A Day for Goodbyes

There was no time for sewing yesterday, although I did get in a little embroidery in the morning. I was busy making a salad to take along to the Celebration of Life for our dear friend Larry, who passed away back in February.

As I said in an earlier post, Larry had been in poor health for many years, and his wife Tracy took loving care of him during that time. Her loving devotion to him during his final years was truly inspirational. 

Larry was an intelligent and funny man who lived every day to its fullest. Along the way he made many friends from all walks of life, and one could not know him without gaining a funny story to be told over and over again. All of his friends will miss him. The celebration was held at their home in rural Oregon. I forget how much acreage they have, but their home is comfortably rustic and the surrounding area beautifully serene.

They call their place the "Dancing Frog Ranch". I don't know who made this sign. I've deleted the house number, but I had to leave the number 8 below. Their place has always been a haven for wayward animals and over the years many dogs and cats have been given refuge there.

As you might guess, the walls and gardens are decorated with frogs in abundance.

It isn't far to walk to the banks of the Nehalem River that runs by their place.

Tracy is one of those people who can reuse and repurpose almost any discarded piece of junk to create something marvelous.

Of course, I took pictures of every blooming thing.

There are berry vines and vegetable patches growing wherever there is space.

Again, I don't know who made these signs, but their property produces smiles at every turn.

The "Hippie Hollow" trail leads to what could be one of the oldest and biggest Sitka spruce trees in Oregon. Tracy has resisted taking a core sample to document it for fear of damaging the tree. But with Mike and Matthew standing there, you can get some idea of its size.

To stand beside a tree like this and look up is to stand in the presence of grandeur.

Any questions?

In addition to dogs and cats, there are chickens running around. Honestly, do chickens have the most magnificent feathers? This bird seemed positively iridescent in the sunshine.

Also some pygmy goats who keep the hillside cleared of wild blackberry vines.

There was also a rabbit in a hutch, but I forgot to take his picture. 

We had wonderful food and listened to some great stories. Most often, we'd heard the stories many times, but they were still so wild and crazy, that we all howled with laughter. We saw some folks we hadn't seen in many years, and some had traveled many miles to come and say their goodbyes. I expect we said our last goodbyes to many of those folks as well. Mike met Larry and most of the rest on the job back in 1981. In the intervening years, that group as scattered like seeds in the wind. Larry was the common denominator, and it is doubtful our paths will ever cross again.

We were treated to a beautiful sunset on the way home. There were no cars on the road, and so we just stopped without even pulling over so I could get out and take this picture.

Turning the other direction, these amber waves of grain were taking on a pinkish hue.

We passed a couple of barn quilts along the way, but this was the only one I was able to capture as we sped by.

We reached the top of our hill just as the sun was setting and could look into the beautiful patchwork of fields in the Tualatin Valley below.

Arriving home, we checked the mail and I found that my charms from winning the Let's Book It Challenge had arrived. Could these be more perfect? Thank you, Sharon.

Okay now, how many of you noticed that I'd put the Mama Bear and Baby Bear flowers together wrong? I sure didn't until my friend KC wrote to point it out. Isn't it amazing how you can look a glaring error like this right in the face and not see it?

This is the Papa Bear configuration, done correctly. See how the flowers point down and the leaves point up.

Here's what I did with the Mama Bear configuration...the flowers are pointing up and the leaves are pointing down. Doh!

And not only that, but the Baby bear is done wrong too! 

As KC pointed out, it's an easy enough fix. All I have to do is take out the horizontal seams for the flower sections and the leaf sections and flip them over and resew them. But this is a lesson for not counting your paper-pieced flowers before they've bloomed. Or something. Surely it's a lesson in something. As I've been proofreading this post, it also occurs to me that I can just leave them as they are too. Who's gonna know besides me and you? I won't tell if you won't.

Today is going to be an easy day. My housework is caught up and we're going to Erik and Mae's place for a backyard barbecue this evening. The whole family will be there, and so it's going to be great fun. I offered to bring a dish, but was discouraged from doing so. It's a rare treat when someone else does literally all the cooking. But you know what that means. It means I get to spend the day sewing, and that's just exactly what I'm going to do.

11 comments from clever and witty friends:

Vroomans' Quilts said...

What a lovely rustic homestead. Love the rain gutter for the rail flower bed - must remember that one. I can't believe the pin and charm took so long to get to you, but maybe it was fate for such a day.

gpc said...

What a beautiful celebration of life. I love the idea of people howling with laughter while remembering good times with me, such a sweet tribute to Larry. There are too few of those unique and charming souls left among us. And what a beautiful property! I hope Tracy will be able to take some comfort in being surrounded by such beauty as she holds those memories close. :)

Angie in SoCal said...

A lovely goodbye.

Pam said...

Says who that your blocks were errors? I thought you did it on purpose as an improvement! I liked how they were but the new way is good too.
You have some nice friends. I am happy for you that you all (y'all) could get together one more time! Friends get fewer and more important as we get older.

Quiltdivajulie said...

Wonderful post - and what gorgeous photos of such special places and scenes.

quiltzyx said...

I was so far behind on blog reading! Dang Frontier internet.
Looks like you had a wonderful Celebration for Larry at his and Tracy's beautiful home. I can remember some of the other photos you have taken there.
Mmmm BBQ at Erik & Mae's - Erik seems to be the BBQ King of the Stanbro family!
Glad that Smitty & Sadie are enjoying the Catio. I had a feeling they would. :)
Way back on the "CAT..." quiz, I missed 3 of them. Can't remember which 3, but that's OK, right? I'm old too.
What program do you use for photo editing? I used to use Picasa, but I heard it's been changed? Haven't checked yet, but I have a brand-spankin' new laptop with Win10 & I haven't figured out how to do photos on it yet.
Happy July!

WoolenSails said...

What a wonderful way to celebrate Larry's life and say goodbye, with friends and laughter, I am sure he was looking down and smiling. Looks like a beautiful drive home, love when the sun sets and beams up into the clouds.


Michele said...

It looks like he lived in his own little heaven and I'm sure he will be missed by all.

Dana Gaffney said...

Beautiful way to say good-bye, it sounds like it was a true celebration of his life. I'd leave the mistakes, it looks fine so claim you meant to do it to make it your own.

Teresa in Music City said...

I envy you such great friends Barbara! What a lovely day and I so enjoyed the photos of their beautiful home. You seem to find gorgeous flowers and scenery everywhere you go - you're a scenery magnet!!! Loved the skyline photos - wow! And I thought the same thing about your flowers - you could leave them as is and no one would notice :*)

Brown Family said...

That was a beautiful place.