Saturday, December 19, 2009

Oh Tannenbaum

The annual pilgrimage has been made, a tree has been found, claimed, cut, moved, erected and decorated. Here are the details.

Trees don't come to you, you go to them. They hide among their friends. To find the right one it is best to search on foot.

We have traveled to the local Christmas tree farm. Like any commercial enterprise there are clauses, conditions, admonitions, rules and regulations.

We searched low...

we searched high.

Thomas was more interested in his new toy. That's okay because he got some nice shots.

I sometimes walk a little faster than the rest of my family.

There are LOTS of trees to be found, but only one is the right one.

The brisk air and beautiful scenery puts a spring in your step. That's Anthony.

That's Matthew, same story.

At last!! The right tree has been discovered. Nic does the dirty work. Thomas, Anthony and I document the event.

All you Jarheads say "Cheese!".

Laura is amused by our antics.

Just a few more swift strokes will complete the task.

Just a few more shots will record the event.

I can't remember if this was a life lesson, a sermonette or a prayer.

We had traveled far. The journey back would be arduous.

Left, left, left right left.

The sun was low in the sky by the time we got back to the truck and van (the van won't carry a tree, the truck won't carry our family) and completed the transaction.

A few days later, we brought the tree inside. Matthew is an expert at tree handling.

Oops. Measure twice, cut once.

Cut again.

The finished product, trimmed on both ends and decorated sparingly.

Memories are built one moment at a time. Some are better than others; this one was better than most. Remember why we do all of this.

be safe,
Hec @ 19

Friday, December 11, 2009


Mr & Mrs H are pleased to announce the engagement of their son, Ben, to
Tiffany, the daughter of Pastor & Mrs McD of Illinois.
A May wedding is planned at Providence Church in Morton, Illinois.

Any parent will tell you, nothing has a bigger impact on a believing family than who the children marry. Mrs H and I are truly blessed that Tiffany has consented to marry our son. She comes from a fine family, one that we have grown very close to. Tiffany is bright, mature, talented and charming. She shares many of Ben's interests and all of his beliefs and values. She is an exceptional seamstress and a fine pianist. She has a beautiful singing voice, a sharp wit and a great memory for detail. We have enjoyed watching Ben blossom as he has prepared himself for Holy matrimony to a fine young lady.
To God be the Glory!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Here are some wrap up shots taken on the day after the storm. Seeing as how the last photo contest was so popular, let's do another one. All but one of these shots were taken by Matthew. Can you guess which one isn't Matthews?

The pond froze solid enough to bounce rocks off of its surface.

You can always count on an icicle to point the way to the center of the Earth.

Helpful hint: Don't do this if you want to stay warm and dry.

The oaks greet each other over the deck, framing the end of the day.

I promised to tell you about our mid-storm dinner. Mrs. H and her crew prepared lamb chops and potato pancakes (Grandma Ruth's recipe) by candle light and without running water. It was the finest meal I've ever eaten.

The next blog will be an important announcement from a senior member of the family. Stay tuned.

be safe,
Hec @ 19

Monday, December 7, 2009

Snow report

Today was supposed to be spent down in Valley Springs homeschooling with some other families. A major snow storm changed all that. As usual, the electricity is out. We have powered a few of the necessities (like the Internet) with the RV's generator. PG&E says they will know by noon tomorrow when the power will be back on. That could be a day or two later, and their estimates are always optimistic.

The rain gauge doesn't understand snow, so Anthony braved the cold to put a ruler in our closest snow bank.

That green thing is a twelve inch ruler.

Tara came to the door to check on us. Is she suffering in the cold?

Nah, I never met a suffering dog that was in the mood for a game of chase the tail.

If counter clock wise doesn't work, try clock wise. That didn't work either.

Nic wanted toast. The wood stove works no matter what.

Brunch on the patio, anyone?

Photo contest: Can you figure this one out?

The storm finally broke, so the youngest four broke out the snow gear.

Hand delivered snowballs are much more accurate than the thrown variety.

Even Sara and Becky want a piece of Jonathan.

Jonathan evened the score.

The Ben-mobile isn't going anywhere.

The Indian Head is never prettier than when it sports a shock of white hair.

Being without electricity also means not having water, lights, refrigeration and a host of other modern day conveniences. But it doesn't mean you have to go without family activities, a good meal (more on that tomorrow) contentment and an appreciation for Gods abundance. The Hector's are home bound, and that suits me just fine.

be safe,
Hec @ 19

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving day and it's traditions

4 And in that day you will say:

“ Praise the LORD, call upon His name;
Declare His deeds among the peoples,
Make mention that His name is exalted.
5 Sing to the LORD,
For He has done excellent things;
This is known in all the earth.
6 Cry out and shout, O inhabitant of Zion,
For great is the Holy One of Israel in your midst!”

Isaiah 12:4-6

Thanksgiving day is steeped in tradition at our household. We do things a certain way because that's the way it was done last year and the year before that. Tradition dictates that we spend the day with the Dunfees and this year was no exception. In fact, some of them arrived Tuesday night to help prepare for the event. Here we see Kirsten helping Thomas make salsa. The Pilgrims had salsa, right?

Grandma Ruth had a tradition of making breakfast rolls for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. Ben carries on that tradition now, and Jonathan helps by grinding up a bunch of walnuts.

Matthew worked hard by making tacos for Wednesday's dinner. Corn or flour tortillas, take your pick.

Here we are at Thursday morning. Mrs. H and I were up early getting the turkey (one that we raised) into the oven. People filter into the kitchen and hover over Ben's excellent work until the breakfast bell is rung. Last night we rang the taco bell (sorry!).

Sara and Suzanna stay busy with a little crochet work.

Setting up the tables is always a BIG production. We try arranging them this way and that before settling for the same old arrangement we use every year.

The refrigerator is always overstuffed, and this year that resulted in Ben's coconut cream pie getting an extra ingredient.

Table decorations are carefully chosen and placed.

We decided to do assigned seating this year; we may be traditionalists but that doesn't mean we can't be innovative. Guess who sat here!

Aunt Debbie taught us the value of hors d'ourves. The whole table was crowded with stuff by the time we were done. I'm doing a taste test of the sweet gherkins. Nobody cared that dinner was late. Nice job, Mrs. H!!

Ben is the pie guy. Pecan, pumpkin, cherry, apricot and hard lemonade coconut cream!!

Ben was also tasked with mashing the potatoes. He used the "on the floor and furiously bob your head" method.

We have to apologize. With all of the pictures that were taken, there are absolutely none of the dinner itself. We also missed half of the guests that graced us with their presence this year. Nana & Poppa, Marsha & Bob, the Van V's and the B's were all there, but we can't prove it!

Nobody picked up the camera again until the start of the traditional talent show.

The Dunfee sisters sang a wonderful rendition of Sisters.

Benjamin D. amazed us with his manual dexterity. He didn't drop a single lemon!

The H boys did a skit that gave pacifism a strangely humorous twist.

After the talent show the youngsters went outside for a traditional game of Capture the Flag. Nic can tie his shoes and talk on the phone at the same time, but only if he is wearing camo.

Friday morning found us polishing off the breakfast rolls.

The adventuresome members of our group decided to take a hike up to the top of the Indian Head after breakfast. There are several ways to get there, but our favorite path takes us up Fern Gully. These two photos reveal how the gully got it's name. Thanksgiving day was warm and sunny, but Friday was cold and damp. A light mist began to fall as we reached the head of the gully.

Forward, march!!

This amazing collection of mushrooms were found waiting for their picture to be taken. We obliged.

By the time we popped out of the gully a light rain was falling. This ledge provided just enough shelter for us to rest in a dry spot.

We pressed on despite the rain and made it all the way to the top of the Indian Head!!

Congratulations to Sara, the youngest member of the expedition! This was her first time to the top.

We no sooner made it back to the house when the rain stopped and the clouds parted. We were soaked by then but satisfied with the experience. Cloud report!

Tired legs deserve a movie.

We have two more traditions to tell you about. The first one is the annual group shot. We have a lot of these going way, way back.

The other tradition is done right after the Thanksgiving dinner. Everyone at the table is asked to tell what they are thankful for. Many things are mentioned, but there are certain things that are always mentioned. Everyone agrees that the greatest thing to be thankful for is what God has done, that His Son died for our salvation and for His unfailing promises. We are all thankful for family and friends. Ben is especially thankful for what lies ahead, as are the rest of us.

As you stop to count your blessings, make sure you have plenty of time. The list is very long.

be safe,
Hec @ 19