly potted rootstocks right out of their pots.  I've repotted some of the rootstocks in hopes that they may survive to be bud grafted this summer or dormant grafted next spring.
Baby fruit trees prior to Black Jack's escape.

One of the innocent victims of Black Jack's voracious appetite.

    At this point I decided to break down and purchase the ultimate goat fence. I went down to the co-op and bought three 16 foot long "combination" panels. I attached them to the current "field" fence using numerous zip ties. The field fencing I had installed previously was supposed to be fairly tough. Its normally used to fence in cattle who happen to be much larger and stronger than goats. However, cattle merely push on the fence. They don't have the ability to stand on the wires with their front hooves until the wire start to break. The combination panels are like hog fencing, but 52 inches tall and the metal is fairly thick.  I'll need to buy a few more of the panels to finish the job, but I could only get three of them into my van in one trip.  If Black Jack ever manages to break them down, instead of buying new fencing I will invite my friends and relations to a goat barbecue.
Taller, stronger, better, and more expensive.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

A Visit with the Kangs

   Linda and I are spending most of the week in Forest Grove, Oregon visiting the Kangs. Actually, we are mainly babysitting younger Kangs while their parents enjoy a little alone time at the beach for a few days and then serve as adult supervision at a young women's activity.  This particular visit has given me an opportunity to check on the progress of Autumn, my"sourdough pancake paduan", and Chloe, my "biscuit paduan".  I was very pleased to see that each of them was able to meet the test and respectively produce great sourdough pancakes and biscuits. I told Chloe now that she is a biscuit master and no longer a mere paduan she should consider who she wants to take on as an apprentice. She didn't seem particularly anxious to accept the responsibility of passing her biscuit knowledge on to someone else.

   I brought down some bee equipment with me so that I can get Autumn and Chloe set up with some beehives.  We spent several afternoons scraping and painting that various hive parts I had brought. They are going to put the beehives at the Matiaco's home where they also have a joint chicken project. In fact the beehives were the Matiaco's suggestion.  Apparently Steve has a friend who says he can get them a swarm.  However, I suspect I will be able to get them package bees sooner than the friend will be able to get them a swarm.  In addition to painting hives, I also brought down my bee class power point disk so we had a few hours of bee class on Wednesday.

    I also conducted a hula class with some of the Kang girls. I feel badly that the non local grand daughters are missing out on the hula lessons.  I thought I'd give the Kangs some of the basics so they might have a better chance to pick up the hula from their cousins at cousin camp. We just worked on the footwork a little bit and a few other things, like pointing their arms in the direction they are moving while opening and closing the fingers.  Chloe seems to be making good progress on the ukulele.  She can play all three chords used in "Pupu Hinuhinu" and just needs to get more comfortable changing from chord to chord and practicing a strum pattern.

    This afternoon I did a little service project for Sarah by butchering their rooster.  It seemed that almost everyone was on board with the decision except for grand daughter Elise. She had learned that roosters are somehow essential in order to get baby chicks from the eggs. She wasn't very willing to give up on the prospect of hatching baby chicks from their eggs. Elise having finally been overruled, I drove over to the Matiaco residence with Hannah as my trusty assistant.  As it turned out, Hannah was anxious to watch everything except the actual execution.  She decided it was much more important to go say hi to their cows than to watch Grandpa catch and kill the rooster.  Once she could no longer hear the rooster making noise she figured it was finally safe to come over and watch.  Early into the plucking, Hannah decided I should save her enough feathers to make into a feather duster. I'll be interested in seeing how that little project goes over with her parents.  Everything went pretty well until it came to the part where I had to remove the insides and save out the useable parts. As I was trying to extract the heart,  I accidently pushed on the rooster's still in tact diaphragm causing a very audible "braawk". Hannah was quite impressed and asked me to do it again. I managed to push on the diaphragm again, causing our deceased, headless, featherless, and footless rooster to speak from the dead a second time.  I guess the "braawk" sound that chickens make is solely from their throat. I suppose this is one time I won't get any complaints that I haven't included any photos.

    As I write this post, the rooster is simmering in a pot on the stove. I wasn't able to locate Sarah's crock pot so I am cooking the rooster the old fashioned way.  He smells much better now than he did earlier today. He should be chicken and dumplings by dinner tomorrow night.


Saturday, March 9, 2013

Stump Grinding Completed

Andrew grinding away at the big cedar stump.
    The past two Mondays we've had someone grinding up our stumps in the front yard.  I am so glad that Linda talked me out of trying to do it myself. It took Andrew, who has a pretty good lumberjack physique,  a good day and a half of hard labor.  There was still plenty of hard labor left over for me in the removal of ivy that covered the stump and in removing numerous wheelbarrow loads of chips.  Now the stump is no more, but there is still some ivy left for me to remove. We probably have less than half of the ivy we had at the start of the stump project. There are also some big hunks of cedar wood that need to be split into firewood. There is still a substantial pile of chips remaining from the stump that need to be moved to other places in the yard and gardens. Last of all, I get to shovel the piles of dirt back into the holes where the stumps used to be.  Linda and I are both very happy to have the stumps gone and I am excited at the prospect of an enlarged vegetable garden in the front yard this summer. Linda's only requirement is that it has to be a "cute" vegetable garden. She has informed me that a few pole bean tepees are mandatory.
All that remains of the largest stump is lots of mulch and a few  big chunks of firewood to split.

The remains of the medium size stump next to the road

    I planted seeds in my cold frame about a week ago. So far, the only seeds to emerge have been the arugula, a few of the Italian parsley, and a few brussels sprouts. The cabbage, dill, onions, and leeks have yet to show themselves. I planted a new arugula variety named "Adagio" that I got from West Coast Seeds.  It is supposed to be much slower to bolt than normal arugula.  My daughter, Rachel, has had very good luck growing arugula in Hillsboro, Oregon. The one difficulty has been the fact that it goes to seed so readily. When I read up on arugula I learned that it is normally planted in late summer for a fall/winter crop. The seeds are also good for sprouting in the winter.  I planted the "Adagio" arugula for spring salad greens while I direct seeded arugula seed outside that I got from Rachel. If and when it bolts I will just plan on harvesting a crop of arugula seeds for winter sprouting. I'm planning to do the same thing when our broccoli goes to seed. Sprouting seems to be a much more sustainable strategy when I can grow a significant proportion of our sprouting seeds.

   My bee yard is looking much neater after the addition of about eight or ten wheelbarrow loads of mulch from the stumps. I also mulched under the front deck, on some garden paths,  and a few other places.  I've noticed that fresh mulch puts Linda in a very happy mood. I finally started feeding my bees  on Wednesday.  I bought three fifty pound bags of sugar from Cash and Carry and made up my first two batches of 1:1 sugar syrup.  I've started feeding three of my hives that I knew for certain had survived the winter. I will wait a few more days to figure out which other hives are still alive before I start feeding them. I didn't put any fumigilin ( a fungicidal antibiotic) in the syrup as I want to make sure they are taking it well before I give them medicated syrup. I also made up some "grease patties", an easy treatment for tracheal mites. The recipe is one cup of vegetable shortening, three cups of sugar, and several drops of a food grade essential oil like wintergreen, spearmint, or peppermint. I happened to have a bottle of wintergreen oil so that was the one I used. I won't put them on the hives until I get a good 55 degree day.

    On Tuesday morning I grafted onto the rootstocks I had purchased Saturday.  I did two Danube cherries. This is a new variety of cherry from Hungary that is a cross between a sweet cherry and a pie cherry. I'm hoping they will do better than normal sweet cherries in our maritime climate.  Hopefully, at least one of the grafts will take. I have more trouble grafting cherries than anything else. If the grafts fail, I will just do bud grafts this summer to turn them into pie cherries. In addition to the cherries, I also grafted an "Aromatnaya" quince, a "Puget Spice" crab apple, and a "Pristine" apple. I also have a "Chehalis" apple and an "Ashmead's Kernal" apple that I grafted last year.  I'm pretty sure I don't have room for seven more fruit trees so some of these trees will need homes elsewhere.

     I also have some mature apple trees that I want to redo as they are way too scabby for me.  Most of the trees I  currently would work better if I had more free time in the spring to do lime sulphur spray for scab. The reality is that I am way too busy in the spring to spray my apple trees every time it rains. Instead, I've chosen to simply get rid of all of the apples that are susceptible to scab.  That doesn't mean I'll be digging up trees. I'll just graft in scab resistant varieties onto the existing trees.  Chehalis is a scab resistant variant of Yellow Delicious.  Pristine is a scab resistant summer apple. Ashmead's Kernal is a scab resistant fall apple which has a russeted skin. Varieties I plan to phase out include Melrose, Spartan, and Yellow Bellflower. Melrose is a wonderful apple in a drier climate. However, life is too short for me to spend my time growing scabby apples.


Friday, March 8, 2013

Family History Friday #6 - How We Came to Be Mormons

    Linda just came home a week ago from a lovely visit with our daughter Lia, who currently resides in Maryland.  She gave me good reports on the progress of Lia's six children, along with the news that they now have a cat in the family. She also told me that granddaughter Annika had given a talk in Sacrament Meeting this past week and that I was featured in the talk.  As I understand from Linda, Annika described me as the first of her ancestors to join the church. While I am very happy to have been mentioned in Annika's talk, I feel I must set the record straight.  I am not the first Mormon among Annika's ancestors. That honor actually goes to my sweet wife who was baptized into the church at the age of eight and a half.  I believe her baptism was delayed a few months so she could be baptized by her new step brother, Steven, upon his return from a mission to Samoa. I'm not sure of the exact date of Linda's baptism but I know it was before I was baptized in October 1962.

    I can't even claim to be the first person baptized in my own immediate family.  My mother and father were both baptized a week or so ahead of my brother Paul and me. I would like to tell a little bit about  how I came to be a Mormon. These are the facts as I remember them. Since I was only ten and a half years old at the time, Grandma Cozette could probably provide more details.

    1962 through 1963 was a time when we moved a lot.  My father was working as an iron worker. When work was scarce in the local area they would sometimes travel or "boom out" in ironworker terms to work in a different union "local".  In this instance my dad decided to bring the whole family with him as he followed the work. We were living in a trailer anyhow, so he just bought himself a truck that was large enough to pull the family home. I guess this would be the human equivalent of a snail. When you don't like the neighborhood you simply pick up your home and move. At the time the government was building a lot of underground missile bases throughout northern states like Montana and the Dakotas. That meant a lot of work for ironworkers in places where not many people lived. Consequently, over the course of a year or so we lived in Sun River , Montana, Windham, Montana, Pines Bluff, Wyoming, and Rapid City, South Dakota as my dad followed the available work.

    In the fall of 1962 we were living in Sun River, Montana. This is a small town about twenty miles east of Great Falls.  We were living in a small trailer park.  I don't remember much about Sun River other than walking to and from school when the weather was bitterly cold. I also remember getting to see a lynx at a nearby gas station that someone had shot.  I'm not sure how long we lived in Sun River, but I doubt it was any longer than six months,  It was in these circumstances that a couple of Mormon missionaries, Elder Gibson and Elder Prestridge, knocked on our door.  They first came during the day while my dad was at work. Mom told them to come back in the evening when her husband would be home. She told me that she had expected my dad to send them on their way. Amazingly, he not only invited them in, but listened to them.

   I don't remember a lot about the missionary lessons. I do remember their flannel board and the particular lessons they taught about the apostasy and the plan of salvation. I also remember that Elder Prestridge was from Nauvoo, Alabama and had a strong southern accent. While I can't recall a particular instance when I first knew the church was true, I can't remember a time since then when I didn't believe it was true.

    I can remember a few things about the day I was baptized. My brother Paul was baptized on the same day.  I believe it was the Sun River branch rather than ward and a very high percentage members of the branch had the last name Christensen. I think a boy named Lemoine Christensen might have been baptized on the same day, but I'm not completely sure. I know that my parents felt welcomed by the members of the branch.  I also remember going to primary.  Sadly, we moved a few months after our baptism.  I remember attending a branch new years party so we must have moved sometime in January, 1963. Because we were living in small towns over the next two years, the nearest branch was usually not very close or convenient.  I do remember attending church a few times when we lived in Pine Bluff, Wyoming. At least once we drove into Cheyenne to go to church and at least once we drove the other direction to Kimball, Nebraska to attend church.  We didn't really get active in the church until a few years later when we moved back to Richland, Washington.

   I will always be grateful to my father that he welcomed the missionaries and listened to their message.   That allowed to gospel to come into my life at a much earlier age than might have happened otherwise. Consequently, I was able to attend seminary, serve a full time mission, marry Linda in the Salt Lake Temple, and have my children all raised in the gospel. The gospel has made such a difference in my life. I cannot imagine what my life would have been like without the influence of the church.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Family History Friday #5 on Saturday night.

   Its been a very busy week, I taught bee classes two nights, went to a Hawaiian dinner concert on Tuesday night, Mutual on Wednesday night, had other church obligations Sunday night, and stayed up late Thursday night as I picked up Linda from the airport.  What I'm getting to is that I haven't had much time to work on genealogy this past week, much less prepare a blog post.  The main thing I've done in the past week is try to organize information I've found recently.

     As I recently resumed work on my family history, I started by reviewing my previous efforts.  I had my genealogy records divided up into a number of three ring binders, each one designated for a few generations of a particular line.  I like the way it breaks things up into manageable pieces so I don't get overwhelmed by the size of the whole thing. It also makes it more portable. When I want to go down to the Family History Center to work on a particular line, most of what I will need is in just one or two binders.  When that portion of the family outgrows its binder, I simply divide it into two binders.

   I suppose I could have stayed home today and worked on my genealogy, but instead I spent the day hanging out with my brother and sister fruit geeks. I attended the winter field day at the WSU Research Station at Mt Vernon,  It was a good opportunity to buy some root stocks and scion wood so I can graft a few new fruit trees.  Not that I have many places to put new trees, but it is kind of a ritual of spring for me. Besides, I had volunteered the use of my extra cash register for the fruit foundation's scion wood sales.  Its amazing how many bee store friends attended this event. I talked to at least five or six beekeepers during the day. I was also able to pick up a few things I needed from the Raintree Nursery table.

Myco packs,  Doc Farwell's Heal and Seal, grafting rubbers, Felco pruners, and a Lingonberry Rake

This is a very useful device for picking small fruits such as huckleberries, blueberries, etc.

    I attended one lecture about organic management of small fruits (blueberries, raspberries, currants, etc.)  The presenter was one of the WSU scientists that work at the research station.  She was very knowledgeable and had a lot more useful information than she could give us in the hour allotted to her. I did learn a few things that I considered to be very important.  First of all,  I learned that organic pest management often includes substances that are very poisonous to bees. They just happen to be naturally derived plant extracts as opposed to something cooked up by Dupont.  They present the same danger to the bees as regular chemical pesticides. I also saw the normal spray schedule for conventionally raised commercial blueberries.  They are sprayed weekly with some sort of insecticide, up to within three days of being picked. Yum yum! I'm glad we get lots of home grown poison free blueberries. After her lecture I asked a few questions about what sort of bug is troubling my currants.  She was nice enough to copy off three or four relevant extension bulletins for me.

   Next week I'll try to come up with a more substantial family history post. This will have to do for this week, For now, I'm just glad that I'm doing it again.