Eli and Sophia

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Vake Gives Brook a Scare

The summers before he finished college, Brook worked for the U.S.D.A. forest service out of Mapleton, OR, like his father, cousin Jon, and Uncle Mark had done before. He stayed with his grandparents, Milly and Vake. Vake was 77 years old at the time. Being a worrier, Brook was concerned for his health and well-being. One evening after he had gone to bed, Brook heard Vake yell, "Brook! Brook!" Brook went sailing out of bed and ran downstairs to see what was wrong. Nothing. He didn't use a remote. Vake said "Brook, turn the TV to channel 13." 

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Catching Up

Uh-Oh. I've been seriously neglecting this site. Here are the highlights, and as I get busy, details will follow:

 Leslie Anne Jones (Eli and Sofia, Vake and Milly, Sandy and Johnie Jones) married her high-school sweetheart James Meiser over the MLK, Jr. Holiday in Florence, OR in 2017.

Leslie won her MFA in Creative Writing from Rutgers University, spring 2017.

Mark Edison Sampson (Eli and Sofia, Vake and Milly) married Suzanne Kelso on May 27, 2017 in Florence.

Brook Ian Martin (Eli and Sofia, Vake and Milly, Susan, Brook) departed Dartmouth to become an Associate Professor of Orthopaedics at the University of Utah in February, 2017.

Eric Blaine Martin (Eli and Sofia, Vake and Milly, Susan) relocated from Klamath Falls to Charlotte, NC, following the headquarters of his employer, Jeld-Wen, in December 2016.

Meghan Rae Sampson (Eli and Sofia, Vake and Milly, Mark) won her medical degree from Oregon Health and Sciences Center in the spring of 2017, and follows in the footsteps of both of her parents, Mark Sampson, M.D.  and Susan Decker, M.D., in entering an emergency room medical residency at the University of California at Davis.

Nicole Libby (Eli and Sofia, Johnny and Evelynn, Patty and Dale Libby, Rusty and Wendy)  married Matthew McKinley Hawed on June 17, 2017, in Woodburn, OR. 

Monday, October 10, 2016


I'm not sure if I've written about apples before. I'm thinking of pie because it's apple harvesting season in Wenatchee, where bins of apples are being hauled out of the orchards, and literally millions of boxes of apples are leaving by truck or train.

Vake loved apple pie. When he and Milly were first married, she wanted to make a pie for him, but had no rolling pin. She asked to borrow one from their landlady, Mrs. VanAlstein. At first, the landlady refused, but seeing Milly's disappointment, she relented--but only on the condition that Milly promise not to wash the wooden rolling pin, that had been well-seasoned with fats from years of pie crusts. (Mrs. VanAlstein probably didn't know that Sylvia and Milly had driven into her orchard when she was away, and filled the trunk of Sylvia's car with apples. Mrs. VanAlstein never used the apples; she saved them for the deer.) 

Every time Vake ate apple pie for the rest of his life, he declared that it was the best he had ever tasted.  Milly made her crust with a recipe called "Never fail pie crust" that had an egg and some vinegar in it, but she claimed that the secret to her success was making the crust with real lard.

In the 1950s and 60s when Vake and Milly were living at Florence and raising four kids, every autumn, they awaited the arrival of the "Apple Man," a truck farmer from Yakima who drove through the neighborhood selling his orchard and garden produce. Milly would buy a flat of tomatoes, a gunny sack full of green beans (50#), sometimes a small box of cherry tomatoes to eat straight out of the box, and a 23# box of apples. Of course, some of the apples went straight to pie. With what was left, we peeled, cored, chopped, cooked down with sugar and spice, pressed through a conical collander using a conical wooden mashing tool, and can the resulting apple sauce.

One autumn in the 1970s or 1980s, a bumper crop of apples loaded every apple tree in the Seattle area. Brook's Boy Scout troop picked apples and hauled them to a fire station to be carried to food banks. I looked everywhere  in my paper cookbooks, and finally found a recipe for apple butter. Today, it takes about three seconds to find an apple butter recipe on the internet.

That year, Milly and Vake had a box of apples sitting in their garage at Dunes City. The deer came right into the garage to eat them.

Here in Wenatchee, culled apples are lying on the ground below the freshly harvested trees. As they decay, it's possible to smell their cider odor just walking past. Unlike grocers in Seattle, all the grocers around here carry lard that's good for crusts, because the lard also happens to be a staple for the resident Mexican population.

This morning I baked apple turn-overs. I didn't have lard in the house, but the gluten-free crust recipe from America's Test Kitchen turned out great. It's made with butter instead of lard, and the water in the butter makes the crust flaky and light. It tastes almost better than the apple filling.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Cole's Photo

Cole Buckhart  (Eli and Sofia; Eli, Jr.; Shirley Adams; Susan Adams) is now living and working at graphic arts in Wyoming. He shot this photo that ran in the Huffington post.