Sunday, December 8, 2013

November 2013

The last two months have really flown by.  I was called as Relief Society president in a newly formed ward the beginning of October.  The responsibilities are overwhelming at times, but I have really enjoyed getting involved and better acquainted with sisters in this new ward.

Here are a few highlights from November:
We butchered our 16 Cornish hens on a cold Saturday

2 missionaries from church helped all morning - took hours to pull all the feathers off

It took several more hours to gut, portion and bag the birds.  They weigh about 5 lbs each and taste great!
Jonathan's twin brother, Nathan, spent a few days with us before they both flew to Boise to visit their parents and brothers Rusty & Keith.  They had a great time at this mini-reunion.

Pre-Thanksgiving dinner.  On Thanksgiving day, Sheryl and the boys went to some friends, the Hensches, for dinner.

Day after Thanksgiving, Curtis and I went to the Museum of Science in Boston.  It is a huge, interactive museum. 

The coolest exhibit was about how Pixar makes it's animated films.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The road less traveled (Fall in New England)

Our latest venture in hobby farming--raising 16 cornish hens for meat.  These cute baby chicks quickly outgrew the bins in our closet and Trevor and Jonathan had to quickly partition the chicken yard and build them a coop (with heat lamp).  They are growing so fast and will be big enough to butcher at 8 weeks!  

My parents came to visit for a week.  I rearranged my work schedule so I could spend the whole time with them.  We had a wonderful time visiting historical places, walking in the woods, and hanging out with the family.

 We spent a day in Concord, MA.  First at the Orchard House where Louisa May Alcott lived with her family and wrote Little Women.  We went to the Concord Historical Museum that had exhibits from 1600's to present day.  Important events in the Revolutionary War (shot heard round the world) and Civil War occurred here.  Also many prominent writers settled here in the 1800's and were friends: Alcott, Emerson, Longfellow, Thoreau

This is beautiful Walden Pond where Thoreau lived in a hut and wrote.  We hiked the perimeter of the lake (about two miles) and enjoyed the fall colors.  It is very peaceful here.

 The next day Jonathan joined us.  We visited the Robert Frost farm in nearby Londonderry.  He lived there with his young family early in his writing career and it was the inspiration for a lot of his writing throughout his life.  Frost wasn't a good farmer, but really loved being out in nature.

 After lunch at a cute diner (fried pickles-don't try these at home), we went to Stonehenge is Salem, NH.  This is one of the compass points that is astronomical.  There are stone dwellings dated back to BC.

Trevor accompanied us on many nature walks
 On Saturday, we took the boys with us and went to visit some property in Maine we are thinking of buying.  It is very wooded with a few trails through it.  It is 90 minutes north of where we live but only five miles from the coast.

Curtis braved the wind to dig in the sand

We went for a blustery walk along Marginal Way in Perkins cove.  I love the rocky Maine coastline--it reminds me of the Oregon Coast.

We played lots of board games. Trevor and Grandpa were evenly matched.

Monday afternoon we went for a walk through the woods at the Audubon Center in Auburn.  This is the shore of Lake Massebesic.  I love autumn in New England!!!

Monday, September 16, 2013

New England "stay-cation"

Here are some highlights of our summer "stay-cation" in New England.
A long-time friend from Bend, Angie Jackson and her daughters were in Massachusetts for a few days visiting relatives, so we met them for a day at the beach in Glouster, MA.  We had a great time catching up and talking non-stop for a few hours while the kids played in the water.

 The last three weeks of summer we did some day trips on days I wasn't working.  We discovered some fun places nearby and took advantage of activity passes from the library.  This is America's Stonehenge in Salem, NH.  We went with our friends, the Hensch's.  Marvin's hiding behind the rock.
This is one of many sites in North America where archeologist & anthropologists have discovered places where native Americans lived thousands of years ago.  Above is an sacrifice table and a marking stone for sunset or sunrise at a specific time of year (i.e. winter solstice).

 The next Friday, we went to Charmingfare zoo.  It's a working farm with farm animals and also some wild animals (camel, bear, wolf).  Trevor's trying to feed the cow without getting slimed.  He kept pulling his hand back and the cow's tongue kept getting longer.  The goat's about to jump in on the action.
Curtis thought the mini goats were stinky but liked picking them up anyway.  It was a cute farm and we had a fun afternoon.  I was thinking it would be a fun place to bring a grandson to in a few years:)

On Saturday we went to the Fells Estate on the shore of Lake Sunapee in Newbury.  This was the summer home of John Hay.  There are well maintained gardens surrounding the house that were built by John Hayes son (John II).  We toured the gardens and house and walked the trail down to see the lake.

 There were still lots of perennials out, but I want to visit again in the spring to see all the Rhododendrons in bloom.  John Hay was a private secretary to President Lincoln and secretary of state to McKinley and T. Roosevelt.  There was an exhibit about his work with Lincoln inside.  The estate remained in the family for three generations and is now run by a foundation.  The outer acreage is now Forest Service land with trails.  It's very beautiful and peaceful there.

I forgot my camera, but the following Saturday we went to a WWII museum in Wolfeboro (on the shore of Lake Winnepesaukee).  They had a lot of artifacts and posters and even some tanks.  I liked the museum exhibits that explained how the war changed American culture. 

A final summer hurrah: the boys and I went to the local amusement park, Canobie Lake.  The photos aren't that great.  I went on a few rides with the boys and decided I'm getting too old for that.  We went on some huge rollercoasters and I was too scared to scream.  I really enjoyed the Michael Jackson tribute concert, bumper cars with Curtis and of course, fried dough.  We went on a drizzly evening to get the cheap tickets and there were almost no lines!

I already put some pictures on Facebook, but the highlight of our summer "stay-cation" was a day trip with Jonathan to Maine.  We sailed on the Silver Lining and went about a mile out in the ocean on the two-hour cruise.
                  Curtis loved standing on the bow
                   The "Silver Lining" in the harbor at Ogunquit, Maine

 We walked the mile-long path from the harbor to the beach and back.   There's a huge beach here.  Next time we come, we'll plan to hang out on the beach.  The Maine coastline is much prettier than New Hampshire's and reminds me of Oregon.

I wanted to see the famouse Nubble Lighthouse in York, Maine on the way home.  It isn't open to the public and is on an island--very picturesque.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Nashua Stake Pioneer Trek

Last weekend, we participated in our stake's 3 day pioneer trek.  Jonathan and I were Pa and Ma to a family of 9 wonderful teenagers.  They took turns pulling our handcart of possessions and camping gear for 20 miles along rail trails between Auburn and Raymond NH (after an opening meeting at the temple).

Our amazingly awesome trek family: Pa and Ma Dodge
Girls: Claudia, Meagan, Eliza and Aubrey
Boys: John, Forrest, Nate, David and Nick

We met our families at the temple in Belmont, MA and talked about the saints leaving Nauvoo after going to the temple and what temple covenants mean to us personally.

Getting the cart loaded and ready to roll from Lake Massebessic Park

Jonathan was sick for two days before we started hiking and I was worried he wouldn't be able to join us the first day, but he felt well enough by the time we started out and the first day was an easier pace.

Our first day of pulling.  We got rained on in the afternoon after stopping for some pioneer games.  The weather stayed warm though and our camping gear stayed dry.

The boys had the handcart loading down to science by the second day--evenly balanced with the water jug off the back and a back of snacks accessible in front.  All our personal buckets and camping gear went in the cart each day.

The second morning the girls did a 3 mile women's pull on their own while the boys had mission training.  It was hard pulling up the hills, but by helping each other out we all made it.

This is where we camped the second night in Candia--nick named Shangri La.  It is privately owned land with a man-made pond, waterfalls, and grassy meadows.  It was the ideal setting for this large group.

The trek was physically challenging and spiritually uplifting.  The talks, firesides, and devotionals were great!  We talked about the pioneers and their sacrifices.  The focus, however, was on the youths' own call to "Come Unto Zion" by bringing themselves, their families (and ancestors) and friends to Zion.

The stake had 18 handcart families--about 200 people trekking.  We had wonderful hot breakfasts and dinners cooked by the food committee waiting for us morning and evening.

 We were a little overwhelmed by the welcoming committee--hundreds of people from our stake were there to cheer us on.  It felt like we were in a parade so I waved and smiled (although I just wanted to sit in the shade and take my shoes off).

Here's Curtis' family.  The Hogan are a couple in our ward.  Curtis had a great time and was a cheerful hiker.  He even tried to catch fish in the pond and square danced with me for a minute. 

I don't have pictures of Trevor because he was in a different family, but we saw him participating on the periphery.  I was so glad we were able to experience this together.

Olsen Family Reunion at Camp Alpine July 3-6

back: Sheryl, Mom, Dad, Brenda  front: Carl, Ken, Neil

We had a great visit with my family over a long 4th of July weekend south of Corvallis Oregon.  It was great to see everyone after being away for over a year--especially the expectant Jessica!

Dodge Family (minus Elder Jason Dodge in Las Vegas)
We surprised Grandma with a birthday party (a day late)

Uncle Ken had fun crafts to do everyday.  They're making rockets to launch.

Jessica on the zip line

Curtis on the zipline

Sam, Curtis and Erik in the canoe
Grandpa explaining Mayan glyphs to Laura, Grace, Robin and Rachel

Jessica teaching me to crochet a rose

Trevor spent a lot of time on borrowed guitars

Confidence Course at night

Male bonding time working on the Brewster Beast

Curtis and cousins at the archery range

Water balloon volleyball (thanks to Jason C.)

Merit Badge Clinic with boy scouts: Curtis, Erik and Sam
Annual Talent Show
Young Mom's group--Stephanie, Emily, Gabriel and Jessica
Until next year!!  We miss all our family and friends in Oregon!!