Friday, September 23, 2011

Yee Ha! "Let 'r Buck" at the Pendleton Round Up - 101 Years

Last Friday, we traveled to Pendleton for the world famous, Pendleton Round-Up. My mom lives there, so we always have a place to stay. What a blessing! We always start the Round Up with the "Westward Ho" parade. I believe it is the world's longest non-mechanized parade. There were over 600 horses in it this year. It is truly a "Cowboys and Indians" kind of parade. It always provides great discussions for our 365 days a year homeschool :o)
The parade started out with riders carrying 101 American flags, representing how many years the Round-Up had been going on. It seriously gives you chills when you watch them ride by.
Hailey waiting for the parade to start. She was all decked out in her pink cowgirl hat, boots, jeans and belt, with a little "Rodeo Princess" tiara on her hat.
Always love watching the mounted Round Up band. 
Josiah waiting for the parade to start. He was giving me his best, "Howdy, M'am" look. Of course he had to be wearing his bright orange "OSU" handkerchief! Go Beavers!
They had rodeo royalty show up from all over, as far back east as Nebraska. I loved these gals' shirts.

As usual, Michael road with my grandpa who has the distinction of being the oldest teamster in the parade. Grandpa's wife, Regina, is riding alongside the chuck wagon on her saddle horse. My grandpa still farms with horses. Michael always has a great time hanging out with them.

This horse was beautiful! It's gait was amazing and so was the rider. 
This year we were blessed by extended family (thank you Phyllis and Uncle Kerry) who gave us a couple of extra tickets. It has been so long since Michael and I were actually able to attend the rodeo together. 21 years ago, Michael and I officially became and item at the Pendleton Round Up. It was the first time we ever held hands. It is a very unique place because the area is grassy with a plowed up track around it because Pendleton uses it as a field the rest of the year. That grass is hard and makes it even more challenging for competitors.

A new exhibition event they are doing is the reenactment of the most famous saddle bronc competition ever. For the reenactment, they don't use chutes, they bring the horses out blind-folded, mug them down, get the rider, then tighten the bucking strap and let 'er buck! The competition was between George Fletcher (African American), Jackson Sundown (Native American) and John Spain (white guy) back in 1910, the year the Pendleton Round Up began. George Fletcher should have won it, but of course they gave it to the white guy. Nobody ever forgot who the real winner was though and George became instantly famous. Sherriff Til Taylor cut up George's hat and sold the pieces to the dissatisfied crown. He made enough money to have another championship saddle made for George, just like the one that was awarded to John Spain. Love that story! 
I couldn't believe how many people got hurt that day, especially in the all Indian Women's race. The gal shown in my picture won, but she and the girl behind her couldn't get their horses stopped after the race. One of them ended up going back the other way on the track and they collided. The woman in blue was taken away on a stretcher, I think the other girl walked away. I was praying she was OK. So sad. I must have counted 4 or 5 stretchers that day. That is the life of rodeo I guess. It is truly a tough sport. 

Michael used to be a bull rider in high school. I was so glad when he quit. It is so scary to watch someone you love out there on one of those huge beasts. Almost all the cowboys are wear helmets now, which I think is so smart!

Native American dancers are very much part of the Round Up experience/tradition. Love watching the little ones especially. They can really rattle those bells!

I just had to throw in a picture of this poor steer wrestler. The back of his shirt was ripped off and he skinned his back up pretty bad. Ouch! That was one tough cowboy! I bet he was just glad he wasn't one of the people taken out on a stretcher. 

After the rodeo, thanks to my mom and step-dad, we were able to mosey downtown without the kids and watch the entertainment and look at all the booths. We had the best smoked brisket ever! It had been months since we had been on a date, so this was just what we needed.

God Bless,

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Celtic-themed Party - Happy 8th Birthday, Josiah!

I think this was the easiest, yet most fun, themed-party we've done so far. Josiah turned 8 years old and he wanted a "Highland-themed" birthday party. Our good family friend, Billy (the older brother I never had) shares a birthday with Josiah, so we decided to turn it into a "Celtic-themed" party to honor both the Scottish and Irish heritages represented by our families. Billy can trace his family roots all the way back to the county in Ireland where his ancestors are from. We did some more digging into Michael's family history and discovered that his surname falls under two clans from the same area in Scotland, the MacGregors and Lamonts. 

We kicked off the party with some Highland games that Billy was in charge of. He's a football coach/former pastor/youth pastor, so working with kids is a natural thing for him to do. We had two different sets of "stones, hammers and cabers", one for the kids and one for the adults. It was fun watching so many participating. I love it when I see adults doing something fun with their kids that they normally wouldn't do. Having kids gives us an excuse to be a kid again :)

Even my dad did the "ball and chain toss". He did great!

Josiah running with the caber.

Even I got to try it. It was so much fun!

Michael helped Hailey with her caber toss.

Michael tossing the caber.

The decorations where simple, true to Celtic style. I found old plaid blankets to use for the table clothes, and set my Scottish swords out. I also found this really neat unbleached table runner at a yard sale that worked perfectly under the cake. The guests were pretty much the decorations, LOL. We encouraged everyone to wear plaid.

I had the cake made by a local bakery. They put both our family crest as well as Billy's on the cake, then I had them put shamrocks in the corners on Billy's side of the cake and thistles on Josiah's side. You can see the cool table runner underneath better in this picture. 

We also had a German chocolate cake for my dad and my MIL whose birthdays are really close to Josiah and Billy's.

I was pretending to cut the cake with my Scottish basket hilt sword. Of all the swords in my collection, this one is my favorite.

Michael's good friends, Billy and Patrick. Poor Michael got teased a lot about his white legs. That is what kilt socks are for, LOL! I think he'll pull them up next time ;)

Even the littlest member of our party was wearing a kilt. Check out his sock flashes. Adorable!

Our family.

I took a picture of everyone who was dressed to the "hilt" (no pun intended), Billy, Patrick, me, Josiah, Hailey and Michael. The guys are planning on doing the Highland games next year at our local Celtic Festival, so they are thinking of using our backyard to practice in. They have kids games, too. 

So happy birthday to Josiah and Billy! What a wonderful way to learn about the Scottish/Irish cultures. Can't wait to see what theme they come up with for their party next year :)

God Bless,

Friday, September 16, 2011

WWII Bunker at Camp Rilea

I think the kids were more excited about getting to play in the WWII bunker we found at Camp Rilea than the Civil War reenactment. Us adults enjoyed the view of the ocean as well as the wildlife while the kids played and played in this bunker. What a homeschool opportunity!

My nephew, Josh, inside the bunker. It was in pretty good shape still.

Loved this graffiti. Michael had to explain it to me. "Big Red One" was here Sept, 15th, 1944. How cool is that?

My nephew insisted I video their WWII reenactment. They were totally crackin' me up, especially Josh. He is the sound effect king. 

I've been so busy with the prolific garden and having fun that I haven't had to time to visit other blogs, but hope to soon. Miss seeing what everyone is up to :o) 


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Civil War Dress Of My Dreams!

I grew up on a ranch without any television. It was the greatest gift my parents could have given me. My twin sis and I always played dress up, and I never really got over it. I still like to play dress up! My kids love it when I dress up for their theme parties. If you've read any of my previous posts, you'll know that one of our family's dreams is to one day become Civil War reenactors. I got a step closer to that dream when I found a screamin' good deal on a this Civil War skirt and jacket at a sutler's tent. (The sun is shining through the trees and making it look like there are blotches on my dress)
I got the hat at Ross for $7. It will work for two of my costumes. It is a Scottish Highland type crotchet hat, but slid back, I can make it into a snood for my Civil War costume, too. This last weekend I found the rest of the accessories at yard sales.  I found the lace shawl at a yard sale a friend of mine was having. She and my previous boss brought it back from Spain. Got it for $1. I found the shirt (it had tatting lace around the collar) at the same sale for only $2. I also found a early 50's style dress at that sale, too for $5. The silver brooch and earrings were Michael's grandmother's. Then I got the woven sash at another yard sale for $.25. It all went perfectly with the dress. All I need now is a parasol, a little hand bag and some fingerless gloves. Can you tell I'm excited?!!!
This is the serious, old-time photo my mom took of me. She said I had to have at least one. I tell you it was hard not to smile while wearing that dress! 

I'm learning how to sit properly in a hoop skirt. Not sure how I would get into a car with that thing on, LOL.

I still can't believe how God blessed me with this outfit. It was completely frivolous. God had just provided us with some extra money that was unexpected. I almost didn't buy it, in fact I walked out of the tent and told Michael I wasn't going to. He was so sweet and my "Mr. Practical" told me to get back in there and buy it because I wouldn't find that deal again and we couldn't make the dress for that price. I couldn't believe it. So I went back in and bought it without any regrets and God blessed me with the rest of the accessories. I really felt like God was simply wanting to delight me. What an awesome God I serve! That He cares for me, even my frivolous desires, just blows me away :o)

God Bless,

Monday, September 12, 2011

Civil War Reenactment - Camp Life

I love wandering the camps looking for interesting demonstrations, as well as talking with the reenactors to learn more Civil War history. These guys really know their stuff. The first demonstration we went to was the Union hospital tent. They were treating the head wound of soldier who probably wouldn't have survived.

Next we found the Christian Society, where the "married, unattractive women" were feeding the wounded soldier's stomachs as well as their souls. There was a display of a soldier's field rations as well as his marching rations. Learned that salt pork is really just cured, un-rendered lard. The kids had fun touching and smelling all the food items.

Josiah stands at attention as the Union Fife and Drum Corps go marching by.

The cannon located outside the real earthworks Civil War fort at Fort Stevens.
Josiah and his cousin Andrew were on opposite sides of the war but pretended to be brothers who found each other during battle. They ended up walking away with their arms around each other. They were really cute.

A Southern belle camp follower.

Confederate cannons.

Despite being in a blue uniform, Josiah braved the Confederate camp. He was only waylaid twice. One of the Confederate soldiers let him hold his gun. It was so heavy!

They gave the kids pickles as a dehydration test. If the pickle tasted like a pickle, you were good, but if it tasted weird, that meant you were dehydrated. Josiah and his cousins loved this test and have been practicing it often at home ;)

Checking out the different sized barrels of some of the guns in the Confederate camp.

Camp cooks stirring beans in a huge cast iron pot. I would not have wanted to have lifted that pot!

The most fascinating demonstration, and one I had never seen before, was the button maker. He had a hand forge, where he turned the wheel and it took him about 15 minutes to make 4 buttons using an antique button mold. They man was a natural teacher. 

The hot pewter in liquid form.
Kids watching with rapt attention. He showed them an interesting technique to see if something is hot before you grab on to it. The kids are now using it at home and no burns so far!

The buttons as they came out of the button mold. They were beautiful!

My mom took some pics of me in my Civil War dress I bought at the reenactment and thanks to some yard sale finds this weekend, my outfit is complete. I'll be posting those next. 


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Civil War Reenactment - The Battle

Even though we are going to wait until October to start homeschooling this year, we took advantage of a wonderful homeschool opportunity. We had the opportunity to go to the Civil War reenactment held at Fort Stevens State Park near Astoria, OR. There are usually near a 1000 reenactors who show up. This is the 5th time we've gone, and we love it! We would love to get into it, but buying the tent, the gun and clothing is very expensive. Every time we go, we usually try to pick up at least one more item we would need. Someday we're going to make our family dream come true and become real Civil War reenactors instead of wannabes (story of our lives, LOL). This time around, my dream came true as I was able to buy a ladies dress for a screamin' good deal!

Fort Stevens is the perfect site for a Civil War reenactment since it has the only Civil War fort built in the west. It was an earth works fort at the mouth of the Columbia  River whose purpose was to keep the Confederates from invading the west. It never saw action, but the WWII batteries did. Fort Stevens has the distinction of being the only part of the mainland that was fired upon by the Japanese. They fired a few shots back and the submarine disappeared.  

When we go to the reenactment, we always stay at Camp Rilea, an active National Guard Camp where we can stay in really cheap housing and "camp". The kids have lots of places to ride their bikes, we can go to the ocean and we found a WWII bunker there, too. 

This a reenactment of the charge of General Stevens (whom Fort Stevens is named after). You can click on the link for more info about him. He died leading the 79th New York Highlanders in a charge during the Battle of Chantilly.

 They had at least 5 cannons there, maybe more.

The Union troops getting into formation with the mouth of the Columbia River in the background.

Confederates lining up and skirmishing with the Union Sharpshooters in green.

79th New York Highland Regiment. They got slaughtered in this battle.

Union Sharpshooters.

The Union Marines are in the white pants. It was a hot day, I felt bad for the guys who "died", although some of them managed to crawl to the shade and take a nap for the rest of the battle. I don't blame them, LOL.

Confederate Mounted Calvary demonstration. It was explained that several million horses were killed during the Civil War. It wiped out whole breeds, especially in the South. Very sad. Confederate cavalrymen were not issued horses, they had to come up with their own.

Calvary saber training demonstration.

I'd never seen this before. Apparently one of the Confederate privates got into trouble and was forced to run messages between the regiments with shackles and chains on his hands and feet. Hum, quite interesting. 

Next, I'll be posting pictures of Civil War Camp life. Hope you all had a great Labor Day Weekend!

God Bless, 


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