Saturday, April 26, 2014

Orchestra Concert and yet more Chicken and Dumplings.

    I butchered my two surplus roosters three weeks ago on Monday and cooked them in turn in our big crock pot.  They were both fairly lean and probably would have been pretty tough if I hadn't opted for the slow cooker. The bottom line is that I no longer have to listen to crowing in stereo.  It seemed like the roosters spent a lot of time crowing in response to another rooster crowing. The hens were also getting very tired of having three roosters in the chicken yard.  Things have been both quieter and more peaceful in the chicken pen the past few weeks. I half expected the hens to break out into the chicken equivalent of a rousing chorus of "Ding Dong, the Witch is dead."

      We were scheduled to feed the missionaries so I used half of the deboned chicken to make chicken and dumplings.  I'm always interested in improving a recipe so I spent some time browsing chicken and dumpling recipes on the internet. I found an interesting one by Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman on one of the cooking channels). She used powdered thyme and bit of turmeric to season her chicken and dumplings. Amazingly we didn't seem to have any powdered thyme in the house and I was not inclined to make a trip to the store for just that one ingredient. I did add turmeric. She also adds about a cup of cream to the stew.  We happened to have cream in the fridge so I decided to try that as well.  I think it turned out rather well. I don't think I added enough turmeric to have a significant impact on the flavor, but it certainly had a positive effect the color. The cream was a great addition. One other interesting item in Ree Drummond's recipe was the addition of some cornmeal to the dumpling recipe. I might try that sometime, but it seemed too big of an experiment to try out on company.

   As it turned out, we we had previously committed to attend an orchestra and jazz band concert in Granite Falls.  Since we had two granddaughters playing in the concert that trumped the missionaries. I called them and explained my predicament.  I told them I would divide the chicken and dumplings into two separate pots before I added the dumplings so I could leave one container on our doorstep for them to pick up.  We left for the concert at 6:30 pm and returned home at about 8:30 pm. The pot of chicken and dumplings was gone, evidence that the missionaries picked it up as we had planned.

    The concert turned out very well.  Madelynn played a solo on her coronet and did a wonderful job. The orchestra played an Irish medley that included the Irish Washerwoman, Rakes of Mallow, and the Sally Garden. I was probably one of the few people in the audience who knew the names of the songs in the Irish Medley. Madelynn's good friend, Shanara Brown, played Ashoken Farewell as a solo on the violin. It was good enough to make me cry. Our son-in-law, Madelynn's father, was pressed into service to play drums for both the orchestra and the jazz band. They had been unable to recruit a drummer from their student body so they asked a parent to play that part.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Family History - Luella Bethaney Sinor and Pearl Hedrick

   About a month ago I had a Sunday sick day.  You might think from one of my previous posts that I spent most of that day baking bread, but I actually spent more time blogging about the bread than I spent baking it.  I spent a good part of the day listening to Rootstech videos and part of the day reorganizing my family history binders.  When I finally got around to focusing on a family history research project, I decided to look into the sad tale of Pearl Hedrick.  There is a great deal of conflicting information about her family. Names are rarely spelled the same way more than a few times and dates never seem to match up well.

     Pearl is the youngest daughter of Luella Bethaney Sinor and William Headrick.  Luella Bethaney Sinor was the daughter of James Franklin Sinor and Martha M Smothers. According to the 1880 census Luella B Sinor was 3 years old in 1880. The census index has her age as 5 years old. Yet her headstone in the Heiskill Cemetery in Baxter County clearly lists her year of birth as 1872. I'm glad we can look at the original documents because it is a very clear 3 on the 1880 census. However, I will not cast stones at the indexers as I'm sure I have made my share of indexing mistakes. The name on her headstone is Bethaney Headrick. I am absolutely certain we are talking about the same person because of corroboration from my mother and other family information.

     My mother went to school with three of Pearl's children when she lived in Arkansas with her grandparents, Enos Henry Sinor and Lillie Etta Heiskill.  Her great grandparents, Randolph Sinor and Laura Cunningham, lived only a quarter mile up the hill from her grandparents' house. Pearl Hedrick lived in a house on the same property as Randolph and Laura Sinor along with her four children, Claude, Eugene, Pearl, and Daisy. Cozette and her sister Dolores went there about once a week, usually to play with Pearl's children. Mom recalls Claude as being a good kid. He was out of school as he was 17 years old and their school only went to the eighth grade. Mom recalls that Eugene skipped school more often than he went and he wasn't the sharpest tool in the shed. He lost part of his hand when he set off a blasting cap. He was holding the blasting cap in one hand while striking it with a hammer. He was often getting into trouble and Mom thinks he spent some time in jail when he got older.

     Pearl Hedrick was born in 1907. Her mother died giving birth to her. For some reason she was raised by her aunt and uncle, Randolph Sinor and Laura I. Cunningham.  Possibly, her father didn't feel he could properly care for a new baby.  Since I don't know the exact circumstances, I will give him the benefit of the doubt. Her father remarried within the next three years to Ella Coil/Conley. I found them on the 1910 census in Baxter County with a combined family of ten children.  However, Pearl continued to live with Randolph and Laura who raised her as their own daughter.  Mom recalls Pearl always called them Mam and Pap. I don't know how much contact she had with her father or older siblings as a child, but they lived in the same county until at least 1918.  I found William E Hedrick's draft registration card which showed him living in Buffalo, Arkansas on September 12, 1918. I also found William Hedrick on the 1920 census living in adjacent Marion County, Arkansas. Mom doesn't recall Pearl ever speaking about her father's family.

    Pearl Hedrick married a man with the last name Howard. She had four kids by him and was living with him in Chicago when he murdered someone and was put into an insane asylum. She then moved back to Arkansas with her children and lived with Laura and Randolph Sinor.  They had a house built for her and her children next to their house. She helped take care of Randolph and Laura Sinor in their old age.  When Pearl's children were grown Aunt Ellar Haney got old and moved into nearby Gassville, Arkansas. Pearl moved into town with her and helped care for Aunt Ellar in her old age.  Mom also recalled that Pearl outlived both of her daughters. It would seem that she lived a life of service, with much time spent caring for others. However, she certainly suffered more than her share of personal tragedy.

    I haven't much information about Pearl's family beyond what I have written in this blog post. I haven't been able to find a record of her marriage to Mr. Howard.  I suppose if I spent enough time looking through archives of Chicago newspapers I might be able to identify him. After all, how many insane men were there in Chicago in the 1940s with the last name Howard.  Surely there were public hearings and a trial as part of the process that sent him to the insane asylum. I did find Pearl and her children on the 1940 census living in Chicago. There was no husband in the home so the murder probably happened before the date of the 1940 census.

   I spent some time working on the family of Luella Bethany Sinor and William Hedrick with my grand daughter, Madelynn. We were able to better identify Pearl's siblings and found marriage records for a number of them. We're looking forward to submitting the names for the temple and contributing to reuniting a family divided by tragedy.

   On the subject of Arkansas marriage records, I have learned to be very skeptical of accuracy of the listed age for the bride. It seems that it was pretty common for the bride's age on the marriage record to be 18 or 19 when every other record showed the girl to have been 15 or 16.  It is always a bit of a conundrum in family history work to deal with conflicts in dates, ages, and names. We often have to decide which record is more reliable. The general rule is that the closer a record is to an event, the more likely the information is accurate for that event.  For instance, the date of birth on a birth record is considered more reliable than a birth date obtained from a death record.  Then there is the problem of records where there was some incentive to provide inaccurate information, like the age of a bride on a marriage record or the age of a man on a draft registration card.  Familysearch now allows sources to be attached to individuals so I've been very busy doing just that. It is so nice when other family members look at the family tree in Familysearch that they can see the actual records I used in compiling that portion of the family tree.


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Like a Duck to Water

   I've been very busy since our little ducklings hatched, getting through our first package bee week and preparing for the second one coming up. As soon as I came back from California I removed the shallowest water dish from the duck pen so that the ducklings wouldn't be likely to get stuck in a water dish and drown.  I went out the other day to find three of our five little ducklings swimming around in a circle in the next shallowest water bucket. The mother duck thought she had things well in hand and didn't appreciate my rescue of her little ducklings from the water bucket.  In order to keep the little ducklings safe from temptation I had to remove that water dish as well.  The siren call of the water is irresistible but it would have ended badly for the ducklings.  They can get into the bucket but they aren't very good at getting out of it.  I think they were using the adjacent concrete pier as a diving board. I have to admit that it reminded me more than a little bit of protecting certain teenagers from their own natural inclination to get into trouble.

Three ducklings in the water with another one ready to jump in.

Friday, April 18, 2014

We Have Ducklings!

    While I was driving back from California with the package bees our little ducklings hatched out. Unfortunately, Jean Luc Canard did not seem to have much father instinct and kept trying to chase the little ducklings out of the duck pen. Consequently we lost about half of them. I'm not sure exactly how many she hatched out, about ten or eleven.  Right now we only have five ducklings left. We had to banish the drake to the chicken pen. I'm thinking he will have to stay there for some time. I think we also need to change his name. Jean Luc Canard is way too noble of a name for a low down duckling killer. Maybe we'll call him Simon LeGree Canard or Snidely Whiplash Canard. Michael Veatch suggested we call him "The Grim Quacker."

Mon Cherie Canard with her new ducklings

     Our cat, Little Miss Buzz Saw, has a propensity for exploring strange places.  The other day I was emptying the dishwasher. After I finished the bottom tray and started on the upper tray, the cat decided to check out the dishwasher.  It reminded me of an old far side cartoon where the dog was writing "KAT FUD" on the door of the washing machine. Honestly, I didn't entice her into the dishwasher. She does crazy stuff like this all the time.

Miss Buzz Saw checking out the dishwasher


Bringing Home the Bees

    I drove down to Redding on Monday and came back with 550 shipping cages full of bees. Estimating about 14,000 bees in each of 250 four pound package and 10,500 bees in each of 300 three pound packages that is approximately 6, 600,000 bees. That was only the first trip. I will go down again near the end of the month and bring back another load of package bees.  There won't be quite as many bees in the second load as those will all be three pound packages. We were able to get the bees back in very good shape thanks to the help of a number of friends and some fortunate weather. Its nice to have friends, but I have to thank God for the weather. The package bees travel better if the weather is cooler so hot weather is a serious concern.

    David Oberstadt, a friend from church, came with me to help drive. I don't have the stamina to drive 635 miles non-stop by myself. On the return trip, we can only stop for gas or very briefly to change drivers.  Any time we stop and the airflow over the bees stops, the load starts to heat up. Once the bees are loaded into the trailer we have to keep moving as much as possible.  David's other critical skill is the ability to back a trailer. Now that I own a truck, that is on my list of things I need to learn this year.

     We stopped by Forest Grove, Oregon on the way down and picked up two grand daughters to bring on the trip, Chloe and Hannah Kang.  Chloe got some beekeeping experience this past year so she qualifies for the official beekeeping title of "newbee".  Her younger sister, Hannah, is still a wannabe beekeeper. Since they are home schooled I thought this might qualify as a biology field trip.

    We had a few minor delays on the trip down and we learned a few things about my new truck.  First of all, we learned that the fuel gauge is very heavily skewed to one side. That is when the gauge reads half a tank, it really means a quarter of a tank.  When the gauge reads a quarter tank, it really means about 2 gallons left in the 26 gallon tank. By my math that comes to one thirteenth rather than one fourth.  That isn't a big deal once you have that important bit of knowledge. It would have been a huge deal if we hadn't figured it out on the way down. As you might imagine, there was a little bit of a hike involved in the learning process. Fortunately, we had only just passed a freeway exit with a gas station. In addition to learning about my quirky fuel gauge, I also learned how to prime the fuel pump on my diesel truck.

    The second thing we learned about the truck was that the speedometer is very unreliable.  Less than halfway down to Redding, the speedometer pegged out at 120 MPH and stayed there for a good part of the trip. We had to estimate our speed as best we could based on the other traffic and the mile markers along the side of the road. I'm taking it back to the dealer on Monday so they can fix the speedometer.  Other than those glitches, the trip went very well.
A photo of the lunar eclipse taken with my iPhone

    We reached Redding at about 11:30 pm.  After checking into the motel, I went back out to the truck and learned that we were having a lunar eclipse at that very moment.  David, who apparently reads a great deal and has a wonderful memory, had read an article about the fact that in the year 2014 there would be lunar eclipses on all of the major Jewish Holidays. Apparently, in addition to being my birthday, my mother's birthday, and two grand children's birthday, April 14, 2014 was the start of Passover as well.

David Oberstadt helped unload the empty shipping cages we had returned

Chloe and Hannah are helping here by holding open the trailer door.

Steve Park, halfway through loading our bees.

Chloe and Hannah in the warehouse with the bees

    Loading the bees went very well.  We reached Steve Park Apiaries in Palo Cedro just a few minutes after 7:00 am.  We left with a fully loaded trailer of bees (plus an additional 40 packages in the bed of the truck) at 8;21 am.  Chloe and Hannah got to see some very interesting things. I got to show Chloe the queen incubator where they were candling queen cells in preparation for installing the cells into mating nuts.

Chloe standing next to the queen incubator

Cutting queen cells off the rack

Candling queen cells

   The trip back was relatively uneventful, a good thing when one is transporting a perishable cargo. The main stress I felt on the way home was trying to get through Portland before their rush hour. We had to reach Portland by about 3:30 pm or face a serious risk of being stuck in traffic.  This task would have been much simpler with a working speedometer. We succeeded in getting to Portland by 3:30 pm but we still had a few minor traffic problems. None of the delays were of long duration and the ordeal was lessoned by the fact that the temperature was only 62. I would have been much more worried if it had been a hot day.
Elder Payne vacuuming hitchhikers off the packages.

Elder Stack moving packages with Daniel Sullivan in the background
My co driver David, holding a three pound package of bees.

    We reached the Beez Neez at about 8:00 pm, where a willing crew of volunteers waited to help unload our cargo. The LDS missionaries are always asking me for opportunities to do service.  A few years back we started letting them help us unload the packages. Then we give them a "Bee Team" tee shirts as a souvenir. Many hands do make light work.  The  "colorful" character behind Elder Stack is my SeaFair Pirate friend, Daniel Sullivan. All of the packages were unloaded, hitchhiker bees vacuumed off, and the roll up door closed by about 10:30 pm. I really have to thank my friend and employee Quentin for our current level of efficiency. I was actually home in bed before 11:00 pm.