Friday, June 29, 2018


We are back from our trip to Oregon, with lots more photos. Yes, there are more gardens, but the real reason we went to Oregon was family history.

My sister Laurie organized our excursion back in time, to the place where our father, Henry Norquist, came from. She invited our cousins Kathy and Kris to join us, because their mother Lois was our dad's sister, and so she shared the same roots. 

We all met up for breakfast at the Hitching Post in Molalla, the town where my sisters and brothers and I went to school and where Mom and Dad lived after they moved off our little farm in the Willamette Valley. Dad went the the Hitching Post most morning for coffee and visiting.

After breakfast we drove into the foothills on the east side of the valley to the small town of Colton. Here we visited the church where my Grandmother Emma attended and where some of her children, my aunts and uncles, were confirmed. 

 We talked with the pastor before going downstairs. This was originally a Swedish Lutheran Church. Grandma Emma was Norwegian but Grandpa Olaf was a Swede, so she coped. 
 Downstairs we found the confirmation photos for Dad and several of his brothers and sisters. 

 That's Dad, Henry Norquist, and his younger brother Chet (Chester) in the lower right hand corner.  
 Most of the time they would have looked like this. 
We left the church and went a block away to the cemetery.

One of Dad's baby sisters is buried here. Dad was born in 1917 in Havre, Montana. He is one of eight children who survived past early childhood. Two other baby sisters are buried in Montana. 
 We left the cemetery and drove to the old farm where this Norquist tribe grew up. My Great Grandfather Erick and Great Grandmother Cristina immigrated from Sweden when Grandpa Olaf was an infant, 1879-1880. They settled in Iowa, then North Dakota.  After Olaf was grown and married to Emma and living in Montana, my great grandparents Erick and Cristina came to Oregon and bought property near Colton, about 1910.  After Dad was born, about 1920, Olaf's family moved to that property and it was divided between him and his brother Lars. 

There they lived by subsistence farming and logging, including cutting the trees on their own property. 
 As we pulled up and parked along the road, the current property owner came out to see what was going on. She ended up taking us on a tour. 
 We traipsed through the cow pasture to the site of the old house, where now all that is left is this wonderful old black walnut tree. 

 After we all got back home, our cousins found some treasures. 

Here is a photo of Aunt Lois and Aunt Betty swinging on a tire swing hung from the old walnut tree in 1930. It was already a big tree then, so it must have been planted by the original homesteader, sometime in the 1850's or 60's. 

These pictures were taken in 1970, when Aunt Lois returned to see the old property. The old house was still standing then. 
Since we were tripping down memory lane, we drove across the valley past my old house, where I was the second oldest of the seven kids who grew up here. My sister Ilene is the oldest and Laurie is the third in line. Two sisters have passed. Our two brothers, Henry Jr. and Don, are younger. 
 Here we all are at lunch together in Canby, Oregon: from left to right - Dennis and Kris, Ilene, Kathy and Mike, Tom and Linda, Laurie and Arnold. 
It was a great day, and the memories will linger on. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Feeling Fortunate

Monday's adventure didn't take us away from home. It's just very lucky that we were home.

When I went to take my shower I soon ran out of hot water. I shouted to Tom that we were out of hot water and he went down stairs to check the circuit box. As he stepped into the laundry room on the way to the garage, he splashed into a pool of water on the floor.

Oh, oh. Yep, the water heater was leaking. He called the plumbing company that installed that water heater some years ago, and then we got busy cleaning up the water with sponges and a wet vac. We had just finished mopping up when Southwest plumbing arrived, just an hour after Tom called them. 

To the rescue!
Of course it meant we needed a new water heater. The guys got busy draining the old one and removing it, then installing the new one.

As they were finishing up, we all shared a few minutes watching the World Cup game that we had on in the kitchen, as Morocco scored and then Spain equalized. We talked soccer for a bit before the guys went on their way. 

This could have happened while we were away all day for three days at our conference. It could have happened tomorrow, when we will be in Oregon for three days. It didn't. It happened while we were home, and had the time to deal with it. We could have had to wait hours for help. We didn't. We could have suffered lots of water damage. We didn't. We could pull out the credit card and take care of the $2000 bill, knowing we could pay it off right away.  

The job was done by 11:30, and all the rest of the day we marveled at our good fortune. 

We are feeling grateful. 

Monday, June 25, 2018

Seattle Hardy Plant Study Weekend

In the last three days we have attended three conference sessions, heard six speakers, had a chance to shop for plants at the conference, and toured nineteen Seattle area gardens. We even fitted in our usual Friday morning breakfast and a Sounders match at the stadium Saturday evening. 

The gardens are all private, home situated gardens, created by the owners and/or designed and installed with professional help. Some are in upscale neighborhoods with grand views, some are semi-rural, and others are in ordinary neighborhoods. All have much to offer in terms of interest, plant knowledge, and sheer beauty. 

I took hundreds of photos, of course, but since we are soon off on another adventure, for now I am giving you just a taste of what we saw, with at least one photo from each garden. It was hard to choose, and photos from the most photogenic garden cannot be posted because the owner is a garden designer who doesn't want to have others copy her ideas, I guess, although she would get free advertising.  I did sneak in one pot from her garden, which could have come from many others. 

Here is a brief glimpse of our three days of garden touring. 

All of the gardens were subtly marked. Our GPS phone apps got a workout. 
 City folks grow food too. We caught this owner tending his crop. 

View of Lake Washington. 

 View of Puget sound.

 Another sound view. 

 A view from the deck. 
 This gardener also quilts. 

It was all wonderful and exhausting and, for now, enough! 

We'll soon be back on the road, and there will be more gardens as well as some family history. See you around.